TechNews

Posted Date: 05/01/2000

As the number of students using campus computer labs continues to soar, some relief is in sight. This winter, the Lab Management team converted a small computer room into an open-access lab in 307 Surge IV, adding more computers to meet increasing computer usage demands and increasing the number of open-access labs to four. Last quarter saw nearly 100 percent usage across all labs during the peak periods of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays, according to recent lab statistics. To make matters worse, an average of 22 people and as many as 40 people were waiting for a computer during peak usage times. The new open-access lab, which opened April 24, will help offset the number of students who have to wait before a computer becomes available. The new lab has a total of 17 computers: 10 Dell PCs with 17" monitors, and seven Mac PowerPC 6500s with 14" monitors. The computers are equipped with the standard software of MS Office, Netscape Communicator, and other programs found in the other open access labs. Drawing on the success of the Station at the M.U., the new open-access lab will also have five quick-access stations (where students can check email or perform other quick tasks online) and two computer stations reserved for wheelchair access.

Posted Date: 05/01/2000

Only a few years ago, the synergy of information technology and instruction seemed a wave on the distant horizon. Today, that wave is breaking on our shores. Some universities have prepared well, defining and building the technology necessary to enable their faculty and students to teach and learn in a world where the use of information technology is married to the delivery of instruction. At UC Davis, the Academic Computing Coordinating Council (AC4) sponsored a project called LEAD (Learning Environment Architecture Development). Begun in Fall 1998, LEAD was tasked with identifying the instructional technology needs of UC Davis faculty and students and defining a learning environment supported by technology. The following is a summary of the project's final report and recommendations.

Posted Date: 04/28/2000

The summer is rapidly approaching and, if you're like me, you are struggling to figure out whether you can fit a class or two into your summer work/internship schedule. However, if the class you want doesn't mesh with your other plans, there is a fairly new and cool option: taking a class online.

Posted Date: 04/14/2000

I have a confession to make. You see, I lived in the dorms last year and I'm beginning to miss it a lot. No, it's not the dining commons, the late night parties, or the immediacy of my friends. It's the blazing speed of the network connection. That's right, I'm dork enough to say I miss ResNet most.

Posted Date: 03/31/2000

What do frying your pet fish, staring into a lava lamp and burping the alphabet have to do with the beginning of each quarter? All of these are television ads designed to get us students interested in the savings online textbook stores can offer. But is buying textbooks online ready for prime time?

Posted Date: 03/03/2000

I have a problem that I think most of you probably share. You see, I'm trying to find a place to live next year and things aren't going that well. It doesn't help that the vacancy rate among Davis apartments has sunk to a new decade-low 0.3 percent. Plus, I'm a bit on the lazy side and don't want to visit every single one of the places I'm thinking about living. Happily, this year I can do a lot of my preliminary research on the World Wide Web and save a lot of time.

Posted Date: 03/01/2000

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) allows users to dynamically configure desktop computers and laptops to access the campus network. This means that UC Davis faculty, staff, and students can connect to the network from any port at UC Davis. In the past, most of the campus was comprised of many small Local Area Networks (LANs), which required that LAN administrators assign a specific number (called an IP address) to each person authorized to use that local network. If this person then left that physical location (for a meeting or to teach a class, for example) and wished to connect somewhere else on campus, he/she was required to find the network administrator for that area, obtain another IP address, and reconfigure his/her computer. General Campus Network Access Ports Available in public areas throughout the campus, these ports allow registered individuals to connect their laptops to the campus network. While convenient for the mobile computer user, these ports are few in number (34) and in high demand. This project will greatly increase the number of these ports on campus (an additional 220), while improving accessibility to the campus network. Campus High-Speed Wireless The third project, Campus High-Speed Wireless, will test the feasibility, support issues, and costs of supporting a new type of wireless access that is limited by proximity (~200 foot radius) to the main transceivers in a given location.

Posted Date: 03/01/2000

For faculty and students, the workday is governed by course schedules and the constant quest for information. We maneuver through a maze of commitments with the aid of many "tools": planners, scheduling software, Web sites, email, and administrative computing systems, like Banner and DaFIS. Wouldn't it be great to have just one place where we could manage all of our UC Davis-related business, communications, and coursework? Well, the wait is almost over. By this fall, UC Davis faculty and students will have their own, custom-made Web portal called MyUCDavis. Plans to create a portal for staff are also on the drawing board. MyUCDavis (formerly known as Project Gateway) will integrate existing UC Davis online applications together with new services into one convenient Web portal, a site that functions like a doorway to many other sites and that each visitor can personalize to reflect his or her interests and needs (see "Web Portals Explained").

Posted Date: 03/01/2000

The demand for highly skilled technical personnel has never been higher, both in the corporate world and in higher education. UC Davis is no exception. Over the years, the campus has grown increasingly reliant on technology, calling on IT services to meet the needs of instructional technology, business, application development, and general computing. However, in a technology environment, quality service depends on the ability to recruit and retain highly technical staff, which has become an increasingly difficult proposition.

Posted Date: 03/01/2000

Mobile computer users throughout the country routinely use Palm? devices for email and scheduling. Police officers use laptops and other specialized devices to transmit and retrieve information instantly. Researchers access live Web pages while on trains. How? Through wireless Internet access. This service (a.k.a. Wireless IP or Wireless Mobile Data) is now available to UC Davis affiliates along with other voice and data services offered through IT-Communications Resources. How does this service work? When you sign up for this service (offered at UC Davis via AT&T), your wireless modem is assigned an IP address. (IP addresses are a series of numbers assigned by the National Information Center that uniquely identify computers on the Internet.) It is through this IP address that the wireless network recognizes you as authorized user. The Internet connection is instantaneous: no need to plug in, find a phone jack, or change your IP address to access the campus network. All it takes is firing up the "IP Stack" software that comes with the wireless modem. However, be aware that Wireless IP does not work at the speeds to which we have grown accustomed (typically 28 to 56 kilobits per second over a modem line). This network transmits data at a speed of up to 19.2 kilobits per second.

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