Council person needs 'balls pummelled'

Following a whole-school computer "refresh", my colleagues and I ended up spending our entire Friday apr s-midi with our backsides glued to a blue swivel wheelie chair skating among 21 PCs trying to reload software.

This was not entirely unreasonable, you might think - except for the fact that, up until a few weeks ago, these same machines had been programmed up to the hilt and working just fine for a year or more.

However, according to the written word that is BT's ticket to extract funds from local authorities, these PCs had to be "upgraded" and "rebuilt". This involved wiping all our specialised software and replacing the CD-Rom drive with a DVD that was neither needed nor wanted - a bit like a compulsory purchase order, only in reverse.

Sadly, this isn't the first time I've experienced the madness that is BT Syntegra's arrangement with Edinburgh City Council. A couple of years ago, I was on a placement in a school when it became evident that one of the main servers could no longer cope with the large file sizes created in CDT, business management and computing.

The school stepped into the breach, explored the possibilities and had a machine delivered, installed and configured by one of BT's sub-contractors at a cost of pound;6,000 - not cheap, but a colossal saving on a BT Syntegra quotation of around pound;29,000. Well done to the school's senior management team, I thought: the only problem was BT Syntegra's insistence that, since they didn't supply the server, it posed a security risk to the network and had to be disconnected.

Whoever signed that contract on behalf of Edinburgh City Council deserves to have their balls pummelled.

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