Complaints about working in the IT world

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by matdevdug, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. matdevdug macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2008
    So I wanted to get this out on a forum. I work for a college IT department while I am still a student. I am a to-be senior right now and have worked for them my entire time at college. Since I have been here, I have convinced them to buy more Macs, a decision that ultimately led to me getting a raise because of cost savings. It went from having up to 15% of the Windows machine down at any one time to less than 1% of our machines down at any time. Combine this with Apple's amazing enterprise support, easier and cheaper licensing options and simply better hardware, overall the college is really pleased and my co-workers love it. Besides, those who really want to run Windows can with Bootcamp and they still have a safe partition where they can store mission-critical data.

    I also have another mission since I have started working here, which is to try to use as much open-source software as possible. When students asked for an IM client, we flashed Adium to every machine. VLC is the video player, Firefox is our standard browser and we use Bugzilla to track problems in internal software. Hell, our web server finally switched over to Apache and the money we have saved in licensing alone bought us a new Mac Pro.

    The problem is that I just got a new boss and he seems to hate open-source software. Doesn't trust the idea that anyone has access to the source-code. He is pushing to undo almost everything I have done within the department and trying to get us to go back to buying from Dell, even though they cheated the college out of tens of thousands of dollars with shoddy repairs and promising on-site support and then sending people that were unable to do anything beyond simple repair. Why do people hate open-source software? Also, why can some people just not use a mac? If its running Windows, why are there some people who just cannot handle the idea that there is an Apple logo on their machines? I have a meeting tomorrow to discuss all this with the Technology Committee and I'm so pissed I don't know what to do. Is there anybody out there with similar experiences?
  2. Dane D. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2004
    First let me say that you have from reading the post done a good job for the college. Saying money is always a good thing, businesses like that. Second, by incorporating Macs into the system, people such as your new boss will see first hand how well the Mac OS works and the ease of integration with PCs. I would do this for your meeting:
    1. Bring up the savings incurred by using Macs, ie. licensing fees, saved money on repair bills, cost of downtime savings, etc.
    2. The use of open-source software is another area of savings. The fear of open-source is usually from people who do not understand the whole concept of open-source software.
    3. Explain that DELL is built with cheapest bidder parts, thus more frequent breakdowns, which equals more money spent and more downtime.
    4. If needed, Macs can run Windows via Bootcamp or virtualization software.
    5. Security, a issue schools and companies take seriously.
    6. Be diplomatic when presenting this information. Usually people like your new boss are thick headed and need to be educated, not talked down to.
    Hope this helps, good luck. Dealing with people like that will be common in the work world.
  3. scotty96LSC macrumors 65816


    Oct 24, 2007
    Charlotte, NC
    I just wonder how he got the IT Dept. to even consider a MAC. That is a feat in itself.
    If I brought up the idea of a MAC at our IT Dept. they would shoot it down. "If it has an Apple Logo on it, we don't want it," is their saying. Our small subsidiary company of the parent company all use MACs so we give the IT people, who provide us mail support, grief when ever we can.
  4. surferfromuk macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2007
    If you boss's Microsoft centric world view induces changes that suddenly costs the company more money and leaves them technically overwhelmed (Vista will do that real quick!) then you could well be the boss this time next year....

    Stick to your convictions - Apple is on the rise - the times they are a changing - they make the best of breed products and Snow Leopard will seriously embarrass Windows to the point of public humiliation - by January 09 it will be self-evident to the entire world ( and when Lion is announced in July 09 for a July 2010 release then the crap will really hit the fan!) ; because of that, sooner or later, someone higher up than your boss ( probably some exec with an iPhone and a Mac at home) will make the 'casual observation' that 'these mac's really seem to becoming popular' and he'll fall into the trap of mistaking it as a 'casual observation', ( which are often very precisely targeted 'assessment questions') and so begin spreading FUD or microsoft propoganda to defend his position - which will ultimately ruin his credibility.

    Apple is the winning ticket - your right - he's wrong - 5 years ago things were different - his view had momentum - not anymore -

    I work in IT with MS servers and Vista clients and they are in a shockingly bad state compared to 5 years ago...they are killing efficient business - literally.

    Prepare an ENTIRE IT systems replacement proposal based entirely on macs, linux and open-source ( keep the exchange server though upto yr 3) - do the costings for three AND five years - see how it comes out - if it cuts 50% of the IT budget drop it on the FD's desk - YOU'LL GET HIS JOB!!

