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General Chat Thread, Laptop Purchases - when? in General; We currently purchase laptops on a 3 year replacement cycle. Our BM has suggested purchasing only when laptops are broken ...
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    Gibson335's Avatar
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    Laptop Purchases - when?

    We currently purchase laptops on a 3 year replacement cycle. Our BM has suggested purchasing only when laptops are broken BER instead because 'other schools do'. I'm keen to retain the cycle approach, but thought I'd ask: what do my fellow Edugeekians do?

    I'm also looking for any viable reasons for NOT purchasing on the fly and for maintaining bulk purchases every 3 years to add weight to my own arguments.

    Many thanks.

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    Admiral208's Avatar
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    a 3 year cycle is good because of things like warranties. Put it to your BM that what if they go with their suggestion and after 4 years, everyones laptops have problems, you will have to replace more than you would have done after 3 years. We used to have a cycle until our school was selected for BSF then basically no spending on anything now until the new school is finished.

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    Gibson335 (27th January 2011)

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Keep the cycle if you can, pushing gear for years that is depended upon is stupid and demorilising to the poor techs who have to spend all of there time fighting random problems with old junk that is past its use by date.

    By all means retask them for a while to a lower priority area but keeping them in front line duty full of teacher documents is just begging for trouble.

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    Gibson335 (27th January 2011)

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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Keep the cycle if you can, pushing gear for years that is depended upon is stupid and demorilising to the poor techs who have to spend all of there time fighting random problems with old junk that is past its use by date.
    Please contact the head of one of my schools and explain this to them!

    The laptops were replaced due to age, but the teachers were then told they could keep their old (much-complained about) machines. All the new machines have "gone home" and all the rubbish machines are left as the main class machine - with constant complaints that they aren't working well/properly .

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    Gibson335's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Keep the cycle if you can, pushing gear for years that is depended upon is stupid and demorilising to the poor techs who have to spend all of there time fighting random problems with old junk that is past its use by date.

    By all means retask them for a while to a lower priority area but keeping them in front line duty full of teacher documents is just begging for trouble.
    Retasking is already in my list of reasons not to go that way - other than spares, we use all of our older laptops elsewhere, for TAs, NQTs and faculty stand-alones.

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    Gibson335's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeMarchand View Post
    Please contact the head of one of my schools and explain this to them!

    The laptops were replaced due to age, but the teachers were then told they could keep their old (much-complained about) machines. All the new machines have "gone home" and all the rubbish machines are left as the main class machine - with constant complaints that they aren't working well/properly .
    Keep them!?!? I wonder how they explain that in an LA audit - and how do they address the licensing issues around that?

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    Mr.Ben's Avatar
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    Ah, The old 'It's my Laptop' syndrome. It's amazing how if you lock the laptop down it sunndely becomes the 'Schools' Laptop. And if not, then inform the Taxman, as if it not being used in work or for a significant then it is a taxable benefit.

    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/eimanual/EIM21613.htm

    This is an interesting article, I understand it as if private use outweighs business use then the laptop is a taxable benefit.

    I do not see how the use could be defined as 'essential' as all work could be done within working hours (that's what PPA is for). HoD's and SMT I would view differently, but from my record keeping the whole of my staff only logged 90 hours via VPN last year, with one staff member logging 45 to himself.

    If it had to be brought into work every day then it is is not.
    Last edited by Mr.Ben; 27th January 2011 at 11:57 AM.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeMarchand View Post
    Please contact the head of one of my schools and explain this to them!

    The laptops were replaced due to age, but the teachers were then told they could keep their old (much-complained about) machines. All the new machines have "gone home" and all the rubbish machines are left as the main class machine - with constant complaints that they aren't working well/properly .
    Eek, all the advice I can offer is be blunt, the times when I have not been have always come back to bite me, badly. Be honest, realitivly polite but firm about your opinions and recomendations, there is a reason warenties get more expencive the older the gear gets.

