[K12OSN] OT: Apple Imac lab

Graham Lauder graham at theingots.org.nz
Mon Mar 2 11:18:18 UTC 2009

On Mon, 02 Mar 2009 17:49:59 David Hopkins wrote:
> Rob, and everyone else that has responded.

Hi David,

> Thanks for vote of confidence on this.  I've read all the responses
> and I'll try to address them in this response.
> > I think your argument above is very valid, and it should probably be your
> > primary argument to the administration.  "I don't want to spend money on
> > Macs for a video lab, because I'm afraid we'll end up spending money on
> > Macs in areas where they're not needed".
> Yep ... biggest concern.  The discussion about 10% usage for
> video/audio is also valid but I learned some more details as well.
> There are some new state level standards (Web 2.0)  that dictate that
> students will learn video/audio packages (not sure why, it really
> feels like the 'must learn MS Office debate a decade ago and the must
> learn DBase approach I saw before that in Florida).  So, have to have
> the capability, somehow.

Stick with Linux fat clients and use Rosegarden / Audacity for sound and 
Cinelerra / Avidemux / Kino for video and remind the teacher that Lord of the 
Rings and everything produced by Weta Studios is/was done on Linux. 

>  IF (and it is a big IF) I can get buy-in to
> make this a very restricted special case scenario the lab could
> approach.  That requires that there is a line drawn though. Now, the
> teacher has already added that she'll want all the packages on the
> thin clients on the Macs but ... she doesn't want OpenOffice on the
> Macs because 'it doesn't work right'.  Instead she wants a different
> package. And we need to order the Type-to-Learn package for the Macs
> as well.  So, the 'usage creep' has already started and the lab isn't
> even ordered. *SIGH ...

She is obviously referring to the old X11 port of OOo, she might need to be 
brought up to date with the 3.0.1 Mac port.  That was after all the major 
point of 3.0.

> > The solution doesn't have to be "don't buy Macs for the video lab".  The
> > school could instead implement a "standard computer package", probably
> > based on LTSP, and require special authorization (and paperwork, expert
> > witnesses, etc) to spend more.  That could help prevent the slippery
> > slope that you're concerned about, but it would also not lock out
> > non-LTSP systems.
> So far this has been done except that newer staff and adminstrative
> staff in particular coming in from the other schools aren't buying
> into thin clients quite as much. They acknowledge that the uptime
> statistics are phenomenal (less than 4 hours of downtime this year to
> this point and part of that was a power failure that took out the
> school) but then they say "We can do the same with Windows as well"
> which I'll admit can be done with a huge investment of resources. They
> also acknowledge the ease of use and ability to sit anywhere and work
> is also fantastic.  TeacherTool is very very popular as well.  Does it
> work with FC10?  I have to check.
> Next topic: To address the central file server, authentication and
> such.  This is exactly the scenario I already use and have described
> before but I'll relist it here.  I have LDAP/Samba authentication
> (Thanks David Trask and Matt!) with a secondary authentication server
> as well, file server with channel bonded output to handle the load,
> channel bonding on my main backbone between switches (I forget the
> actual type off the top of my head but amer.com switches support
> linking multiple ports between switches) to further remove bandwidth
> issues, heavily loaded servers on a single 24 port GigE switch which
> removes switch-to-switch network traffic completely in many cases, 2
> Windows Terminal Servers, separate system to run backups (BackUPPC is
> EXCELLENT, thanks Les!), 6 LTSP servers running LTSP CentOS based,
> separate wireless network with filtering between it and the main
> network (firewalled), 200+ thin clients, 90+ printers.  It does just
> work.  All of this cost less than the estimated cost of retrofitting a
> single classroom to be the new Mac lab when you include the cost of
> the new Macs.
> > I know you're a volunteer there, so maybe you're not in a position to
> > impose that kind of approval system.  But you should probably suggest it
> > to the powers that be.
> I'm lucky in this respect. I started volunteering at the school when
> the school consisted of the School Director and a secretary working
> out of an office at the YMCA during the planning phase.  I handled the
> IT since (with support from this list).  I have a lot of 'capital' to
> spend based on how things currently work. In fact, this Wednesday
> there is supposed to be a meeting as part of a truly independent task
> force requested by the new Governor to look at IT in the state. (The
> chairwoman isn't even from the state and has no vested interests to
> worry about) A representative from the task force  is coming to see
> how NCS "does IT" to determine if the model should be looked at as a
> possible solution state-wide.  I wrote a letter that has been sent to
> this task force (if you'd like a copy, let me know). Again, there are
> many people who participate in this list that deserve tremendous
> amounts of credit for how successful NCS's IT solution is.  I will
> absolutely be giving credit to everyone I can think of at this coming
> meeting.  What will be the outcome of the meeting? I honestly don't
> know. I do know that if we have to then say "but we can't meet current
> state standards" using it, then it won't be as effective.
> Budget issues: There is tremendous resistance within parts of the DOE
> to going this route. Unfortunately for them, Delaware is looking at a
> 20% reduction in the state budget next year across the board and the
> new Governor is very open minded to new ideas and approaches.  This is
> the best chance I've seen in 8 years to really get some attention. And
> the timing of the Mac lab couldn't be worse?  But, everything works
> out in the end. I'm sure that will be the case here as well.
> Again, thanks for all the different viewpoints and suggestions to my
> question.  They have been very helpful in letting me get a better
> handle on the multiple issues/concerns/approaches that exist.
> Sincerely,
> Dave Hopkins
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Graham Lauder,

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(International Grades in Office Technologies)

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