    As the saying goes ' Windows - your fathers OS'...
  5. matdevdug thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2008
    So I followed the advice given here, I sat down and did all the costs for Windows and Dell and all the licenses and fees and cost of anti-spyware, virus, firewall and other stuff and listed it down. I brought it to the meeting and presented it to everyone and they really liked it. I was kinda surprised, but you all were right, leaving the technical details out of it and simply sticking to money was the way to go. The meeting went really well. They asked me what I would do in their shoes and I said start scrapping it now, start the transition. I brought up the fact that for the first time in our colleges history, the majority of incoming students were bringing Macs. I also brought the purchase requests from professors regarding computers and I was like look, the vast majority of professors are asking to buy Macs, our students are using Macs, shouldn't our IT department reflect this? Especially if it is an incredible savings over time? The best part was when I asked the head of the computer science department what he thought and he backed me up 100%. He said that at this point Vista was a disaster, XP was being discontinued and that there wasn't relief in sight.

    I laid out what we were going to have to do if we wanted to stick with Windows. We were going to have to invest to Vista, which meant that 3/4ths of the computers on campus were going to have to be upgraded. Licensing was a nightmare and it was going to be really difficult to flash the machines with the WGA checks failing around 5% of our test Vista machines at any one time. Then I laid out the different options for Vista, the differences in both features and price. I did what I wanted to do, which was show them how insane this whole process was going to be.

    The open-source argument was a little more difficult. I did my best, pulled up VLC and Audacity and showed how they could replace Quicktime Pro and most of our sound recording software. They seemed really worried about it though and kept asking questions about security, including one that seemed to blow my mind. A woman asked me if it was possible for someone to take control of her Mac through Adium and blow up her computer. I was like no, its not. I found out later my boss had been talking about how we can't use open-source software because he said that hackers had put backdoor traps in them to exploit later right before I had come in the room. So that was weird and slightly insulting. The server question was easily addressed by saying we can either pay for software, or get it for free, they both do the same thing, only one does it better. Our web server guys were hilarious, they were like Apache or nothing.

    The best part was when I broke out an iBook G3 I had borrowed from a professor. I explained that this iBook is still out there in service, it paid for itself time and time again. We don't have a single Windows laptop or desktop that has lasted as long out in general use. It hasn't required a single paid update, renewal of a license or anything, its running the exact same software plus Word that it left the factory with. The professor said she loves it and has taken it all over the world. This was the third professor it had been assigned to and the only upgrades we've ever made were RAM and a new battery. Why wouldn't we want to invest in machines like this?

    After the meeting I had the president of the college ask me if we could order her a MacBook Air so thanks again guys. Kinda jealous she gets a MacBook Air but you know....whatever. Thats how it goes I guess.
  6. Dane D. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2004
    You did well, money talks, BS walks. What you did was an a perfect introduction to what we deal with everyday in the real world. I'm glad we could help you.
  7. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    If your so gung-ho about open source software, why use OS X, why not use Linux?
  8. cwheatley macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2007
    stillwater, ok
    probably because op at least has a chance if os x is proposed.
  9. matperk macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2004
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    Things would never change around here and I'm in the same scenario you were. We are microsoft lovers around here. I'm in the very small minority that use a mac. That said, there is nothing like exchange/outlook around. It is a great solution that is dynamic and can be used by everyone easily. I couldn't see a business (or edu institution) operating without it.
  10. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    There's plenty of Exchange alternatives, even some open-source ones.
  11. matdevdug thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2008
    I floated the idea of using Ubuntu on some older Windows machines we had lying around for a 24 hour computer lab that is only used for typing up papers, but it got absolutely no traction. The IT department hated the idea of dealing with possible and hard to fix driver issues and honestly I couldn't find anyone who cared enough to back me up. There is simply no way that an IT department our size is going to go with Linux as the general OS. It was a hell of a fight to get it on the servers. Apple sends you machines ready to work and use and that just isn't the case with Linux.

    There are open-source alternatives to Exchange, but quite frankly nobody cares. Our college only recently authorized the purchasing of iPhones for staff because of the 2.0 software update that let them access the Exchange server. This place would crash and burn in a week without Exchange, or at least from the administrations point of view. Honestly it was another idea I threw around to the staff before I had any meetings and they just didn't seem to be warm to it.

    The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone trying to get more Macs in their workplace is to let the machines speak for themselves. There is something amazing about handing someone a Mac and just saying go do whatever you want to do and don't worry like you used to with a Windows machine. The stigma against Vista (well-deserved in my opinion) has helped within our college to push people to new thinking when it comes to meeting their IT needs. But really its just that people are tired of the endless problems and want something that just works and Macs can (mostly) deliver that.

