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Durham University

Computing and Information Services

ITS news: complete issue

Data Networking Charges

As part of the ITS commitment to provide cost-effective services we have been reviewing charging rates.
The charges for connecting equipment to the data network were set some time ago. Whilst the cost of cabling has not changed greatly over the past 5 years, the cost of active networking equipment has decreased. Together with competitive purchasing procedures used significant savings can be made. We are pleased to pass on some of these savings to our customers. The major change is a reduction in the 'Activation Charge', which does cover more than just the price of a port in a switch, from £105 to £75.
From 1 September the following charges will apply:

1. Installation of a new network point, within a cabled building: £220(max). Multiple installations to be individually estimated
2. Activation of network point: £75.

(25 Nov 2003)


IMP: A new webmail client

IMP is a newly installed webmail product that replaces our existing webmail client, known as IMHO. After an extensive evaluation of current webmail clients, IMP was decided upon as it has many useful additional features whilst being easy to use. The older IMHO client will continue to remain available for a short period, in order to facilitate the transfer of addressbooks between the two products.  Both IMP and IMHO are now accessible from:
http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/services/email/webmail/

Further information on how to transfer your IMHO addressbook and other IMP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are available from:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/services/email/webmail/imp/index.php

(25 Nov 2003)


Machine Room Printers

A3 colour output is still available from the Laser Jet A4-A3 Colour printer. Inkjet printing is available from Ink Jet A4 colour and from the A0 plotter. Colour transparencies can be produced using the Ink Jet A4 Colour Transparency printer.
More information on printing and printing charges is available from:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/services/printing/

(25 Nov 2003)


ALT

The Association of Learning Technology (ALT) http://www.alt.ac.uk/ is a professional and scholarly association which seeks to bring together all those with an interest in the use of learning technology. The University of Durham is an institutional member of the ALT so all staff and students can benefit from reduced fees at their workshops and conferences. Members of the LTT gave papers at the recent ALT annual conference in Sheffield which this year had the theme of "Communities of Practice". All presenters were encouraged to move from the normal transmissive experience to a more participatory format to encourage debate. As well as making the conference more lively, it increased the degree of networking amongst the Learning Technology "community".

(25 Oct 2003)


ArcGIS 8.3 news

New installation on IT Service machines

ArcGIS 8.3 has been installed on the new Windows XP based ITS Networked PC service. Changes include tools to create and maintain topology in geodatabases. The rules available are more advanced than those previously provided for coverages and gradually coverage support in ArcGIS is being removed. Details of updates to the software are available in the ArcGIS Desktop Help.
It is important to note when using ArcGIS 8.3 that Map Document (.mxd) files or geodatabases created in ArcGIS 8.3 cannot be opened in the 8.2 version.

On the Unix service ArcInfo 8.3 has been installed. There are few changes to this version.

New Extensions - ArcScan, Tracking and Survey Analyst

These extensions were introduced with ArcGIS 8.3 and provide useful new functionality. Briefly, ArcScan allows raster to vector data conversion, Tracking Analyst allows display and analysis of temporal data and Survey Analyst provides tools for using and analysing survey measurement and coordinates. All three extensions are available in both ArcGIS ‘flavours’ - ArcView and ArcInfo. Details are available in the Desktop Help, or online at:

http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/

When using Extensions in ArcGIS 8.3 make sure the relevant extension is made available by selecting it from the Tools | Extensions menu. Unfortunately is was not possible to make this default when installing the software.

The loan CDs are available to update existing versions. Software prices are at:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/software/

ArcPad mobile GIS now available

ArcPad is now available direct from the IT Service to provide users of Personal Digital Assistants (PDA’s) Geographical Information System (GIS) functionality in the field. ArcPad integrates with Desktop ArcGIS which is used across the University. Quite a few departments have already bought ArcPad and this new agreement makes it easier for licences to be purchased and at a lower cost. Details on ArcPad can be seen at:

www.esri.com/software/arcpad/

Prices for departments are £60 per copy per annum and for students £40 per copy. This includes ArcPad and ArcPad Application Builder. Please contact the Helpdesk in the first instance to purchase a licence.

(25 Oct 2003)


Audio Visual Services

On 1 August the ITS took over responsibility for the provision of Audio Visual Services at Durham, bringing the service in to line with that supplied at Queen's Campus, Stockton.
We warmly welcome Peter Wakelam and Archie Heslop to the ITS staff, after their long association with the Estates & Buildings Department, and hope their move will be mutually beneficial and productive. Over the coming months it is intended to review Audio Visual provision across the University in order to address modern-day needs.

