December 11, 2014, ITS:Division Meeting

The ITS:Division met on Thursday, December 11, and discussed the following (please let me know if you have any corrections):

Individual kudos were shared.

Brian provided updates:
1) The direction of the soup kitchen will be changing, with the the new focus, including new location (no longer in Shove Chapel), in place by the end of block eight.  $20,000 has been set aside to help the new program develop.
2) $75,000 in funds will be available for The Big Idea competition in the spring.  This program is part of the Innovation Institute.
3) The 2015-2016 budget process is up and running.  If the college were to fund all of the requests that were submitted from across campus, a 14.8% increase in tuition would be required, so the budget committee is evaluating all requests closely in order to determine what will be put before the trustees in February.  A few other things to note:
a) 5 net new positions in ITS: are part of the college-wide budget requests and include an Office 365 administrator, an applications integrator, an instructional technologist, and two paraprofessional positions in Innovative Technology.
b) The college is aware that ITS: has been under-funded over the last several years.
c) The process for purchasing software and computer hardware continues to be reviewed.

Vish introduced Keith Conger, systems administrator, and Jim Grey, applications programmer/analyst, to the group.  Although Keith has worked for the college for almost 4 months, he just moved to Colorado Springs with his family in early November.  Welcome Keith and Jim…we are glad to have you both on the team!

Vish also congratulated David Ziemba on his promotion to Senior Network Engineer.  Way to go, David!

Open positions update:
1) Information Security Officer – 11 candidates have applied; phone interviews will be done soon.
2) Instructional Technologist – 5 phone interviews were done this week; 3 candidates will come to campus in January.
3) GIS Administrator – 20 candidates have applied; phone interviews will be done soon.

David Ziemba provided an update on the network upgrade, stating that the fine details on the designs are being discussed.  Pre-work on the bore to connect to Internet 2 is in progress.  Prep work for the network upgrade in Loomis Hall, the first building on campus that will receive new equipment, has been done.  The building will be ready for new equipment during half block.  The final decision about which vendors will be used for both the wired and wireless upgrades should be complete by the holiday break.

A Braintrust will be formed to address the new Bradford product.  Chad will be putting this group together following the holiday break.  Please contact Chad if you are interested in participating.

A request was made of the division for each person to bring 2 non-perishable food items to the meeting to donate to Care and Share.  While the initial response was slow, the division kicked into high gear and ultimately brought a total of one moving box full of food to be donated!  Great job, everyone!  We’ll be doing this again next year, so plan ahead!

And per our usual standards, we had some lovely treats during this meeting (thank you Bon Appetit!):

Holiday cupcakes!

Holiday cupcakes!

ITS:Always fun, never boring
Respectfully submitted,
Linda Petro

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“Able-bodied Disabled”

Did you know that Wednesday, December 3, 2014 was International Day of People with Disability?  I did not, but Vish did.  He shared his thoughts about the day with me, and I wanted to share them with you (with his permission, of course), as I found them to be beautifully-stated and very thought-provoking:

“December 3rd is the International People with Disabilities Day.

I recently attended a seminar related to the topic of so-called ‘disabilities’. The participants were challenged to wrestle with three questions: 1) “What is Disability?”, 2) “What is Ability?”, and 3) “What is normal?”. It was such a thought-provoking discussion. At the end of the debate I was convinced that there is no such thing as a “disabled” person.

Given a specific goal to be accomplished, each of us may have disabilities, each of us may have special abilities and it’s perfectly normal to have such abilities and disabilities. We all have our unique set of challenges that we need to overcome to accomplish goals in our life, and often times we need help from the society and fellow human beings to get through those challenges.

The world is built by us so-called “able-bodied” people, and sometimes it makes it challenging for others who have a different set physical or mental attributes than most of us. That doesn’t make them “disabled”. Such individuals have a right to expect that their special needs be fulfilled so they can fully and productively participate in the social activities in this world we’ve built around us. We as a society need to hold each other’s hands and provide that help, whether the need is temporary or permanent; physical or mental. When innovation, technology and compassion come together there are hardly any special needs that cannot be fulfilled. The last thing those with a different set of physical or mental attributes than most need is pity. They need assistance just as any one of us needs assistance to get through challenges in our lives. OK, now I’ll get off the soapbox.

