Thursday, 22 December 2011

myCiCSnews - now available for your iPad!

The CiCS magazine, myCiCSnews, is designed to complement our monthly email bulletins. Whereas our email newsletter contains brief, timely updates on changes to services, myCiCSnews contains more detailed features on services being developed or launched, and outlines how CiCS is updating University IT provision to align with emerging trends in the IT sector. Each feature has its own hashtag to enable staff to discuss the articles on Twitter.

NEW: IPAD & ANDROID TABLET VERSION

For the first time, users of iPads and other tablet devices can access a bespoke mobile version of myCiCSnews optimised for tablet devices. Tap the link below on your tablet device to access myCiCSnews in your mobile browser.

http://www.shef.ac.uk/cics/news/tablet

PDF VERSION

For PC and Mac users the latest edition of myCiCSnews is available to download in PDF format from the link below.

http://cics.dept.shef.ac.uk/mycicsnews/pdf/mcn-dec11.pdf

PAPER VERSION

There is a small number of paper copies available. If you require a paper version for yourself or a colleague with limited access to a computer please email cics-communication@sheffield.ac.uk

Monday, 19 December 2011

Changes to Vacation Message Facility

As we continue to decommission in-house University email services in favour of superior services provided by Google, the next service to be replaced is the Vacation Message facility. Google Mail provides an out of office facility from within the mail settings screen with the following advanced features:

  • Specify a start date - lets you set up a vacation message in advance
  • Stores previous vacation message - you can just amend the dates for your next holiday
  • Specify who will receive the vacation message - everyone, University members, or just your contacts
The in-house vacation message facility will be decommissioned next year, however, we suggest you start using the Google out of office facility straight away. Instructions are available via the link below:

Google's Out of Office (Vacation Message) Facility

Friday, 16 December 2011

myJob, myTeam, myPurchase, uBASE Unavailable

As part of the final switch-on of the upgraded Human Resources and Finance systems, myJob, myTeam, myPurchase and uBASE will not be available from 5pm on Thursday 12th January 2012 to 8am on Tuesday 17th January 2012. This will mean that NO staff will be able to access these systems and colleagues in the Departments of Human Resources and Finance will not be able to assist with any specific employee record, payroll, pensions, purchase invoice, sales invoice and uBASE reports queries on Friday 13th and Monday 16th January 2012. Staff will however be able to respond to general queries that do not require system access.
In addition:
  • All staff are advised to check their payslips as soon as they are made available so that any queries can be dealt with in plenty of time before pay-day and, if after pay-day, before Friday 13th January 2012. Electronic payslips for January will be available as normal.
  • URMS users will not be able to create a new costing for a research project but will be able to access information that has already been submitted.
  • New staff will not be able to have a UCard or computer account created on Friday 13th or Monday 16th January 2012 if their details have not been fully input to the HR system by 5pm on Thursday 12th January 2012.
The eRecruitment service and eRecruitment approvals are not affected by this upgrade work and will be available to users, as normal, throughout this period.
Following the upgrade, on Tuesday 17th January 2012, myJob, myTeam and uBASE will be returned to normal service. Any changes to these systems as a result of the upgrade will have minimal impact on staff and users should not require any additional training. The upgraded systems will, however, provide a springboard from which to apply a succession of improvements and new features over time.
The myPurchase system will also be returned to service but with an improved look and feel. A range of training materials, and a list of recommended and supported web browsers, for the new look myPurchase will be available from the Department of Finance website and myPurchase and uBASE uSpace. Existing myPurchase users will be sent specific guidance nearer to go-live.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The latest upgrade of Iceberg is now live!

The new Iceberg nodes have faster Intel CPUs, with more memory per node and a high-speed Infiniband interconnect. We've also added a new high-performance file-store to Iceberg to provide large amounts of temporary disk space whilst jobs are running. For more info on the new system see http://www.shef.ac.uk/wrgrid/iceberg/specs.

Due to the increase in the number of cores per node in the new system the default memory allocation for jobs is being reduced from 4GB to 2GB.  This change will take effect for all new jobs submitted after 10am on Wednesday, 14th December. 


The new cluster also includes a number of General Purpose Graphical Proessing Units (GPUs), along with the CUDA software libraries - to gain access to the GPU nodes please email iceberg-admins@lists.shef.ac.uk.

