NSW DER Laptops

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laptop flaws and what needs to be changed to make them more suitable!

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I'm a student in yr 9, i recieved my laptop yesterday, I have been working on computers since I was about 8 years old and after playing with the laptops for a while there are some serous flaws.

1. DO NOT USE MS internet explorer, it is terrible there are many other browsers that are free and alot more secure and user friendly ie. firefox ( www.mozilla-europe.org/en/firefox/ )

2. Photoshop elements 7.0 ??? WHY? we get the CS4 versions of everybody but photoshop. The screens isn't even big enough for the elements version its GUI is massive but the CS4 interface is more streamlined
(drawing done by me Very Happy )

3. Google sketchup.... a lousy excuse for a CAD program, basically no rendering support, no animation support dosent even use correct poly modeling techniques or nurbs, and it runs like a wounded elephant on the laptops. The are much better programs availible
Free:
Gmax
Blender
Milkshape3d
XSI mod tools (probably the best)
Not free:
3Ds max (easier to learn usually )
Maya (apparently better interface but there is alot of debate)
AutoCad ( <<< a bitch to learn)
4. WINDOWS 7 is awsome if your running a core 2 duo, 2gb+ ram and a decent 3d accelerated graphics card. Xp would be a much better idea, boot faster, run faster.. wont hog nearly 1gb of ram when idle. The netbooks were designed for windows Xp as u would see if u looked at laptop, big sticker that says MADE FOR WINDOWS XP!!

AND WHAT IS UP WITH THE INTERNET FILTER
AND WHY CANT WE INSTALL PROGRAMS?
I'd have 3ds max installed in 10 seconds if it wasn't blocked, which would be a great help because i want to get into the games industry in the future and i was hoping the laptops would give me alot more time to practive my modeling!

Comments? another you'd like to add?

Students arnt all that bad Razz

Ben (Bigfish) (I apoligise for my spelling english isn't my best subject)

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Hi, Ben

I will try to answer your concerns as best I can.


1) Microsoft Internet Explorer can have restrictions applied to it in the Group Policy where as counterparts can not.
2) DET could only establish a license for this.
3) Easier to learn for newer students.
4) DET saw Windows 7 as a step forward in Operating Systems, Windows XP is nearly 8 years old now.

The internet filter is there to protect against malicious and inappropriate websites.
You can't install programs because programs change the system configuration and is a breach of the Department's standardisation.

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thanks

But Google sketchup doesn't even use correct modelling techniques, anybody wonting to learn CGI would be much better off with one of the other programs I mentioned.

Windows Xp may be old but the reason it lasted so long is because its so reliable, I'm currently running Windows XP and Windows 7 and Ubuntu (linux). And out of all 3 windows xp is the most usefull, compatible with the most software and with the 1.6ghz proccesser of the laptops it would run so much smoother than how they do atm.

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Hi Ben, welcome to the forum.

I think you need to keep in mind the big picture when it comes to the laptops. They were designed with the "lowest common denominator" in mind. The software that is included is designed to be able to do most activities reasonably well. I agree that SketchUp is not the best CAD program around for CGI, but that is not what it is designed for. It IS a great application for TAS-style technical drawings. Additionally, it is becoming something of an industry standard for many small business that have limited CAD needs - I have a friend who is the landscape architect for one of the biggest landscape companies on the Gold Coast - SketchUp is what they use for all their design work.

As far as Windows7, my understanding is that it actually has a smaller resource footprint than XP. And lets face it, if the DET had rolled out the laptops with XP everyone would have whinged "why install an obsolete OS when the new W7 is just around the corner...."

Lastly, with the ability (or lack thereof) to install/run your own exe's - I completely agree....sort of Very Happy While it would be helpful, the huge can of worms it would open would present more problems than it is worth. Licensing, lack of standard images, etc plus having different students running different apps would make teaching a nightmare. Imagine as a teacher if I have a class of 30 students, some of whom are using SketchUp, some Maya, some Blender, some 3Ds max. Trying to get all of them to complete the same activity would be next to impossible - plus would mean that I would need to be an expert in ALL of them!

Anyway, thanks for your thought, spread the word about the forum.


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Duane Galle
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NSWDER Forum founder
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Bigfish wrote:1. DO NOT USE MS internet explorer, it is terrible there are many other browsers that are free and alot more secure and user friendly ie. firefox ( www.mozilla-europe.org/en/firefox/ )
Everyone has a different favourite browser. I installed chrome onto my laptop, and I'm sure you could use a portable version on the laptop as well.

