Tuesday, June 28, 2011

When the official password format fails!

Steve Sloan’s Recommended (Unofficial) SJSUOne Password Format Suggestion. These are not requirements, only my personal suggestions. If you have a current SJSUOne account, and the official SJSUOne Password Format fails, this works. Please do not tell anybody I (or anybody) said these suggestions were requirements. It is suggested by me that your SJSUOne password have the following attributes:
  • From eight to eleven characters
  • No spaces
  • One upper case letter minimum
  • One lower case letter minimum
  • One number minimum
  • Just one (and only one) exclamation mark (do not use any other so-called "special" characters)
Example: 1Porcupine!

Why? My best guess as to why this may make a difference is that you are trying to get a Linux server (Google) to work with a password from a Microsoft Active Directory Domain Controller (SJSUOne). This is not official; it is a suggestion, but it usually works.

No, you cannot reuse your old password. Just forget that idea.

About Yesterday's IT Service Interruption at SJSU

The following was sent to the SJSU IT community:

All services have been restored. Access to www.sjsu.edu was restored around 3:20pm. The rest of the services including SSO were restored successfully and tested around 5pm. The issue was related to firewall policies pushed out to our server farm firewall cluster around 12:35pm this afternoon (Potential bug on the management system). This caused several services to stop working. This included access from external and some of our internal networks to www.sjsu.edu, applications that required SSO access and access to a couple of our monitoring systems. Again, access has been restored to all services.

We continue to investigate for a root cause. Over the last couple weeks we have been working with our firewall vendor on a suspected bug that may cause additional information to be pushed out/changed to the policies. As soon as we have an update we will provide one to this distribution list. In the meantime, please let us know if you see any issues with access to the above services from on/off campus.

Again, our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused

Jaime (Sanchez)

We received over 40 phone calls and walkups at the ITSS Help Desk during this period, about ten percent of what we would experience had the semester already started.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Oracle gives OpenOffice.org to Apache

According to a June 1 post on ZD Net by David Meyer, "Oracle has ceded control of the OpenOffice.org code base to the Apache Software Foundation Incubator project." This opens up some interesting possibilities for universities and others looking to reduce their dependence on proprietary software. According to Meyer:
OpenOffice.org is the most popular free productivity suite, and a major rival to Microsoft Office. The software giant said it was 'donating' the open-source code so as to "demonstrate its commitment to the developer and open source communities".
If folks look at OpenOffice.org they may find it offers all the features they need without having to deal with licensing fees and complex activation schemes.

Yet another SJSU Phishing Scam

Please be aware of this latest phishing attempt (below). Any e-mail asking for your e-mail password and username are scams. Victor Van Leer of SJSU's University Technology Services has sent out the following:
Q. What can I do if I receive a scam message?
A. If you receive a scam message, please do the following to help stop the scam: Press the down arrow next to the "Reply" button. Click "Report Phishing" This action will move the message to your spam folder, block further attempts and alert the Google anti-phishing team to act on this phishing attempt.

A sample of the latest scam message is included below. It is a scam. Users should not reply to it and they should click "Report Phishing" if they receive the phishing scam email.

Below is a sample of the latest scam message:
Note: This message is a scam.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: (ITSS) Help Desk
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 8:18 AM
Subject: 2011 Webmail Upgrade to prevent Account Being Disabbled
To: (deleted)

Attention San José State University email user!

This message is from Information Technology Services, San José State University to all its email Users.We are upgrading to a new email version to help increase the storage megabyte and are therefore deleting all unused email account.

Also be informed of the serious technical difficulty at hand. Our Webmail Database that records your webmail data and profile has just been contrasted by a serious circulating internet virus. As a result we are upgrading to a new email version to help increase the storage megabit and are therefore deleting all unused email account as a result of the nonexistence of users.

To confirm the your account is currently in use and to integrate the recent maintenance carried out in e-mail system and also help in resetting your space in our database and erase the virus circulation in our webmail . reply back with the information as required below;

Password: ...
Re confirm Password:....
Date of Birth:....

Warning! Webmail owner that refuses to update their account by providing the requested details above after reading this mail will loose his / her account permanently.

