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General Chat Thread, IT in the next 3 years in General; Originally Posted by webman How do you do video editing, music compositions or use peripherals such as scanners and CAD/CAM ...
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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webman View Post
    How do you do video editing, music compositions or use peripherals such as scanners and CAD/CAM machinery?
    You write a web-based video editing package, a web-based audio-editing package, a web-based interface for the scanner which you attach to its own dedicated machine and a web-based CAD/CAM system which you also give its own dedicated controller machine.

    The original poster did say this was a 3-year plan, if he gets a move on he should have enough time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    You write a web-based video editing package, a web-based audio-editing package, a web-based interface for the scanner which you attach to its own dedicated machine and a web-based CAD/CAM system which you also give its own dedicated controller machine.

    The original poster did say this was a 3-year plan, if he gets a move on he should have enough time.
    When you say 'you', do you mean the literal in-house IT team at the school, or do you mean "anybody"?

    If you meant the former, for argument's sake, let's assume that the in-house team do not possess the relevant skills to do this (it's quite a tall order). So they spend time (which costs money) learning, and more time (which costs more money) actually developing and testing; to produce something that only them are likely to be able to support. And still maintain the regular IT support status-quo during this period of development. I'm failing to see the benefits to this.

    Either way, to say that new web-based software should be written for demanding tasks such as that, with a three-year time scale, is pretty far-fetched in my opinion.

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    bossman (16th December 2009)

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    Hi

    If the budget is a bad as its being suggested from April I think the moto for the year will be "make do and mend."

    Richard

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    Actually, I think David is probably right about web tools... This kind of thing is becoming more common- look at Google Docs for example. Maybe you shouldn't be factoring in building your own, but there are plenty of cloud projects around that have the potential to achieve this.

    Online audio/video editing is starting to appear now- http://aviary.com/tools/myna is a pretty good online audio editor.

    If we're saying that students will be using their own devices/working from home/using handheld stuff then we have to be planning around web tools so they can work wherever they are.

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by webman View Post
    When you say 'you', do you mean the literal in-house IT team at the school, or do you mean "anybody"?
    Probably "anybody", as in this would be best run as an open source project of some kind.

    If you meant the former, for argument's sake, let's assume that the in-house team do not possess the relevant skills to do this (it's quite a tall order).
    I reckon that cloning a Windows Movie Maker style video-editing application, on a server local to the school, is actually a lot less involved than people seem to think. For editing video - seeing how a bunch of video clips fit together, with transitions in between - you don't need any more than YouTube-quality video. You need a server that will read a bunch of video off various storage / video devices, store one high-quality copy and produce a quick-to-load FLV version that can be presented to the user for chopping up in to clips and putting in transitions. Credits and voiceovers could be added. If you wanted a zoomable timeline then you could get the server to render individual frames from a clip as JPEGs on demand. This, by the way, is where I think Nvidia are aiming their new GPU chipsets - batch-job graphics operations accelerated on the server, not neccesarily high-performance desktop graphics.

    Scanning can be done with network scanners (we do this already), and CAD should run okay over Terminal Services / VNC, so all you need is a web-based TS/VNC termional (a Java-based VNC terminal already exists).

    Either way, to say that new web-based software should be written for demanding tasks such as that, with a three-year time scale, is pretty far-fetched in my opinion.
    But it's silly, all these people in all these schools all over the country spending all our time mirroring the same tasks as everyone else, wasting time getting assorted client-based software to stop falling over long enough for it to be useable. If just a couple of schools would get on and write a web-based application that we all need we could all be using trouble-free web-only machines in 3 years, no problem.

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    @dhicks: Fair argument. As a web developer by night myself I do see the benefits that central web-based stuff brings, and always advocated the use of web-based things over full local binary installations where appropriate. We have lots of that sort of content here at the school, and it certainly makes distribution a breeze.

    However, I still think there are certain things that are still not easily accomplish-able over the web, or as much as what you could using a local application.

