Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students
The Audio Visual office of ITSS is now offering a digital video editing station which allows you to burn DVD's from your digital camera recordings, transfer VHS tape to DVD format and transfer DVD to VHS with great editing abilities. The software package includes iMovie and iDVD which are very user-friendly. Two VHS editing stations are available for use, as well as a VHS to DVD (no-edit) station.
The digital video editing station is using a Mac G5 and is incredibly fast and easy to use for movie production. Sorenson Squeeze 3 for file compression for web or CD delivery is available.
Students may use these Video Production Center stations for class related projects with faculty permission. Faculty and staff may also reserve time to use this video production equipment. Call the Video Production Center at 6222 located in Kirby Plaza 175 to reserve your time now.
More information: Classroom Technology /itss/classroom/
ITSS has long made PC and Macintosh laptops available for classroom use and for conference presentations off campus. We will continue to loan laptops for these purposes, free of charge. In addition, to accommodate requests for laptops that do not fit within our loan policies, we will have PC laptops available for rental.
Often, a department would like a temporary machine for a new employee who is waiting for their laptop or a current employee who needs the mobility of a laptop. Also, faculty, staff, and students may need a laptop for personal reasons.
Departments can provide a CUFS number and be billed for the service. Individuals can purchase a voucher at the UMD bookstore and bring the receipt to ITSS Audio Visual Services in Kplz 175. Laptops rented for less than 12 hours and returned during AV business hours cost $6 per day plus tax. Overnight use up to 24 hours costs $12 per day plus tax. All UMD students, faculty, and staff are eligible.
Please inquire at AV in KPLZ 175 for further details, or check our AV web site.
More information: AV Checkout Equipment /itss/classroom/checkout.html
If you are responsible for a computer that is connected to the University's network, you must update your system as soon as critical security updates are available. To simplify this process and safeguard the integrity of UMD computers, networks, and data, ITSS is offering a new, automated Software Update Service (also known as SUS). SUS is a local, UMD-specific version of Microsoft's Windows Update service.
The primary audience for this new service is Windows 2000 and Windows XP computers that connect directly to UMD's network. Wireless, modem users, and other off-campus connections that are usually connected for less than 30 minutes may not benefit from using this service.
Since Microsoft's update sites frequently become very busy when critical updates are released, this service will make installing updates quicker and easier than before. In addition, ITSS staff will be testing all updates in our environment prior to releasing them. We hope this will avoid conflicts and problems with software and network configurations specific to our campus.
To use the ITSS-SUS, you will need to make a simple change to your computer's configuration. Once your system is set up to use this service, you will be alerted whenever a critical update is about to be installed on your system. Updates are scheduled for 4:00 p.m.. If you are not logged in at 4:00 p.m., the update will be applied 30 minutes after your system is started.
More information: Automating Microsoft Windows Updates /itss/security/sus/
Central system upgrades
During the summer months ITSS staff replaced many aging computers with new or refurbished systems. Hardware was replaced for services such as modem and general authentication, computational timesharing, name resolution, desktop boot IP services, web service, webmail service, and email service. Most of the systems replaced were more than five years old, and had been running continuously during that time frame.
A second large project involved moving stored email from a centralized server to one of four email servers. This move makes the email servers independent of each other and of other systems, so that if something goes wrong the impact will be minimized to individual systems. ITSS staff also designed and implemented a secondary email delivery process which will eventually provide failover incoming email service.
ITSS staff are now working on providing a replacement platform for the main web service. This will be implemented during the fall semester and customers will be asked to migrate from our existing main web server to the new one. Customers with web pages that are just viewable images and information will find this migration easy. Those with Perl CGI scripts will need to convert the Perl code to work with the current version of the CGI scripts. Customers with C or C++ code may need to recompile their programs, depending on how long ago the code was compiled. Customers will be contacted by ITSS during Fall 2004 about the web server conversion via email.
ITSS staff evaluated statistics during spring semester regarding traffic flows, and crafted a plan to replace some of the existing backbone infrastructure during the summer months. Much of this work has been accomplished, and more work will be done during the winter break period.
The work has been driven by requests for 100 megabit access to the desktop, plus the growing requests for wireless hubs. Most of the work has addressed building-to-backbone slowdowns, and traffic flow to the following list of buildings has been improved: ABAH, Cloquet Forestry Center, DADB, Griggs Hall, KPlz, KSC, LSH, MWAH, Oakland Apartments, RLB, SCC, Smed, Washburn.
Many new wireless areas were added (see Wireless Networking for details).
ITSS has made numerous improvements to the computer labs since the end of the Spring 2004 semester.
- Computers: The Access Center, SCCtr 41, Lib 118 and Lib 119 were populated with new Dell Pentium IV computers (with CD burners and DVD readers). The Lib 119 room has 19" flat-screen monitors and SCCtr 41 and Lib 118 have 17" flat-screen monitors.
- Ceiling mounted projectors were added to MonH 209, MWAH 177, and SBE 17. All full-access ITSS computer labs now have new projectors mounted on the ceilings.
- CPU holders were installed in Hum 470, Lib 118 and Lib 119. This should provide users with more space on the desk tops and better sight lines.
