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MIS Systems Thread, SIMS Dec 08 in Technical; Originally Posted by moggy ...I like to know someone else has successfully installed it before I take the plunge. So, ...
  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by moggy View Post
    ...I like to know someone else has successfully installed it before I take the plunge.

    So, if you've installed it was it OK?
    It installed sucessfuly[1] here, after booting people out, and seems to run OK.

    [1] Well more acurately : As sucessfully as any of them do here, as LEA also decided they didn't need to follow RM's SIMS install white paper when setting it up on CC3 because they knew better. But that's purely our headache not a general one.

    [ Edit ] Sorry meant the extra patch not the December release
    Last edited by glensc; 13th January 2009 at 12:07 PM.

  2. #32

    matt40k's Avatar
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    Glad it made sense, in the middle of census calls... joy. So busy.

    No, no-one I know has installed Dec. By test monkey hasn't even installed it yet. I think his still hacked off after all the Nov releases.

    If you go onto supportnet, solution search then enter either dec 08 or december 08, you'll get a great big list of what it is suppose to fix. Most have a patch avalible. The most interesting one to me so far was that it suppose to fix an issue where if you have two staff teaching one class it comes up with duplicate marks (database diag). Still no-one has picked up on it yet except me, so I might be able to hold out till March. Figures crossed it'll be a stable on-time release.

  3. #33
    Quackers's Avatar
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    What i do not get is why do we have to do upgrades for a census? Surely this could be a report thats generated?

    If i could get away with it i would upgrade SIMS once a year, its disgusting the amount of upgrades this product needs, its all OTT! You need to get some decent software engineers capita! The Senior Managment Team get really annoyed with the SIMS Upgrades as somthing normally breaks, and the MIS is mission critical really!

    I did the November upgrade yesterday due to the Jan census, what a hassle

    Do PARS Kickout
    Reboot Server
    Upgrade SIMS
    Upgrade PARS
    Patch Sims Learning Gateway
    Upgrade PARS Connect
    Allow PARS Login's again
    Teachers Upgrade SIMS on laptop/workstation
    PARS Upgrade on laptops/workstations

    All this, almost once a month Then go and find what was working is now not.

    If the SIMS Learning Gateway is broke after an upgrade i do not even bother phoning Capita's excuse for a support desk, its a waste of my time. I'm glad i do not have to deal with them directly for other SIMS programs. I would lose my temper.

  4. #34

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    has anybody got a download link for supportnet that will let me download the december update (whole cd iso )

    We have an issue and i want to try somthing on our Test system

    Thanks

    Andy

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    No the census cannot be just a report!

    We have to validate the content before sending it onto DCSF - if we didn't your school would be getting lots of phone calls. The DCSF actually produce the validation software that we have to call from SIMS. We also allow staff to drill directly into the data to correct errors - without this feature the census would occupy even more time.

  6. #36
    Mcshammer_dj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    No the census cannot be just a report!

    We have to validate the content before sending it onto DCSF - if we didn't your school would be getting lots of phone calls. The DCSF actually produce the validation software that we have to call from SIMS. We also allow staff to drill directly into the data to correct errors - without this feature the census would occupy even more time.
    But what may not have been made clear was that if a school had already been on november then the release for census was mainly to ensure that the xsl files were in place and on the workstations

  7. #37

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
    What i do not get is why do we have to do upgrades for a census? Surely this could be a report thats generated?

    If i could get away with it i would upgrade SIMS once a year, its disgusting the amount of upgrades this product needs, its all OTT! You need to get some decent software engineers capita! The Senior Managment Team get really annoyed with the SIMS Upgrades as somthing normally breaks, and the MIS is mission critical really!

    I did the November upgrade yesterday due to the Jan census, what a hassle

    Do PARS Kickout
    Reboot Server
    Upgrade SIMS
    Upgrade PARS
    Patch Sims Learning Gateway
    Upgrade PARS Connect
    Allow PARS Login's again
    Teachers Upgrade SIMS on laptop/workstation
    PARS Upgrade on laptops/workstations

    All this, almost once a month Then go and find what was working is now not.

