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Hardware Thread, Our Head Has Asked Me To Obtain Opinions From Edugeek On Laptops/Notebooks Etc. in Technical; Originally Posted by alexbillbridgnorth Your whole comment is basically invalid, iOS limitations and known bugs to Apple themselves aren't an ...
  1. #31

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbillbridgnorth View Post
    Your whole comment is basically invalid, iOS limitations and known bugs to Apple themselves aren't an issue with our brand new network but Apples incapability of allowing the consumer to manage these devices properly.
    Slightly off-topic, but it is worth remembering that Apple is a consumer focused company with little or no interest or asperations into either the business or education sectors. Like wise, many of Microsoft's more recents problems/blunders have come about because they are a business focused company who take their position there for granted and want to muscle in on the higher margin consumer markets...

    I suppose when picking between iOS, OS X, Android, Windows, Chrome, etc - you do have to take a step back and look at the companies providing the product as well and ask the questions. Is this a consumer device? Will it play nice on my network? Will it ever play nice on my network? Can I make it play nice on my network? Is this the right device for us? I'm sure different schools will have different priorities/answers for any given device.

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  3. #32

    abillybob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    Yes, I do absolutely and it blows the doors off of Smoothwall. We use the iBoss by Phantom. I have found nothing that even comes close to it.
    Oh and you mentioned you use iBoss but you say you don't need a specific system to back the gear, when iBoss was made to work for Apple devices, once again having to go with an infrastructure that specifies Apple products.

    The reason we are so loyal is because Smoothwall gives you a wider range of different settings and more freedom to use their kit with other products, plus their support is very good. A lot of schools like varied devices so the children can learn all Macs, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android not just confine them to one ecosystem and when they leave don't properly understand how to use a cooperate Windows machine.

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    I have seen iBoss and use smoothwall. Honestly iBoss seems a lot better, way more features etc. You cna get built in MDM within it. Yes it may have been adjusted to wrk nice with iPads, but as a product it was also very very good.

    The problem for me was the cost for the amount of features we would currently use, I did however recommend trialling it to another school because I knew they would get more benefit from the solution.

  5. #34

    seawolf's Avatar
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    Our Head Has Asked Me To Obtain Opinions From Edugeek On Laptops/Notebooks Etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by alexbillbridgnorth View Post
    Oh and you mentioned you use iBoss but you say you don't need a specific system to back the gear, when iBoss was made to work for Apple devices, once again having to go with an infrastructure that specifies Apple products.

    The reason we are so loyal is because Smoothwall gives you a wider range of different settings and more freedom to use their kit with other products, plus their support is very good. A lot of schools like varied devices so the children can learn all Macs, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android not just confine them to one ecosystem and when they leave don't properly understand how to use a cooperate Windows machine.
    You can pull your head out now, OK.

    The iBoss was designed to work with pretty much any infrastructure. It works with Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android, and has Active Directory, and Novell directory support, as well as it's own SSO system if you don't use either. Can't see how that's "made to work for Apple devices". Using your logic, Active Directory is "made for Macs" and Open Directory was "made for Windows" because Macs can authenticate with AD and PCs can authenticate with OD. We have about an even mix or PCs and Macs, and several hundred iPads and a number of Chromebooks we rolled out late last year as a pilot. Hardly Apple-specific.

    If you really want to know what my infrastructure looks like (your previous post), and what I use to make it all work you can find it amongst my the various posts - I don't keep it all secret squirrel like you suggest. PM me and I'd be happy to tell you as I have several others.
    Last edited by seawolf; 4th March 2014 at 12:59 PM.

  6. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbillbridgnorth View Post
    That's funny our systems run Windows Server 2012, filecloud on site cloud storage, 1Gigabit Switches, 5Ghz AC Wireless around the whole school. I didn't know all this was available in 1999
    The "1999" comment was a reference to networks that have been setup such that the only thing they really support well is Windows clients. Which was pretty much all there was in corporate use in 1999. Hardly the case now. So, more flexible infrastructure with broader support is a very good idea in 2014. Otherwise you are "locked-in" as you put it.

    And now this horse is well and truly flogged. Let's drop it shall we?

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    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    The "1999" comment was a reference to networks that have been setup such that the only thing they really support well is Windows clients. Which was pretty much all there was in corporate use in 1999. Hardly the case now. So, more flexible infrastructure with broader support is a very good idea in 2014. Otherwise you are "locked-in" as you put it.

