OIT News – April 2014

OIT News
Monthly news briefs, information and announcements
Office of Information Technology, NC State University
Issue 78, April 2014

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Follow OIT on Twitter @ncsu_oit
For up-to-the-minute reports on OIT systems, see SysNews
For help with computing problems, contact the NC State Help Desk

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01: Stop using Windows XP by May 12
02: OIT anticipates Kaspersky rollout in May
03: Playing it safe after Heartbleed
04: OIT begins DC2 power and cooling renovation
05: University explores software-defined networking for research opportunities
06: WolfMeeting goes live
07: IT Accessibility sponsors second annual NC State GAAD Website Challenge
08: Use new Class Search to find your next course!
09: New imaging system coming April 21
10: Add-ons in your Google Apps @ NC State account!
11: Add a Hangout to your Google calendar event with just one click!
12: OIT offers website accessibility, Google Apps and OS X device training
13: SAR training scheduled for June 3

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01: Stop using Windows XP by May 12
As of April 8, Microsoft has ended maintenance for Windows XP. Because Microsoft will no longer provide security updates and other patches for Windows XP, machines running the now 13-year-old operating system have become major targets for hacks, viruses and malware.

If you continue to use Windows XP without Microsoft’s support, not only do you put your own data at risk of being stolen or exploited, but you also put the campus network at risk: An infection that starts on your unprotected Windows XP machine could quickly and easily spread across the campus network. Remember, a university-owned machine that you are using at home could be exploited just as easily as the machine in your office, so work through your local IT support to upgrade your home-use machines as well.

Students, faculty and staff need to act by May 12, 2014. After the May 12 deadline, machines running Windows XP will be prevented from connecting to the campus network. OIT recommends upgrading to a modern operating system and buying a new computer if necessary. Windows is site licensed for university-owned machines, and you can obtain media for Windows 7 or 8 from Software @ NC State. Contact your local IT support for assistance with your upgrade.

If an upgrade is not possible and your computer must remain connected to the campus network after the May 12 deadline, contact your Campus IT Director (CITD) Designated Delegate for Windows XP Approval well in advance of the deadline. You must provide justification for any exception and allow sufficient time for your CITD contact to approve and submit your exception prior to May 12.

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02: OIT anticipates Kaspersky rollout in May
OIT continues to make progress as it transitions from Trend Micro to the new Kaspersky antivirus product. Kaspersky will be available to campus in two versions:

  • In mid-May, OIT expects to have available the personal version, to be installed on personally-owned devices only. It can be used on up to three devices at a time.

  • In late May, OIT expects to have available the campus version, to be installed on university-owned devices only.

Look for announcements about availability in OIT News, SysNews, NC State Antivirus Resources and various other campus communications channels.

For more information, see NC State Antivirus Resources. Questions should be directed to the NC State Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu or 919.515.HELP (4357).

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03: Playing it safe after Heartbleed
Following cleanup from the highly-publicized Heartbleed vulnerability, OIT is strongly recommending that NC State Unity account holders change their password. Heartbleed, a security flaw in a widely used technology that encrypts data transferred online, allows attackers to steal sensitive data like passwords.

University IT staff have worked diligently to patch affected servers and identify other vulnerable services since the security flaw went public April 7. There are no signs that the vulnerability was exploited to tap into any NC State services, but it’s best to play it safe.

What should you do?

  • Change your Unity password by typing “ncsu.edu/password” in to your browser. (It’s safer to type the URL directly than to click on a link.) You will be directed to “sysnews.ncsu.edu/passwd.”
  • Change your password on other accounts you have that might have been impacted. Always use unique passwords for each of your online accounts.
  • To keep track of your passwords, consider using a password manager like KeePass, LastPass or 1Password.
  • Look out for phishing schemes that will likely exploit this bug. Do not click on suspicious or unknown links in email.

OIT continues to monitor this situation and will attempt to contact owners of any additional devices still found to be vulnerable. If needed, further information will be distributed through IT staff channels and via SysNews.

Questions should be directed to the NC State Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu or 919.515.HELP (4357).

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04: OIT begins DC2 power and cooling renovation
From developing initial plans, to conducting and analyzing cooling loss exercises, to investigating alternate plans, to meeting with contractors, it hasn’t been easy to prepare for the seven-month power and cooling renovation of Data Center 2 (DC2). However, it is necessary to improve service levels in support of critical university business processes.

The project is now in full swing and is expected to be completed at the end of August.

On April 14, the DC2 Team began an eight-week project to install chilled water piping that will eventually support four new chilled water HVAC units. Installing the piping now minimizes the time the team needs to switch out the old units later. There will be no planned shutdown of IT services during this project.

On April 16, the team installed two new taps into the building’s chilled water supply system. These are necessary to support a new stand-alone backup chiller to reduce the center’s reliance on a single primary cooling source.

The DC2 power and cooling renovation will also include installing an independent backup generator to reduce the non-data center loads on the existing generator.

See SysNews for continuing updates on this project.

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05: University explores software-defined networking to provide research opportunities
NC State is partnering with regional organizations to explore software-defined networking (SDN), a new network architecture, to conduct leading-edge research.

