1. #1
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    Default If you goto college or have a child in college in Mass......read this please.

    I sure hope your kids like rides cause your going to get taken for one.............
    This is the typical crap that happens in Mass. Some politico gets his pockets lined by makeing student by Dell laptops.

    Story here.
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    That is pretty jacked up!!!
    Stay alert and be safe.

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    Kinda screwy........ Although I know when I was in college, they had a contract with a computer company and only used to buy them from there. They had some kind of "deal" similar to where you could get a discount through them, but to be honest, I never compared prices....

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    I am in grad school and in my program we are required to purchase our Dells. While I know I got hosed on the price, I do have to say that in these times people really do need to have computers in order to attend college. While I do not neccessarily think that laptops are the way to go for everyone, there should be a requirement to show proof of computer ownership.

    The amount of research and information necessary to attend these courses in tremendous, and this is my basis for this thought. I already owned a laptop, and a desktop prior to starting my program, so if you could have just allowed me to buy the bundled software I would have been much better off.

    And seeing as how this is occurring in Massachusetts, you must realize that several people's pockets were either lined by Dell, or are being lined by the SCHOOL overcharging the students. Personally, I think it is the latter - just because it is Massachusetts.
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    1. Mass. is far from the only state doing this (and really have no idea why you think a politician is involved)

    2. They recommend 1 model so their IT department does not have to deal with too many idiots with the $400 specials they got from Walmart. Simple, basic, common sense.

    3. Don't want to have to buy a laptop, go to a different college.

    4. Yes, they really want to monitor what x thousand students are viewing on their machines. Are you ffJerry?

    5. Students seeing what the teacher is presenting is not spying nor spamming nor dangerous. They use software similar (if not the actual) to Webex, which is for tele-conferencing.

    6. CB - Ain't it funny how many credit card companies want to give students, who have yet to get a job, so much credit?
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    Mass. is far from the only state doing this
    Didn't say they were, if you read my post I had to buy one for my PA program and I am in NC.

    (and really have no idea why you think a politician is involved)
    Ever seen Massachusetts politics? Trust me, there is a great greasing of the wheels and pockets in Massachusetts.

    Don't want to have to buy a laptop, go to a different college.
    Didn't say it was a bad idea (again if you read my post) I just have a problem with fleecing students for laptop that can be purchased less expensively elsewhere.

    Yes, they really want to monitor what x thousand students are viewing on their machines.
    No problem with that (to an extent). But that is a whole other discussion.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    All I can do is shake my head.

    Laptops are, mostly, a status symbol. Very, very few people actually need them and most people are better served -- in cost, performance, and convience -- by traditional desktop PCs with broadband accesss.

    And that's the opinion of someone whose a senior computer administrator, with an inventory of several million dollars worth of hardware (the system I set up two weeks ago was $150,000 alone) in my server room...and the system I was here till 8pm last night fixing a $10/quarter in-accuracy takes in over $16 million in revenue a year (yeah, real good cost-benefit there...my salary/benefits/infrastructure is costing the company $75+/hour for 8 hours to fix a $40/year problem...hmmmm...oh well, they wanted it fixed...or at least what I did was tell them it can't be fixed, but I've gotten the mis-report down to only $4/year.)

    And I handed my laptop back 3 years ago saying it was a waste of time to lug it around.

    I have remote access to my work machine via gotomypc.com (backed up by dial-up PCAnywhere). I can get into the office from home, firehouse, WPI when I was taking classes there, my friend's homes, where-ever.

    I have a digital camera, so if I need something out of a book I usually just take a pic of the page -- wish they had that back when I was in College photocopying away at 5 cents a page.

    BUT...why are colleges saying you have to buy your own laptop?

    So they don't have to buy computers for the few classes that actually need them. This isn't about teachers using some funky collabrotian software in a classroom -- they make white boards & video projectors for that. If they're using computers for that, it's a waste of technology and teaching skills on a "gee whiz how cool is this" thing.

    The real reason behind this is so schools don't have to spend money on computer labs and on classrooms setup with PCs in place -- say for programming courses.

