Blog from January, 2007

In the course of today's update and regular server maintenance hour, several new plugins for teamwork have been installed, adding new functionality to

:

Attached archives are searched

Confluence already searches Microsoft Word and Excel files, and PDF's, attached to pages and news. Now, if these files are stored in a .ZIP or .JAR archive which is attached, they are searched, too! (thumbs up)

RSVP Plugin

The RSVP Plugin enables users to register for an event online. See the documentation.

Testplan Plugin

If you would like to test software or any other process, teamwork now offers a plugin to list all tests, and their result status. See the documentation.

Imagemap Plugin

Images can now become clickable by defining a click map for them. This can make navigation a lot easier and more intuitive. See the documentation.

MS Word Plugin

The MS Excel Plugin has been around already, now it is also possible to show Microsoft Word documents on a Confluence page. (lightbulb) Together with the WebDAV Plugin, this enables "one click" publishing of MS Word files to web pages (i.e., Confluence's wiki pages). (grey lightbulb) The display is quite simple, though. Table formatting is lost, images are not shown, etc.

See the documentation.

(warning) This plugin is explicitly called non-production ready by the vendor. Don't rely on it! If it causes instability, it will be deinstalled without further notice.

Sudoku Plugin

If you would like to take the challenge of a logical riddle to open up your mind again, play a game of Sudoku with the Sudoku Plugin!

Today between 1500 and 1600 local Bremen time servers and network components will be updated.

Server and network operations will be unreliable. Expect unavailable servers and sudden downtimes of services without prior explicit announcement.

If you have to work on files stored on the server during that time, then before the maintenance hour copy the respective files to your local hard disk, work on it locally, and after finishing your work and after the end of the maintenance interval, copy them back onto the server.

For more details on the maintenance hours see the Maintenance Hours page.

IUB today has finalized the first graduate admission which was submitted to IUB as an online web application. (thumbs up)(thumbs up)(thumbs up)

The applicant has entered the application data into CampusNet's online web application form, graduate admission office of the school has performed the evaluation and completing the data set, and the application has been transfered within the system to the registrar's office for immatriculation and account creation purposes.

This is a great success and proves the value of employing CampusNet for seamless integration of complex inter-departmental workflows.

From The Atlassian Blog:

A new study conducted by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Center for Marketing Research confirms the trend I've seen especially in the past year - that as soon as people and organizations understand the wiki and its potential, it becomes an indispensable tool.
[...]
In other words, everyone who was familiar with the wiki was also actively using it.

See the full article.

From the Executive Summary of the study:

The social media revolution is here. The hype is real.

You can

. (smile)

Here is an example of permissions for a public space in teamwork. The screenshot shows the permissions of this IRC-IT space.

The groups "CDN-Alumni", "confluence-users", "Confluence-Users-LDAP" all have the same permissions assigned, which are the same as for "anonymous" users. That ensures, that even after login to teamwork, users can see this space as they can see it without logging in.

In addition, all members of IRC-IT (which is cost center 4020) have additional permissions for maintaining content and managing the space.

(info) See Groups to use for assigning permissions for further explanations of which accounts each group consists of, and which groups are available for assigning permissions.

Warning

The informations which was presented here was outdated!

The new procedure is described here: teamwork available to non-Jacobs members

Due to upgrading IUB's central database and installing security patches,

(warning) CampusNet and Teamwork will not be available on Wed 24.01.2007.

This downtime affects the web interfaces of CampusNet and teamwork, as well as the client of CampusNet.

Update 14:30

CampusNet and teamwork are up and running again.

VPN access down

The device offering the VPN Access service is malfunctioning. Hence, secured remote network access to IUB network is currently not possible. IRC-IT is working on the issue.

Neither teamwork, nor Jacobs University Email web access, nor any other secured web service is affected.

Unix/Linux command line users can use the Remote Login Shell Service for accessing their internal machines.

Update

After a reboot of the appliance, NetVPN does work again, but WebVPN doesn't. Investigation continues.

Update Wed, Jan 17th, 8:30 a.m.

WebVPN is working again.

An Microsoft Excel file plugin is available for

. This allows to easily publish content of Excel files onto teamwork pages.

Attach the Excel file, called "My File.xls" here for illustration, to the page, where you want the content of the Excel file to appear. Within the wiki text of the page, add

{excel:file=^My File.xls}

The full documentation of the "excel" macro is available in the teamwork online help in the "Advanced Formatting" section.

Seamless Publishing

In combination with the recently installed WebDAV plugin, this allows publishing and editing of tables without any download-upload-cycle. Just access the Excel attachment through the file system via WebDAV, doubleclick the Excel attachment file appearing in the page's directory, edit and then save it, and the teamwork page is immediately updated upon next view.

(thumbs up) See How to obtain computer accessories for a simple example. The table "Items and Prices" is auto-generated from the attached Excel sheet. "Prices w/VAT" are dynamically calculated by the contained formulas. Columns can even be sorted by clicking on the header.

(lightbulb) How to configure Web Folders (WebDAV) for Confluence describes how to enable WebDAV access to teamwork.

Dynamic Graphs from Excel Tables

You can have the "excel" statement output wiki syntax. This is particularly handy for embedding it within a "chart" statement to dynamically generate graphs from the content of Excel files!

(error) There are formatting issues of the auto-generated tables; they look okay in the preview, but appear differently in the final page.

