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How to waste nearly $50 million on netbooks, Detroit-style

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May 16, 2006
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Something's going on here...

Detroit— The digital divide soon will be history in Detroit Public Schools.
Beginning in February, every student in grades 6-12, and every teacher in the district, will receive or have access to an ASUS Eee Netbook, as part of what they're calling a massive technology infusion.

At a press conference this morning, Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb said the $49.4 million investment in classroom technology upgrades was necessary for students to compete in a global market.

"This will open our classrooms to the world," he said, addressing students and staff at the Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Aerospace Technical High School. "We are moving Detroit Public Schools into the new millennium, and students no longer will have barriers to technology."

The laptops are being purchased with federal stimulus funding. The district also is buying than 5,000 desktop computers and printer/scanners for every classroom in the district. An additional 533 HP desktop computers were purchased for the 138 early childhood classrooms in the district.


From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110104...ll-end-‘barriers-to-technology’#ixzz1A6H9nP45

The massive technology infusion totals 50,000 pieces of equipment -- including 4,300 printer/scanners and more than 500 HP desktop computers for the 138 early childhood classrooms in the district.

Read more: Detroit Public Schools: 40,000 kids to get laptops from stimulus funds | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/201101...get-laptops-from-stimulus-funds#ixzz1A6HV5Uw5

Now, set aside the fact that this is DETROIT we're talking about here...the same Detroit that's been guilt-tripping the rest of America for the last 40 years for not buying cars from an American company, bypassing US-based companies like Dell, HP, and Apple to purchase their netbooks, let's just talk about the numbers.

So, 40,000 Asus EEE netbooks, 5,500 desktops, and 4,300 printer/scanners cost a whopping $49.4 million?

WTF?

If I'm buying 40,000 netbooks from Asus, I'm thinking that'll run me around $350 ea. MAX. (It should actually be a lot less, but just for grins I'll keep it here.) That's $14 million.

The additional 5,500 desktops, let's price those at $1200 ea. You should be able to get some BADASS desktops for that when buying that many for that price. That's $6.6 million.

Printer/scanners? Let's be really generous and say each classroom gets a HP LaserJet CM2320nf Multifunction Color Laser Printer. You can find those for $560 at retail. Do that 4,300 times with no price break for quantity and that's around $2.4 million.

So out of $49.4 million, that leaves $26.4 million unspent. So where in the heck is the rest of the money?
 

Lagspike_exe

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Pristine_Condition said:
Something's going on here...





Now, set aside the fact that this is DETROIT we're talking about here...the same Detroit that's been guilt-tripping the rest of America for the last 40 years for not buying cars from an American company, bypassing US-based companies like Dell, HP, and Apple to purchase their netbooks, let's just talk about the numbers.

So, 40,000 Asus EEE netbooks, 5,500 desktops, and 4,300 printer/scanners cost a whopping $49.4 million?

WTF?

If I'm buying 40,000 netbooks from Asus, I'm thinking that'll run me around $350 ea. MAX. (It should actually be a lot less, but just for grins I'll keep it here.) That's $14 million.

The additional 5,500 desktops, let's price those at $1200 ea. You should be able to get some BADASS desktops for that when buying that many for that price. That's $6.6 million.

Printer/scanners? Let's be really generous and say each classroom gets a HP LaserJet CM2320nf Multifunction Color Laser Printer. You can find those for $560 at retail. Do that 4,300 times with no price break for quantity and that's around $2.4 million.

So out of $49.4 million, that leaves $26.4 million unspent. So where in the heck is the rest of the money?

In someone's pocket. :lol
 

antonz

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It is the American way when it comes to the education system. Throw more money at it!!! and of course pocket half the cash for officials
 

wenis

Registered for GAF on September 11, 2001.
Aug 22, 2007
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Well with all those students faces buried in a netbook maybe they won't notice the city they're in...
 

WickedAngel

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Oct 14, 2006
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They better hope those things have Linux on them. Otherwise, they'll be spending a king's bounty on maintaining them.

OP said:
So out of $49.4 million, that leaves $26.4 million unspent. So where in the heck is the rest of the money?

Do you have any idea how much software licensing can cost on this scale?
 

Prez

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You should also cut 20% tax. That puts the total to about $20 million.
 

Zhengi

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If it's anything like here in CA, part of that $49.4 million goes to the state and the schools. There are these items called Administrative Costs that are skimmed from the initial budget. That's around 5%-10% of the total. I'm not sure if the state gets some of this, but I would assume they do. The schools would also get some of this and they get roughly $4 million for their budgets.

