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October 14, 2011

One again, it is time for more scheduled maintenance. You might be wondering how we go about picking the dates for these things.
February 1712 from Swedish Almanac
This is what the Swedes used to schedule maintenance in early modern Europe.
The enlightening - albeit short and boring - answer after the break. Generally speaking, ITS performs maintenance on the Saturday that follows the second... Read More

October 10, 2011

ITS will once again be performing scheduled maintenance this Saturday, October 15th, 2011, from 8:30am to 5:30pm. During this maintenance period, you may be unable to access ITS services. If you encounter any problems, please wait until the maintenance period has elapsed and check if you still run into problems before reporting them to the Technology Helpdesk via email at helpdesk@oxy.edu or by voicemail at (323) 259-2880 (x2880 from on campus). We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this maintenance may cause.

Have questions about why we do the things we do or when we do them?

Please feel free to send me an email or leave a comment and keep an eye on our blog. Boring technical details about what we'll be doing this Saturday below the break. Here's the breakdown of how we'll be spending our time this Saturday. Note that all time are approximate - they... Read More

October 6, 2011

When Gmail debuted on April 1st, 2004, one of its most controversial features was conversation view. Depending on who you talked to, people either hated it or... well, supposedly there were some folks who loved it but not enough to publish their thoughts about it. For the haters, Google finally relented last September and provided an option to turn it off. Read More

September 30, 2011

Facebook recently rolled out an updated version of their interface and while much of the focus has been on how useful or pointless the new interface is and how it may or may not have been influenced by one of their competitors, what ended up getting buried was yet another Facebook feature that can potentially violate your privacy.

Freaky. Image by Wikimedia Commons user Maxo.

More exposition after the break. "Enumerating badness" is a term borrowed from the information security world used to describe an approach to security that ended up not working. The most well-known example of this is anti-virus software, which used a static list of...

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September 27, 2011

As we've previously discussed, we've been here a while. Some longer than others. In January of 1978, Paul Hubbard, a freshman at the time, took a job with the Data Processing department and worked with punch cards for our IBM System/370 Model 125.

IBM System/370 Console

Photo courtesey of Martin Wichary

The System/370 had four hard drives that stored a whopping 70MBs each. For those of you too young to know what a megabyte is, a gigabyte is...

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September 26, 2011

With an Academic Commons Open House coming up this Thursday, I figured this would be a good time to formally introduce the folks who have been inundating you with blog entries and mass emails about network emergencies.

Oxy Network Diagram from June 2011

And this is only part of what we do

What NOS stands for and other facts you would likely have been better off not knowing after the break.

Networking, Operations and Systems

That's what NOS...

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September 22, 2011

Just about all of the major browsers have a private browsing function and they all work pretty much the same way - they discard your browsing history, browser cache, and information that you typed into forms once you close the browser.

They're all pretty much the same

But does it actually protect your privacy? It depends on what kind of privacy you're after. More on this after the break. Allegedly, the value of a private browsing mode is that it would allow for use cases such as a thoughtful people who use a... Read More

September 21, 2011

It seems that if you're already using your phone's ability to know where it is in the world, there should be a way to get the phone to tell you where it is if you were to lose it. Right?

Google's Device Location

Found it!

It's easier than you think and costs nothing.  Instructions after the break.

Got an iPhone?

Apple offers an app and associated service called Find my iPhone which does pretty much...

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September 21, 2011

If you were to ask Facebook how many users they had, they would tell you that as of 21 Sep 2011, there are 750 million active users and 70% of them are outside of the United States. That means 225 million users in the United States - amost 75% of the national population - is using Facebook. It's easy to see, then, why so many folks find it easy to disregard the naysayers and find a sense of safety and comfort in the fact that they are just small fish in a very, very big pond. But is it really as safe and anonymous as the numbers seem to suggest? Spoiler alert: It isn't.

... Read More

September 15, 2011

As you can guess from our schedule of activities for this Saturday, the point of maintenance boils down to keeping stuff up to date and fixing stuff that's broken. So why do we need to keep things up to date and why can't we fix the broken stuff some other time?
Automatic Updates

Where's the "Restart Never" button?

Excellent questions. Potentially unconvincing answers below the break.

Why bother with updates?

For a while, not updating systems was the norm and this was for all the reasons that are likely to... Read More

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