December 2006

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The database server we use is due to be taken down for some routine maintenance on the 2nd January 2007. The vast majority of ResNet users won’t notice, although the following services will be unavailable during the maintenance.

The Registration System – people trying to set up ResNet for the first time, or with a new computer will not be able to register.

Manage My ResNet – you won’t be able to check your bandwidth usage, your account details, or move rooms.

ResNet status monitoring – you won’t be able to see if there are network problems on ResNet

That’s pretty much it.

Other systems around the University may be affected, please see http://www.bris.ac.uk/is/news/2006/sys2jan.html for more details.

The ResNet help desk will be closed on Tues 19th December. Apologies for any inconvenience.

We will be open:

Wednesday 20th December 2pm – 5pm
Thursday 21st December 2pm – 5pm

and then closed Fri 22nd December – Tues 2nd Jan inclusive when the rest of the University is also closed.
After that we will be open weekdays from Weds 3rd Jan 2pm – 5pm.

Please visit in person to pay, or phone 89001 internal or 0117 928 9001 for technical support. For less urgent enquiries please email resnet-help@bristol.ac.uk and we will respond on our return.

Accessing your email when away from the University

If you are going home for the Christmas vacation you can still access your email and other computing facilities, from anywhere with an Internet connection. For email, use webmail http://webmail.bris.ac.uk or Mulberry both of which are available within and outside the University. For other services, such as electronic library resources, see remote access to University resources http://www.bristol.ac.uk/offsite

ResNet help desk over the vacation

The ResNet help desk will be open over the vacation but with reduced opening hours. Latest hours will be available on the voicemail message on 89001, or on the ResNet blog http://www.bristolresnet.net. The help desk will be closed completely for the period between Christmas and New Year, when the rest of the University is also closed.

Moving rooms or getting a new computer?

Remember even when the ResNet help desk is closed you can still use Manage My ResNet http://manage.resnet.bris.ac.uk to transfer your connection to another room, connect a new computer, or other common tasks.

Higher usage allowance over Christmas

From Monday December 18th to Sunday January 7th we are increasing the fair usage allowance from 10GB a week to 40GB a week. We are able to do this as demand on ResNet over the vacation is lower.

Best wishes and Happy Christmas from everyone at ResNet.

From Monday December 18th to Sunday January 7th we are increasing the fair usage allowance from 10GB a week to 40GB a week. This means you can use up to 40GB offsite bandwidth per week. From Monday January 8th the usual 10GB a week limit will return.

We are able to do this as most people are not in residence over the vacation so demand on ResNet is much lower than normal.

If you track your usage with Manage My ResNet it will show your correct usage in GB, but may have the wrong figures for your usage as a percentage of your allocation.

As we said before, due to the recent problems we’ve had with our script we won’t be enforcing the penalties for excessive usage for the next three weeks – so if you exceed the 40GB allocation in this period you won’t be placed in the special network segment for heavy users *in this period*. However if your usage is higher than 40GB in this period you might be placed in the heavy users network from Monday 8th January onwards.
In short please use less than 40GB a week between Monday December 18th to Sunday January 7th. Very very few people use this much bandwidth in any case.

Whilst working hard to solve a problem highlighted by the early firing of the fair usage policy script, Badock and Chantry Court lost connection for approximately 1 hour this morning (11th Dec 2006).  This has now been fixed.

We are really sorry about this – we’re not having a good day!

As a result of this second problem in as many days, we will not be enforcing the fair usage policy, so won’t be moving heavy users onto a separate network this week.  We will resume the fair usage policy after the Christmas break.

We have accidentally run our weekly bandwidth usage scripts too early. We are in the process of rectifying the problem now.

We are very sorry about the 63 people that have been moved into the restricted network – you will be the first to be moved back.

132 people have just received an email at the wrong time. The people affected by this will be sent an email to clarify the situation.

Update 10:45 – The people moved onto the restricted network have now been moved back onto the normal network. All people affected have been sent an email explaining what happened.