We've also implemented the 'module' command as a means of loading software libraries/environments.  You can see a list of the modules available by running 'module avail' from any worker node. 

As part of the upgrade we've also updated the parallel MPI environments - OpenMPI and MvaPICH2.  The new environments can be accessed using the 'module' command.  Support for previous versions of MPI will be discontinued shortly.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Varsity Gifts Online


Varsity Gifts can now be purchased on-line through the University’s online store at: http://onlineshop.shef.ac.uk  . Print & Design Solutions have created a web page featuring pictures of the products with a description and prices.

The 27 items for sale comprising glass, silver, local pewter and stainless steel have been carefully selected for quality and style and will appeal to a broad range of customers.  The range is continually being added to. To be launched in December are three “Made in Sheffield” products: cuff links, a book mark and a money clip.

Customers will be able to pay by credit/debit charge and the goods will be despatched within 10 working days.  A confirmation email with an order number will be sent out to notify customers that their payment has been successful.

UK  postage and package costs will be applied at check out, however, customers requiring goods to be despatched to Europe and the rest of the world will have to contact Print & Design Solutions to obtain a price

This is another avenue for the University to promote Varsity Gifts.  All products are available on the CiCS web site at http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/cics/printanddesign/varsity-gift-price and there is also a unique email: varsitygifts@sheffield.ac.uk


The display cabinets in the Octagon Centre and Print & Design Solutions have been refurbished and contain all the gifts for sale so that customers can view before they buy and all the products are available over the counter at Print & Design Solutions Reception.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Realistic Phishing Scams

Phishing emails, which attempt to trick people into revealing personal information, passwords and bank details, are becoming more sophisticated.

Modern phishing emails contains graphics and logos copied from legitimate organisations, use professional language and provide a link for recipients to log into a copy of the legitimate website. However, it's a trap and once you log in your account details are captured and used by the criminals to log into the legitimate website and get access to your money and to the organisation's computer systems.

Once we become aware of a phishing attack we shut down the link so that it is impossible to access from the University, but by that stage several University members may have already been duped.
  • Be very wary of any email warning that there has been suspicious or unusual activity in your account.
  • Never click on a link in an email to log into a secure service - it's getting too difficult to distinguish between real and fake
Below are some examples of recent fraudulent phising emails:

Convincing Halifax Clone




Convincing Barclays Clone


 
More traditional Student Loan Company Clone





You can see the bank clones are becoming more realisting than the older-fashioned Student Loan Company example, but the fraudsters continue to improve their techniques making each wave of attacks more convincing than the previous.

The best advice we can give is never click on a link in an email to access a secure service. Always type the web address you require into your browser directly, or do a web search.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Google Plus

Several people have asked whether Google Plus will be made available at the University. 

The answer is yes! However, Google Plus is not activated automatically, each institution has to apply to Google in order to have Google Plus enabled. We have applied for the ability to turn on Google Plus for the University domain and are now waiting for the Google process to run its course. 

Once we have the ability to activate to activate Google Plus we will test it for a maximum on two weeks and if it does not cause problems for our existing services we will enable it for students and staff. As yet we do not have a set date for its arrival but will update you as we learn more.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Using Kindles at University

It's fairly widely known that Kindles cannot connect to the high security eduroam wireless network used at UK Universities. However, that does not mean the Kindles don't work at the University of Sheffield, there are alternative ways to connect and download books from Amazon and from other online resources.

The Kindle 3G Keyboard for example does not need a University wireless network to connect. It can connect to the Internet and download books for free anywhere where there is a mobile phone signal.

The standard Kindle does not connect to the 3G network but you can still download books to it.
  • Staff can connect it to the Guest wireless network, which is intended to provide wireless internet access for guests of University staff but doubles up very nicely as a second wireless network compatible with the Kindle.
  • Students can download their ebooks to standard student computers provided by CiCS and then connect their Kindles using the USB cable and copy the ebook across.
Detailed instructions are available via the web page below.

www.shef.ac.uk/cics/kindle

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

New BlackBerry version of CampusM due January

We've spoken with the developers and in January they are hoping to release a new version of CampusM designed specifically to work on BlackBerry devices running OS5 and OS6. We will keep you updated as we learn more.