The rest of the money is probably spent in various programs and other miscelleanous items to help with the upgrade in classes.
 

reilo

learning some important life lessons from magical Negroes
Feb 23, 2007
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You are focusing too much on the hardware component side of things and ignoring the fact that software costs a big chunk, too. Sure, educational institutions get massive discounts, but those still add up over time. Then you gotta factor in that somebody has to install the software and setup the computers in the classrooms and setup a secure network to support it all and and and.
 

Solaros

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So out of $49.4 million, that leaves $26.4 million unspent. So where in the heck is the rest of the money?
Routers, switches, and other network infrastructure costs to wire them all together?
 

WickedAngel

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Solaros said:
Routers, switches, and other network infrastructure costs to wire them all together?

Those things assemble and maintain themselves (IE, the prevailing opinion of business leaders everywhere).
 

Deku

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Pristine_Condition said:
Something's going on here...





Now, set aside the fact that this is DETROIT we're talking about here...the same Detroit that's been guilt-tripping the rest of America for the last 40 years for not buying cars from an American company, bypassing US-based companies like Dell, HP, and Apple to purchase their netbooks, let's just talk about the numbers.

So, 40,000 Asus EEE netbooks, 5,500 desktops, and 4,300 printer/scanners cost a whopping $49.4 million?

WTF?

If I'm buying 40,000 netbooks from Asus, I'm thinking that'll run me around $350 ea. MAX. (It should actually be a lot less, but just for grins I'll keep it here.) That's $14 million.

The additional 5,500 desktops, let's price those at $1200 ea. You should be able to get some BADASS desktops for that when buying that many for that price. That's $6.6 million.

Printer/scanners? Let's be really generous and say each classroom gets a HP LaserJet CM2320nf Multifunction Color Laser Printer. You can find those for $560 at retail. Do that 4,300 times with no price break for quantity and that's around $2.4 million.

So out of $49.4 million, that leaves $26.4 million unspent. So where in the heck is the rest of the money?

I assume there's support plus replacement/lease plan and it could mean additional/replacement netbooks for years to come.

May not be a bad deal if we have all the details.
 

jorma

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Jun 4, 2007
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Disregarding the pocketing of stimulus money and the dubious choice of buying from Asus i think it's a pretty excellent way to spend it.

But.. i thought that money was to create jobs? As in using it to buy labour rather than technology.
 

bggrthnjsus

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Beaulieu said:
monster cables
man that shit better have enough gas sealing and gold plating to protect my 0s and 1s from becoming 2s and 3s...that would be a fucking disaster of detroit proportions
 

Risible

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Pristine_Condition said:
So out of $49.4 million, that leaves $26.4 million unspent. So where in the heck is the rest of the money?

I'm sorry, but that's a stupid question.

40,000 netbooks that need software, and then need that software installed, and then need the netbooks set up to school standards, and then need those netbooks distributed, and then need infrastructure to support them, and then need support personnel to support and maintain them, the list goes on and on. And don't forget.we're talking FORTY THOUSAND machines.

I think it's a stupid idea and a colossal waste of money, but tallying the hardware costs and then going "WHERE THE HELL I THE REST OF THE MONIES?!" is misleading at best.
 

Gallbaro

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I really question "computers to compete" rather than basic math skills that these kids do not have.

Anyway probably only $5-%10mm was pocketed along the way. The extra supplies and insurance for inner city kids was probably quite a chunk of change.
 

MWS Natural

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Pristine_Condition said:
So out of $49.4 million, that leaves $26.4 million unspent. So where in the heck is the rest of the money?
 

gohepcat

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WickedAngel said:
They better hope those things have Linux on them. Otherwise, they'll be spending a king's bounty on maintaining them.



Do you have any idea how much software licensing can cost on this scale?


Here we go. M$ is teh evil!

I know this might come as a shock, but there is a chance that the newspapers reporting the wrong numbers. I can speak from experience that newspapers will often quote whole state budgets when talking about a local program. This usually causes some local yahoo to show up at a town hall meeting claiming that our firemen must be making 2 million dollars a year.

I'm sure the numbers are more logical broken out....at least I hope so.
 
May 16, 2006
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WickedAngel said:
Do you have any idea how much software licensing can cost on this scale?

