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Changing software challenges University

April 11, 1997

By Randolph Tjahjono

Lariat Reporter

Nothing gets older faster than a computer.

What was the sleekest, fastest and best model six months ago is today's obsolete computer. Even software companies are churning out new versions of their software at a record pace.

For students and others, such progress might not be such a big problem. They can wait and save up to buy the newest software, and old hardware can often be used well past its prime.

'A top-of-the-line computer, bought today, would probably be considered that for about a year to a year and a half,' said Patrick Johnson, an assistant technician at Computer Access, a local computer store. 'For software, it's completely different because it is continually changed and updated.'

According to Wendy Neill, computer lab manager at the Casey Computing Center, the University purchases new computers every year for the most commonly used labs.

'We then take the old computers from Moody [Memorial Library] and put them in the Sid Rich [Sid Richardson Science Building] lab and take the ones in Sid Rich and put them somewhere else,' Neill said. 'It's a domino effect. Eventually, we sell the oldest computers we have back to the Microcomputer Store.'

As for the different departments, their old computers are bought back by the Microcomputer Store and resold to other departments, said Brian Dean, a Waco junior working at the Microcomputer Store.

One of the main selling points to potential students is how technologically caught-up it is.

'We point out the fact that [Baylor] has easily accessible computer labs and that computers are available in the dorms, but that's pretty standard among colleges today,' Blair Browning, an admission counselor, said.

Budgeting and making small purchases help the University keep up with advancing technology, said Larry Essary, Casey Computer manager in the Hankamer School of Business.

'We try to buy [hardware] in small bunches and space out our budget money over the course of the year so that if something new comes out later, we have some money left over,' said Essary. 'With software it's completely different because we have to re-train everyone and coordinate with the professors and what they're teaching in class.'

Even with the rapid changes that are constantly taking place in the computer field, one student said the University is doing a good job of keeping up.

'Everyone will always want more computers and faster computers, but I think that [Baylor] is doing a good job addressing student's needs,' said Brandon Dean, a Plano junior.

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