Suggested Software/utilities for Clerk Computer

Discussions around the setup, operation, replacement, and disposal of clerk computers, not to include using MLS
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johnshaw
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Suggested Software/utilities for Clerk Computer

Postby johnshaw » Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:17 pm

I've been thinking about upgrading the Dell Optiplex580's in my stake that all came with XP, though they had Windows 7 licensing. I was thinking about the recent clerk computer tech talk and called the Global Service Center for my Win7 image disk... I was told it doesn't exist and that the announcement was premature. So, without an Image, I'm wondering about the list of software I'd like to include. In addition to what is on the mls.lds.org site:

7-zip
Chrome
Firefox
Adobe Flash
Adobe Reader
UltraDefrag
WinDirStat
Win7codecs

Is there a good public-free DVD player / Image Creator / Image Burner

Are there other public-free utilities or software to consider? What about networking tools like a ping-scanner, etc...

Is there good software to install bonjour and allow printing from a tablet/phone?

What about online backup [for MLS backups only]? Is anyone doing this in their stake? What service do you use or suggest? SpiderOak? Crashplan? Backblaze?

What about using a dropbox account on clerk computer (I'd like to store and distribute documentation, etc)

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:18 pm

Keep in mind that added software needs stake presidents approval.

7-zip - Good. Although I think Win7 comes with a adequate, if weak unzipper.

Chrome
Firefox

I never understood a non-developer's need for multiple browsers. Seems like you're adding to the update headaches and expanding the attack surface. I typically use IE9. Except for SeatGuru.com, I haven't had any problems. If there is a real need to add, I'd add one, not both. And I'd probably favor Chrome. From what I'm reading, Firefox was the best, but has seen better days.


Adobe Flash - Church training requires it. Otherwise, I'd be tempted to leave it off. Seems to be a serious security headache and requires frequent updates.

Adobe Reader - Needed for some manual.

UltraDefrag - I tend to prefer MyDefrag as I think it optimises the position of files better.

WinDirStat - Handy tool, but not sure as it's needed on a ward computer. (I tend to prefer Treesize Free)

Win7codecs - ??? Maybe if you intend to do webcasts or multi-media presentations from this computer.

AxCrypt - Can use to encrypt/decrypt files. While 7-Zip can encrypt, it has to be done properly. Otherwise, it's just password protected.
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johnshaw
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Postby johnshaw » Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:45 am

RussellHltn wrote:Keep in mind that added software needs stake presidents approval


This is a regular discussion with our Stake President, he is not a technology guy, but makes good judgement when data/value are presented, and his answer is not always yes...

Chrome
Firefox

I never understood a non-developer's need for multiple browsers. Seems like you're adding to the update headaches and expanding the attack surface. I typically use IE9. Except for SeatGuru.com, I haven't had any problems. If there is a real need to add, I'd add one, not both. And I'd probably favor Chrome. From what I'm reading, Firefox was the best, but has seen better days.


I don't find personal value either, I'm a Chrome user typically, but I use IE on my clerk computer - What I've found is that with 14 units there is bound to be clerks that have personal preferences for IE, Firefox, or Chrome, my approach with the computer will be to install each and allow them to use their 'favorite' - this will allow us to get approval 1 time rather than each time a clerk changes and has a different preference. I don't mind accommodating because of the amount of time typically spent in the clerk computer - it certainly isn't something that is necessary.

AxCrypt - Can use to encrypt/decrypt files. While 7-Zip can encrypt, it has to be done properly. Otherwise, it's just password protected.


So you provide for an individual file encryption? I was thinking about truecrypt to provide a one-time encryption 'folder area' rather than individual files, do you find that keeping the passwords is an issue, or do you also add some kind of password safe? This area is one of my most-observed confidentiality issues when visiting units. Disciplinary documents in the clear.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:14 am

JohnShaw wrote:So you provide for an individual file encryption? I was thinking about truecrypt to provide a one-time encryption 'folder area' rather than individual files, do you find that keeping the passwords is an issue, or do you also add some kind of password safe? This area is one of my most-observed confidentiality issues when visiting units. Disciplinary documents in the clear.


I haven't been. I have used AxCrpt at work. I believe you can encrypt selected files or folders, not just entire disks.
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Postby JamesAnderson » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:02 pm

FamilySearch has found IE9 to be too buggy to really fully support at this time for their needs. Although you are not likely on a clerk machine to be using FamilySearch websites regularly, you'll want to be able to go back to IE8 if you are not running Firefox and/or Chrome.

nFS had problems with Captcha in Chrome, so IE8 is needed for some password-recovery functions when that is an issue, apparently Chrome is having problems with some Captcha implementation.

Chrome auto-updates, so unlike the other two, especially MSIE, no update headaches either. Flash and Adobe will still need to be updated on occasion (hopefully they can eventually push those out via Tivoli Endpoint Manager like I've heard they are doing with Microsoft patches)

A few Church items require Silverlight, a Microsoft attempt to blunt the ubiquity of Flash that basically flopped although it is still seeing some good uses. Those were largely restricted to FamilySearch and their online classes videos as it supported showing slides beside the video frame.

Java needs to be on everything as well. Almost everything the Church does uses Java, albeit a release or two back, but having the most current Java will ensure the security and other holes found in earlier versions are fixed. A side note, Java 7 update 4 is not currently recognized for some reason by speedtest.lds.org so it skips tests 1 through 3, but still gives the speed test.

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Postby aclawson » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:47 am

pdfredirect - best pdf driver I've found. 100% free

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:10 am

Google Earth can be handy. But since it is basically a one-click install over the web, I don't see much need for the STS to preload it.

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Postby sjager » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:10 pm

By upgrading your softwarewithout proper licensing you are putting the Church at risk for non-compliancewith our software contacts and vendors. Please use only approved software products.

Additionally we areremotely pushing software updates to Clerk computers worldwide, these updatesinclude operating system patches, Sophos and other standard applications. Ifyou deviate from the established standards we will not be able to update orhelp manage the computer for you as easily.

Thanks for your cooperation in this matter.

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Church desktop hardware and software

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johnshaw
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Postby johnshaw » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:02 pm

Dear Desktop Management team:

Could you please provide the Windows 7 implementation guide to us? It has been promised since February of this year, with multiple mentions that it was 'just a couple days away'. Including instructions in a recent Tech Talk indicating an image was available that turned out to be false. There isn't anyone on this board who's starting position isn't to stay in compliance or shouldn't be.

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:46 pm

sjager wrote:By upgrading your softwarewithout proper licensing you are putting the Church at risk for non-compliancewith our software contacts and vendors. Please use only approved software products.


A valid concern, but I believe all of the software mentioned in this thread is free for church (not just personal) use. If that's not the case, I sure we'd appreciate the correction.


sjager wrote:Additionally we areremotely pushing software updates to Clerk computers worldwide, these updatesinclude operating system patches, Sophos and other standard applications. Ifyou deviate from the established standards we will not be able to update orhelp manage the computer for you as easily.


Is this a new policy that nothing other then what has been posted at mls.lds.org should be loaded? Or just a caution/concern?
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.


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