15 Replies Latest reply on Dec 15, 2017 3:52 PM by Brian Stoppee

    Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?

    Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

      Don’t mess with the electronic ecosystem.

       

      We have talked about Information Technology (IT) enterprise focusing on a very tight spec. Well, a one person shop can learn something from big IT.

       

      So far, that conversation has focused on Apple and HP’s computer hardware. But, IT has a much bigger ecosystem to consider. By way of example, the Commonwealth of Virginia has 39 public colleges and universities with over 100 campuses. That means on any full session weekday, over a half million people on Virginia’s public college campuses are plugged into that IT ecosystem. For those 18-88 year old learners, that system needs to be as close as humanly possible to 100% uptime.

       

      As the sarcastic saying goes, “What could possibly go wrong?” That’s exactly what IT program directors have to ask themselves about. Here are the suppliers at the core of a pubic college system’s IT ecosystem:

      • Adobe
      • Autodesk
      • Apple
      • Canon
      • Cisco
      • Epson
      • HP
      • LaCie
      • Microsoft
      • Nikon
      • Sony
      • Wacom

       

      The IT people do a great deal of testing and regular upgrading to the system, but they also have to depend on the testing those 12 key suppliers do.

       

      When we use the term “tight spec,” it means the fewer variables, the better. Though some people growl about computers which don’t allow the user to open them up and do custom configurations, that customized stuff are the variables which cause IT people to not get the sleep that they need.

       

      When Adobe’s Photoshop team runs tests on the next version’s release, they can run tests against the many, many products of those 12 suppliers (and many more) but they can’t test what they don’t know. And, if those public higher education campuses were to make the mistake of switching out their computers’ RAM and storage and WiFi to unique, untried hardware, those variables open the doors for Photoshop to hit bumps in the road that Adobe (or the rest of those suppliers) could not test.

       

      So, how can you be your own IT professional and go for maximum uptime? First, let’s honest, no matter how much testing is done, there will be bugs. That’s what all those dot releases are all about. Hence, the bug fixes of Adobe InDesign 13.0.1 would inevitably follow the release of InDesign 13.0. But, if you find one bug in 13.0, and 13.0.1 fixes it, will you still stumble on unknown bugs if they’re coming from incompatibility issues on your custom hardware?

       

      If the inconveniences of those glitches are worth it to you, well, go for it. However, if you need smoother roads, pretend a half million people on college campuses are depending on you to not waste a minute of their valuable time.

        • 1. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
          Ussnorway Adobe Community Professional

          in the case of Adobe and Microsoft, both are known to push out *untested software upgrades so any tight system needs to assume all these "upgrades" are bad and block them from the network... that (and the fact there may be a young 15 year old somewhere on the campas) is why they run behind proxy | system center | firewalls. a school system works in blocks (usually a year at a time) and they do their testing before the students start and assume that what they have tested will be able to handle the students needs for that term | year but the problem with this system and IT in general is that changes happen so fast that many schools find themselves out dated. perhaps they lost their old head teacher and a new guy wants to teach game design in stead of Cisco networking or mobile apps instead of Vmware... now the school finds its entire network just isn't up to the task and change of any kind becomes their nightmare

           

          that is why smaller business groups that can just rent an outside (the campas network) space and shub a dozen computers into them (without all the red tape) are becoming the new trend in IT education... because students DO need to be able to open up the systems and see what makes them work and they DO also need to understand that there is more to IT than just the small amount of hardware | software | ideas that any tight system can show them or to put it another way, if your school sells you a diploma in IT that covers Windows XP, PCI graphics, Flash design and ip4 networks then don't expect a job

           

          *lets BE honest then, even when testers find bugs before set shipping dates its not uncommon for these to still be sent out into the public anyway.

          • 2. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
            Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

            Ussnorway  wrote

             

            in the case of Adobe and Microsoft, both are known to push out *untested software upgrades…

             

            That's an interesting observation.

             

            Apple and Microsoft DO extensive testing. However, they test with developers. That can be different than working with end users in a specific market.

             

            By way of example, if I'm and Apple developer (okay… I am) and all I develop is an app which searches for the name "Bryan" and changes it to "Brian" chances are I don't test the iPhone camera very much.

             

            If, however, I developed an app which uses the iPhone camera, I probably don't; test much with how Siri spells words I speak.

             

            Does that makes any sense in relationship to testing?

            • 3. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
              Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

              https://forums.adobe.com/people/Brian+Stoppee  wrote

               

              Does that makes any sense in relationship to testing?

               

              Another example would be testing for Adobe apps. If they're testing Animate with game developers, animation houses, mobile AIR app developers, and HTML Canvas creators, they probably hear from a good spectrum of those users.

               

              Can some 13 year old find a bug none of the above found?