The original BlackBerry version of the University mobile app, CampusM was released fairly soon after the original iPhone app. It seemed to work well for a long time but increasingly we have heard that students are reporting errors when attempting to download the app. Interestingly it also seems to have been removed from BlackBerry App World.

We think that the link here: http://m.grppl.com/g/2470/cmuos will allow users of BlackBerry devices running OS4 to install and run the original CampusM app for BlackBerry but unfortunately no-one in CiCS has an OS4 BlackBerry to test this on! If you have a BlackBerry running OS4 could you please test this link and let us know what happens!

In other CampusM news, CiCS staff recently attended a developer's conference and have returned with a number of great ideas on how to quickly improve and increase the range of services offered by CampusM. These should be hitting your handset over the coming days and weeks.

If you don't yet know how useful CampusM can be for students check out the video below by the developers oMbiel.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

New Look and Improved Features for Google Mail

Google have just launched the new look for Gmail. If features cleaner colours, gives you the choice of how densely the messages are listed and has a range of new themes.



It also offers new features too.
  • Conversation view is more streamlined,
  • Labels and Chat areas are kept in view at all times and can be resized if needed
  • Advanced search features have been added
To try out the new look click the Switch to the New Look link, to revert back to the older look click the Settings cog.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Don't Forget Our Other Computer Rooms

When things are busy in the Information Commons don't forget that there are many alternative computer rooms across campus. CiCS has a rolling room refurbishment programme to ensure all our rooms provide excellent learning spaces for students. In addition these rooms are generally quieter than the IC and PC availability is virtually guaranteed.

You can find the location of these computer Rooms, the opening times and their current computer availability via the web address below.

Student Computer Rooms

Locations of computer rooms and free PCs can also be found using the Locations feature of CampusM. From the Choose Locations button, select University Campus and then Student Computing Rooms.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Could your Online Information Affect your Future Career Prospects?

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) reports that "Four out of ten students online (42%) are concerned that personal information available about them online might affect their future employment prospects"

To address this the ICO is launching its 2011 Student Brand Ambassador Campaign. Students have been recruited to promote the ICO’s work on campus. Tasks involve spreading the word using social media, generating local media coverage and doing promotional work.

For more information see: http://www.ico.gov.uk/news/latest_news/2011/students-concerned-that-information-online-might-affect-their-careers-26102011.aspx

Friday, 21 October 2011

New iPad Version of University Mobile App

The University has provided a free mobile app to students for a couple of years now. Called CampusM, it delivered personalised information to students including timetables and reading lists, features campus maps and a friend locator.

The app was initially develop for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Versions were then developed for BlackBerry and Android devices and a generic web 'lite' version was developed for all other devices.

Now a version of the full app has been developed for specifically for the iPad and iPad 2.



To download campusM onto any compatible device use your smartphone or iPad to visit the link below and then tap the appropriate link for your device.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Student Mobile Device Survey

With little information and supporting evidence on student ownership and usage of mobile devices at the University of Sheffield, making decisions on our services and support for mobile devices has been based, to a large extent, on assumptions. A survey was commissioned in order to determine factual information on mobile devices to enable future decisions to be more evidence based.

The results act not only as a benchmark for us to track future trends within mobile ownership and usage but they also highlight a number of areas where we can implement changes to improve the services and support we currently offer.

The results of the survey can now be downloaded from the CiCS website using the link below:

Student Mobile Device Survey 2011

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Windows 7 Pilot for Student Computers in IC

The student computing service makes software available via a secure installation of Windows XP. However, CiCS is planning to move the student computing service over to a Windows 7 based service in time for the next academic year. To prepare for this we are piloting a cut-down student computing service based on Windows 7.



Currently there are six computers running the Windows 7 on Level 1, these are clearly signposted. The software is more modern and the start up times are greatly reduced, but you may need to synchronise your password before you can log into this service.

Synchronise your passwords

Students should feel free to use these six computers and should report any problems or issues to staff on the Information Desk nearby.

In a few weeks all forty laptops available to loan to students will also be running the Windows 7 Service.

