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Old September 27th, 2007, 02:40 AM   #1
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Son of School Vegas Suites thread

so it's a new semester, and i 'm revisiting the issues i posted last Spring when i set the 3 new Vegas/Dell XPS workstations up. Search my posts for the 7 months ago old story. I'm just refreshing this thread to suss out any of you in the same boat w/ relevant experiences, suggestions etc

Recap: we run 3 XPS Dells w/ V7e ( i updated to 7e from d late August) in separate edit suites. I'm still facing the same issues: the students all have non-admin logon privileges (we do not want them having XP permissions to install or delete programs).
1: They cannot use Architect to burn DVD -- they hit 'make DVD' and as soon as the dialogue opens that would normally show all recognized burn drives, any potential burn drive is greyed out-- none available. On my own admin logon everything is available normally; i can do everything we would expect, just as i've always done.
2: may seem minor, but they cannot extract from CD within Vegas itself (again, with me logged on as admin it all works.

Conversations w/ Sony tech in May resulted in Sony giving me a little exe program and instructions to make a dedicated 'burn users' group in XP. We did this and the exe patch they provided failed w/ mult errors.

3: related, all my students are pummeled w/ a recurrent error pop-up throughout the Vegas workflow that says: "Please logon as an administrator to set the program's license up properly". This is one of those persistent error dialogues that pops up every few seconds. The licenses have all been set up by me already, and registered! I checked and the V7e version is what shows up under the 'about vegas' version tab. The crux of all this is that under my admin logon everything is perfect. As soon as a student logs on the crap starts

we're still drag-ass communicating with Sony about the failed workaround exe, but again: i'm stymied at why nobody else here is having institutional/school multi-site Vegas user issues like this! I know from my correspondence on this board that i'm not the only person on Earth using Vegas in a multi-workstation environment.

I really don't want to give the students admin level access-- but is that really the only way? Is it possible to go into XP and create a pseudo-admin group that will satisfy Vegas but still limit student executable-access???

The pisser about all this is that for all intents and purposes Architect is unusable at this point, unless i logon as an admin and let them work under my ID-- that gets stupid/problematic very fast. As i told the Sony techs: i fought hard to get these programs and workstations purchased in an already lean budget cycle-- having to create Roxio-burning workarounds makes me look bad. Especially when Architect is just sitting there waiting...

Vegas is cooking well and super, as any of us old-hand enthusiasts would expect. But still-- every time that damned "log in as an admin..." error box pops up i have to make some unconvincing "Just ignore that-- keep hitting OK". To scared beginner students, a teacher saying "Just ignore that! I dunno what it means..." does NOT build confidence-- for them or me.

This is only partially a rant-- i'm primarily trying to find out what set-up other institutional/multi-station users are working with.

Would it instead just be easier to enable full admin access to the students and hope for the best?? Frankly this scares me-- just this morning i had a student saying "i thought about downloading Limewire to look for royalty free music"..... GACK!

thoughts, please!!!!
Michael Pace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 27th, 2007, 05:40 AM   #2
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For any classroom environment, my first reaction would be to set up a large Virtual Machine Server and have the students use Terminal Services to use it.

Benefits:
1. Centralized administration
2. Identical configuration
3. Shared DVD burning hardware which may be more important if you ever add BlueRay etc..
4. Rendering would fly when all sessions were not in use.
5. Any system can be returned to a known good configuration very quickly.
6. Only needs minimal computers at each student's work station that can be locked down.
7. Many different classes can use the same hardware just by flipping different virtual systems on and off.
8. Dramatic Power Savings: One huge server and a bunch of light weight workstations save dramatically on power usage.
9. Increased reliability: These servers have redundant networking, power supplies, disk controllers and SAN's.

Cons:
1. Requires an expensive multi processor server and Gb networking
2. Requires some expertise in setting up and administrating the virtual environments.

I have not done this with Vegas, and the video lag could be an issue, but we are using LARGE 8 processor 64bit Xeon Servers with 64Gb of RAM for our virtual machine servers and they are working VERY smoothly for everything we have used them for.

We have set up classroom environments with 40+ separate virtual class systems. The classroom desktops are very minimal computers that basically only provide keyboards, mice, monitor and a network connection. They are on modular tables with network and power that literally snaps together.

We frequently run these computers wirelessly and we have a large classroom with a divider such that we can run two class rooms or one very large classroom, and just move the tables around.

What has been really nice is that we have not had to upgrade the classroom hardware in a couple years, and those systems only require very minimal maintenance, but different virtual systems can be set up for different classes. When not in use we can just take the virtual systems off line and turn others on.

This is a large a change to consider, but it might be worth looking into as you could share resources with other classes that are not running at the same time. It saves lots of money in the long term in terms of time to setup computers, maintenance, computer hardware, and power usage. Lots of large companies are moving to virtual servers.

" For every server that's virtualized, a company saves around $560 a year, according to VMware, the fast-growing technology company that pioneered the process. Three California power companies are also offering cash rebates for every server its customers remove through virtualization."

http://www.forbes.com/2007/08/20/gre...xes=popstories
Mark Kovalcson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 27th, 2007, 11:57 AM   #3
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good info there Mark. Thanks.
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Old September 27th, 2007, 12:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Pace View Post
...The pisser about all this is that for all intents and purposes Architect is unusable at this point...
I was pretty pissed off that DVDA 4 would not recognize my very common Pioneer burner, and Sony's seemingly cavalier attitude about not updating to include burners that are commonly used in the industry... but then using the workaround of authoring in DVDA and burning in Nero or Roxio has not been an issue at all.

Quote:
....Would it instead just be easier to enable full admin access to the students and hope for the best?? Frankly this scares me...
Yeah, it should scare you! OTOH, you could ghost a hard drive image (which you should be doing anyways in a multiuser, multi-pc environment), allowing easy overnight recovery when a student inevitably kills a machine. Umm... but why do these machines have internet access at all? Is it really needed?

I do agree with you, Vegas ought to be working with non-admin logins, you have a reasonable expectation of Sony.
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Old September 27th, 2007, 12:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Kovalcson View Post
...I have not done (VMS) with Vegas, and the video lag could be an issue, but we are using LARGE 8 processor 64bit Xeon Servers with 64Gb of RAM for our virtual machine servers and they are working VERY smoothly for everything we have used them for...
I'd be very concerned that performance for editing would be unacceptable due to latency and framerate issues. Don't VMS solutions do screen updates at only 4fps? (it's been a few years since I worked with VMS...)
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Old September 28th, 2007, 11:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
Umm... but why do these machines have internet access at all? Is it really needed?
That is what I was wondering. It seems like you could just disable the network adapters, or if you real want to be sneaky, assign them all static IP addresses that don't exist on the network segment (subnet) they are physically attached to. That way the machines have no way of getting to the network.

If you need to access the machines, it would be easy enough to just switch back to DHCP, or to an alternate configuration.

Also consider that XP has a "power users" group which you might be able to assign as the account to use on the machines (instead of the students using their own accounts). That way the users are not "admin" but pretty close. Of course this would not solve the problem of having the users online since the power user can change the network settings.

I personally prefer the "get them off the network" approach. Complete with no ethernet cable to make sure.
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