Advanced Force's Remote Desktop Manager
Managing the largest computer network in secondary education is a vast undertaking, but New York's Department of Education is doing it. With the new year beginning, the goal of implementing the "one-to-one computing standard" in our city's public schools, or the ideal of one computer for every student, teacher, and administrator in the system, is quickly becoming a top priority ¬ and formidable stressor - in technology procurement here.
With 1254 K-12 schools in the five boroughs, tech managers in New York education have a logistical challenge every bit as vast as their counterparts in the corporate sector, but nowhere near the amount of resources available to deal with it. In the corporate world, IT directors can simply buy the all of the latest and greatest products the high-technology industry markets with their annual budget each year, and just throw out all the old stuff. Plus they usually have full staffs of techies to configure it all.
Needless to say, that's not the way it works in education, where administrators consider themselves fortunate if they actually have one full-time manager handling their computers. With a major initiative like the one now facing the Department of Ed. happening, it's a very good thing indeed that an application like Advanced Force's Remote Desktop Manager is now available.
Remote Task Manager (RTM) is a systems control interface that can be run from any remote Windows NT/2000/XP and Windows Server 2003 computer, enabling a Systems Administrator to control most aspects of a remote environment, including starting or stopping services or devices, adding new services or devices, managing the system parameters and resources, and adjusting security levels. An integrated Event Viewer lets the Administrator monitor all events as though they were being run on the host computer, and the software even supports remote installs without ever having to be physically present on that station.
I didn't have a large network of Windows machines available to set up my trial on, but I was able to install the software on a small (four units) one, and perform remote configurations with relatively large amount of ease, even as a non-expert. For a school system which is soon going to be configuring literally thousands of new computers, it's easy to see how this would be a must-have app.
Unfortunately, the product will be of no use to the many students and teachers that work with Mac OS only, but considering the fact that most of the mobile units currently being deployed run some variant of Windows, it still should have broadly applicable functionality for a large number of end-users in the districts.
While RTM does have a learning curve ¬ although most IT managers probably have much more network savvy than I can boast of ¬ its ability to maximize time efficiency in a school system with little to spare makes it effort well spent. For more information, as well as a trial download, visit the manufacturer's site at www.protect-me.com.#