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Network and Classroom Management Thread, New to RM and CC3 - Advice for going forward? in Technical; Hi all, have been browsing the site today with great interest. A friend of mine is becoming headmaster at a ...
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    New to RM and CC3 - Advice for going forward?

    Hi all, have been browsing the site today with great interest. A friend of mine is becoming headmaster at a small school for 3-11 year olds, and they were left in the lurch with the old IT technician/manager taking retirement a couple of months ago without much warning. They haven't had time to do a proper search and so I was asked to come and step in for 3-6 months. I've got a degree in Soft. Eng. and so don't worry, I'm not totally out of my depth, but this is a strange situation...

    First, the school has about 40 RM CC3 workstations (and a separate admin network that they pay support for with a different local company - why that is not the ICT technician's job no one seems to know). I have never used RM products before, but over the last two days have been frantically trying to get up to speed (and it doesn't help that I still don't have access to a systemadmin account, but that will be mine soon). The only person who knows a little something about the RM system is a full time teacher, and so finding time with him is difficult and he is not a technical person.

    There are problems all over the place and some of them I'll be able to tackle, and some I won't. I need to rollout a new Flash install (which I'll be able to tackle thanks to some posts I found here). They're still running IE6 (!!!) on essentially all workstations. The main ICT Suite gets incredibly hot during the day, and the scheduled shutdown and reboot doesn't always work. These are just a couple of issues that people have raised to me and that I will be able to fix once I get to grips with how CC3 handles network upgrades and scheduled tasks.

    Then there are problems that I don't know where to start with. The network is incredibly slow at times, which given the size of the network should not be happening at all (and at this point I can see two separate problems with internet speed and local network speed, which my gut tells me aren't correlated). I've seen a logon for a student take nearly 10 minutes, the machines are "ecoquiets" and are apparently 3 years old.

    Anyway, I just wanted to give you all a feel for the situation - messed up. What I'd like to ask to the knowledgeable people here is - when you were first introduced to CC3, was there anything - resources etc. - you found particularly useful? Is there anything that I'm going to blunder right into and ruin? Any tips for the immediate fixes (IE6 and network speed especially)? Am I going to spend most of my time on the phone to RM, or will there be things I can diagnose and resolve myself? Given how things seem to be out of date, is there any "must dos" that you can think of?

    My plan of attack is to spend the next few months while they find a permanent replacement making his/her entry a heck of a lot easier. Comprehensive stock check, licenses all recorded, a ticket management system (just for my own sanity), a proper network map, something like Spiceworks to keep track of network usage to make recommendations for the future, and the construction of a roadmap for the future (the new headmaster is very keen on looking 3-5 years in the future and how they can use the current mess of a situation as a springboard to a new start) - including the possible integration of the admin side and the current "RM" side into one network. Any recommendations about any of this would be much appreciated.

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    Boredguy's Avatar
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    Firstly, check to see if the school still has a valid RM Support contract. If so, then you can gain access to the RM Support site, as well as their own forums.
    With access to their support site you can download a package for deploying IE7 out to the clients, as well as the information for updating the Usertypes to work correctly with it.

    I would hope that there is still the original RM CC3 manuals kicking around, they look like A5 booklets with combinding on them, and should be broken down into some of the core features such as User Management, Workstation Management etc.

    I've been working with RM systems for over 14 years and anything is really possible with CC3 (which is now a bit long in the tooth!)

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    martyarf (10th June 2011)

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    Sounds like it hasn't been looked after since it was installed - but all is not lost and as Boredguy has mentioned above, if the school still has some sort of support contract through RM or the Local Authority then getting a logon at RM Education - Inspiring Engaging Learning is important and will point you in the right direction if you can't find manuals etc.

    Where are you based - I am sure a few members on here will gladly give you a hand if your local - myself included.

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    martyarf (10th June 2011)

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    Somewhere on RM.com is the Knowledge Library which should have a lot of info about CC3, not sure if you need an account, but you may still be able to register on the site anyway even if your support agreement has run out

    I actually work (via TUPE) for RM, but unfortunately I have no knowlegge of CC3 and my knowledge of CC4 is limited (this is due to my school being a PITA and not allowing me to go on CC4 courses before I tupe'd over to RM, since the school were not adopting CC4!!)

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    martyarf (10th June 2011)

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    Boredguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gatt View Post
    Somewhere on RM.com is the Knowledge Library which should have a lot of info about CC3
    It's under the Support option -> Knowledge base

    You can search it without an account, but most of the support articles are not public access (all the ones with light grey text require valid support level account)

    As sylv3r said, if you let us know where you are we might be able to help a bit more.

