Oct. 15-21, 1999
Miller Center launches project on the presidency and the economy
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Dell contract gets DCI rolling

Forum showcases creative teaching and captivating web sites

Scrapbooks show Jefferson was a clipper of newspapers
Arts' focus on technology: visiting artists to share techniques and sound
Notable - faculty and staff
Miller Center announces National Fellowship in Politics
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In Memoriam
Sleepless — but not lost for words
Car parts transformed into art in "Body Shop"

Dell contract gets DCI rolling

By Dan Heuchert

The Desktop Computing Initiative -- an effort to standardize the University's computer hardware and software -- is up and running with the news that U.Va. signed a contract with the Dell Computer Corp. on Oct. 1 and soon will begin accepting purchase and lease orders from departments and individual students, faculty and staff members.

Dell is providing standard and high-performance models in both desktop and notebook computers. Negotiations are nearing completion with Apple to provide a similar selection from its product line.

Specifications and prices are available at the DCI web site (http://www.itc. virginia. edu/dci). The DCI seeks to take advantage of high-volume pricing to reduce the computers' cost, said DCI manager George Williams. In addition, some $1 million has been allocated through the various vice presidents' offices to help offset some of the costs.

U.Va.'s Information Technology and Communication division launched the DCI effort in the spring of 1998 in an effort to tame the University's chaotic computing environment by increasing the compatibility of computers across departments, allowing for better support and setting up routine replacement and upgrade schedules.

The first phase of the DCI rollout took place this summer, when a separate agreement with Dell allowed ITC to install more than 600 new desktop computers in public labs and electronic classrooms across Grounds.

"Student reaction to our new computers has been outstanding, said University Librarian Karin Wittenborg, whose office purchased more than 300 for its public labs. "While we expected it would improve service, we had no idea that we would receive such immediate and continuous feedback from so many students."

DCI team members are developing a timetable for delivery and installation, and are requesting that University departments notify them as soon as possible about what they intend to order and when they would like delivery, said Williams.

Dell will fill most orders within 10 days, but installation of larger orders may require more lead time. The DCI program is meant to include a package of U.Va.-specific software and "images," or standard arrays of software imprinted on every hard drive. However, those images are still in design and testing and will not likely be available until early December, Williams said. He said the delay is due to recent upgrades in Dell components.

rders placed before the U.Va. software is available can still be filled, but will come with regular Dell software and Windows 2000. "The DCI recommends that departments and individuals wait, if possible, to order until the computers can be delivered with University software and configurations already installed," said Williams.


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