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In This Issue

+ Active Directory Project Update

+ Google Apps Coming to UMD

+ Should I Put My New Course in WebVista?

+ Training: End of the Semester Open Session

+ Policy Update - Guidelines for Smart Phones

+ Servers and Scans

+ Housing and ITSS Collaborate on Technology Plans

+ SCiv Gets Complete Technology Suite

+ Netbooks in UMD Classrooms

+ Moving from Windows XP to Windows 7

+ Find Us on Facebook

ITSS home : infotech.NEWS : May 2010


Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students

May 2010

ITSS by the Numbers

The ITSS Systems Team is responsible for managing our many central servers and applications. From July 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009, the team reported:

  • 48,525 user names, including those of faculty, staff, students, and alumni
  • 182,014 email messages delivered per day, on average
  • 58 percent of email messages rejected per day, on average, because of spam filtering
  • a maximum of 83 percent of email messages rejected in a single day, because of spam filtering

Ten Years Ago in ITSS
May 2009

ITSS Offers Six New Software for the Campus.

  • Microsoft Office 2000
  • Macromedia Dreamweaver 3.0
  • Macromedia Fireworks 3.0
  • Flash 4
  • Photoshop 5
  • SPSS 10

Active Directory Project Update

ITSS staff have spent Spring semester attending training, testing and planning for Active Directory (AD) services. With the recent arrival of two servers for the AD project, and the successful completion of AD "site" testing, ITSS staff are moving forward with our plan to migrate our campus to this service.

OIT Delivers Servers

On March 31, staff from the Twin Cities Office of Information Technology (OIT) delivered and installed two servers that will be used to provide AD services to our campus. The domain controller will be used for authentication, while the software configuration manager will be used to provide software updates. Both servers are replicas of servers running on the Twin Cities campus and will be managed by OIT.

Duluth Site Configured for Domain

During February and March, ITSS staff configured a virtual test AD environment on campus. OIT staff used this environment to test the possibility of creating a Duluth "site" within the University of Minnesota AD domain. This proved successful on the test AD and was put into the production AD (umnad).

With the Duluth site configured, all Duluth workstations will be routed to the two local servers for authentication and software services. This will provide faster service and produce less bandwidth on our Internet connection to the Twin Cities campus. In the event that one of our local servers fails, all Duluth workstations will automatically route to servers on the Twin Cities campus, ensuring continuity of service.

File and Print Server Cluster Testing

Also at the end of March, ITSS staff completed training on clustering Windows 2008 servers. We will be installing four new servers that will be clustered to provide highly available file and print services for Active Directory customers at UMD

Staff have been working with a stand-alone test cluster to test our update, backup, and restore processes. Our current backup server requires some upgrades to support the new cluster, so we are applying these upgrades as well.

Next Steps

During the next month, we will be adding test workstations to the production AD environment, including some workstations from other departments. When the production file and printer storage is in place, we will migrate a test group from Novell to AD, including moving customer data and print services from the Novell servers to the AD servers. The test migration will help us to plan and schedule a smooth, phased migration for campus departments.

We will plan and post the campus migration schedule within the next month. We expect the migration will begin this summer and continue into spring semester 2011.

Google Apps Coming to UMD

We have been promised by the Office of Information Technology that they will invite our initial test group into the Google Apps on May 10, 2010. We are starting with a set of technical support people first, but if that goes well, we hope to begin inviting others soon. Stay tuned.

For details see: Google Apps for UM http://

Should I Put My New Course in WebVista or Not?

Short answer? No.
Long answer? No. WebVista is being discontinued by the vendor, Blackboard. We are still awaiting a decision from the Office of Information Technology (OIT) on the Twin Cities campus as to whether or not the University will license Blackboard's current product, Learn.

Regardless of OIT's decision, WebVista users will be moving out of WebVista. For this reason I do not recommend putting a new course into WebVista. If you have an existing course that you will be teaching again next academic year, using WebVista makes sense unless you want to move to Moodle. For assistance contact Bruce Reeves(breeves) or Amanda Evans (amevans).

For details see: Moodle

End of the Semester Open Sessions

Would you like assistance wrapping up Spring Semester? Starting to prepare for upcoming semesters?
Join us for assistance wrapping up your Spring semester 2010 courses and/or get started with upcoming semesters. Feel free to bring your laptop or borrow one of the laptops we'll have available if you'd like to work on anything during the open session. We can assist with these educational technology tools and more!

When: Tuesday May 11th: 11:00-12:30 PM AND Wednesday May 12th: 1:00-2:30 PM
Where: Solon Campus Center 42 (Knowledge Management Center)
How: No registration is required. Just stop on by anytime during the Open Sessions.

For more information about these Open Sessions visita, contact Amanda Evans ( or x7680).

For details see: Workshop

Policy Update - Guidelines for Use of Smart Phones for University Business

The University of Minnesota Office of the General Counsel (OGC) has provided these guidelines to assist University employees. The primary piece of advice is, "The general rule is that business-related records that the University should retain must be kept on University - not personal - computer systems, and business related records that do not require retention should be deleted as you go."

Please check out this helpful document for more detailed information about managing text messages, voicemail, email, calendars, and documents on your smart phone.

Note in particular, "Don't text and drive at the same time. This is a State of Minnesota Law."

