Viruses, spam, Pipeline upgrades await VSU users

Here is an article on computer viruses, spam, and the new portal for which I was interviewed for the Spectator, the university student news paper.

Josh Stone

Campus computers are getting sick from e-mail viruses and spam, but Information Technology staff members say they have medicine to fight the problem.

“We can’t really eliminate them, but we can try to shield people from them,” Ezra Freelove, webmaster, said.

At www.valdosta.edu/antivirus, Internet Technology provides an anti-virus program called PC-Cillin that can be downloaded free. This program scans e-mail for viruses and provides protection against them.

If students don’t want this free software, they should look for products that analyze e-mail to see if a virus is attached or not.

Freelove said all VSU’s lab and faculty computers have OfficeScan, an antivirus scanning program.

The web site also provides a top 10 list of VSU’s nastiest viruses. You can click on the virus names to get information on the damage they cause, how they can be recognized and how they can be removed from your computer system.

Freelove said viruses start off campus. Somebody will receive one, spread it over the Internet, and eventually the virus gets here. He said one or two days pass from the time Information Technology hears about a virus to the time it is found on campus.

E-mail spam is also a problem.

Freelove said the primary cause of spam is people who have realized they can collect e-mail addresses, send e-mails and get paid for doing so.

“Spamming is a business,” he said.

A lot of people have configured their e-mail servers so anyone can use them. Spammers figure this out and use the server to send e-mails.

“VSU’s server is configured so not everyone is allowed to send out e-mails,” Freelove said.

E-mail viruses and spam are problems, but so is the task of figuring out how to access an e-mail account for the first time.

“I’ve gotten into it, but I forget how to use it,” Rachel Sault, a freshman dental hygiene major, said.

On VSU’s homepage there is a link called “Finding Your Student E-Mail Account.” This web page uses pictures and words in a step-by-step format to help students figure out what their e-mail username and password are.

Freelove said the help desk on the first floor of Ashley Hall is also a good resource.

For more information about technological matters on campus, call the Information Technology Help Desk at 245-4357.

Campus Pipeline Update

Campus Pipeline, one of VSU’s e-mail servers, is being upgraded. As of press time, Campus Pipeline was still inaccessible after being down since Friday afternoon.

Originally, Campus Pipeline was supposed to be back online as of late Tuesday. Freelove said the server was shutdown was due to complications during the upgrade from the current version of Pipeline to version 3.2.

 

New WebCT upgrade currently being tested

Here is an article on a WebCT upgrade for which I was interviewed for the Spectator, the university student news paper.

Mirabai Oyao

WebCT now has an upgrade available and VSU expects it to start operating after graduation in December.

“In the past we have been hesitant about upgrading our [VSU’s] system because we [the University] couldn’t afford it,” Ezra Freelove, webmaster, said.

The University System of Georgia bought the licensing from WebCT earlier this year, and has arranged to buy licenses that will cover the entire university system. As a result, VSU is now able to deal with finances through USG directly, rather than paying WebCT. This purchase was a determining factor that made the upgrade of WebCT possible.

The current 3.6 version of WebCT and the new 3.8 version of WebCT are being used simultaneously by VSU faculty in a trial run this semester.

“So far so good,” Freelove said in regard to the new 3.8 version of WebCT. “The new version will be a great improvement and definitely simplify the use of it.”

The new WebCT browser looks the same as far as graphics are concerned, but the new features in the 3.8 version are designed to make the administration of the server a lot easier. The new browser strives to enhance the faculty’s ability to upload files more readily through WebDAV, a system within WebCT. The new system will also support multiple terms that can list courses defined in all semesters.

Advancements beyond this upgrade will be the introduction of an entirely different system called Vista, which is anticipated to improve the use of online course work as well as establish an even more cohesive administration. Vista is expected to be operating as VSU’s primary online course system by fall semester 2003.

Wow, we did not actually go live with Vista until spring 2005.

Horde

Dependencies sux… knew IMP required the Horde Framework, PHP, MySQL, and Apache.

Horde requires MySQL, gettext, and mcrypt (don’t find out those last 2 until one reads the directions for installing it from the download cause they are not on the site).

So get all the Horde stuff done. Ready for IMP, right? Oh, wait… you have to install PHP with IMAP support. Oops.

Okay, grab IMAP. BUT WAIT! IMAP now require OpenSSL.

Time for lunch before I blow a gasket.

 

Dependencies sux… knew IMP required the Horde Framework, PHP, MySQL, and Apache.


Horde requires MySQL, gettext, and mcrypt (don’t find out those last 2 until one reads the directions for installing it from the download cause they are not on the site).


So get all the Horde stuff done. Ready for IMP, right? Oh, wait… you have to install PHP with IMAP support. Oops.


Okay, grab IMAP. BUT WAIT! IMAP now require OpenSSL.


Time for lunch before I blow a gasket.

My conversation with an AI.



Ezra: What’s your IQ?
SC: Wow, you ask interesting questions. I don’t know the answer to that!
Ezra: Why not?
SC: Why not?
Ezra: Asked you 1st.
SC: Oh.



{CLARIFICATION} AI = Artificial Intelligent
SC = SmarterChild (an internet messenger-based supposedly artifically intelligent conversation program – you talk to it like you would a person and it responds)


The above is my conversation with SmarterChild.

SmarterChild

My conversation with an AI.

Ezra: What’s your IQ?
SC: Wow, you ask interesting questions. I don’t know the answer to that!
Ezra: Why not?
SC: Why not?
Ezra: Asked you 1st.
SC: Oh.

😀

{CLARIFICATION} AI = Artificial Intelligence
SC = SmarterChild (an internet messenger-based supposedly artifically intelligent conversation program – you talk to it like you would a person and it responds)

The above is my conversation with SmarterChild.