- Mac OSX is now installed in all Mac labs. This operating system will provide even better stability and new functionality for our campus.
- Authentication: The full-access PC labs are now operating on an authentication process. All users must enter their valid UofM X.500 Internet ID (user name) and password to log onto a computer. The system has been set up so that all students who pay the full-access fee have access privileges, as do staff and faculty. At this time only the PC labs have this system working but the Mac labs and other areas will be brought onto the system in the near future.
- Updated software: A number of programs have been updated to newer versions. MS Office 2003 is now available, as are Dreamweaver and Flash MX 2004, Contribute 2, Hyperchem 7.5, Mathematica 5, Nero 6, Rhino 2.0, and Design-Expert 6.
- Accessibility Resources: Two copies of the Kurtzweil 3000 (for Windows Professional Color: Scan & Read) software have been purchased and will be installed on the Library Access computer and the Access Center (once the renovations there are finished). Three copies of the RFB&D program have also been purchased and will be installed in the Library and Access Center area computers. Copies or upgrades of the following programs will also be available: Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred version, Inspiration, OpenBook, and Read & Write v7.
- Printing: The cost for black & white laser printed pages has gone down this year; charges are $0.05 fee per 8½ x11 page, and $0.20 per 11x17 page. Color printing remains the same, $1.00 per 8½ x11 page and $2.50 per 11x17 page.
- SunRays: Lab consultants will continue to work on the 3rd floor of the Library to help with SunRay questions and respond to issues in these areas. The Sunray web pages are a great resource for users new to this platform.
More information: ITSS /itss/
During the summer, ITSS set new password requirements for all Novell accounts, and began installing a security template on Windows computers that sets password requirements for the workstation account as well. These changes are needed to bring our campus in line with new University-wide security policies.
The main points of the new password requirements are:
- Must be at least 8 characters.
- Should be a combination of upper and lower case, include at least one number and one symbol (such as ! @ # $ % & *, etc.).
- Must be changed every 180 days.
- Must be unique (cannot reuse your last 5 passwords).
Novell customers will be notified at login when their Novell password is set to expire, and will have one week to change it. Customers will get a login expiration notice for their workstation accounts also.
For details on changing your Novell and workstation passwords, please see: Using your Novell account.
More information: Virus and Security /itss/security/
Computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and spyware applications are flooding the Internet and making their way to your local computer.
In 2003, 209 vulnerabilities were recorded against Microsoft alone. This year Microsoft is at 171 and if things stay constant, we could see an increase to over 250 vulnerabilities.
This is not a Microsoft issue at all - Mozilla is at 29 and Apple is at 50 vulnerabilities for the year. Some vulnerabilities are simply how a browser interprets HTML code, and this can create a vulnerability that crosses platforms. As technology continues to develop, so do the skills of hackers, spammers, and others who wish to either make a name for themselves or just create chaos.
A few years ago, you could surf the web with little concern. Today just visiting a web page that has malicious code, or clicking the wrong spot on a web page, can initiate installation of spyware. Spyware is an application that gets installed on your computer without your knowledge, and generally tracks web site history or other demographic information and reports back to the spyware author. Some computers we have seen have had hundreds and thousands of spyware pieces and caused these systems to run extremely slowly or to not operate at all.
This being said, it is more important today then ever to make sure you keep your computer protected from virus attacks, spyware and other threats. Virus and worm attacks are definitely on the increase and the variants seems to spread faster than they have in previous years.
Currently, all University of MN faculty, staff and students are eligible to use one copy of Symantec Anti-Virus for their own personal computer, as well as on all University owned computers. Spyware can be checked with products like Spybot or Adaware for your personally owned computers. ITSS offers a low cost service to check the status of your security and provide necessary updates through our Computer Assessment Service.
Over the next several months, ITSS will be evaluating and recommending several new policies and procedures to help stop or slow the spread of viruses and worms. Please watch our Virus and Security web page for the latest information, updates and solutions to keep your computer secure.
More information: Virus & Security Information /itss/security
One of the newer services ITSS offers is ImageNow document imaging. ImageNow can scan documents and index them, making them available immediately to all staff that need them by the click of a button. We have the capability to image most paper that is handled within a department, eliminating those file cabinets that are taking up office space. Staff efficiency will increase due to the work flow features that make documents move electronically through the office. No more misplaced or misfiled documents because everything is indexed.
ImageNow, a document imaging system from Perceptive Vision, Inc., was first used in the Twin Cities Financial Aid department and the project proved highly successful. The UMD Office of the Registrar in both the areas of Financial Aids and Student Records has been using ImageNow since January 2003 and the UMD Human Resources department since March 2004. More departments on the Twin Cities Campus (Office of the Registrar (OTR), Human Resources Management System (HRMS), Admissions, Graduate School, and Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA)) have chosen to take advantage of the benefits of the ImageNow technology too.
If you would like to learn more or have questions about document imaging at UMD, contact Debbie Wing in ITSS (email:firstname.lastname@example.org).