    My next goal is Leopard Server and Xserves for the science labs. We'll see....
  12. Aperture macrumors 68000


    Mar 19, 2006
    Forgive my lack of knowledge but what about Entourage for Exchange on the Mac? Doesn't support Exchange?.. And surely there is a way to sync the Exchange stuff with iCal?
  13. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    There is Entourage and Mail will support Exchange in 10.6. He's saying they do use Exchange.
  14. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I hope you explained that the whole POINT of open source software is that anyone and everyone has access to the source code. Meaning, yes, a hacker could introduce a code change that includes a backdoor trap -- but then, thousands of other developers, including potentially you and me, would totally see him trying to pull off that stunt, and be able to disable it right away. Meanwhile, what kind of code is being introduced behind closed doors at Microsoft? Do you or I have any way to know? (And, indeed, they have a history of "accidentally" breaking competitor's products with targeted code changes...)

    That's like saying the problem with an all-you-can-eat buffet is that the food is all laid out in front of you, anyone could come up and poison the food. Sure, it could happen, but the 20 people behind him in line are going to see it happen and complain.
  15. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    Great job! I've worked in IT for 20 years and have seen it all.

    Make sure you document everything, and have references. Getting an IT job is really hard now, and people actually want references that can substantiate the job you have done.

    The real world is rough, you may find that you get people in charge that shouldn't be there in the first place. Hopefully, you will find a place where you and your Manager agrees.

    Good luck...
  16. surferfromuk macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2007
    Fantastic news!! Way to go!!

    You should keep us posted on your progress - I would also call Apple and ask them for an education program advisor to come over and give a talk to the heads of the college ( may not come to much but you never know) - one thing is for sure Apple will be calling you up for an article and a feature article if you pull this off...

    P:S - You'll be running a Macbook Pro yourself by the end of the year I'm sure...just make sure that Macbook Air is in 100% tip top order before you handed it over - go easy on the open source for 'presidents of the college' in so much that in their minds everything should be simple to use and reliable first - irrespective of a few dollars ( hundreds and thousands of dollars is a different story of course) - just make sure 'it just works' and they'll be asking you to order a truck load in a couple of months..
  17. TommyLee macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2004
    New Orleans
    my complaint: PC TECHS TRYING TO WORK ON MACS! :mad:
  18. matdevdug thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2008
    Things have gone really well thus far, but there certainly have been some problems. One of our bigger problems has actually been brought up by TommyLee. Our tech guys like Macs but almost none of them have any formal training on them. The majority of them use Macs at home for their own machines, so they know their way around them but that isn't the same as having x amount of (nearly worthless) certificates to point at in budget meetings. The discussion about Macs is really going over easier than we imagined. I think a lot of it stems from budget people just exausted with the demands of running Windows machines. We spend $18,000 a year on anti-virus and firewall licenses and that's WITH academic discounts. That is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the ridiculous costs. A lot of the people I've spoken with who don't even care that much about the machines are pushing for working with Apple simply because Apple's license agreements make ****ing sense.

    One example is our Windows XP license. We have the right to run it on so many machines, but it turns out that the agreement is different if we want to run it on Parallels. I don't know why that is, but it is. Sorry if I sound frustrated but I have spent three hours on the phone with Microsoft trying to figure out what exactly we're allowed to do with this incredibly expensive software we own.

    The open-source argument is one of ignorance. I can't lie to these people, but its hard to explain open-source to someone who doesn't understand how programming works. When I brought up how great the switch to Firefox on our Windows machines worked, the people were like "Thats open source?". They are just worried about locking the college into software for a project that later gets abandoned. I talked till I was blue in the face about how thats the beauty of open-source, your not locked into anything. Besides, when we get the Macs, I'm going to load Adium on all of them and if Adium gets dumped as a project, guess what? Its probably going to continue to work for years and I doubt our needs will have changed drastically. It just makes me so mad we spend so many hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years on all this software that has superior or equal open-source software. Why would we be buying Quicktime Pro when Audacity does everything we need? Its just annoying.

    My biggest open-source fight is still coming. I am going to push for Open Office to be adopted for the 24 computer labs. Once the OS X version comes out, I want that to be what we use in the computers that are used almost entirely for word processing. There will be a bit of a transition period, but Open Office crashes less than Word on our XP machines and the cost issue pushes it over the top. I'm not going to dream of getting rid of Word although for many years, but its the small steps you gotta take to prove what your saying with real-world data. Obviously we'll have to configure Open Office to auto save in .doc, but I just want to take some of these thousands of dollars and invest it in hardware. Whats more valuable, 50 more copies of Office 2007 or another row of computers?

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