+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20
MIS Systems Thread, SIMS.net February main release delayed in Technical; I know, you're problem asking where January went but Decemeber was quite late and was probably skipped to make room ...
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,187
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Rep Power
    0

    SIMS.net February main release delayed

    I know, you're problem asking where January went but Decemeber was quite late and was probably skipped to make room for PLASC.

    According to Capita, Feb needs further tweeking because of a problem found during testing. (Yes, amazing. They do test before release!)

    To be fair, if the problem wasn't sorted then it would mean an admin install on all client PCs.

    Unfortunately it means that System Manager 7 will won't debut for a while longer.

    The good news is that it appears Capita are close to migrating to SQL Server 2005/Express. This will require workstation visits and machines will have to be on .Net Framework 2 or 3.


    Oh did I say good news....

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,403
    Thank Post
    38
    Thanked 385 Times in 261 Posts
    Rep Power
    84

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    We have a huge test programme which involves schools!

    Anyway the problem that we found related to an old directory from around 2002/3 - the changes to System Manager meant that a admin rights would be required to sort this out. There was just too little notice to issue the software and get the CFR done.

    The existence of this directory could also explain some idiosyncratic behaviour on some workstations as Windows would have kept on replacing our new DLLs with the old ones. We'll post more on this on our web sites.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,187
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Rep Power
    0

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal
    We have a huge test programme which involves schools!
    Yeah, certainly feels like it some times

    Anyway the problem that we found related to an old directory from around 2002/3 - the changes to System Manager meant that a admin rights would be required to sort this out. There was just too little notice to issue the software and get the CFR done.
    You're quite right. It best to get it right before release. Still, I have being looking forward to System Manager 7. I don't if it was Dan Clark who said that it would finally allow us to see who was on SIMS and force 'em of before and upgrade without having to resort to a generic pathc.

    The promised single sign-on feature is also good but I hope there will still be the option to have a seperate SIMS sign in for occasion when tesing a number of SIMS logons under the same Windows user.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,403
    Thank Post
    38
    Thanked 385 Times in 261 Posts
    Rep Power
    84

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    .. and I thought I'd phrased it so carefully!!

    The changes that were planned for Feb wouldn't have shown you who was logged on. That requires SM7.

    The reason that we can't tell you who is logged on is that we do not use a permanent connection to the database. This is the same as any browser application. We did this to avoid schools having to buy the full version of SQL Server. In fact MSDE doesn't slow down at all with permanent connections and SQL Express doesn't have the limiter in the first place.

    SM7 will introduce the new method of connecting.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,187
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Rep Power
    0

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal
    .. and I thought I'd phrased it so carefully!!
    Sorry Phil. Couldn't help it. That line was going begging.

    The changes that were planned for Feb wouldn't have shown you who was logged on. That requires SM7.
    Oh OK. I guess I'd better just be glad of the respite between PLASC and the Feb Rel

  6. #6
    mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    3,987
    Thank Post
    275
    Thanked 52 Times in 46 Posts
    Blog Entries
    2
    Rep Power
    48

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    Well I sorta took no notice of the good news bit :P that's a given!

  7. #7
    tosca925's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Midlands
    Posts
    1,547
    Thank Post
    4
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
    Rep Power
    22

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    CMiS...............!!!!!!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    110
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Rep Power
    0

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    Don't like to take over a thread but since Phil seems to regularly read this I wouldn't mind his comments on the following:-

    1. Sims is too slow. You mention the full version of MS SQL. Would that make any difference to the speed? There is also a great deal of legacy hardware in school and much of this stuggles to cope with SIMS and schools cannot afford to upgrade the hardware. Similarly the requirement for Office 2003 in one of the "upgrades" this year would cost our school around £16000. Obviously I don't need to upgrade all of the curriculum machines but a consistent view/version is desirable.

    2. The interface is a joke. Talk about counter-intuitive. I have used hundreds of different software packages over the years but every time the staff have a problem I seem to have to re-learn it (OK it might be my age as well!). Nobody seems to think about the way we (mis)use it in school. As an example AssMan seems have collected hundreds of reports with no way of deleting or organising them.

    3. It is too bloated. Get it to do the simple things well and quickly. Even within our support unit no-one understands the "whole" system so how are schools meant to deal with comments like "You should have done X in Nova in order to make Y in AssMan work and, by the way, the way you set up the school year could also affect it"

    4. Only release when it has been thoroughly tested and not to a timetable. Surely it is embarrassing that each "upgrade" is delayed. If you look throught the threads here you can almost hear the laughter when there is a delay.

    OK. Finished. We have no easy alternative but to use SIMS (which is part of the problem) so we might as well push to improve it.