MCNC recently upgraded an optical network connection between NC State and the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) from 10 Gb/s to 100 Gb/s. MCNC operates NCREN, one of the nation’s first statewide education and research networks.

As a result, OIT Communication Technologies (ComTech) has provisioned a new 10 Gb/s Ethernet circuit to run over MCNC/NCREN to access a regional SDN testbed currently under development. A joint effort involving NC State, MCNC/NCREN, Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), the testbed will be used to transfer large research data sets and permit regional experimentation with SDN technologies. It will eventually allow institutions to dynamically construct research circuits across the networks of multiple universities and national labs.

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06: WolfMeeting goes live
On April 14, OIT ComTech rolled out WolfMeeting, NC State’s new WebEx service. An on-demand collaboration tool that combines audio, video and Web conferencing, WolfMeeting allows campus users to share information and expertise from their computer, phone or mobile device without the hassle or expense of traveling.

After a year-long pilot, the rollout of the production service includes:

  • updated browser support,
  • enhanced meeting recording options (including downloadable recordings),
  • Android device support, and
  • accessibility improvements.

ComTech is offering new and existing customers three account options:

  • Standard usage for customers who will host a few WebEx meetings per week on average. Cost is $10 per month per account.
  • High usage for customers who will host more than one WebEx meeting per day on average or set up meetings in conference rooms or shared spaces. Cost is $50 per month per account.
  • Departmental pricing for units that wish to purchase accounts for the majority of their employees. Departments should contact ComTech for additional information on this option.

Departmental bookkeepers can request new WolfMeeting accounts via MySoft. The account setup fee will be waived for customers who sign up by June 30. Beginning July 1, a $25 setup fee will be applied to each new user account. For additional information, including FAQs, new features and how-to videos, visit WebEx.

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07: IT Accessibility sponsors second annual NC State GAAD Website Challenge
The University IT Accessibility Office is once again sponsoring the NC State Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) Website Challenge to encourage campus website owners and designers to make accessibility improvements to their websites. GADD is held annually “to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility and users with different disabilities.”

The contest, which runs April 15 to May 14, includes two categories:

  • Sites that improve their overall accessibility by the greatest percentage.
  • Sites that have the Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) roles “main” and “navigation” added to at least 80 percent of their pages.

Website owners and designers who need help identifying and correcting accessibility issues can attend the following workshops and informal drop-in sessions:

The University IT Accessibility Office will post contest winners on the 2014 NC State Global Accessibility Awareness Day Website Challenge page on Thursday, May 15.

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08: Use new Class Search to find your next course!
If you’re a student or someone who is thinking about enrolling in an NC State course, searching for the right class just got easier. OIT and Registration and Records have upgraded Class Search, the university’s online schedule of classes.

Launched last month, the new Class Search Web application now offers a user-friendly public interface that allows anyone — student, faculty, staff or university guests — to search by term (e.g., 2014 Fall Term) and retrieve a list of all classes offered in that term.  You can narrow your search by course number, course career, start and end times, and even by instructor. You can also use Class Search to show only Open, Distance Education or On-campus classes. To select your next class, visit Class Search.

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09: New imaging system coming April 21
The Controller’s Office, Materials Management and OIT will begin implementing a new campus imaging system at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 18. The new system, used to store small purchase invoices, PCard receipts and travel documents, will be available on Monday, April 21.

The implementation will impact the barcode cover sheet used to scan small purchase invoices, travel reimbursements and PCard Statements through the Wolfcopy (copier) multi-function device. The upload feature for small purchase invoices, travel authorization and reimbursement documents also will be unavailable during the implementation.

Make sure you scan or upload all documentation by 3 p.m. on Friday, April 18. After this date, the barcode cover sheets and PCard Statements (printed on or before April 18) will become inactive and cannot be used to scan documentation.

On Monday, April 21, a new barcode cover sheet and PCard Statement will be available for campus printing and scanning and will show “Revised 4/19/2014” in the upper right corner of the document.

Additional note: Documents sent by pressing the wrong copier button (Voucher/Travel versus PCard Statement) on the Wolfcopy (copier) multi-function device will not be processed by the new system.

Please contact Yvette Walker if you have any questions concerning small purchases and travel documents and Ashru Shah for questions concerning PCard statements.

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10: Add-ons in your Google Apps @ NC State account!
There’s a little something extra in your Google Apps @ NC State account!

The NC State Google Service Team has enabled an array of Google third-party “add-ons” to provide more features for your Google Docs and Sheets applications. You may find, for example, Avery Label useful for formatting nametags and mailing labels, Workflows essential for project tracking of reviews and sign-offs, and Kaizena convenient for adding voice comments and thoughts on your students’ or colleagues’ work.

You will receive a pop-up notice of the add-ons’ availability when you open Google Docs or Sheets. Their use is optional.

Important add-ons notes:

  • Once you select a specific add-on, you will get a “Request for Permission” pop-up box that allows the app to view and manage certain information in your environment. The Avery Label Merge app, for instance, would ask your permission to:

    • view and manage spreadsheets

    • view and manage files and documents in Google Drive

    • connect to an external service

To use an add-on, you must accept its terms of service and privacy policies. Always read cautiously and understand what you are consenting to before granting access to any information that you control.

