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Academic Computer Services

CLUG Notes April 19, 2004

Attendees: Mustafa Rashid, Elmo Cooper, Lyn Eisenhour, David Winney, Kyle Berns, Josh Madakor, Jessica Wallace

ACTION ITEMS AS A RESULT OF MEETING:

  1. Y-DRIVE NAMING CONVENTIONS AND DATA DISKS: Apdata refers to the application data.  Karl Camozzi explained that once a specific department is in a department directory in Apdata, it then would be up to the instructors how they want to put the data files on the directory, make changes, and maintain the files.  In order to save space on the server, ACS will delete the files inside the department directories quarterly unless ACS is notified by the instructor not to remove them.  If you know of instructors that have been gone from EdCC for a long period of time, but still have folders saved, please contact ACS.  The Y-Drive is usually where instructors store class materials, tests, quiz, etc.  Karl Camozzi will send lists to the different departments informing them that they will need to contact him, if they do not want their data files deleted or what specific data files need to be saved.  Julie Jackson will send a list of all data files that she wants to remain on the server.  At some point space allocations for department may become necessary.  Once the storage for the data files has been depleted, a suggestion was made that each department pitch in some funding in order to support the purchase of an additional server for data file storage.
  2. POP-UP SCREENS: Although students will be receiving pop-up messages when they work in one of the computer labs, it will only be an EdCC message about the legality of what the student needs to know to work in the computer labs or an announcement about the student elections.  The pop-up message will only appear one time per user and ALT-4 closes an active window.  Peggy will not let the pop-up messages impact class time.  She has had requests for other pop-up messages to appear on the computer screens, but those messages will be placed on the portal.  When pop-up advertisements appear on the computer screen, it's because the user has visited that website and it placed a marker on their account.
  3. BACKUPS AND REMOTE AGENT PURCHASES: The current Veritas back-up system used in the ACS labs will be replaced with Ultraback due to the huge jump in cost maintenance.  ACS is switching to Ultraback because the campus will soon be moving to Windows 2003.  In order to accommodate Ultraback/Windows 2003 certain departments will need to purchase remote agents for their departments.  Some of the departments are CIS, CMPSC, Allied Health, Travel, and ESL.  The cost is approximately $295 for one remote agent and $495 for three remote agents.  This would be a one-time purchase.  If there are departments that do not want to have certain servers backed up, Peggy would like them to send her confirmation of this in writing.
  4. SOFTWARE REQUESTS: Pat has only received 60% of the software requests back for summer quarter.  There is only one new software requested for summer quarter, Unix for Jerry Huri.  Becky mentioned that Preston added Visual Source Safe for summer and asked if anyone knew if that software was included in the MSDN.  Becky will contact Preston for further information on this software.  New software or major upgrades for fall quarter need to be sent to Pat Gales during the week of May 3.  Pat reviewed the software timelines (see attached).  Having the new timelines in place has made a huge difference.  According to the timelines, this week (April 19-23), the ACS technicians are reviewing the software and will contact you if they run into any problems.  Misty will check with Preston about whether Play Station is needed for summer or for fall quarter 2004 and inform ACS.  ACS needs to have a test packet for the required software and the textbook to test samples of exercises in the textbook.  Peggy mentioned that the more information that an instructor can give ACS, the easier it makes the installation of their software. Mabel Machin inquired about a new piece of accounting software.  The CD-ROM won't be ready until November 30, 2004, and they will still be testing after that time.  This software needs to be installed for winter and spring 2005 quarters in the labs.  Mabel asked for some input or suggestions for next year.  Peggy explained that if it's a server based software it gives the ACS techs a little more leeway than it does if it is an image based software.  Karl suggested the possibility of using removable drives and/or caddies that would need to be purchased by the accounting department.  Mabel said that she would research the details about when they can get it ready and send an email to Peggy.
  5. OTHER BUSINESS:           
    • SOFTWARE IMAGING:     Tim Hunt brought up concerns about software images.  He explained that when the software images cannot be checked prior to the beginning of the quarter, for whatever reason, ACS needs to be upfront about it with the instructor so the instructors can make the appropriate adjustments.  There are no good times to check images, but the two worst times to test software are the first two weeks and the last two weeks of the quarter, because these are the high-pressure times.  Tim inquired about an alternate schedule when ACS is running late.  Peggy explained that ACS will run late on the schedules with the images when the new software and new versions come in late which holds up the image creation and image testing process.  Fund requests for instructors to come in during the quarter break or during non-scheduled hours have been sent to Presidents Cabinet.  Also, again it was brought up that testing packets and textbooks with example problems indicated would help ACS tremendously when it is not possible for the instructor to come into the labs for testing.  The timelines for summer quarter instructor testing of software is scheduled for week 6 and instructor retesting is scheduled for weeks 7 and 8.  Peggy emphasized that this isn't just an ACS problem nor is it an instructor problem; it is an "everybody" problem.  If the software doesn't get tested before the beginning of the quarter, there may be problems with it during the beginning of the quarter.  Another problem is that the software requests will be sent out week 7 of summer quarter, and Pat Gales is concerned about the instructors that will not be on campus during that time but will be teaching fall quarter.  If the ACS techs are having problems with the images during the week scheduled for testing, Becky will contact the instructors to inform them of the approximate time they can come in and test                 
    • CLASSROOM CLOCKS:  Jerry Huri again mentioned that the clocks in Snohomish Hall are still not fixed or replaced. 
    • OPENING AND CLOSING OF LABS:     A memo was sent out about the new interim procedure for the opening and closing of computer labs in Snohomish Hall.  The official word will come from the President's Cabinet, but some people feel that once it goes to President's Cabinet it seems as if it stagnates there.  Peggy suggested that Jerry Huri email Jeff Leveroni who approved the interim solution with any further questions he has.
    • J SERVER:    Jerry Huri inquired about ACS not being able to backup the UNIX Server at this time.  Even though the J Server has been around for years, there has never been anything ordered that would accommodate backing this server up.  Karl Camozzi said that he would try and work something out.
    • EMAIL:          The question arose about the kind of impact it would have if EdCC/ACS no longer provided student email.  Karl said that only 10% of the EdCC students use Outlook as their email.  The other 90% are using hotmail and other email sources.  The heart of the problem is that the email server is getting old and concerns about what ACS will do if it fails have arisen.  Peggy pointed out that one of the issues is that as technology grows there's more demand to add the different technologies.  The Student Government has said that they will not raise the tech fee.  ACS will probably have to cut one service in order to make another one work. There was some discussion about one of the selling features of voting to approve the tech fee was that every student would be able to have an email account.  If the Student Body/Government voted to accept the tech fee and email was one of the reasons that it was voted in, then the tech fee could be in jeopardy if the email was discontinued.  Peggy said that she would need to check further on this, but if email was promised with the tech fee, then tech fee will need to provide funding to support it. 
    • HYBRID CLASSES:            Peggy indicated that even though enrollments are up, the computer labs have taken a reduction in revenue due to classes moving to Distance Learning and Hybrid classes.  For each class moved to online, there is $1500 in lost lab revenue.  There is a $21.85 minimum fee.  Another concern is the limited amount of work-study students available with the technical knowledge and computer classes required to be a lab assistant.  Misty inquired about a separate lab fee attached to the hybrid classes for the computer labs that would be less than the basic lab fee.  Peggy said that the department deans are the ones that would approve the fees, but she wasn't sure how that would be handled.  Peggy indicated that there is a separate code for it and asked Misty to contact Vanessa about the coding.