Introducing Network Computers to George Mason Users

Posted: October 18, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Emily Yaghmour

In the coming months, University Computing and Information Systems (UCIS) plans to replace many of the university’s public-access computer systems with network computers, which consist of only a monitor, keyboard, and just enough software to allow them to connect to the centralized network. Network computers do not have hard drives with local software applications and storage space. As a result, they have fewer mechanical parts than PCs. That means greater reliability, says Randy Anderson, the UCIS manager of emerging technologies.

When a computer requires repair, a UCIS staff member has to make a “house call,” an expensive and time-consuming service. By using network computers for public-access machines, which require far more repairs than machines with single users, UCIS hopes to cut down on the number of house calls its technicians must make.

Network computers will be installed in the computer ring surrounding the Johnson Center Information Desk, and will replace the computer systems that now serve as e-mail terminals on the second and third floor of the Johnson Center, says Anderson. UCIS is also considering setting up network computers on each floor of the Fenwick Tower, so students don’t have to go all the way back down to the ground floor to access the Library Catalog.

Another advantage to the network computer technology is that it will enable the university to reuse old, obsolete PCs, says Anderson. By installing the network computer software, it will be possible to run Windows NT programs on a 386. “This would be unthinkable otherwise,” he says.

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