For details see: Policy Update http://

Servers and Scans

As part of a University of Minnesota System initiative, ITSS completed a survey of all servers on the campus. As part of this project, we examined 734 devices on the UMD network and determined that 253 of them were servers.

During this process, we gathered information about each server, so that we now have a better understanding of the types of equipment, applications, and data we manage collectively on this campus. The most recent result of this survey has been to add each of these servers to our scan list. Servers on the scan list are scanned monthly in an effort to determine any vulnerabilities or security holes.

ITSS continues to work with all units on campus who run servers. We have a standing offer to house servers in our data center or server rooms in order to provide a better physical environment as well as increased security for servers. We thank all campus server administrators for assisting with this project.

Housing and ITSS Collaborate on Technology Plans

UMD Housing and ITSS surveyed students living in Housing about their technology needs this spring. For some time now we have been aware that almost all students have cell phones. This was affirmed by the survey, where more than 99 percent of respondents reported owning a cell phone. As a result of high cell phone ownership, use of UMD-provided telephones in Housing has been declining. Survey responses indicated that 92.5 percent of respondents rarely or never use their UMD-provided telephones to make or receive calls, and 96.7 percent rarely or never check voice mail on their UMD-provided telephone.

In contrast, 62 percent of respondents think having wireless network access in Housing is very important, and 35 percent more think it would be nice. At present, wireless access is only available in study rooms and lounges, not in student rooms.

As a result of this survey, Housing and ITSS have agreed to eliminate most UMD-provided telephones and to add wireless networking in UMD Housing over the next several years. ITSS will continue to offer UMD-provided telephones to residents who are willing to pay extra for this service. There will be phones in public areas to increase safety. This change is already underway, starting with apartments. UMD Housing will be in touch with residents to inform them of these changes as building are converted. By exchanging wireless service for telephone service, we can make these changes at no additional increase in Housing rates.

SCiv Gets Complete Technology Suite

ITSS has outfitted the new Swenson Civil Engineering Building (SCiv) with our complete offering of technology products. SCiv was wired with 329 network jacks all capable of running at gigabit speed. All telephones (except for fax lines) are Nortel IP phones which connect to the phone system via the network. We even provided a new IP version of the popular Polycom Soundstation conferencing phone for the Boardroom. Office computers connect to the network via gigabit ports on the phones.

Both devices share a single network connection with voice quality assured by the use of Quality of Service (QoS) programming our network staff put on the network switches. Network switches are powered by uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) which in turn are fed from emergency panels connected to an emergency generator. The building also has complete wireless coverage using the new Cisco 1142 N-radio wireless access points. These access points provide service to mobile devices via any of the three wireless standards, B, G, or the new N standard. SCiv has three classrooms and a Boardroom, with technology including enhanced control systems, and high resolution data projectors. The classroom technology follows the standard for all UMD general purpose classrooms for familiar interface and ease of use. Security for SCiv is provided through card access and 13 surveillance cameras.

Netbooks in UMD Classrooms

A fairly recent class of laptops, "netbooks" can be very useful as long as you consider potential limitations and intended uses. This can be particularly true if you intend to use a netbook in UMD classrooms as part of your presentation. In general, netbooks are good because they are cheap, they are lightweight and very portable, some models have extended battery life, and they take advantage of the "cloud computing" trend, using less direct processing and leveraging the ubiquitous wireless network. Where they can pose a problem is lack of processing power, video output issues, and a tendency to be geared for home use and not the enterprise level.

Here are some known issues if you intend to use a netbook presenting in UMD classrooms:

ITSS wants to help you make technology work in the classrooms. We are not familiar with all of the many brands and models of equipment constantly changing and emerging. Take some time to carefully consider how you will use the technology as you are making purchasing decisions and you will save yourself and us a lot of time trying to make something work beyond its intended use. Please feel free to contact with questions or comments.

Moving from Windows XP to Windows 7

Windows XP is nearing its end of life. In fact, Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) on July 13, 2010. To ensure that you receive all important security updates for Windows after that date, you must upgrade to Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3) or later versions such as Windows 7.

When Windows 7 was first released, ITSS recommended that faculty and staff not move to it immediately as a number of University business applications were not supported. However, most of these applications are now supported, and we are recommending Windows 7.

What business applications are supported?

Most University business applications are now supported on Windows 7:

What business applications aren't supported?

Our Novell servers do not support the iPrint client for Windows 7. However, there is a short-term work around for this until we migrate to Active Directory. Contact ITSS staff for assistance.


Current recommendations are:

If you have Windows XP Service Pack 2 or older:
Upgrade to Service Pack 3 before July 13, 2010. For details see: Learn how to install Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3).
If you are considering upgrading to Windows 7, please review this information first: Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.
If you are purchasing a new computer:
Order Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Ultimate. Note that Windows 7 Starter and Windows Home versions are not supported on our network.

Find Us on Facebook

The ITSS TechCenter is now on Facebook! Become our fan and stay informed on the latest UMD technology news. Don't just stop with the TechCenter! The Viz Lab is also on Facebook. Become their fan too!

Facebook now gets more hits than any other site in the U.S., including Google. It's a promising way to connect with not only friends, but also the people we work with and the students we serve. If your UMD department or group has a Facebook page, consider adding the TechCenter to your favorites list. Logged in as your page administrator, browse to and click on "Add to My Page's Favorites" underneath our profile picture. We can all join together to support UM Pages on Facebook.

For details see: Tech Center

For details see: Viz-Lab

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