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School of Physics and Astronomy – computing
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Periodic update (2023 June)

News and other updates for Spring/Summer 2023. This is an update on the 2023 March summary.

The Network Programme – Kelvin updates in late 2024 §

The Network Programme (NP, now thus-renamed, from NIIP) is still broadly on track. Our slot for network improvement has been slightly pushed back, though.

The campus-wide plans are crystallising, and the expected timescale for Kelvin networking improvements, which includes Eduroam improvements, is now ‘late 2024’.

At the beginning of this year, there was a possiblity that we might be able to bring forward the network-related building work, to make it simultaneous with the accessibility work happening in the building this summer. This was investigated, but proved infeasible. The Kelvin building is now not going to be one of the seven-ish NP pilot sites which will round off phase four of the programme, but is instead anticipated to be early in phase five, starting mid- to late-2024.

Campus IT is aware that this building needs significant network upgrading, for both its wired and wireless infrastructure, but on reflection we probably don't want to be in the ‘so how does this new kit work’ phase.

Management of Apple devices (a.k.a. ‘Jamf’) §

Starting some time this summer, new Apple devices – laptops and tablets – will by default be enrolled in a campus wide ‘device management’ programme, labelled Jamf (the name of the software). What this management consists of is:

A large part of the motivation here is to sidestep a number of GDPR risks, and to make machines match Cyber Essentials standards (and possibly Cyber Essentials Plus), campus-wide conformance with which, apart from any other benefits, is required for some grants.

This may initially sound alarmingly intrusive, but (i) it's very much at the low end of what device management can mean, and (ii) from having a Jamf-enabled laptop for a while this year, I can attest it isn't significantly obstructive in fact.

There will doubtless be some edge-cases we uncover. I'm very happy to discuss those.

There is a similar management system for Windows machines, called Intune. That's currently being trialled in various places on campus, but is reportedly not yet ready for routine deployment.

COSE IT helpdesk §

This is increasingly well-used as the primary route for ‘routine’ IT queries (go to the campus helpdesk at https://www.gla.ac.uk/helpdesk and search for ‘COSE’).

More diffuse queries can still come to phas-it@glasgow.ac.uk. We continue to believe this is a better route for conversations which are vague or require discussion.

brutha/jupyterhub §

We plan some incremental updates over the summer. We expect to have slightly finer-grained control over the amount of memory and CPU available to users (the goal is to stop an enthusiastic but misguided student from trying to enumerate all the prime numbers in the universe). Python doesn't always handle being told ‘no’ terribly gracefully, so this might need some further investigation.

Links §

Any questions, phas-it@glasgow.ac.uk is hanging on the telephone, awaiting your call.