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In This Issue

+ Skype for Internet Calls

+ FacultEtools: Breeeze

+ ITSS Workshops and Seminars

+ ImageNow Demo

+ Viz Lab Presents

+ Wireless Network Updates

+ Security Cameras

+ Health Services Re-cabling

+ Spotlight on: Frank Simmons

ITSS home : infotech.NEWS : October 2007

infotech.NEWS

Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students

October 2007

ITSS by the Numbers

From January 1 through June 30, 2007:

  • The ITSS AV Desk checked out 2,657 pieces of equipment.
  • The ITSS Enterprise Team responded to 215 customer requests.
  • ITSS served the campus with 42 professional staff and 32.5 FTE student employees.
  • The ITSS Phone/Net Team provided support for 180 campus surveillance cameras.

Ten Years Ago in ITSS - October 1997

Mac OS/8 - Is is for you?
This summer, Apple released version 8.0 of the Macintosh Operating System. OS/8 includes a number of "behind-the-scenes" improvements as well as quite a bit of "look-and-feel" changes to the Finder. OS/8 also offers personal web sharing - the ability to turn your Macintosh into a web server. Apple will soon be shipping most of its new computers with OS/8 already installed.

OS/8 will run on 68040-based Macintoshes, but is probably only worth installing on Macs that use the PowerPC chip. You should also have at least 16MB of RAM (real "chip" memory, not including virtual memory) - which is our recommendation for a PowerMac running any version of the Mac OS.

FacultEtools: Breeze updated to UMConnect

Breeze, the web-based collaborative tool that allows audio, video, document sharing, etc. with people inside and outside of the university has been upgraded. The new version has the same look and feel as the older version, but has added improvements to its performance. UMConnect will work with Windows and Mac OS. Please see http://umconnect-support.umn.edu/ for more information.

October ITSS Workshops and Seminars

Microsoft Access will be offered Wednesday, October 17, from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm in Library 116.  This workshop will provide a basic step through on working with Access, what to consider when setting up a database, how to get information from the database, and using the query and reporting processes in Access.  To attend this session please register on-line at http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/
workshop/access101.html

Continuing this year is the "Technology Seminar Series". Twice a week this series spotlights a variety of technology topics of interest to the university community. It is an opportunity to become aware of what's new and to get supportive ideas and suggestions from your colleagues. The format will be an overview or demonstration followed by informal discussion.  October seminar offerings include:

Sessions are on Mondays at 1:00 pm and repeated Thursdays at 3:00 pm. All are held in the Visualization and Digital Imaging Lab, 154 Marshall Performing Arts Center. No registration is required and UMD faculty, staff, and students are encouraged and welcome to attend.  For all complete listing of our Fall 2007 seminar series offerings please visit http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/.

Beginning later in November ITSS will also offer an eClass on using cascading style sheets. This is a convenient way to expand your web design knowledge and skills.  If you are interested in participating is this eClass please register online at http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/eclasses/.

Finally, be sure to check out our training web site for more information about our entire training support. http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/

ImageNow Demo

Has your office considered going paperless? If you have an interest in document imaging or already use this product and would like a quick refresher course, Jim Nolan from the Twin Cities Enterprise Application Development Group will be on campus to do a demonstration of the ImageNow product from 10:30 am to Noon in Lib 410 on Friday, October 12. Jim will also talk about some of the new enhancements coming with the next upgrade of the software (V6.0).

ImageNow is a document imaging product that communicates with scanners, captures the document image, allows the document to be stored in the Twin Cities for fast electronic retrieval. It also has the capability to process the documents within workflow queues which will eliminate the document getting lost or misplaced. Once the scanned document is indexed, even though it is going through workflow, it can be accessed electronically by the search function based on the indexes. Storing your documents electronically can be a real benefit in supplying outstanding service to the customer because you can retrieve the document right on your desktop. There are also options to print out a hardcopy or email the document, as needed.

If you have any questions, please call Debbie Wing at X8784 or email at dwing@d.umn.edu. Hope to see you there.

