Any advice would be appreciated

I don't know if this is the place I should be posting this, but I need to post it somewhere and I think I might get some worthwhile responses here.
First off, I am a full-time college student, 3rd semester, Penn State University Abington Campus. I work in the computer labs at my campus (yay work-study). My problem is this: every other person who works in these labs is anti-Mac. My boss's boss is in charge of ordering new machines, and he has this plan in place which will probably work, where he is going to phase out the Macs in a couple years. The current state of Macs here is: many of the secretarial types use Macs, the continuing ed people budget themselves for Macs, the Bio dept. has & runs its own Mac lab, same w/ the music dept. However, in the student labs, we have 7 or 8 PC labs (Win2k, mixed between gateway & Dell models) and only one Mac lab. That lab has approx. 30 desktop beige G3's (266, I think) w/ 96 MB RAM, and they are all still running Mac OS 8.1! The people in charge won't purchase any newer OS for them, they won't update any software for the Macs, and they complain bitterly about having to support Appletalk, but they won't get DAVE. Whenever I ask any one of them for a reason they don't like Macs, they won't give me any clear answer. Then, to top it off, the plan to get rid of the Macs is this: nobody uses them, so we can get rid of them, yet the reason nobody uses them is that they have not been up to date in years, and they won't provide any good help with them, which is part of the plan I'm sure, though they won't admit it. I am never scheduled to work in there (I wonder why - I am the biggest Mac advocate in a 2-mile radius, it seems sometimes the only one too.)and the one guy with any influence on the labs who is pro-Mac has some chip on his shoulder about MacOS X, and has convinced my boss that it has major problems which make it unsuitable for our machines. I hate this! I don't have the $ to attempt to go to another school, there is no Mac support at this campus, and yet at University Park/Main Campus there are lots of iMacs everywhere with CD burners and iTunes loaded, and people like them and use them. grrrrr I don't know what to do. sorry if reading this has annoyed or offended you, I just am at a loss on how to keep Macs here and get them supported better around here. I keep hitting these walls, and I don't see any doors around. I am hoping that if this certification thing we were surveyed for pans out soon, so if I get it maybe they'll actually listen to me rather than thinking I'm too below them for my thoughts to be valid. please, any ideas would be appreciated.
 

twyg

Back to Mac Baby!
Sheepguy, sounds like you need to rally the troops, and to make some decisions...

On the "long live the rebellion" side of the argument, I would put up some flyers asking pro-Mac people to e-mail you, or better yet, to meet you here on macosx.com :)
Ask them about questions like, do you want mac support, do you use a mac, etc. etc.

For example, I would collect;
a) rough number of mac users on campus. Does it really cost that much for him to support them?
b) how many people in creative degree programs (graphic designers etc) would be shortchanged in a PC only envioronment. Check with administration to see how many students are in creative degree programs. i.e. 65% (made up number!) of publishing and creative departments out in corporate america dealing with web, print, and other media use Macintosh computers... Why are you teaching them on a PC? They are paying for the best possible education, and I think you can agree that it isn't condusive to teach them about one thing, and when they get out they now need to learn another. Aren't they here to learn the right way the first time?
c) Show him an rough time estimate of how long it would take a properly trained IT to connect a Mac to the network... I can tell you that number. My ex went to Earlham college in Indiana. They don't support macs for students either. I turned the mac on, went from DHCP to manual, saved TCP/IP and switched them back again... Done. 5 minutes because IE took so damn long to open.
d) Have a petition lined up of people who own macs, and want them to be recognized on campus.
e) Reach over the desk and slap him upside the head ;)

See how to get an appointment with the man, this is professional. The minute you loose your head you loose the battle. He's afterall a guy doing his job, not the enemy who will take your first-born child!

Once you have enough numbers go to him (by yourself!), and tell him this is how many people use macs, and you want support. Ask him what his side of the story is if he's willing to tell you! You've got to have your ducks in a row, and be professional when dealing with a guy like this. He may feel that the macs are "inefficent" in his network. You have to prove to him that Mac's are not the inefficent ones. Show him that Mac's are easily adapted, and actually more so adaptable than their window-running counterparts.