    Even there it would be real hard for me to believe it wouldn't be cheaper overall to provide class room PCs, and provide broadband connectivity to dorms (wireless is OK), and let people use whatever cheap PC they choose to then to require everyone by laptops.

    But the difference is what's cheaper overall would show up as one big line item on the school's budget. Making the kids buy the laptop may cost the kids, and society, more...but it looks better on the school's budget sheet.
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    I can speak to this because I was in Boston this past weekend with my son looking at the architecture programs at Northeastern and Wentworth Institute of Technology.

    At NE, nobody mentioned anything about buying laptops from the school. At Wentworth, students in the Arch program will be required, beginning this year, to buy a laptop from the school.

    I do not take this the same way some of you do. Here's my take:

    1. Laptops are not a luxury or a status symbol on a college campus. They are poised to replace textbooks and notebooks. Most classrooms are wired so that the student has Internet access. This opens up a whole new instructional methodology.

    2. The reasons put forth at WIT for the laptop requirement had to do with the sophisticated software that is used in the program. Individual licenses for this software would be prohibitive for some students. The school can buy institutional licenses and offer the same software to every student.

    3. The school can support the laptops they sell, again, making sure that the student is prepared for class.

    4. If you truly believe that this has anything to do with schools not spending money on computer infrastructure, than you haven't been on a college campus lately. Computer labs are one of the first things that parents and students look for. Schools spend a ton on DSL lines in dorms. At NE, they are spending gobs of money on creating areas where WIFI's are located.

    5. Regardless of whether you are using your laptop, their laptop or the computer in the library, there are going to be rules. The rules that I heard are no porn (imagine that) and no downloading of music (uses up bandwidth. Other than that, colleges are among the most liberal places on the earth when it comes to access of information.

    6. Dell Computers offers a superior product and superior service. It is smart business for both Dell and the college to enter into an agreement. $1200 for a good laptop plus the software is not a bad deal. Remember, you can spend $300-500 on textbooks per semester.

    Colleges are gearing more and more to computer technology every day. I just don't see the problem here.

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    DaSharkie, did read your post. My comments were on stm's post.

    George, my brother-in-law went to WIT. Loved it and would highly recommend it.


    I think, depending on the school/degree getting pursued, having a laptop is not a bad idea at all. Seeing as my wife graduated with a degree in Music and the laptop would not have had much use, I don't think it should be a requirement for all students.
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    having worked in the tech support center for a major university, I can honestly say that it is much easier to support 1 item than 20 items. and if you have a laptop just for school work, with all the software provided or liscenced by the school, then it's also easier to support them. if everyone has the same laptop, if yours needs to be dropped off for service, they can offer you a loaner until it's fixed, and you can still get your work done.

    I can also say that laptops are far from a status symbol. as a former college student, I had to go through 3 years of only having a desktop computer. yes, it was a pretty good computer, but it required me to do all my work in my room. then senior year i bough myself a present. a brand new top of the line laptop for an unbeatable price. any my productivity soared. i could bring my laptop and all my files and programs anywhere. to the library. to class (to take notes). to the quad, to work outside on a nice day. heck, when i lived off campus, on a nice day, I ran a 20 ft. ethernet cable to our front poarch to do my work. it was great.

    for those that say "it's not included in the tuition", well, they could always include it and raise tuition $1,200.

    perks of having a laptop:
    wireless internet access
    ability to always have your computer with you
    able to do work and not be confined to your bedroom
    easier to transport home (CPU, monitor, speakers, keyboard, all in a compact unit)
    easier to tranport for troubleshooting
    ability to type your notes while in class

    Given the chance, I would have loved to have a laptop freshman year. it's definately worth the investment
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    My two biggest peeves are the cost of these laptops and the college makeing you buy one of theres.

    On the cost issue,GW is right, Dell has a fine product. I own a new Dell desktop--cant be beat. $1200 is an insane price though. You can purchase a nice lap top from Dell directly for $799-899. Which makes you wonder where the other money is going?