Viz Lab Presents ... Summer grant research presentations

Feel free to stop by to learn about the research happening in the Viz Lab. These are informal and friendly discussions, where questions are welcome. All presentations are at noon.

Tuesday, October 2
Beth Holbrook, Tom Hrabik, Biology. Foraging Behavior of Age-0 Lean Lake Trout (Salvelinus Namaycush) Jim Allert, Scot Halverson, Computer Science. "Making Tutorials for CS Classes with Adobe Activate"

Wednesday, Octobe10
Justin Rubin, Music. "Virtual Instrument Sequencing" Terence Hams, Tim Craig, Biology. "Modeling of Avian Foraging on Goldenrod galls"

Tuesday, October 16
Janice Kmetz, Art + Design "No Loser, No Weeper" Tory Olson, Donn Branstrator, Biology. "Quantifying total body darkness of crustacean (invasive) zooplankton using grayscale technology"

Tuesday, October 30
Rob Wittig, Art + Design. "Weblogs and Podcasting to Support International Collaboration" Doug Dunham, Computer Science. "Hyperbolic geometry program"

Wednesday, October 31
Joellyn Rock, Art + Design "The Making of a Mockumentary"

Wednesday, November 7
Jean "Rudy" Perrault, Music. "Restoring Hope"

Scientific Information Design: The Viz Lab is working closely with water resources and other scientists and graphic designers to better inform the public on scientific research and data visualization. We will be presenting a workshop on "Designing Scientific Posters" on Tuesday November 13 at 1:00. All interested researchers are welcome to attend. In January we will be sponsoring a day-long workshop with Wes Grubbs, a graphic and multimedia commercial artist whose passion is scientific visualization. More news on that as the date approaches.

The Games and Animation Group (GAG) is a small, unofficial group of artists, musicians and techies from various disciplines who explore creating animation and games together at the Visualization and Digital Imaging Lab. We have been meeting on Friday afternoons. Please call x 8093 for more information.

Ahead of the Curve: New Technology The Visualization and Digital Imaging Lab showcases emerging technology in a variety of fields. Building on the fast-paced growth of video production in the University, new equipment has been acquired to facilitate this development. New camcorders include the Panasonic AG-HVX200P HD, and the Sony HDR-FX1HD which bring high definition video production to the lab. Reflecmedia Chromakey Green Screen Kit, LightRing, and ChromaFlex screen are the production tools used to create special effects such as Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak.

Improvements in the sound capture facility include a Shure PGX4 Wireless Lavaliere Mic microphones; a pop-blocker; new Mac intel computer with ProTools, as well as various plug-ins and music software . The enhanced sound recording studio has an air-intake buffer to reduce ambient noise and a studio layout conducive to recording voice-over narration, vocal or small instrumental groups.

The lab has made significant scientific software additions such as AmberWaves Forager insect tracking software which improves capacity for in-depth study of insect behavior. Fledermaus from IVS 3D is a world-class interactive 3D visualization and analysis software providing innovative geo-spatial solutions. Insight II from Accelrys, a sophisticated molecular modeling environment, provides a powerful graphical interface to best-of-breed algorithms for molecular dynamics. Linux software has been ported to a Virtual Machine Server, enabling greater research capacity for remote processing. Lab software includes the latest versions of Final Cut Pro; Adobe Creative Suite: InDesign, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, Photoshop; Aperture; Shake; Lolitrack; DVD Studio Pro; iMovie; Mathematica; Phoretix; MatLab; Gaussian; Finale and Fontographer, among others. The lab has a blog for researchers and alumni and also researches and produces podcasts.

Printing innovations have improved the lab’s capabilities. The lab recently purchased an Epson 9800 wide format archival printer, enhancing ability to print on a variety of formats such as silken polyester and tyvek. The new HP 3800n color laser printer enables researchers to quickly generate colored images. The Graphtec CE 5000 60 vinyl cutter allows researchers to design cutting-edge visuals for environmental graphics.

