And now for the next installment of Ramblings on the
Stupidity of Beurocrats and Computer Incometent People.
Visiting the local library I found a bunch of computer workstations for people to search for books and use the web. Now here's the stupid part. They're full blown computers. Off the shelf dells and compaqs. And get this, they run it in textmode in a permanant telnet session. Haha! You go you money wasting Beurocrats. They should really hire a competent computer consultant. I'm thinking you could take the crappiest computer of the lot and turn it into a unix server, and put Wyse terminals around the library! Yes, much better. If you're gonna use Lynx to browse the web at the library, at LEAST get the full feel of Unix.
Ahh, the local high school. More chances for money to go down the drain! Every classroom now has at least four computers. That's roughly 100 computers not including the computer lab or the library. Get this. None of the teachers actually use them, except maybe the teachers themselves, but that's only one computer. Humm, dozens of boxen collecting dust, way to spend our money! We could sure use some new books though. Ohh well, I'm sure nothing much has changed in the world of science in the past ten years. Not only do we get computers, but we get BIG SCREEN TVS! Woo. A ~21" `NetTV' that probably can't even be hooked up to a VCR. Yes, every teacher needs a TV to give students notes! Actually, every teacher already has a TV/VCR set, and some even have a LaserDisc. The teachers who wanted to give notes via computer/TV could've done that. (yes, I know at least one who's lost that privelage. It's supprising to find computer savy teachers, but no comp sci classes. Sure pascal is fine, but I wanna get into some OOP. I'm tired of procedural crap.) But NO, the new Computer Use Accountability Form prevents them from installing their own software. Ouch, sorry but you're gonna have to wait for your monitor while we give monitors to teachers who DON'T NEED THEM! Never mind the fact that the math teacher's can't teach math with a monitor because they need to draw fancy graphics that you can only draw with a perfectly good OVERHEAD PROJECTOR or maybe a CHALK BOARD! And then we get to the computers themselves. They all run Win98 w/ restrictive software. No startmenu, `my computer', `network neighborhood', just Office 2000 and Netscape. Understandable. But wait. We have to log into a Windows NT domain. Yes, you can actually do this with win98, but unfortunatly it's not setup right and your newuser scripts are rerun every login. Nevermind, most students don't have their own account cause the library's boxen are always logged in. But wait. Wouldn't NT workstation do all the restrictions you need, AND login right, AND let you update software remotely? Can't do that with win98. Then again, you could always use X Terminals, although that might not work so good when it comes to wordprocessing and running mavis beacon.
Wow, you gotta love those politicians. Computers are NOT the future for schools unless you're willing to give out laptops and buy tenative ebook software and untraditional etextbooks.
But wait! I'm not done my tirade just yet! Why do we shun the past? Maybe it's just me and my nostalgic obsessions, but the library example. Think about it. Using past, proven technology would work just the same but is more cost effective. It really pisses me off when I see things like this happen. But I'm always happy when I go to the family doctor. They use Wyse terminals hooked up to a modest server running SunOS (dunno what version exactly.) It's probably because they can't afford to `upgrade', but gosh darnit, it works perfectly and they probably agree that it would be superfluous to use a fancy graphical system.
That concludes this installment of ramblings. Next week: ideas for wearable computers!