LM_NET: Library Media Networking

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Here's another one for you...in spite of two calls to Grolier to verify
that the new edition of the multimedia encyclopedia had the same hardware
requirements as the earlier editions (286 or better, vga display or
better, single speed cd-rom  player or better, etc.), and after ordering
five copies to upgrade all our cd-rom stations, the new DOS version
arrived (months late!) and would not display any video or the associated
audio clips.  Buried in the the fine print of the manual is the statement
that the video requires 386 or better, a direct contradiction to what
Grolier told me.  Upon calling Grolier, their rather lame resopnse was
that the new version would display text well enough, and I would only
miss the videos.  I could return the disks for a refund if I was not
happy with that.  (I elected to trade with people what had the v. 5.x and
the equipement to run the newer v. 6.0, so it has worked out for me.)

This illustrates a trend in the entire computer world, but especially the
educational aspect of it.  Software developers are assuming that we have
the same financial resources as big business, and design programs that
are highly consumptive of system resources and that have high-end
hardware requirements.  At the same time, they discontinue products that
they touted just months before, leaving schools in the position of having
to constantly upgrade expensive hardware, or live with programs that are
out of date information-wise.  Another example is PC Globe, a fine
program that used to offer updates of the demographic data without
touching the core program.  The most recent upgrade completely re-wrote
the program and has much higher system requirements.  No data upgrades
are available for the older version of the program.  Nothing was wrong
with the old program, but they couldn't resist "improving" it and in the
process orphaning all the existing users of the program.

Windows is another example.  Virtually no new programs are being written
for DOS--all now require Windows, with its excessively high system
requirements; and to my mind, Windows does not have decent security.  It
is extremely easy for a moderately capable student to trash the desktop,
delete programs and drivers, and thoroughly wreck the system so it is
unusable for others.  And of course, we all know who has to spend the time
rebuilding the desktop and reloading trashed programs, don't we?!  8-)

Whatever happened to consistancy?  Wahtever happened to creating a good
product and sticking with it?  I am tired of having to learn(and teach) a
whole new set of commands whenever a product upgrade comes out.  I am
tired of spending scarce library dollars just so I can run a program that
worked fine in its previous version but is now out of date as far as the
information it presents!

Sorry for the length of this, but I've just received another mandatory
upgrade from Follett. I haven't even had time to do the original
upgrade to Unison yet, and already they are sending out a whole new set
of disks!  As you can tell, I'm not in the best of moods  as regards to
program upgrades.



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