Mac Lab Report

30 Signs Your School Is Abandoning the Mac

- 2003.05.29

I'm torn between two directions as I write this article for the Mac Lab Report. One side says that teachers need to know when their computing platform of choice is under attack. The other says don't give the Dark Side any hints on how to pull off a clandestine switch.

Seeing as how the Dark Side gets official training at MCSE workshops, I guess there's no harm in passing along this little guide to you. Print it out and check off each thing as it happens.

__ 1. The district upgrades your existing computer with an OS too advanced for it to run, citing networking issues. For example, they try to install OS X on a Quadra. Or worse. Then all 68K machines are eliminated, but newer Macs are allowed to still be used in the district.

__ 2. The district requires everyone to switch from a functional email client to one that is more "secure" (and by coincidence requires seat licenses from Microsoft).

__ 3. The district issues a memo saying that you must append the three letter file extension for your PC colleagues because they can't open your documents--even though you can open theirs. This is described as a flaw of the Macintosh rather than of the PC.

__ 4. The accounting department buys software that will only run on PCs.

__ 5. Calendaring software is purchased for all administrative staff that only runs on PC or lacks some critical function on the Mac. Critical function is defined as the little cute colored egg logos that print out on the entry for Easter - they show up on the PC, but not on the Mac.

__ 6. Problem with a purchase order from Apple is discussed at a board meeting.

__ 7. Attendance software upgrade, done without warning or explanation, breaks all the Mac clients - but not the PC clients. Email says "You MUST find a PC to enter your attendance today! MACS WILL NOT WORK!"

__ 8. None of several virus warnings you receive throughout the year mention that the Macs are unaffected by the virus.

__ 9. Funding for external floppy drives for Mac users is denied.

__ 10. Repairs for Mac computers are denied due to lack of funds.

__ 11. Purchase orders for Macs require more steps and more signatures, plus a mandatory waiting period.

__ 12. A school board member who works in IT is elected.

__ 13. Professional development workshop application for how to use your Mac in your classroom is denied, so the workshop cannot be held, or it does not count against mandatory professional development obligation.

__ 14. Everyone is required to switch to Microsoft Office. AppleWorks is no longer allowed.

__ 15. Some mission-critical document is created in Office XP using a new feature that doesn't work on the Mac version of Office. "Mission Critical" means the superintendent's clip art doesn't show up because it's not in your library.

__ 16. Your Mac-only software request is denied, and you are supplied with either a vaporware promise letter or a crappy Windows 3.x version of analog movie capture software.

__ 17. All P.O.'s for Mac-related equipment are on the same desk, in the same "hold" folder, but no one can remember why, because that person no longer works here.

__ 18. Parents of third graders insist that Windows XP will still be in widespread use nine years from now, so Macs must be eliminated.

__ 19. Your school website proudly proclaims that it is best viewed in a computer you don't own. Diversity surrenders.

__ 20. Meeting to decide whether or not to get rid of Macs is held during the summer when teachers interested in the answer are on vacation.

__ 21. Computer repair class only repairs PCs, even though most of your campus uses Macs. Thus, students are trained on computers which will be obsolete by the time they graduate, and no actual useful work is done for the campus.

__ 22. Video production class does entire curriculum on PCs because editing software was discounted on the day purchase orders are due.

__ 23. Network eliminates AppleTalk. IP addresses switch to DHCP, requiring all Mac-savvy users to learn new skills from scratch. Of course, this isn't done at the same time.

__ 24. Calls from Apple Rep to district personnel are not returned.

__ 25. Possibility of dropping Macs is eliminated and reconstrued as "single vs. dual platform" argument, based on the idea that running a single platform is cheaper than a dual platform. And we all know what platform is the single platform.

__ 26. Newspaper misconstrues dual vs. single platform debate as Mac vs. PC, eventually getting Linux thrown off campus.

__ 27. Mac labs must supply their own routers, whereas PC labs get all the ports they need.

__ 28. It becomes against district policy to ask about platform preference during interviews for hiring.

__ 29. Large donations are solicited and received from Microsoft, Intel, or some other PC-centric company.

And the 30th sign your district is about to switch to Windows:

__ 30. Somebody left a Dell on the floor of your room, your iMac no longer responds to the network, and some kid has stolen your Dell's optical mouse, CD-burner drive, the letter "W" from the keyboard, and your video card. Then the pins to your keyboard cable break when you try to bend them back after they were jammed into the wrong port.

Final thought: You know, if the IT department were to adopt the metric system, we could finally compete in the European market space.

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is a longtime Mac user. He was using digital sensors on Apple II computers in the 1980's and has networked computers in his classroom since before the internet existed. In 2006 he was selected at the California Computer Using Educator's teacher of the year. His students have used NASA space probes and regularly participate in piloting new materials for NASA. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and scientific papers. He currently teaches astronomy and physics in California, where he lives with his twin sons, Jony and Ben.< And there's still a Mac G3 in his classroom which finds occasional use.

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