May 2010

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Dear ResNet user,

This is one in a series of newsletters sent occasionally to ResNet subscribers. Please see the bottom of this message to unsubscribe if you wish. You can also read this newsletter on our blog at www.bristolresnet.net

Jobs With ResNet from September 2010

Each year a large number of students join the team to help run ResNet and the Student Laptop Clinic. We are now recruiting for technical positions for the 2010/11 academic year.

A job with ResNet offers competitive pay (£11.46/hour) and excellent experience while working with and helping other Bristol students. It can be hard work but is very enjoyable, a chance to develop your skills, and great experience for future employers.

Jobs available start in September and continue during term time for the rest of the 2010/11 year.

The closing date for applications is 10am, Monday 7th June. For more details or to apply please see

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/is/computing/advice/homeusers/resnet/about/behindscene/vacancies10.html

Android version of the ResNet usage widget

Are you a heavy ResNet user? You may already know you can monitor your usage in MyResNet, or through the ResNet usage gadget we launched in ResNet Newsletter 2:

http://bris.ac.uk/slink/4cr4

Thanks to ResNet subscriber Dan Gilbert, you can now also use an Android smartphone to check your usage as well!  For more information about all versions of the usage monitoring gadgets, check out

http://toys.resnet.bristol.ac.uk

It’s clearly not a good week this week.  We’ve now lost connection to a network device at Woodland Court, which means that 35 rooms at Woodland Court are currently without ResNet access.

We’ve been out to site, and it looks as though there’s a problem with the uplink on the switch.  We’re pulling together the spare parts required to narrow down the issue further, and will update this post when we’ve got more information.

Update Weds, 12:41
First trip back with the spare parts makes us think it’s not the uplink, so it’s probably the switch afterall.  Time to head back out there with a spare switch.

Update Weds, 16:22
OK, this is not an easy one.  We’ve tried swapping out the switch for a new one, we’ve tried new patch leads, we’ve tried a different port on the upstream switch, we’ve tried new fiber interfaces on both ends, we’ve tested the fiber run and yet we still can’t find the fault.

It’s very unlikely at this point that we’ll be able to restore service before close of business today (Wednesday), however we will get right back on it first thing tomorrow morning.

Update Thurs 9:40am
We’ve traced the fault to the upstream swtich (which seems to have about 8 dead ports), we happened to have a spare one so we’ve replaced it.  Service has now been restored to Woodland Court.

We’re really sorry about the inconvenience this has caused!

We’ve been experiencing some problems with the ResNet Wireless service at Northwell House and Winkworth House.  The wired service, and wireless access in other locations around the university are not affected.

There are two distinct issues, which have combined to cause a rather complicated and confusing result, so much so that I’m not really sure how best to describe the situation!

The main symptoms people have been seeing are:

  • The wireless connectivity became unstable (we think on Monday, but possibly over the weekend), meaning that peoples wireless connections were unreliable.
  • The wireless bandwidth accounting encountered a problem and started counting peoples traffic multiple times, leading to people being cut off for going over their quota – without them actually doing so.

We’ve made some changes to the wireless network which we think will improve the stability again, hopefully returning us to normal service stability, and we’re busy fixing the bandwidth accounting.

We are picking our way through those who are affected by the accounting issue, restoring their bandwidth quotas and putting things back to normal.  Until we’ve completed this work, Wireless ResNet data isn’t being updated through My ResNet or the RSS feed/bandwidth gadgets We will be emailing those affected with more details in due course.

We’re really sorry for the inconvenience, especially during the exam season!

On Friday evening we saw unusual activity which resulted in the loss of Internet service to the whole university, including ResNet, from inside the University and we are aware that some internal services were affected by this activity.  Staff worked through the evening and service was resumed around 1:00am on Saturday. Information was updated on the IT Services Status page <http://www.bristol.ac.uk/is/news/status/> throughout the incident and over the weekend.  There is a permalink to this status item <http://www.wireless.bris.ac.uk/blog/2010/05/07/dns-issue/>

In essence, an unusually large amount of traffic on the University network resulted in asymmetric routing of DNS queries resulting in them not being resolved correctly.  After identifying the problem, staff manually reverted the system to symmetric routing and restored service at around 1:00am on Saturday. This meant that sites during this period for which we had no cached DNS information were inaccessible.

Work took place on Monday morning to reduce the likelihood of this type of incident occurring again.

We apologise for the disruption caused.