I came across this interesting video (see the link below) that shows how so called able-bodied people became “disabled” in a town built by people in wheel-chairs. I urge you to spend just 84 seconds of your time to watch video. It may change your perspective just as it did mine.

Here’s wishing everyone a very healthy, productive and normal life.

Let’s all celebrate the International People with Disabilities Day. If it were up to me I would rename it as ‘Normal People Day’. With over a billion people around the world with “disabilities”, it has to be normal.

Video link:  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9s3NZaLhcc4

Thank you so much for sharing your perspective on an important day and critical issue, Vish.  Let’s all keep this dialogue going so that we may continue to support and create an inclusive environment in the ITS:Division, as well as the college.

ITS:Always fun, never boring
Respectfully submitted,
Linda Petro

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Our smart spaces team at work

On November 25, I had the pleasure of watching a demo of some new smart classroom equipment recently set up in Barnes 219.  Sean and Randy worked with Professor Stephanie Dicenzo and Paraprofessional Sam Kersten in Physics to explain how the new equipment they installed functions.

Randy explains how to turn on the equipment from the smart cart located under the counter as Sam Kersten and Stephanie DiCenzo look on.  Sean lends his support as well.

Randy explains how to turn on the equipment from the smart cart located under the counter as Sam Kersten and Stephanie DiCenzo look on. Sean lends his support as well.

Randy demonstrates how the document camera works.  The images on the screen look just as they are in real life!

Randy demonstrates how the document camera works. The images on the screen depict the item just as it looks in real life!

In addition to the document camera, a new projector that can move to be able to display an image or movies on more than one wall was installed (only one at a time, but the moving projector allows the professors to have flexibility on where to project and also show calculations on the blackboard or something on the document camera at the same time).  Here’s the video to watch it move from one wall to another:

http://vimeo.com/113534418

The new projector required a special ceiling mount and instead of purchasing one at a very high cost, Randy crafted one at a considerable cost savings.  Here’s the look of the new mount:

The projector's ceiling mount that was designed and built by Randy.

The projector’s ceiling mount that was designed and built by Randy.

This was not the only time Randy put his ingenuity and fabrication skills to work.  He also built a counterweight contraption for a TV in the men’s hockey locker room at the World Arena.  The coach wanted the ability to move the TV up and out of the way once their film reviews were complete.  The problem was that the device built for such a thing was not rated to lift such a heavy TV and even if it had been, it would not have fit into the tight, awkward space that was available for it.  Once again, Randy designed and built just the right equipment to get the job done.

Randy's initial concept for the device.

Randy’s initial concept for the device.

 

The contraption itself...note the tight space around the duct work.

The contraption itself…note the tight space around the duct work.

The final product.  The TV moves as it should with no evidence of the really nifty device that makes it run.

The final product. The TV moves as it should with no evidence of the really nifty device that makes it run.  Don’t worry, Randy…we all know it is there!

Thank you, Randy, for your fabulous design and building work…not only did you find solutions to some sticky problems, you also saved the college money!  And thanks to both you and Sean for doing an amazing job with smart classroom installation and demo for the Physics folks.  It was wonderful to get to see you in action and understand a little more about what you do!

Thanks, too, Randy, for the pictures at the World Arena!

And to celebrate these jobs well-done, Sean showed off with his own version of the happy dance:

Way to "bust a move," Sean!

Way to “bust a move,” Sean!  You help put the fun in ITS:Fun!

ITS:Always fun, never boring
Respectfully submitted,
Linda Petro

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So long and farewell

The Enterprise Technology team took outgoing team member Tracey Tilton to lunch on Tuesday this week to wish her well on her adventures after CC.  Tracey’s last day is officially Friday, November 28, and her teammates wanted to make sure she had a proper send-off before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Manuel, Jim, Liz, Vish, and Tracey share a meal before Tracey's departure from the college.

Manuel, Jim, Liz, Vish, and Tracey share a meal before Tracey’s departure from the college.

Good luck and best wishes to you, Tracey; it has been a pleasure working with you!

ITS:Always fun, never boring
Respectfully submitted,
Linda Petro

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Smash Bash is a smashing success!