Web pages are currently being developed to support the new service. The pages will list the software available and will be updated each time the service is changed or expanded.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Assistive Software Open Day Weds 12th October

The University Library, the Disability & Dyslexia Support Service and CiCS will be hosting an assistive software launch on Wednesday 12th October 2011 , between 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm in the IC, Collaboratory 1.
All staff and students are invited. Three of the software packages will be demonstrated during the afternoon:
  • textHELP Read & Write - available on the managed desktop. This software has many useful literacy functions including customisable dictionary, thesaurus and text to speech.
  • Inspiration - available on the managed desktop. Inspiration is mind mapping software and is particularly helpful in visually presenting information to aid the structuring of documents.
  • Dolphin EasyConverter - software available on specific PCs in the IC that is used to produce alternative formats.
Whilst the software is predominantly used by disabled students, it can also assist students who have English as an additional language and can be used by staff and students generally. There is no need to book beforehand. All those attending can enter a free prize draw for an MP3 player. For more information see:
Accessing CiCS Services

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Switching Off the WAP Service

Many years ago CiCS introduced a cutting edge technology which made some Internet services availabe on compatible mobile phones.

The WAP service (wireless application protocol) would allow to find staff contact details and to locate free PCs on their mobile phones. It was the stuff of the future!

Fittingly, the first phone widely available phone equipped with this capability was the Nokia 7110 inspierd by the then-iconic phone from the original Matrix movie.

However, the world moves on, technologies evolve and the WAP service never really took off as it might have done. Therefore on Wednesday 5th October the University's WAP service will be formally decommissioned and switch off.

It will be joined by the Oracle Calendar service and University staff email service due to be switched off at the end of the month, and further down the line the myChat service will be decommissioned too.

Friday, 30 September 2011

New Improved Email Web Pages

All students and staff at the University are provided with an email service based on Google Mail. You can access this either using the web interface via MUSE or by setting up the email software on your computer or mobile device.

To support this service we've just revamped the web pages at www.shef.ac.uk/cics/email

Thursday, 29 September 2011

University Mobile App Now Available for Android

The University has provided a free mobile app to students for a couple of years now. Called CampusM, it delivered personalised information to students including timetables and reading lists, features campus maps and a friend locator.

The app was initially develop for Apple iOS devices including the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. A version was later developed for BlackBerry devices and a generic web 'lite' version was developed for all other devices.

Now a version of the full app has been developed for Android smartphones and mobile devices. Check out the video below for more details.



For instructions on downloading CampusM use your mobile device to visit the following web site:

www.shef.ac.uk/cics/campusm

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Changes in the Information Commons

We've been working hard this summer to make improvements to the Information Commons.

  • On the ground floor we have created a self-service area for reservations. You can now pick up your reservations 24 hours a day without having to queue at the counter.
  • Library and CiCS staff are still available to support you at the Information Desk on Level 1, which is now a one stop shop for all your queries.
  • Due to popular demand for silent study space, we've now designated level 6 as an additional silent study area.
  • The prayer room has been moved from Level 2 to Level 4.
  • All the computers in the IC have been replaced with new machines.
  • There are new developments coming soon, such as interactive floor plans, and an exhibition area.

For more information see the Information Commons news pages:

Information Commons News

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Students Can Now Reserve PCs, Laptops and Rooms

CiCS has introduced a new booking system to let students book rooms and resources. Log into MUSE and below your email inbox you should see a myQuickLinks section. Within myQuickLinks you should see an option for MyPC and an option for myRooms&Resources.

Using myRooms&Resources you can book the following:
  • Group Study Rooms in the Information Commons and Western Bank Library (which were previously available in the MyPC system).
  • Information Commons resources such as the Creative Media Suite, multimedia equipment and laptops.
  • Places on the free minibus service to the British Library Document Supply Centre at Boston Spa.
Using MyPC you can be book from over 200 PCs located throughout the Information Commons
For more information see:

Booking Resources

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

CiCS Welcomes New Students to the University

It's Tuesday so by now all you new students should hopefully have connected your computers and mobile devices to either the wired or wireless network in residences. You've probably got your UCard and may even have made it into the Information Commons, which may well be like your second home for the next three years. These services and more are provided at least in part by a diverse department called CiCS, Corporate Information and Computing Services.

We provide a range of services that support Learning, Teaching and Research. many of our services are IT based, such as the connections to the Internet, we provide learning spaces around campus, printing services and much more.