  9. #9
    steve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    West Yorkshire
    Posts
    1,047
    Thank Post
    22
    Thanked 178 Times in 124 Posts
    Rep Power
    53

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    As a SIMS partnership school, we tend to get a bit more of the big picture and as a result I'm a bit of a sims convert. A few of my thoughts:

    Quote Originally Posted by mighty.grey.eagle
    1. Sims is too slow. You mention the full version of MS SQL. Would that make any difference to the speed? There is also a great deal of legacy hardware in school and much of this stuggles to cope with SIMS and schools cannot afford to upgrade the hardware. Similarly the requirement for Office 2003 in one of the "upgrades" this year would cost our school around £16000. Obviously I don't need to upgrade all of the curriculum machines but a consistent view/version is desirable.
    Capita are working on using the free office readers, so no expensive office upgrade should be needed.

    I've seen a fair few schools where the admin computers are neglected in terms of upgrades - both hardware and software. The SMT in these schools need to understand that all PC's need updating, not just the ones seen on parents evenings.

    I've seen people think an old 486 is good enough for admin, then blame capita for all their woes and switch to serco. Only when serco doesn't work, they go buy new PC's.

    Quote Originally Posted by mighty.grey.eagle
    2. The interface is a joke. Talk about counter-intuitive. I have used hundreds of different software packages over the years but every time the staff have a problem I seem to have to re-learn it (OK it might be my age as well!). Nobody seems to think about the way we (mis)use it in school. As an example AssMan seems have collected hundreds of reports with no way of deleting or organising them.
    Personaly I like the interface and think it has improved no end. There was an extensive consultation process on the latest changes.

    Quote Originally Posted by mighty.grey.eagle
    3. It is too bloated. Get it to do the simple things well and quickly. Even within our support unit no-one understands the "whole" system so how are schools meant to deal with comments like "You should have done X in Nova in order to make Y in AssMan work and, by the way, the way you set up the school year could also affect it"
    I won't deny some bits of SIMS are painfully slow and can grind the entire system to a stand still.

    When the grand plan of everything being .net is complete, this will make support and the underlying interconnectios much better. Migrating all the old applications to .net is and will continue to take long time. But if it was all done over night it would be a nightmare.

    Quote Originally Posted by mighty.grey.eagle
    4. Only release when it has been thoroughly tested and not to a timetable. Surely it is embarrassing that each "upgrade" is delayed. If you look throught the threads here you can almost hear the laughter when there is a delay.
    Despite all our feelings on the upgrades, capita do test and test extensively. Yes in a couple of recent updates things haven't gone according to plan, but once a problem was discovered they did their best to minimise the effect on schools.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    110
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Rep Power
    0

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    Quote Originally Posted by steve
    Capita are working on using the free office readers, so no expensive office upgrade should be needed.
    So don't release the software until these free readers work!

    Quote Originally Posted by steve
    I've seen a fair few schools where the admin computers are neglected in terms of upgrades - both hardware and software.
    In the ideal world we would all have up-to-date hardware and software but schools have budgetary contraints. If the server side worked more efficiently then the hardware on the client side would be less stressed. Schools are the end-users and it is us that that should be deciding upon specifications - not the other way round.

    Quote Originally Posted by steve
    Personaly I like the interface and think it has improved no end. There was an extensive consultation process on the latest changes.
    Let us agree to disagree on this one..........

    Quote Originally Posted by steve

    When the grand plan of everything being .net is complete, this will make support and the underlying interconnectios much better. Migrating all the old applications to .net is and will continue to take long time. But if it was all done over night it would be a nightmare.
    Agreed. But we have to use the software now.

    Got to go now to bend my MP's ear about how good open source software can be

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,403
    Thank Post
    38
    Thanked 385 Times in 261 Posts
    Rep Power
    84

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    You don't give examples of what you mean by slow so I'm guessing - AM6 & Profiles 6 had slow outputs down to the link to Word. AM7/Profiles 7 fly because we now use OML. Some schools complain of slow start-up speed - normally that is a set-up problem with the virus scanner or possibly a really under spec server. There are some things that we are doing to help performance on low spec machines. SQL Express will speed things up a little.

    We already support some links to open source word processors but making slick links to all the open source flavours is expensive and time consuming. Our priority is to satisfy the majority of schools first and Open Source users are rare.

    You don't say what you consider to be bloat - I'd be interested in examples of what schools don't need. Virtually everything we add has come from long discussions with users.

    We are influenced by high end users that use SIMS to improve learning outcomes and one issue that we have is that many SLTs do not appreciate exactly what an MIS can do to tackle under performance, behaviour etc. I have visited schools where they have completely transformed their standing by using the information in SIMS. When the SLT appreciate what an MIS can do they will invest.