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    bossman (16th December 2009)

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    With web based apps, has anyone investigated building an internal cloud computing environment using something like Ubuntu Server? Wondering if this could be used to deliver things like google apps?

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    @dhicks
    Nice idea for web-based editing solution apart and could be handing to students to learn concepts and basic skills ... but you are forgetting one tiny thing. Education is amount preparing kids for the real world and if anyone gets a job doing any sort of significant video / audio editing then the above will not cut the mustard. If you have to cough up for it to deliver KS4/5 courses then why not allow all students have access to it?

    Similar goes for other graphics intensive materials ... would you ask an artist to paint using a remote control car (future Turner prize?) or give them an easel with canvas and paints?

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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    With web based apps, has anyone investigated building an internal cloud computing environment using something like Ubuntu Server? Wondering if this could be used to deliver things like google apps?
    This "cloud" idea is probably not suited to schools. For stuff like we've just discussed - video editing, photo editing, audio editing, etc - you can assume an Internet connection is always going to be be several orders of magnitude slower than a local network. Yes, Internet connections might (?) get faster over the next few years or decades, but by then local networking technology will have gotten faster too and people's expectations of what they should be able to do with a computer will have risen. You can assume that a school will always need its own local servers. This also avoids your school's data being held by some random external company that might / might not let you use it how you want.

    I doubt Google plan to let people run a local version of Google Apps (although I could be wrong there, they did sell search engine appliances at one point, so maybe app appliences are something they have planned for a few years time), so when you say "local cloud" you'll have to run stuff on it that designed to be downloaded and installed on a local cloud system. This is why I chose Xen as our virtulisation platform - that's what Amazon Cloud uses, and I figured people would be relasing multi-server cloud-architectured applications by now.

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    @dhicks: I'd like to as you a question. Can you (at present) carry out your day-to-day tasks exclusively using web-based tools; and if not, could those non-web tools be easily replaced with their web equivalents?

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    New kit can save money 10 DL380 G4 can be replaced by one DL 380 G6. If you Virtualise you save money on utility bills. It is also a good time to push power saving!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    You can assume that a school will always need its own local servers. This also avoids your school's data being held by some random external company that might / might not let you use it how you want.
    Dangerous assumption, especially with BSF ........ centralised servers are a key element of the Partnership for Schools 'model' by which LA solutions are judged.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Nice idea for web-based editing solution apart and could be handing to students to learn concepts and basic skills...
    You wouldn't want to use the above video editing solution in the context of learning-how-to-edit-a-film, you'd want to use it to support some subject other than ICT. Give the children a bunch of pre-done clips on a subject, let them shoot some of their own material or narrate over the top, then have them edit it together. It'd be great for history, geography, science, whatever - it'd beat writing an essay on a subject.

    If you want to run video editing training courses for specific packages then do so, but you only need a limited number of workstations for that, the rest of the school's IT infrastrature can be web-based.

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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    centralised servers are a key element of the Partnership for Schools 'model' by which LA solutions are judged.....
    Assuming such a system is properly designed, this should be no problem. "Properly designed", to my mind, means a local cach / child server at each school mirroring whatever data comes from the central LA datacentre. All presentation stuff happens locally, but all data ends up going up to a central data store. You'd also assume that the Local Education Authroity would know what they're doing and not come undwer the heading of "some random company".

    I have, of course, no faith that your average LA will be able to accomplish this, but I figure that in a twisted kind of way, BSF is going to be good for schools and private enterprise - in three years or so, the average school IT system will be so hobbled that web-browsing will be about all the average PC can manage, and teachers will simply skip any LA-provided material and use cliud-based applications.

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    Quote Originally Posted by webman View Post
    Can you (at present) carry out your day-to-day tasks exclusively using web-based tools;
    Hmm, probably not, no. On a daily basis I have a web browser open, along with the MS Console application showing Active Directory and remote desktops. I use SSH to connect to servers. I also wind up being the one who often has to sort out photos, video and whatnot. I think all the functionality that I use is perfectly able to be done by a web-based application, all we have to do is get someone to write it all...

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