You should have received our Getting Started with IT Services booklet, have a flick through - it's well worth a read.

There are details about all our services for students on our website, check out the link below.

CiCS Services for Students

Finally watch out for email scams pretending to be from the student loans company, or a bank or us trying to trick you into revealing your personal details.

Don't reply to emails asking for passwords or bank details. Don't log in to websites that you do nor recognise and trust. Stay smart and you should ahve a great time online and at University.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Students can now reserve PCs, Laptops and Rooms

CiCS has introduced a new booking system that lets students book rooms and resources. Available in MUSE, in the myQuickLinks section on your MUSE Homepage, there are two links that let you book resources:

myRooms&Resources

Lets you book:

  • Group Study Rooms in the Information Commons and Western Bank Library (which were previously available in the MyPC system).
  • Information Commons resources such as the Creative Media Suite, multimedia equipment and laptops.
  • Places on the free minibus service to the British Library Document Supply Centre at Boston Spa.
myPC
  • Lets you book from a choice of over 200 PCs in the IC.
For more information see:

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Email Fraud from Student Loans Company

Around this time each year many students are greeted by a legitimate-looking email appearing to be from the Student Loans Company. In fact it's a scam set up by criminals attempting to trick students into revealing their bank details.

The Genuine Student Loans Company offers the following advice:

STUDENTS: BE WEB-SAFE THIS AUTUMN

It's a sad fact of online life that students will receive many online fraud (phishing) messages trying to get access to their financial information or University computing accounts. CiCS is successful in blocking over 90% of nuisance messages but the criminals find more inventive ways of bypassing systems,

CiCS will be emailing online security advice to students very soon and we are also using social media to spread the message as widely ass possible.

Monday, 12 September 2011

All Students Have Access to MOLE 2

The University now has two virtual learning environments: MOLE and MOLE 2. Around half of departments have their online courses in MOLE and half have moved to the brand new, shiny MOLE 2. Due to the modular nature of courses, students may well have some online courses in MOLE and others in MOLE 2.
  • All students will see icons for MOLE and MOLE 2 in MUSE.
  • Staff who have courses in MOLE 2 will see both icons
  • Staff who only have courses in MOLE will see the MOLE icon only
MOLE has been available for several years and as a concept is popular amongst students and staff. Content can range from simple lecture notes and PowerPoint slides to discussion forums, YouTube videos, quizzes, assessments, groups and links to supporting web pages and files to help enrich the student learning experience. However, it has often been criticised for being clunky and difficult to use.

MOLE 2 has a modern interface and better features to improve the experience for staff and students.
For the current roll out of MOLE 2 we are simply taking the teaching materials which were available in MOLE and reproducing them , as far as possible, like for like, in MOLE 2. This will allow students to experience a seamless transition from one version to the other.

To see what MOLE 2 looks like see the screencast here:

MOLE 2 Screencast

As more Faculties move to MOLE 2 we will be exploring and developing the real benefits that it can offer. MOLE 2 allows staff to develop imaginative learning pathways which students can move through.  Staff can integrate content from the web creating mash-ups with video and other media.

Web pages about MOLE 2 are being developed at the address below:

www.shef.ac.uk/cics/mole2

Friday, 9 September 2011

Teaching Space Upgrade

As part of the preparations for 2012 the University is making a big investment in upgrading all pool teaching space. This includes improvements to heating, lighting, soundproofing, decoration and state of the art IT and AV kit.

The work is being co-ordinated by the Learning Infrastructure Space Management (LISM) group which is chaired by Paul White and includes colleagues from the Faculties, CiCS, Estates and other Professional Services. The work this summer has focussed on the Hicks Building and Bartolome House. This is in addition to the work that is being done in the Arts Tower to completely refurbish the lecture theatres.

In addition to the pool teaching space work, CiCS are refurbishing the open access computer rooms on G floor in the Hicks building, creating 3 computer rooms and a flexible teaching room which will provide much improved teaching and study space.

Around 800 PCs around campus are being upgraded which includes all of the PCs in the Information Commons.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

All Lectures Start on the Hour

From the 2011-12 academic year, all classes will start on the hour and finish at ten minutes to the hour e.g. 9:00-9:50. There may be some old timetables still around suggesting that some classes start at ten minutes past the hour. These timetables are innaccurate and should be disposed of; all classes start on the hour.