    Dell has a goverment discount,my agency just picked up 2 new laptops for haz-mat for about $500 each. Since the colleges in question are part of the goverment.......why are they chargeing the student $700 more?

    On the makeing you buy one of thiers. Why should you have to buy a overly inflated priced laptop? What about the students that bought a new lap top last year and are required to buy a new one this year.... thats is crazy.



    (and really have no idea why you think a politician is involved)
    Sadly bones, sharke is right......It is Massachusetts. There is some zoot suit sitting on Beacon hill getting ready to go home and find a 4 th level on his house. While the average college student now has to work double shifts at cheesey charlies to afford this. The way I describe this to out of staters' is "You dont have to see the air your breathing to know your alive." This is another example of the Commonwealths DOE not acting in the best interest of the people is serves.



    I don't think it should be a requirement for all students.
    Bingo.
    If you are going to betakeing a CAD,GA,Arc/Engineering or some other " computer intensive" class... then yes it would be a wise investment. But if you are take Culinary arts I dont see how the laptop could help in makeing a cake? :confuesd:
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    1. Laptops are not a luxury or a status symbol on a college campus. They are poised to replace textbooks and notebooks. Most classrooms are wired so that the student has Internet access. This opens up a whole new instructional methodology.

    Bull****. Textbooks & notebooks are still one of the best mediums. Notes can still be taken quicker, simpler, more easily with a pencil & paper than typing for most people (that's true for me anyway...and I type at 70+ words per minute)

    We have tremendous mis-use of technology in society.

    2. The reasons put forth at WIT for the laptop requirement had to do with the sophisticated software that is used in the program. Individual licenses for this software would be prohibitive for some students. The school can buy institutional licenses and offer the same software to every student.

    More bull**** someone's been giving you George.

    It doesn't matter whether you're putting the licenses on desktops or laptops, it costs the same. You don't need a laptop to get the price break.

    3. The school can support the laptops they sell, again, making sure that the student is prepared for class.

    Looking for my 3/4 boots the bull**** they were shoveling is getting so deep.

    Any major brand is going to have two things -- a system restore CD and overnight shipping of parts.

    There is so many variabilities in software, and what people may intentionally or unintentionally install...you don't try to fix machines that are hosed in corporate or institutional environments.

    What we do where I work is pretty standard -- we burn a hard drive with a fresh image of the operating system & corporate software, go down, and swap it with the machine acting up. If you don't have the tools avaialable to do that, you use the system restore CD instead to re-format the hard drive and start fresh.

    That's all they're going to be able to do to support you unless you have a friend whose willing to spend the time to try and fix something.

    [i]4. If you truly believe that this has anything to do with schools not spending money on computer infrastructure, than you haven't been on a college campus lately.[i]

    Huh, could you let Sallie Mae now that I mustn't actually owe them money since I didn't actually take graduate level classes at Worcester Polytech last year...

    5. Regardless of whether you are using your laptop, their laptop or the computer in the library, there are going to be rules. The rules that I heard are no porn (imagine that) and no downloading of music (uses up bandwidth. Other than that, colleges are among the most liberal places on the earth when it comes to access of information.

    Bull****. Several factors come into play here.

    One, if you own (not the school) the laptop, very few schools will restrict what you have on it -- you rapidly cross into personal privacy issues provided stuff, like porn, isn't being shown or shared to others.

    If the school owns the computer, then it can set the rules. If the school doesn't own it, it can't (and a corrolary, they reduce their liability).

    Second, the music restriction has nothing, zilch, zero, nada to do with bandwidth. As you pointed out, the schools spend a lot on high capacity internet access, and the infrastructure to connect computers on campus and speeds much higher than that. The music restriction is completely a factor of being afraid of the recording industry and being slapped with lawsuits for allowing their infrastructure to be used for illegal music sharing.

    6. Dell Computers offers a superior product and superior service. It is smart business for both Dell and the college to enter into an agreement. $1200 for a good laptop plus the software is not a bad deal. Remember, you can spend $300-500 on textbooks per semester.

    Excepting that I could buy a desktop that outperforms the laptop in every category except portability for half the price.