  • Some add-ons provide free versions and offer you an option to upgrade to paid ones (e.g., LucidChart). Because Google Wallet is not enabled in the Google Apps @ NC State environment, you will be unable to purchase and use the paid versions.

For more information about available add-ons, see Bring a little something extra to Docs and Sheets with add-ons.

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11: Add a Hangout to your Google calendar event with just one click!
Scheduling a face-to-face meeting, presentation or training session with your colleagues  —  from any worldwide location  — is just a click away with Hangouts, Google’s free Web conferencing tool.

To add a Hangout to your calendar event, select “Add video call.” It’s that easy! The guests you’ve added to your calendar event can click the “Join Meeting” link in the event details window to participate in your real-time video meeting.

You must have a Google+ account in order to participate and enjoy the full Hangout experience. You can schedule a Hangout with up to 15 NC State @ Google Apps accounts or with a maximum of 10 accounts if consumer accounts are included.

To learn more about this powerful tool, register for OIT’s Lunch and Learn: Introduction to Google Hangouts – Laptop/Desktop Application on Wednesday, April 23 from noon to 1 p.m. in 216 Scott Hall.

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12: OIT offers website accessibility, Google Apps and OS X device training
OIT is offering the following upcoming workshops:

  • “Interpreting Your Accessibility Scan Report” will be offered on Tuesday, April 22 from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. This workshop will teach you how to interpret the results from your accessibility scan. Learn which errors are more critical and which are less essential to fix. Also, learn strategies for prioritizing your corrections and techniques for doing so. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Create and Collaborate with Google Drive” will be offered on Tuesday, April 22 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. In this hands-on workshop, you will learn how to use Drive in a collaborative environment, including editing a file simultaneously with other people, securing a document through file sharing permissions, and creating files for use by a group of colleagues or friends. For this workshop, you will need to have an active NC State University Unity account with access to Google Apps at NC State. If you would prefer using your own laptop or other mobile device, feel free to bring it. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Introduction to Google Hangouts – Laptop/Desktop Application” will be offered on Wednesday, April 23 from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 216 of Scott Hall. Come to this fun and interactive workshop to learn about Google Hangouts, Google’s free Web conferencing tool that allows you to communicate with others on campus or around the globe via video, audio and text messaging.  Learn how to use the Hangouts platform to share your screen and documents, add a personalized banner and download apps that offer additional helpful features. This session will cover using Hangouts on your laptop or desktop only. You are encouraged to bring a laptop or feel free to just observe. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Introduction to Google Sites” will be offered on Tuesday, April 29 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. In this workshop, you will learn how to create a website using Google Sites, how to control access, and how to embed Docs, video, images, and links. You’ll also learn some customization and basic Web design principles. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Gmail: Advanced Tools, Tips & Tricks” will be offered on Wednesday, April 30 from 9 a.m. to noon in ITTC Lab 2 of the D.H. Hill Library. If you’re comfortable with the basics of Gmail and are ready to take it to the next level, this more advanced hands-on workshop is for you. You will learn more about creating labels, filters and canned responses, scheduling Google Calendar Events, and using Google Drive through Gmail, along with any planned or newly released features Google has in store. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Hands-On OS X Device Management at NC State” will be offered on Tuesday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to noon in Room 106 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center for new Mac users or those who are interested in learning more about managing their OS X devices. Workshop topics will include campus support resources, the Casper Suite Enterprise Service and practical management tips. There will also be time for questions and answers during the session. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Google Apps: Google Calendar” will be offered on Wednesday, May 7 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. In this workshop, you will focus on features such as appointment slots, event attachments, maps and directions, sharing and embedding calendars, labs, quick add, search options, mobile notifications, and more. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Website Accessibility Tune-Ups” will be offered on May 13 from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Do you have questions about your website’s accessibility, but don’t know who or what to ask? Bring your website and any questions you have to this informal Lunch & Learn session to learn easy steps to make your site more accessible. Even if you don’t have a website to share, you are welcome to come learn more about accessibility. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Beyond the Basics: Gmail” will be offered on Wednesday, May 14 from 9 a.m. to noon in ITTC Lab 2 of D.H. Hill Library.  If you’re comfortable with the basics of Gmail and are ready to get acquainted with its advanced features, this hands-on workshop is for you. You will learn about labels, filters, canned responses, and more. If you would prefer using you own laptop or other mobile device, feel free to bring it. To register, visit Classmate.

For other available training sessions, see Classmate Scheduled Workshops. If you’re interested in custom software training for your department, unit or classroom, please complete the Custom Training form. If you have any questions about OIT training, please contact Katie McInerney, OIT training coordinator, at 513-4091 or via email at classreg@ncsu.edu.

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13: SAR training scheduled for June 3
Security Access Request (SAR) training for campus requestors and approvers of access to secured university data will be held Tuesday, June 3 from 9:30 a.m. to noon in Room 108 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Visit Classmate to sign up.

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