View Full Version : Finally Upgrading my Academic Computer Lab to OS X... Suggestions/Experiences?
05-27-2003, 10:23 AM
I finally got the budget to upgrade the computers in the academic computer lab I support to OS X!! I'm gonna write what I'm planning on buying, and I want anyone's opinions/expertise/experiences with OS X in academic situations. I've been using OS X on my own personal computers, and supporting leased laptops with OS X for some time now, but I'm gonna be a newbie when it comes to lab management with it!! Thanks for the help!!
This is what I was going to buy per unit:
- eMac 800 MHz (256 MB RAM)
- USB Zip 250
- USB Floppy
- Microsoft Office v. X
- Adobe Photoshop 7
- Adobe Illustrator 10
- Quark Express 6
- Apple Remote Desktop
All the computers in the lab share networked Lexmark T622.
05-27-2003, 10:57 AM
Might I suggest a minimum of 512mb of RAM? Most of those apps you listed are real memory hogs. With 256, it's won't take much to make the machine start using disk as swap.
05-27-2003, 11:08 AM
Yeah, I realized that mistake as soon as I hit the "Post Thread" button. I actually meant to write 512 MB.
Phil St. Romain
05-27-2003, 01:39 PM
bassman, that's a very open-ended question. Do you have some specific questions/concerns you'd like more feedback about? Other than the obvious "get a book on the basics about OS X," I'm not sure what to say.
05-27-2003, 01:56 PM
http://macosxlabs.org can point you to information and tools to make your lab management easier--it is a group of university lab admins working together to figure out the best ways to run their OS X labs, with occasional informal help from folks at Apple.
05-27-2003, 02:07 PM
Hey aixccapt99 thanks for the link.
I'm not looking for any answers in particular. I'm already pretty savy with OS X from using and supporting it on other computers. I'm just looking for some lab-related tips and tricks that someone might have.
I guess maybe I didn't explain that well enough in the first post. Sorry.
05-27-2003, 04:53 PM
For running the graphics-intensive apps you list, even 512 MB of RAM is minimal. RAM is relatively cheap - why not max out the machines? (Rule of thumb for PhotoShop - need 3 times the size of the file in RAM.)
And I don't see why you need each machine to have its own floppy and zip drive. The floppy especially is relatively useless. Better to use CDs for transferring files if you really need to use sneakernet. But most file transfer should be via Ethernet. If you think you will have some occasions where you receive a floppy that you need to read, why not have one or two machines with the floppy drives and have them accessible over the LAN?
05-27-2003, 05:00 PM
retire the floppy/zip drive/sneakernet mentality. if it is a requirement, question why.
05-27-2003, 06:51 PM
Well, 512 MB only for budget reasons.
The reason for the floppy and zip drives is that the main use of the lab is for students to type and print out their papers projects etc... 85% of the students seem to use floppy disks as transportation method of choice and the other 15% use zips. No one wants to bother with CDs or file transfers.
Plus, by boss is still living in the stone age and would have my head if there weren't floppy and zip drives with the new machines. (She still has 800k disks... Why? I don't know...)
05-28-2003, 12:15 AM
In my experience, OS X is a real memory hog. The more, the better. 512 should be OK, but get more if you can. As much as you can. www.datamemorysystems.com is good, and has cheap stuff.
05-28-2003, 01:39 AM
The reason for the floppy and zip drives is that the main use of the lab is for students to type and print out their papers projects etc... Then you seem to be spending a huge amount of money on expensive software licences (PhotoShop, Illustrator, Quark) when it seems from what you say above that most will only use MS Office. It is usual to have some machines equipped and licenced for the graphic apps, while the rest can be much more chaeply equipped.
85% of the students seem to use floppy disks as transportation method of choice and the other 15% use zips. No one wants to bother with CDs or file transfers.Well, it all depends on how available network access is. If students have an account at which they can receive email and which is accessible from all machines, then they will happily email their projects back and forth from home and school. And going back to my comment above about graphic apps, any project for which they use PhotoShop etc is going to be much too big to fit on a floppy. If 85% of your students are using floppies, that seems to imply that 85% of them are transferring their project from a Windows machine - which brings up a whole set of other questions.
Plus, by boss is still living in the stone age and would have my head if there weren't floppy and zip drives with the new machines. Well, bosses tend to see things your way when you can show how many $ will be saved. Remember that the cost of these external drives is not just their purchase cost - they will have a relatively high maintenance cost as well. And besides, you can still have floppy & zip functionality available simply by having them on the network as I said above.
05-28-2003, 02:25 PM
Go to this site: http://www.bombich.com/
Mike Bombich's web site. He is basically a mini god when it comes to managing a lab. Some of his tools include Carbon Copy Cloner, Netrestore, ShareMyDesktop, and Delocalizer. Read all his stuff and you will be in great shape. Using his tools and following his directions and tips have saved my bacon a few times.
06-02-2003, 11:49 AM
for running an OSX lab there are a few tools that come in real handy in my labs:
macosxlabs.org has tons of info.
OSX Server can take care of so much of the user administration. By setting up a netinfo domain you can manage users docks, preferences, and security.
radmind is developed by a group at U of Michigan for solaris. It does filesystem managment like Assimilator did in OS9. they have GUI tools for OSX now.
Apple Remote Desktop does a pretty good job at various tasks such as copying files, and telling multiple computers to do things such as open an application or restart.
Bombichs NetRestore is a replacement for the apple NetInstall tools. It netboots a computer and runs the CLI version of Apple Software Restore. Its great for doing initial installs.
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