When I say show him I of course don't mean dragging a laptop in, and physically showing him, he'll shut down the conversation faster than you can blink. Go and gather facts, and figures. Present them to him in a non-confrontational manner.

Remember, this guy is smart, he's obviously won over administration with oogly-googly numbers. He may just say that he doesn't want to talk to you about this. Ask him who he can refer you too. If it's his secretary simply step over his head, 'cause he will never listen.

But be sure you ask for his side of the story!!!
One thing I learned at a college lecture was if something is worth saying, say it again. ;)

He may have a really good reason like, my budget just got cut by 35%, and the only way I don't have to lay my guys off is by picking cheaper machines... You have to admit, I certainly would pick PC's over lay-offs. If you've ever fired someone you will know why...

If once you get his side of the story and he blows you off, you will end up stepping over heads, and stepping on toes. I would see who else you can talk to. Controllers tend to be interesting to talk to as they generally can tell you who signs the invoices, and make the decisions. Remember the IT guy reports to someone, find out who that is, and climb up the ladder one more rung.

Be sure that you really want this. If I were to do something as bold as this, I would do it for two reasons. One, there's no need to have this kind of attitude (if that's in fact what it is, and not an instance as stated above) Two, it's great experience in dealing with folks who are much higher than you are on the ladder. He may even respect you more for bringing this to him in a professional manner. 90% of this battle is you listening, and having the facts ready. Stay professional! Keep notes on who you've talked to, that way if you get bounced around you can show that you have been bounced around. If someone doesn't return a message, or doesn't meet with you repeadedly, go one step up... Persistence wins, but remember, you'll step on toes! (remember the say it again rule? ;P )

I know this post seems a touch out of order, but I think you get the idea, just be professional... Don't use "uh, uh, like uh, uh... well like I dunno... you just suck!" This isn't to say you would, but just be aware of how you speak!

This is a very agressive way to go about it, but if I get colleges right these people get stuck in their ways and need a little poke to keep their lives interesting. Also remember that these folks are usually under-paid. Don't be a d!ck...

I hope you can pull something out of this conglomeration...
Good luck on whichever decision you choose to make.
 
this guy is not a tech guy, he majored in business management I think:
james Foreman
I tried posting up signs to "Rally the troops" and I got one response from someone i already know uses Macs. I will try again with improved signs, but I know there are others there which mans they just aren't responding. Heck, look at our computing page:
http://www.abington.psu.edu/labs/index.asp

"Rm 335   15 Dells, 18 G3 MacIntosh computers"

 

RacerX

Old Rhapsody User
I was wondering, why so many Gateways? It is well known in IT circles that Gateways require almost twice the man hours to support compared to almost ANY other type of PC. And there have been studies that show the Macs cost less to operate and support than any other type of computer (though it doesn't sound like the people you are dealing with care).

Best of luck.
 
Not only are all the tech guys who work for the Labs way against macs, they seem to love Windows. Now, this may have to do with the fact that through Penn State's "deal with the devil" as i call it allows not only for all students to recieve free copies of Microsoft software (Windows, Office[pc&mac], visual Studio, frontpage) but for Penn state to recieve free licenses from M$ to put the latest Windows on all PCs on all campuses. All our servers are Windows, at least on this campus, there are a few small and seldom used Unix-type servers elsewhere. They were buying gateways for the free service agreement, but since they were sending back a broken Cd drive every day for a while, they ordered some relatively ok Dells. Aparently, there were more issues with the dells on our network than with the gateways, since the latest bunch of new machines are all gateways.
 

twyg

Back to Mac Baby!
Now I know why he did it... You've got to pay to upgrade a Mac, and you've got to look harder to find Mac IT's ...

What a shame, I don't think he'd ever budge. The "deal with the devil pact" is the best way I've ever heard it put. It seems like your SOL...

Sorry man, hope Mr. Business Management gets some IT sense into his head...

