MMM Minutes 3/19/98

Minutes of Smathers
Middle Manager's Meeting
March 19, 1998

Present: Rich Bennett, Tom Caswell, Gary Cornwell, Robena Cornwell, Michelle Crump, Daniel Fuller, Martha Hruska, Erich Kesse, Tom Minton, Phek Su, Jan Swanbeck, Carol Turner, Carol Whitmer

Improved Internet Service
  1. Major shake-ups and mergers have been occurring in high level providers. The regional Bell operating company had switched to BellSouth through GrindNet. There had been lots of congestion, we were pounding on NERDC for a change - NERDC complained to BellSouth. New provider now is UUNet. They have much better, closer exchange points like Atlanta and Jacksonville. WorldCom is the parent company. With the increased capacity, traffic will double, even triple.
  2. Experiments are moving forward for higher speed in the "last mile" - that is, around your home service. In the attempt to get around phone lines or glass wire, cable wire has become an option. Cox Cable is doing an experiment with NERDC using a cable modem & getting a higher bandwidth signal. The limit to this experiment is that it only works one way - on the downlink. It is extremely fast, however - 104KB per second. This is 10 times faster than ISDN, 10-20 times faster than a modem. It is only available for Windows’95 users and takes a team of technicians to come to your house in order to install it. The problem is that in order to send a signal back up the pike, you need a modem. Also, downloaded traffic is not private. Cox Cable hopes to have it in production service by this summer - at the cost of something like $50 per month.
  3. BellSouth - ADSL - high speed copper service with phone line.
  1. All but one of the CISCO switches have been received. We are in the process of trading out interfaces. NERDC has agreed to let us hook up into one big VLAN. East, West, MSL, AFA & Education will all be on one loop. When will it all be online? Hopefully by June.
  2. Pooling IP’s once the switches are hooked up - none of the current IP’s will have to be changed. Instead of them being so rigidly limited, the IP’s will be able to be spread across the branches.
  3. Suzy is working on list conversions for MSE, as we are almost complete in our mail conversion. Should help with the speed of message distribution within departments. Deletes & add-ons will be much easier to accomplish. All people on the list will need to have the NT mail setup.
  1. We will be ordering a couple dozen work stations this week, then more the next week and the following week. Prices are dropping - work stations that were costing us $2000 we can now get for $1500 - and they have better configuration.
  2. Current orders are for the MSL public expansion. With the student computer requirement, we expect that many students will have their own computers. In the future, we will be upgrading what we have. We do not have space available to add any more public work stations after the MSL expansion.
  3. Byte magazine is reporting on ‘disposable PC’s’ to be issued with ‘born-on dates’. PC’s are basically obsolete in 6 month cycles. Previously, it was wiser to purchase the most expensive PC’s to avoid obsolescence. Now it would seem the better option to buy the cheapest.
  4. There will be changes in the peripheral equipment in the future - outside hardware going to parallel ports: SCSI, IDE interface. ISB is a new, faster serial line that currently is not compatible with most connectors. Most printers we now have won’t hook up with the changing interfaces & connectors within 3 years.
  5. Discussion on monitor purchasing: 15" vs. 17". Cost for 17" monitors runs about $150-$200 a piece. The reasons for considering the 17" models is because of JSTOR. Bill notes that JSTOR has been fixed so that it can be used with a 15" monitor. Is it worth the extra 10% cost per work station to get the bigger monitor? There are some areas, like Preservation, where 17" monitors are needed. JSTOR was the original argument for 17" monitors. Now the borders have been reduced. Rich notes that he expects JSTOR to become increasingly valuable to UF, so he would like to make sure that the larger monitors are not necessary. He feels that to the extent that we provide public access, the 17" monitors should be made available. Martha notes to keep in mind that we are not the only ones providing computer access - and that the monitor recommended in the student requirement is not 17". Further investigation will be done on the matter - but a decision will need to be made next week so that the orders can go out. Will get input from public service liaisons on this matter.
  6. Monitor technology - next wave will be flat screens. They emit less radiation and use LED’s and are very light weight. Once the production yield increases they will start coming out with these models.
  1. Software manufacturers have made it so that freezing our software license levels is not an option.
  2. Serial leasing of software on a yearly basis per individual work station will probably be the way we’ll have to go.
  3. LMG software budget is $200,000. Office ’97 is costing $43 per work station. Software is costing us $10,000 per year for 250 work stations.
  4. We will need to keep adding memory to work stations. This doesn’t necessarily improve performance. All should have at least 16M - beyond that is selective. Processor speed is not really that big of a deal. The Net is slow even with memory improvement.
  5. We are currently conducting an experiment with John Ashcraft in MSL to determine the effect of memory on printers & public work stations - and monitoring the improvements. Rich Bennett notes that John Ashcraft has reported substantial improvement with RAM increase. Bill says that John needs to adjust the test under ‘real world’ conditions - as he had stripped down the machines to brand new-like conditions. Memory is cheap, but we can’t upgrade on a blanket level - it must be a need situation.

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Last updated February 18, 2000
by Debra Harris