Account Alert Code: X3XX00178SU Thank you for using San José State University®

University Help Desk

A unit of Academic Technology
Clark Hall, Room 102
San José State University
One Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0026

San José State University - Home of the Spartans
One Washington Square - San José, California USA, 95192

Please remember, we do not ever ask for passwords via e-mail!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What our Lotus Domino Server meant to say this morning

Our soon to be unplugged Lotus Domino server sent a message to each faculty and staff employee at SJSU this morning that said:
This account has been scheduled for termination after [future date].
Later our University Technology Services team sent a message to techs at SJSU this morning that said:
These deletion notices may be disregarded. They were sent by a legacy email support system that is failing. The condition that triggered these deliveries has been cleared and the agent that sends the notifications has been disabled.
What the Domino server really meant to say was:
I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Opinion: Embrace your whiners

I am a liberal, a democrat and a union steward.
So, you can imagine; I have been called a whiner many, many times. I consider it a compliment. That's a big reason I blog. Blogs can be great places to whine.
Many people are afraid of confrontation. They will remain silent even when they see problems. In my opinion a strong organization is one that confronts problems. But, how does an organization know it has a problem? It embraces its whiners.
The whiners are your canaries in the coal mine, your first line of alert. So, if you call me a whiner don't be surprised if I say, "why thank you."
Organizations who recognize the value of whiners and provide them with a venue; have a lot to gain. Even if the whiners are only right ten percent of the time, you want to know that ten percent! Those who don't, risk finding much harsher critics; their customers.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

On the Federal Budget Mess of 2011

Politics - I have an opinion blog where I post my opinions on many things including politics. You can post comments there as well. If you really want to read my personal political opinion, it is here!
If you disagree and get steamed, remember by clicking on this link you have chosen to read my opinion!

Opinion: Criticism is good

In my opinion no matter what kind of organization it is, a university, another type of organization or a nation; criticism is a good thing. It means people care. Care should to be taken by critics to criticize the process, not the person. Critics and leaders should try to check their egos at the door. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and are entitled to voice their opinion. Critics and leaders are advised to not imply malice without very, very strong evidence. Leaders in an organization that is the subject of criticism should not take criticism personal. It is not personal and it does not mean your efforts are not appreciated. All criticism means is that somebody thinks something should be different. Hey, the critic may be wrong! But, at least give the idea some consideration. At least the critic cares enough to voice an opinion. That is a good thing. Sometimes, I know rarely, it is possible the critic may be right. A little thick skin is recommended for all involved. Today's critic may be tomorrows leader, or not.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Mammoth Microsoft Patch Coming

According to a post by Gregg Keizer of Computerworld on April 7 the patches to be released on Tuesday April 12 will tie Microsoft's record for the number of posts. Keizer said:
Microsoft today said it will patch a record 64 vulnerabilities in Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Windows graphics framework, and other software next week, and tie a December 2010 record for the number of security updates it issues.
SJSU Windows system administrators and others with computers running Windows should be aware this is coming.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My recommended logo for SJSU iSupport

To my knowledge there was no migration plan for the migration from the legacy issue ticketing system at SJSU (named GWI) to the new system (named iSupport.) Around 30 people have been made full system administrators of iSupport at SJSU. (I do not know the exact number.)

Nobody owns it. There are no rules written down. A whole lot of people can do anything they want to anybody else using iSupport. It is "figure it out as you go." I can't think of a better word for this situation than Anarchy. Thus, the recommended logo.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Disrupting College, an approach to issues in higher education

Higher education is facing huge challenges at the same time our economy is. Disrupting College, How Disruptive Innovation Can Deliver Quality and Affordability to Postsecondary Education by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, Louis Soares, and Louis Caldera is a report suggesting ways to address those issues. According to the related story:

This report tackles these questions by treating the industry’s challenges, at their core, as problems of managing innovation effectively. It examines the industry of higher education through the lenses of the theories that have emerged from our research on innovation. A theory, by its very nature, is forward looking. It is a statement of what causes what and why, so a good theory allows you to predict the result of taking a certain action ahead of time.

Christensen is the author of a series of books including The Innovator's Dilemma. I have not yet read this report, but plan to. Thanks Jeremy for turning me on to this.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's President Qayoumi for SJSU

According to an announcement sent to the campus community:

The California State University Board of Trustees today named Mohammad Qayoumi, president of California State University, East Bay, as president of San José State University.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected and to accept the challenge of leading San José State University in the years ahead," said Qayoumi. "The tremendous opportunities and boundless possibilities of SJSU will only be limited by our imagination. I look forward to working with the talented students to ensure they have a rich and rewarding college experience and to prepare them for future success."

Qayoumi was one of three finalists for the position who spent last week visiting the campus. Qayoumi will assume the San José presidency in the summer, and succeeds interim President Don Kassing who retired in 2008, and returned last September to serve in an interim capacity until a new president is selected. The Board of Trustees will set Qayoumi's compensation during its May board meeting.

“Dr. Qayoumi's proven leadership abilities, commitment to students and administrative experience will be a tremendous asset to the campus and the community," said CSU Trustee Debra Farar, chair of the presidential search committee. "His energy, innovation, progressive vision and ability to connect with students provide a strong foundation to lead San José State moving forward."

