Minutes of Smathers
Middle Manager's Meeting
April 15, 1999
Present: Pam Cenzer, Gary Cornwell, Carol Drum, Dot Hope, Tom Minton, Carol TurnerNetwork Trouble
Test System for Email Filtering
- The Network is still in trouble - it has actually gotten worse. At 5PM yesterday, the Internet router started rebooting itself every five minutes. This router has already been replaced once.
- The situation has been taken to the highest level of attention: Level One: CISCO engineers will remain on site 24 hours a day until the problem is fixed. Level Two: Developmental engineers are assigned to the problem, they'll read the code line by line until it's fixed. Level Three: An escalation manager is assigned to the case. He'll watch over the CISCO team. In addition, at least one NERDC staff member will watch over it around the clock until it is fixed. All financial responsibility belongs to CISCO.
- If this problem is not fixed within 24 hours, the CEO and head of CISCO will receive hourly updates until the issue is resolved.
- This network problem has been hopelessly disruptive, so the situation had to go to the top.
- The problem should be resolved by no later than Monday, April 19. CISCO will go through and basically rewrite the program until the problem is fixed.
- Of course, in the back of our minds is the notion of hackers - and whether or not they could be the source of this problem. Unless an obvious hole is found, it can be very difficult to stop. It is more likely that this particular problem is due a router malfunction & not hackers.
- The test system for email filtering - using the Linux box with the SQUID server - is in progress. It is set up to filter between the web browser and the outside world.
- We are testing the system out in Library West - if it is successful, we will try it other areas. The plan is to have two boxes in each building (one with identical setup to be used as a backup). This way no building will be reliant on an outside source for filtering.
- The testing just started two days ago. The filtering worked well last night - with the exception of Yahoo! & Netscape mail, which could still get through.
- We can effectively cut off the Yahoo! search engine (there are plenty of others) and the Netscape home site (keeping the browser capability) to prevent email access from these sites. Yahoo! searches first result in locating the sites that have paid to advertise with Yahoo!, anyhow. Bill will go ahead and wipeout Yahoo! & Netscape.
- Once all of the boxes are distributed, each building will have the option to filter out whatever email sites they want.
- Seems like we can't get vendors to accept our orders anymore. Gateway keeps sending us back a canceled quote from February. If they can't get this order right, we may have to buy from another company. We had this same type of trouble with Compaq.
- We may consider purchasing from Dell. They seem to have their customer service department on the ball. In the past, we were not using Dell because their machines were a bit more expensive and they were more proprietary in the way that they were built, making it difficult to drop 3rd party parts into them & make them functional. These reasons are really no longer valid - prices are down and we only add memory & hard drives to machines.
- All new computer purchases will come with 17" monitors & midsize tower cases.
- In the future, we may order machines without monitors (at 1/5th the cost) and just recycle the monitors that we are currently using.
- Discussion ensued on the extent to with computers can be recycled. Most of our equipment is reused after survey, but many computer parts are hostile to the environment in terms of landfills. There is not much salvageable raw material within a computer. Carol Drum notes that they have a roomful of speakers in MSL that have come with the new public machines - and they can't be used. Unfortunately, we cannot buy computers without the speakers. Seems horribly wasteful.
- We will be buying Dell replacement servers.
- We need to purchase Windows'98 licenses and get this version out onto everyone's desktop. All the new machines arrive with Win'98 installed. Y2K compliance is the reason for conversion.
- 12 barcode readers have been ordered.
- Wireless equipment has been ordered.
Dumb Terminal Replacement
- MSL - wiring in progress. Port density is being expanded as well as the closet wiring. Most of the work is just clean-up from the last project.
- 3rd Floor Tower in East - wiring to take place on the Web Tech Suite.
- North Tower, AFA & Music - wiring will be general clean-up work.
Symbol Tech Wireless System
- Right now, we have not determined a solution for printing jobs that run via control units or for remote devices.
- The concern in putting out cheap computers is with the possibility of theft or hardware mischief.
- NERDC is eventually going to stop the support of these units, but not as soon as June, as has been rumored.
- Why not just keep the dumb terminals running? Maintenance is very expensive.
- Bill had wanted to get rid of them by June, but that date has been moved to September.
- Printing problem was bigger than we realized, but FCLA says they can fix it.
- We are purchasing the wireless system from Symbol Tech. The Gartner Group has rated them as the most advanced company in integrated technologies.
- The time frame for the wireless setup is unknown, the project is not time critical.
- Symbol Tech also creates a wireless connected, palm-size barcode reader as well as Internet phones.
- Wireless technology can be in direct sequence or frequency hopping radio bandwidth. Frequency hopping can hop around, penetrating thick walls. Since our building is old, the walls thick & contain metal beams, we have much more interference & will use frequency hopping.
- We have ordered a pair of wireless access points and three interface units for laptops.
- This order will be a test of the technology - to see how it works for us. If it works, it will be a godsend for the stacks - we can't possibly put enough outlets in that area. Good things can come of this wireless technology - librarians can even detail the use of the technology in articles.
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Last updated February 17, 2000
by Debra Harris