Zoom – UCI’s new conferencing software

What  is Zoom?  zoom

Zoom Education is a video, audio and web conferencing service accessible via Internet (computers, tablets, smartphones) and telephone.  Each conference session has one or more hosts and participants. Only hosts need have Zoom accounts. Participants do not need Zoom accounts.

Zoom both replaces ReadyTalk and provides significant additional capabilities useful in many different situations.

How much is Zoom?

Zoom Education costs $199.80 per year, which provides 20 accounts.  OIT Desktop managed clients may be able to get an account through a license purchased by OIT. Other departments also have licenses. OIT’s Zoom information page http://www.oit.uci.edu/telephone/conference/zoom-conferencing-service/ includes a list of current users.

How do I purchase Zoom?

In most cases, you should contact your department for an account or to persuade your department to acquire a license. To take advantage of UC pricing and contract terms, PALCard holders should identify themselves as a UC Irvine customer when contacting Michele Fairbank, Senior Sales Executive, at michele.fairbank@zoom.us or 805.248.7282.

Can we still use ReadyTalk?

Yes, but services are no longer covered by UC contractual protections which previously offered, among other things, security provisions regarding storage of recordings of ReadyTalk sessions.

Retiring Windows XP

No Windows XP
Microsoft will officially retire Windows XP next week.  This means Microsoft will cease development of security patches for this product. Systems running XP after April 8 will be open to attacks which present significant security risks to individual computers, to any network to which they are connected and to other computers on that network. In almost all cases, UCI systems and any others connecting to UCInet should be upgraded to Windows 7 or Windows 8 or should be removed from service.

In the very few cases where business necessity dictates continued use of Windows XP on UCI systems, suitable measures should be taken to protect other systems and users of UCInet. This may involve configuring the XP system’s network connectivity or, in some cases, disconnecting it from the network altogether.  Such measures will depend on the particular system’s situation.  Owners should consult with their local computing support for departmental recommendations.

Those wishing to migrate to a more current operating system can find a discussion of issues and options on OIT’s XP retirement web page.

Windows 8 Is Here

Microsoft released the latest version of its Windows operating system, Windows 8 (Win8), last fall.  New computers are shipping with Win8, and devices are being developed which will exploit new features of Win8.

Win8 introduces a new user interface (UI) called the Modern UI with a diverse collection of tools and utilities, and which is designed to work well with touch-screen devices such as tablets and phones.  Win8 also includes the Desktop UI which is similar to the Windows 7 UI and supports all Windows 7 apps, such as Microsoft Office. Win8 features enhanced support for cloud computing and a new app store called the Microsoft Store.

Should you use Windows 8?

Check with your local computing support office for its recommendation. Whether you should use Win8 for university work depends on a number of factors, including the extent to which Win8 is supported within your department. As with any new operating system, verify that existing software and peripherals will work with Win8.

More information on Windows 8, including licensing options and links to official information from Microsoft, can be found on OIT’s Windows 8 page.

Acrobat Users Strongly Urged to Purchase Software Maintenance

Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat’s widespread use has resulted in its becoming a frequent point of attack for malware authors. Adobe releases security updates for recent products, but if you are running Acrobat version 8 or older, your computer is at risk.

If your unit is supported by OIT Desktop Support Services, planning for the purchase and deployment of Acrobat is part of that support.  In other cases, users will need to buy a brand new copy of Acrobat to stay safe. There are two additional options available for use on University computers.

Purchase 2-year software maintenance when buying Acrobat. Departments can purchase a new license of Acrobat for $56.87 through the University contract software reseller, SHI. At the same time you may also purchase 2-yr maintenance for $19.  The maintenance price is pro-rated if you purchase mid-term.  Maintenance allows you to upgrade at no additional charge and is renewable. Thus, for only $19 every two years, you’re always current, and can take advantage of Acrobat X’s newest features, like the ability to convert PDFs to Microsoft Word or Excel files.

If your 25% or more of your department uses Acrobat, you may want to consider the Acrobat Term Site License Program (TSL). The TSL is an annual leasing program.  Under the TSL, a department counts all computer users in the department (“knowledge workers”), whether they use Acrobat or not. Part-time employees count ½, and part-time faculty count 1/3. This count is multiplied by a lease rate to determine the department’s total annual cost. Pricing for the April 2012 renewal has not yet been released, but is expected to be about $4/knowledge worker/year. You always have rights to upgrade to the latest version.

Example: if your department has 100 employees, and 30 use Acrobat, you’d pay $1700 for new licenses, and $300/year for maintenance.  Under the TSL you’d pay $400/year for always-current licenses.  Then, should you need to deploy Acrobat on more computers, there would be nothing more to pay. Enrollment for the TSL occurs in April only, so don’t miss your chance!  Please contact Bob Hudack 824-6759, rjhudack@uci.edu to get started.

License Microsoft Sofware with MCCA

MS Office

Do you need to update Microsoft Office or Windows? Mid-year UC-MCCA enrollments are due December 9th.

Popular Microsoft software is available at reduced cost to UCI through an agreement between UC and Microsoft, the “Microsoft Consolidated Campus Agreement” or MCCA.  More information on MCCA can be found in a previous IT News article.

MCCA runs on a fiscal year cycle, with orders for the next July 1 fiscal year being placed in early May.  But we now have a special pro-rated mid-year enrollment opportunity for licenses that will be newly deployed on January 1st.  MCCA enrollments are usually coordinated at a department or unit level, so consult with your local IT support or purchasing office to see if your unit is participating in MCCA.

This special mid-year enrollment opportunity ends on December 9th.  If your unit is not yet participating, contact Bob Hudack at x46759 or rjhudack@uci.edu for help in determining if this program is appropriate for your unit.