    Yes, I remember textbook prices well and even 12 years ago @ UConn I was spending that much. Thing is...I had the choice for many of them to buy used, and many of them I could sell used had I wanted to at the end of the semester.

    There are times laptops are appropriate, and there's times it nice to bring them together for collabrative purposes. But that's not all the time.

    I work with these things day in, day out. I'm currently trying to get the boss to buy me a quad display video card (the 2 17" LCD monitors I have hanging off my work machine now just aren't enough desktop space!!!!) so it's not like I'm against gee-whiz technology when it is actually useful. I'm also not opposed to spending money when needed -- I've stopped one purchase order this year for eight grand and refused to allow it to go through until we added another forty thousand to get the reliability we needed in the system.

    I do have a problem with requiring every student, even ones in liberal arts classes with little need for specialized and intense computer usage, to buy a $1200 laptop that's will be obsolete junk before they earn a bachelor's degree. The cost more, generally are slower than desktops costing half as much, are less reliable, and often simply aren't necessary.

    Give the students specs -- machines meet this minimum standard, you have to use this brand NIC and/or Wireless card, etc.
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    You can use your eloquence all you want, Dal, but you have a bias that seems is affecting your objectivity.

    1. Textbooks can never be updated w/o waiting for another edition. I took a college class where the textbook was on CD and on y laptop. Since it was a science class (meteorology), the chances of new info were high. The textbook could be updated over the Internet. Dal, I assume that you are well-versed on e-learning technology. The sky is the limit for improvement of the instructional methodology and access to information. While I do agree that info tech is misused, I do not see where providing a portal for the student to be interactive in the classroom, in the quad, in his dorm, in Starbucks is a bad thing.

    2. I certainly understand the way a license works. There is an enormous price difference if you buy 1000 individual licenses or an institutional license with unlimited users. That is where the college can provide that benefit.

    3. I don't even know what you are saying. Are you trying to tell me that a IT Dept. would not be able to more effectively support one brand and model of machine? Are you telling me a student is better off dealing with a service dept. on their own instead of being able to walk to a Computer Center and have someone sit with them and figure out what's wrong?

    4. So WPI hasn't spent $$$ on upgrading their computer infrastructure?

    5. From a Risk Management standpoint, what is wrong with a school limiting its liability? Its hard for me to believe that you could actually believe that the schools are in cahoots with the "recording industry". There are many, many legit sites to download music from today. You are going to tell me that if 500 students try to download music at the same time it won't hinder/hamper the IT infrastructure?

    6. If a textbook is updated, as it should be, there will be no used textbooks.

    I am typing this message on a 3 year old Dell Inspiron laptop that cost about $1100.00. Compared to a Dell Inspiron laptop today, my machine is slower. But it is not obslolete. Obsolete is defined as:

    No longer in use: an obsolete word.
    Outmoded in design, style, or construction: an obsolete locomotive.

    This machine does everything a machine bought today can do, just an indecipherable amount of time slower. It will not be "obsolete" for a long time.

    I guess the one area we can agree on is requiring "every student" to purchase a laptop. There are clearly some programs where a laptop is inappropriate. My daughter (my son's twin) is going to major in music. She would not need a laptop at her disposal for every class.

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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    [B]5. Regardless of whether you are using your laptop, their laptop or the computer in the library, there are going to be rules. The rules that I heard are no porn (imagine that) and no downloading of music (uses up bandwidth. Other than that, colleges are among the most liberal places on the earth when it comes to access of information.

    Bull****. Several factors come into play here.

    One, if you own (not the school) the laptop, very few schools will restrict what you have on it -- you rapidly cross into personal privacy issues provided stuff, like porn, isn't being shown or shared to others.

    If the school owns the computer, then it can set the rules. If the school doesn't own it, it can't (and a corrolary, they reduce their liability).

