30 March 2004

Lecture Recording Service

Cassette recording of lectures has now ceased.

This semester the old cassette-based lecture recording service is no longer operating. In its place the University has developed an online lecture streaming service (see http://www.canberra.edu.au/icts/av/lecstream-staff.html for information about the service).

Lectures from most Category A teaching spaces can be audio recorded and streamed live and on-demand over the Internet, and in some theatres video is also captured. People accessing the service must have a UC username and password to hear or see the lectures.

SPAM Update

The increased level of spam (‘junk’ email messages) and worm activity in the Division has got to a point where something must be done to restrict it.

Unfortunately, any measure that seeks to restrict the passage of email will, inevitably, result in legitimate messages being blocked. Recent changes to the University's central mail server (through which some of the Division's email from outside addresses passes) has indeed blocked legitimate email to some staff in the Division.

Staff who believe that legitimate email is being blocked by the system should send any evidence they have to the cehelpdesk. Senders whose email is bounced will now receive a message from the University with instructions for having their service provider unblocked from the block list. See http://www.canberra.edu.au/cc/rbl.html for further information.

We will investigate the following measures:

  • Configuring the email server to stop messages from outside the Division going to any Divisional email list, such as staff@comedu.
  • Installing software on the email server that allows us to ‘black list' emails by username or the domain they are from. Any email received from a blacklisted address would be returned to the sender (usually a forged address anyway).
  • Investigate a system where only email from people in the receiver's address book or a qualified list on the server would be accepted. Email from other sources would be returned to the sender asking them to fill out a form requesting their address be accepted. The receiver could then decide whether to accept the email.

Even these measures won't help block email with forged return addresses where the forged address is on the list of accepted addresses.  Any measures introduced to stop this type of activity will lead to legitimate email being blocked, and reduce the flexibility of using email from off-campus locations like home and conferences.

We know it is an issue and will try to introduce measures to deal with at least some of the unwanted email. Until the email standard is changed, there is little that can be done to eliminate the spam entirely while at the same time allowing all legitimate messages to get through.

16 March 2004

University approval for satellite dishes on Building 20

Final approval has been given to go ahead with the installation of satellite dishes on Building 20.

After more than three years in development and planning, the Division has been given clearance by the University to erect satellite dishes on Building 20, subject to compliance with ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA) permit (a Development Application was approved by ACTPLA earlier this year), and assurance that all maintenance access to the air conditioning equipment on Building 20 is unhindered (or if the dishes have to be removed for maintenance the Division will make technical resources available and recognise the need for satellite reception down time).

Our contractor has spent some time with a consultant structural engineer to design a solution that takes account of the needs of the air conditioning engineers for access to their infrastructure.

The ACTPLA approval is subject to the following conditions:

  • the principal colour or colours of the dishes being consistent with the palette of colours used on the exterior of the building; and
  • that highly reflective finishes are not permitted.

08 March 2004

Asset Management

The Technical Services Unit is charged by Executive with the responsibility to manage the University's assets within the Division. TSU is required to follow the University's Asset Policy in its management of the Division's equipment.

Staff should note that anything purchased from a University cost centre, including research and consultancy funds managed by the University, is the property of the University and must be returned to the University should the item no longer be used for the purpose for which it was purchased, or the staff member leaves the University. Any item on the University Asset Register can only be disposed of in the manner prescribed by the University Asset Policy [pdf]. See Disposal of Assets for further information on the Division's procedures for asset disposal.

A recent external audit of another Division within the University identified a number of shortcomings with that Division's management of its University assets, and the report of the auditors made a number of recommendations to improve control over assets within the University, including the following items:

Asset Movement Forms

In order to track where assets are, the TSU is required to report to Corporate Services Division, in writing, any relocation of items in the Asset Register. An Assets Movement Form must be completed and sent to Corporate Services whenever any item on the University Asset Register is moved. Contact the cehelpdesk for further information about reporting asset movement within the Division.

Assets moved Off-campus

No University asset is to be removed from the campus unless an Application to Remove University Property off Campus form is completed and properly approved. Approval to remove University assets off campus must be renewed every twelve months if the item is still off campus. Contact the cehelpdesk to arrange for a form before moving an asset off campus.

Asset retrieval from departing staff

Staff leaving the University are required to complete a Ceasing Employment with the University of Canberra form that among other things includes a declaration that no University property remains in the possession of the departing staff member. University property includes any item purchased from a University cost centre, including research and consultancy funds.

Audiovisual Copyright

The University requires each member of staff to make himself or herself familiar with copyright requirements pertaining to the performance of his or her duties as a member of staff of the University, and to comply with the guidelines and procedures issued from time to time.

Under Part VA of the Copyright Act 1968, University staff can make copies of radio, television, satellite and cable transmissions for the educational purposes of the University provided that the requirements of the Act are complied with.

