A somewhat belated start to the new year

My word it’s been a while since I managed to get on here. The pace in Technical Services has certainly been high since our return from the Christmas break. January Flu aside everyone has been rushed off their feet pursuing different projects and trying to hold back the ever rising tide of helpdesk jobs. So with a somewhat belated introduction to the new year let me catch you up a little with what we have been doing….

Well the Faculty of Health continues to be a major part of our work with lots of tidying up still to be done. The new building now has wireless coverage, using more access points than any other single area on campus! The lecture theatres alone account for fire wireless access points. That’s more than we currently have deployed in the whole of the LRC. We also have introduced a trial of a new printing system for staff in the FOH, Using HP multi-function printer/copiers. The printers are very impressive and produce excellent quality print outs. They also have built in security which allows our users to retrieve a print job from any of the 3 printers (one on each floor) rather than have the printer automatically print the job out and risk having confidential documents sitting on a printer in the middle of a corridor. We have had a few teething troubles getting these printers up and running and we are expecting a firmware update from the manufacturer to fix the problems that remain.

On the Sun Ray front progress continues nicely. I’m sat in my office working on one right now as it happens and we are looking to introduce them to other areas of the campus. There are a few dotted around different departments as trials to see how people find them compared to their normal computers. We also have interesting developments in relation to student usage, with a raft of Sun Rays to be installed on the back of the seating areas by the ground floor cafe in the FOH. These will allow students to either have a full desktop session on a server (much the same way as our staff do) or to just load up a web browser and get online. I’ll be interested to hear feedback from the students once they start using these Sun Rays. We have also installed Mozilla Firefox onto our staff terminal servers to provide some more options for web browsing. Using our roaming profiles I was very happy to find my custom add-ons and themes travelling from one server to another

The LINC building has finally had its magicnet information screen installed (making it the 6th of its kind around campus!). We’ll be running powerpoint slideshows on there to provide information to staff and students in the building (and sorry folks no sky sports yet!).

Work has also started investigating Office 2007 with a view to a campus wide rollout this summer. I know that a lot of staff and student home equipment is running the latest version so it’s important for us to ensure that our software has the highest levels of compatibility for people bringing in work from the newest software packages. Hopefully with the promised release of service pack 1 for Windows Vista we will be able to look at it’s suitability as a desktop operating system for our users. I wouldn’t get too excited thou as a large Vista rollout is very unlikely this year.

We also have a lot of exciting things to look forward to with demolition well under way on the site of the new development (I have a lovely panoramic view of the building site from my office as it happens.) I have no idea of any anticipated completion date but I’m certain that our team will once again be heavily involved in both staff and student IT provision within the building.

Right then I’m going to go and prod our Core Services team into writing some updates about all their exciting work on VMware and other projects as I see they have been slacking on the blogging front too! Expect another update a little sooner than two months this time.

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