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Mac Thread, Quick questions - please help in Technical; Yesterday our Head had a meeting with a possible new member of the music department who wants to teach music ...
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    Quick questions - please help

    Yesterday our Head had a meeting with a possible new member of the music department who wants to teach music tech. We had been planning on a suite of windows desktops but as i expected he's refusing to use these and only wants Macs. Now i dont want the whole windows/mac debate but can someone answer these questions quickly as i'm meeting the head in a couple of hours and have no previous mac experience.

    Login using AD creditionals seems to be ok from what i can see?

    Can you map home drives, resource drives etc at login?

    Macserver, are they needed? Will they make my life easier with managing them?

    Do i need to lock them down in the same way as i do via GPO's or is there no real need?

    I use Fog to image windows desktops can i do this with macs?

    Is there anything i need to be aware of that others have learnt from putting Macs into a school thats only ever had windows?

    Thanks
    Last edited by dave.81; 9th July 2010 at 09:33 AM.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Question 1 - Yes its fine
    Question 2 - Yes you can but its a complete faff and a PITA (In my experience anyway)
    Question 3 - No you don't NEED one, but it can help. You could get one and set domain trusts so that it talks with your other servers and does various drive mappings and the like, plus its a learning curve if you haven't used one before.
    Question 4 - MACs work well, but do not pay attention to the whole "MACs don't get viruses" because they do, and when they do, they are WORSE than windows. Also safari has various bugs that leaves your machines open to attacks.

    Personally based on the fact that you are going to pay a fortune for MAC hardware, and OS (which WILL need upgrading shortly after every new release if you want to have the latest bug fixes etc), then I would push for a windows environment. If that is not an option, then suggest that the music budget pays for the hardware and your subsequent training to support it!

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    dave.81 (9th July 2010)

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    Thanks nephilim, with the mapping of drives how do your students get to their homedrives? Or do you use some sort of local storage?

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    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    There would need to be a VERY strong argument as to what software is Mac only to justify the cost.

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    dave.81 (9th July 2010)

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    I have it mapped as follows on our MACs.

    smb://Servername/storage area

    However it is viewed as a mounted drive on the MAC. I do not have individually set mapped drives, but within the storage area, are all of the pupils folders, each one individually passworded with a password that only the student should know (and myself as I have the master list).

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    dave.81 (9th July 2010)

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICT_GUY View Post
    There would need to be a VERY strong argument as to what software is Mac only to justify the cost.
    Not only that, also as to why it is better than the windows equivalent!

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    dave.81 (9th July 2010)

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    If you absolutely have to go down the Mac route, try "Admit Mac" for adding the Mac's to your Windows domain.

    Allows user authentication, and also allows mapping of home drives and isn't massively expensive. This is the route we've gone down, and we've managed to avoid having to buy a mac server.

    However, as has been said before, insist that the Music department (or the school) pay for you to be trained on them. We've got 6 in school for Media Studies, and we said we didn't want them in school, we said that we would need to be trained to support them effectively. We were ignored, and now they have a problem which we don't even know how to begin to fix.

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    dave.81 (9th July 2010)

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    I believe the software was called garageband or something along those lines? For the extra cost and training involved i cannot personally see the justification in it, although our Head has suddenly become a Mac fan which has had him pushing to get them into school somehow.

    The suite is meant to be multi-purpose being bookable by other departments when not in use by music and if they are macs i can see this becoming a big drain on my time. I dont have anything against the Macs really and would like to have a few so students can experience more than windows but not sure this justifies them over other areas/departments.

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    36Degrees's Avatar
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    I only have a limited experience with Macs, like you within our Music department, but with regards to point 3 we now have the server version of the macmini and just adding that has made managing them much easier. It hardly takes up any room and we can easily VNC to it when required.

    Another positive has been installing Apple Remote Desktop on the teachers Mac.

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    dave.81 (9th July 2010)

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    Garageband for PC

    Seriously one app to spend 3 x the money on a suite? Wow

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    dave.81 (9th July 2010)

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    Garageband is good, but nowhere near professional enough to need Macs for. Logic Pro - yes. I had zero experience with Macs this time last year, but we now have a similar setup for Music Tech, with a set of 15 iMacs, a teacher Mac Mini, and a Mac Mini Server running the back end. User home folders are mapped from their AD settings. The Mac Server locks down most of the system settings, so they have not been messed with much! Sophos AV installs on them pretty easily, and updates fine. FOG is for Windows, but there are decent free imaging solutions for Mac that should work alongside it.

    With educational pricing, Macs aren't horrendously expensive, and the software site licences are good value. Logic Pro is a mare as it comes on 8 DVDs and takes about 5 hours to install, but otherwise they've been a good addition to our network and the kids love them.

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    dave.81 (9th July 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.81 View Post
    I believe the software was called garageband or something along those lines? For the extra cost and training involved i cannot personally see the justification in it, although our Head has suddenly become a Mac fan which has had him pushing to get them into school somehow.

    The suite is meant to be multi-purpose being bookable by other departments when not in use by music and if they are macs i can see this becoming a big drain on my time. I dont have anything against the Macs really and would like to have a few so students can experience more than windows but not sure this justifies them over other areas/departments.
    I'm quite a big mac fan myself but I really can't see Garageband by itself as a good reason to do this. Logic, or Final Cut Pro or similar, yes.

    However, if you have to, you have to.

    The specific answers to your questions in your first post are
    "Yes, no problem, you don't need 3rd party software either; Yes no problem; No but it may help; that depends on your students, we certainly do; can't comment on Fog as I don't know that, but OSX has its own imaging tools that work well".

    Don't forget you can install a Mac version of Microsoft office onto these machines, and you can get things like email working on them too (we have exchange email services available to mac users using the apple mail app).

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    dave.81 (9th July 2010)

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    Also be aware that latest versions of software sometimes require latest OS version on a Mac = Paying to update them all!

    As some of our Macs are 3 years old (still newer than most PCs) we also ended up upgrading the memory on them. This was more expensive than I would have thought as they only had 2 slots each with a 256MB SODIMM.

    *Edit: Forgot that the macmini server already has imaging tools that are reasonably simple to use

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    Thanks for all the advice, after just having a meeting it appears this is the way we will be going and it will become our 2nd IT Suite over our current one which is smaller. Not sure how staff are going to adjust, the students shouldn't have any issues they seem to pick things up pretty quick.

    Now it'll be can i actually get it setup in time for the start of term.

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    The fun part is when they start asking to do the SIMS register on the teacher one. Explaining how to reboot into your Boot-Camp Windows XP install, then restart back into OSX is probably enough to give the staff a migraine. If you have a web based registration system it's sooooo much better.

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