FAQ and comments about the Higley School District controversy


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Message boards : SETI@home Staff Blog : FAQ and comments about the Higley School District controversy

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Profile Misfit
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Message 953405 - Posted: 9 Dec 2009, 17:45:37 UTC - in response to Message 952431.

That new IT group that is overseeing the IT dept is related to Dr. Birdwell's longtime live in partner. It's her brother in law of some sort people. Even David Ligon the Director of IT is related to Dr. Birdwell he is the nephew of her partner as well. Hey Denise can I join your family, me and my wife need a high paying job. Isn't a there a niece working for the district some where? I'll have to do my research on this. But I'll find out.
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Message 953571 - Posted: 10 Dec 2009, 11:00:52 UTC - in response to Message 953380.

Bob1701a wrote:
Did you read the ENTIRE article? The police confiscated computer equipment from his home that is alleged to be school property. There are at least 9 different allegations under investigation. Any one would be enough to get the guy fired. Installing BOINC is the least of them. One of the major allegations involves the misspending of $540,000. Do the math on the 90 servers. He is alleged to have spent $7,000 on each of 90 back-ups when he should have spent $1,000. That's a difference of $540,000! I just hope they do a complete and accurate investigation.


I'm sure mich has meant the comments to the article, not he comments posted here, for example:

article comment by Pabio wrote:
I would also question Greene's credentials for UPS systems. You can buy battery back up systems for $1k with minimal back up times. The longer the backed up devices have to run on battery power, the more expensive the system. What was the spec; 10 minutes, 10 hours, somewhere in between? Who makes the units? Like anything else, there are Yugos and Cadillacs in every product line.

Its not that secure that he is the (only) one to be blamed for the misspending, too:
article comment by maxwell50 wrote:
As for the school blaming the IT guy for procuring $7000 worth of equipment that can allegedly be purchased for $1000, well, from what I have seen, it is standard for school districts to require administrator approval for any purchase that is over $5000, which makes the administrator accountable as well for spending this money.

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Message 953681 - Posted: 10 Dec 2009, 21:12:32 UTC - in response to Message 952163.

I am not agree with Birdwell's comment

"We support educational research and we would have supported cancer research but we however as an educational institutional do not support the search for E.T."?


what does he mean by comparing Seti@Home project with a cancer research project? and implicitly stating, SETI@Home is not worth as much as cancer research.

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Message 953693 - Posted: 10 Dec 2009, 22:09:32 UTC

Just a quick comment about decision making, at least in California. We have something called the Brown Act in California. All goverment organizations, including school districts, cities, counties, special districts and the state it'self are covered. One of the provisions of the Brown Act is public accountability. The act makes it a crime to spend any money that is not directly authorized. So sending a school super to Florida for a convention of educators would be ok, but spending electricity to run Boinc.... technically that would be gift of pubic funds. It most likely be treated the same as say the LA school district giving Berkely money. It's technically a crime, even if approved by the school board. The only legal way in California would be a vote of the people. Even the Govenator could not legally approve it.

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Message 953698 - Posted: 10 Dec 2009, 22:18:08 UTC - in response to Message 953681.

SETI@home is the Holy Grail of BOINC projects. Voted most likely NOT to succeed it would be heralded as the greatest discovery of mankind otherwise.
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Message 953713 - Posted: 10 Dec 2009, 23:33:30 UTC

I got the email blast from Dan. I was very disappointed that the email address list wasn't included this time. I could've used an update.
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Message 953779 - Posted: 11 Dec 2009, 4:00:49 UTC

I hope the first contact with et does not happen with any of you ja saludos

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Message 953859 - Posted: 11 Dec 2009, 12:55:35 UTC

The school district's claims about the damages are clearly exaggerated. But it is true that the computers are not the personal property of the teacher. The teacher should not have put the program on there. Still, why did the school district have to fire the teacher? They could have just removed the program, about five minutes worth of work, and yelled at the teacher, and been done with it all.

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Message 953875 - Posted: 11 Dec 2009, 15:20:34 UTC - in response to Message 953693.
Last modified: 11 Dec 2009, 15:21:20 UTC

I'm wondering if it is illegal in California to have PCs running a compute-intensive, 3D screen saver? If it isn't illegal to do that, why would it be illegal to run any other compute-intensive screen saver?

Maybe the California voters approved the running of screen savers? If not, the cops will be very busy rounding up all of the school IT administrators, instructors, computer lab admins, librarians, and anybody else who blatantly ignored the rule of law and configured a screen saver to run on their machines!

Point made?
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Message 953908 - Posted: 11 Dec 2009, 16:46:34 UTC - in response to Message 953875.

I would have to guess that the BOINC screensaver was disabled. Otherwise the district can't say they didn't know about it if SETI was showing on all their screensavers.
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Message 954166 - Posted: 12 Dec 2009, 13:07:56 UTC

I have noticed some slowdowns while running BOINC. They occur ONLY when I select "full time" use of the processors in my computers, so it's no bust on the programmers...I KNOW it's going to slow down my computer. I have also noticed a substantial loss of video frame-rate with the GPU enabled if I'm playing WoW, or Eve.