Bigfish wrote:2. Photoshop elements 7.0 ??? WHY? we get the CS4 versions of everybody but photoshop. The screens isn't even big enough for the elements version its GUI is massive but the CS4 interface is more streamlined
Elements is basic and is not resource intensive. Photoshop CS4 Extended can be accessed by all schools from the CPC server. Talk to your IT admin

Bigfish wrote:3. Google sketchup.... a lousy excuse for a CAD program, basically no rendering support, no animation support dosent even use correct poly modeling techniques or nurbs, and it runs like a wounded elephant on the laptops. The are much better programs availible
Free:
Gmax
Blender
Milkshape3d
XSI mod tools (probably the best)
Not free:
3Ds max (easier to learn usually )
Maya (apparently better interface but there is alot of debate)
AutoCad ( <<< a bitch to learn)
Free, little power required and simple.

Bigfish wrote:4. WINDOWS 7 is awsome if your running a core 2 duo, 2gb+ ram and a decent 3d accelerated graphics card. Xp would be a much better idea, boot faster, run faster.. wont hog nearly 1gb of ram when idle. The netbooks were designed for windows Xp as u would see if u looked at laptop, big sticker that says MADE FOR WINDOWS XP!!
Windows 7 has been optimised to run off netbooks. That and it's also widely compatible.

Bigfish wrote:AND WHAT IS UP WITH THE INTERNET FILTER
NO PORN FOR YOU Razz

Bigfish wrote:AND WHY CANT WE INSTALL PROGRAMS?
Because that is a vulnerability and leads to viruses


Bigfish wrote:Students arnt all that bad Razz
I disagree, you're a bunch of whining bums Razz

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I am also a student in Year 9 and received my laptop around the same time you did.

Here are my views on your claims:
1) I agree that we should have Mozilla Firefox instead of Internet Explorer, except the Group Policy agent can only control Internet Explorer.
2) Photoshop Elements is the free and stripped down version of Photoshop CS4. The reason as to why its' version number (7.0) is lower than that of CS4s' is because the first Photoshop Elements release was a long period after the first Photoshop was released.
3) Agreed. However, it is much more easier to use and learn for new students and teachers than other software.
4) Windows 7 is excellent. The only reason you claim it to be a "memory hog", as you put it, is because of a feature known as "Superfetch". Windows 7, much more then XP did (and yes XP did do this to some extent), loads up frequently used programs and files into memory. It does this so that when you click on the Icon, the program launches much quicker. So what if you want to run a program that uses more memory that is available? Simple, Windows 7 frees the Superfetch memory and allocates it to the program requesting it. In turn, also making program loading quicker.

The BlueCoat Proxy Client internet filter is an incredible pain and lot's of sites are blocked which shouldn't be. However, you can get around this with certain proxies Wink Although that solution won't last forever, it'd be good whilst we can.

You can run executables by right-clicking and selecting "Run As Administrator", ONLY if they do not modify, or add, registry entries in restricted areas. And also if they do NOT modify or add any files into restricted Windows directories (those protected under the Group Policy Agent). This is how many people can get executable games on their laptops (like me Very Happy).

Hope I have helped to answer some of your queries Smile

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Thanks for the tip - works a treat!


Just realised what is the biggest (IMHO) flaw of the laptops, it is impossible to login with one hand, the ctrl and del keys are waaaayyyyyy to far apart! Twisted Evil


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Duane Galle
HSIE Teacher
NSWDER Forum founder
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duane.galle wrote:Thanks for the tip - works a treat!


Just realised what is the biggest (IMHO) flaw of the laptops, it is impossible to login with one hand, the ctrl and del keys are waaaayyyyyy to far apart! Twisted Evil
Err...

Right-control (thumb) + Right-shift (index finger) + Del (pinky)? :p

Also, there are more than just web proxies out there, which can get blocked by the DET filtration system. You can use Java ones, which can never completely be restricted, due to the nature of Java and its' complete access to the Windows OS Wink

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Mayazcherquoi wrote:
duane.galle wrote:Thanks for the tip - works a treat!


Just realised what is the biggest (IMHO) flaw of the laptops, it is impossible to login with one hand, the ctrl and del keys are waaaayyyyyy to far apart! Twisted Evil
Err...

Right-control (thumb) + Right-shift (index finger) + Del (pinky)? :p

Umm maybe I'm stupid - but there is no right-control button on the laptops.... confused


_________________
Duane Galle
HSIE Teacher
NSWDER Forum founder
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duane.galle wrote:
Mayazcherquoi wrote:
duane.galle wrote:Thanks for the tip - works a treat!


Just realised what is the biggest (IMHO) flaw of the laptops, it is impossible to login with one hand, the ctrl and del keys are waaaayyyyyy to far apart! Twisted Evil
Err...

