New computers for Student Publications

Every couple years the University's IT department (ITS) has a Desktop Replacement Program. We give up old computers and get new ones. Its a sweet deal. As we put a little more then $10,000 into new computers two years ago, its nice to get seven brand new iMac G5s and not have to pay for them. This is the second time we have received new, free computers.

We recieved three free computers in the ITS Replacement Program in July of 2004. At that time my boss only thought we would get one. I asked for three, and got them. Yep, I was happy.

This year I thought we had a realistic chance of getting four more freebies. First they told me we were getting six, and then seven. Seven new G5 iMacs arrived last week.

The specs on these new iMacs was up in the air for a while. At first they were 1.8 Ghz, 20" models. What arrived were 2.0 Ghz, 17" models. While I would have liked 20" screens for the type of work Student Publications does, I can't imagine BGSU ordering hundreds of 20" iMacs. And I am not about to complain, we got 2.0 Ghz G5 iMacs, with 1 GB of RAM, and a SuperDrive.

So this means we got the latest generation G5 iMac, not last generation. This means we get Tiger on them, right? Wrong. ITS images 10.3.9 on them.

Most of the time ITS does a great job. They do their homework. This is not such an instance. They are putting hundreds of these G5 iMacs in service and 10.3.9 is not the intended Operating System for these computers. Just like when the first generation G5 towers came out, these new iMacs cannot run the older OS.

The two main problems, which I quickly found out, is audio, and fans. With 10.3.9 installed the fans run full blast 24/7. This is not good for the fans. It is also louder then my Dad's first generation dual 2.0 Ghz G5. Not exactly optimal working conditions. Now put seven of these loud fan-iMacs in one room.

The other problem has to do with audio. It seems that 10.3.9 does not have audio drivers for this new iMac. Not only is there no input or output devices shown in System Preferences, but the audio keys on the keyboard don't even work.

The techs. working the desk at ITS could not even tell me if these iMacs came with 10.4 or not (fairly easy to find out). And of course they did not give me the System Restore or Hardware tests CD/DVD - they never do.

After a day of asking I got the System Restore discs from ITS. By this time I had already ran home to get my Tiger install DVD.

Tiger fixed both the audio and the fan problem. This latest generation iMac requires 10.4, just as I thought. I have since talked to someone higher up the ladder at ITS and he is emailing the person in charge of making images for the university's computers.

That's another sore spot, maybe for another rant. ITS will not support software if it is not installed on top of one of their images. I don't really mind it, as I can handle any software or hardware issue as it is. But special labs needs to be addressed by ITS.

For the special labs on campus such as Student Publications and CTLT, we need to maintain our own images. It would be impossible if I were to use the ITS image, and install all of our software on the 30 some computers I maintain within Student Publications.

Back on topic. These new iMacs are so nice. We are currently using 800 Mhz eMac and 1.25 Ghz iMac G4s right now for The BG News and Production. The KEY Yearbook is using a 4400/200 (thats a 603 chip!) and first generation iMacs.

In all we are giving the U. a 4400/200 and six first generation iMacs (G3 300 Mhz or lower). Yes, that is a sweet deal, and I could not be happier. This means there are even less OS 9 systems in Student Publications that I have to deal with. So for that, thank you ITS. You are a life saver.

I just hope that our ad management software can run in Classic. We have not upgraded to the OS X version, and because of the cost, we will not be doing so any time soon.

This weekend I made a new Carbon Copy Cloner 10.4 image for the new iMacs and will start cloning next week.

I also have a lot of moving to do. The old systems we are getting rid of are not all being replaced with these new G5s. Most will get the older eMacs. That means a lot of moving around to do. But I need to clean those ones up anyways. Fun stuff.

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