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Comment Re:People just don't understand Linux (Score 1) 833

Has it ever occured to you that maybe Microsoft has a monopoly because users don't want more variants of OS's? By that, I mean, the market tends to a monopoly because end users don't want confusion. I'm sure the very concept that users don't want 500 choices of something is hard for you to comprehend.

I was right with you up until that.

How are you explaining the 500 different versions of Vista?

Comment Why not always clean install? (Score 4, Informative) 420

Seriously, I don't understand the fascination with in-place upgrades. Why not clean install?

I use Windows (have to for work) and support it, and it's so much better to do a clean install. In fact, I recommend wiping Windows* every year or two and starting with a fresh clean install anyway.

*Anticipating the obligatory "fixed it for you" response: "In fact, I recommend wiping Windows and starting with a fresh clean install of Linux." If only everyone thought the same way...

Comment Re:Buy any current workstation and... (Score 1) 655

I had the same experience, except that xenix box was running a custom app that the client didn't have the install media/files for. Fortunately it turned out the MB went bad, so I slapped the hard drive into a doorstop 486 I had lying around and it worked fine. Just started cloning the 250MB hard drive as a backup mechanism.

Comment I'm a computer lab manager at a public university (Score 1) 571

and I simply laugh when I hear a story about computer labs going away. That's not going to happen. They will likely (and should) evolve to meet the needs of the users, but they will never disappear.

I found the OP's comment about collaborative space was very insightful. More and more we are seeing shifts from traditional computer labs (with distinguishing characteristics being "number of seats") to collaborative group spaces that incidentally have computers. I have seen students *waiting in line* to use one of the computers in a collaborative group space rather than walk over to the other lab which has several open seats (and incidentally, the same type of PC). In the Engineering college at least (where I am), it's more of a social endeavor to go to the computer lab. Especially since most engineering students have decent computers at home they can usually fall back on.

The other huge factor, as some commenters pointed out, is the printing. That's the #3 use (after email and web browsing) that our computer labs see.

Other factors include the ability to make use of specialized engineering software that students wouldn't normally be able to have on their home computers -- either their computers aren't powerful enough to run it, or they can't afford the software (of course, pirated software is all too common with this crowd). This is probably less of a factor now that we have a Virtual Lab -- a web-based remote connection service we offer that allows students to connect to a virtual lab PC and run the software installed there.

A student-owned laptop is just fine in our program -- so long as it's used as a supplement to the university's computing resources. Any computer can be used to websurf and type up school papers. Not every computer can run 3D combustion engine models and compute fluid dynamics.

Oh yeah, and if that student-owned laptop fails... don't expect us to fix it, please. We're strapped enough for resources to keep our own efficient labs running. Trust me, having one or two OS's to support in our labs instead of the dozen or so that could be on your laptop IS efficient and IS making best use of your student tech fees. If one of our PCs or thin clients goes down, we can hot-swap a spare or grab a repair part from our hardware closet in the time it would take to even determine if your laptop's problem is software or hardware related. Oh, and we buy from trusted manufacturers with certified model lines and reliable components -- not the daily special from Best Buy, so our machines won't go down as much. (My department may be atypical in this regard, true.)

If universities are looking for ways to save money on computing (and we are, all of us), they need to start looking at efficiencies. Use thin clients for basic computing needs, automate turning off PCs at night and holidays, use power saving features on computers & printers, purchase Energy Star efficient equipment, track & survey lab usage and pragmatically fund what will be USED (not what's sexy), etc.

Comment Re:Yes, go for it. (Score 1) 918

I spotted my 2-yr old do this the other day, hard but not so hard as to provoke screaming. He spent the next minute carefully proving that it was hitting his head on the table that had caused the pain, and then hitting it again a couple of times very gently and then a bit harder to see when it hurt. I was astounded at the level of reasoning going on as he worked out what had happened to his head and how it had been caused.

Wow, that sounds like trying to administer Solaris. Except for the screaming part; that definitely happens with Solaris.

Comment Re:Call me crazy (Score 1) 874

I'm pretty sure that, no matter what, you can't authorize anything other than another human adult to act on your behalf.

Do you have any automatic monthly deductions on your credit card? Do you have one of those devices that automatically deducts toll payments when you drive through a toll reader?

Comment Bad naming scheme... (Score 1) 1397

Our network admin here likes to use cute anime character names for his servers. Problem is, he put up several linux compute servers that users need to ssh into. Our American users had a lot of trouble remembering how to spell the Japanese anime names, so we requested he use CNAMEs to make it easier for the users. So his typical user-friendly response was to come up with the aliases 'lnxcmpsvr1', 'lnxcmpsvr2', etc. Guess how many times the users fat fingered those names? Ironically he's a notoriously bad speller so he goofs up on them all the time too.

Comment Girls (Score 1) 372

I wanted to ask the Slashdot crowd what were some other really neat, interesting gadgets?

Girls. Girls are really, really interesting gadgets, especially to a young teenage boy.

I can't believe this hasn't been mentioned yet.

I wanted to ask the Slashdot crowd

Oh wait, that explains it.

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