Wow, just wow. We got a batch of the new MoE lease laptops in last week and finally they come with Windows 7 and Office 2010 unlike a month ago when they showed up with XP/Office 2003. I do commend them for this progress but I have to ask who made the rest of the decisions.

The laptops themselves are nice little hp ProBook 6550b units with 320GB HDs and 4GB of RAM. Screen res is a little pathetic geared towards the blinder teachers I think but in general the hardware is good, latest platform i5 etc.

Here's where it gets a bit squiffy, with 4GB of RAM on board you would expect the Windows 7 variation to be the 64 bit one... Nope, 32bit so every replacement lease laptop going out to all the teachers in the country (sans those that are in the cult of Mac) are unable to access 1.25GB of their RAM. Over several thousand teachers that is Terabytes of wasted RAM. They did it to make them more compatible with older networks/printers but still it seems wasteful.

Next up when you open your shiny new laptop you are greeted a lovely document entitled "You now need to activate your software". As 7 and Office 2010 use the new licensing model this is somewhat expected but what is not is the decision to deactivate the automatic search for a KMS server. If they had just left it the systems would have just activated in schools that had a KMS server and not done so in those that did not. But no, by helpfully disabling it now each teacher is expected to get a KMS key and enter that. Way to make work for people.

Really a KMS server will run on any Windows Vista or higher box and they are not that hard to setup.

I do struggle to figure out what goes through the heads of the people making this kind of decision. Tumbleweeds is my best guess.