Right-control (thumb) + Right-shift (index finger) + Del (pinky)? :p

Umm maybe I'm stupid - but there is no right-control button on the laptops.... confused
Surprised You're right. I'm too used to my own laptop :/

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Ben, To add to the discussion:

1 - MS IE comes as part of the system and can be controlled via group policy - Firefox can not easily be controlled by group policies. If we used firefox, users would have to manually change proxy/pac file settings - a skill not all users have.

2 - Photoshop Elements is a lower resource intensive application which is easier for the average user to use. (BTW it is not a free version as suggested by Mayazcherquoi)
Photoshop is available for installation on other school computers as part of the CS4 Design Suite or CS4 Master Suite., but not everyone requires the power of Photoshop, nor does every user have the skills to use photoshop. I use both programs regularly on a laptop I would prefer to use Elements as it runs better.

3 - Google sketch up is free and is easy to use. I agree it is not suited to drawing complex 3D images but it does provide a basic 3d Environment able to be used by many users - not just those with graphic design skills.
Many of the 3D applications you listed would not run (or at least run worse on the Netbooks due to the screen size or hardware limitations (RAM and CPU). GMax and Milkshape3d are better for designing 3d people but most uses of Google sketch up are for drawing simple shapes.
The licensing of XSI Mod tools (now called Softimage Mod Tool) would make it difficult if not impossible to distribute on the netbooks.

The commercial versions listed all would increase the cost of the device - remember that eventually there will be 260 000 of these devices, so software licence of $1 per seat adds $260000 to the project.

4 - Windows 7 was chosen as it is has been optimised for these devices. XP is 8 years old and has reached end of life as far as Microsoft is concerned. I use Win 7, Xp and Vista and find Win7 far better on a variety of hardware than Xp or Vista.

5. Filters and Security - remember that these are a learning tool and not your property. The device has been provided for use in the classroom in all subjects - not for individuals to install other software. If students (and to some extent staff) were allowed to install software then DET would have support problems as well as issues with software licencing (ie piracy).
Internet filters are a political reality - they will never be removed - doing so opens the DET to law suites.

You obviously have a computer of your own - that is where you7 can install your own software (legal or otherwise).

The support for the laptop is provided by a TSO at each school. Support needs increase dramatically when the OS is not stable or standard - a fact I see everyday with the service desk requests that come in from schools for re-imaging of PC's as they no longer work as expected - usually due to viruses, other software or "changing" settings.

Regarding the three digit salute - (ctrl + Alt + Del) this cobnination was deliberately designed by the makers of the first PC's to prevent accidental resets of the PC. MS further entrenched this in the PC world as a way to ensure that user level software can not continue working after a soft reset (or during the login).

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Meh.


Guest
1. I agree with having Firefox on our computers, its much safer and faster. Internet Explorer is blocky and slow. How did matthudson get Chrome on it, you can't run portable apps...?
2. Elements are okay. But in Premiere, if you do Stop-motion animation with webcam - the laptop gets a Blue Screen of Death (still not fixed).
3. No comment.
4. Meh. Windows 7 ftw. Windows XP is just way too old.
5. What the heck? They should update the anti-virus, so many computers have been infected by autorun viruses.

I laugh at Homebush Boy's HS attempt to bypass the filters. They all used teacher's internet accounts and over 3 months, 90% of the year used it at least once.

Greg Sharkey wrote:
Regarding the three digit salute - (ctrl + Alt + Del) this cobnination was deliberately designed by the makers of the first PC's to prevent accidental resets of the PC. MS further entrenched this in the PC world as a way to ensure that user level software can not continue working after a soft reset (or during the login).

Greg, I am aware of the history of the 3finger salute, my complaint is that it is freakin' impossible to do on the DER laptops Evil or Very Mad

Makes logging in one-handed while drinking my morning coffee damn hard!


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Duane Galle
HSIE Teacher
NSWDER Forum founder
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Great response Greg! Hope you don't mind if I use some of the well thought out replies in answer to "complaints" from our kids. During the commissioning process I had several kids having a whinge about various things - but when I said - "well if you don't want to take the laptop..." strangely enough they all shut up! Smile

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Greg Sharkey wrote:2 - Photoshop Elements is a lower resource intensive application which is easier for the average user to use. (BTW it is not a free version as suggested by Mayazcherquoi)
Photoshop is available for installation on other school computers as part of the CS4 Design Suite or CS4 Master Suite., but not everyone requires the power of Photoshop, nor does every user have the skills to use photoshop. I use both programs regularly on a laptop I would prefer to use Elements as it runs better.
@2: What? I swear to god that It's (or used to be) free. =\ I just confirmed that you're right Sad

@Meh.
Mwahaha, I'm from that school and I was one of the people (out of over 190 or so) who used the account :p

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I'd have 3ds max installed in 10 seconds if it wasn't blocked, which would be a great help because i want to get into the games industry in the future and i was hoping the laptops would give me alot more time to practive my modeling!

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