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Project Plan: Sustainability

The cornerstone of our sustainability for the community center computer lab is a 85 page instruction manual that details basic setup, useInstruction Manual Cover and configuration of the hardware and software that we compiled for them. We printed the instruction manual and created a binder that will physically remain in the computer lab. Along with the the physical binder, we also made the manual into a PDF that is housed on the desktop of every admin account on each computer. Sections of the instruction manual include the basic setup of the computer and it’s cables, basic use of the projector, how to transfer digital images from the camera to the computer, how to configure the openDNS software, and how to do a complete operating system install should the community center get a new computer or need to reinstall the OS on one of the existing computers.

Computer Hardware
When we constructed the computers from many spare parts we built them with the long run in mind. We worked hard to equip the computers with the best possible parts so that they can continue to evolve with the needs of the Park District. We also ensured that we had DVD-Roms in as many computers as possible because some of the software we obtained are DVD based. Further the choice of CRT monitors over flat screens was a matter of sustainability because the computers will be used by children and often be moved around. The heavier CRTs are less likely to topple off a moving desk and are in general more durable. We also installed cable traps to secure the mice, keyboards and headsets to the desks. Although the cable traps are not unbreakable, they are certainly a deterrent to anybody who may consider stealing. We also installed hooks underneath the desk to hang the headsets from. These hooks will prevent the headsets from falling off the desk or being accidentally crushed while the computers are being moved. For future hardware sustainability we suggested that the Park District purchase spill proof keyboards to prevent damage to the keyboards caused by wet children running inside from the water park.










Operating System
When we finally settled on Ubuntu Linux, sustainability proved to be a double-edged sword. The   operating system is very sustainable in itself as updates are readily available for users with a functioning internet connection. Even though the community center does not have an internet connection Ubuntu 10.10 will certainly be sustainable until the newer upgrade is attainable. Despite the built in sustainability of the operating system, configuring it to do exactly what we wanted and preventing any changes to it proved to be a difficult task. The installation of Edubuntu software helped as admins gain more control and can limit user accounts so that they cannot change settings and simply use the computer. This feature allowed us to control the SPROUT accounts in hopes of preventing any unwanted changes to the Linux appearance. Lastly, Zac created a detailed step by step guide on how to install the OS from scratch should any computers experience problems where a clean reinstall is needed. This guide further allows for the Park District to add more computers down the line and know exactly how to configure them to fit right in with the original 11 computers. This step by step guide was included in the instruction manual.

Community Center Wireless Network
As the technology infrastructure section also touches, the community center network will be nearly a plug and play internet service when Charter installs the hard wire connection. This will allow the Park District to get the internet on the network up and running in no time with very little configuration. The security on the network is already set up and ready to go. Alongside the WPA2 security we configured for the router, Charter will provide long term liability protection for the internet service when they complete service installation. Included in the instruction manual was a set of directions for configuring the router to change the network name, its WPA2 password and the admin password to gain access to the router configuration. We tried to keep it as simple and as basic as possible so that router configuration would be simple should the Park District want to change anything. Further the community center wireless allows for more nodes if the Park District wants to add another printer in the future, or possibly more computers. As with the network, OpenDNS has already been set up but needs some small configuration. We also included a guide on how to configure the OpenDNS software to prevent users from accessing inappropriate sites and excessive use.

Within the instruction manual we also included details on how to reinstall a printer on an individual computer should that process ever need to be done. Further, we included the actual printer manual within the instruction booklet to aid in simple printer tasks such as changing the ink cartridges and reloading the paper tray.

Primary Sustainability Concerns and Possible Solutions

Water Damage to Computers
Water damage to the computers within the community center computer lab is a huge concern of ours for a few reasons. The first reason is that the spill proof keyboards for the computers have not yet been purchased by the Park District. Wet children who come in from playing at the water park could possibly ruin both keyboards and computers with the water that drips off of them. An even bigger concern considering water damage is the community center’s leaky roof. Although we are not experts on the subject matter, we found that many of the leaky spots of the ceiling were directly under wooden roof access panels. Upon further examination we found four of these roof access panels on the side of the community center that is currently not leaking. Our last visit revealed that one of the panels on the non leaky side is now leaking as well. Our prediction is that it is only a matter of time before both sides of the community become leaky which leaves the computers at serious risk of water damage. We discussed our observation with Ms. Golliday and hope that she can get some grant money to repair the roof. In the mean time, we have suggested the Park District use tarps or grill covers to keep the computers safe from the leaking spots of the roof.

During our final visit to the community center we had a discussion with the head of security for the Park District. He warned us not to leave computers or monitors in plain view of windows for fear of “smash and grab” robberies which would be in and out before the police could respond. Further, he discussed a future plan to build a security cage in which the computers could be locked away when they are not in use. Originally theft and robbery was not a major concern of ours, however the head of security made us think otherwise. Along with his plans for installing the storage cage, he also said that security would be upping the foot patrols through the building to 2-3 times per shift to ensure all computers were still in the building. It was very reassuring to know that the head of security was exploring long term goals to avoid theft of the computers. Another small precaution we took per Martin’s advice was to not leave the digital cameras sitting in the lab. We are going to have those given directly to Ms. Golliday so that she can maintain them and allow others to use them as she sees fit.