Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students
From July through December 2006, the ITSS Phone/Network Team
- responded to 104 repair calls
- completed 371 work requests
- installed 47 new wireless access points, for a total of 257 in 32 buildings
- supported 177 surveillance cameras
- supported 10 remote sites
Ten Years Ago in ITSS - February 1997
Student computing labs upgrading to Win95
By Fall, 1997, the necessary hardware will be in place and Information Services will be upgrading all IBM-compatible microcomputer labs to Windows 95. Because software packages that are currently available in the labs may work differently within this new operating system, IS will be providing an opportunity this Spring quarter for faculty members to test their specialized academic software in the Windows 95 environment.
Several Pentium computers in the MWAH 177 computer lab will be upgraded to Windows 95 during early April. These computers will also have the full contingent of software that is currently available in PC teaching labs. We encourage all faculty who teach computer-related courses in the PC labs or whose students use the DOS and Windows software in these labs to test any applications they will be using next year.
Thanks to all UMD email users for configuring your email programs to use secure settings. It took a lot of work on our part and a bit of work for all our email users, but your email password and other confidential information can no longer be "snooped" by other users on your network. The secure settings also will work where ever you are on the planet, without having to change anything.
ITSS has also replaced the older version of our webmail software with the newer version we've had available for testing during Fall semester. The older version had a number of serious problems including not displaying some file attachments.
New webmail features include the ability for the software to store or cache email headers. This caching makes going from page to page of messages faster because the software no longer needs to reread the message headers in the inbox. Webmail service on the first few days of the semester was spotty at best. This was due to a load factor on the webmail servers caused by a database option in the new version. Turning off the option brought the load on the servers down quite a bit and and improved performance.
We have also changed many preset options for our customers that you've asked for. Foremost was that the software should go directly to your inbox rather than the portal page. Another helpful option was to set the number of message headers to display on a page to 50 (you can change this setting from Options -> Mailbox and Folder Display Options).
Thank's for all of your comments and reports made via the webmail problem reporting or the Help Desk. We appreciate your feedback.
ITSS will be hosting a Campus Computer Security Update on Friday, February 23, 2007.
At this meeting, ITSS staff will present information on a number of computer security topics that affect the campus, including:
- Securing private data
- Quickstart and NetReg
- P2P file sharing
- Secure email
- Network security
- Credit Card Security
- Social Security number elimination
- Security cameras
The meeting is intended for technology professionals on campus. If you are interested in attending, please look for the follow up email from Linda Deneen with details on the time and location.
The University announced last week that Windows Vista is now available to the general campus through our Microsoft Campus Agreement. ITSS staff have been running beta and final versions of Vista for several months now, and as with any new product, the reviews are mixed.
- Some staff love the new operating system, citing the new security features and interface; they plan to upgrade both their work and personal computers.
- Some staff decided to revert back to Windows XP because applications they needed for their work didn't run properly or adequately; or, their existing hardware, while meeting the minimum requirements, did not provide the performance they wanted.
- Some staff are still in the undecided "love it/hate it" camp.
As a result of our testing and discussions, we've come up with a few things for you to consider if you're thinking of upgrading or buying a new computer with Vista.
- Hardware requirements
- Many older computers (especially laptops) will not meet the minimum hardware requirements for Windows Vista. These include a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, and a Direct X9-capable 3D graphics system with 128MB-256Mb of graphics memory. For more details, see:Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor.
- Novell Office Server access
- At this time, there is no Novell client for Windows Vista. A beta version is out and is being tested by ITSS staff, but no release date has been announced for the final version. If you use Novell services (printing, file storage, file sharing), you'll need to wait to upgrade.
- University business software
- PeopleSoft applications have not been fully tested or certified for Windows Vista. Some additional University business applications that have been problematic include Hummingbird and Famis. Additionally, some common third-party applications (Nero, Firefox, ) have had problems.
- Security settings
- The QuickStart program, which automated the process of configuring a computer with University security requirements, does not work with Windows Vista. The version of Windows Vista released by the University will have the security requirements pre-configured. If you order a new computer with Windows Vista, you will need to have the operating system replaced with the University's "secured" version. (Windows XP should be available on new computers through the end of this year.) For more information about Windows Vista security, see:
- Hardware and software drivers
- Many companies are still working on software and driver updates for Windows Vista.
For most people, ITSS recommending that you don't upgrade to Vista just yet. As with any major software upgrade, it may be best to wait a few months to let the dust settle and let Microsoft and the other vendors work out some of the glitches. Microsoft is already planning its first service pack for Windows Vista - if you're really anxious to try out the new OS, waiting until this is released will probably ease the transition.
Voicemail tip of the month: Call Pilot User Guides
User guides for our new Call Pilot messaging system are available from a number of sources. This month we'd like to show you how to find them on-line. Many people think that access to the MyCallPilot web server is restricted only to users of desktop messaging. This is incorrect. Everyone who has a voice mail box on the system has access. Desktop messaging users just have access to more features. However, one thing that everyone has access to are the user guides.