    And now this horse is well and truly flogged. Let's drop it shall we?
    Ooooooooo touchy !!! Haha I like just ranting with you @seawolf! I don't mean it maliciously just find it fun being able to push both sides across sometimes, I know you're always first to defend Apple when I rant about them, bit of banter never hurt anyone. I'm a keyboard warrior

    As for my comment on your infrastructure as a serious note I do think it would help people see what's going wrong with their own as you have implemented Apple kit successfully and I don't know about everyone else but I'd like to know what you do in regards to managing the iPads for example do you just use Apple Configurator or do you have a working MDM in place and if so how do you make that work etc.... We are a school of 90 Mac's a Mac Server and though I know enough to get me by things still confuse me like the way in which our server has an error message that it can't connect to our Domain Controller even though checking under settings - users and groups its there listed with a green dot :S When going on a mac to deploy studio and click create a Mac and Windows image it will create it but then if you deploy it I get a kernel error and the Mac won't boot.

    These are the kind of things I just can't add up where are going wrong and get me very frustrated, like the iPads for example where I set it up exactly how Apple said to yet the App Book Creator pushed out to one iPad silently but was greyed out on another and wouldn't download but was also asking for the AppleID on the other... ugh theres no pattern and if Apple themselves don't understand whats going wrong what choice do I have that's why I get so frustrated with this stuff.

    So any advice would be most appreciative... but chill out man I'm only winding you up a bit of fun eh !!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPElectron View Post
    ...iPad will be the most expensive route...
    ...I say this not just because the initial cost of the device: but when you account for the fact that you...
    A] need twice as many access points (cause apple devices have the weakest radios)
    B] more software licensing (some Apple-specific management solution)
    C] more hardware (iOS print server/xprintserver, Bluetooth keyboards, chargers cause they don't last though the whole school day, cover with a stand, AppleTV/other solutions for streaming to the projector)
    D] more user support time (cause Apple ID's still don't work right half the time, kids will drop it, now have fun provisioning a new/temporary device for them, etc.)

    ...If you already have Windows AD in place, using a windows device eliminates allot of this stuff you need to re-create from scratch with Apple. If you're school is already on Google Apps, then Chromebooks or Windows devices running Chome are great.

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    I was investigating a similar scenario following completion of a whole school wireless solution at the end of last year. Looked at all 3 options with regards tablets (Android / IOS and Windows)

    All 3 have their pros/cons - Windows tablets would of been the easiest to integrate as many have said on here (domain/AD/GPO etc), Android I found were very cheap but there were many loop holes in terms of security and then you have the IOS devices which in terms of integration can be a bit of a nightmare. Having said that following lots of testing and playing with various devices I went down the IOS (iPad) route. Hit a lot of snags along the way, so lots of config changes but now have the devices setup and they work great.

    We already have a Citrix environment (both XenApp & XenDesktop) and I wanted to leverage this along with the plus points of IOS. I have now managed to get them fully integrated on our wireless network and we have the beauty of running Windows 7 on them as well as using them as a standard IOS device.

    I had to do a lot of fiddling to get them to work via Smoothwall but now have them linking in via a proxy.pac file that I have configured on my Smoothwall VM. This allows them to login when using a web browser (Safari) and be filtered by the correct user group (AD). I have configured the pac file so it also allows the users to launch a Citrix session to run a Windows 7 VDI session and they can still use all of the apps. To get everything working on the web filtering side took a lot of fiddling but is do-able.

    I use a Mac Mini with Apple Configurator to push out the base settings and lockdown including the wireless / proxy settings & apps and Meraki MDM to do the rest. Still in the early stages yet but so far they work great. The next bit for me is to get them linking to shared directories on our Windows network, just testing various apps to do this at the moment.

    I have just printed out an article that Apple are going to be launching a Device Enrollment Program (MDM) - just looking into this today.

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  12. #39

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    Our Head Has Asked Me To Obtain Opinions From Edugeek On Laptops/Notebooks Etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPElectron View Post
    A] need twice as many access points (cause apple devices have the weakest radios)
    Weakest in comparison to what? My iPad mini (Gen 1) and iPad Air both do better with keeping a WiFi signal than my Surface RT. And all three are much better than Chromebooks. The iPad Air in particular works very well and should as it has dual antennas and MIMO. The original iPad had weakfish WiFi, but we have around 300 iPads on our network iPad 1 to iPad Air and didn't have to double the number of APs we had. What sort of WiFi solution are you using that required that. Of course if you barely had enough APs to start with and threw a bunch of extra devices into WiFi, then that might explain it. Remember correlation does not equal causation.

