20 April 2007

Identity Management

Knowing who can and should use what on the network is a big and complex job.

Problems with using campus-wide authentication services for the Division’s specialist servers for staff and students appear to be solved, although it may be several weeks before all our servers are modified to accommodate the fix.

The solution involved co-operation between the Division, ICT Services, and outside consultants working together to overcome the problems, which were making connecting to the Division’s specialist servers unreliable.

Backup system for specialist Divisional files

Big files need to be backed up too.

The Technical Services Unit has commissioned a replacement backup system, to provide the capacity necessary to properly backup the large media files created in Journalism units and with the television recording system, as well as the specialist services provided to the Division through staff and student servers.

Current projections suggest we will have to expand the capacity of the system if usage continues to grow. This is not unexpected and provision was made when designing the new system to expand the capacity as required.

Video Chat with ASU

Probably the most significant project using IT resources in the Division.

Following last year’s very successful trial of video chat between Japanese language students at UC with English language students at Aichi Shukutoku University (ASU) in Japan, a permanent facility has been established in the CRC to continue the work started last year at UC and ASU.

Chats are expected to begin again this week.

Already other institutions are becoming involved in the interchanges, with Central Queensland University joining in when they can convince their IT people to make it work.

A special thanks to TSU staff for making it work here, and the Network Management Team in ICT Services for the work done and the positive support given the project.


The new Fibre to the Desktop (FTTD) system in the Journalism Editing Lab is now operational.

Journalism students using the Journalism video editing facility are now able to store and access their digital video from a central server rather than have it on individual local hard drives. With this system the students have much greater flexibility when editing their stories: they can transfer their original material from tape from any available ‘ingest’ station, and use whichever editing workstation is available when they edit their stories. If they don’t complete the edit within one session, when they return to continue work on their story they can go to any of the editing workstations and pick up where they left off, whereas before they had to use the same workstation they originally used.

Completed stories are available in the television control room over the network: by Semester 2 (or possibly sooner) the television control room will have direct access to the same storage as the students do in the editing facility, so that completed stories can be played into the live news program the students produce in the television studio without the need to copy the stories across the network.

Should the funds be available, we hope to extend the networked video editing storage to Television Production students next year.

Media Production Facilities refurbishments

Work is now almost completed on the refurbishment of the media production facilities in Building 9.

The facilities will be operational on time as planned, but there will be some additional work to be done as suppliers can provide us with equipment. There have been significant delays in the availability of the LCD monitors for the monitor wall (and no readily-available alternatives can be found), so a temporary installation of CRT monitors is being provided to ensure the television control room is ready for use in Week 11 as planned. We are also still waiting for delivery of the correct desk mounts for LCDs in the radio studio and control room: the supplier has supplied us with incorrect items twice and we are trying to get them to deliver the correct mounts as ordered. In the meantime temporary mounts will be used until the correct ones are available.

Colour Printing

Statistics show that colour printing is not being overused.

Stats for March show that there is no cause for concern in the cost of colour printing using the new Canon iRC2880 multifunction devices. Heads of School will have received an email from the Helpdesk proposing a controlled expansion of the availability of colour printing to staff: if there are no objections to the proposal it will be put in place in the next 2 to 6 weeks.

Monthly Stats

Stats for March show a high number of unfinished business.

A record number of Divisional Helpdesk jobs were outstanding (incomplete or pending) at the end of March, according to the March Stats. While it is not unusual to have a high number of jobs outstanding at this time of the year, it was a record and needed to be investigated.

Analysis of the jobs outstanding doesn’t reveal any particular pattern: there is a lot of work coming in and possibly some jobs are taking longer than normal to resolve (difficult to judge with any accuracy since time to resolution isn’t a statistic with any reliable historical data with which to compare current activities).