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    West Midlands
    Posts
    314
    Thank Post
    29
    Thanked 19 Times in 18 Posts
    Rep Power
    21

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    I completely agree with Phil and Steve on this one. It’s good to know that Capita are testing the Feb Release properly so we don't have deal with many updates.

    We find SIMS does have the occasional go slow; but we have no major problems here. Teachers use SIMS every hour to Register kids and we haven't looked back since the eradication Bromcom!! We now use SIMS for Profiles, Assessment Manager and have been using SIMS for many years for Pupil data, Exams, Timetabling and Cover, and Options.

    We are now seeing our MIS tying up nicely with other modules... and its good to see teachers using SIMS to the fullest ... to improve, enhance and support teaching and learning which is what it is ultimately designed to do.

    The new interface is very innovative ... and I do feel better personally with a Windows Application User Interface rather than a Web Interface as these can be tedious for data entry.

    I hope this thread doesn't become a blast SIMS thread! :axe:

  13. #13
    mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    3,987
    Thank Post
    275
    Thanked 52 Times in 46 Posts
    Blog Entries
    2
    Rep Power
    48

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    Ooh - I'm going to bite on the 'free office readers' comment....

    Those readers don't work, and it's been 5 months already that we've been forced into using MS Office 2003 only.

    (boy am I fighting back the urge to shout!! )

    It is outrageous that the software was released with this blatent tie in, and I think someone should sue Capita against European Law.

    We have already had to roll out MSO2003 to all our Admin Team and are planning on doing the same to our 60 odd classroom PCs.

    I'm sorry Phil, I really appreciate your comments around these forums and elsewhere, but that statement I find offensive:-

    We already support some links to open source word processors but making slick links to all the open source flavours is expensive and time consuming. Our priority is to satisfy the majority of schools first and Open Source users are rare.
    It's getting rarer because we're _having_ to buy Office 2003 now to use the software to create reports, and even preview reports.

    </goes for a lie down>

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    110
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Rep Power
    0

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal
    You don't give examples of what you mean by slow so I'm guessing - AM6 & Profiles 6 had slow outputs down to the link to Word.
    Slow to logon and, sometimes when there is a lot of processing, no connection at all. Timeout errors. You mention the possibility of an underspec server but it was "state of the art" 20 months ago. In fact we have two admin servers to try to share the load and speed things up. Tried to find out from your site what the present spec was but failed - perhaps you can give a link.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal
    You don't say what you consider to be bloat - I'd be interested in examples of what schools don't need. Virtually everything we add has come from long discussions with users.
    Might be shooting myself in the foot here but sometimes you shouldn't just give users what they want but what they need. Do the simple things that are needed by everyone and do them well. You often see this in Open source software where there are millions of tabs doing everything that you want but you can't understand it well enough to do the simple things.

    Bloat is also the complexity of the system in terms of one person understanding how everything links together. Mentioned this in an answer earlier.

    Delayed over the weekend in responding because I wanted to give exact figures. Since the 2nd of December I have had to upgrade or apply patches or backup to send the data away on 6 occasions - so something is going wrong with the testing. In a busy school I don't want to down the system in normal working hours so it is in my time that I have to perform this process.

    The important thing about this thread is that Phil is willing to stick his head over the parapet to try to improve things. It is appreciated.

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,403
    Thank Post
    38
    Thanked 385 Times in 261 Posts
    Rep Power
    84

    Re: SIMS.net February main release delayed

    There are a lot of threads in here!

    The bloat point is a hard one - whether we like it or not schools have to manage finances, personnel, timetables, exams, assessment, attendance, behaviour etc. The range of functionality required exceeds most businesses. I do think it is virtually impossible for one person to manage all of these things because each function is a specialist area in its own right. I do worry about primary schools that have very few staff but they still have to perform most of these tasks.

    The MS Viewer has been difficult to implement we have just about got it going now. OpenOffice works with SIMS now with the exception of graphing in AM.

    We have had to issue a number of patches to resolve PLASC behaviour and certainly more than we would like. PLASC is becoming very complex and we didn't get the corrected DfES validiation files until the end of December. Patches can be applied automatically overnight.



SHARE:
+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. SIMS August Main Release is here
    By DrFrankenMouse in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 2nd September 2007, 02:20 PM
  2. SIMS August Release Delayed
    By steve in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 1st August 2007, 12:51 PM
  3. AutoPatcher Vista February 2007
    By Zoom7000 in forum Windows Vista
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 20th February 2007, 01:45 PM
  4. So... I just tried the SIMS October 06 release
    By pete in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 20th October 2006, 02:58 PM
  5. Vista Delayed
    By nawbus in forum Windows Vista
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 30th March 2006, 12:43 PM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •