Blog from December, 2007

After reviewing our pros and cons of testing the Duncan Hall network ports during
the Winter Recess, we have determined that partial testing of currently unused ports
is not worth the cost. We will review this plan one more time with our cable material
provider after we return to the office on January 2, 2008.

William Deigaard
Director, Networking, Telecommunications & Data Center Operations Rice University
(713) 248-5262

OWL-Space, Rice's course management and collaboration application, is scheduled for maintenance on Thursday, January 3, 7:00-9:00 a.m. Based on customer requests, we will add updates for performance improvement to the Assignments tool and some additional feedback options to the Tests & Quizzes tool. These spring semester updates must be in place before classes begin; the date and time for the maintenance window was selected for minimal impact on instructors and students, according to usage statistics for this system.

PC-cillin is the anti-virus software recommended for use by Rice community members on their personal and/or home computers. Computers with this Rice software are probably displaying reminder notices that the license expires at the end of this year. Trend Micro, the vendor, has not yet provided the 2008 license keys to Rice, but the current license keys are actually valid through February 2008. The 2007 expiration reminder can be ignored and the software will still work until the end of February. As soon as the 2008 license keys are received from the Vendor, we will notify the campus.

A maintenance window for has been scheduled for January 4, 2008, 7:00 p.m. through 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 5. The scheduled outage will begin at 7:00 p.m. and may take only a few hours, but the 12-hour maintenance window ensures adequate time to resolve any unanticipated issues. For a complete list of all the applications and systems that may be affected during this window see the IT web page announcement at:

During winter break, Rice IT Networking staff members will escort our contractor through Duncan Hall offices, labs, and meeting areas so that they can re-test the newly installed network ports, part of RiceNet2.

We are currently scheduling this work for December 26, 27, 28, and 29, 2008 (Wednesday - Saturday). Our teams will work between 7:00 am - 5:00 pm on each day as necessary.

In order to minimize any potential disruption of systems and computers using the Duncan Hall network, we will only be testing network ports that are empty. We will also not be moving any furniture or items that block easy access to the network ports.

Our contractor will be supervised by full-time Rice networking staff at all times. Our staff will unlock and re-lock all of the doors and will not leave any of the contractors alone in any office or lab area.

If, for some reason, you do not want anyone to enter your office during this testing, please provide your office or lab number to William Deigaard via email ( prior to 5:00 pm on December 23, 2007.

As always, we appreciate your patience while we work to improve Rice's technology infrastructure.

Beginning January 9, 2008, OWL-Space may unavailable each Wednesday morning from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 a.m. for weekly maintenance.   If no changes are required that week, the system will remain online through the maintenance window.  If changes are planned for a specific Wednesday maintenance window, details will be posted on OWL-Space earlier in the week.

UPDATE: 4:11 p.m. The network has been restored. If you notice any further connectivity issues, please contact the Help Desk: 713.348.HELP(4357). Thank you for your patience!

UPDATE: 3:43 p.m. The reboot of the router in Duncan did not solve the previously identified network problems. IT is currently replacing a key component in the router. This work should be complete by 4:00 p.m. We will continue to post updates on the IT web site.

Thanks for your patience as we troubleshoot this issue. IT has to reboot a router in Duncan at 3:00 p.m. in order to diagnose networking issues currently being experienced in Duncan Hall. There may be a temporary loss of network communications (email, Internet, calendar,, OWL-Space, etc.) but these should return shortly. Updates will be posted on the IT web page:

A bad optics module in one of the two Duncan Hall Ricenet One routers is causing network performance in that building to be severely degraded. A team of network architects has been dispatched to address the issue and we anticipate resolution by 1:30 this afternoon. A follow-up message will be sent when we are sure the problem is resolved.

The Real time Black hole List service (RBL) is currently unavailable.  The outage will prevent users from being able to opt in or out of this service only.  Since this is not a critical service, it will be restored during business hours.

Owlspace back on line

The web site is back on line.

UPDATE: 9:58 a.m. - the 9:22 a.m. message indicating OWL-Space was back online was incorrect. It remains down while technicians research the problem. We have also learned that the web update system is malfunctioning. The ITalerts mailing list is active and we will continue to make announcements through this channel. Manual updates to the IT and VPIT web pages will continue in the absence of the automatic updates from the ITalerts news announcements. --Carlyn Chatfield, Manager, IT Technical Communications.

previous message (incorrect) was: 9:22 a.m. OWL-Space when down early Saturday morning. Technicians restored the system and are researching the cause. Updates will be posted to the IT web site as needed.

Owlspace is off line

The web site is currently off line.  Technicians have been dispatched are currently working on the problem.

Owlspace Off line

The Owlspace course management system was off line this morning for about 1 hour.  Technicians were dispatched and were able to restore the service which is now available.