Aside from that I've been running SETI@Home for a while, utilizing desktops, laptops, and one OLD quad-server(all purchased by me...cough cough). I've used Intel 286 through Core2Duo Centrinos, AMDs, VIAs, NECs, and even one of the old 586 Cyrix. All ran flawlessly to the day I retired them, or sold them, or gave them away. I have yet to experience any unanticipated issue running SETI@Home or BOINC.

Seems like a lot of dirt-throwing is going on, and that several decent careers have ended as a result.

This is obviously all William Gates' fault for scamming IBM out of DOS...
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Message 954176 - Posted: 12 Dec 2009, 14:50:29 UTC - in response to Message 953859.
Last modified: 12 Dec 2009, 14:50:54 UTC

hb3g wrote:
The school district's claims about the damages are clearly exaggerated. But it is true that the computers are not the personal property of the teacher. The teacher should not have put the program on there. Still, why did the school district have to fire the teacher? They could have just removed the program, about five minutes worth of work, and yelled at the teacher, and been done with it all.


You've got it wrong: This isn't about a teacher that has installed Seti@home on a single computer that belonged to school, it's about an IT manager of a school district that installed it on thousands of computers.

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Message 957120 - Posted: 18 Dec 2009, 15:29:30 UTC - in response to Message 952492.

I believed a day that I had found a signal, and I made a backup of boinc, There was 80 Megabyte of data, but the DVD engraved(burnt) a third(third party) of the surface of the disk, it has can be things hidden in boinc???
because after verifyng volume transfert in my account, i see boinc consume,
8 gigas for a day, and in belgium, it cost 1ÔéČuro per giga, so i can't give a donation for the moment, but when i shall be able to give a donation, i will give a good one.
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Message 958996 - Posted: 27 Dec 2009, 14:00:28 UTC

I've benn running boinc on two old Dell GX260 units. Damn things just keep running 24/7 as long as the local power company doesn't suffer equipment failures. Before the dells I used an old Gateway unit(My grand daughter now uses it for grade school and yes it still runs Boinc!) My greatest fear of failure comes from the lighting here in southwest Florida and FPLs brownouts. A power conditioner is a must for those who suffer from poor ac voltage control. We all need to be careful of who we snub in the work place. Some managers don't take it well and feel that termination is the only way to get their underlings to respect and conform to their demands
Thanks to Boinc I have a way to use my units for the good of all and get the most from them and my investment! Hopefully cool minds will prevail for the good of all involved
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Message 959942 - Posted: 1 Jan 2010, 6:54:39 UTC - in response to Message 952163.

This is interesting. The article I read quoted the Superintendent as saying it would cost the school district about 1.6 million to remove SETI, not that it cost the district that much. Heck, I have been working with computer for several years. IF this districts network is setup properly you can create an uninstall file that you can push out. Force the systems to reboot and upon reboot logon, uninstall SETI and reboot. Heck, even if done manually it still wouldn't cost but a couple hundred thousand. One company I worked for had a program on their network that listed every program each computer had installed and we could remote to any computer from our Office and install or uninstall any proggram we wanted.
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Message 971888 - Posted: 19 Feb 2010, 22:02:41 UTC

Mrs. District Administrator is definitely an ET! She is afraid that one day the radio telescopes might get pointed to her or her home planet and would register a WOW spike! The poor IT guy is about to make the discovery... That is why he got fired... Mrs. District Administrator is discrediting SETI and its research because she doesn't want her civilization to be discovered!

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Message 974915 - Posted: 1 Mar 2010, 1:46:48 UTC

Hi All:Re the School Admin issue

Here's my reasonably worthless comments:

1. The outcome will depend on the school systems policy. If it simply says that you require IT approval to install software he should not be in trouble as he is IT. On the other hand if their policy requires multiple approvals he will be in trouble.

2. It is my experience as an end user that some IT depts have difficulty keeping a handle on their own systems. People adding on software without prior approval is hardly new or even unusual. This could well be part of this problem-a new admin attempting to get a handle on her system and finding she doesn't know what's on her system has chosen to make an example of this guy. Or she got in trouble with her superiors and is blaming a subordinate for her failings. I've seen both happen and not just in IT Depts.

3. Her comment about supporting cancer research but not ET searches indicates a profound ignorance concerning basic research but that is not really pertinent to the issue- unless we also find that people have installed other software projects who have not been called on the carpet.

btw- for Mr. Korpela: As someone who supports the attempt to find ET (and Cancer Research too!!) I find this comment highly insulting to me as well.

4. Bad reporting-Once an issue hits the public and becomes a controversy I generally stop reading the news reports as this is when most of the bad reporting occurs-mostly reporting claims and counterclaims (such as PD confiscating school computers at home which may or may not be factual) as both parties attempt to win the case pre-trial.

5. Cost-this is usually a bit of a red herring. Much of the school districts cost would have been incurred whether Seti-@-Home was installed or not. (i.e. An otherwise idle PC running Seti-@-Home v PC that is idle but still on) Again my experience is that very few people actually turn off their PC at night so all they have to do is log on in the morning and not re-boot. I see a lot of screensavers on -the CPU is obviously not idle.

btw: what is the cost of litigating both the criminal and inevitable civil lawsuit vs. telling the guy the add-on isn't authorized and to remove it?


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