    Second, the music restriction has nothing, zilch, zero, nada to do with bandwidth. As you pointed out, the schools spend a lot on high capacity internet access, and the infrastructure to connect computers on campus and speeds much higher than that. The music restriction is completely a factor of being afraid of the recording industry and being slapped with lawsuits for allowing their infrastructure to be used for illegal music sharing.
    Dal, I hate to tell you this, but your wrong about the music sharing. COMPLETELY. and if you want, I'll show you the stats to prove it. peer to peer file sharing (not just music, but movies and programs as well) ties up a HUGE amount of bandwidth. in fact, at Syracuse University (arguably one of the leaders in the file sharing market with 2 OC3 lines connecting it to the Internet and Internet2 (fiber optic connections for non-geeks) it slowed web access to a crawl. it wasn't until the computer engineers capped it that normal web access speeds resumed.

    if you own the computer, the school cannot say what you have on it. they can say what you can and cannot download on it (they do own the network). and in most cases, until someone complains (RIAA, Motion picture association, law enforcement,etc) they will turn a blind eye to it. but it definately affects performance.

    as for the porn issue, which would you rather have: thousands of college students having lots of sex and spreading STDs and pregnancy like wildfire, or thousands of college students not doing that?

    Dells are probably the best computer out there. they are a little pricy for my tastes, but they are solid and their tech support is fantastic (from what I hear). and Dal's right about them being obsolete. any computer, once you take it out of the box, is obsolete. they are constantly coming out with new ones. but that doesn't mean it's not a very usable machine.

    Educational institutions and the corporate world are similar, yet they have some important differences. in corporate world, the employee gets paid to be there, and has everything provided to him or her. in college, you pay to be there, and have to pay for everything. in corporate, you have a desk, and do most of your work at that desk. if you are usually not working from your desk, you are given something that allows you to work away from it (ie, a laptop). in the collegate world, you spend most of your time on campus, not in your room. classes are not held in your bedroom (although it is a nice dream), and you need to leave your room often to get work done.

    and if your a cullinary student, if you have to take other courses in libral arts (to make you a well rounded student), you might still need it for those non-major-related courses.

    and George, geuss what many of the programs your daughter will be writing her music on will require.. that's right a computer. and imagine how easy it will be for her to write the notes and then immediately here how they will sound using a synthisized sound card.
    Last edited by DrParasite; 08-31-2004 at 04:39 PM.
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    Ok, from a Corp. Network Administrator, who has to deal with a couple hundred user's that bought their own computers to attach to my network...

    My company decided on MS Office version 2000 as our standard. Buy what you want, want to connect to my network, you get my companie's version of Office.

    My company decided on Symantec AntiVirus software. Want to connect to my network, it gets installed on your system and set for auto updates. Period.

    We also standardized on Windows, printers, etc. You want on my network, you play by my rules.

    Colleges are simply doing the same thing.

    It protects them, it makes their support easier.

    Sure, a student can get whatever brand laptop they want. But it crashes, the college can't simply load a burned image back on the machine as they then get to deal with who knows how many different drivers. It can work, but to save time, effort, and money, they make the students get 1 standard setup.


    and DrP, while there will be some computer work for the song writing, the majority of music schools still like it done the old fashion way, on a piano, in writing - not to mention the performing time, the conducting time, etc.
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    and George, geuss what many of the programs your daughter will be writing her music on will require.. that's right a computer. and imagine how easy it will be for her to write the notes and then immediately here how they will sound using a synthisized sound card.
    I am already running the latest version of Acid on my desktop for her. I know what you are talking about. The only reason that most of that work will be done in a lab and not on a desktop is because of the size and complexity of the peripherals (keyboard, percussion machine, amp and mixer, etc.)

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    in fact, at Syracuse University (arguably one of the leaders in the file sharing market with 2 OC3 lines connecting it to the Internet and Internet2 (fiber optic connections for non-geeks) it slowed web access to a crawl. it wasn't until the computer engineers capped it that normal web access speeds resumed.

    It's not the size of files that are causing a problem, but the volume of them.

    Those sites can address in two related ways. One, they can use "traffic shapers" to restrict the total availability of their network bandwidth to specific services -- i.e. tell Napster-like services they can, at most, only use 1Mbps of the 310Mbps dual OC-3 links would give Syracuse.

