The semi-sesquiannual Lincoln Technology Newsletter
Welcome back! The technology gnomes have been hard at work getting ready for the 2009-10 school year at Lincoln, and we wanted you to be informed about all the latest changes and improvements. There are new systems in place for printing and creating help desk tickets, new servers for backups and email, and upgrades to the iLife and iWork packages available to all teachers.
Table of Contents:
- PaperCut - Printing with a Conscience
- iLife '09 & iWork '09
- New Help Desk system
- Backups, Email Upgraded
Last year Lincoln spent an alarming amount on desktop and laser printers. All of our new print cartridges and printer maintenance took a big chunk out of the technology budget, one that we cannot afford in these leaner times. Clearly there's a lot of waste in our printing system - anyone who walks by our printers can see it! - and we wanted to find a way to reduce the costs and environmental impact of our printing.
Enter PaperCut! PaperCut is a system that works with our existing printers to track, filter, and restrict print jobs by all computer users. Every student will have a small window in the corner of their screen that displays their daily print quota, and that number will count down in real time as they print pages to any student printer. (Faculty have a quota too, but a "soft" quota, meaning it can be exceeded or the pages can be reassigned. But rest assured, Faculty printing is not restricted. More on that in a minute.) Pages have "costs" - black and white pages are worth 1 page, while color pages are worth 5 pages.
The PaperCut print quota window
Once a student's quota is exceeded, they can't print anymore that day, unless they acquire extra pages in one of two ways:
- Get a Printing Card from a designated faculty or staff member
- Get a balance transfer from a friendly faculty or staff member
Printing cards work just like iTunes Gift Cards - they're each printed with a unique code that, when redeemed via a web page, gives the student 30 more pages to print. Once a card has been used, it's done, and we can track the usage of each individual card. With this system, students will be encouraged to:
- be more responsible for their own printing, and where they print to
- think about whether they really need to print
- plan ahead if they know they'll need more than 30 pages
Not only that, but PaperCut can track every print that goes through our network and displays an "environmental impact statement" on every user's account page telling them how much carbon they burned, trees they've destroyed, and energy they've used.
We will, of course, be giving you an in-person training on this, but we thought you'd want an advance look at what we think will be a very cool new system!
Anyone interested in exploring all of the cool new features in iLife '09 or iWork '09 should stop by Doug's office for an upgrade at the start of the school year. There are too many improvements to go into here, but suffice it to say that if you have a fairly recent laptop (MacBook or better) you want this upgrade! For a better rundown of newness, see Apple's iLife '09 and iWork '09 pages.
Another new system the gnomes discovered is a new Help Desk website, one that is much more user-friendly and, well, helpful. You can view it at http://helpdesk.lincolnschool.org (only works on campus, not from home). We'll be putting a link to it on the Lincoln Technology Help page as well in case you forget.
Your initial login is:
Username: (Your usual Lincoln username here)
Once you've logged in for the first time, click the "Profile" link at the top of the page to change your password to something more secure and memorable. (See picture below)
We hope you like the new look of the Help Desk and that you remember to use it early and often for all your technology help needs.
One more thing you should know about is that that even things you don't see are changing fast. We thought you'd want to know because, just like Kevin Bacon proved in that horrible movie, even invisible things can affect your life in significant ways. Over the summer we purchased new equipment for the server room that will host our data backups and our FirstClass email system. What does this mean? Well, for the backups it means that we now have an "on-site" backup system that will make nightly copies of all important data on our servers, which we can then retrieve in case anybody loses anything or a server crashes and data is lost. But wait, there's more. Each night the backup server also sends all of its data "off site" to a remote location, so even if Godzilla steps on our server room or, more realistically, there's a flood or fire, your data is safe in a vault far, far away. Good to know, eh?
The new email server will replace the older hardware that FirstClass has been living in, and with any luck will make email a faster, more reliable service than ever. From the perspective of email users, however, all you might see is a brief email outage as we cut over to the new server sometime soon.