    B] more software licensing (some Apple-specific management solution)
    There are free MDM solutions that don't require buying any Apple hardware or software. If you want to use Configurator, it's free, and Server App for Apple's own MDM solution costs $20. That won't break the bank, and if it does there are far bigger concerns than whether the iPad is the best solution for you (like keeping the lights on).

    C] more hardware (iOS print server/xprintserver, Bluetooth keyboards, chargers cause they don't last though the whole school day, cover with a stand, AppleTV/other solutions for streaming to the projector)
    If you bought that Mac Mini then you could buy Printopia for another $20 and AirPrint away. If you want an even better more integrated solution and use Papercut, they have an AirPrint solution. We use Printopia Pro and wide area bonjour to publish 50 Papercut printers across 6 VLANs. (WLANs) Cost - $150. If you are buying a Bluetooth keyboard for every iPad - then you bought the wrong device. What you really wanted was a laptop.

    Batteries don't last the whole day? What are you doing on them, watching HD movies all day in class? The iPad has the longest battery of most tablets and longer than almost all laptops. I think you must be just jerking my chain now...

    D]more user support time (cause Apple ID's still don't work right half the time, kids will drop it, now have fun provisioning a new/temporary device for them, etc.)
    Yes, the Apple ID thing can be a royal pain. So is the Microsoft ID for Windows 8/8.1 apps. None of the major vendors seem to have considered the impact on mass deployments with this. However, iOS 7.1 may change this, remains to be seen.

    Kids drop them, yes. They also drop Surface or Android tablets. Get a good case, such as the nearly bullet-proof Survivor. Much cheaper than paying for repairs.


    ...If you already have Windows AD in place, using a windows device eliminates allot of this stuff you need to re-create from scratch with Apple. If you're school is already on Google Apps, then Chromebooks or Windows devices running Chome are great.
    Yep, no reason to do anything, except the cheese has moved now. It's not 1999 anymore and I've seen school IT staff dismissed and replaced because they "couldn't" make tablets, Chromebooks, or Macs work in a school and the school wanted to use them (sometimes for VERY good reason, sometimes for less perfect reasons), and were determined to do so. I've also had several techs tell me that it's impossible to integrate Macs into a Windows domain, only to be told by their boss - "then how are these other schools doing it? Or, do you mean its impossible for YOU to do it?" Not a good way to stay in the game long term.

    Learn, grow, succeed.
    Last edited by seawolf; 4th March 2014 at 11:49 PM.

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  14. #40

    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    What version of Windows are you running for your backend, 2003, 2008, 2008R2, 2012, or 2012R2 - particularly your AD infrastructure? If you aren't on 2012 or 2012R2 you would want to plan an upgrade before diving head first into Windows 8/8.1. Otherwise, you will be frustrated with your limited ability to configure and control the Windows 8/8.1 experience for your users (and your sanity would suffer). The Surface is a great bit of hardware, but expensive as you'll need the Pro version. .
    So we meet again...

    And you complain about other people talking rubbish, you can manage Windows 8 stuff perfectly fine with a 2008 backend, probably even a 2003 one with the RSAT tools. You loose a few of the nice to have features like AD KMS and password policies but they whole point of Windows server is that it is extensible, you don't need to be running the very latest to work with new devices.

    The new hybrid tablets that are keyboard dockable and have the latest quad core atoms are quite capable and give you longer battery, lighter weight and all that compatibility and management in my opinion. Why buy a tablet trolley when you can buy a tablet/laptop trolley for a little bit more with a stack more compatibility with everything and very little lock in in comparison. Lots of places like flash, and chrome, and other things all of which can be added in.

    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    In fact, my advice would be to test any unit that you are considering buying before making ANY recommendations. Recommending something from the marketing brochures, based on specs, or even word of mouth doesn't amount to a hill of beans if they end up not working as expected in YOUR environment for YOUR purposes. If a supplier won't provide a demo unit for you to test before placing a big order then look to another supplier. Try, then buy.
    Here we go, actual unbiased sense, that's what I like to see. This bit I agree with entirely, get the right devices for what you are actually going to use them for and make sure they work before you are buried under a pile of whatever solution the vendor/sales drone promised would work.