               

              Absolutely!

              • 4. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
                Ussnorway Adobe Community Professional

                https://forums.adobe.com/people/Brian+Stoppee  wrote

                Microsoft DO extensive testing.

                10 years ago I would agree but not today

                 

                I know Adobe does some in house testing and of course there is the QC prerelease projects... the point is moot because a tight system only works if you can control things and so a school (if we are sticking to your first example) blocks Adobe, Microsoft etc from pushing out upgrades during the teaching term. it doesn't matter that 99.9% of upgrades are improvments because it only takes that one to potentially bring the entire network to a stop and when you have a campas with thousands of students about to submit their work, the idea that every computer will suddenly stop loading Photoshop or Excel is an unacceptable risk

                 

                its a natural human condition to want control over our lives so people in charge of a network will always be looking for more;

                at the small end that is as simple as telling Microsoft to bugger off and not let them push updates into your Windows 10 when ever the mood hits them... yes updates are good but not when you are trying to get something important done so do the updates when I say.

                 

                at the next level up you have proxy servers and firewalls which amount to the same thing... students can install or download when we allow it

                 

                then at the top end you have net neutrality laws that allow us to say yes or no to ideas and block news we don't want our citizens to know

                 

                control is good because it stops change... that is the strength and weakness of a tight system

                • 5. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
                  Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

                  Ussnorway  wrote

                  …if you can control things and so a school (if we are sticking to your first example) blocks Adobe, Microsoft etc from pushing out upgrades during the teaching term.

                   

                  The colleges we work with are very aware of the security issues and bugs and the need for staying up to date with essential new features and perform their regular updates.

                   

                  Aren't there issues of irresponsibility if security vulnerabilities exist and a public college/university system ignores them?

                  • 6. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
                    Ussnorway Adobe Community Professional

                    https://forums.adobe.com/people/Brian+Stoppee  wrote

                     

                    Aren't there issues of irresponsibility if security vulnerabilities exist and a public college/university system ignores them?

                    if I was running a school with 10 Windows XP systems hooked up to the net (without a proxy | firewall) then yes because XP is out of life and I can't reasonably expect it to stop malware, however a Windows 7 classroom is still in life and so I can (or to be clear, a school can) have it because their printers or other software don't run on Windows 10... there is an expectation that any product should last a certain time without breaking and software is covered under that as much as anything else

                     

                    a standard backup image (with test to work software included) would be ready to install at the end of any school day in case some student does manage to download a game with nasty malware and behind it all is the basic point that a school (or person) is allowed to run its own wsus (Windows system update server) with the Microsoft patches in house so they can test them before install or remove them if they cause an issue

                     

                    the problem is schools centralise their system into hugh (normally gov run) networks that are 10 years out of date and nobody understands them... any small change needs to be sent off to head office and in Australia thats Canberra (not Sydney) where its never heard of again or no is the standard reply

                     

                    so a small school with independent networks could pull 10 old computers out of storage and install 5 of them with W7 and 5 with say Ubuntu... they could then run verios tests to show the students how fast the same computer works with different software. Ubuntu will install faster and run better (and its free) but to be fair to Windows most 3rd party software like say Adobe will be better supported. the students then pull the old 4g ram sticks out of two or three systems and add them into the others... with extra ram Ubuntu will run about the same but W7 will show a noticeable improvement and more to the point students learn to look at the parts

                     

                    at the next level up we build a server (connect it to the net) and have it control a classroom of systems i.e, they connect to the server to get their internet and see how much that slows everything down... the more advanced class could run a mindcraft game across their limited network or against students in another country. it doesn't mean the boggy man will get them and I'm certainly not suggesting you hand them a credit card to watch porn but thats the reason large schools don't run these projects i.e, they have to full out endless red tape to list every possible thing that could go wrong and scare the **** out of their parents

                    • 7. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
                      Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

                      Ussnorway  wrote

                      so a small school with independent networks could pull 10 old computers out of storage and install 5 of them with W7 and 5 with say Ubuntu

                       

                      You're talking about scholastic programs (K-12)? Not collegiate?

                      • 8. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
                        Ussnorway Adobe Community Professional

                        its not the level... it carries over to any senario because traditional teaching systems are disigned for disciplines that don't change much... a text book for math, science and english still has value in 10 years time because we still calculate pi using the same formula and the kids still learn that 5 + 5 = 10

                        • 9. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
                          Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

                          Ussnorway  wrote

                           

                          its not the level... it carries over to any senario because traditional teaching systems are disigned for disciplines that don't change much... a text book for math, science and english still has value in 10 years time because we still calculate pi using the same formula and the kids still learn that 5 + 5 = 10

                           

                          As noted in another thread, accreditation in North American's public colleges/universities cannot be achieved without systems which are no older than 2 years back. So, teaching Windows 7 or 8 is a no-can-do.

