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Monday, June 15, 2015

Inflation Of Geniuses

Raw Story
Cash-strapped Michigan school system uses 1980s home computer to control heating for entire district
David Edwards 15 Jun 2015 at 16:40 ET
Officials in one Michigan school system are hoping that a 30-year-old home computer that controls heating and air conditioning for all 19 of their schools will finally be upgraded if residents decide to pass a $175 million bond proposal.

Grand Rapids Public Schools Maintenance Supervisor Tim Hopkins told WOOD-TV that the district used the money from an energy bond in the 1980s to purchase a Commodore Amiga, which has been tasked with controlling the heat and air conditioners ever since. The computer it replaced was “about the size of a refrigerator,” he said.

“The system controls the start/stop of boilers, the start/stop of fans, pumps, [it] monitors space temperatures, and so on,” the maintenance supervisor noted.

Hopkins explained that the computer operated on a 1200-baud modem, and it sometimes interfered with the walkie-talkies used by his maintenance workers.

“Because they share the same frequency as our maintenance communications radios and operations maintenance radios — it depends on what we’re doing — yes, they do interfere,” he pointed out, adding that “we have to clear the radio and get everyone off of it for up to 15 minutes” when that happens.

The district said that it has not been able to afford the $1.5 to 2 million cost of a new system. But the computer is system is on the list if a $175 million bond proposal passes in November.

“There’s a lot of projects, a lot of needs in the district, so there’s other priorities we have to put in place ahead of this,” Hopkins said. “This system is still running.”

Apparently it cost $2 million to replace a computer with the abilities of a 1980 Commodore Amiga.

Who was the utter genius who set up this system? Has the Corporate-Military-Industrial-Lobbyist complex kidnapped him? Why is the most fascinating part of this story ignored?

Fortunately, we can find information:

Technology Blog
A 1980's Computer Controls This School District's Heating System

Have you ever wondered what kind of system helps to regulate the temperature in your school? Do you imagine that it will be some kind of hi-tech fancy supercomputer? Perhaps that might be true for some school districts, but over at Grand Rapids, it seems that 19 of the Grand Rapids Public Schools are controlled by a computer made in the 1980s .Yes, you read that right, despite living in 2015, the GRPS has a bunch of schools whose heating and air-conditioning are regulated by a 1980s Commodore Amiga computer.
To top things off, it seems that the code written for the system was actually written by a high school student when the computer was installed in the 1980s.Thankfully that student still lives in the area so should any issue arise with the system, they can easily get in touch with him. More amazing is the fact that prior to the use of the Commodore Amiga, the school used a computer that was the size of a refrigerator so even though it hardly seems like it today, it was a significant upgrade...


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