Blog from July, 2010

The legacy UNIX environment called Owlnet is being retired on Monday, August 2.

Not to be confused with Owl-Space or IT-supported classrooms, this system was once used to host course accounts. All course account owners were notified multiple times by print and email in the last eight months, and active course accounts have been re-hosted elsewhere.

Please contact the Help Desk ( or 713.348.HELP) if you need further assistance with your course accounts. is being retired from service on August 3, 2010.

Webprint is a legacy web application that allowed customers to login and print documents from within the application. It has been used only once in the last year, and only 11 times in the last 18 months. All five customers who used the application in the last year and a half have been previously notified of the impending retirement.

Updates will be posted on the IT web site:

A new phishing-blocker feature for the campus-wide email system began its pilot run on Tuesday, July 27.

2000 confirmed phishing messages were prevented from entering the Rice email system in the first 24 hours of the pilot run.

Further updates will be posted to the IT web site:

This maintenance has been completed as scheduled. Please contact the help desk for any issues.

There will be a 20-minute maintenance window for part of the Rice network tomorrow morning: Tuesday, July 27 from 6:00 AM until 6:20 AM.

A few applications may experience intermittent connection interruptions during the maintenance.

Updates will be posted to the IT web site:

IT will begin a pilot program to block confirmed phishing messages on Tuesday rather than this weekend. Updates will be posted to the IT website.

Several servers on the Rice network will be affected by a maintenance window on Tuesday morning, July 27 from 6:00 AM until 6:20 AM.

We do not anticipate any campus-wide services to be affected, however a few applications may experience intermittent connection interruptions during the 20 minute window.

Updates will be posted to the IT web site:

For the next week, IT will pilot an email system feature that blocks phishing messages before they can enter the campus email system.

Additional information on the phish-blocking pilot program can be found in IT Tutorials:

Updates on the pilot program will be published on the IT web site.

The ECE file server upgrades have been completed and service has been restored. IT will monitor the server until midnight tonight for any problems that might arise.

Thank you.

Both the Greenbriar and IBC buildings experienced a short power outage. Both appear to be back up and functioning at this time. If you continue to experience network outages, please contact your divisional representative or the IT:Help Desk (x4357, xHELP).

There is NO virus in our system.

Any message that provides a link for you to log in (to prevent account deletion or damage to your account) as well as any message that requests your reply with a user name and password IS A HOAX!

Feel free to submit suspicious messages to the Help Desk and we will add them to the Catch of the Day blog:

If you gave up your password through a phishing scheme, contact the Help Desk for
assistance: 713.348.HELP(4357) or

Rice's Callpilot voicemail system is scheduled for a 2-hour maintenance
window late Saturday night, July 17, 2010, from 10:00 PM to midnight

The Rice telephone system will not be affected.

Rice's Callpilot voice mail system will not be available during this
time; no messages will be recorded until the system is returned to
service around midnight.

Updates will be posted to the IT website:

VPN Maintenance

VPN maintenance began at 0600 and lasted for a duration of 3 minutes. Please contact Dylan Jacob (x4216) if you are experiencing any issues. Thanks.

RicePrint will be unavailable for 10 minutes early Friday morning. The outage will occur on July 9, between 5:00 and 5:10 AM. Updates will be posted to the IT web site:

RicePrint will be unavailable for 10 minutes during a maintenance window early Friday morning, July 9, between 5:00 and 5:10 AM. Updates will be posted to the IT web site:

VPN Maintenance

VPN maintenance has been completed. If you experience any problems, please contact Dylan Jacob at x4216.

At this time we believe the issue with authentication to home directories and department shares is resolved. If you are still having problems connecting to a share or storage drive letter, please contact the help desk or your divisional representative.

We have not defined the root cause for the reported problem at this time, however logging off and back on seems to remedy the authentication errors for Windows. Macs running 10.5 are working correctly.
At this time IT has only 2 reports of this issue.

IT has received notification and confirmed that home directories and department shares on the storage services are not authenticating. IT is aware of the problem and is looking for a solution

The ECE file server experienced a failed disk controller this morning. Temporarily, all NFS exported and SAMBA exported filesystems for ECE machines were unavailable.

A reboot of the server brought the filesystems back online, but the root cause of the failure is still being investigated. Updates will be provided if the server fails again or if downtime is needed to address the root cause.