ITS: hosted its first “Smash Bash” video game tournament on Friday, November 21 from 1:00 until 4:00 in the Cornerstone Arts Center screening room.  Roving Reporter Chad Schonewill filed this update:

“Smash Bash was definitely a hit today.  32 students attended (more than RSVPed), and John Lauer even came for a few minutes (both his sons were there for the whole event).

One student gave me a fist bump as he walked in and said “I love ITS: man!”  Some other student comments:

  • “There are more people in this theater right now than there were in Rastall at lunch today.”
  • “It’s so cool that you are doing this, can we do it again?”
  • “If you did this during the block, every seat in the screening room would be filled.”

Students loved playing on the big screen – they laughed, applauded, and they cheered… they were more into it than I’ve seen people into football games.  They were very animated and engaged in the event and also very grateful.  They ate all the food, and I think this is actually the first time I have ever seen a CC event with absolutely zero leftover food. =)

I tried to take some decent pictures and videos, but of course we had the lights down so many of them didn’t come out too well.  The students have a video message they wanted us to pass along to Brian…

It gets a little cut off at the beginning, but Leo asked “Should we do this again?” https://vimeo.com/112549205

Here are a few pictures from the event:

The students are ready for the tournament to begin!

Everyone is ready for the tournament to begin!

The snack table before everyone arrives.

The snack table before everyone arrives.

 

The food disappeared!  At least the participants left the dishes behind!

The food disappeared! At least the participants left the dishes behind!

Thank you, Chad, for the report and the pictures!

ITS:Always fun, never boring
Respectfully submitted,
Linda Petro

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It’s cold in here!

Last week’s cold snap brought unusually chilly temperatures…to Dave Armstrong’s office.  Take a look:

Yep, that's cold!

Yep, that’s cold!

Not only is the thermometer registering a temperature below 40 degrees by Dave’s window, it was cold enough at one point to freeze the bottle of water.  Brrrr!  And you thought having an office in the basement had its drawbacks!

Fortunately, Facilities came by to better secure Dave’s window (as it doesn’t sit correctly in its frame, it wasn’t able to close all the way) and the temperatures quickly adjusted to a more normal level.  Thank goodness for our Facilities Department!

Thanks for the picture, Dave…I’m glad things are a bit more balmy for you now!

ITS:Always fun, never boring
Respectfully submitted,
Linda Petro

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October 31 Division Meeting

The division met on Friday, October 31, and discussed the following:

Individual kudos were shared.  Brian also thanked the group for their great performance over the past weeks and stated that while we have had failures, they have not been the same ones over and over.  We are learning and improving each time!

David Ziemba provided a network upgrade update, stating that Loomis Hall would be upgraded first as a trial for the new system, we are in the final negotiations with the wireless and wired companies, and that we have recently joined the Front Range GigaPop consortium.

Matt provided a Canvas update, stating that the transfer to Canvas is going well, Jennifer Golightly was hired as the new LMS Instructional Technologist, and Jennifer’s training sessions during the first block break were successful.  Jennifer noted that Canvas currently has 216 courses, and she is working on transferring the tenure review process into Canvas.

Jeff provided an Office 365 update, stating that 5,109 mailboxes were now in the cloud, most academic departments have been moved, and the goal of having all mailboxes converted by the winter break should be accomplished.

Vish provided a single sign-in update, stating that the effort to roll out the new system was a great collaborative effort across teams and difficulties were quickly rectified upon its release.  Password reset for more functionality and revised Banner buttons will be added sometime in November.  The team will begin to work on adding Summit and the library system to single sign-in in the spring.

Matt provided an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) update, stating that the two copters and one plane they have are currently grounded.  An NSF grant is being pursued to purchase a larger UAV, community outreach regarding the project is underway, and an independent study is going on right now regarding best practices.

Chad provided a Managed Print/PaperCut update, stating that although the initial roll-out of PaperCut was rocky, there are currently no known issues with the system.  PaperCut saved 77 reams of paper from being printed in block two.  Further environmental and cost-savings information for PaperCut will be provided soon.

