GRANTS.GOV unfair to Mac OS X student applicants

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by FFTT, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #1
    http://www.grants.gov/MacSupport

    I think every student and parent should read what GRANTS.GOV expects of
    students wishing to apply if they are running Mac OS X.

    They are using a Windows only registration system
    by Pure Edge

    "Revision 2, September 24, 2003.
    PureEdge Support for the Mac
    PureEdge recognizes that Macintosh is a popular operating system and that support for the Mac is often
    required by our customers. In most cases, this means offering support for the PureEdge Viewer on the
    MacIntosh platform.
    With this in mind, PureEdge is offering support to MacIntosh users by embracing recent developments
    in Microsoft’s direction. With the release of Office 10 Professional, Microsoft has begun bundling
    Virtual PC for Mac with their office software as well as providing it as a separate product. Virtual PC is
    a Windows emulator that allows users to run PC software on a MacIntosh platform.
    By bundling Virtual PC with it’s Office software, Microsoft has ensured broad distribution of the
    Virtual PC emulator, since most users rely on Microsoft Office to meet their day to day needs.
    Furthermore, it is clear that Microsoft will continue to support and update this product as needed.
    Given this large install base and on-going development by Microsoft, PureEdge has decided to adopt
    the Virtual PC emulator as it’s primary means of providing support for MacIntosh computers.
    About Virtual PC for Mac
    Virtual PC for Mac is an emulator that allows you to run PC applications on your MacIntosh without
    any additional hardware. Virtual PC is owned and developed by Microsoft, and is bundled with Office
    10 Professional.
    For more information, see the Microsoft website at:
    http://www.microsoft.com/mac/products/virtualpc/virtualpc.aspx?pid=virtualpc"

    They are expecting students and their families to purchase Virtual PC or
    Microsoft Office Pro with Virtual P/C using Pure Edge in order to complete a simple college grant application.

    They are indirectly telling students that they CAN NOT APPLY for a college grant using their Apple Computers unless they buy Microsoft software.

    Virtual P/C runs $249.00
    Microsoft Office Pro with Virtual P/C runs $499.00


    This is no different than telling a voter that they must pay $249.00 if they wish to have a voter registration card. See my point?

    I hope every one of you takes the time like I have and writes support@grants.gov voicing your opinion of this unfair and prejudicial practice.

    Many families are strapped and barely able to afford a good computer for their children along with tuition and other costs.

    For a government agency to outright demand that students use Microsoft products simply to apply for financial help goes way beyond reason.
     
  2. eva01 macrumors 601

    eva01

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Location:
    Gah! Plymouth
    #2
    I sent in my email stating that if they were going to give all Mac users the 249 dollars for VPC then i would agree with it. However if they are going to make people that are looking for money (hence the grants) spend a lot of money to even apply for the grants, then it is totally inappropriate.

    Is this the same government that had an anti-trust suit against Microsoft or did i sleep for a few decades and we are finally a dictatorship
     
  3. hob macrumors 68020

    hob

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #3
    What a load of bunkum!

    "If you don't use windows.... use windows!"

    I get this attitude very rarely these days. I can't believe that what they're doing is even legal!

    My local cinema [theatre] chain, Odeon, had been criticised for being not only disability inaccessible but requiring internet explorer to run. Anyone using Firefox, Safari, Opera etc. is restricted to seeing a text-based version of the site! Ridiculous.

    The problem is, the people who do this - like the government or a large cinema chain believe they are powerful enough to dictate what computer users should do and buy. This is of course nonsense.

    I'd be tempted to sue if I were you. And I'm very anti-frivilous lawsuits.... this kinda thing just boils my blood though!

    I emailed them, hope something gets done. I suggested that many of my fellow (albeit british (I didn't mention that part ;) )) students have Macs AND a broadband connection. The very thought of needing to fill something in offline was appealing to most people about 5 years ago. These days they could offer an online form, and most people would be happy. Those that have dial-up connections most likely have a PC too... Problem solved!
     
  4. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #4
    Actually, we've been under an Idiotocracy for the past few years now.
     
  5. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
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    #5
    I'm trying to think of other effective places to write in order to bring this
    unfair practice to the public's attention.

    I already wrote to the American Civil Liberties Union
    and The Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    Next The National Education Association

    My neighbor also works for The College Boards ;)

    This is the original story posted to APnews
    http://apnews.excite.com/article/20060213/D8FOH818E.html
    Feb 13, 6:19 PM (ET)

    WASHINGTON (AP) - A government Web site that aims to serve as a one-stop shopping point for scholars and others in search of federal grants is creating headaches for users of Macintosh computers.
    The site's electronic forms for would-be applicants aren't Mac-compatible. "Frustration kind of goes through the roof," said Mark Tumeo, vice provost for research and dean of the college of graduate studies at Cleveland State University.
    He said about 30 percent of the systems used by his university's scientists and others are Macintosh computers. Those with Macs are having to seek out Windows-based PCs in order to fill out the applications. Tumeo estimated several hundred grant applications are affected by the glitch, which was first reported by The Washington Post.
    The idea behind the new government Web site, Grants.gov, is to streamline the process of applying for grants by reducing paper applications and replacing them with electronic ones. It also serves as a resource point for the 26 federal grant-making agencies that award over $400 billion in grants each year.
    Calls to Grants.gov and the Health and Human Services Department, a managing partner for the program, were not immediately returned Monday.
    The Post said HHS helped choose a small Canadian firm called PureEdge Solutions to create the electronic forms, which only work with Microsoft's Windows operating system. PureEdge is said to be working on a fix.
     
