iMacs replace classic Blitz computers

by Heather Kofke-Egger | 11/9/98 6:00am

"They're probably 100-times overkill for sending BlitzMail," Randy Spydell said of new iMacs being used as public BlitzMail terminals. "But the fact is: you can't buy 100-times less of a personal computer these days."

Spydell, the associate director for consulting at Computing Services, said that the iMacs were the most logical and economical way to replace the public Blitz computers.

The iMac contains a 233-MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 24x CD-ROM drive, 32 megabytes of RAM and 4 gigabytes of hard drive space, far more than is required to run BlitzMail, but Director of Computing Services Larry Levine said other features of the iMac make it well suited for use as public Blitz computers.

The lack of a floppy disk drive, one of the parts most likely to be broken on a public machine, makes the iMacs better suited for public use, Levine said.

"It recommends itself for public use because it's an all-in-one machine," Levine said.

Apple gave the College 20 computers as part of its iMac program, which gives the school a free iMac when a certain number of iMacs are purchased. The program dictates that the iMacs be used for the general good of the institution.

Since students bought most of the iMacs purchased by the College, Computing Services decided to use the donated iMacs in a way that would benefit students the most, Levine said.

"There was a certain fairness to it," Levine said.

The Student Assembly originally approached Computing Services over the summer to ask for help in maintaining the public Blitz machines. Computing Services offered to give the Assembly 16 of the iMacs donated by Apple.

"The Student Assembly was having a hard time maintaining the computers because they were too old," Student Assembly President Josh Green '00 said.

The new iMacs feature a program called Assimilator, which allows the Assembly to fix any software problems in a matter of minutes. Computing Services has agreed to fix any hardware problems if the Assembly brings the computers to Kiewit.

Computing Services placed some of the other computers donated by Apple in the instructional center in Building 37 near the old hospital to be used for teaching purposes.

Levine said other uses were not considered for the iMacs because public Blitz machines were an obvious need the computers could fill. He said the computers in the public work clusters did not need to be replaced, and in addition they usually have bigger monitors than the iMac.

"Kiewit and the public cluster in Baker, those typically have modern and powerful Macintoshes," Levine said.

The new iMacs have been very well received by the students, Green said.

"It's rare that people give me hugs for things I do on Student Assembly, but I've been getting hugs for the new iMacs," Green said.