Tag Archives: tech support

campus blogs, integration, support, all that jazz.

I’m posting this using the campus implementation of WordPress even though I don’t want to. I’d rather post this using the latest version of WordPress with all the plugins I’ve come to use with my other blogs. The trouble is that WordPress on our campus as currently conceived is more work than our support people are able to deal with in a timely manner. Too many projects clearly and correctly rank higher for our network team than upgrading or patching something that isn’t fully supported anyway.

It is quite nice that WordPress MU allows for integration with an LDAP server. This means that for this blog I can use the same username and password that I use for a number of other campus services. However it does not integrate into our campus website nor does our campus portal let WordPress or RSS feeds “plug in” for a user.

So what is the bottom line? Is blogging at Illinois Wesleyan viable? Sure, but it isn’t bulletproof. We have turned the corner and are engaged in regular discussions about what technologies we need to include in a standard “tool set” for faculty. A few faculty have included blog software in their courses, as a means to facilitate out of class discussion. In my opinion we first need a strong commitment to a technology from the faculty body (the summer workshop sponsored by the Mellon Center was a great start) and then we can find the resources to make it happen.

Microsoft training

Today was the start of a three-day onsite Microsoft Vista training class at work. I’ve been to lots of these courses and I guess I’ve adapted to them. Others didn’t take to it so easily. Upon reflection I can see why. The first module is all about “troubleshooting methodology”. While I understand that someone wishing to become a MS certified support person would need to know Microsoft’s doctrine on troubleshooting techniques, I’m not so sure it needs to be an instructor-led piece, and I’m dead sure it shouldn’t lead off the first day.

Furthermore, the whole class is done with virtualization. This is a cool, cheap way to go that doesn’t waste a lot of time (except in setting up). However it is kind of hard to conceptualize a series of remote connections to virtual machines on the same single physical PC.

I have learned a few neat support tricks that I’m not sure I would have found otherwise. Apparently there is now a Windows Recovery Environment that trumps the old command line Recovery Console. It includes a memory test – better 12 years late than never! I also never realized that the msconfig application in Vista has an extra tab. You can use it to launch a number of different tools, including a reg file that disables/enables User Account Control.

I certainly hope that the rest of the class will find similar gems even among the questionable course design by MS. I’d hate to see this first group training effort be our last!