  6. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #6
    This just keeps getting better.

    http://compuquart.com/content/view/167/2/

    ARMONK, NY -- Aug 5, 2005 -- IBM announced it has completed the acquisition of PureEdge Solutions Inc., a privately held company based in Victoria, BC, Canada. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    With this acquisition, IBM customers will have the ability to seamlessly integrate electronic forms (or e-forms) functionality into their collaborative solution. E-forms allow for the structured exchange of data -- such as inventory figures, customer data or pricing information -- between end users and back-end systems. The ability to exchange data in a structured, standardized format is critical in vertical industries like insurance, government, banking and healthcare. By providing greater efficiency and accuracy than paper forms, e-forms technology helps businesses and organizations more quickly and easily collaborate and share information, which can increase both individual and organizational productivity.

    IBM's new e-form technology is based on Extensible Markup Language (XML), which provides a consistent format for the sharing of documents and transactions between different applications. Support for XML allows users to rapidly create, manage and exchange forms and documents within their business, as well as with their partners and customers. The XML format is one of the keys to helping customers become On Demand organizations, and IBM already supports XML across its portfolio of software products.

    PureEdge was also an active supporter of the open industry standard for electronic form documents called XForms. XForms is a platform independent markup language for data capture and validation within electronic forms. While many forms vendors use proprietary forms technology and do not support XForms (creating vendor lock-in), IBM supports this open standard. XForms allows flexibility and choice and IBM intends to participate heavily in the development of this important standard by working with customers, standards bodies, open source community, partners, and industry verticals.

    IBM will integrate newly-acquired e-forms into its portfolio of collaboration technology, including IBM® Workplace(TM), WebSphere® and Lotus® offerings. The acquisition also complements IBM's fast-growing content management business.
     
  7. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
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    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #7
    As long as your calendar says 2023 your years are okay.

    I gotta run now since I don't want to be late for my mandatory prayers to King George.
     
  8. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
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    #8
    What a laughably unprofessional approach. Total laziness or greed at work here, folks. They lowballed their bid for the job and then half-assed it to make more profit. And their grammar and capitalisation of "Macintosh" is equally shoddy.

    Amateur night.

    Your tax dollars at work.
     
  9. hob macrumors 68020

    hob

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #9
    I got a reply, which I don't fully understand myself!

     
  10. eva01 macrumors 601

    eva01

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Location:
    Gah! Plymouth
    #10

    I got the exact same email, i think it is some automated reply, no one is actually working there
     
  11. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #11
    Yeah, they have a little news article on their site about it.
    http://www.grants.gov/MacSupport

    It says the viewer will be platform independent by November 2006. So for those of you looking for a grant between now and then, TS!
     
  12. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #12
    While I think that this was a bad idea and that there is an obligation to provide a platform independant solution, I think you run into two major hurdles.

    The first iincludes your above point. You must be careful in what you argue. You have no right to government grant money. Nothing has been promised to you. There is a right to vote that has been enshrined in the constitution and its amendments. A poll tax is very different from requiring a certain OS to access a form to request government grants.

    This leads to my second concern - where is the line. I believe that Macs should be supported, as well as Linix. But, at what point is the line drawn? Regardless of what is used there will be issues. Should we require forms to be in text format because there is no PDF viewer that supports OS/2 (I don't know if this is true - just work with me). Your response to concern one must address this problem. Otherwise you are open to the easiest attack - the slippery slope.

    Make sure you consider these issues.
     
  13. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    #13
    I want to fight... but can I, being in England and all? I mean its a fair way away.
     
  14. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    #14
    But the government already goes out of its way in having various things translated into other languages for those inhabitants of our country (legal or otherwise) who for whatever reason don't, can't or won't speak English. It doesn't seem to be an unreasonable extension for the same government to make its websites available to those of us who don't, can't or won't "speak" Windows.
     
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #15
    The line should be drawn at open standards. The government obviously can't insure that all operating systems support open standards, but the government can insist that all public information be provided in non-proprietary formats that any current OS is able support. Instead, they hire contractors and allow them to create proprietary solutions that lock out users. The government is still treating electronic access like it's an option. This is just one of many examples of laziness and lack of leadership where electronic access to government services is concerned.
     
  16. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
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    #16
    Exactly. HTML is universal, has been around for quite some time and is up to the task.

    As to the question of whether we all have a right to government grants, the answer is that we don't. We do though, through the fourteenth amendment, have the expectation of equal access to the system.
     
  17. Dros macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    #17
    This is a real problem. I'd say Mac use runs at 50% in academic life sciences (and I'm low-balling this to be safe, it ran more like 90% at the three Universities I've been at). They aren't ignoring a fringe group or a small population of their audience.

    Univ of Wisc has made a work around for Mac, but I can't tell how easy it is.
     
  18. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #18
    it is not a violation of your civil liberities to not offer Mac support. Mac user aren't a protected class nor should they be. This can be compared to people that would hard write application or use a type writer.
     
  19. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #19
    I think the events between 1776 and 1814 should answer your question. ;)
     

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