(25 Oct 2003)


Authentication Changes

We have now completed the migration of authentication services for ITS accounts to use a directory service scheme based on Microsoft’s Active Directory (AD). Authentication for NPCS, MDS, email, webmail, printing, timesharing and file services will all use AD. Password changes will be done via a single web page:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/utilities/changepassword/

Users who may not have reset and synchronised passwords from the previous system should first check whether this is necessary by visiting the page:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/utilities/checkpassword/

(25 Oct 2003)


C&IT Skills Audit of students entering the University

A major audit of Communication and Information Technology skills will shortly be carried out during registration of new first years. This is following on from the audits carried out in 2000, 2001 and 2002 requested by the Joint Working Group of the Teaching and Learning Committee and Information Strategy Committee. The aim of the audit is to determine the current level of C&IT literacy of students entering the University and enables the identification of areas where C&IT skills and confidence are low.

A report following this audit will be available later in the year and as in previous years, results will be made available to those departments that request them relating to their particular students. Please contact juliette.pavey@durham.ac.uk if you require this information.

A copy of the questionnaire and summary statistics for all first years will be available shortly from the Learning Technologies web page. For information on previous years audits please visit:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/lt/cit/

Results from the 2000 audit were recently published in the following book:

Pavey, J (2003) A C&IT skills audit of staff and students in Martin, A (eds) Information & IT Literacy, enabling learning in the 21st century, Facet Publishing, London.

(25 Oct 2003)


Campus Cards

The ITS will be producing Campus Cards again this year for new Undergraduates and Postgraduates during Registration week.
The majority of Campus Cards will be issued from the Courtyard Building on the Science Site at Durham, and from the IRC at Queen's Campus, Stockton.

Staff will not be affected by this process. All staff Campus Card services are provided as normal, on an ongoing basis throughout the year, from either the main ITS Helpdesk at Durham, or from the IRC at Queen’s Campus, Stockton.

The Campus Card system has now been in operation for a full year, and provides the following functionality:

  • Identification card
  • Access control
  • Library facilities and
  • General contact information

The Campus Card is being used to facilitate a pilot project for managing student meal entitlements during the next academic year at Collingwood and St. Aidan’s Colleges.

(25 Oct 2003)


Digimap News

The Digimap service delivers Ordnance Survey digital map data to UK Higher Education. Quite a few changes have been made to the service in time for the new academic year and are detailed below.

Digimap interface updated

The Digimap user interface has been updated to reflect feedback from users. It is easier to use and the main logon page now includes direct links to all Digimap services.

Digimap's basic mapping service is now called Digimap Classic. Navigation is slightly different, but more intuitive.
Digimap Gazetteer has been re-organised into three facilities:

Gazetteer Query provides a search of the OS 1:50,000 Scale Gazetteer and returns place names, grid references and county location.

Gazetteer Plus is the new name for Digimap Gazetteer. Users can search and download selected records in different formats.

Gazetteer Download is a new facility that allows users to download the complete 1:50,000 Scale Gazetteer.
Please note that no new data has been added and no changes have been made to Digimap Carto. The new and old interfaces will run in parallel until Christmas.

Digimap registration now paperless
New personal Digimap users no longer have to sign and deliver paper registration forms to the IT Service Helpdesk for processing.

To register go to:

http://digimap.edina.ac.uk/main/signup.jsp

Registrations will be processed within 2 working days and new users will be sent an e-mail to notify when registered.

(25 Oct 2003)


Digital Camera

camera

A digital camera, model Fujifilm MX 600, is now available for loan to staff and postgraduates. There is a hire charge of £10.00 per day. The camera can be used to take photographs for websites, posters, projects, presentations and coursework. A download cable is included so that images can be downloaded direct to a PC. Imaging software, operating instructions, camera manual and digital photography tips are available online at:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/services/hardware/camera/
Camera specifications.

1.5 million pixels
3X optical zoom
1.8 LCD monitor
SmartMedia memory card
Autofocus
Easy to Use

The camera can be booked by contacting the Helpdesk on ext 41515 or email:

helpdesk@durham.ac.uk

(25 Oct 2003)


duo

There have been a number of changes to duo over the summer, as advertised in the last newsletter. Information about new features can be found on the 'Instructors' tab which you should now see on login. This tab will be updated regularly with news and help. An updated brief guide to creating content in the new version is attached as a pull-out complement to this newsletter. Don't forget you must now login with your ITS username and password.