    If the SIMS Learning Gateway is broke after an upgrade i do not even bother phoning Capita's excuse for a support desk, its a waste of my time. I'm glad i do not have to deal with them directly for other SIMS programs. I would lose my temper.
    Seems like a lot of your issues are down to PARS... If you remove all the PARS bits, it would run like this:

    Upgrade SIMS
    Teacher upgrade SIMS

    Not exactly a long process...

    You say that SIMS has a lot of updates, but Microsoft update monthly also. Anti-Virus updates are released every few hours! A few of the updates that Capita do are due to DSCF demands, others are bug fixes and others are feature requests from customers... How else can they do these? Without these fixes coming out every few months, you'll end up with customers unhappy with an unresponsive company instead of one that updates too often.

    Now, I have complained about SIMS.net myself on many occasion but I think this time it is a little unfair - Capita are trying to draw a line which provides adequate updates whilst keeping the amount of faffing down.

    However, I do have to say that Quality Control processes need looking at within the Capita Sims teams - far too many bugs are created by new releases. Better testing is needed for sure!

  8. 3 Thanks to localzuk:

    jamesb (13th January 2009), kiran (14th January 2009), Mcshammer_dj (13th January 2009)

  9. #38
    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    You say that SIMS has a lot of updates, but Microsoft update monthly also. Anti-Virus updates are released every few hours!
    True, however:
    * MS and AV updates do not get pulled an hour after release
    * they do not require much administrator input to deploy (or indeed any administrator input in the case of AV)
    * user impact is close to nil
    * everything that worked before the update continues to work after it

  10. #39

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickJones View Post
    True, however:
    * MS and AV updates do not get pulled an hour after release
    * they do not require much administrator input to deploy (or indeed any administrator input in the case of AV)
    * user impact is close to nil
    * everything that worked before the update continues to work after it
    1. Yes, they do. This happens occasionally. XP SP2 had a right faff when it was released.
    2. Again, XP release updates do often require admin input. Our updates for SIMS don't require any, as it is all automated now.
    3. Except when your AV decides a restart is needed, or XP does?
    4. Err... no. SP2... Even Outlook had issues after it was launched!

  11. Thanks to localzuk from:

    matt40k (13th January 2009)

  12. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickJones View Post
    True, however:
    * MS and AV updates do not get pulled an hour after release
    * they do not require much administrator input to deploy (or indeed any administrator input in the case of AV)
    * user impact is close to nil
    * everything that worked before the update continues to work after it
    There have been cases of MS pulling updates after release.

    User impact can be huge from some updates, I've had MS updates kill components of my system before, and AV updates which suddenly start issuing false alarms.

    As to everything that worked before the update continuing to work afterwards, you must've been exceedingly lucky if you've never had to roll back a Windows update.

    Administrative input for MS updates varies, depending on how much care you take not to fry your network. You'll note that Microsoft make WSUS available so that people can restrict updates until after they've been tested. I'd count this as administrative input.

  13. #41
    Quackers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Seems like a lot of your issues are down to PARS... If you remove all the PARS bits, it would run like this:

    Upgrade SIMS
    Teacher upgrade SIMS

    Not exactly a long process...

    You say that SIMS has a lot of updates, but Microsoft update monthly also. Anti-Virus updates are released every few hours! A few of the updates that Capita do are due to DSCF demands, others are bug fixes and others are feature requests from customers... How else can they do these? Without these fixes coming out every few months, you'll end up with customers unhappy with an unresponsive company instead of one that updates too often.

    Now, I have complained about SIMS.net myself on many occasion but I think this time it is a little unfair - Capita are trying to draw a line which provides adequate updates whilst keeping the amount of faffing down.

