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Hardware Thread, suites of laptops in Technical; We are thinking of getting a suite of laptops for classroom use. We are an upper school - I imagine ...
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    suites of laptops

    We are thinking of getting a suite of laptops for classroom use. We are an upper school - I imagine such laptops work very well in lower/junior schools.

    Has anyone any experience of using laptops like this? My major concerns are charging (if they are in use every lesson their batteries are sure to run down - if not at first then definitley when the batteries age a bit), and damage. I have been told that on average 25% will be out of order at any given time - seems a lot to me.

    I'd vert much appreciate any comments/information anyone may have.

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    markwatkins's Avatar
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    Our experience with 4 suites of laptops is that 25% is about right maybe just keys removed or battery problems.. you need a good laptop trolley so they are charged whenever not in use.

    I have to say we have far more problems with damage to them than inn our suites of pcs, so look forward to lots of them in your office with silly problems!!

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    timbo343's Avatar
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    haha, Our science dept did this, they wanted a set of laptops, to take out to feeder schools, so we said, right, these laptops are only to be used in primary schools. After a while the teachers soon twigged that the laptops would be a good idea to get out of teaching the kids (well thats my view on it), and now they are used in most science lessons. We have no end of problems with them with keys going missing, people forgetting to turn the wireless on the laptops, oh, we had to put in 2 access points to cope with the network traffic as one AP wasnt strong enough. 25% does seem about right to be honest, we have even had kids reset the bios passwords as the bios on the toshs that we have got dont work right, phoned toshiba and am still waiting for a phone call back from their HQ in germany as no-one else has spotted this problem.

    I would say, if they are going to be used ONLY out in the primary schools, then yeah, get some, but if the laptops are going to be used in classrooms, stay well clear.

    Ask them to get a room full of PCs.

    Tim

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    kath (14th May 2008)

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    Paid_Peanuts's Avatar
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    We have - ready for it, 26 laptop trolleys with 15 in each!

    And to be honest if you get things right in the first place you should be fine.

    We password protect the bios with a strong password and enable wireless within and prevent user disabling with Fn+wireless buttons.

    Through AD lockdown they cannot get to properties of WLAN/LAn so no trouble there.

    We use Cisco 1242AG network points for coverage with WLAn controller - no problems there.

    I do say to the staff in the department that gets the trolley that any damages to the laptops the department must pay for! - Amazing how much more care they take over them then!

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    timbo343's Avatar
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    We password protect the bios with a strong password

    On yeah, we tried that, but the tosh's that we have got, you can override the supervisor password by not entering a thing and press enter. This gets you into the BIOS where you can set a user password which then you have to input a password for the machine to boot. Major flaw in the L10s BIOS and tosh are not going to do anything about it.

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    Paid_Peanuts's Avatar
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    I can't believe that of Toshiba! - Sorry to hear you have this issue.

    Also to mention we haven't had the laptops long enough for any battery issues. no doubt these will start to appear in the next year or so... oh joy.

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    kath (14th May 2008)

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    timbo343's Avatar
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    And tosh turned round and said, that i was the first person to report this issue.

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    Yeah, the first person, TODAY!

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    Kids pulling keys off is the biggest problem - department don't like having to pay 50 for new keyboards either! - and then the second problem is the switching off of the wireless cards (although you would think that the bright blue LED would give them a clue!).

    We only have 1 trolley of 30 laptops and they run as Citrix clients which mitigates the majority of the problems associated with bandwidth. The Bluesocket network helps too.

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    kath (14th May 2008)

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    timbo343's Avatar
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    no no, first person ever. Like i say, I was one step down from The tosh HQ in germany. The woman on the phone said that she had managed to get a work around, until i proved her wrong and got her to test it out on the phone. She was very supprised.

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    timbo343's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post
    Kids pulling keys off is the biggest problem - department don't like having to pay 50 for new keyboards either! - and then the second problem is the switching off of the wireless cards (although you would think that the bright blue LED would give them a clue!).

    We only have 1 trolley of 30 laptops and they run as Citrix clients which mitigates the majority of the problems associated with bandwidth. The Bluesocket network helps too.
    We have started buying extra keyboards off ebay, and use the keys as spares. Best way instead of spending about 100. I remember a kid broke the key off the laptop, engineer came out (as they were still under warranty), fitted the keyboard, then the motherboard didnt work. I sure the engineer broke the motherboard. All in all it came to 250. We could have bought a new laptop for that.

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    We have 5 mobile classrooms of 15 laptops and they are nothing but agro! To be fair we bought some RM Mobile One laptops and they seem to work well. At least they are ruggedised and you can force wireless always on in the bios.

    The others we have are regularly vandalised, keys picked off etc. We took them apart and broke the little tabs off behind the wireless button as they kept turning it off so now they stab right through with pens etc.

    I bl**dy hate them!

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    kath (14th May 2008)

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    We use DELL Latitude laptops with media bay batteries in place of optical drives, this gives us a whole days use & means they don't need recharging during the day, which reduces the number of charge/discharge cycles and makes the batteries last longer.

    The other posts cover most of the issues, we have had loads of keyboards damaged, by now my technicians are quite adept at re-attaching keys, I cannot do it because my old eyes don't focus on small objects

    If a keyboard is beyond repair we bill the subject dept BEFORE we replace the keyboard.

    I would say it costs us 10x the amount of effort to maintain wireless connected laptops compared to desktop PCs.

    I have nightmares about the prospect of having a whole school full(1000) Asus Eee PCs (or similar) & laptops post BSF..... I think I will be looking for early retirement if that happens

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    The others we have are regularly vandalised, keys picked off etc. We took them apart and broke the little tabs off behind the wireless button as they kept turning it off so now they stab right through with pens etc.
    
    I bl**dy hate them!
    Oh yes exactly our experience... strangely enough our science dept is the worst offender.. why don't the teachers watch them?? At the moment we have 3 of the 30 science laptops 1 broken screen 2 with mutilated CD drives and one of those with a PCMCIA slot that has been forced in!

    As for Toshiba don't get me started! there are at least 2 people that no about BIOS

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