(25 Oct 2003)


Ensuite Online Developments

During the summer the ITS has continued to cable out college accommodation. By the start of term over 1000 more cabled points will be available across the University. There are now over 4000 cabled bed spaces in college accommodation. Additional cabling has taken place in most colleges as we continue to aim to have all college accommodation network-enabled by the end of Summer 2005.
One major disappointment is the lack of progress on the application to cable the Castle with the City Planners and English Heritage. A comprehensive proposal was submitted early in June but no feedback has yet been received.

(25 Oct 2003)


Firewall Changes

Since the middle of September the campus network has been protected by a new firewall system. As well as providing extra functionality, the new hardware platform is designed to run in a high availability active-active pair configuration, which provides both resilience and load sharing improvements for the service. All active firewall rules for allowed services should have been carried over onto the new system.
Further information about the new facilities, including the use of virtual private network (VPN) support will be announced in due course. Request for additional services beyond those currently in place should be made via the web page:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/local/firewall/

(25 Oct 2003)


Future Requests

The following is an extract from the ITS web pages at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/services/computing/npcs/request/

provided as a reminder to departments on the procedure for ongoing software enhancement requests and period of notice required. It is especially important that departments plan ahead for their software requirements for teaching and notify ITS at the earliest possible stage.

‘Academic departments can request that the ITS install software and / or data sets to be used by student users on the Networked PC service. Normally, unless the software or data is to be used across a number of different academic departments, departments are expected to meet the licence costs of the software or data sets themselves. Where a product may be used by a number of different departments the ITS will consider providing at least some contribution towards the cost of the software (subject to available resources). A copy of the licence agreement will be required by the ITS. The ITS asks that staff give as much notice as possible, but no less than 6 working weeks, for such requests to be completed’.

(25 Oct 2003)


Graphics PC

graphics

A dedicated graphics PC will be installed in CM131, Computing Centre during the month of October.
It has a 256Mb MSI GEForce graphics card for creating and editing highly detailed images, pictures or drawings. Instead of the standard NPCS range of applications, specific graphics packages are installed - CorelDraw Graphics Suite 11, Adobe Photoshop 7 and Adobe Illustrator 10.

In addition, the PC also has a graphics tablet attached, which can be used to create draw, create and trace images, or to edit existing files.

The tablet can be used with either a pressure sensitive pen or a 4D mouse. The mouse is symmetrical to suit left or right hand use. The tablet senses the mouse's position, so there is no need for a mechanical ball mechanism. This produces a more consistent and smoother working style.

For graphics work, the pen stylus features a pressure-sensitive writing tip plus a pressure-sensitive eraser on the other end.

Both the pen and mouse are cordless for ease of use and can be used simultaneously.

For example, the mouse can be used to rotate an image whilst the pen is adding colour.

The mouse and pen will be available from the Helpdesk to use with this PC only.

(25 Oct 2003)


Great North Run 2003

Group Pic

Six members of ITS Club 9’s running team took part in this year's Great North Run. A tiring but worthwhile day was enjoyed by all raising £500 for Cancer Research UK, Macmillan and the Anthony Nolan Trust. As much effort went into fund raising for the event which included car valeting, cake days and a tombola within the department. Thanks to all who supported our efforts including KBR IT & Network Solutions Ltd.

From left to right: Jason Scotney, Stuart McNulty, Hetty Pavey, Michael Coxon, Neville Greener and Dave Thornton.

(25 Oct 2003)


ITGS Courses

ITGS courses (Information Technology Generic Skills) are open to all members of the University. The course consists of 4 two hour sessions covering foundation subjects, word processing, browsing the Web, use of Library OPAC and spreadsheets. Courses are at Durham and commence on October 14, 15 (a.m. or p.m.), or October 16 2003. For further details or to book a place on one of the ITGS courses, please see:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/training/

(25 Oct 2003)


ITS Helpdesk—how and why you should use this service

The ITS Helpdesk operates predominantly from its main base within the Computer Centre on the Science Site, but also maintains a term time presence at the main Library at Durham and at the IRC at Queen's Campus, Stockton.
Full details of the services provided by the Helpdesk can be found at:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/helpdesk/

It is extremely important that ALL support calls are logged with the Helpdesk by either email, telephone or in person at one of the service counters.