Qayoumi has served as president of Cal State East Bay since 2006. He came to Cal State East Bay from Cal State Northridge, where he served as vice president for administration and finance and chief financial officer from 2000 until 2006, and was also a tenured professor of engineering management. Previously, Qayoumi served as vice chancellor for administration at San José; director of utilities and engineering services, director of technical services, and staff engineer, University of Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition, Qayoumi served as an engineer on a variety of projects in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Qayoumi holds a B.S. in electrical engineering, American University of Beirut. He holds four degrees from the University of Cincinnati: a Master of Science in nuclear engineering, a Master of Science in electrical and computer engineering, and MBA, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering.

This will be interesting.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Commentary: SJSU + iSupport = FAIL

A recipe:
How do you take something that could have been good and make it fail? Start by not planning, then make a huge number of people administrators, then over sell it, and finally under resource it. Yup, that'll do it every time!

Reportedly SJSU only bought 30 seats for iSupport, our new enterprise wide ticketing system.

Yup, 30. This morning there were 34 people in a class to learn how to use it. So, that class locked out every other IT tech at SJSU who was trying to get real work done on campus. Nobody could get into the system today until noon!

According to one source, "they" (who shall remain nameless) called up the vendor and got a temporary unlimited user license for the campus and after noon today (Friday) folks were able to get on the system. According to one source, the timeout on the logins which had started at 60 minutes and which had been extended, then reduced back to 60 minutes was yet again reduced to thirty minutes. Also, reportedly, the license count has now been more than tripled.

Now "they" are going to look at system usage so "they" can see how many licenses we actually need, to be able to do what we need to do.

I guess a light bulb went off somewhere...

Meanwhile, one (other) frustrated SJSU tech said to me on Friday, "it sounds like somebody needs to take a project management class." Sounds like a great idea to me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Another day at the office...

Finding the words to express how I feel:

haphazard, without plan or organization, accidental, aimless, all over the map, any old way, any which way, arbitrary, careless, casual, chance, designless, desultory, devil-may-care, disorderly, disorganized, erratic, fluke, helter-skelter, hit-or-miss, incidental, indiscriminate, irregular, loose, offhand, purposeless, random, reckless, slapdash, slipshod, spontaneous, sudden, unconcerned, unconscious, unconsidered, uncoordinated, unexpected, unmethodical, unorganized, unpremeditated, unsystematic, unthinking, willy-nilly

Another day at the office.

Lack of IT planning at SJSU?

This is the result of encouraging people to use a new ticket system at SJSU without buying enough licenses to accommodate the people using it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Film vs. Digital (Again)

To say that digital is superior to film is an opinion; it depends on what you value and you cannot really prove it. Last night I developed three rolls of film. I still shoot film and value the way film responds to light. A digital sensor will only respond to light one way. Digital cameras only have one personality. A camera raw file is merely a data dump of what is on the sensor and that is the response of the sensor to light and that is the only way that camera will respond to light. You can tweek the camera settings but you cannot tweek the sensor.

A film camera will respond to light many different ways depending on the film in the camera. The latent image on exposed film is like a data dump of the reaction of the material to light. All the rest is post processing whether you are talking photoshop or D76. Film cameras have multiple personalities because there are different films available. I can say film cameras are superior to digital if I wanted; again based on my values and opinions that could be true. In the last two years Kodak has introduced two fine new films.

So, if your vision is best expressed with a plastic Diana, or a Speed Graphic, or a Nikon F6, or a Nikon D3; then that is the superior tool for you. I am glad the choices exist for us all. The analogy to painting vs. photography is apt. In fact I would even say it is even more like water colors vs. oil paints. They are both painting after all. But, how can you say which is superior? Because, after all, it is all about vision and converting that vision into an image and we all see things a little differently. In that context it matters less how you get that image and more that the tools let you do it.


Thursday, March 03, 2011

Mackerel scales and Tower Hall

[Click on image to enlarge]

Mackerel scales and mare's tails, make lofty ships carry low sails." On Tuesday March 1, 2011 Altocumulus clouds floated over Tower Hall at SJSU ahead of an approaching weather front.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Google Gmail bug affects 150,000

According to a post by Paul McNamara of Network World, Google apologizes for a Gmail bug that shook 150,000 users. McNamara quotes Google's Gmail blog.

"I know what some of you are thinking: how could this happen if we have multiple copies of your data, in multiple data centers? Well, in some rare instances software bugs can affect several copies of the data. That's what happened here. Some copies of mail were deleted, and we've been hard at work over the last 30 hours getting it back for the people affected by this issue."

It is not known if any users of the CSU campus Gmail systems were affected.