Linda provided a retreat update, stating that the two new assessments need to be completed by November 7, and the retreat on November 20 is scheduled to begin at 10:00.  More details regarding place and specific agenda will follow soon.  Linda will also be creating a document that shows the summary of the Strengths Finders and Kolbe assessments for everyone in one place.

The group discussed the meeting manual.  The document will be altered based on the conversation and shared with the group soon.

The idea of a braintrust, or feedback system (defined in the book, Creativity, Inc.), was discussed.   ITS: will brainstorm possible braintrust ideas and test the system on those ideas, sharing the results with the group.

Brian noted that the Molecular Biology Department has expressed an interest in having the ITS: space in Barnes.  No one will be moving from Barnes until we have an appropriate space for those ITS: people to move to.  He also mentioned that the Innovation Institute is located in the Morreale Carriage House and has hired a program manager.  While the Innovation Institute is not part of ITS:, the director, Patrick Bultema, does report to Brian.

To celebrate the holiday, anyone who arrived in any sort of costume was awarded a prize.  I gave out a lot of prizes that day for some really great costumes!

Chad "The Cat" Schonewill

Chad “The Cat” Schonewill

Jennifer shows she's a little devil at heart.

What a devilishly clever costume, Jennifer!

 

Leo (Rorschach from the Watchmen) and Weston (Emmet from The Lego Movie) talk about how "everything is awesome" in ITS:.

Leo (Rorschach from the Watchmen) and Weston (Emmet from The Lego Movie) talk about how “everything is awesome” in ITS:.

 

Dan, is that you?  I didn't recognize you with that mustache!

Dan, is that you? I didn’t recognize you with that mustache!

Jim as Captain Jack Sparrow.  I can tell he is up to no good!

Jim as Captain Jack Sparrow. I can tell he is up to no good!

 

Vish made me "Scream" in terror!

Vish made me “Scream” in terror!

The 1980s version of Dave Armstrong...you're looking fabulous, Dave!

The 1980s version of Dave Armstrong…you’re looking totally radical, Dave!

 

I think Rossie has a particular treat in mind...can you guess what it is?

I think Rossie has a particular treat in mind…can you guess what it is?!

I wonder if Liz yells "Boo-ya!" when Joseph scores a goal?!

I wonder if Liz yells “Boo-ya!” when Joseph scores a goal?!

 

I swear...Manuel's always horsing around.  Can't he be more serious?!

I swear…Manuel’s always horsing around. Can’t he be more serious?!

Yep, I am always having to add some color wherever I go.

Yep, I am always having to add some color wherever I go.

 

The gang's all here!

The gang’s all here!

Thanks to everyone who provided updates and participated in the meeting.  A special thanks to all of you who shared the “spirit” of the holiday with your costumes…you all looked marvelous!

ITS:Always fun, never boring
Respectfully submitted,
Linda Petro

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Surprise for The Smash Bash Tournament

A big thank you to ITS:’s anonymous friend for donating the new Wii U system and controllers for the upcoming (and hopefully ongoing) Smash Bash Tournament!  What is the Smash Bash Tournament you ask?  Here’s the descriptor from the CC website:

If you are an avid gamer, staying on campus for block break, or just want to have fun, on November 21 beginning at 1:00 pm in the Cornerstone Screening Room, ITS: will be sponsoring The Smash Bash Tournament.  Gamers will be playing the new Super Smash Bros for the Wii U, which is released the day of the competition.  Novices and experts alike are welcome to put their gaming skills (or lack thereof) to the test and compete against fellow students and ITS: staff.  The victor(s) are awarded with prizes!

The tournament would have taken place without the donation, but the new equipment makes it possible to go on without anyone having to bring in their own personal system.  Thank you, anonymous donor!  Here’s the new loot:

The new ITS: Wii U and controllers, kitties not included.

The new ITS: Wii U and controllers.  Kitties not included.

If you have questions about the tournament, be sure to check with Leo or Chad (thanks for the photo, Chad!) at the Help Desk.  They’d be glad to help!

No kitties were harmed in the picture-taking or writing of this blog.

ITS:Always fun, never boring
Respectfully submitted,
Linda Petro

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Baby T’s Florida Adventures

Baby T was on the road again this month, traveling with me and my husband, Joe, to Florida.  Yes, I said husband…in case you didn’t know, Joe and I made it official on October 17!  We traveled to Florida for our honeymoon and thought Baby T would enjoy the beach air as much as we would, so took him along.