More information: Enterprise systems /itss/requests/esteam/brochure.html
Phishing is the latest Internet scam to get people to share personal or financial information, such as passwords and credit-card numbers. The scammer sends an email that appears to be from a legitimate company (such as an ISP or bank). The email asks the recipient to update or validate billing information to keep the account active, and includes a link to a forged web site that looks nearly identical to the real company's site. If the person fills out and submits the form on the fake site, the data is sent to the scammer.
Recent scams seen on campus include US Bank, PayPal, Citibank, eBay and Best Buy, where the emails directed people to web pages that looked nearly identical to the companies' sites.
In a recent article, the FBI called phishing the "hottest, and most troubling, new scam on the Internet."
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is working to protect consumers from identity theft and offers the following tips for avoiding this scam:
- If you get an email that warns you, with little or no notice, that an account of yours will be shut down unless you reconfirm your billing information, do not reply or click on the link in the email. Instead, contact the company using a phone number or address you know to be genuine.
- Before submitting financial information through a Web site, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar. It signals that your information is secure during transmission.
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
- Report suspicious activity to the FTC. Send the actual spam to email@example.com.
More information: ID Theft http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/
Kathleen M. Wilson started working for ITSS this past May as an Office Specialist. She is located in our main department office, MWAH 176, and her phone number is 218-726-7587.
Kathy has 15+ years of customer service and office experience including being an office manager for a local dental practice with multiple locations, working as a patient financial services representative and contract specialist with a local hospital, where she was part of a pilot project work team for the new financial system, and working as a department manager for a local major retail store.
Wendy Zolnowsky began working as an Information Technology Professional with ITSS in mid-July. Wendy's office is located in DAdB 23 and her phone number is 218-726-8855. She works with Facilities Management, Continuing Education and other campus staff who request application software support, desktop support, and data reporting from enterprise and desktop systems.
Wendy has a B.S. in English with minors in Chemistry and Biology from the University of South Dakota, and a M.S. in Information Systems with an emphasis in Database Administration from Dakota State University. Most recently Wendy was employed by Computing Services at Dakota State University where she worked extensively with the Colleague Student enterprise system, which is a system similar to PeopleSoft. One of her recent accomplishments included participating on a team that successfully merged data from six system campuses into one central enterprise system. In addition Wendy held an adjunct faculty appointment in the College of Business and Information Systems at Dakota State University teaching courses in Visual Basic .Net and Business Application Programming.
Mark Shetka has accepted the position of Information Technology Professional with our department and will join the ITSS staff on Monday, September 20. Mark's office will be located in Kirby Plaza 165 and his responsibilities will include providing a wide variety of software and hardware support for the campus community.
Mark has a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in Business from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and he also has a CNA, Certified Novell Administrator, certification.
During the past three years Mark has been employed as a Computer Support Specialist for the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. In this position he has participated in purchasing, installing, and configuring PC and Mac hardware, software, printers and peripheral devices. He has helped establish and troubleshoot Ethernet and wireless network connections for computers and printers, and supported PDAs in the wireless environment in the Academic Health Center. Prior to his employment with the University his experience includes working as a Help Desk Specialist for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and as a Windows Server Intern for Target Corporation.
Matt Zagrabelny has accepted the position of Information Technology Professional with ITSS and will start work on September 7, 2004. Matt will be located in MWAH 173 and will work with central systems staff on Unix server support and programming projects. Matt was a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics until the end of August and provided computer technical support for that unit.
Matt has a degree from UMD in ECE, worked at Hibbing Electronics as a test engineer, worked at Saturn systems doing both hardware and software engineering, and recently came back to UMD to get his Masters in Applied and Computational Math.
Matt has a wide ranging programming background, from software that was burned into a computerized fire truck water flow controller, to his recent work with Harlan Stech calculating sun ray density for each leaf on a tree based on the sun angle and the shadows cast by other leaves. He is very knowledgeable about the Beowulf cluster and parallel programming. He has considerable experience with Unix systems, and has done some Windows support as well.
During the past year, several ITSS services and individuals have moved into Kirby Plaza as construction was completed and space became available. The following is a complete list of services and staff in Kirby Plaza (including those who were already located there and those who have recently moved):
|Computer Maintenance and Desktop Support||KPLZ 165|
|Student Computer Lab Support||KPLZ 146|
|Data Entry, Test Scoring and Evaluations||KPLZ 146|
|Email Account and Alias Support||KPLZ 146|
|Audio-Visual and Interactive Television||KPLZ 175|
|Help Desk||KPLZ 175|
|Gordee Bennett||KPLZ 146|
|Spring Billiar||KPLZ 146|
|Rick Brill||KPLZ 146|
|Jason Davis||KPLZ 146|
|Mary Olson-Reed||KPLZ 146|
|Dan Ellis||KPLZ 165|
|Roger Petry||KPLZ 165|
|Frank Simmons||KPLZ 165|
|Sarah Paro||KPLZ 175|
|Doug Vandenberg||KPLZ 175|
Some staff have also moved around within MWAH. You will now find that all ITSS staff in MWAH are on the first floor. Please refer to the list outside the main ITSS office at MWAH 176 for further details.
More information: About ITSS /itss/about/
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