    They can also generically restrict all outside users, say no one except those on a white list of allowed users (like other schools) can at anytime excede say 512Kbps.

    For some perspective, I keep "computer quality" music files on my machine. Say 4-5Megabytes in size. Networks are quoted in bits-per-second, 8 bits to the byte. So 1Mbps = .125MB/s, and we use a fudge factor of 80% as maximum practical efficiency.
    average song would take:
    1Mbps...50 Seconds
    100Mbps...0.5 Seconds (typical office/university network to desktop)
    155Mbps....0.3125 Seconds (OC-3)
    1Gbps....0.05 Seconds (typical corporate/university backplane)

    Put another way, a single OC-3 could transfer 192 typical size songs per minute. Due to slowness of things like Hard Drives and the connections of the people downloading, you'd need many computers going to many peers to achieve those numbers.

    You need **really** huge numbers of files being shared external to the campus to start to make an impact -- and that's what impacted Syracuse.

    Sorry, but I can't buy that internal to a campus music file sharing will normally cause slow performance -- there's only so many students who might want a file. It's an issue when thousands of external users with broadband access all hit the choke point of the internet access point. It's also a pain-in-the-keister for the University to be having to deal with RIAA subponeas and such.
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    Sure, a student can get whatever brand laptop they want. But it crashes, the college can't simply load a burned image back on the machine as they then get to deal with who knows how many different drivers. It can work, but to save time, effort, and money, they make the students get 1 standard setup.

    That's not the situation in STM's post. The college is requiring one standard laptop, just that you must have a wireless capable laptop (and they recommend a $1200 one).

    I'd actually understand this more if they did require you buy *a* particular model...but they don't. They require you buy a wireless laptop...so they're not getting the benefit of standardization, and at the same time requiring some (many?) students to buy tools beyond what their true needs are.

    From the FSC Website:

    All new students entering the College are required to own a wireless laptop computer. A discounted laptop, which conforms with the current campus standards, is available through our chosen vendor to new, returning and graduating students. Framingham State College recommends the Dell Latitude D600.


    As another aside, as I think about it more, many of the places you really, really need the computers (engineering, architecture, graphic arts, etc) I'm not sure a $1200 laptop would be adequate. Just can't pack enough bang into them till you get really expensive.
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  19. #19
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    If the student owns the wireless computer, what right does the school have "Hacking into it" I was at a junior college using their wireless lab and someother student hacked into my computer, he is nolonger a student, he was expelled. When people hack into my personal computer, that is illegal right?
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  20. #20
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    Yes, hacking into a computer is illegal. No one said the school was going to hack in, it was someone's "conspiracy theory".
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  21. #21
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    I thought that in the article it stated that the school would check to see what the student was doing.

    Maybe the school could figure out that if they buy abunch of laptops, maybe they can get a "Large Order" discount.
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  22. #22
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    I am sure there is some evil intent in this project, too. Philadelphia Considers Citywide Wireless Internet
    VOA News
    01 Sep 2004, 22:37 UTC

    The U.S. city of Philadelphia may turn itself in the world's largest wireless Internet zone.

    Philadelphia is studying ways to set up and pay for a network that would give wireless Internet access to any computer in the city that has the proper equipment.

    The ambitious project would involve placing hundreds or possibly thousands of small transmitters around the city on top of light poles.

    Other U.S. cities have been experimenting with wireless Internet networks as the price of the technology comes down.

    A Philadelphia official estimates the system would cost the city about $10 million to set up and $1.5 million per year to maintain.

  23. #23
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    Now we know why they want to close firehouses in Philadelphia.

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    I was thinking the same thing man. All of these cities SCREAM about being broke, biut they want to pay for this?
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    as for the porn issue, which would you rather have: thousands of college students having lots of sex and spreading STDs and pregnancy like wildfire, or thousands of college students not doing that?
    Are you trying to equate looking at porn on the internet to actually having sex/spreading STDs/pregnancy?

    Gee, if only I got laid every time I looked at porn back in college...I'd be a happy man...
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