A pier on the Atlantic Ocean at Lauderdale-on-the-Beach.  Baby T was very content watching the waves roll in and out (and unlike the trip to Washington, he didn't try to jump into the water!).

A pier on the Atlantic Ocean at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida. Baby T was very content watching the waves roll in and out (and unlike our trip to Washington, he didn’t try to jump into the water!).

Baby T surveys the vast Florida Everglades, as Joe and I make our way from the Atlantic coast to the Gulf coast.

Baby T surveys the vast Florida Everglades, as Joe and I make our way from the Atlantic Coast to the Gulf Coast.

 

Baby T on the Gulf Coast's Sanibel Island, the seashell capital of the world.  Watch out, those shells are tough on the toes!

Baby T on the Gulf Coast’s Sanibel Island, the seashell capital of the world. Watch out, those shells are tough on the toes!

The beach air and relaxing time away did all of us some good and now we’re ready to take on our next adventures.  Where will Baby T go next?  Who knows, but I know he and Mama T are up for anything!

ITS:Always fun, never boring
Respectfully submitted,
Linda Petro

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Interview with: Jeff Black, User Support Specialist – Cloud Support

Jeff Black is my latest interviewee:

Jeff Black

Jeff Black

1)     What brought you to CC?

I had heard a lot about CC from Tulio, and it sounded like a great place to work. I jumped at the opportunity when he told me a position opened up. I had done a lot of customer service work in the past, and have always been working on computers, so I thought it would be a good fit.

2)     How long have you worked here?

Almost three years. I started in January 2012.

3)     Give a brief description of what it is you do here.

I provide excellent service in fixing anything (yes, anything) people bring to me. I’m a generalist, and I know something about everything so that I can solve most of the problems people have. I still do advanced troubleshooting, but for some of the more technical problems I need to rely on the specialists in our department. Still, I strive to solve most of the problems here at the Help Desk without sending people somewhere else. It provides the best experience.

4)     What’s your ITS: word (or words) and why?

I picked one – Service. I feel it really is at the center of everything I do. The goal is not to just fix the problem, rather it’s to meet the needs of the customer. Sometimes that is fixing a problem. Sometimes it’s posing an entirely new solution. Sometimes it’s just being here to really listen. At the end of the day things need to be fixed, but the job is much more than just that.

5)     Who’s your hero and why?

My Aunt Sue is my biggest hero. She moved here to raise my brother and myself, eventually retiring from her job at Jet Propulsion Laboratories in California to do so. She’s been through more than I can really describe to take care of us, and there is no one that I look up to or trust more. She’s brilliant, determined, and is always learning and growing.

6)     What sound or noise do you love?

The sound, or lack thereof, made by falling snow. I live out in Falcon, and I love the peace and quiet.

7)     What sound or noise do you hate?

Alarms. Of any sort. Alarm clocks are the worst.

8)     Name one or two of your hobbies.

I enjoy gaming (any sort of game, so long as it’s fun), and I like to tinker with mechanical stuff. I have an old motorcycle (1980 CB650) that I recently finished for next summer. It was sitting in a friend’s yard for probably a decade, and he said I could take it if I could get it out of there. I’m looking forward to the next project, and I’m hoping to start on a small 4×4 so that I have something nice to drive during the winters here. I love older stuff.

9)     When others describe you, what do they say?

They usually say something about me being happy or cheerful. It’s hard to say what people really notice. There are a lot of sides to me that many people just don’t see.

10)  If you could have a super-power, what would it be?

Infinite wisdom. I can’t imagine anything more powerful.

11)  How would you use that super-power in ITS:?

I’d be able to discern what our problems really are, and the best course of action to solving them. I’d be able to figure out how to prevent them from happening again. The possibilities are endless when you have a power like that.

Thank you, Jeff, for being willing to be interviewed for the blog…I’m glad we’ve had this opportunity to get to know a little more about you!  ITS: is grateful to have you as part of the team, and I know many of our colleagues across campus feel the same way.

ITS:Always fun, never boring
Respectfully submitted,
Linda Petro

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