By and large, most calls are logged with the Helpdesk in this manner, but it is also apparent that some users bypass this procedure and contact individuals within the ITS directly in order to fast track a resolution to their problem.

Whereas I fully understand that we all consider OUR call to be the most important, it really is vital that the agreed Helpdesk call logging procedures are adhered to in order that the ITS can:

  • allocate the call to the right ITS staff member with the appropriate skills
  • attach an agreed priority to the call in order to generate an appropriate target resolution date and time
  • monitor calls throughput and produce statistics and reports in terms of Colleges or Departments, or patterns and trends of repeating call types
  • monitor resolution times taken by ITS staff in order that customer service is delivered against users expectations, and that problems associated with the resolution of the call can be identified and
  • refer to historical call information when managing new incoming calls, or when tracing current outstanding call status (without a call being logged, it is impossible to provide accurate information to a user  on the current status of the call).

Sometimes not all calls can be resolved as our users would wish, and this can be frustrating for both users and for ITS.

However, I assure you that ITS WILL attempt to provide the best possible service at all times, and that we are receptive to constructive criticism and helpful suggestions on how we may improve the service overall.

Please remember to contact the Helpdesk:

by telephone  -  dial ext 41515
by email  - helpdesk@durham.ac.uk
or call in to one of the Helpdesk counters in person.

(25 Oct 2003)


ITS schedule of courses available for undergraduates

The following courses are open to all undergraduate students:

Graphics

UG13.01 Creating and editing images for poster production
Monday, 3 November 2003 at 10.00 (2 hrs), CM117.

Spreadsheets

UG03:01 An introduction to spreadsheets using Excel XP
Wednesday, 15 October 2003 at 11.00 (2 hrs), University Library, Level 4.
UG06:01 Excel XP: creating charts
Thursday 23 October 2003 at 14.15 (2 hrs), CM117.

PowerPoint

IT18:02 An Introduction to PowerPoint
Thursday 20 November 2003 at 10.00 (2 hrs), University Library, Level 4.
Continuing on: Friday 21 November at 10.00.

Word Processing

UG04.01 Creating a longer document in Word XP
Thursday 13 November 2003 at 10.00 (2 hrs), CM117.
Continuing on: Friday 14 November at 10.00.

WWW publishing

UG01.01 Creating WWW pages
Wednesday 19 November 2003 at 10.00 (2 hrs), University Library, Level 4.
UG11.01 Writing Accessible Websites
Friday 24 October November 2003 at 14:15 (2 hrs), CM117.

How to book

To book a place on one of these courses, please fill in the online form at:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/training/

Full information about the courses is available from these web pages. Please make sure you have read the course synopsis and pre-requisites before booking a place.

When we receive your booking, we will send you a confirmation of your place via email.

Please contact us as soon as possible if you are unable to attend a course on which you have booked a place, as places are limited and demand is usually high. If you fail to attend a course for which you have a firm booking, without letting us know in advance, we reserve the right to amend your booking status and/or withdraw your place on future courses.

Documents

Please note that although there is no charge for a place on the courses we do make a charge to cover the cost of the documents issued. These documents may be purchased at the start of the course, or from the ITS Helpdesk, or printed from the ITS WWW pages:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/info/

(25 Oct 2003)


ITS Schedule of courses for Michaelmas term

The following courses are open to members of staff and postgraduate students:

Introductory

IT27:01 Introduction to Unix
Wednesday, 15 October at 10.00 (2 hrs), CM131A. Continuing on:
Thursday, 16 October at 10.00.

Bibliographies

IT16:01 Introduction to EndNote
Monday, 20 October at 14.00 (3 hrs), CM117.

Computer-based presentation

IT18:01 An introduction to PowerPoint XP
Monday, 17 November 2003 at 09.30 (3 hrs), University Library, Level 4 Classroom. Continuing on:
Tuesday 18 November at 09.30.

Databases


IT47:01 Introduction to Databases using Access XP *(complete course)*
Monday, 24 November 2003 at 14.00 (3 hrs), University Library, Level 4 Classroom. Continuing on:
Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 November at 14.00.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS)


IT31:01 Using ArcGIS - an introduction
Wednesday 12 November 2003 at 09.00 (2.5hrs), University Library, Level 4 Classroom. Continuing on:
Wednesday 12 November at 14.00 (2.5hrs) & Thursday 13 November at 13.50 ( 2.5hrs).