In previous years classes have started on the hour at 9:00 and 10:00, but then later classes started at ten past with 10 minutes allowed for change over between classes. This has been confusing particularly for students.

Hopefully, the new, consistent start times throughout the day and the 10 minutes change over between classes will make things much simpler for staff and students.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Windows 7 Managed Desktop Pilot

A new Managed Desktop built on Windows 7 is being piloted for students. It will be available in the Information Commons from mid October 2011 on a limited number of loan laptops and PCs. Initially it will offer a limited range of applications, but more software will be added throughout the year. The pilot will be expanded with a full rollout to all teaching and learning spaces in summer 2012. A pilot service for staff will also be starting in October 2011.

The current XP desktop has been upgraded with a few changes and is being rolled out this summer in all pool spaces.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Logging out of Shared Computers

There have been reports from people who share computers, such as counter staff or members of student societies, that the second person to use the computer accidentally sees the first person's email messages even though the first person had logged out. This can be prevented by adopting a secure logout routine.

The most effective and recommended way is for each person to log out of the computer when they have finished their stint and for the next person to log in with their own credentials.

However, for some roles at busy times this may not be realistic. A compromise is for the computer to be logged in using a generic departmental or society account and for each person to open the browser at the start of their shift and close it at the end.

Ideally each person should log into MUSE using their own credentials to acess their Google apps. As people change shifts they need to log out from any Google applications, log out from MUSE then close the browser. The next person can then just open the browser, log into MUSE and continue.

Full details are available from the link below:

Secure log out on shared computers

Friday, 2 September 2011

A New MOLE Service is Coming

The University is upgrading its Virtual Learning Environment, MOLE, to the latest version of Blackboard Learn 9 which will be called MOLE2. Some departments will be moving to the new version of Mole for the start of this academic year, with the rest moving for the start of academic year 2012.

The new system will be a significant improvement and provide new functionality with a much more user friendly interface.Training and support will be available throughout the process. Departments and faculties have been consulted regarding transition dates, together with discussions around what the transition will involve.

Support details will remain the same for both services, mole@sheffield.ac.uk - click on the link below to find out more.

Moving to MOLE 2

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Four Levels of Navigation in New CMS

In September we're making a change to the local navigation (left-hand menu) on the website within the new web content management system (CMS). Currently the local navigation shows up to three levels of hierarchy as you browse round the site and the menus expand out. We're making a change to the menu to allow four levels of hierarchy in the menu.

The design of the menu will remain largely unchanged, but will have the additional fourth level when visitors browse that deep into a site.

Additional info for CMS Editors:

To give you an idea of what your pages will look like when we make the change, we've updated the CMS preview buttons so when you next log into CMS and preview your site you'll see the new menu in place. If your site doesn't have 4 levels (folders within folders) then you won't see any difference, and you'll only see a difference at the deeper levels of the site.

As the local navigation didn't expand to four levels previously you may find that content shows up that previously didn't, or it may have a title which is a bit long for the local navigation as it previously never showed.

If you spot any pages which are affected by the change you can update your site in CMS to either:
- Show or Hide the pages / folders from the local navigation *1 (see below for how to)
- Update the link text so it's more appropriate *2 (see below for how to)
- Leave it as it is if it looks OK

When we have a date for making the change on the live website we'll put a message on the CMS Start Page - for now this change just affects the preview of the site on the CMS editor and not the public website.


*1 Edit the page and un-check 'Show in local navigation' then republish or on a folder the option is under 'Right hand content & folder settings'

*2 Edit the page and change the 'Page name' or for a folder the 'Folder name' and then republish


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Interactive Support for cPanel Users

The cPanel service lets University staff and groups create non-corporate websites, often including innovative tools and designs. The service support includes a wiki (hosted on cPanel) which has its own suggestions area in which users can make suggestions or request new features.

The suggestions area has proven popular with cPanel users and we have been asked by the user community to raise awareness of this.