    However, I do have to say that Quality Control processes need looking at within the Capita Sims teams - far too many bugs are created by new releases. Better testing is needed for sure!
    You missed the SIMS Learning Gateway patches out of the upgrade list, and also the fact we only need to upgrade PARS because we upgrade SIMS and Capita's alter things so that PARS Crashes and needs an update.

    I would not get rid of PARS, its GUI is better designed than SIMS, the support is thousands of times better than SIMS, and its faster. Just look at PARS Insight and compare it to Capita's Parent site on the Learning Gateway.

    If its a new feature in an upgrade then you can choose to take it or leave it, these Census things force us to upgrade when things are working ok.

    I think SIMS needs some serious re-designing. Why can the part that does the census not be a a seperate program?

    I know i'm not the only one who has big issues with Capita and Sims, as you said yourself you have complained about SIMS.net, i'm just annoyed with the exception of 1 bug, everything was working fine, but i had to come in work at 6am on a Monday morning 2 hours early (when nobody is using the SIMS system) to do this massive upgrade just because of a census.

  14. #42

    matt40k's Avatar
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    Generally find most SIMS upgrade problems are down to poor setup. I mean in a secondary school you config the file permissions in group policy, so users can do the update themselves, it checks for updates each time they run SIMS, the actual db upgrade is pretty much fully automated.

    I feel sorry for Capita, I mean 22,000+ schools have SIMS, none of them are the same. You can't test every possible option, I mean I worked in a school where the sysman used to use the telephone field to hold his notes about students, I believe there is a (in)famous quote from Phil about Nova and how the user wasn't using the software correctly, but the end user was complaining because it allowed him to do it.

    The XSL files can be installed manually if you don't want to install anything but the Nov (1) install. It's now Jan, so that's about 2 months to do an upgrade. Which, you can even schedule!!

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Okay, so MS do occasionally pull updates, but to give an example of this happening, you've both gone back to XPSP2 which was a few years ago. Capita did it in December and November and September and.....

    As for the restart question, Localzuk, you are correct (which is why I said user impact was close to nil), however those can happen at a time of the users' choosing - or not at all, they simply turn the PC off at night and on again in the morning, and hey presto, a restart.

  16. #44

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
    You missed the SIMS Learning Gateway patches out of the upgrade list, and also the fact we only need to upgrade PARS because we upgrade SIMS and Capita's alter things so that PARS Crashes and needs an update.

    I would not get rid of PARS, its GUI is better designed than SIMS, the support is thousands of times better than SIMS, and its faster. Just look at PARS Insight and compare it to Capita's Parent site on the Learning Gateway.

    If its a new feature in an upgrade then you can choose to take it or leave it, these Census things force us to upgrade when things are working ok.

    I think SIMS needs some serious re-designing. Why can the part that does the census not be a a seperate program?

    I know i'm not the only one who has big issues with Capita and Sims, as you said yourself you have complained about SIMS.net, i'm just annoyed with the exception of 1 bug, everything was working fine, but i had to come in work at 6am on a Monday morning 2 hours early (when nobody is using the SIMS system) to do this massive upgrade just because of a census.
    Again, the fact that SIMS updates 'break' PARS is not SIMS.net's fault - it is down to PARS not being written in such a way which can handle updates by SIMS.net.

    As has been said - the census is required by the DSCF. Phil has further elaborated that this process then needs to run an external application which is provided to them - so they don't have control over this. Using a seperate application for the census would defeat the point of having SIMS.net as it is now - ie. a single, altogether application, and would lead back to the Launcher days where interactions between parts were a faff.

    If your upgrade is taking 2 hours, then as someone else has said, it has to be down to the way you have things set up.

    Why do PARS updates require a reboot? Can't they be automated like SIMS.net updates can? So, as I said before, it seems to be your problems are down to PARS and not SIMS.

  17. #45

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    [quote=NickJones;272962]Okay, so MS do occasionally pull updates, but to give an example of this happening, you've both gone back to XPSP2 which was a few years ago. Capita did it in December and November and September and.....[quote]

    Microsoft Watch - Vista - Microsoft Pulls Troubled Vista Update

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