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IT Trends for September 25, 2003

Thursday, September 25, 2003

In This Issue


Picking at a Virus-Ridden Corpse, Part II

J'e St Sauver, Guest Commentator
University of Oregon Computing Center

According to this week's guest commentator, J'e St Sauver, we’re focusing more on the critters– worms and viruses than we should, sometimes at the expense of some other important security issues. On top of that, every user functions as a system administrator, like it or not – and not only is probably very bad at it, but is also needlessly connected to too much of your network. Further, users are becoming addicted to bloated HTML e-mail, and there can be lots of reasons that make it easy not to buy most users (students) antiviral software.

J'e’s lessons-learned are an unflinching, but useful and enlightening, out-of-the-box look at ourselves. As we mentioned last week in Part I, J'e’s perspectives here do not reflect difficulties or conditions at either his institution or any one particular institution. They are "a synthesized view that reflects the collective higher education experience."

—Terry Calhoun, IT Trends Commentator, Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), University of Michigan.


Picking at a Virus-Ridden Corpse, Part II

Last week we briefly looked at four lessons learned from the Blaster/Welchia/Nachi worm infestations that swept across much of higher education at the beginning of this academic year This week we look at six more.

1. Distribution of Out-of-Band Software Updates
Quick poll: put your hand up if your campus had to create a supplemental security CD to disinfect compromised systems which had been taken offline. Okay.

Now, keep your hand up if you ended up looking at creating yet another CD to handle additional new vulnerabilities discovered after the creation of that first CD? Hmm.

I believe that if you need to completely break your users’ connectivity to control infested systems, you are a charter member of the security-CD-of-the-month (or security-CD-of-the-day!) club.

If at all possible, you really need to be building your network in a way that will permit you to use VLANS creatively to control infested users, while not taking them entirely off the air. Infested users should not have unfettered access to your campus network nor to the global Internet, but they must have access to a local machine with key decontamination tools and the ability to access Windows Update servers.

And while we're talking about disabling network access, how many of you have just learned the hard way that having a single-sign-on authorization system isn't much fun if "breaking network access" also means "breaking e-mail access" and breaking access to other mission critical systems,"such as your teaching and learning system?

If you've gone to single-sign-on with no granularity to your authorization system, you've drunk the purple, powdered-drink mix along with all the other members of your strange, apocalyptic cult.
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More than $4B in Fed Technology Grants Available

The majority of the money from these grants, which could be available to as many as 1,700 schools, will be used to purchase hardware or software. Often the grant has a non-IT-orientation but needs to have massive amounts of IT equipment (Federal Computer Week)...
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A New Kind of Revolution in the Dorms of Dartmouth

Dartmouth is always working to get its students connected. This year, it's Voice over IP phone software was offered free to any student on campus. They have to also purchase a $50 headset. This follows a recent finding that the billing function for long distance calling was costing more than the calling, so maybe it d'es have something to do with being out in the middle of nowhere? (New York Times)...
Read more (may require registration)

The Pain of Change at the University of Rhode Island

Whether it's the software itself, network problems due to viruses and worms, or users' learning curves, the folks implementing the PeopleSoft application at URI are coping with a lot as that institution transitions. (The Narragansett Times)...
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PDAs Required for University of Buffalo Medical Students

The PDAs are synched at hospital stations, allowing students to get updated information on their calendars and assignments on a daily basis. UBMobileMed uses applications like Patient Encounter, so that students input patient information in their PDAs and send electronic reports to their clerkship directors. (University of Buffalo Spectrum)...
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Arizona State has New Top-Level Tech in 911 System

It uses a Positron 911 system, which features color display monitors, tracks and logs calls automatically, and integrated communications systems so that radios and phones talk to each other. PLus, it includes redundant back-up power supplies and uninterruptible service...
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Michigan Technological U. Creates Enterprise SmartZones

Three buildings will house companies and entrepreneurs of the SmartZone in high-tech business incubators, with a total 25,750 square feet of space. Each of three spaces in three different buildings will be configured in unique ways with specialized functionality. (MTU Lode)...
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New Online Student Records Site Well-Received at Bowdoin

The "Bearings" website is the first part of a two-step project which will move almost all of the Student Records Department's interactions with students and with faculty online. (The Bowdoin Orient)...
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The Internet Reborn? With help from Princeton, MIT, Berkeley
(MIT Technology Review)

PlanetLab aims to reinvent the Internet so that within three years, no more problems with worms and viruses; no more bandwidth problems; permanent, fool-proof archiving of important records is assured; and more!
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The Sloan Consortium

The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) says it helps learning organizations improve their quality, scale, and breadth so that education will become a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, in a wide variety of disciplines...
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NetLife Research Group

A Swedish academic community studying the changes occurring in online social patterns and learning habits. According to its mission statement, the group is "focused on the study of the close relation between the new technology, how it is used and how we understand and conceptualize it."
Learn more

Sponsored by:
Up-to-the-minute technology. Up to $2000 in rebates.
These days, you need to do more with fewer IT dollars. By providing you with the latest printing technology, HP can help you cut your IT expenses significantly. You'll also improve your productivity thanks to increased speed and functionality. That can add up to major savings for your school.

Click here for details


TDWI World Conference
in Sunny San Diego,
November 2-7

Dec. 8-10

Sponsored by:
Innovative Furniture Solutions for the Electronic Classroom
Computer Comforts designs and manufactures furniture for computer labs and classrooms. Our many product solutions include recessed monitor tables, tech benches and multi-media carts. Make sure to visit our website to see the patented Hide-Away table, designed for the multi-use lab. When not in use, the monitor is safely stored below a flip-down lid for non-computer use. We recently added a video clip of this HOT product. Let us help with classroom layout and design.

Click here for details


Can intellectual property rights be better served with Creative Commons licensing?

Poll Results

Sponsored by:
Syllabus Fall Conference: Ideas and Insights into Education Technology
Explore the latest developments and applications in education technology on campus at Syllabus fall2003, December 8-10 in Cambridge, Mass. Our three-day program offers five tracks in areas critical to your needs and will further your knowledge of best practices. Join your colleagues for networking and discourse on the new educational enterprise. Register before November 7 and save up to $100 in Early Bird discounts.

For more information and to register click here.


Netspoke Offers Integrated Web And Audio Conferencing

Netspoke, a provider of web and audio conferencing services, unveiled Netspoke Conferencing Version 6.0. The application, which is positioned against, Microsoft Live Meeting, WebEx, and Raindance, offers the integration of web and audio conferencing components both during a conference and in the management and reporting of conferences. The company said the functionality addresses the needs of mid-sized organizations through improvements in ease-of-use, increased productivity, and reduced expenses.
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ID Software Provides Remote Identity Information Capture

Datacard Group is offering a new mobile identity solution that enables the remote capture and verification of identity information. The Datacard ID Works mobile software allows users to capture identity information using a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), then transmit data securely to a central location for database storage, identity authentication or batch production of ID cards. Colleges, universities and schools can use the system to reduce congestion at student ID stations during peak enrollment periods.
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InfiniBand Software Stack Available for Windows Server 2003

Topspin Communications released the first InfiniBand software stack for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 for the Intel Itanium 2-based computing platform. The software expedites deployment of high-performance computing clusters that can now work with the Itanium architecture, the scaling and clustering capabilities of InfiniBand, and Microsoft Windows. The solution is being deployed by Cornell University, and demonstrated at Intel Developer Forum.

Sponsored By

Discussion of the Week:

What are your experiences with having nearby colleges share their workshops and training with other schools? -- posted by prospero

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