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    SteveBentley's Avatar
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    If you buy in cycles then you can standardise and be more efficient in imaging, and knowing of the foibles of a particular model of machine.

    If you're doing it on the fly then you get a random selection of machines, as sod's law decrees that whatever you bought last time is now obsolete and replaced by a new model with different drivers and issues.

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    Gibson335 (27th January 2011)

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    Galway's Avatar
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    Laptops bought as and when required, funded by departments but purchaced via us to ensure best possible purchace price.

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    Gibson335 (27th January 2011)

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    Galway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeMarchand View Post
    Please contact the head of one of my schools and explain this to them!

    The laptops were replaced due to age, but the teachers were then told they could keep their old (much-complained about) machines. All the new machines have "gone home" and all the rubbish machines are left as the main class machine - with constant complaints that they aren't working well/properly .
    I would not support laptops that have been retired and replaced. I would insist the old machines are taken off site and the new ones returned ASAP !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Ben View Post
    from my record keeping the whole of my staff only logged 90 hours via VPN last year, with one staff member logging 45 to himself.
    Something resonated here . . . . . we have people who don't use the VPN because they don't like the performance of it. Similarly, there are people who don't understand the full range of groovy things that can be done with it, so they don't use it.

    While it's tempting to interpret this log as folks not being bothered to work, it could be that the staff prioritise network-based activity to do while they're on site, and then do their random surfing looking for mateterial etc. while they're at home. You could see this as a prompt to improve service - is there a training need? Are there tech/usability issues with the VPN that you're not aware of?

    Sorry, that was off topic!

    @TonyJF - every 3 years here, within reason we have bulk purchasing. Kit is covered by warranty and dealt with by Dell, so gets fixed next day, not when the tech is next free/in/not firefighting something else. Morale is better as staff see that they are valued and not being given tatty tools to work with. Staff's time is one of the most precious things we have, so keeping everything up and running (and quick!) is good. Also helps the techs - as SteveBentley says you get to know the foibles of kit (not easily measured for the beancounters I grant you) but by having like-kit as opposed to whatever was cheapest in the catalogue that month it also means that when it gets to end-of-life time you stand a chance of cobbling together 'frankensteins' and thus extending the life of kit. By scheduling a bulk purchase and provisioning you can use your time more efficiently, and who knows even get a discount.
    Last edited by theriver; 27th January 2011 at 12:33 PM. Reason: Massively off topic

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    Gibson335 (27th January 2011)

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Ask your BM if he would be happy working on a 5+ year old laptop. If he says yes, give him one and wait for him to change his mind.

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    Gibson335's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTechnician View Post
    Ask your BM if he would be happy working on a 5+ year old laptop. If he says yes, give him one and wait for him to change his mind.
    Unfortunately she uses a dedicated workstation (replaced on a four or five year cycle). I understand that she's approaching this from a purely financial perspective, but I have to address many more issus than that - so far the posts have echoed my own approach to reasons why continuing the replacement cycle is favourable.

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    maniac's Avatar
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    In my opinion you have to compromise between what is ideal from a support/technical persepctive and what is ideal from a financial persepctive. You have to admit that getting rid of a computer just because it's hit 3yrs old doesn't make economic sense, but then the other extreme of keeping machines until they literally stop working also doesn't make sense, the compromise is somewhere inbetween.

    What I do here is evaluate our estate of machines at regular intervals throughout the year and make decisions on whether to start retiring certain types of machine based on various factors. The number of support calls to them for hardware failures, the cost of and availability of spare parts and the ability of the machine to still function to an acceptable level are the main factors I will look at, along with the quantity of them still in use and the physical appearance of them. What I tend to do is retire a percentage of older machines at stratigic points in order to supply spare parts to keep the rest going for a while longer.

    It's all about flexibility in my opinion, money is tight so you've got to compromise.

    Mike.

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