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MIT Lacks Adequate Computer Tools

MIT Lacks Adequate Computer Tools

Recently, I authored a web page for my own personal use. As part of this project, I wanted to scan in a few small images. While inquiring around as to where I could do it, I came to the slow realization that MIT is vastly under-equipped in computing resources.

I know that this is a bold statement to make, considering the hundreds of Athena workstations on campus, but I am taking the point of view of a normal, average member of the student body. When it comes to blazing speed and power, Athena is great. We as students even have access to supercomputer time, if you think you can use it. But how much of this speed do we really need?

I rarely use Athena for anything besides e-mail, web surfing, zephyring, or Matlab -things that don't require nearly the power I have access to on just about every box in the school. What I could use, however, is access to some public scanners, color printers, image processing tools, desktop publishing, and other such tools.

I'm sure that a couple of those Sparc 5s could be sold to come up with enough money to put a nice PC addition in one of the current labs, and color prints could be charged to a student's bursar account just as over-quota laser prints are charged. But right now I have to pay $12 an hour plus $2-10 a print at CopyTech. Actually, instead, I just have a friend at Wellesley who does it for me at the computer lab there, which carries all this stuff as a standard.

Justin A. Kent '00