Actually, I do. My ex-gf is an educator at an all-digital magnet school. I saw the breakdown. The suite they use (called SMART, IIRC,) licensed at around $10K for 500-600 students. That breaks down to approx. $20 per laptop. The additional software and digital "books" they licensed were another $85 per student. So, $105 per laptop, roughly. Assuming Detroit got the same deal as this small school, that'd be a little over $4m.
 

Salmonax

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Pristine_Condition said:
So out of $49.4 million, that leaves $26.4 million unspent. So where in the heck is the rest of the money?
Software and Services, I'd guess.
 

WickedAngel

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Oct 14, 2006
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Pristine_Condition said:
Actually, I do. My ex-gf is an educator at an all-digital magnet school. I saw the breakdown. The suite they use (called SMART, IIRC,) licensed at around $10K for 500-600 students. That breaks down to approx. $20 per laptop. The additional software and digital "books" they licensed were another $85 per student. So, $105 per laptop, roughly. Assuming Detroit got the same deal as this small school, that'd be a little over $4m.

You really, really don't. Software licensing quotes can vary wildly depending on who you are, how influential the company you're working for is, and what time of year you're receiving the quote. That same suite could have cost the next magnet school double that price based on nothing more than their ability to pay it. Beyond that, you just added 4m to the number based on a single piece of software using relatively conservative estimates.

What about Microsoft Office? What about antivirus and antimalware software (And before you say "Free!", realize that most of this software explicitly forbids non-private use)? What about installing that software? What about supporting the software after installation? What about testing that software for interoperability issues? What about the training programs that will have to be designed and performed for teachers and students?

Ask those questions in the context of 50K machines and you've got a hugely expensive task that will make even the most experienced IT professional lose sleep.
 

Guevara

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How are our kids ever going to learn to work in the real world if they all get 100% officially licensed software? We should be teaching kids to ignore Microsoft Office's constant badgering, just like most companies expect.
 

Arthrus

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I'm not going to take a side in this, but wouldn't it make sense if they held on to about half the money for supplies and maintenance funds over the next however many years?

- ink
- laptops breaking (they won't all be handled with care, after all)
- IT repair services
- transportation/installation fees
- computer software (Mavis Beacon and all that)
 

Dan

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Jun 8, 2004
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Isn't it Detroit that's known to bribe students with iPods in order to get them to attend on the days where attendance is recorded and used to determine federal funding? I'm wary of anything involving Detroit giving away technology to students.
 

NovemberMike

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Yeah, that's actually about what I'd expect it to cost. That $50m probably includes all of the software licensing, an amazing warranty and professionals to install and maintain the equipment. It's like how a terabyte of storage costs about $2000 once you've included the replacement drives, mirrors, tech time to set it up etc.
 
May 16, 2006
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WickedAngel said:
You really, really don't. Software licensing quotes can vary wildly depending on who you are, how influential the company you're working for is, and what time of year you're receiving the quote. That same suite could have cost the next magnet school double that price based on nothing more than their ability to pay it.

That's funny. I just did a Google search, went here, and found the exact same pricing I was talking about:

http://www.swexpress.com/item/ECC571EFF70E27AC852575DF006160D3!opendocument&Title=SMART_Classroom_Suite_2010_Academic

Yeah. That was a really tough negotiation.

WickedAngel said:
Beyond that, you just added 4m to the number based on a single piece of software using relatively conservative estimates.

No I didn't. That price was for more than one piece of software, from more than one vendor, and for additional individual course units. The "one piece of software" (actually a suite of software, was $20 per unit, there was an additional $85 per unit in other software/licenses that made up the $4m number. It'd help if you read what I posted before responding.

As far as me using conservative estimates, yeah. I did. Are you saying that Detroit should pay MORE per student/laptop at 40,000 units than a school that only buys 500 units? Because I don't think that's how the pricing game usually works. :lol

WickedAngel said:
What about Microsoft Office?

Why in the fuck does a school child need Microsoft Office? Can't they use Open Office? And yeah, you can use Open Office for education.
 

Horns

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Wonder if these things will eventually flood Craigslist for cheap. I remember when MS had software deals when I was in college and I'd see students selling free Office and XP disks for $20 and $30.
 

Patryn

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I'm more wondering exactly how many of these netbooks they'll still have at the end of Year 1.

Or will it be like that scene in the Wire where they all get put into a storage room and never taken out?
 

Dan

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Jun 8, 2004
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Patryn said:
I'm more wondering exactly how many of these netbooks they'll still have at the end of Year 1.