(Plus, he looks like a total PC geek) ;)
 
I'm hoping that this certification thing through Press 3 will work out soon... I'm hoping that it will get some of the other Lab people (like my boss) to put some value on my opinion, rather than defaulting to the Network wiring guy who's pro-Mac but says Mac OS X has "problems" so we shouldn't use it. I've never had any other certifications, what's it like, how does it work? Will I have any way of knowing what knowledge I'll be tested on? For the Mac OS X test, will there be Unix questions? I really haven't learned that much about unix yet... anyone with info I'd appreciate a response.
 

Siq

No worries!
Although Mac OSX is buil;t on a Darwin unix core, Apple retains it's basic GUI, and really there is only one way to access the unix functons- The terminal program, which really doesn't have many uses unless you're a unix lover or hacker and are into grep, lynx, etc... really I would highly doubt that unix would be incorporated into any X test....
 

Siq

No worries!
basic test, that is....
 

AdmiralAK

Simply Daemonic
** Explicit language to follow **

I know how you feel man!
My university computer labs are run by hierarchical a-holes that wouldnt know good compyting if it came up and bit them in the ass. The computing services department is run by people who have some sort of hierarchy thing going on (worse than the military :p) and they dont like to be questioned. Furthermore they have workstudies working for them that are antimac.

A while ago when I went to the computer labs, there were people trying to print out M$ word documents made on a PC on a mac, and they did not know they had to open up the application first then navigate to their disc to open the document. They went to the person in charge of keeping stuff running in the computer lab, and what did that person tell the ignorant student? "Oh Macs cant read PC disks and documents" ... I have heard this so many times it made me sick. One day I took it upon myself to show them HOW its done, but it was like it went in one ear and out the other.

After a whole bunch of agravation I stopped going to the computer labs since I could use the macs at my workstudy job for doing things. Now I am full time and I have my own mac so I dont even bother any more he he. The good thing is that they have 1/4 (at least) of our computers to be new G4s so that is good.

The best thing to do for your situation is this:
Write up a knowledgeful proposal and assesment of the situation that exists. Make sure to include the following points:
* Mac vs PC maintanence costs
* Mac OS users on campus
* The mistake one can make by going single platform
* Outline the problems that plague the macs (like them being not updated)
* Write about the computing department's anti mac "regime" and views, as well as they dont have the technical know how to knw what they are doing.

Include the above, and as many more points as you want. Be sure to keep a cool head throughout this, and then make multiple copies. Send them off the the big cheeses of the university like the Chancellor, the Provost, Department Heads, the Computer Services department head, as well as any relevent administrator.


This should shake them antimac people up :p


Admiral
 
Thanks, Admiral! Seeing as how I doubt I will get anywhere going to the source of the problem, it makes sense to go past him and his "regime" (makes sense to call it that, again thanks) to the people who can overrule him. Do you know where I can get specific info on the difference in maintenance costs? That ones gonna be hard to make crystal clear, and these people tend to ignore anything that's the least bit fuzzy to them. I should probably also find out the details of PSU's "deal with the devil", in order to counter any statements that if we support Macs too much we will lose the free M$ software. I think the biggest problem was shown in an argument I had w/ one of my fellow lab workers: according to him, there are only 2 people involved in the network and tech support who know anything about Macs, and he says the guy in the labs (named Jim) doesn't know all that much about them. Except, for some reason, I was neither of the people he was talking about, and I know more about Macs than most people on this campus (student or otherwise). I was a bit offended, and that's why I am going to do the certification thing: I figure maybe then they'll admit that I know what I'm talking about. In the meantime, again I ask-what is on these tests? I assume some basic usage, but I'm sure there's stuff I don't know, and I don't have the $$ to buy the books about some of it, so I'm curious as to what kind of knowledge I'll be tested and certified in. Also, seeing as how it's a timed test, what if the network crawls to nothig? will the test load entirely on my computer, let me take it, then feed the results back to the server? I just wish I could find more info, so I can be fully prepared.
 
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