Greetings and welcome to another academic year!
CTS has been busy over the summer and I wanted to give you an update on some of the projects that may affect your use of technology in the classroom.
1) I have finally developed a Windows 7 image for the dual-boot Macs that populate most of the hands-on computer classrooms and computer labs. Finishing touches were put in place this week and I will be spending the weekend deploying it to as many locations as I can. Deployment will be ongoing through the first part of the semester.
2) Flagg 162, Satterlee 300, and the Literacy Center computer lab were all slated to receive new computers. As the new computers require Windows 7, their installation had to be put off until I had a workable Windows 7 installation to deploy. I hope to get them all installed this weekend. As Flagg 162 was vacated due to renovation, it will be the first room to get its new computers. If I don’t get to the other facilities, they will be done as soon as possible.
3) Of special interest to many of you: The “smart classroom” podium/lectern computers have been upgraded. We have learned a lot in the 3 years the dual-boot Mac Minis were initially deployed. We experimented with a few iMacs in lieu of the Minis. While a little more powerful, the logistics of getting them to work well with projectors were more trouble than it was worth. We have installed new Mac Minis.
Here are some changes to the Podium setup of which you should be aware:
- In most locations, the computer has been mounted to the TOP of the podium. The original idea of mounting them underneath seemed like a good idea at the time, but caused a lot of frustration; most notably the difficulty of locating the power button. Mounting on top also facilitates easier access to the USB ports for flash drives and other peripherals.
- The unfortunate design of the mounting bracket means the the computer as mounted is UPSIDE-DOWN. The only side effect of this is that CDs and DVDs must be inserted upside-down (shiny side up).
- The Windows installations are now “thawed” and will preserve your user login settings across a reboot. Historically, every time you logged in you got a “fresh start”, which took time. The relatively limited number of distinct users these computers in a semester mitigates substantially the rationale for “freezing” the computers–something which is absolutely necessary in the labs and hands-on classrooms. In the thawed state the computer will “remember” you from day-to-day. Your login time should be very fast, and things you save or install to the computers in the rooms in which you teach will “stick.” A WORD OF CAUTION: Do NOT leave the only copy of ANYTHING on these computers! If I ever have to refresh or globally update the podium computers, you WILL lose any custom changes you make! If you have software or programs you want to ensure are always there, please coordinate with me to get it added to the permanent image.
AS ALWAYS: Please, PLEASE report problems you have with any of our computing facilities and resources to the CTS Helpdesk: firstname.lastname@example.org or x-2083. Provide as much detail as you can about the problem, including date, time, location, computer decal number, and the exact text of any error messages you have encountered.
Thank you for your time reading this, and for your patience as we together work to make our computing facilities the best they can be.
Computing & Technology Services
A. Use your other one.
Because you have TWO, right? If you don’t, you should. If a document is of any importance whatsoever, there shouldn’t be only ONE copy of it! You should have a copy on your computer AND on your flash drive. If you don’t have a computer of your own, then you should have TWO flash drives. Ideally you shouldn’t be traveling with both of them. Or put a copy of that document on your network storage (Helios here on campus, Google Docs if you have a Google account (if you don’t, they’re available at no monetary charge)). Flash drives are cheap. And even if you can’t afford two, online storage is freely available! So make copies of that important document!
The Math Department MiniLab in MacVicar 201 has been upgraded! The old PowerPC G5 Macs have been replaced with dual-boot iMacs.
The computers in our labs and classrooms are “frozen.” This means that they don’t save any changes the user makes when they are logged in. We have set most applications to save to your Helios network storage by default, but it is up to YOU to ensure for the proper saving of your document. If you want it to be there the next time you log in, you MUST save to either Helios or your personal flash drive. If you aren’t sure how to do that, you should save the document to the local Desktop and then drag it to “My Documents” (Windows) or “Home Directory” (Mac). Those locations are the same as your Helios network storage.
The Reference Area in the Crumb Library now has a scanning station. This computer allows login with your Campus Computer account and can ONLY be used for scanning. It will auto-mount your Helios Home directory allowing you to save your scans there. You can also plug in a flash drive and save documents there.
No other applications will run on this computer! It is for scanning only.
Yesterday it was reported that Windows was not working in Satterlee 300. This has been fixed. Additionally, all workstations in Dunn 210 are now online. (3 had been non-functional.)
On Monday it was pointed out to me that despite having Adobe Creative Suite 5 (purchased last semester) we had yet to roll it out in the labs. (This delay was intentional so as not to adversely affect in-progress CS3-based curriculum.) Yesterday I “flipped the switch” and this morning at 6:00 the Lab computers dutifully came on and got the signal to dump CS3 and download CS5. The unfortunate (and unforeseen by yours truly) consequence of this was that being several Gigabytes in size, 2 hours later it was STILL DOWNLOADING on every computer on campus.
Responding to a report from the Library, I killed the download server allowing all computers to be used. The downside of this is that Creative Suite 5 is most likely USELESS. I am ensuring for its availability in the Kellas 100 classroom where I know classes make use of it. Creative Suite 5 will, hopefully, be “everywhere” tomorrow!!
I apologize for the inconvenience.
The Student Success Center computer lab in Sisson Hall 106 has been upgraded and now has 6 dual-boot iMacs (Windows XP & MacOS) available for student use.
The Career Planning office in Sisson Hall now has three dual-boot iMacs available for use by students in the preparation of résumés and other materials to aid in your job search.
We have upgraded to Microsoft Office 2010 (Windows) in most locations. There is what I’ll call a “glitch” in Microsoft’s Licensing mechanism. Users will, upon launching any Office application, receive a notice that Office has detected hardware changes and that it needs to be “re-activated”. Users should just click “Next”, which will re-activate Office and allow it to be used normally.
I will continue to research a solution to this problem, but for now clicking “next” is a necessary work-around.