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# 143215 7-Apr-2014 09:55
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The day-care centre that our kids go to is still running computers with XP and Office 2003. Unfortunately none of the computers (3 laptops and three desktops) are likely to be able to handle either Windows 7 or 8 due to the lack of drivers. While I check out Geekzone daily, I'm not in the same league as the rest of you and only know enough that I'm not dangerous because I know my limitations hence the questions here.

 

  • Is there any way they can continue to use the system they already have with some minor changes? They do have a server, which I haven't had a chance to look at yet so as long as that is configured correctly and everything goes through it then could everything else stay the same?
  • The laptops are needed so staff can take them out on the floor to interact with the kids. Would tablets be a cheaper alternative?
  • Anyone have any advice of what we should be looking for computer wise? Workstations vs consumer grade etc?
  • Some of the local schools seem to be off-loading their 2 year old iMacs. Is it worth considering?
  • If we were to start from scratch would it be better to go down the whole NAS track instead of having a dedicated server?
Obviously, being not for profit, they can't afford to spend a whole lot so any ideas for minimising the cost would be greatly appreciated.

I realise that the best advice anyone could give would be for them to get a professional in and I agree. I'd rather not be involved at all but with none of the staff even knowing what an operating system is let alone which one they are running someone (me) needs to at least be able to communicate with the pros when they finally can make it in.

Cheers,
Chris

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  # 1019788 7-Apr-2014 10:08
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Given the likely budget constraints, what are the main objectives behind upgrading/replacing the existing gear? Simply to remain on an OS supposed by Microsoft? Or are there other drivers behind this change?

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  # 1019792 7-Apr-2014 10:16
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What do they actually do with the computers?
Do they run any specialist software?

This will help address the "does it have to be Windows" question and a few others.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1019793 7-Apr-2014 10:17
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Are you referring to the end of support/patches for Windows XP specifically?
One of the most important things to do is to make sure they are using Firefox or Chrome instead of Internet Explorer, and making sure their antivirus is still being updated.
Web browsing is the most risky activity for vulnerabilities but using a modern and self-updating web browser (Chrome has the advantage of self updating Flash player too) will be a big help in that.
Windows 7 should actually be easier in my experience for supporting drivers than XP, but if you're after some cheap, reliable Windows 7 computers, check out Grays Auctions for Dell Optiplex SFFs. 
I got a couple for $180 delivered each including GST the other day, refurbished meaning they have a fresh install of Windows 7 Pro on them. http://www.graysonline.co.nz/catalogue.asp?SALE_ID=490401&SALE_TYPE=THUMB

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  # 1019803 7-Apr-2014 10:23
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Hi

We look after a couple of kindys and preschools in Auckland at a pretty sharp rate (my own kids kindy plus 2 referrals from them).  The last tech refresh we did for one a few months back they received only half of the grant they applied for, so we did them a new Brother MFC9970CDW to replace a troublesome photocopier, plus some 3 year old ex-lease computers with reasonable CPUs that we spec'd up to 4Gb RAM and put SSDs into.  The machines came with Win7 CoAs, and they got cheap cheap Office 2013 via techsoup.co.nz (took a few weeks to come through).  We donated some 1-3 year old LCD screens that we could spare.

They are absolutely stoked with the resulting performance.  The best machine (the Admin machine) shares files that the others access, and has 3 backup drives that get rotated weekly.

A server strikes me as overkill, though if something like Windows Home Server could be maintained within the budget that might be nice.

Cheers
Mike





"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

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  # 1019804 7-Apr-2014 10:25
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I'd back away.

If they have no money and no capability, then the best thing to do is to find out what they use their computers for and see if they can get a cloud or online equivalent service that provides those services - for example, if they only use some basic office functionality and basic bookkeeping, then get them a Google Enterprise account - US$5/user/mo and free/low cost snap-ins for managing clients and basic money. They can write off the costs as operational and save on the power and hassle of hardware.

This means they can ditch all their gear and buy simple gear that supports as little as a browser, whether it's an iMac, tablet or basic Windows or Linux netbook and they can all work from anywhere.

There is nothing more infuriating for the support person or the client than a lot of gear nobody can support and nobody wants to pay to have supported (for whatever reason, ever).

