I’ve been away from posting for a bit because I work in higher ed IT and next week classes start…
All summer I’ve been busy working on reimaging and updating computer labs. Beginning this past semester I had the very large Visual Arts department added to my “evil empire”, as my supervisor calls it. My domain already consisted of the COMM department (Speech, Advertising, Journalism, Cinema, Broadcast Journalism, etc.), campus newspaper (Editorial/Advertising), various department office computers, a rolling cart with 30 MacBook Airs, etc. Oh, and also now a lab in Performing Arts where they design sets and such…
VA has more software in their lab image than I’ve ever seen before – and most of it is high-end, 3D/animation type stuff. You know, software that relies on tenuous network licensing and offers no end of other technical adventures. I’m discovering that the more expensive the software is, the worse it performs, at least at the installation/licensing stage. And one should not have to make support tickets for and Google each and every problem that comes up during the process – it should all “just work”. These are Macs after all. Sometimes I feel like Link in one of the Zelda games my daughter plays, endlessly running and fighting and questing.
For instance, one set of license keys I received for a $10K 3D designing/painting software purchase had their file type associated with Apple’s Keynote (?!). I confirmed this by downloading them on 2 different computers on two different networks. So instead of just popping the keys in where they belong (which was not specified; I used the instructions for Windows and winged it), I had to change the file associations AND adjust permissions before the apps would accept them. Not cool for such a steep price.
Another major CAD-type software vendor’s website is on par with that of the IRS, and every bit as easy to navigate and understand.
Today I got a request to relicense SPSS Statistics (as one must do every year, one computer at a time, since the license server never works for this). This of course is tedious. But tedious is better than “how in the world does this work?” and making no progress for days on end.
For many years I have been using Apple’s Remote Desktop to manage my labs from my office whenever possible. More recently I began using TeamViewer to remote in to my admin workstation in the office. So this week I have been sitting at home doing all the same work I would normally do on site, and being very efficient at it!
Here’s a sample view of my remote ARD computer being controlled via TeamViewer while it controls the lab computers. The experience is like those endless reflections when you have two mirrors in the same room.
Click-click, get my work done and save the commute! At least until Monday…
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