Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The "new" Valencia Gardens computer room

Using the image that Dan created before he went on vacation, I finished reimaging and fixing the computers at the Valencia Gardens computer lab. The computers run much faster now. It shows as 11 users dropped today, the lab looked almost full, and there wasn't a single complaint!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Eastern Park Apartments Cyber Cafe

Last Friday, a group of CTN volunteers and Department of Aging staff help install 9 computers in Eastern Park Apartments at 711 Eddy Street.

Two days earlier on Wednesday, we had tested one computer at Eaton & Associates, before they used that computer as an image to clone the other computers. (For more info about disk imaging software, please refer to previous blog post).

When they delivered the computers to us on Friday, we set it up around the cyber cafe (see photo), and proceeded to test the computers. Several problems were found. Since the computers were not imaged with the wi-fi password, printer and scanner drivers, we had to manually go into each computer, turn off Clean Slate (see previous blog post about disk protection software), fix the problems, and then turn Clean Slate back on again.

One senior center "done". 51 more to go. I hope can teach some classes here or at the other locations!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Possible recommendations for tech assessments

So, we have finished asking 1,000 questions, and spent 1,000 hours doing the analysis and assessment. Now let's write that 999-page report, and try to solve all their problems using Google cloud computing!

Or, here are some "Possible Recommendations" that I have researched on. (You decide where to plug them in the template from the previous blog.)

  • Classroom Management Software (such as NetSupport School, NeTop, InterClass and LanSchool) allows the teacher to monitor and control the students' computer. The teacher can also lock out computers, block programs and the internet, broadcast to computers, remotely start-up and shutdown computers, etc.
  • Learning Management Software (such as Moodle, WebCT and BlackBoard) allows the teacher to develop and deploy instruction on the internet, ie. eLearning. Students can enroll in classes, do learning activities such as quizzes, get feedback, and contribute to forums, wikis, glossaries, etc.
  • Content Management Software (such as Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla) allows a non-techie to maintain a web or blog site without knowing much web graphics and code such as HTML, CSS or PHP. A resourceful non-techie could even set up or register such a site by himself or herself.
  • Disk Protection Software (such as Steady State, Deep Freeze and Clean Slate) allows a non-techie to maintain and troubleshoot computers by just restarting them. All file and setting changes are wiped clean, and the computer reverts to the original state set by the administrator.
  • Disk Imaging Software (such as Ghost, Clonezilla and Acronis) allow computers to be set up, maintained and restored more easily by making them exact copies of each other. For more information, please contact Dan Hastings, our own the Clonezilla expert!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tech assessment CTN version

Kami proposed that the tech assessment’s purpose be directly related to the VISTA’s projects, and should therefore have 4 measurable objectives:
  1. Skills of computer users
  2. How technology relates to their work or mission
  3. Internet access
  4. Computer hardware and software
This worksheet is designed to help us brainstorm what questions to ask, and some possible recommendations that we can give.

Added on 01/04/2012
Here is a completed example:

Monday, December 5, 2011


So if you think this post is going to be about how technology runs my life and everyone else's lives and how eventually the skies will be grey and the light of day will never show again as we spiral into an oblivion due to the take over of machines..well then HA! I fooled you with the title but got you to read thus far...
However, that is how I felt last week and this week as I began my start on imaging the entire Valencia Gardens Computer Lab. Everything was good to go until a bunch of little monster kids played a bunch of games on my prototype computer somehow got a bunch of tool bars installed and surpassed the lock down that steady had on the machine. I've yet to figure out the specifics within steady state to fix this but I'm pretty sure I can.
Also, to add the issue on Friday I asked Mun who was at the lab to install Skype for me and I get an e-mail just before I'm about to leave for the weekend telling me the Internet is down on that machine. Mun, who knows how to trouble shoot the issue as well as I do did everything he could but still had no luck getting the Internet back up.

I know a little bit about troubleshooting basic Internet lossage issues easily on any machine but when it comes to Windows I'm definitely know less. I spent a good hour this morning trying to figure out the problem only to come to the conclusion I had no idea what it was other than it couldn't figure out what the issue was.
I'm very content to jumping straight to blaming Windows (being a mac user my whole life and a in the process of being a Linux convert. I've always hated windows with a passion) as well as blaming the hardware, yet today the only one to blame is me. I need to get my networking skills up and need to know more about troubleshooting network issues. Hopefully the classes that I plan on taking next semester at city college will help with this. Anyone have any good tutorials or on line lessons that break down basic networking for me? That would be awesome! Any one all of you 3 people that actually read this blog...