    You should never start out with a technology in mind, start with a goal and then list what you need to accomplish that goal then find the devices that best suite your requirements.

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  16. #41

    seawolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    So we meet again...

    And you complain about other people talking rubbish, you can manage Windows 8 stuff perfectly fine with a 2008 backend, probably even a 2003 one with the RSAT tools. You loose a few of the nice to have features like AD KMS and password policies but they whole point of Windows server is that it is extensible, you don't need to be running the very latest to work with new devices.
    I haven't tested it since early last year, but at that point in time there were some real problems. I still see loads of posts on forums about this very thing, so figured it hadn't gotten better. Perhaps it has, if so, I retract the comment. I wouldn't want to try cramming a square peg into a round hole by managing them with 2003 though...

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  18. #42

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeekyPete View Post
    BYOD can include laptops.
    It can, but would you want to restrict the type of devices pupils can bring in under such a scheme? No phones, no charging cables, no screens bigger than 12" - for arguement sake? Other wise I suppose you do get into the disorganised chaos hinted at above.

    No. I think you and I are on the same page regarding BYOD.
    Possibly. I think there is a business case for BYOD in place of a school supplying 1:1 tablets. However, either school supplied tablets or BYOD should be implented alongside providing for existing ICT requirements not replacing. So they're are hardly a cost saving measure (pupils have iPads =/= no ICT suites).

    So until everything is cloud based we are still looking at school managed devices.
    It is irrresponsible and bad governance to give people an iPad and open access to the internet.
    I'm not so sure - and there's a whole teaching and learning/classroom management can of worms their. I'm sure I've read of schools that have opened the can and let out the worms. Why not provide a transparent proxy with only extreme content filtered for everyone? Why rely on technology to stop pupils going to facebook or games sites or whatever? Surely it's the teachers job to teach safe internet use and keep pupils on task? (not suggesting it's a route we are likely to take here mind, just throwing the question out there).

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    At the end of last year we were looking at tablet alternatives to the netbooks we were supplying to our (primary school) children and have settled with the Asus VivoTab. I am currently configuring 35 of them and I have to say I am quite happy with them at the moment. Although not the most powerful they can still run a lot of programs we use without too many problems. Main problem has been integrating Win 8.1 into our Win 7 network.

    We as a school are going to try to expose the children to a mixed OS environment so they are ready for what they will face when they leave school. Loads of schools have gone solely down the iPad route, how is this any different to just having MS computers?

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  21. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by smidsy View Post
    ...try to expose the children to a mixed OS environment so they are ready for what they will face when they leave school. Loads of schools have gone solely down the iPad route, how is this any different to just having MS computers?
    ...except that the business world uses PCs. Exception if their in design/tv production/editing/creative fields they will probably use a Mac, but everywhere else is still a PC.

    You should use whatever platform provides the best apps/learning experience for your students - one that all teachers can get behind - and IT can adequately support with a good level of proficiency/service - don't spread yourself to thin supporting everything that walks in the door.

    As an aside: Incorporating technology in the classroom should NOT be about learning the OS, it should be about how to effectively use the device as a tool, as an aid to productivity; for research, for learning, for discovery, to produce reports/homework/presentations - and I wish part of this was Internet security/safety/not opening files you don't trust, and general file management (not save everything to the desktop) and how to backup - these are the things you should be worried about "teaching" - not specifically what OS they will be proficient in.
    Last edited by JPElectron; 5th March 2014 at 10:09 PM.

  22. #45
    rdk
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    I'm not so sure - and there's a whole teaching and learning/classroom management can of worms their. I'm sure I've read of schools that have opened the can and let out the worms. Why not provide a transparent proxy with only extreme content filtered for everyone? Why rely on technology to stop pupils going to facebook or games sites or whatever? Surely it's the teachers job to teach safe internet use and keep pupils on task? (not suggesting it's a route we are likely to take here mind, just throwing the question out there).
    That's what we do - everything is online (Google Apps), kids just access the internet (ie no shared drives) via our proxy with the usual sites blocked and filtered for the usual type of content. We have a non-managed, school-provided (but parents contribute to costs) 1:1 program, with the kids admin of their own machine. Yes, they install games etc, but its the teachers' responsibility to make sure the kids are on task.

    The new year sevens last month received MacBook Airs - everyone loves them.

    We are a girls' school though - makes a big difference.

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