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    martyarf (10th June 2011)

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    Wow, thanks for the help (and offers of it). Today I will investigate the manuals - already came across the knowledge base, and yesterday I found out that we do have support (of course, I found this by stumbling across the IT budgets spreadsheet!). I think I might have actually seen the RM manuals in my travels. Sounds like they will be a great help. Looks like my first big job will be a rollout of IE7, will investigate it and prepare today and barring any issues deploy after school is out tonight. At least that gives me the weekend if I mess it up royally. The school is in Bournemouth. Like I said in the OP, we have a whole seperate network from RM which was maintained by a company that has now gone bust, it serves the admin side of things (and yet calendar and email are still served by RM...). Has a whole separate internet connection, server, backup routine. Nobody seems to know anything about that. This job makes me feel like Columbo.

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    You shouldn't have any issues with deploying IE7. Tech Article DWN803855 has the link and instructions for downloading it deploying to stations, and TEC955018 has the instructions on how to create new Usertypes to ensure that the new features in IE7 are configured correctly for users.

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    Thanks Boredguy, those links were perfect. Cut my teeth and pushed a trial update on one of the computers along with flash, worked fine, although I gather I now need to update Reader too (they're back on 6... haha). RM set me up with a new login and password for support, found out the books, everything is coming together. To give you an idea of what kind of job this is, today I found enough pieces of computers to make one for myself (apparently the last IT technician didn't have one...???), went rooting through filing cabinets to find a wireless password, and the "office" I have for myself is a kitchen. Weirdest job ever.

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    Your welcome.
    As for Acrobat reader, we deploy Adobe Reader 8 out to stations, but we also deploy Foxit Reader 4.3 and have that set as our default PDF application on stations, as it's much faster at opening PDF's that the adobe bloatware.

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    Yeah, I use Foxit at home but assumed that it was only free for personal use. I'll look into that because it is so much quicker at loading.

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    We followed a link on the WPKG site for Foxit Reader which took us to the Enterprise version, filled the form saying we were a school and got the reader free, and it even comes as a MSI, so worth looking into.

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    Ah, you run WPKG alongside? That's something I'd be very interested in. I'm a little hesitant about really taking the reigns and making changes because of how bog standard everything has been left, and its like an archealogical site, who knows where I might tread on something and bring the whole cave down.

    Been doing some reading around about upgrading to XP SP3 (currently SP2, of course...). There seem to be a couple of approaches to this: standard download from RM and distribute as a package as normal or slipstream (with something like nLite) into the build and rebuild all the workstations. Given how long I saw a simple Flash install take today, I think I might be tempted to go down the latter route, which will set us in good stead for the future. Okay it's Friday night, I got to stop thinking about computers... Thanks everyone for your help, I'll be bugging you come Monday

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    We're running a mixture of CC3 and vanilla XP/Windows 7 clients, so we're using WPKG for our vanilla package deployment, since we can just use the same msi packages we made and keep the granular deployment method on a shoestring budget

    Slipstreaming SP3 is the better route but will require a lot of modifications to exisiting package .ini files, as lots of the windows updates are not configured correctly for OS5.3.
    Deploying their package to "upgrade" to SP3 is the quickest method and saves rebuilding, but not the cleanest route.

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    And I'm back!

    I have learned one thing so far - never assume anything. Turns out that there have been no security updates applied to either the server or workstation since installation - in 2007. I'm kind of terrified. There are at least 60 hotfixes I need to apply, and figuring out how they intersect with SP3 is going to be... fun. Also, backups were not working. This is going to be "exciting".

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    Quote Originally Posted by martyarf View Post
    Ah, you run WPKG alongside? That's something I'd be very interested in. I'm a little hesitant about really taking the reigns and making changes because of how bog standard everything has been left, and its like an archealogical site, who knows where I might tread on something and bring the whole cave down.

    Been doing some reading around about upgrading to XP SP3 (currently SP2, of course...). There seem to be a couple of approaches to this: standard download from RM and distribute as a package as normal or slipstream (with something like nLite) into the build and rebuild all the workstations. Given how long I saw a simple Flash install take today, I think I might be tempted to go down the latter route, which will set us in good stead for the future. Okay it's Friday night, I got to stop thinking about computers... Thanks everyone for your help, I'll be bugging you come Monday
    Martyarf. If your deploying XPS3 and your running roaming profiles you will want to deploy hotfix

    When you try to log on to a Windows XP SP3-based computer by using a roaming profile, the roaming profile cannot load.

    Kili

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    martyarf (15th June 2011)

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