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IT Trends for August 7th, 2003

Thursday, August 07, 2003

In This Issue



Get Ready to Quantify Your Computing and Network Capacity

Terry Calhoun, Commentator
Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)
University of Michigan

Every so often the National Science Foundation (NSF) conducts a survey of science and engineering research infrastructure at research-performing colleges and universities. This tends to be a biennial project and is a critically important and, to some, forbidding task. Those responsible for managing space on campuses are now getting ready for the call this coming October, when the NSF will once again unveil its redesigned survey and collect data.

But this time there’s a surprise! In recognition of the fact that “infrastructure” means more, now, than mortar and bricks, there’s a new Part 2 to the survey. It will call for institutions to report on their computing and networking capacity. So, CIOs and other IT staff can expect to hear in late October – from whomever their president appoints as “institutional coordinator” for collection and provision – of some pretty interesting statistics. If you’re not already expecting it, this NSF request will be using up some as-yet-unbudgeted-for staff time…

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U. Michigan Student Charged in Identity Theft Hacks

The string of activities began to unravel when another student learned that an email had been sent from his account canceling an important job interview, and recommending Ning Ma, the alleged hacker, for the position instead. Ma is also accused of hacking into a professor's account and sending a bad grade report to a female student who he hoped to gain favor with by then tutoring her. (The Michigan Daily)
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Ex-Ivy Tech State IT Staffer Faces Police Investigation

An IT staffer at Ivy Tech State who was fired some time ago has created a website where he is sharing privileged information and making serious allegations about co-workers and management staff of his former department. On that website he calls Ivy State Tech a "Diploma Mill for the Academically Challenged." The state police are investigating.
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U. Kentucky Sets Record for Financially Optimal Supercomputing

UK has created cluster supercomputer out of a budget of less than $40,000. It has the power to do roughly 1 trillion floating point operations per second using 128 machines. That's $100 per GFLOP.
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UC Berkeley Campus Network Hubs Closed for Up to 4 Days

Not central hubs, but some network ports are being closed to minimize security risks due to a recently-discovered Microsoft security problem. The shut down could temporarily affect as many as 10,000 computers. (The Daily Californian)
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Kent State University's Portal Resetting Email Passwords

KSU IT staff are also anticipating a variety of problems related to accessing email during August 2-10 as the new Flashline portal is implemented.
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U. Oregon Has Edge in Computer Parts Recycling

Even though "The people who (initially) designed (computers) never thought they would have to take them apart," OSU's two-year-old program "demanufactures" and recycles old computers on campus. Computer Harvest has saved the University 6.5 tons of cathode-ray tube glass, five tons of metal and miles of wire from landfills. (The Daily Emerald)
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Cornell B-School to Deploy Open Source Spam Blocker

The school's CIO, Larry Fresinski says, "It's been extraordinarily effective . . . It catches 99 percent of my spam." He also says that the tool's Bayesian filters have not once failed to stop a spam message or wrongly stopped a legitimate message. (Linux World).
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Digital Divide: Digital Equity Network

A member of the Education Reform Networks, DEN addresses inequitable access to learning technology resources. The resources is divided into five channels: Effective Use, Cultural Relevance, Technology Resources, Content Creation, and Quality Content. The site is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Digital Equity Task Force

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WCET Technology Costing Methodology

A costing analysis tool, including standard definitions of cost categories, for institutions and multi-institutional agencies to: analyze the costs of instructional approaches that make heavy use of technology; and to legitimately compare cost data for different instructional approaches.

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U. Minnesota Chooses SGI Altix 3000 Supercluster

The University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute's purchased a 24-processor Silicon Graphics Altix 3000 supercomputing cluster, which features 48GB of memory, runs on the Linux operating system and uses the just-launched, Intel Itanium 2 processor. Research projects on the new system are expected to span the full spectrum of high-performance computing research needs, from numerical modeling of geophysical processes to methods for computational electromagnetics.

Johns Hopkins Picks Web-based Training Provider

Johns Hopkins University has signed a deal with General Physics Corp. to provide web-based training courses and online knowledge assessments for employees. The contract will be in effect for one year with an option to renew for three additional one-year periods. GP's services are available to Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Health System and affiliated institutions. The first project, development of a web-based training course valued at $60,000, is expected to begin later this month.

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Internet2 Disaster Recovery for Higher Ed Voice Networks

BroadSoft Inc., a provider of hosted communications, launched a disaster recovery initiative within the Internet2 Voice over IP (VoIP) Working Group. The cooperative initiative is being led by BroadSoft, Georgetown University, Internet2, and Paetec with participating members, including Catholic University, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, and Texas A&M. The goal of the project is to ensure business continuity and survivability using IP networks in an event that the circuit-switched public network g'es down. Using Internet2 as a backup for a traditional PBX and switched network architecture offers an IP-based disaster recovery solution at a greatly reduced cost.
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Connector Links BlackBoard, Assessment Platform

Questionmark, a providers of testing and assessment software, and Blackboard Inc. announced the release of a software connector that links the Blackboard Learning System (Release 6) and the Questionmark’s Perception assessment platform. With the software, students and instructors can link to Perception from within the Blackboard. That means schools can maintain student and instructor profiles within one system while scheduling and viewing assessment that pertain to each particular course.
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Dell Introduces Ultra Slim Notebook Computers

Dell announced its sub-three pound ultra-slim notebook computers: the Latitude X300 and Inspiron 300m. The systems come with the Intel Pentium M processor and have enough performance to handle productivity applications like e-mail, Web browsing and presentations. With an optional MediaBase that connects to the bottom of the notebook and includes a media module, the 3 pound notebooks are being positioned as a desktop replacement.

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