3D printing comes to Lyons, Macs swapped to PCs, new software, booking changes and MORE!

We’ve made a few changes in Lyons over the summer months, so I thought I’d give an update, even if some of this isn’t quite complete:

3D Printing

Of course, this is on the top of my list! We just received an Ultimaker 2 3D printer this week! Although it’s not quite ready for student-use, we’re feverishly working toward getting it ready for September. This is thanks to the Student Life Enhancement Fund (SLEF); more on this soon!

We’ve Gone PC

Some of you may be relieved to hear this and still others may not be happy about it, but it’s true: we switched from Macs to PCs this summer. There are still a couple more machines that need to be swapped out, but the 12 in the main room have already been done. The old Macs were just that: old. They only had about 6 GB of RAM and were quickly proving to no longer meet the ever-growing needs of our media-producing students, staff and faculty!

In order to get more “bang for our buck”, we switched to Windows-based machines to help ensure that the Lyons equipment gets updated and upgraded on a regular, on-going basis — to stick with Mac products would mean to not update or upgrade as often as we should. This will help us meet your increasing demands for better, swifter media-producing machines.

The next time you’re by Lyons, please check out the new HP Z1 machines. They’re pretty slick-looking and from the people who have had the opportunity to use them this summer, we’ve been told they’re “crazy fast”! At 32 GB of RAM, I should hope they are! 🙂


If you’ve worked in Lyons in the past and have an external hard drive or USB drive that has been formatted to work on a Mac solely, you may find it difficult to get the new Windows machines to recognize your hardware. If you wish to use a Mac at home and the PCs in Lyons for a single project, you will need to store it on a storage device which has been formatted to FAT32, which is recognized by both Mac OS and Windows. One problem: FAT32-formatted devices do not allow you to transfer files larger than 4 GB onto them. Please keep this in mind.

New Software

With a completely new operating system will come completely new software! We still have Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 and Comic Life on all the computers (production premium in the main room and master collection in the Edit Suites), but in addition, we’ve gained the following apps:

  • Audacity (free software; to replace Garage Band)
  • Blender 3D (free software; by popular demand!!)
  • Gimp (free software; Photoshop alternative)
  • Inkscape (Illustrator alternative)
  • Movie Maker (to replace iMovie)

Bookings Just Got Easier…

We realize that our booking systems have not been the easiest to deal with. For most of the bookable rooms, you just use the online booking system and show up when your booking time arrives. With the Green Screen Room / Classroom, you had to fill out a webform and get your booking request approved, then show up like any other booking. And then finally, there was a third booking system of emailing the LNMC Manager for equipment such as cameras, portable soundbooth, etc.

We’ve reduced this to only TWO systems: the self-serve room system will stay the same, and now not only is the Green Screen Room done via a webform request system, but now, so is the equipment we loan out! No more emailing. No more chances of emails getting lost or missed! Unfortunately, we have to have the two systems at this point, as the rooms are handled much differently than the Green Screen Room and equipment, but we hope this will help alleviate some confusion that was occurring.

Equipment that can be booked includes:

  • 24-hour loan cameras (video cameras and photo camera)
  • 24-hour loan tripods
  • a portable green screen (fabric with frame and carrying cases)
  • the portable sound booth and Nessie mic (to be used with an Edit Studio booking)

Additional equipment will be added to this form over time. All booking forms can be found via our Bookings page!

That’s it for this update. If more happens, we’ll let you know here!

~ Kelly, Library Media Specialist



6 responses to “3D printing comes to Lyons, Macs swapped to PCs, new software, booking changes and MORE!

  1. it’d be nice if we were able to install fonts on the new windows computers as we were on the macs. doing design work with the very limited selection of pre-installed fonts is rather difficult.
    also, is the new media centre ever going to get indesign?

    • Hi Brent,

      Thanks for your comments. I agree that it’s important to be able to download and install fonts when doing design work. We will be speaking with our IT department to see what we might be able to do in regards to this. We ask that you bear with us in the meantime. 🙂

      As for In Design, the Centre has always had In Design. This is available via the Master Collection, which has always been available in the two Edit Studios. The 12 computers in the main room have the Production Premium package, which does not include In Design, you’re right. If you need to use In Design or Dreamweaver, simply book one of the Edit Studios — L415 or L416 — (for 2 hours per day per group) from our bookings page: http://library.mcmaster.ca/lyons/bookings

      I hope this helps!

      Library Media Specialist

    • Quick update for you, Brent:

      Our IT guys managed to create a little program for us to install .ttf and .otf files on the new Windows computers, after we explained the problem this change caused in that area.

      If you’re on one of our machines, click on the START button, then All Programs and find the Maintenance folder. You will see a file called InstallFont. Open that up, navigate to your downloaded font and it will install it for you.

      It’s a little buried right now, but we’re going to see if we can get an icon added to the desktop to make it easier to find.

      I do hope this helps!


    • Hi Prince,

      Actually, the main room computers have likely never had Flash, as the Production Premium is what has always been available out in the main room. If you book one of our Edit Studios (L415 or L416 – http://library.mcmaster.ca/mrbs_lnmc/day.php?area=2), you will have access to the entire Master Collection, which includes:

      • Flash Builder 4.5
      • Flash Catalyst
      • Flash Professional

      I’m in the process of updating all the software lists on our website, but please feel free to keep an eye on our Software page on our website to see what’s available to you and on what machines.

      I hope this helps!

      Library Media Specialist

      • Actually, I stand corrected. I just double-checked and the main room computers actually have both Flash Catalyst and Flash Professional as part of the Production Premium. Apparently only Flash Builder is the odd man out, but it is still available via the Edit Studio computers.


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