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February 2007 IT News

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Daylight Savings Time Change Affects Calendar and Computers

Alarm clock

Calendar Users: Check Shifted Meetings
Due to the recent change in the start and end dates for Daylight Savings Time (DST), the Lab's calendar software was upgraded by the IT Division on Sunday. An Oracle bug may cause some events — especially recurring meetings — scheduled during the new DST days (March 11 to April 1 and Oct. 28 to Nov. 4) — to be shifted by one hour from their intended time. The only solution is to manually correct the shifted meetings. Go here for instructions on how to correct these entries. The IT Division is following Oracle’s recommended solution, similar to other institutions.

System Administrators: Check Your Computers
Computer systems need to be patched to adjust for the time changes as well. IT has developed a detailed list of instructions about what needs to be updated for system administrators (and for users who want to know what is being done to address the issue), here.

Library Moves May Delay Service

Movers

The Library is undergoing two physical moves, 1) the movement of materials from the LBNL Berkeley warehouse, to the Richmond warehouse, and 2) a compaction of space and movement of personnel within the 50B collection. These moves are scheduled over the next month and may result in some delays to researchers seeking material stored in either of these locations during the period of Feb. 12 through March 23. Library staff will make every effort to continue prompt services during this time and apologize for any inconvenience to patrons. The Library expects to be back in full business by March 23.

Web Feeds Now Available at LBNL

Web feed logo

LBNL is considering expanding the use of Web feeds (e.g. RSS, XML) for syndication and delivery of information, as noted in the Feb. 21 edition of Today at Berkeley Lab (TABL). In order to help gage interest, Public Affairs is publishing TABL and Science at Berkeley Lab (SABL) as Web feeds. Some scientific divisions are already providing Web feeds. For an example, go here. IT News is also available as a feed. When you see an image that looks like the orange feed icon, the content next to it is provided as a web feed. For more information about Web feeds and how to use Firefox or Thunderbird to subscribe, go here or call the IT Help Desk (x4357).

Novell Users Must Logout Daily to Ensure Proper Backups

Novell logo

Novell file system users who store files (including "locally" stored mail files) need to log out of Novell prior to leaving for the day. When a user leaves an application open, the system will not backup because it thinks that the files which appear to be open are in use. If a restore were to be requested, IT may not have the most current version. For questions, contact the IT Help Desk (x4357).

LBLnet Upgrades Wide Area Network Connection to 10 Billion Bits/Second Technology

Network cabling

Last month, LBLnet's Wide Area Network connection was upgraded to transport multiple, high-bandwidth (>1Gbps) network streams. The increase in network capacity improves support for large data sets, high-performance file systems, and real-time collaboration services, benefiting both research and operations activities at LBNL. The upgrade was completed by the IT Division's LBLnet group, in coordination with the Computer Protection Program and ESnet staff.

Mathematica on UX9

AMD 64-bit processors

The IT Division has commissioned a new UX9 64-bit Linux server featuring eight AMD Opteron 2.6 Ghz processor cores and a total of 16GB memory to replace the old UX8 Sun Microsystems server. The new server provides computing cycles to researchers who need access to a medium-sized SMP system for jobs with larger-than-desktop memory requirements, and serves users who need to do algorithm development with the Portland Group Fortran and C++ compilers.

Mathematica 5.2 is also available to UX9 users. This latest version offers a host of new capabilities, especially for working with large-scale, diverse types of data. Go here for more information. Users with existing UX8 accounts should be able to access the new UX9 server with the same login and password.  New users must request an account from the IT Help Desk. For questions, contact Vladimir Eberman.

 

Protecting Your Computer

Secure Your Wireless Network At Home

Wireless security

If you have a wireless network at home, have you taken basic steps to secure it? One important step you can take is to change the default password of your router to something only you know. Wireless routers typically arrive with a default password like "admin" or "password." Changing this to a secure password protects your router - and your computer - from attack, including a new stealthy attack recently discovered by researchers which could lead to loss of your personal information and passwords. Turning on the encryption capabilities of your wireless router, especially WPA and WPA2, provides additional protection but can be slightly harder to configure. Consult the manufacturer's website or your manual to identify how to change default passwords and configure encryption.


Reminder: Be Wary of Common Document Formats in Email

@ symbol

Even if your computer is up to date with all its patches, common document formats like .doc, .pdf, .xls, and .ppt can still pose a risk. New vulnerabilities in these formats are discovered constantly, and patches are sometimes not available immediately. Stop and consider whether you expect the attachment and whether it makes sense that you'd be getting it from the sender. If you're unsure and you know the sender, you can contact then to confirm that they sent it. As always, take a moment to consider before you click. If something doesn't feel right, don't open it.


Virus Update: More Than 106,000 Worms Now Extinct

Computer worm image

The Lab's virus wall continues to guard LBNL systems against worm and virus infections. Last month it detected and destroyed 106,581 worms and viruses, almost all of which targeted Windows systems. The number is similar to the number in December, which was 99,134. As a best practice, users should continue to be wary of unexpected emails and attachments— and make sure security software and patches are up to date.

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