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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Amelia KashianFebruary 22, 2024

NMU technology leaves Macs behind


Art and design majors, like myself, are considered to be the computer privileged on this campus. We are provided by NMU with a MacBook that has a valuable host of software installed on it. And although it catches me some jabs from my non-art and design co-workers, I love my computer.

But this semester, it seems that Northern is having a few problems accommodating those of us who have MacBooks.

When NMU tested the much-hyped emergency alert system, I was quite prepared to have my computer screen be overtaken with a warning while I sat in class. The time for the alert came and passed, and not one thing popped up. Oddly enough, warnings appeared on both my cell phone and in my e-mail. Confused, I just figured that it wasn’t working how it was intended, and I promptly forgot about it.

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That was until I arrived at the North Wind office and found out from some colleagues that in fact, the emergency alert system was not designed to work on Macintosh computers. Needless to say, I was pretty shocked to discover that a program designed to safeguard students in the event of an emergency on campus didn’t work on the computers provided to art and design students. And those art and design student compose the largest major on campus this semester with 617 students.

The MacBooks issued to students next fall will be equipped with a program that will allow the emergency alert system to work. And while I understand that the university had to create a different program specially for the Macintosh operating system, I see it as a huge oversight that it was not created in conjunction with the original program created for the IBM ThinkPad.

I was also excited when I heard that NMU was planning to increase the size of the wireless network to include the entire city of Marquette next fall. This is, without a doubt, a valuable resource for every student. With the university provided laptop computer and access to wireless Internet anywhere in the area, coursework can be done in any venue. This is especially relevant for some art and design majors, as a lot of the computer programs cannot be used without an Internet connection.

I salivated over the fact that I would no longer have to shell out too much money every month for Internet service that only occasionally functioned like it was supposed to.

My excitement quickly faded, and once again, my hopes were dashed because I have a MacBook.

WiMax, which will be the new type of Internet connection, is not yet compatible with the Macintosh operating system. Not only that, but there are no foreseeable plans from Macintosh that suggest the MacBooks might one day be compatible with WiMax.

This means that most students, who have ThinkPads, could take advantage of the new system, while I, on the other hand, could not. Although Northern is willing to extend its wireless network to the entire community, it is not willing to supply MacBook users with an alternative.

Northern prides itself on its laptop program and the access to technology it provides to all students. And I know that the majority of students at Northern do not have MacBooks, but NMU can afford to make a few more allowances for those who do.

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