Technical Blog

JISC RSC Scotland North & East


It’s Energy Saving Week and the folks over at the Energy Saving Trust are encouraging you to do your bit for the environment by reducing the amount of energy you consume at home.

If you’ve been thinking about your institutional carbon footprint you may be interested in our free joint event with EAUC at Edinburgh Napier University on the 30 October 2009. The event forms part of a Scottish Funding Council-supported ICT Carbon and Energy Management Programme project which is being managed by EAUC Scotland.  The project has identified virtualisation as a key area of interest for its institutional partners, which include Edinburgh Napier University. Napier has already made great progress in virtualising a number of servers, and is now both extending this, and introducing server powerdown to gain the full energy and environmental benefits from its use.

Scott Walkingshaw, Infrastructure Systems Team Leader, and colleagues, will share their experience and future plans in this interactive workshop, which will also have contributions from other universities and colleges.

Book a place

Network managers and educational institutions are being urged to plan ahead and consider long-term network capacity by a new report from JISC’s Technology and Standards Watch service, as statistics show that Internet traffic is doubling every year.

The report from JISC’s Technology and Standards Watch service (JISC TechWatch), entitled “100G Ethernet and beyond: preparing for the exabyte Internet”, explains the background and technical development to the next upgrade of the thirty-year old Ethernet family of networking standards which will be formalised in 2010.

Paul Anderson, technical editor from JISC TechWatch, explains why the report was commissioned: “We look towards the next five to ten years and anticipate developments in technologies that might have an impact on colleges and universities.

“This change in standards has been driven by the massive uptake in new Web technologies such as video on-demand and, in the case of universities, a deluge in new, experimental research data and applications.

“The study discusses the technical debates and developments surrounding plans to move to a higher speed form of networking and explains how this is required to help cope with the relentless growth in Internet traffic.”

The report is written by networking industry veteran, and vice-chair of LINX, Raza Rizvi. Raza says: “There are peaks and troughs in network technology development and we are just approaching the crest of a peak. This is a time when a wave of new technology, following the adoption of the new standard, will enter the market. Universities, colleges and other parts of the public and private sector need to make sure they are paying attention to the details of the new standard and emerging technical solutions.”

Traditionally, Ethernet has developed in incremental steps of ten. This means that the next step should be from 10G (the current standard) to 100G and indeed, JANET recently undertook a trial of some of the technology that will be used in 100G networking. However, the report outlines the many technical issues and debates around the move to 100G and explains why the next IEEE standard will be for both 40G and 100G.

The report is published just as the IEEE standards task force responsible for the new Ethernet (IEEE 802.3ba), meets in San Francisco to finalise the last technical details. The standard is expected to be formally ratified in June 2010. Pre-standard 40G and 100G Ethernet products - server network interface cards, switch uplinks and switches - are then expected to hit the market later this year.

Raza Rizvi says: “These kinds of new standards take five or more years to come to fruition. It’s an indication of the kind of forward thinking that capacity planning for networks needs.”

Read the full report at
http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/services/techwatch/reports/horizonscanning/hs0901

To find out more about JISC TechWatch visit
http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/services/techwatch.aspx

Just came across lovelycharts.com - an online diagram maker. The basic version is free and the files can be exported in jpg or png format. Might be useful as a quick alternative to something like visio. There’s a good collection of network icons and other symbols for creating flowcharts and process maps.

Nettuts is a online tutorial site aimed at web developers covering a range of technologies including html, php, ruby on rails and wordpress. They have a mixture of written tutorials and video tutorials (screencasts). Looks like some good stuff here. If you’re tempted to write a tutorial they pay $150 through paypal for every tutorial published.

They’re also currently running a competition for the best screencast tutorials submitted by the end of January 2008.

Frances Neilson, Account Manager for Scotland at JANET(UK) popped in to the RSC Office last week to do some video updates. In this short video she talks about JANET Collaborate.

JANET Collaborate is a way of finding and sharing information with users who have simialr interests across the UK academic community.

Frances Neilson, Account Manager for Scotland at JANET(UK) popped in to the RSC Office last week to do some video updates. In this short video she talks about the new high definition service from JVCS (Janet Videoconferencing Service).

Frances Neilson, Account Manager for Scotland at JANET(UK) popped in to the RSC Office last week to do some video updates. In this short video she talks about EdLab.

EdLab is a new collaborative service from JANET. It’s aimed at technical staff in UK HE and FE institutions and is free to access - you just need a .ac.uk email address. JANET aim to post pre and post training and conference material here. If you missed Networkshop this year you can access presentations, video and audio from the 3 day event.

Other Videos in this session

New High Definition Service from JVCS
JANET Collaborate Update
JANET Talk Update

Frances also passed over a PowerPoint presentation which I’ve put up on SlideShare

JANET Update December 2008
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: jisc janet)

Under creative commons licence from flickr

ICT has moved on at a rapid pace in last few years especially with rise of Web 2.0 and the burgeoning use by students of social networking sites like Bebo, FaceBook and YouTube. With that comes new possibilities for learning but also potential legal and copyright issues. It’s a massive area to be addressed.

JISC Legal recently ran a series of Web 2.0 workshops aimed at technical and learning resources staff and senior managers.

They have just put up the workshop material. The publications include:

Web 2.0 and the Law for FE Policy Makers
Web 2.0 and the Law for HE Policy Makers
Web 2.0 and the Law for Information Services
Web 2.0 and the Law for IT Support Staff
Web 2.0 and the Law for Learning Resource Staff
Web 2.0 and the Law FAQs
Web 2.0 Policy Checklist

Also of note if your institution is updating its acceptable use policies, is the comprehensive Using External Web 2.0 Services document from the University of Edinburgh. They have made this document available under a creative commons licence so that it can be adapted for other institutions to use.

Bug.gd is a new community driven error database. Just type in your error message in the search box. There’s a chance that someone has encountered the problem before and posted a solution. You can also contribute your own solutions.

There is a firefox extension available that sits in the status bar. Hover over the green bug.gd icon and it will show you stats about your submitted errors and displays your most recent unsolved bug. Click on the the bug.gd icon and a window pops up so that you can copy and paste your error message and submit it directly to bug.gd.

Got a new website to develop and looking for some design inspiration? You may find something over at Open Source Web Design. There’s currently over 2000 free templates available for download.

If you’re thinking of adapting one of the templates for Wordpress, WP Themer Kit provides bare bones layouts for download. There’s also a couple of video overviews on the website explaining how to use the kit.