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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Katarina Rothhorn
Katarina Rothhorn

The first message I ever sent from my Northern Michigan University sanctioned email was to the editor-in-chief of the North Wind asking if there was any way I could join the staff. Classes hadn't even...

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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.

GOALS NEEDED — NMU has scored just five goals all season and with four of their losses coming in one score matches.
M Soccer: Offensive struggles lead to three straight losses
Lily GouinSeptember 29, 2023

Students and faculty members will now be issued a new computer every three years instead of every two years

After facing a recent budget reduction, Northern Michigan University has changed the laptop program to a three-year lease instead of the previous two-year.

Scott Krah, manager of Micro Repair, said the decision was based on money. If a change wasn’t made, the university could no longer keep the program running.

“It really came down to the fact that we cut and cut and couldn’t afford the two-year program,” Krah said. “We had to do something or scrap the program.”

NMU was able to provide higher-end models than expected to last the three years. Art and design students were leased aluminum MacBooks while other students were leased the ThinkPad T420i, a professional model, Krah said.

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“Students get a higher quality machine this way,” Krah said. “The repairs on last year’s model were lower than any other. As for the T420i, it’s something you’d see an executive carry around if he used a ThinkPad.”
Although students and faculty are expected to keep their computers for three years, new imaging for every model will be available at least every fall, Krah said. The laptops will still be maintained and covered under warranty for the additional year.

Freshmen and sophomores were leased the new T420i laptops or aluminum MacBooks while juniors and seniors were leased the refurbished SL410 laptops or white MacBooks. Krah said the upperclassmen were not offered the new laptops because at the point of graduation, the lease would not be up and they would not have the option to purchase the computer.

“Every class wishes they could have the new model, but this was the best way to distribute the computers,” Krah said.

David Maki, chief technology officer, said while it’s hard to pin point the actual cost of running the program because of the range of things such as support, warranty, repair and wireless networks, the change will save the university $500,000.

“We had to make a decision when faced with the budget reduction,” Maki said. “The new models will hold up for three years.”

To help with the cost of repairing cosmetic damages on the computers, NMU “Fatheads,” or padded stickers, were added to the back of the refurbished SL410 laptops. The stickers will help to prevent scratches, sticker residue, and other minor damages to the back of the computer. Maki said, students can put stickers on those instead of the computer itself.

The cost wasn’t the only thing that brought the change, according to Maki. Technology is more stable now, so fewer changes in technology allow a computer to be used longer. When the program was introduced in 1999, a two year refresh was needed to take advantage of the new technology.

Although the computers are checked for damages, students like Amanda Hilgers, a senior zoology major, have had difficulties with the refurbished laptops. As soon as Hilgers received her laptop in August, she immediately had to take it in for repairs.

“There was a problem with the wireless antenna so it couldn’t connect to the internet,” Hilgers said. “I’ve been to the Help Desk twice before classes even started to fix the wireless antenna and once to Micro Repair for the same problem.”

Hilgers said that a three-year program is worrisome because when she turned in the older laptops after two years, they weren’t working properly. While she is pleased with having the laptop program, there are changes that she would like to see.

“I’m not sure that I know what Northern could do, but not handing out refurbished laptops would be a start,” Hilgers said. “I’ve never gotten a computer that I thought was very good and it seems like I’m at the Help Desk way too much.”

Hilgers will be graduating and when faced with the option to buy, she said that she would not purchase the laptop she currently has because of the quality and the programs that would be stripped from it.

“I’ve had too many problems with these computers to want one. There’s no Help Desk after graduation,” Hilgers said.

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