Update 14:30 by Nick – We still seem to have some problems. Some of the 63 people are reporting that their connections aren’t working at all. Other people are concerned that they receive an email saying they were over the bandwidth limit when Manage My ResNet shows that they are within the limit.

We are still looking into both these problems to work out what went wrong and fix where necessary.

Sorry again for the mistakes – Nick

Update 15:40 by Nick – Over the last hour we’ve now individually re-enabled the connections of 63 people whose ResNet had been completely disabled. That shouldn’t have happened at all. We are emailing an apology to everyone affected.

We’ve disabled the buggy script that did this and will review the bandwidth usage scripts on Monday before we run them again, to guard against any other problems.

Those people who were concerned that Manage My ResNet said they were within their bandwidth allocation, but the emails said they were over – this is because the scripts which sent the emails were measuring usage over 7 days to Friday, including the previous weekend. The script got it wrong as it was run on the wrong day. If run on a Monday (when it was supposed to) the figures would have matched Manage My ResNet.

If you are going home for the Christmas vacation you can still access your email and other computing facilities, from anywhere with an Internet connection.

For email, use webmail or Mulberry both of which are available within and outside the University. For other services, such as electronic library resources, see remote access to University resources or read the remote access leaflet (printed copies available in libraries and at help desks).

If you won’t be reading your email you might want to set up a vacation message to let people know this. Please see using SmartSieve to set up or change a vacation message.

If you are staying in your room in University accommodation over the vacation you can carry on using the ResNet connection in your room. You can use Manage My ResNet to transfer your connection to another room, connect a new computer, or other common tasks.

The ResNet help desk will be open over the vacation but with reduced opening hours (details to follow). It will be closed completely for the period between Christmas and New Year, when the rest of the University is also closed.

Windows Vista, the replacement for Windows XP, will soon be available from Microsoft.

If you are considering upgrading your existing computer on ResNet to Vista – please don’t yet. Although we’ve already looked at beta copies, we need to do more work to make sure Vista works OK on ResNet. In particular, we don’t yet have a version of our McAfee VirusScan software that runs on Vista (and without McAfee we won’t let computers on ResNet, so if you upgrade now you won’t be able to connect).

From around February, new computers will be supplied with Vista. By that time we hope to have a version of McAfee available. There may be other software in use within the University that is still being tested even then.

For a period on 18th December between 8am to 10am the following ResNet services will be unavailable

  • ResNet online registrations
  • Manage My ResNet
  • ResNet automatic status monitoring

This is due to an urgent need to move power supplies in several racks in the machine room – the server our database is hosted on is one of those systems affected.
Actual ResNet connections will be unaffected – you can keep on using ResNet.

View your network usage

We have added a Check my network usage page to Manage My ResNet http://manage.resnet.bristol.ac.uk/ . If you are concerned that your ResNet traffic usage may push you over the ResNet fair usage policy, have a look. It seems very fashionable to have Beta software and Check my network usage certainly is (beta not fashionable) ;-) . We are in the process of enhancing it but for now it does exactly what it says on the tin.

Discounted laptops for students

Are you thinking of buying a new computer at Christmas? We have selected a range of Toshiba laptops we think are suitable and good value for students. These are available from our supplier at the same discount that the University gets. Most importantly you get a three year warranty with the laptop – this gives you peace of mind if anything goes wrong, and is normally an expensive extra from most suppliers.

See StudentStore http://www.studentstore.co.uk/bristol/

Preview of new University student portal

An online survey and test of “MyBristol”, the new University Portal, will open in January. The survey feedback will be used to further improve the Portal, which will be released for the autumn term 2007.
If you would like to test the portal and give your feedback to improve it, please send an email to majordomo@bristol.ac.uk with the following body text (no subject required):

subscribe portal-test-student

and you’ll receive details when it is open for testing. For more info see the Portal Project Website http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ips-projects/portal/student