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January 2018 ITS Newsletter

by Michael Case | Jan 17, 2018

Header for ITS Newsletter

 

Issue:  January 2018 2018-001

Welcome to the New Year!!!!  We hope that you have found a warm place; we understand that some undergraduate January session trips visit places like Hawaii.  (BOOO!!!!! 😊)  It’s time again to discuss the ITS goings on.

Planned Internet Outage

Our Internet Service Provider (ISP), I-Light, is working to further improve our intercampus redundancy across two nights later this month.

  • The Internet is scheduled to be unavailable on Wednesday, January 24th, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. (January 25th).
  • The Internet is scheduled to be unavailable on Sunday, January 28th, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. (January 29th).

We’ll keep you informed if anything changes and send reminders before we complete the work.

Need Help?  Contact Help Desk

Email:  helpdesk@manchester.edu

Phone:  260-470-2727 (Fort Wayne), 260-982-5454 (North Manchester)

Web:  https://service.manchester.edu

Location:  Fort Wayne 121 & North Manchester Clark 109

In the News – Meltdown & Spectre

Sure, this is a newsletter, but you may have seen on more mainstream news sources that many computer processors over the past two-plus decades are affected by some insidious flaws that make devices from desktops, laptops, tablets, servers, phones, and more susceptible to security threats.  These two threats are named Meltdown and Spectre.  The processor flaws, in theory, provide malware access to hardware’s most basic level.  That’s really, really bad.  As a result, the technology industry moved rapidly to close the threat.  Unfortunately, many patches had unintended, negative consequences, and other platforms haven’t received patches.  Therefore, the risk still exists.

Manufacturers like Apple and those that support Windows have issued patches.  Linux and Google, in most cases, have supplied them, too.  But, due to the fragmentation of the Android market, Android phones and tablets will take longer to patch.

Unlike over a decade ago with a Pentium flaw, Intel insists that no replacement processors are forthcoming.  In fact, manufacturers will ship new equipment with the flaw as Intel and other chip manufacturers haven’t designed a new processor architecture that corrects the issue.  That will take two or more years. 

While many patches exist, the problem’s fix causes a different problem.  By correcting the flaw, the patches negatively impact a device’s performance.  In many cases, that impact is negligible.  However, in more intensive use cases, the patches may reduce CPU performance up to 30%.

Long story short:  Despite the patches’ negative impact, apply all patches as they become available.

New SpartanPrint Testing Starts NOW!!!

We started the first vendor’s demo unit testing this week!!!  We need you to test these units to determine if the printers work in our environment.  We have asked the vendors to provide training sessions when the equipment is available in a building near you.  We’ll let you know specifics as we know them.

The first vendor agreed to move the equipment to many buildings on both campuses.  That schedule is below.  The vendor provides training on the first day the equipment is in the building at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Calvin Ulrey (2nd floor): 1/15 – 1/19

Administration (basement?): 1/22 – 1/26

Admissions:  1/29 – 1/30

Academic Center:  1/31 – 2/2

Funderburg:  2/5 – 2/6

Science Center:  2/7 – 2/9

Intercultural Center:  2/12 – 2/13

Winger:  2/14 – 2/16

Jo Young Switzer Center:  2/19 – 2/21

PERC:  2/22 – 2/26

Fort Wayne:  2/28 – 3/9

Subsequent vendors—there are four others—will follow a similar schedule.  At the end of each vendor’s trial, we’ll send a survey to collect your thoughts on what you found.

If you want to participate on the SpartanPrint selection committee, please let me know as soon as possible by clicking here.

WWW Publishing Changes

Coming soon, we’ll restructure how the MU website works from a content generation point-of-view.  Currently, those who generate content do so in the production environment.  We believe that’s a dangerous proposition.  To rectify the situation, we’re implementing a layered approach.  Content generators will use a new development server to make changes.  When complete, the person publishes the changes to a server where an editor reviews the changes.  If the editor approves, the editor publishes the changes to the production server.

Additionally, we will have two or more production servers and use a tool called load balancing to allow users to switch between them transparently.  By using multiple production servers, we can have one server fail, and the other takes over, at least in theory.

We should complete these changes in February.

EMPLOYEES ONLY:  Wells Fargo Access

Wells Fargo is sunsetting support for Internet Explorer v10 (IE 10) on Friday, March 23rd.  The end to IE 10 support impacts those who have or support MU purchase cards.  MU-owned equipment should not have Internet Explorer v10 available, so you’ll want to ensure that you use the correct browser when away from the office.

STUDENTS ONLY:  Nintendo Wii & MU Wireless Network

We know that many of you have experienced problems with using the Nintendo Wii with our wireless network.  After discussing the issue with Cisco, we found this on the University of Saint Francis’ website.  We’re quoting from the following page:  http://www.net.usf.edu/reshalls/gaming/faq.php.  EDITORS NOTE:  We cleaned some of the text without changing the meaning of the content.

Why can’t I use my Nintendo Wii on USF's wireless network?

Wireless networks support multiple data rates (speeds). Your wireless network adapter automatically selects a data rate which will provide you the best possible throughput given your distance from the nearest access point and based on how much interference it is receiving from other devices nearby.

In a large wireless network, when the very low data rates (i.e., 1Mbps and 2Mbps) are used by a client, it degrades the performance of all other wireless clients on that same access point. So, to provide a better wireless experience to all users and devices, USF (and any large wireless network provider) must disable these lower data rates to ensure that clients are only using the higher rates.

Unfortunately, the Nintendo Wii cannot connect to the network if these lower rates are disabled. It requires the 2Mbps data rate. But, USF provides wired network connections in every dorm room, and these connections will work just fine with the Nintendo. In fact, the wired connection will work better than any wireless connection. Keep in mind that the Wii doesn't have a built-in wired network adapter, but several different USB adapters are available for less than $20.

Contributions Welcome

Do you want to know more about a particular topic or know a helpful IT tip?  Please send them to Help Desk.