CTO Updates November 2016

Did everyone get a chance to attend ESPN GameDay? WMU was a fantastic host for this truly one of a kind event. Given the inclement weather conditions I thought the student and community participation was exceptional. What a great day to be a Bronco! And kudos to those in the Office of Information Technology who worked with ESPN and with WMU Athletics to make sure that the technology side of the event worked to perfection. Speaking of technology (nice segue Tom), OIT is constantly looking for ways to improve YOUR technology experience at Western Michigan University. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any technology related ideas or issues. I look forward to hearing from you at tom.wolf@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3838. Go WMU! Go Broncos! And now for technology news that is relevant to YOU...

Wired connections on WMU's residential network greatly simplified: On Nov. 23 we simplified wired connections in WMU residence halls and apartments. There are no more weekly scans or weekly logins required. Once a device has been registered for use on ResNet, WMU's residential network, that registration will remain active for 180 days after it is last seen. For example, if you leave in April and return for fall semester, your device will not need to be registered again. Using the wired connections gives you the fastest speeds.

Office of Information Technology computer labs: As we creep towards December we can expect the sidewalks on campus to begin filling with snow and we can expect an end of semester rush to use the BCC and UCC computer labs. With that in mind, we have a mobile friendly website that shows students how many computers are currently available in our two busiest labs on main campus. On a related note, here is the software you can expect to find installed on the majority of computers in the BCC and UCC computer labs:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud 2015 (includes Dreamweaver, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop)
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro
  • Adobe Flash player plugins for Chrome, Firefox and IE
  • Adobe Reader 11
  • Autodesk AutoCad 2017
  • Autodesk Revit 2017
  • Google Chrome 52.0.2743
  • Eclipse 4.6.0
  • GIMP 2.8.18
  • IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition 2016.2 162.1121.32
  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Java SDK and runtimes
  • JAWS 18.0.1835
  • Lab Chart Reader 8.1.2
  • Maple 2016
  • Matlab R2016a
  • Minitab 17.3.1
  • Netbeans 8.1
  • .NET Framework 4.6.2
  • Notepad ++6.9.2
  • Office Pro Plus 2016
  • SAS
  • SPSS
  • VLC 2.2.4
  • Silverlight
  • Google Earth
  • Labstats
  • Papercut

BCC/UCC improvements: Did everyone get a chance to see the article in the Western Herald discussing the new Bernhard Computing Center collaborative technology space? One OIT employee referred to this new space as a "collaboratory". If you are looking for space to collaborate with your peers, practice a presentation, or otherwise engage with technology, then stop by the BCC or the UCC for more information. We have a space to meet your needs!

Bronco safety: We recently collaborated with WMU's public safety office to create a "one stop" type web page focused on student safety and campus security. This web page lists a number of University and community based services including the Safe Ride program, RAVE, the campus text, voicemail and email alert system, Drive Safe Kalamazoo, and local news alert information for Fox 17, WOODTV and WWMT. The idea behind the page is that it can be bookmarked on any device for quick access to important safety services. Go to the Bronco Safety web page.

W-Exchange update: October marked the completion of the first phase of the W-Exchange project. All WMU Webmail Plus accounts have been migrated to the new Office 365 W-Exchange collaboration system. Here are some fun facts about the migration: 59,242 accounts containing 23.58 terabytes of data were successfully migrated. Those accounts contained 149,663,253 emails or roughly 11.84 miles of emails were you to print all of them. If you still have questions about W-Exchange, please check out the W-Exchange website. With the migration complete, the Office 365 support team is now focusing on improving our Office 365 environment. If you have any thoughts on this topic, please feel free to share them with me at tom.wolf@wmich.edu. Thanks!

To WUDO or not to WUDO: Windows 10 is using peer-to-peer technology to deliver Windows PC updates. This allows other networked devices to download Windows 10 updates and Windows Store apps from other Windows 10  devices. The Office of Information Technology believes this distribution method can negatively impact the overall performance of the network, as well as your own computer and therefore we are recommending that this feature be disabled. More information on disabling Windows Update Distribution Optimization. IT support staff should also check their Enterprise versions. Questions may be directed to the Technology Help Desk at (269) 387-4357, option 1.

Augmented reality: If you aren't really sure what augmented reality is, then check out the website layar.com. If after checking it out you feel you would like to explore potential work uses for augmented reality, please contact our media services team at (269) 387-5020.

TAGG changes: The Technology Advisory and Governance Group spearheads shared governance for the Office of Information Technology networking, security, telecommunications and systems. In October Jacob Lonc from Auxiliary Enterprises became the new chair of TAGG with Bryon Glock from Extended University Programs agreeing to serve as chair of a TAGG sub-committee focused on investigating technologies related to unified communications. We would like to thank Jacob and Bryon for bringing enthusiasm, leadership and guidance to these important University services.

Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR): ECAR provides information technology focused research and analysis to the higher education sector. It is a subscriber-driven research organization dedicated to understanding how technology impacts colleges and universities. If you are a current WMU faculty or staff member and are interested in accessing materials on the Educause ECAR site, please contact Greg Lozeau at gregory.lozeau@wmich.edu. More information can also be found on the ECAR website.

Traveling overseas? The Office of Information Technology has put together a web page of technology and safety tips for those of you who may be traveling overseas during the holiday season. 

Did you know? TCS, the technical computing services unit in the Office of Information Technology has recently been renamed network support services (NSS) to better reflect the depth and breadth of services provided by this team.