Or will it be like that scene in the Wire where they all get put into a storage room and never taken out?
They'll be distributed on days when attendance matters most to obtaining further federal money. Count on it.
 

WickedAngel

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Pristine_Condition said:
That's funny. I just did a Google search, went here, and found the exact same pricing I was talking about:

http://www.swexpress.com/item/ECC571EFF70E27AC852575DF006160D3!opendocument&Title=SMART_Classroom_Suite_2010_Academic

Yeah. That was a really tough negotiation.

I can't help but be unsurprised at the fact that you, not having any experience in the industry whatsoever and whose knowledge relies upon an anecdote, completely missed this from the link that you provided:

Link said:
Larger quantities and Corporate and Government Pricing available. Call.

Pristine_Condition said:
No I didn't. That price was for more than one piece of software, from more than one vendor, and for additional individual course units. The "one piece of software" (actually a suite of software, was $20 per unit, there was an additional $85 per unit in other software/licenses that made up the $4m number. It'd help if you read what I posted before responding.

It'd help if you knew what you were talking about before you posted.

Pristine_Condition said:
Why in the fuck does a school child need Microsoft Office? Can't they use Open Office? And yeah, you can use Open Office for education.

And once again, your lack of experience in these issues rears its ugly head. The cost of "free" software can be crippling as it deals with unexpected intangibles that will have to be remedied post-implementation. There is a reason that Windows and Microsoft Office are business standards and it isn't because companies like paying for them.

You've proven that you're not worth acknowledging, honestly.
 

dem

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Jun 20, 2004
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I work in a school division...
The price of netbooks we buy (HP) gets damn close to the price of a good 15" laptop once you add extended warranty (3 yrs) on them.

Clearly we aren't buying nearly as many as quoted here.. but i think we're paying nearly 700 dollars. Its obscene.
 

Ceres

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Does each kid really need their own laptop? My high school probably had 200 total computers for the school which has about 2000 students. There were laptops teachers could reserve for classes, three computer labs (two PC and one Mac), and the library ones.

More than likely you're just going to help these kids fuck around while you're trying to teach unless they include some major restrictions on programs you can use, being able to install programs, and websites. If I had a computer at my disposal during every class, I would have paid far less attention then I already did.
 

Haly

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Oct 10, 2006
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I think computer education classes should be mandatory since computer literacy is becoming a more and more important skill in daily life.

But this is silly.
 

WickedAngel

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Ceres said:
Does each kid really need their own laptop? My high school probably had 200 total computers for the school which has about 2000 students. There were laptops teachers could reserve for classes, three computer labs (two PC and one Mac), and the library ones.

More than likely you're just going to help these kids fuck around while you're trying to teach unless they include some major restrictions on programs you can use, being able to install programs, and websites. If I had a computer at my disposal during every class, I would have paid far less attention then I already did.

You can mitigate a lot of that sort of damage via several methods (Limited user profiles to prevent software installations + Deep Freeze in the event that they manage to use some kind of privilege-escalation workaround). In the end, it will be ridiculously expensive no matter what they try to do (Likely more expensive than that 50mil budget they've got to work with).

They would have seen more benefit by overhauling their internal technologies and providing more supervised access in the form of hands-on IT and/or programming theory classes.
 
Dec 8, 2008
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only in Detroit.

why buy thousands of NETBOOKS? severly hampered in quality. poor displays. subpar resolutions. disappointing power.

so why? for a few bucks more, they could have bought some REAL notebooks. complete with built-in optical drives, better and larger screens, more space for memory expansion, better HDD flexibility, significantly more powerful processors (even 4 year-old Core2Duo's are an order of magnitude better than an Atom).

I just...I FUCKING HATE DETROIT.

and yea...the rest of that money...they're going to have to explain where that's going. I assume some of it will be going towards upgraded infrastructure to support the new power draw and networking...but not $20 million of it. and lol @ them not buying from Dell/HP.

Ceres said:
Does each kid really need their own laptop? My high school probably had 200 total computers for the school which has about 2000 students. There were laptops teachers could reserve for classes, three computer labs (two PC and one Mac), and the library ones.

More than likely you're just going to help these kids fuck around while you're trying to teach unless they include some major restrictions on programs you can use, being able to install programs, and websites. If I had a computer at my disposal during every class, I would have paid far less attention then I already did.
all facts. the problem isn't the lack of tech (although you want to have it there). the problem is the home training.

sigh.
 
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