Existing commercial audio and video recordings (for example audio cassettes, CDs, video cassettes and DVDs) cannot be copied without the written permission of the copyright owners.

See the University's Copyright pages for further information about audiovisual copyright.

05 March 2004

2004 IT Loan

The Division has decided what IT and media equipment and projects are to be funded this year.

IT & Infrastructure Committee rated the requests received for purchases to be made from a 2004 IT loan at its October 2003 meeting. The Acting Head of the Division agreed in principle with the Committee’s prioritised list of requests, which were endorsed by Divisional Executive at its 12 December 2003 meeting. The Pro Vice-chancellor advised the Executive at its meeting on 6 February 2004 that an IT Loan covering most of the bids had been approved.

At its 18 February 2004 meeting, IT & Infrastructure Committee agreed to leave its October 2003 ratings as they were. Therefore the following projects will proceed in 2004:

To be funded from 2004 IT Loan

Item School/Centre Comments


Location Lighting Kits upgrades Creative Communication Urgent for OH&S reasons.


Divisional contribution to site licences Division


Streaming for ICT teaching lab
Teacher Education


Software Upgrades for New Media lab Creative Communication


Equipment to support NowUC Professional Communication


Replace ICT student lab Lab Teacher Education


Network Cabling Division


Mini Disc Recorders (replacements) Professional Communication As we are no longer able to purchase Mini Disc recorders compatible with our desktop Mini Disc players, we will be seeking alternative CD Audio quality digital audio recording devices to replace the Mini Discs.


Data Projector
Teacher Education The projector from the ICT teaching lab will be used in the Art Room since the older projector is unsuitable for the Smart Board installed in the ICT teaching lab. A new projector will be installed in the teaching lab.


Software updates, Parts Division


Colour printer/photocopier networking CRC


Hardware Upgrades for New Media Lab Creative Communication


Carrel updates for CRC CRC


Server upgrades Division


Digital stills camera for Alan Nicol Division


Video studio and location equipment Creative Communication


Overhaul of Intergraph New Media PCs Creative Communication


Mini Discs and Microphones (New) Professional Communication See item 8


Video Projector
Professional Communication Journalism Lab


Digital Video Camera for Journalism Honours students Professional Communication


Animation Lab extras Creative Communication


iLife v4 Creative Communication A late request was received from Creative Communication in December 2003 for a non-linear video editing package to replace Premiere (the existing software will not run in OS X). Until an evaluation of the available alternatives can be made, it was decided to use iMovie 4 and GarageBand in Semester 1 2004 for Media Production exercises.


Replacement PCs Division

Projects not to be funded in 2004 from the IT Loan


New Media Lab (New) Creative Communication Not proceeding due to unavailability of suitable space.


New Media Lab (New: Software) Creative Communication Not proceeding due to unavailability of suitable space for the lab.


Digital Still Cameras CRC To be purchased under item 10.


Data Projection
STE/PACE Users requiring video projection facilities are encouraged to book Category A teaching spaces or other rooms with projection installed. Failing that, projectors (and portable computers) are available for loan for presentations from the CRC.


GlobalStream Hard Surface Control Switcher Professional Communication To remain of the list of requests for consideration in 2005


Cassette Recorder — Interview Quality CRC A digital audio recorder will be purchased under item 10, after an evaluation of replacements for the Mini Disc recorders is completed.


Data Projector for 5B20 Teacher Education See item 27.


PG Lab
Division Should computers in the Building 9 PG lab be required to be replaced in 2004, replacements will be purchased under item 23.


CLRC upgrades Division Should computers in the CLRC be required to be replaced in 2004, replacements will be purchased under item 23.


Photocopier for PG Students PG At this stage photocopying facilities specifically for PG students won’t be provided.


Building 20 PG lab SLIE No space.


MS Project Teacher Education Will be funded from item 10.


Light-weight collapsible dolly tracks Creative Communication Creative Communication has been given an allowance (item 16) to cover additional equipment.


Audio Lab finishing Creative Communication To be funded as consultancy: any parts required will come from item 10.


DTP Facilities for FIRST Creative Communication Funded in 2003.


Memory sticks/external drives Creative Communication Not supported by Divisional policy: the Division supplies network storage that can be used to access documents across the campus. Users are encouraged to purchase their own portable storage devices if required.


Extra NewsBoss licences Professional Communication The new version of NewsBoss allows remote review and submission of stories, including audio. Sound Studio and iTunes are available on the Macintosh computers in the Division, and on Macintosh computers in Building 10 labs. CoolEdit is available on PCs in the NewsBoss lab. TSU is investigating a sound editing solution for deployment across all PCs in the Division.


Replacement Computers CRC To be funded from item 23.


Laptop Computer CRC Additional laptops previously on long-term loan have been returned and added to the CRC stock.


