Many Pies

Many Pies

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A virtual computer lab for linguistic software

Today's Call to Prayer entry (the Wycliffe Bible Translators UK prayer diary) reads like this:
In January, we asked you to pray for the move of Wycliffe’s training programme to Redcliffe College in Gloucester. One of the big issues was how Redcliffe College was physically making space for the new programme. New seminar rooms have now been prepared and are being equipped to cater for the teaching programme. Continue to pray for the space needed for staff rooms and offices: the work looks manageable in the time remaining, but the final decisions and details still need prayer.
I was at Redcliffe with one of my colleagues yesterday. One of the consequences of the teaching taking place there is that there is no longer a dedicated "computer lab" with 13 PCs available all the time for teaching the software that linguists and translators need, which is what we have at the moment. What they have adopted is a virtual environment. I won't mention the provider of this virtualisation software, but you've probably heard of them if you know anything about this stuff. So we have a number of virtual PCs that you get to by installing some software from the afore-non-mentioned company which puts the screen from this virtual PC on your PC, Mac, tablet etc.

These virtual PCs are themselves running on a virtual server running on a physical server. For some people this is a bit mind-blowing, but then I have been reading a number of stories about people uploading themselves to virtual environments (a la Matrix). However if I say any more about that it will be on my non-techie blog. Yesterday we were showing those who are going to be teaching in this environment how it all worked and checking that they could do what they needed to. It all went pretty smoothly. I was worried that the software would somehow not work because the virtual PC was in some way not quite as good as a physical one, but that turned out not to be the case. The seminar rooms that the prayer item mentions will be used, with students using laptops to get on these virtual PCs.
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