Archive for January, 2010

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

All of the CTS-managed computers in labs and classrooms are configured to allow for remote management and updating.  As such, they should be left on all the time in case such management is necessary.  When no one is around.  I will frequently address problems from home and can’t do so if a computer I am trying to update is off.  Computers are set to automatically shut down at night and power on in the morning.  Screens are set to go off when no one is using the computer, and hard drives are configured to spin down when not being accessed.  A computer “just sitting there” is using minimal electricity, despite being “on all day”.

The exception to this is if a computer is making unusual noise or is obviously suffering a hardware failure (e.g., it’s on fire)!

Thank you for your cooperation in this!

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Starting this semester users of instructional podium computers will notice a change in the way the computers behave after a user logs out.  Previously, no matter which Operating System the user had been using, the computer would revert back to the “You Must Choose” screen.

This screen technically resides “over the top” of the MacOS login screen, meaning that the MacOS is loaded and that anyone wanting to use Windows must wait while the computer restarts and loads Windows.  In rooms where users are mostly (or entirely) users of Windows, this adds precious minutes to the “ready-to-teach” time at the beginning of each class.

The computers have been switched to “stick” with whichever operating System was last used.  If a Windows user last used the computer, the computer will stay at the standard “Press CTRL-ALT-DEL…” screen.  To get back to the MacOS, press CTRL-ALT-DEL, click the “Shut Down” button, and then select “Restart”.  If a MacOS user last used the computer, it will default to the “You Must Choose” screen.

This is not a perfect solution, but it does level the playing field a bit.  Some have alleged that this somehow “discriminates” against MacOS users.  On the contrary: this simply removes an advantage that MacOS users have had before now!  Theirs was the default OS, all the time.

In a room that gets used by nobody but MacOS users, no change will be noticed.  In a room that gets used mostly by Windows users, they will see an improvement in convenience.  And I think that convenience outweighs any initial confusion experienced on the part of anyone.

A computer left in Windows at the end of the day will automatically reboot to the MacOS late in the evening so that daily shutdown and maintenance of the MacOS can occur.  The first user of the day on any podium computer will always see the “You Must Choose” screen.

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Welcome back for the Spring, 2010 semester.  Over break, we were busy upgrading the Levitt Center, Dunn 210, and the Crumb and Crane Library “Ref Pods” (Reference Area computers).  Levitt and the Libraries now sport dual-boot (MacOS/WindowsXP) iMacs.  Dunn 210 has 31 new HP computers running Windows XP.