To access the user guides:
- Open a browser (Call Pilot prefers Internet Explorer). Go to https://mycallpilot.d.umn.edu/mycallpilot but don't log in yet.
- Click on the "Configure" button and then enter 1218726 in the "VPIM Network Shortcut" field.
- Click "OK" three times and then proceed to log in.
You only have to do this the first time you access the system.
To log in, enter your mail box number and voice mail password. Once you've logged in, click on the "Useful Information" tab. Here you'll find information related to your mailbox settings and at the bottom of the page you'll find User Guides and Reference Cards under the Call Pilot User Documentation section. Browse the selections. You might just learn about a feature you didn't know you had.
One document you'll notice is the Wallet Card. Although this has lots of useful information on it, it doesn't print well. Also, it has some information on it which isn't relevant to our installation here at UMD. Because of that, ITSS has created a customized version. The Print Services department will be mailing one laminated copy of the new wallet card to all departments shortly. Included will be an order form. Departments should circulate the sample to their staff to see how many are interested in one of these cards. Complete the order form and return it to Print Services. ITSS will pay for printing of your cards.
Need a place to store files or a way to easily exchange files on a project, securely access large files from anywhere in the world, or share files and collaborate with non-university users?
Check out NetFiles, the University's web based secure file storage service available to all faculty members, staff, and students. Once you have activated your account you can save and view your secure files by simply logging into your Netfiles account via the web. There's also a way of to mount your Netfiles folder right on your desktop.
ITSS Workshops and eClasses
Technology learning opportunities abound this spring as ITSS is offering over twenty Workshops, eClasses, and new Technology at Two learning sessions. Many of our training materials are also available online and can be accessed from the self-paced area of our Training web site.
You can always get the latest information on our training offerings at the ITSS Training web site. http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/
The ITSS Training Team would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the 114 people who completed our ITSS Training Needs Assessment survey in December.
During January 2007, ITSS delivered its tenth Tech Camp program for faculty. This special program runs for seven straight working days, allowing faculty to concentrate on improving their teaching with technology. ITSS staff and student assistants are there to provide help and support as well as instruction. Tech Camp 10 had a special emphasis on teaching online. Fourteen UMD faculty and one visitor participated. All had a great time.
Wireless access at UMD requires authentication with a user name and password. For faculty, staff, and students, this is not a problem, since they authenticate with their Internet ID and password.
Wireless authentication is required to ensure that our network is secure and not being used by unauthorized people who might do harm to the network or systems. Nevertheless, we recognize that there may be visitors to campus for legitimate reasons. Examples include vendors, conference attendees, visiting researchers, and parents visiting their students.
The University of Minnesota wireless guest program is intended to meet the needs of guests while still keeping the network secure. Because our identity management services are handled primarily through the Twin Cities Office of Information Technology, we rely upon them to manage the guest program as well.
See the Sponsored and Short-Term Wireless Network Access web site for information about options for guest accounts for wireless usage. http://www1.umn.edu/adcs/info/wireless.html
ITSS Spotlight on: Spring Billiar
Each month ITSS would like to highlight a different member of the staff to let you get to know some of the great people who are working "behind the scenes" to make technology work for our campus. This month the spotlight is on Spring Billiar, Data Entry Coordinator.
What Spring Does for ITSS:
Spring provides data entry, test scoring, eGradebook help, and student evaluation processing services for the UMD campus. Additionally, she works with our Accounting Team and with central system administrators to open and close customer accounts on our central systems, helping to maintain proper access to these systems for authorized users.
Born and raised in Danube, Minnesota.
Graduated from Danube High School.
Graduated from UMD with a BA in Psychology in 2000.
Has worked at UMD since 1980.
Has often worked a part-time job in addition to her UMD work.
Currently works part time at JCPenney's.
Knitting and Crocheting,
Spending time with grandchildren
Relaxing at home
Some Interesting Facts About Spring:
Spring has 2 children (33 and 35).
Spring has 2 grandchildren (4 and 2).
Spring has 2 cats (9 and 4).
An Example of Spring's Work for ITSS:
Spring thoroughly enjoys her job and the many people she interacts with at UMD. She likes to have the opportunity to make life easier for faculty, especially at the end of the semester when their workload and stress can be the highest.
During Fall 2006, Spring did the following work to make
life easier for faculty:
Provided test scoring services for 81 professors teaching 147 classes
Randomized testing for 5 professors teaching 8 classes,
Created 12 eGradebooks,
Maintained 91 eGradebooks,
Processed approximately 37,700 student evaluations,
Entered approximately 1,200 student evaluations manually,
If you are a faculty member looking for ways to automate some of your administrative tasks, please stop by and see Spring so that she can help.
info.tech.News is published monthly during the academic year by ITSS. An email digest is also sent to all users subscribed to the infotech.announce, UMD.business.announce and studenttech.announce. The goal is to distribute information useful to the daily routines of the University of Minnesota Duluth campus community in conjunction with computer and telephone technologies. Comments or suggestions may be sent to the editor at: firstname.lastname@example.org.