Omni-directional Desktop Microphones CRC See item 29.


VGA/RGB Cables CRC To be funded from item 10


Curriculum Software Teacher Education To be funded from item 10.


Adobe Photoshop licences Teacher Education Division has purchased 50 concurrent licences for Adobe Creative Suite (which includes Photoshop). Included in the 2004 images as Keyserved applications.


Desktop computer Creative Communication Funded from 2003 IT Loan.


Television Production Creative Communication See items 36 and 16.


Service on Panasonic DVC Pro Cameras Creative Communication To be funded as repairs.


Digital Still Camera and Laptops SLIE To be funded from NILL grant.


Final Cut Pro 4 Creative Communication See item 22.

Projects will be completed progressively throughout the year as resources allow and priorities dictate.

02 March 2004

Wireless trial in the Division

Postgraduate students in the Building 9 PG Lab can connect to the University network wirelessly under a WiFi trial currently underway.

As a part of campus-wide trials of wireless access to the University network, the Division is currently trialling Wi-Fi (or WiFi) wireless access to the University network for postgraduate students in 9C26. The trial is currently using the 802.11b standard, and will be upgraded to 802.11g soon. The trial network is now available reliably in the PG Student lab in Building 9, and is also accessible from the Conference Room in Building 9, and the offices along the eastern corridor.

When the access point is upgraded to 802.11g standard, it will move to WPA encryption for increased security. Users may need to upgrade the software on their computers and wireless cards to rejoin the network once the new system is in place, and new network passwords will be required.

Eventually, users will be required to establish a VPN (Virtual Private Network) wireless connection to the University network using their student ids and normal passwords: software and instructions will be provided nearer the time.

Registration required

People must register their wireless access card with the TSU before they can join the network. The network is "hidden", in the sense that users must know the name of the network before they can log on. There is a (common) password needed as well, and the wireless signal is encrypted so that the signal can't easily be intercepted. Requests for registration should be send to the cehelpdesk and include the name, student or staff number of the requester, the user's email address and the MAC address of the wireless card that will be used to access the network.

Wireless card MAC addresses are in the form 00:00:00:00:00:00 where the zeros can be numbers or letters. The MAC address can usually be found written on the wireless card itself, on the box it came in, or can be obtained once installed through a configuration application or system preference on the computer.

Instructions for joining the network will be sent back via email to the user once the details are registered. Users are responsible for setting up their own computers to access the network.

Staff logons to UCSTUDENT

Legacy staff accounts that allowed staff to log on to computers in labs and lecture theatres have been deactivated: staff must now use their usual UCSTAFF login details.

Staff logging on to Catagory A Rooms (Lecture theatres etc) and student labs must log on using their staff ID (s + their staff number), usual password (the password should now be the same for email, PC login and proxy), and the domain UCSTAFF. The domain is not case sensitive, the password is.

Old staff accounts on UCSTUDENT were removed this morning by Client Services and will no longer work.

01 March 2004

Yet more Worm attacks

New variants of the Bagle worm have hit the University network.

There have now been at least eight variations of the Bagle worm: spread through email attachments when unsuspecting users on PCs open attachments containing the malicious code. Five of the variants have spread in the last week, and a number of computers in the University appear to have been infected by several of the new variants.

The return addresses of the emails with the malicious code attached are "spoofed": the emails appear to come from people that certainly did not send them.

Anyone on a PC opening the attachment infects their computer and the worm then spreads itself to email addresses found on the infected computer.

Although the Division's email server contains protection against such attacks, there is always a lag between the discovery of a new threat and the development and dissemination of the antidote files. It is within this window that malicious code attachments get through the system and into people's in-boxes.

If people continue to open attachments that contain malicious code, the Division should consider additional steps to minimise the risk of future attacks. One option is to configure the email server to remove ANY attachments from emails sent to people in the Division, although this word prevent legitimate use of email as a way of transferring for example presentations, word processing files, spreadsheets and Acrobat documents. One of the more recent Bagle worms was contained in a password-protected zip archive (the password was in the body of the email). Zip files are often suggested as a way of transferring files to bypass servers with high levels of protection against malicious code attacks, but in this circumstance the files would have got through.

The best prevention is education: users should NOT open attachments to emails until they are certain it contains benign material. If you receive an unexpected email that contains an attachment, even an email that appears to come from someone you know, contact the person who appears to have sent the email and ask them whether the email is legitimate.

PCs compromised by malicious code will be immediately disconnected from the University network and not reconnected until cleared by TSU. No computer should be attached to the University network without the permission of Client Services. It is the responsibility of the user concerned to ensure that any computer that is to be plugged into the network is clear of malicious code.

For more hints on avoiding viruses, see http://us.mcafee.com/virusInfo/default.asp?id=tips