Kindy Manager – Asking Nicely Gets You Places

This post should be aptly subtitled “How to get applications to do what you want.”

There’s a program called Kindy Manager, it’s used for tracking child enrolments in After School Care stuff. This program also syncronises itself with the government CCMS, which is where we were having problems.
See, this program required use of the internet and offered no support for proxy servers.

I’ve heard the “horror” stories from the other schools, some schools paid for another phone line so they could get an extra internet connection that didn’t run through the proxy server (also, the other connection could not be linked up to the school network at all due to security reasons). Other schools had to move their Kindy Manager Database onto a laptop (that is, taking the database off the server and putting it on a workstation), taking that laptop home and running the connection through their home internet connection.  The other way was to use one of those NextG cards for it (and sign up to a 12/24 month contract too).

So anyway, I figured I’d do something about it.

I sent off a friendly (but firm) email to the Kindy Manager guys explaining the situation and asked them what to do about it.  Sure enough, I get a call later that day (awesome service) which started the ball rolling.

It’s less than 2 weeks since I started talking to them about the proxy issue (the first email was sent on the 5th Mar 09 and it’s now the 17th Mar 09) and the updated version will be available tomorrow from the Kindy Manager website.

Obviously, this method wouldn’t quite work with Microsoft, but when it comes to smaller software development companies, you could just trying asking nicely.

Here’s a few hints:  When asking them about adding in a new feature, make sure you explain who you are and your role. Then explain what you (or other people) are doing to get around the problem and how much of a waste of time/pain it is to have to do the work around.
Don’t forget correct contact details and to be quite polite, software companies don’t want to have to deal with angry users.

Remember that software companies build their software for you, the user. Make sure you let them know exactly what would make their software a better thing to work with.


EDIT (18th March):  So, we got the new beta copy to test out.. Looks like proxies are sort of working, but there’s a few more bugs to work out…  Won’t be long now 😛

EDIT2 (20th March): Waiting on the bugs to be fixed 😛

Posted by duck in IT Issues, School

HP550 Notebook

This is my first real post 🙂

So, our school bought 30 HP550 notebooks, with the idea that we could use 5 of them in each Year 5 and 6 classroom.  We ordered them Tuesday… they arrived Friday (don’t you just love speedy delivery?)

Here’s the HP website with the specs of the laptop:

Now, all the computers we have in our school run off an Image, and the image is the same as the other schools nearby with the exception of a few files, each laptop takes about 45minutes to image and set up to be working with our school (most of the time is spent in the imaging phase, copying the files over etc).
It was doing this image that I realised, they only come with a 10/100 Network card (a real bummer since we upgraded our school switches to gigabit last year). These laptops were destined for wireless anyway, so it’s not too much of an issue 😉

The build quality of the laptops is good, with one horrible fatal flaw. The mouse buttons are TERRIBLE. 1/3 of the clicks on the button just don’t make it to the computer. So you sit there hitting the button hard every time and that’s probably breaking it and making it even worse later down the track.
To fix this, we bought 30 mouses to go with them.

The “upgrade” from the HP530 to the HP550 would have been just perfect if they had kept the same buttons from the HP530.

I just hope that HP realise that the buttons are terrible and do something about it for the next model. I know I’m reccommending that we don’t buy any more HP550 laptops until they come out with a newer model.

As for some of the other parts, the Battery life is great. We stack them all up at the end of the day and plug them into the charger, they sit on the kids desks throughout the day. I haven’t heard of any issues of them running out of battery at all.
Speed wise they’re pretty snappy too, we got all ours with added memory, they’re all on 2gb of RAM.

Overall, they’re a very nice, well built laptop with the sole exception of the mouse button being terrible. If you’re looking at buying some for yourself/your school, make sure you get external mouses with them.


Posted by duck in Reviews, School

Welcome to my Tech Blog.

Welcome to my Tech Blog.

I’m a School Support Officer at a School in Australia, basically I’m the IT guy.

My job involves things like teaching the teachers how to use the computers, computer maintenance and really anything that involves IT.

The purpose of this blog is to document issues that come arise in my School as well as how to guides for undocumented things, interesting news that’s related to IT in schools as well as a bit on “Hey, check out what we’re doing!”

If I accidently break a copyright or something, or you wish to get in contact with me regarding something on this website, or if there’s something you think would be interesting, please feel free to send me an email at:


Posted by duck