                           

                          Of course, the same would be applicable to teaching apps.

                           

                          It is true that this decade has been somewhat revolutionary for North America's public higher education system. It has become extremely outcome oriented due in part to for profit colleges which bilked obscene amounts of money from students without delivering marketable skills and workplace know-how. So, the end result has been some very well defined course directions which ripple across the continent coming out of a huge catalog of course offerings.

                           

                          So, yes, for IT there's a specific goal of preparing someone for certification exams even if the majority of the students have no intention of taking the exams. But, even if you give instructors course materials are they working from a script? None that Janet & I have ever met!

                           

                          Sooooo, on this continent, if you're teaching Adobe Illustrator, in a public college, if it's not CC 2018, it better be 2017, or someone in the college's executive suite is going to be looking for employment elsewhere once their college's accreditation report comes in. That's the kind of stuff where, if the report is bad, the college President and the Board's Chairperson gets a calls from the Governor's Office, saying, "What the ____ is going on there?" (Some of the revenue for our public colleges/universities comes from taxpayers, so that's a fair question. Accountability has to be there.)

                          • 10. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
                            Ussnorway Adobe Community Professional

                            I find that idea bizarre windows 7 is the most popular operating system and Windows 10 release date was July 29, 2015 so are the US schools going to run on Linux next year?

                             

                            Tests are all well and good if the thing being tested has some relevance to what a student can reasonably expect to encounter in their lives… most of the jobs around when you and I left school are gone now and the one still around have certainly changed

                             

                            In the case of Adobe many of the 2018 apps (Muse, Dreamweaver and Lightroom) are not as popular as their older counterparts… I can’t see many schools running the new Lightroom with its ties to the cloud and for that matter I strongly suspect they all run without the Adobe CC app so there is no link to students’ CC libraries

                            If that is true, then a student doing 3d with Fuse must leave the campus network and take their work home to transfer their Fuse characters into Photoshop and the system has therefore failed them.

                            • 11. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
                              Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

                              Ussnorway  wrote

                               

                              I find that idea bizarre windows 7 is the most popular operating system and Windows 10 release date was July 29, 2015 so are the US schools going to run on Linux next year?

                               

                              I'm not sure there much of a need to teach Linux to a broad audience in North America. As seen on the attached chart of operating system usage on this continent Linux only has 0.89% of the market.

                               

                              North American OS Use.jpg

                              • 12. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
                                Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

                                Ussnorway  wrote

                                In the case of Adobe many of the 2018 apps (Muse, Dreamweaver and Lightroom) are not as popular as their older counterparts.

                                 

                                I'm not finding any stats on Adobe CC 2018 adoption. Could you please share the stats you have?

                                • 13. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
                                  Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

                                  Ussnorway  wrote

                                   

                                  I can’t see many schools running the new Lightroom with its ties to the cloud and for that matter I strongly suspect they all run without the Adobe CC app so there is no link to students’ CC libraries

                                   

                                  Are you referring to "Lightroom CC" (the new mobile production app) as opposed to what is now called "Lightroom Classic CC"?

                                   

                                  Most public colleges/universities will probably not create new curriculum just for the mobile app. My guess is that they will continue with their existing Lightroom course materials and update things for Classic. Janet & I have not been asked by anyone to create any new curriculum for anything Lightroom, but there's nothing in certification for the mobile app, yet (if ever). So, if it were up to us, we'd just do a quick look at the mobile app for 2 or 3 minutes and stay on track with the desktop app.

                                  • 14. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
                                    Ussnorway Adobe Community Professional

                                    I would hope you and Janet would take more that 2 or 3 minutes to look at what kids need to learn to be employable in 5 or 10 years from now... I suspect you would see the value (for them) of knowing more about mobile apps and the way they talk to a cloud but my point is it really doesn't matter because the school networks just arn't up to the task so students that do want to learn IT have to go elsewhere to get the education they deserve

                                    • 15. Re: Can You Be Your Own IT Professional?
                                      Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

                                      Ussnorway  wrote

                                      I would hope you and Janet would take more that 2 or 3 minutes to look at what kids need to learn to be employable in 5 or 10 years from now...

                                       

                                      We don't teach children. The majority of the college certification driven courses which we see are in the 29-59 age range but we welcome the 18-28 crowd too. It's just that 18-21s are often focus on the degree programs.

                                       

                                      Is that a good idea for students working on their Associates and Bachelor degrees? We don't think so. We wish these students could work on both their degree as well as much needed technical skills.

                                       

                                      How about the children that we don't teach? I agree that kids would have fun with the new Lightroom mobile app.