Information Services
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/is

Dear ResNet user,

This is one in a series of newsletters sent occasionally to ResNet subscribers. Please see the bottom of this message to unsubscribe if you wish. You can also read this newsletter on our blog at www.bristolresnet.net

Laptop Clinics still running in new location

Our first newsletter introduced you to the free Student Laptop Clinic. In the first two terms we’ve helped over 800 people fix problems with their computers. It’s very satisfying to have helped so many students.

If you make use of this service we’d like to announce that it’s moved from the Hawthorn’s Refectory to the Priory Road Complex Cafe, which means we get to eat cake and fix laptops! It’s open from 2pm to 5pm weekdays, except bank holidays and Thursdays. For directions and more info see http://www.bristol.ac.uk/laptopclinic

What’s the fuss about Facebook and privacy?

At the end of April Facebook made some changes, and some people are very unhappy about it. What’s the fuss? Facebook has gradually shifted. It started as a tool to share stuff  within a group. Increasingly Facebook encourages you to share stuff with the world, but many people don’t realise this. Facebook classes some of what you put up as public information and makes it available to all – your family, future employers, anyone. This includes your profile picture and what pages you are a fan of.

Now is a great time to check your privacy settings on Facebook, and be aware of what you put up there. For more info and advice on checking your privacy settings see our blog – http://www.bristolresnet.net/2010/05/06/

The ‘Check your network usage’ feature in MyResNet has been broken since an ‘upgrade’ to a key component of the system on 4th May 2010.  Basically we were not informing you of your usage so no restrictions – yey!

Needless to say this has now been fixed 😉

Facebook has gradually changed. It started off as a tool to share information about yourself within a group of friends, or a community such as a university. Facebook’s privacy policy has changed several times over the years, making Facebook a more open and public network. It has reduced the control you have over your information, encouraging you to share information with the world. This is something to be aware of in how you use Facebook, especially as public information about you on the Internet hangs around for ages – indexed by search engines and marketing firms, available to future employers, family – anyone.

There’s nothing wrong with open networks, but there are some things you don’t want to be public. The important point is to be aware what information is public, and treat it accordingly. The annoying part is that Facebook keep changing the rules! Most people on Facebook think of it as a way to share info just with their friends, but that isn’t really true any longer.

Certain information on Facebook (your Name, Profile Picture, Gender, Current City, Networks, Friend List) is always public, you can’t hide it. So, don’t make your profile picture too embarrassing. Your friends list being public is an interesting one. On the Internet, as in the real world, people can make assumptions about you on the basis of the company you keep. For example students at MIT discovered that just by looking at a persons online friends they could discover if someone was gay.

If you become a Facebook fan of a Page (by clicking the blue Like button) this is also public information. Facebook calls it a Connection. You can show up on the Page, and these connections are shared with marketers. You might be OK with this, you might not – depends what you Like. The list of likes on your Facebook page is now assembled from your Connections – you can’t just type in what you choose any longer, so if you want to share your interests to your friends you also have to share them with the world.

Some of your information is not automatically public, but is visible to your friends (ok?) and any apps and Facebook partner websites your friends use (maybe not ok?). Review the settings for what friends can share and untick anything you’re not happy with. By default some pretty sensitive stuff like relationship status, photos you are tagged in, your birthday, and religious and political views can be shared this way.
Facebook’s latest feature is called Instant Personalisation. If you are logged into Facebook, this allows websites you visit to see information from your Facebook profile and customise themselves accordingly. If you don’t like this idea:
  • Go to the Instant Personalization privacy setting and uncheck the “Allow” button. Click confirm. Come back to this page.
  • Go to the page for Microsoft Docs, click Block Application on the page, click Block Application on the pop-up, and click Okay on the next pop-up. Come back to this page.
  • Go to the page for Pandora, click Block Application on the page, click Block Application on the pop-up, and click Okay on the next pop-up. Come back to this page.
  • Go to the page for Yelp, click Block Application on the page, click Block Application on the pop-up, and click Okay on the next pop-up. Come back to this page.

At the moment only these three websites are Facebook partners, but Facebook will probably add more later. Annoyingly therefore you’ll need to check back often to keep blocking new ones when they are added. You also need to keep checking the Facebook privacy policy – it has changed twice in the last six months.

One last thing: do check the privacy settings for your profile information. By default, lots of info is shared not just with your Friends, but with Friends of Friends. That’s a lot of people. If your friend is friends with your boss, then do you want your boss to see your photos?

More information