The lab is making great strides in still imaging as well with the new Fuji FinePix S3 Pro SLR UVIR. The Super CCD SR II sensor at the heart of the FinePix S3 Pro UVIR ensures superb image quality and low noise while addressing the issue of wider dynamic range. It captures a wide spectrum from Ultra Violet through visible and into Infrared.

The new Canon PowerShot G7 is a 10mp digital still camera with waterproof case, allowing greater versatility for scientific and artistic aquatic exploration. This camera also records up to three minutes of video footage at a time.

The Fig Rig Stabilizer from Bogen/Manfrotto is a modular system that smoothly supports the DV camera and acts as a frame to mount all the accessories. A circular frame with a crossbar to mount most mini DV cameras allows the Fig Rig to become part of the body to produce smooth, steady traveling shots.

Wireless Network Updates

ITSS has enabled support for laptops with 802.11a wireless cards. Most newer laptops now have have dual mode 802.11a and 802.11g wireless interfaces. 80211.a allows more bandwidth and less interference from other devices. About 2/3 of our wireless infrastructure now supports 80211.a.

Security Cameras on Campus

ITSS has been working with UMD Facilities Management and UofM Central Security to improve campus security through the use of security cameras.

We have installed security cameras in the Campus Stores, Food Court, the Business Office, Swenson Science Building, and some other administrative offices. The new Rec Sports facilities are monitored by Rec Sports staff through campus security cameras and remote view stations. The Library has several cameras installed and will be adding many more later this fall. Security cameras will also be added in the new Life Science building in the near future as part of the building remodeling project. In fact, all new building projects on campus will most likely have security cameras included as part of the project.

ITSS and Central Security have also been working with UMD Housing, and we now have all Residence Hall parking lots covered with a wireless mesh ethernet solution that allows security cameras to transmit video back to campus servers without the need to run wiring to each individual camera. The building entrances and exits are also being monitored by security cameras in Burntside Hall, Lake Superior Hall, and Junction Apartments.

Construction sites are also monitored with security cameras in order to prevent the type of vandalism that damaged the Swenson Science Building. The Labovitz School of Business project has several security cameras installed that cover the construction site, and the Life Sciences building was continuously monitored during that remodeling project.

Where possible, security cameras are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by UofM Central Security. For those cameras not monitored by Central Security, video archives allow incidents to be reviewed after the fact.

If you are interested in having security cameras installed in your area, please review the campus policy on security systems and surveillance cameras: http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/policies/securitysys.html. You can then submit a work request with Facilities Management to initiate the installation process

Health Services Re-cabling Project

Early this summer, ITSS upgraded all voice and data infrastructure at the Health Services Building. In order for the network to support Health Services' new eClinical health management system, all network cabling and electronics had to be replaced.

For years, the Health Services building has been served by a disjointed system of communications closets, cabling, and electronics, the result of a large scale renovation/addition project some years ago. The facility was also short on telephone feeder pairs, and recent requests to install additional telephones had to be put on hold. This re-cabling project not only replaced all voice and data cabling inside the building, but we also installed new underground feeder cable which will allow for installation of up to 50 more phones if and when needed. This project took approximately 3 weeks to complete at a cost just under $30,000.

Spotlight on: Frank Simmons

Each month ITSS highlights 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 Frank Simmons.

What Frank does for ITSS:
Frank provides maintenance support through the installation, upgrade, and repair of desktop computers and printers for the campus. He oversees our Desktop Assessment service, and provides research and technical expertise in the area of virus and security issues. Frank specializes in virus/spyware removal, new computer setup, and inventory management.

Frank's Background

Frank's Interests
Frank enjoys opera, crossword puzzles, classical music, reading, and radios.

An Example of Frank's Work for ITSS
Frank uses his diverse technical background as both a means to put desktop and maintenance work into perspective and a base for the constant learning required in his current role. He mentors the students working with him and researches emerging issues. Frank provides an ever-evolving mix of hardware and software support required by our customer base and the environment of frequent change in his field.