Source: My 20 years of infrastructure support.

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  # 1019817 7-Apr-2014 10:39
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Are they getting the kids to use the laptops?
Seems a bit young to be teaching them that at day care instead of social interaction.

Anyway, as has been reiterated a few times above, what are the computers used for?
List the uses for every single device that is there and the reasons why they have been kept.
In order to do a successful assessment, the right information must be sourced.




Regards
Stefan Andres Charsley



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  # 1019819 7-Apr-2014 10:46
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Thanks for the feedback everyone.

I agree that the most sensible thing for me to do is maintain eye contact and back away slowly but with my wife on the board of trustees that is unlikely to achieve anything other than an extended stay on the couch at home.

There only seems to be a couple of pieces of software that need to run in Windows (attendance scanning and logging). Other than that there is the issue of the staff not being familiar with OS X.

I like the idea of ex-lease computers. Thanks for the link.

They don't actually teach the kids to use the computers but use the laptops to show them small videos or photos relating to topics they have been teaching. This is mainly for the older kids (3+).

Network wise I agree that a server seems overkill for such a small centre. I had thought a couple of WD Cloud external drives connected to a wireless modem should do the trick. They don't have separate user or email accounts for each staff member so no complications there.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1019821 7-Apr-2014 10:54
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There is the option of running Windows on the Mac's, if you can get cheap windows licencing via techsoup etc it may be worth considering. 

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  # 1019822 7-Apr-2014 10:54
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"Smart Pupils is a Smart Cloud Based One-Point Solution for School Management.

Smart Pupils is a Smart Cloud Based One-Point Solution to manage the day-to-day operations of an Educational Institute, such as a School, College, University or an Institute. Smart Pupils makes it easy for the school management to start managing the School operations effectively and efficiently. SP is an indispensable tool not just for School Administration but for everyone involved such as: Teachers, Students & Parents, Alumni, Donors, etc"


Is an integrated app in Google Enterprise.

Only requires a browser, so the Macs can be setup to boot into a browser, which everybody should be okay with.

If they go cloud, they will be functional at very little cost, they won't need to have much infrastructure and you won't be there every other day trying to find out why they can't print/scan/save etc.



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  # 1020989 9-Apr-2014 08:16
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If kids are involved, Windows Steadystate is required.
We install it on computers at kindergartens and primary schools.

everytime the computer is rebooted, the crap the kids pick up, toolbars etc are removed when the hard drive is restored automatically during bootup.

This has majorly cut down my callouts to schools that use it and I am able to schedule a patch day during the school holidays when the kids arent around to annoy me.




Ray Taylor
Taylor Broadband (rural hawkes bay)
www.ruralkiwi.com

There is no place like localhost
For my general guide to extending your wireless network Click Here




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  # 1020994 9-Apr-2014 08:36
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Ray is there a Win7 version that you are aware of?




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

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  # 1021018 9-Apr-2014 08:59
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Dynamic: Ray is there a Win7 version that you are aware of?


Windows Multipoint Server 2012 can offer similar features for a Win7+ environment.

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  # 1022541 9-Apr-2014 23:29
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Inphinity:
Dynamic: Ray is there a Win7 version that you are aware of?


Windows Multipoint Server 2012 can offer similar features for a Win7+ environment.


Comodo Time Machine
http://www.spyro-computer-support.com/Programs/ComodoTimeMachine-client_setup_2.9.161985.187.exe

Steadier state (free)
http://www.steadierstate.com/






Ray Taylor
Taylor Broadband (rural hawkes bay)
www.ruralkiwi.com

There is no place like localhost
For my general guide to extending your wireless network Click Here




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  # 1022547 9-Apr-2014 23:41
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Okay so on further reading

- Free Steady state stopped with windows xp, no win7 replacement from microsoft
- The free steadier state requires win7 ultimate or enterprise, wont work with home or pro
- Reboot restore RX seems to be the best option and its free with a paid fancier version avaliable. 
http://www.horizondatasys.com/en/products_and_solutions.aspx?ProductId=18







Ray Taylor
Taylor Broadband (rural hawkes bay)
www.ruralkiwi.com

There is no place like localhost
For my general guide to extending your wireless network Click Here




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