Programming Languages

IT35:01 Getting Started with Java
Tuesday, 25 November 2003 at 09.30 (3 hrs), CM117. Continuing on:
Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 & Friday 28 November at 09.30.
IT38.01 Advanced Java
Tuesday, 9 December 2003 at 09.30 (3 hrs), CM117. Continuing on:
Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 December at 09.30.

Statistics


IT22:01 An introduction to SPSS for Windows
Monday, 27 October 2003 at 12.00 (2 hrs), University Library, Level 4 Classroom. Continuing
on: Tuesday 28, Thursday 30 & Friday 31 October at 12.00.

Spreadsheets


IT08:01 An introduction to spreadsheets using Excel XP
Tuesday, 14 October 2003 at 09.30 (3 hrs), University Library, Level 4 Classroom.
IT09:01 Excel XP: using formulae and functions
Tuesday, 21 October 2003 at 09.00 (3 hrs), CM117.

Word processing

IT07:01 Writing longer documents using Word XP
Monday, 10 November 2003 at 09.30 (3 hrs), University Library, Level 4 Classroom. Continuing
on: Tuesday 11 November at 09.30.

WWW publishing


IT23:01 Creating WWW pages
Thursday, 20 November 2003 at 14.00 (3 hrs), University Library, Level 4 Classroom.

IT39:01 Creating databases that can be queried from the WWW
Monday, 3 November 2003 at 09.30 (3 hrs), University Library, Level 4 Class
room. Continuing on Tuesday 4 & Wednesday 5 November at 09.30.

IT13:01 Writing Accessible Websites
Friday, 17 October 2003 at 09.00 (3 hrs), CM117.

(25 Oct 2003)


ITS Welcomes New Director

A new Director of ITS has joined the University of Durham from 1st October 2003.
Lesley Beddie has brought with her a wealth of experience in terms of academic, public sector and commercial IT service delivery.
Formerly, Lesley was Head of the School of Computing at Napier University for a period of 8 years, and more recently Director of Communications Technologies for the Scottish Parliament.

Part of Lesley’s role is to lead on the strategic development of the ITS across all of its existing remit, and also to take the Department into new and exciting areas of service delivery.

I'm sure that you will join me in wishing Lesley a happy stay at Durham, and look forward to working alongside her.

(25 Oct 2003)


Mail Server Changes

As part of a consolidation and service improvement program, some changes to the mail service will be made over the coming weeks. Already we have migrated mailbox storage to a centralised file server and have started to make use of multiple front end servers which provide the user interface. In due course we expect that this multiple server approach will be able to provide a load sharing and resilient configuration model, which is capable of capacity expansion if load or demands increase. In the meantime users are advised to continue to use the appropriate server name chosen from:

imaphost, imaphost-ug , or imaphost-rs

for access to their mailboxes.

(25 Oct 2003)


Maple 9.01

Departments can now purchase Maple 9.01 from the Helpdesk. Home licences for students and staff are also available for academic use only.
Adept Science are holding two online 15 minutes WebEx seminars at the end of October to inform Maple users about the many facilities that they may not be aware of that are available to them under the terms of their licence.

If anyone would like more information about how WebEx seminars and meetings work, they can find out more at http://webex.com

(25 Oct 2003)


MATLAB Student Release 13

MATLAB Student Version is now available to purchase from the ITS Helpdesk and provides students with a full-featured, professional version of MATLAB 6.5 - with no matrix size limitation - that they can use on their own computers (Windows, MAC OSX, or Linux operating systems).

(25 Oct 2003)


Microsoft Campus 3.1

Details of the new Microsoft Campus Agreement were introduced in a previous edition of the newsletter. It had been suggested that Visual Studio be excluded from this new agreement, due to the additional costs of running these applications.
However, following discussions with departments, ITS are pleased to announce that Visual Studio will be included in the new Campus 3.1 Agreement.

The list of software that departments can use is as follows:

  • Microsoft Office Professional for Windows and Mac
  • Microsoft Windows Operating System upgrades (you must already have a qualifying operating system to upgrade)
  • Microsoft Core Client Access Licences (enabling users to access all versions of Windows Server, Exchange Server, Systems Management Server and Share Point Portal Server)
  • Microsoft FrontPage
  • Microsoft Publisher and
  • Microsoft Visual Studio.

A number of departments, including ITS, have funded an extension to the new Microsoft agreement to allow them to use SQL Client Access Licences.

