December 13th, 2006

December 13, 2006

    Online Testing
    Microsoft Settlement
    Tech Help website

New Items
    Upcoming building tech staff development
    Class 4 Technology integration offerings
    Urban planet news
    K12 LTSP Thin client demonstration

Tech Meeting  Minutes   -   12/13./2006


Building Techs got an Install CD that will be good until Jan. 30 to install Sophos Anti-virus on SPPS PCs and Macs.  In addition, downloads are available at the website.  Please look to see what hub site is yours. Install on Macs and PCs.  Also, make sure your Windows computers are up to date with security patches from Microsoft and have Anti-spyware software installed, updated and running.

Microsoft Settlement Orders
The Technology Department received check from Microsoft and are now working on a new balance sheet for each school and list of possible qualified items. This will be given to schools in January.

TechHelp Website:
Please work with this system and submit bugs and feature requests to Jon Stignani.
The Website Login is:
We've added more features including Time spent and Priority.  There is also a RSS feed that is unique to the person who is logged in.  You can subscribe to the RSS feed with an RSS reader, like Firefox, Google Reader, Vienna, RSS Owl or NetNewsWire.

George did a demonstration of Linux Terminal Server project.  This setup involves a central server that allows low end clients to connect and run from the server.   He used "junk pile" PCs and tray loading iMacs as clients.  This could be a good setup for a small cluster of computer workstations where basic use is expected and needed.  The  more clients you want to deploy the more robust the server needs to be.  More information from

Casper Suite:  Recon Inventory
We are using the Recon application (which is part of the Casper Suite) to do a inventory of all computers in SPPS.  Recon has a version for Windows, Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X.  The inventory for your building should be done by January 30th, 2007.   If you will need assistance meeting this deadline or have questions, please contact Nathaniel Lindley or George Adams.  Instructions and the Recon software can be downloaded at    This is now required by the Minnesota Department of Education.

FAQ about Casper and Recon:

What computers should I install Recon on? 

All computers that are owned or belong to Saint Paul Public Schools should be inventoried.  Recon should NOT be installed on personally owned computers or equipment.  If equipment is donated to the school and becomes the property of the school district, you should run Recon to inventory that computer.   Do NOT run recon on the Novell, DHCP, Parent Link, Carousel, Scala, or other specialized computers. 

Note from Connie Feil:

In order for the district to receive e-rate reimbursement each year for our Internet service, T I lines, maintenance of network hardware, internal connections (switches, routers, wireless access points) and technology upgrades performed by the Facilities department, the district must receive approval from the State of Minnesota on a technology plan.  This plan must address specific criteria set by the School and Libraries Division (e-rate), Title IID, Title V and NCLB.   Having approval from the state allows a school district to make application for e-rate (3 - 7 million dollars each year), to use Title V funds (all of the districts electronic resources are paid from Title V) to use Title IID funds (funding for technology coaches).  The next technology plan must be submitted to the state by March 1, 2007.  We are still waiting for the new criteria to be identified, but have been advised that we should use as a minimum the criteria for the 2004-07 plan.

That plan required us to identify for each school:  telecommunications capacity, number of computers, average age of computers, platform, number of laptops, replacement schedule and level of staff support.  The question most often asked is - if a school isn't able to supply all of this information, would they be penalized with loss of e-rate and title dollars in case of an audit.  Hopefully that would not be the case if we could show that the school has made an earnest effort to provide the information.  Thus, at the district level, we are continually looking for tools that will make gathering of this information easier in the future, as we know that the expectations for providing this level of detail to both the state department and the School and Libraries Division will only increase.  - Connie Feil, Director of Educational Technology

Does Recon collect personal information?

NO.  Recon only scans the hardware specifications, the applications installed and the fonts and plug-ins installed.  It does not scan any documents, internet history or other personal data.

What if my property tag is missing?
If you are missing the property tag for a computer, you can do one of two things.  You can email Kim Hurlbert  < > and she can try to look up the information.  OR You can put in “missing” in the Asset Tag field of Recon.

What if the logic board is replaced and Recon doesn’t find the serial number?
You can let Nathaniel Lindley know and he can add the serial number to the machine record.  This may also require removing the old machine record so that it isn’t duplicated.

Why doesn’t Recon work on some OS 9 computers?
Recon needs to run Applescript to get the information (and something else) if that is missing it won’t work.  The computer also needs to be online.

Can I have some sort of checklist for each computer I go to?
Sure, it is attached at the bottom of this page. 

Urban Planet News
George is working on a bad links form, please see him for questions.  He may add a "webmaster" link at the bottom of sections.

Next Meeting Jan. 17th, 2007 Blue Room in the morning, Lab A in the afteroon.  Might be changed.
Tentative Agenda:

Submit topic suggestions to Steve Buettner.