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Justification of Technology Choices

Technology Considerations

Our primary considerations for the Word Christian Bookstore fell into several categories:

  1. Filtering–we decided not to implement filtering because the expected audience at the Word is composed mostly of adults. This proved to be a bad assumption exacerbated by miscommunication and failure to translate technical language into everyday terms. We should have explained the concept of filtering better, as we were later asked for roughly the same functionality in different language. We are still looking for a solution they can implement, but this may be difficult for a small Windows-based lab such as this with no software budget to speak of.
  2. Reservation system–these systems can be more trouble than they are worth, and we decided that it would be best to leave the computers available for open access at this stage. We investigated providing one to be implemented later if they should come to need it, but most free/open source systems we could find were Linux-based.
  3. Office and Publisher– They want to be able to teach basic computing classes on Office and Windows. We provided 2 machines with Office, and open source alternatives where we lacked licenses for these (see below).
  4. Religious software–we installed several programs and many bookmarks to meet this need (see below).
  5. RAM for their front desk Dell, 1 gig, 266MHz, PC2100, DDR1** This initially helped their existing, very slow and crash-prone front desk machine, but it turned out to have further problems that could not be solved in the time available.
  6. Printer–we installed a highly capable black and white laser printer (see Technical Documentation).
  7. Infrastructure– Internet connection is good. AT&T DSL, 5MBPS down, .64 MBPS up. Site acquired a DLink Wireless G router after we expressed the need for it to complete the network, and this worked fine. We implemented wireless internet, but passworded(WEP Personal) it as they wanted it limited to just staff and friends.
  8. Microphone / speakers / recording software for one workstation–we installed a Multimedia machine with these options and many more, to help meet the needs of patrons interested in music and video and to enhance the meeting space and allow more applications and activities there.

 

Hardware
  • Dell computer systems with Intel Pentium 4 processors (please see the Technical Documentation section for specific hardware and software details).

These are reliable and well-built computers from a major PC manufacturer. After receiving them as donations from large business centers, we put them through a thorough testing and configuration process to ensure they work as efficiently and securely as possible. This process included checking the different hardware components for errors and optimizing device drivers.

 

Operating System
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3

Windows XP Professional is one of the most widely-used operating systems in the world, and has the highest degree of compatibility with hardware peripherals and software applications. It is an excellent choice for a publicly-accessible computer lab intended to meet a range of uses and information needs. Due to its widespread use, it is the operating system with which many people will be most familiar, and will therefore need the least amount of training and supervision to use.

 

Software

We outfitted the computers with a range of open source software. Open source software was chosen because it is generally reliable, compatible with a range of document types and formats, capable of playing and editing most types of digital media, and free.

Free / Open Source

    1. Open Office–(http://openoffice.org/) OpenOffice.org is the premier open source office suite, comprising a huge range of capabilities and compatible with a range of file formats. It is modeled after Microsoft Office, so is familiar and easy to use for most people.
  1. Scribus–(http://www.scribus.net/) Scribus is a powerful desktop publishing application with a range of professional features.
  2. Nero Burnlite–(http://www.nero.com/eng/downloads-nbl-free.php) cd and dvd burning application
  3. Ad Aware–(http://www.lavasoft.com/) Ad Aware is a free anti-spyware program.
  4. Panda Cloud–(http://www.cloudantivirus.com/en/) Panda is a provider of free antivirus software. Panda Cloud is a cloud-based (online) antivirus program that automatically keeps itself up to date.
  5. Panda Security–(http://www.pandasecurity.com/homeusers/downloads/usbvaccine/) An anti-malware application that prevents infected flash memory drives from automatically installing viruses.
  6. Firefox with custom profiles–(https://www.mozilla.com/en-US/) Firefox is the premier open source web browser. It is fast and efficient. We created and installed custom profiles with bookmarks for a wide range of websites of interest to Pirtle’s Café patrons.
  7. Pigeon–(http://www.pidgin.im/) Pigeon is the premier open source chat and instant messaging client, compatible with most widely-used protocols.
  8. Peazip–(http://www.peazip.org/index.html) An excellent open source file compression and archiving program.
  9. Quicktime–(http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/) A standard application for viewing digital media.
  10. RealPlayer–(http://www.real.com/realplayer) A popular application for streaming digital video and audio.
  11. Adobe Reader–(http://get.adobe.com/reader/) A free application used to read the most common standard for text file distribution.
  12. Adobe Flash/Shockwave–(http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/, http://get.adobe.com/shockwave/) Used to display many popular games and web-based applications, as well as digital media.
  13. Putty–(http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/)
  14. VLC Media Player–(http://www.videolan.org/vlc/) A powerful application for viewing almost every digital video format.
  15. Google Earth–(http://www.google.com/earth/index.html) An application providing an unprecedented look at the earth, for geography, navigation, or general interest.
  16. iTunes–(http://www.apple.com/itunes/) Program to search and listen to music, as well as free Internet radio broadcasts and podcasts.
  17. Pandora account–(http://www.pandora.com/) Internet radio
  18. e-Sword–(http://www.e-sword.net/) searchable Bible + commentaries
  19. Bible Gateway Toolbar–(http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/?p=49) and other options for finding information on religious topics
  20. BibleMax–(http://biblemaximum.com/) searchable Bible + commentaries
  21. Choir Keeper–(http://www.strotman.com/choir.aspx) shareware Choir management software
  22. Worship Assistant–(http://www.churchassist.com/worshipassistant.html) shareware church management software
  23. GIMP–(http://www.gimp.org/) a powerful image editor, similar to Photoshop
  24. Blender–(http://www.blender.org/) for 3D image creation and animation
  25. Audacity–(http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) the premier open source digital audio editor, for making podcasts, digital storytelling, etc.

 

Commercial

  • Microsoft Office 2003 Standard

Microsoft Office is the premier office suite, including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook. It is an excellent complement to OpenOffice.org, being more familiar to many people and possessing a range of professional capabilities needed for business and professional writing.