How dare they

April 23, 2003

Most of the people that frequent this site know that I'm a big Linux fan and have been for many, many years. Most of you also know that during some semesters (including this one) I have been unable to run Linux because of courses that require the use of programs that will only run on Windows. I've been waiting so long for the day that my course schedule didn't dictate my operating system. I have one more final exam and I'm done with computer engineering (as a degree, not as a way of life :). I start law school in the fall and have been anticipating the purchase of an Apple PowerBook for as long as I can remember. I know all of my friends are sick of hearing about it, but damn it, it's too sexy to not talk about.

Back to the story. I received an e-mail from Santa Clara today concerning their deal with Dell and how I can get a PIECE-OF-SHIT Dell Lattitude notebook at a discounted price. After noticing in the e-mail that it said that this particular notebook has been "successfully tested with ExamSoft and SmartPrint," I did a little research. It turns out that ExamSoft is test-taking software used by most law schools so that students can take all of their in-class exams with their own notebooks.

It may come as no surprise that this software will only run on Windows! That's right, I'm again being told what operating system I have to use. Unbelievable. I've researched this quite a bit and it turns out that there really is NO way around it. There was quite a bit of information about this topic on the net as it has been a problem for a few years (ever since law schools started to use this software for exams). One of the best sources of information I could find on this subject was at MacInTouch.

Apparently, all ExamSoft does is lock up access to the computer (i.e., no disk or net access) so that you can't cheat. Some law schools, realizing the absurdity of requiring their students to run Windows, have reverted back to an honor system. Unfortunately, the law school I will be attending (like most others) requires that ExamSoft, and subsquently, Windows, be used if you want to take your exam on a computer. Most of those who have taken issue with this have gotten around it by, you guessed it, purchasing the cheapest Windows-based notebook they could find and using it only when they have to take a test. This will probably be my solution as well because I'm so bent on getting a PowerBook and get so livid just thinking about running Windows for three years (*shudder*). Hopefully I can find a notebook that will do the job for < $500. Donations are encouraged. ;)  "I ain't 2 proud 2 beg."

This whole thing has seriously turned my stomach. Ridiculous.

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