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September 12, 2009

Summer 2009 IT Projects & Updates

Residential Housing WiFi Project:
This summer, Susquehanna, Patapsco and Potomac Halls were fully upgraded with campus WiFi. With support from the office of residential life, DoIT completed Phase II of the WiFi initiative in residential life installing 200 Cisco wireless access points. Last summer Erickson, Harbor and Chesapeake Halls were upgraded with campus WiFi. In total six buildings are now fully supported by the campus wireless infrastructure. Currently UMBC has over 800 individual wireless access points installed throughout the campus. Support requests or questions should be directed to the UMBC helpdesk via myUMBC under the ‘Help’ link.

New Operating Systems (Apple’s Snow Leopard; Microsoft’s Windows 7)
Apple Snow Leopard
Apple will be released their newest operating system, Snow Leopard, on August 28th. UMBC owned machines can be upgraded to new versions of the Mac operating system using the UMBC site license for OS upgrades. Please contact the DoIT help desk to borrow a copy. Contact the UMBC bookstore to get your personal copy of Snow Leopard at competitive discounts. More information about new features and changes found in Snow Leopard can be found at: http://www.apple.com/macosx/refinements/
Windows 7
Microsoft will release Windows 7 on October 22, 2009. DoIT staff have been actively testing the Beta versions of Windows 7. Initial results from the testing are promising. The new interface is more streamlined, the boot times are faster and many features that worked just barely under Vista now work flawlessly. While testing has gone reasonably well DoIT will not officially support Windows 7 until February 2010.

NOTE: DoIT will officially support Snow Leopard and Windows 7 in February 2010. Early adopters of these new operating systems may encounter software issues that cannot be supported by DoIT. This is especially true of the campus VPN (i.e. Juniper) which will likely not support new operating systems until Spring 2010.

New Feature Allows Users to Reset Their Own Passwords
Earlier this summer DoIT released a new feature that allows customers to reset their own passwords. If you have not already done so we strongly encourage you to complete your security questions online. More information can be found at: http://www.umbc.edu/blogs/oit-news/archives/2009/07/create_your_acc.html

Lab Replacements
This summer DoIT replaced just over 100 lab machines. This year presented some fiscal challenges which limited the number of machines that would normally have been replaced. However, there were targeted replacements and existing machines that still had a service life were moved to other labs and locations on campus.
• English Labs (FA001 and 002) Replaced with New 20inch iMacs
• DoIT Lab (ENG 122A) Replaced with 26 New Dell Desktops
• DoIT Lab (ACIV ) Replaced with 25 New Dell Desktops
• VART Lab (ENG 005) Replaced with 18 New MacPros Including 24inch Monitors

Computer Replacement Initiative
This summer, under the Provost computer replacement initiative, 104 new computer subsidies were approved across the campus. DoIT staff completed installation of all centrally ordered machines during the summer months. The new machines replaced many significantly out dated machines which did not meet the minimum requirements for campus computing. The replacement of these older machines will aid in the transition to use of important applications such as document imaging.

Windows Terminal Servers Upgraded
UMBC has a terminal server environment that allows customers to access their network drive resources when using a non-UMBC machine (e.g. home PC). While not identical to the machine in your office it does provide access to your network drives from off campus. This month the terminal server environment was virtualized and upgraded. Virtualization allows us to run multiple servers on a single physical machine. The benefits are numerous including the ability to save on power and cooling thus making it a Green solution. It also allows UMBC to scale this resource in the event of disaster and to assist in continuity of business planning. Specifically if faculty and staff need to work from off campus due to the effects of H1N1 we can increase the required backend resources with relative ease. More information on using UMBC’s terminal server can be found at: https://spaces.umbc.edu/display/hd2/Access+Files+Off-Campus+Using+a+Non+UMBC+Machine

E2Campus Emergency Text Messaging Changes
UMBC recently worked with E2Campus to update our login process. The old version required users to create a separate account which was managed by E2Campus. This created some confusion, especially when a user name or password was forgotten. The new system provides single sign on via the myUMBC portal. This seamless integration makes account creation and management easier while providing new management features for campus personnel. The only down side is that E2Campus users that were registered prior to August 26, 2009 will need to Re-Register. You can do this by going to myUMBC>Profile>Notifications or by clicking here https://my.umbc.edu/personal/notifications/
NOTE: It is important that you register under the new system soon. Existing accounts created prior to August 26, 2009 will be purged from the system after October 30, 2009. If you have not re-registered by this date you will not receive E2Campus messages.

Windows Lab Profile Changes
In an effort to decrease login times and address continuing windows profile quota issues DoIT changed the lab environment to use standard windows profiles. This change occurred on June 7th, 2009. Our peer institutions have been using standard profiles for many years. Since the inception of our Windows lab environment UMBC had been using roaming custom profiles to enhance the user experience. However, as software installs have grown in size so have the windows profiles. DoIT changed to standard windows profiles earlier this summer to address the ongoing support issues. More information on these changes can be found at:
http://www.umbc.edu/blogs/oit-news/archives/2009/05/windows_lab_pro.html

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