From http://www.ikiw.org/2006/11/27/links-itensil-wikiflow-wikis-are-alive-and-kicking-in-the-enterprise/:

  • Wikis Are Alive and Kicking in the Enterprise - Stan Gibson of eWeek talked with Toby Redshaw and Baldev Singh of Motorola about wiki use at the company. About 3,200 Motorola employees use a wiki, and "As at many enterprises that have seen wiki proliferation, Redshaw and Singh performed no cost/benefit analysis ahead of time and have not tracked return on investment. That's because the investment in wiki technology is so low as to be negligible and the payback is intuitively understood, yet difficult to quantify. We don't have a wiki police group," Redshaw said. "We just think it's the way the business runs. All a business is, is human beings talking to each other, trying to get stuff done."
  • Susan Scrupski of Enterprise Irregulars echoes that sentiment in More user adoption... and so it begins! She interviewed Indus Khaitan of Symantec whose department "has virally caught on to the web 2.0 tools and now collaborate on campaigns and other projects." Sometimes he gets roped into helping colleagues hone their blogging or wiki skills, but he doesn't mind. "It only takes about 15-20 minutes," he said. He thinks the wiki is a great platform and he's already coined a new term for its newfound popularity: the writable intranet."
Edublogs

From http://www.e-teaching.org/news/eteaching_blog/et_showComments?entryid=blogentry.2007-01-10.1653307053:

Weblogs boomen derzeit, auch im Bildungsbereich. Sie sind sowohl interessant als Werkzeuge, die in konkrete Lehr-/Lernsettings integriert werden können, als auch als Informationsquelle innerhalb der E-Teacher Community. Eine Orientierung in der Überfülle vorhandener Blogs (allein bei http://edublogs.org gibt es über 33.000 Blogs) helfen vorselektierte Übersichten. Bereits letzten September stellte Jochen Robes seine Liste von 21 lohnenden deutschsprachigen Bildungsblogs vor (http://www.weiterbildungsblog.de/archives/001287.html). Das Team der Online-Education Database listet seine Top 100 Education Blogs auf, gegliedert in verschiedene Kategorien zum Beispiel E-Learning, Education Policy, Teaching, Technology u. a. (http://oedb.org/library/features/top-100-education-blogs). Einige besonders interessante Edublogs finden sich unter den Gewinnern des Edublog Awards 2006 (http://incsub.org/awards/), die am 17.12.2006 gekürt wurden. Dort findet sich u. a. auch das beste Research Paper von Nancy White: Blogs and community(http://kt.flexiblelearning.net.au/edition-11-editorial/). Lesens- und (als Podcast) hörenswert!

http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/83696/from/rss09:

Nach einer Entscheidung (PDF-Datei) des Landgerichts Köln vom 18. Oktober 2006 haftet der Eigentümer eines Computers für darüber durch Dritte im Internet veröffentlichte Diffamierungen (Az. 28 O 364/06).

[...]
Nach Ansicht der Richter sei der Anwalt für die von seinem Sohn veröffentlichten Diffamierungen verantwortlich. Dieser hatte nur deshalb Zugang zu dem Internetforum, weil der Nutzername des Beklagten im System bekannt war und das Passwort bei der Eingabe des Nutzernamens im PC automatisch angezeigt wurde. Daher hafte der Anwalt nach den Grundsätzen der Störerhaftung. Insoweit bestehe eine Verpflichtung, bereits im Vorfeld einer Rechtsverletzung zumutbare, aber geeignete Vorkehrungen zu treffen, durch welche derartige Handlungen so weit wie möglich verhindert werden.

Die Speicherung von Nutzername und Passwort auf dem Computer stelle sich als willentlicher Beitrag dar, durch den der Beklagte an den von seinem Sohn begangenen Rechtsverletzungen mitgewirkt habe. Der Anwalt könne sich auch nicht darauf berufen, dass er keine Anhaltspunkte dafür gehabt habe, dass seine Kinder den Account missbräuchlich verwenden würden. Dieses Risiko hätte sich durch einfachste Sicherheitsvorkehrungen zuverlässig ausschließen lassen. Indem der Verfügungsbeklagte insoweit untätig blieb, habe er billigend in Kauf genommen, dass unter seinem Namen Rechtsverletzungen begangen wurden.

Read: use a password and don't disclose it, you are responsible for any abuse. See also IUB's General Policy Governing the Appropriate Use of Computer Resources.

Today between 1500 and 1600 local Bremen time servers and network components will be updated.

Server and network operations will be unreliable. Expect unavailable servers and sudden downtimes of services without prior explicit announcement.

If you have to work on files stored on the server during that time, then before the maintenance hour copy the respective files to your local hard disk, work on it locally, and after finishing your work and after the end of the maintenance interval, copy them back onto the server.

For more details on the maintenance hours see the Maintenance Hours page.

With the teamwork server update of Dec 15 2006 secure connections were enabled.

Upon hitting the login screen, the web connection automagically changes to use https, the secure web protocol. Hence, since then, username and password are sent securely to the server without anyone being able to intercept the confidential credentials. After logging in, the connection stays being secure, so that confidential informations will stay confidential.

Changing between insecure and secure connection

Though, iff you use the "Remember me" function on the login screen, after closing the window and returning back to the teamwork server, you will stay logged in. Depending on the link you used, the connection might either be insecure or secure.

In the insecure case you can force the connection to be secure again by changing the link in the address bar like this:

(warning) Note the change from http to https and the change from 8080 to 8443.

(info) Another way to revert back to secure mode is to logout and login again.

Secure connections put a significantly higher load on the server, and are not required for public information, hence stay enabled.

The Teamwork Service Service Level Agreement has been updated.

Due to production issues and Christmas trade, delivery of new PCs and servers to IUB was severly delayed by our hardware vendor. IRC-IT is currently getting swamped with large deliveries of machines long waited-for, so far amounting to about thirty desktop and laptop computers.

It will take us some time to work through this pile of hardware until successful installation and delivery to our users. In exceptional cases, this may even exceed the six weeks delivery time usually to be anticipated (e.g., see How to replace a desktop computer with a new one).

We regret any inconvenience this may cause, especially to IUB's new members!