If you would like to become part of this agreement or would like more information about obtaining SQL CALs through the Microsoft Select Agreement, please contact Janet Youdale on 42763.

Further information regarding the new agreement can be found at:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/software/microsoft/campus/

(25 Oct 2003)


Microsoft Office Update

Microsoft Office Professional 2003 is due to be released shortly and we expect to have CDs available for departments by November 2003.

(25 Oct 2003)


New Colour printing facilities

To provide an improved printing service, the number of open access colour printers has been increased. There are now colour printers in the Main Library (Level 2), Palace Green Library Computing room, Elvet Reading Room and CM131 (Computing Centre).
All printers are HP 4600DN’s and are capable of printing good quality images at 600 x 600 dpi.

(25 Oct 2003)


New products from Macromedia

Macromedia have just released new versions of Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flash. Departments can purchase licences for these new MX 2004 versions from the Helpdesk. To view prices please visit:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/software/installed/

ITS are investigating the possibility of a site licence for Dreamweaver, which would run over a 3 year period and include all updates. A ‘home use’ clause for staff as well as a student extension are also possibilities. If your department would like to express an interest in finding out more about this new agreement, please contact Janet Youdale on 42763 or email:

janet.youdale@durham.ac.uk

(25 Oct 2003)


New Web Site and software updates

The ITS has recently re-structured and re-written its web site. A primary driving force in this re-development was that the site would be implemented in such a way as to be as accessible as possible to people using a wide variety of browsers and platforms. To achieve this, in common with a growing number of organisations, we have implemented the layout of the site using a technology known as ‘Cascading Style Sheets’ or CSS. This means that we were able to completely separate the content of the pages from the code which controls the appearance of the page. This has a number of benefits for us. Firstly, it means that the people updating the content don’t have to worry about the appearance of the page, or understand any of the code which generates the ‘look’, and also, we can very easily alter the appearance of the site without having to re-write all the pages.
Naturally we hope the restructuring of the site will improve the ease with which people will find the particular piece of information that they are looking for. But, if you do have difficulty finding a particular page, please use the feedback form linked from the bottom of each page to let us know. Where a URL of a page in the old site was advertised, we have put ‘redirects’ in place to take you immediately to the correct location in the new site. If you have bookmarks (or favourites) for locations in the old site, please remember to update them in your browser.

We have tested the site on a large number of browsers, and we believe that the appearance of the site is reasonably consistent in all browsers in common use today. Unfortunately, because not all browsers (particularly very old browsers) understand CSS code fully the site does not appear identically in older browsers. The content of a page will always be visible, but some elements (such as the navigation bar) may appear in a different location. This happens with Netscape version 4, which does not implement style-sheet driven sites properly. If you are still using Netscape 4 as your main web browser, we strongly recommend that you upgrade to Netscape 7.1 (the current ITS-supported version of Netscape), or one of the other modern browsers. If you do this, you will find the ITS, and other, CSS-based web sites much easier to use.

We have sites in the pipeline for several other sections of the University, which will be built using the same techniques, and if any department or college is interested in having their web site re-developed, please get in touch with the web team (its.webteam@durham.ac.uk).

Finally, we welcome all feedback about the site (complimentary and not!).

(25 Oct 2003)


NPCS in Lecture Theatres

ITS have introduced NPCS machines in 16 lecture theatres allowing lecturers permanent access to their J: drives as well as the Internet. Now you will be able to run presentations straight from your J: drive and won’t have to use laptops.
As this is a pilot scheme there are no local printing facilities, as yet, but you will still be able to use the central printing facilities.

To view a list of the lecture theatres where NPCS has been installed, please visit:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/services/computing/npcs/theatres/

(25 Oct 2003)


Online Utilities

An online utilities web page has been developed over the summer to provide a number of useful services. You can:

  • Change your password
  • Find the IP address of your computer
  • Locate Online registration forms
  • View your User details
  • Set up a MailFilter
  • View your Print statement and
  • View which mailing lists you own.

These utilities can be accessed at:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/utilities/

The Print statement utility now makes it possible for a member of the University to see a statement of how they are using their printer units They will now be able to see both when printing units were purchased as well as full details of what printing has been done. Details are available at:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/password/printingstatement/

With the MailFilter utility, a user can control the handling of messages that contain viruses; control the delivery of spam; create rules to autoreply to messages; and filter messages according to other rules set up by the user. See:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/services/email/mailfilter/

(25 Oct 2003)


Procedures for updating NPCS

Various updates for NPCS take place overnight. For example:

Virus Scan
Hot fixes and
Software updates

Therefore in order for these updates to be installed it is essential that the PCs remain switched on. All monitors are set to power down after 2 hours, but these can be switched off if you desire.