The cPanel service is outlined here:

cPanel Service

The cPanel wiki can be accessed here:

cPanel Wiki

The cPanel wiki suggestions page can be found here:

cPanel wiki suggestions

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Towards the Cloud: Infrastructures, Applications, Research Conference

The tenth e-Science All Hands Meeting (AHM) will be held from 26th-29th September 2011, in the historic city of York. The final date for registering is the 12th September.


The main themes will be:    
  • shared infrastructures
  • using the cloud in research
  • end-user engagement
  • applications (e-science, e-social science, research in the arts and humanities).

The conference will feature keynote presentations, workshop sessions, poster presentations and demonstrations. A series of workshops will be held on the afternoons of Monday 26th and Thursday 29th September, alongside the main conference. See the programme information for details. Papers will be peer reviewed and published in a special issue journal (to be confirmed). There will be a small exhibition area and opportunities for networking.

For full details see http://www.allhands.org.uk/

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Pilot for Managed Desktop Based on Windows 7

A Managed Service based on Windows 7 will be piloted during the academc year 2011-2012. A small number of PCs running this version will appear in the IC during the year. They will run alongside the mainstream Managed Service based on Windows XP. The full Managed Service based on Windows 7 is expected to be rolled out to everyone for adademic year 2012-2013.

Also planned is a new Windows 7 Managed Service specifically designed to enable teaching via laptops and a new service to enable the remote delivery of applications.

Now for some technical information about changes to the structure of user profiles.

To enable the coexistence of the two managed services there will be some changes to profile structures detailed below. These changes will happen in all user accounts irrespective of whether they use the Managed Service.

Managed XP users should notice no change in operation of their environment but should not attempt to move, rename or delete and of the profile folders outlined below. 

For existing users:
* The directories ManWin & ManW7 will be created in all user's home directories (U:). 
* If U:\MANXP\Favorites or U:\MANXP\My Documents exist they will be moved to be under U:\ManWin. 
* A file named cicsreadme.txt outlining these changes will be placed in their homedirectory.

New users will have the directories created as part of account creation (but will not have the cicsreadme.txt).

The contents of of cicsreadme.txt are included below and contain more details about the new profile structure.


Bob Booth




cicsreadme.txt
This readme contains information about system files/directories that CiCS creates
for its managed services.

To enable coexistence with the Managed XP service and a Managed Windows 7 service
which will be piloted during the academc year 2011-2012 some directories have been 
created and some minor changes have been made to storage locations.

Please leave these directories/files alone - do not attempt to move, rename or delete them.

ManXP   - Created when Managed XP service is run. If you have never run Managed XP you
          will not have this directory. Contains the folder "Desktop" and folders used by 
	  XP applications.
Manw7 	- Precreated. Contains "Desktop" and folders used by Windows 7 applications.
ManWin 	- Precreated. Contains directories that can be shared by both the XP & Windows 7
          environments. The folders "Favorites" & "My Documents" are stored here 
          (previously they were stored under ManXP).

profloc.txt - Location of Roaming Profiles

CiCS Aug/Sep 2011

Monday, 22 August 2011

New Appointments Slots Feature in Google Calendar

A new feature has been introduced to Google Calendar which could potentially make it easy for academic staff to manage their contact time with students.

The appointments slots feature lets you allocate a block of time for student contact then divide this into a series of 'slots' of however many minutes you choose.  Students can then select one of the slots to make an appointment.

This makes it easy for students to arrange time with their tutor and for staff to schedule in predefined times for studnet contact.

For more information about appointment slots see the link below:

Google Article on Appointment Slots

Friday, 19 August 2011

Connecting to Networked Drives from OSX Lion

CiCS has developed a script to help Mac users with OSX Lion connect to the networked drives at the University. The script can be downloaded and run from here:

Novell Fix for OSX Lion

The networked drives holding general purpose filestore at the University are built on Novell technology. Some Mac users get by without ever needing to access these drives but others like to use the networked drives - there's no right and wrong.

However, since OSX Lion was released we've had reports of Mac users running Lion experiencing problems accessing the networked drives. Our technical staff have researched this and developed a script which solves this problem. The script is downloaded and run once, then the OSX Lion Mac can access networked drives as required with no further intervention required. We've tested it on a number of Lion Macs and it seems to work consistently with no problems.

