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.

UCI Lightpath: a High-Speed Network for Research

lightpathOIT has built a dedicated high-performance network infrastructure that can help meet the needs of researchers requiring the transfer of a large quantity of data within and beyond campus. This network is called UCI Lightpath which is funded by a Grant from National Science Foundation Campus Cyberinfrastructure – Network Infrastructure Engineering Program (NSF CC-NIE)

UCI Lightpath is composed of a Science DMZ with a 10 Gbps connection to the science and research community on the Internet, and a dedicated 10 Gbps network infrastructure on campus.  A science DMZ is a portion of the network that is designed so that the equipment, configuration, and security policies are optimized for high-performance scientific applications rather than for general-purpose business systems or “enterprise” computing.

The initial infrastructure covers eight campus locations including the OIT Data Center where computing clusters, such as HPC and Greenplanet reside.  The UCI Lightpath network infrastructure is separate from the existing campus network (UCINet.)  The diagram shows the current status of the UCI Lightpath.

For more information of UCI Lightpath and its access policy, please refer to OIT website http://www.oit.uci.edu/network/lightpath/

 

UCI’s Internet Connections Upgraded

connectivityOIT recently improved UCI’s connection to the Internet, increasing bandwidth from 6 Gbps (billion bits per second) to 20 Gbps. This upgrade enhances connections from the main campus, UCI Medical Center, and the residential network. The upgrade provides faster network access both to the research Internet and the general commodity Internet.

UCI connects to the Internet via CENIC, a regional network service provider providing Internet connections to California research and education organizations. CENIC provides two connections for the campus: CalREN-HPR and CalREN. CalREN-HPR supplies researchers with high-speed connectivity to other research networks, such as Internet2 and the Energy Science Network (ESnet). CalREN provides general Internet commodity services.

Last July, when OIT began work on the UCI Lightpath project, our CalREN-HPR network connection was upgraded from 1Gbps to 10Gbps with a 1Gbps diversified backup link. (Lightpath is a dedicated science network funded by the National Science Foundation). This February, our CalREN general Internet connection was upgraded from five 1Gbps connections to a 10Gbps connection.

OIT is also working with CENIC to establish additional fiber infrastructure between UCI and UCLA which will enable us to upgrade our diversified backup paths from 1Gbps to higher bandwidth. Our goal is to upgrade both backup links of CalREN-HPR and CalREN to 10Gbps in the near future.

Group Email – Hints and Tips

mailinglistEmail has become an integral tool for business communications.  However, using email to communicate among a group can be challenging.  Here are some ideas for more effective communication and collaboration within a team or other UCI community.

For small groups and short-term issues, a simple cc: list and “reply all” can get the job done, but when the number of recipients grows, communication becomes disjointed as people reply to different messages in a chain, respond to different drafts of a document, accidentally share comments intended for one recipient to the whole list, and other inefficiencies.

Mailing lists (provided at UCI by the Mailman software) are a convenient method for communication among a large group or interest community.  Lists can be configured to be for announcements only (list members see official postings but cannot reply), moderated (anyone can reply but the list administrator has to approve a reply before it is distributed), or open discussion.  You can request a new mailman list on the OIT Web site.  Administrators can build a list of recipients, or potential subscribers can add and remove themselves from a list as interests change.  Recipients are spared a chain of “Please remove me from this list” email messages which can result from using cc: addressing.

Beyond simple group communications, there are collaboration tools such as UCI Google Groups.  With collaboration software, you don’t have to send email attachments around – teams can work on a single on-line copy of a document together, discussing ideas in email, or attaching comments directly to the document.  Access to the document is tied to membership in the group, so as people join and leave the team, the ability to participate in discussions or change team documents follows in parallel.

If you have questions or wish assistance in using group communication tools, please contact the OIT Help Desk.

 

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.