(25 Oct 2003)


Questionmark Perception

Questionmark Perception is a Computer Assisted Assessment tool and can be used for creating, delivering and analyzing tests, surveys and assessments over the web. Tests can also be created in Perception and scheduled through duo. The software has been piloted this year and the first formative assessment was delivered through duo using Questionmark in a Geology module with 70 students. The software was also used to deliver Chemistry’s end of term module evaluations. It is envisaged that the software will be continued to be used this academic year. For information about using Perception at Durham please visit:
http://www.dur.ac.uk/lt/projects/qmark/

(25 Oct 2003)


SigmaPlot

SigmaPlot is an is an easy-to-use package for creating high-quality graphs. It allows data to be imported from statistical packages such as Excel, and results can be presented in PowerPoint and Word. Graphs can also be exported as interactive web pages.

The interactive graph Wizard makes it quick and simple to produce more than 80 2-D and 3-D plots.

Sigmaplot is available on NPCS and licences can also be purchased through ITS.

Departmental - £100.00 per licence, renewable annually.

Students - £45.00 per licence including software. Note: the licence is only valid `whilst you are a student.

(25 Oct 2003)


Staff Changes

Since the last issue of our Newsletter, the following staff have left ITS: Elizabeth Johnston and Guy McCrea from the Helpdesk, Paul Hollands and David Brogan -Web Team, and Steve Foster from the Systems Group. We wish them all the best in their new careers.
We would also like to welcome the following new staff to ITS: Lesley Beddie - Director of ITS, Nuaim Ahmed and John Hart - Helpdesk, Victoria Boyd - Learning Technologies Team and Andrew Crowe - Systems Group.

Recent appointments that are still to take up post are:

Steven Bradley - Web Team.

(25 Oct 2003)


Telephony

Since the major number change in March 2003 we have continued to try to improve the facilities available to meet the ever increasing demand for service.
New, updated suppliers of mobile phone services have been sought and economies made wherever possible. Further rationalisation of maintenance support has resulted in further savings. We are therefore please to announce that from 1 September rental charges for University extensions to departments and colleges have been reduced form £9.60 to £9.16 per month.

This should be reflected in the charges shown on the September statement.

(25 Oct 2003)


The new Networked PC Service

The Networked PC Service (NPCS) is the ITS managed service available in all teaching classrooms and open access areas on both University sites, in all college classrooms and in many departmental PC rooms. It offers a wide range of core software provided by ITS but also specialist software requested by departments geared towards their teaching needs.
ITS has produced a new system for this academic year based around the Microsoft XP Windows system. We have taken the opportunity to rework the PC clients so that they provide all the required software in the most efficient manner possible.

Departments were requested to review their software needs and feed these back to ITS for the forthcoming year by completing a software request form. All these requests have now been processed and the current application list can now be viewed at:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/software/installed/npcs_2003/

The old system will continue to run on machines that don’t meet the hardware specifications for the XP system. However, the old system will terminate during the Christmas vacation. Colleges and departments can view the hardware requirements for NPCS at:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/services/computing/npcs/pcspec/

(25 Oct 2003)


Virus Outbreak

Two internet worms were released into the wild in August 2003 - W32/Lovsan.worm (MSBlast.exe) and W32/Nachi.worm. Both were network worms which spread from computer to computer using direct network connections. At the height of infection, a Windows 2000 or  XP machine that did not have the latest Microsoft Security Patches installed was infected within one minute of being connected to the University LAN (infection was also occurring via Durham Dialup connections).
Windows 2000/XP users, not supported by the ITS, should ensure their machines have the latest security patches and service packs installed by running Windows Update - Start | Windows Update.

Users should also ensure they have the latest McAfee Scan Engine & DAT files - please see:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/local/mcafee/

ITS are carrying out twice daily passive scans of the University LAN, any users machines that are infected will be denied external Web access until the infected machine has been patched and cleaned. CDs containing the relevant patches and service packs are available for loan from the ITS Helpdesk.  Instructions on how to clean your machine can be found at:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/local/mcafee/msblast/

(25 Oct 2003)