Back to School 2012

Aviary google-com Picture 1

And so it begins again. Students return on Monday. Our teachers were back last Monday. The summer is over and we’re getting back to the business of educating kids.

Not that summer has been a vacation for me. I’ve long ago left the cycle of having summers off. In fact, summer is typically my busiest time as we try to do upgrades on our systems. This summer was particularly busy because we tried to change/upgrade just about every technology system we have. It’s been a crazy time with late evenings, working on days that I would normally have off, and trying to conduct a three ring circus of vendors working on frantic deadlines to get everything ready before August 15.

Here’s a list of our projects this summer… Continue reading “Back to School 2012”

Rough Week in Lake Wobegon

Warning: Rant ahead

I have a dream. I don’t know if it’s even possible. For once, I would like to place a large order of computers, have them be priced appropriately, be delivered on time, and work like they are supposed to when we get them set up. Is that really too much to ask?

This summer instead of purchasing HP computers we bought Dells. Pricing and support arrangements through our local system integrator were the main reasons for the switch. Also, we have had TONS of problems with HP products over the past few years. Last year deliveries were late and we had the perennial problem with the drivers not wanting to do an inside delivery. To compound matters, they tried to overcharge us for half a million dollars AND tried to tack late fees onto that as we worked to get the price sorted out.

That was last year. This summer Dell has let use experience even more different levels of frustration. Our first delivery had the driver refusing to do what was asked. That got ironed out quickly, and we didn’t have any more problems. Then came the deployment. When we tried to boot up the computers, we found that we had purchased 850 bricks – the computers wouldn’t work. Continue reading “Rough Week in Lake Wobegon”


New Mac

Anyone that’s been following my Twitter account knows that I’ve been agonizing over a computer purchase since my desktop computer died about three weeks ago. I’ve been getting along OK with the laptops I’ve had available, but it has been inconvenient for trying to print out photos or do some of the video work I wanted to do. Well, the wait is over. My new iMac arrived on Friday, so I’ve spent all weekend setting it up and getting used to it.

Laura says that I agonized more over this purchase than when I bought my new car. She’s right. However, when I was making the car decision, I didn’t have to consider between a way of driving that was completely different from how I had ever driven before, or with sticking with the familiar. That was my PC vs Mac dilemma. Continue reading “MyMac”

Total Cost of Ownership

It’s a tight budget year. We’re trying to build two schools and a new fine arts center. Add to that the fact that we’re facing funding cuts and inflation, and our education dollars just aren’t going as far as they once did. Despite these pressures, I keep getting requests from principals and department heads for additional computers. I would love to provide them everything they want, but the funds will only go so far.

So, at our last principals meeting I tried to impress upon our staff all of the costs involved in putting one computer on our school’s network. This was nowhere near as comprehensive as the Gartner Group’s Total Cost of Ownership calculations, but it got the point across. I thought it might be worthwhile to repeat it here.

One-time costs:

  • Hardware – computer and monitor
  • Extended Warranty
  • MS-Office Licensing – we purchase a copy for each new computer as needed
  • Deployment – setup, unboxing, imaging, asset tags
  • Curriculum software licensing

Recurring costs:

  • Antivirus
  • Novell Network and Groupwise e-mail licensing
  • Internet Filtering
  • Anti-Spam software

Other costs:

  • Data port connections – about $200 per active port (usually covered in construction and other costs, but may come into play if additional ports are needed.)
  • Replacement/Refresh Costs – computers are replaced every five years
  • Disposal at end-of-life – involves data security, recycling, hazardous waste disposal, etc.
  • Personnel and support costs Continue reading “Total Cost of Ownership”