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Please report any computer-related problems to the Department Computer Technician, Alex Ramos (firstname.lastname@example.org). Include a concise but detailed description of the problem with your message.
We do not have any specific recommendations on students' computers. It really does not matter for the purposes of taking classes in the Civil & Environmental Engineering department. It depends more on the person’s personal preferences as to what machine to buy (PC vs. mac, what model machine, what features etc.).
We would recommend a laptop for portability, most students use laptops. Most laptops also have wireless network capabilities (wifi) and the campus has extensive wireless network coverage.
Much of our engineering software will generally only run on Microsoft Windows computers. We have labs with the specialized software and our software licenses do not allow us to give out the software to students, so students need to use the computer labs for any specialized engineering software. Any class that requires the use of specialized software will have lab time scheduled in one of our computer labs.
The most commonly used software on students’ personal computers is Microsoft Office. There are student versions that are much less expensive than the standard version and the Cal Poly bookstore generally carries the student version of Microsoft Office. I would be sure to get Microsoft Office with Excel and Powerpoint as most students seem to use those 2 programs heavily. There are also free versions of software that are compatible with Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org is an example.
One last thing to consider is getting a small laser printer. Most assignments do not require color printing. Color inkjet printers use expensive ink cartridges that must be replaced often.