OSX Lion users who need to access networked drives are encouraged to try out this script and let us know if there are any further problems.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

University's Internet Connection Speed Doubles to 4Gbps

The University's connection to the Internet is set to double in speed from 2Gbps to 4Gbps.

This will take place over two days:

30th August 2011, 07:00 - 09:00
The connection in our secondary machine room will be upgraded.  No interruption to service is expected but Internet connectivity for the whole campus is "at risk" for the duration of the work.

13th September 2011, 07:00 - 09:00
The connection in our primary machine room will be upgraded.  No interruption to service is expected but Internet connectivity for the whole campus is "at risk" for the duration of the work.

We have two connections to the Internet so that if there are problems in one machine room the University remains connected via the other machine room. For the vast majority of time both connections are active and the University can exploit the full connection capacity.

Our Internet connection speed is measured in Gbps which means gigabits per second, ie one thousand millions bits of computer data each second.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Research Computing: New License Key for NAG Numerical Routines Library

CiCS manages the University's licenses for the NAG Numerical Routines Library for Fortran and C programmers. Our site license offers a cost effective way to support research by allowing us to install these libraries on any workstation within the campus.

If you have previously installed NAG on a personal or departmental Linux computer, you will need to update your installation with the new license key using info from the following web page:

   http://www.wrgrid.group.shef.ac.uk/local/nag.html

The NAG libraries are also available on 'iceberg' the central HPC cluster for general use.  Example programs that access the NAG library can be obtained on iceberg by using the commands:

   nagexample   for Fortran

 and

   nagc_example  for C/C++

We have licenses for all Linux 32bit and 64bit implementations of the NAG Numerical Routines Library but we will cease to support the Windows implementations of NAG at Sheffield University during the next academic year.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Services for Students Booklet

The new IT Services for Students booklet, which we give to each new student when they arrive at University has been produced and can be viewed by clicking on the image below. For the first time we have designed the booklet to meet the needs of new students arriving at University and prospective students having a look round at open days.


We had some spares of last year's booklet left over so, after checking through the content, we thought we might as well put them on the open day table rather than just recycle them. The prospective students loved the funky design and snatched them up! As a result we ran out of these booklets much sooner than the purpose written open day leaflets we had prepared. All credit to Print and Design Solutions for their innovative, eye catching design.

It was such a success that we decided to write this year's booklet with both audiences in mind, this was easier than you might think and very cost-effective in terms of print costs.

New and prospective students have the same questions. How do I get Internet? Can I connect my own computer or phone? Can I get my stuff from home? What if my computer breaks?

Have a read through the booklet and see how we've attempted to answer these questions from both a new and prospective student perspective at the same time and let us know what you think.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

MOLE 2 - Our New Virtual Learning Environment



MOLE 2 is coming! From 2011 to 2012 you will start to notice changes to our virtual learning environment, MOLE.
Departmental courses are being moved from MOLE 1 to MOLE 2 in two main phases. We have been working with departments to find a timescale which suits them. Some will be on the new system for the start of the 2011 academic year and the rest will move in time for the academic year starting in 2012. To find out if your department is in the first phase to be moved over to MOLE 2 click on the link below.
For more information about the move to MOLE 2 see the link below.

Student Printing - Minimum Top Up Level Dropped

Following the upgrade of the Student Printing Service (PCMS), the minimum online payment for users crediting their account has dropped from £3 to £1.

This doesn't affect the price of printing but it does mean that students can top-up their printing credit by smaller increments and thus reduce the risk that they will leave University with a large level of unused printing credit. Every little helps!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

CampusM Mobile App for Android

The University's mobile app, CampusM which delivers personalised University information to smartphones now has a version available for Android devices. It is available from the Android Market, a direct link is provided below.

CampusM for Android Free Download

This vew version complements the existing versions available for Apple iOS devices and BlackBerry devices. Windows and Symbian smartphones can use the web browser version of Campus M. All versions of the CampusM app are avaiolable from our CampusM web pages:

www.shef.ac.uk/cics/campusm

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

University Email Storage Increase

The storage allowance for staff and student email will increase shortly from 7GB to 25GB.

When CiCS moved student and then staff email services from home grown solutions to new services provided by Google one of the big selling points was that we could now offer each University member a huge 7GB quota of storage for email messages and attachments. Who would have thought that within two years we could offer every University member 25GB each?