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Committee on Information Technology

Minutes of the March 19, 2008 meeting of the
Committee on Information Technology

Present: Luis González, Jeff Muday, Hugh Howards, Jolie Tingen, Paul Escott, Ching-Wan Yip, Patrick Morton, Rick Matthews, Nancy Crouch, Jonathan Christman, Delphine Masse, Susan Smith, We-chin Lee

The agenda for this special meeting was the selection of the new ThinkPad model (Patrick Morton).  The proposed ThinkPad model for next year is the R61 with a 14” widescreen, 2 GB of RAM, Intel 2.1 GHZ processor, 120GB hard drive, a 128MB discreet video card with 1400 X 900 resolution. The computer meets the price point for the budget in addition to size, portability, and weight concerns.  Paul asked if we are moving to Vista this year. Pat said we will be running Windows XP SP2.  Luis asked about the battery life for the new model.  Pat said we chose more memory instead of a longer battery for meeting the price point.  He suggested users buy another battery if necessary.  Delphine mentioned that it is difficult to install memory but easy to replace the battery.  In order to have the roll cage, the doors on the bottom are no longer available making hardware upgrades difficult.  The current battery life for the R61 is 1 hour and 53 minutes.  Yip said this computer uses a higher voltage.  The T60 technically lasted around 4 hours.  Yip said the graphics card drains a lot of power.  The graphics performance is 13% less than the model to be traded in.  Luis asked if Lenovo is living up to our contract with them.  Pat said we don’t have a choice with the video card.  Pat said that Nvidia is better for Linux.  Rick talked to Provost Tiefenthaler about the possibility of faculty skipping ThinkPad rotation this year if they want a computer with better specifications.  Rick said this option would be cost neutral.  Hugh was in favor of skipping rotation.  For him the R61 ThinkPad is 10% the value of his tablet.  He would much rather keep his tablet.  He said he can’t use a non-tablet PC in his classroom.  Pat said this is a great point.  He said the university can’t meet tablet users needs.  Luis asked Rick to clarify that the Provost supports faculty skipping rotation.  Rick said that Provost Tiefenthaler favors the option of faculty waiting another year to upgrade their computer.  Paul said perhaps rotation skipping could be an option for faculty in the future.  Yip said that the tablet is much more expensive.  Jeff said that we should revisit the tablet option.  Rick said that costs could go down for tablets and touch screens.  Pat said that touch screens are available through Lenovo.  Luis said that students aren’t going to like the lesser battery.  Delphine suggested that we make it very easy for students to buy another battery when they pick up their laptop.  Jeff asked about the legality of traveling on planes with certain batteries.  Yip and Pat said that batteries have to be in the original packaging for plane travel.  Paul made a motion that the committee support the proposed ThinkPad for this year but recommend that faculty be allowed to delay computer rotation this year, and in the future, computer options are available to faculty that need them.  The committee supported this motion with no opposition.  Delphine suggested grants for computer options. Hugh asked if faculty can have an option of memory over battery or vice versa.  Pat said not right now but maybe in the future.  Pat said that is an important consideration.  Other institutions are offering more options and we should consider that.  Jeff and Rick mentioned the benefits of a standard computer.  Jeff asked about options for video cards.  Pat said no.  Pat said only memory, battery, hard drive, and optical options are possible. Jeff said that he is ultimately in favor of a modular load.  Luis said the committee should respond by tomorrow at noon regarding the standard load memo.

The meeting adjourned at 3:25 pm.

The next CIT meeting is March 26, 2008 at 3:00 pm in the ZSR Library Director’s conference room.

Respectfully submitted,

Jolie Tingen


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