Your Digital Bridge to the World


Top Topics
Adding SEAS students to the Microsoft Campus Agreement being debabated. Stay tuned.

IT Benefits To Know About



Software to know about!


Here is a status of projects both completed and under way for CEEMIT. Want to help out on a project to learn a little or get it done faster =) Then contact me and lets talk.

First a word on what we are attempting to do here.

Vision statement
Create IT Systems that are worthy of this top tier, Ivy League school through interdepartmental, University, and external partnerings) .  Develop an IT Department that positions itself to continually meet or exceed the needs, expectations and requirements of the faculty, administration, and the students. 

To meet these lofty goals, savvy investment, open communication and the opportunity for collaboration are key.  To acquire this, we must create systems that allow for and encourages open discussion, information exchange and open departmental participation for all. It would be beneficial to establish secure and easily accessible internal and remote access to resources and to provide the tools to encourage the growth and understanding of technologies as it is applied to the pursuit of research and the obtaining of knowledge.

Ongoing Projects
My largest project is ongoing. It is the daily technology support required to keep the department moving...
-Daily troubleshooting
-Purchase Requisitions
-PC Lab upkeep and maintenance
-Virus and malware extermination
-Advising on technological investments
-Purchasign process in collaberation with the Front Office
-Setup, testing and deployment of all new IT equipment (computers, monitors, etc)
-IT Security
-Server Account Creation & Management
-Server & Services administration, monitoring and maintenance
-Printer administration, monitoring and functionality
-Computer safety, disaster recovery and prevention
-PC and software updates & deployment
-System Backups
-Computer hardware and software testing
-Transferring services, their data and software upgrades
-Technical assistance on CEEM web site.
-CEEMIT Web updates, backup, development

When I have time outside of these duties, I focus on development of projects and solutions that keep the department moving forward.

Recent benefits of this research are:
-Vmware server and workstation - Outstanding benefits, how did we live without this?
-Ubuntu server & workstation - offer the department flexibility
-Roaming Profiles - seem useful =)
-Rock cluster - non successful, but learned a bit.


-=Open Projects - Top 5=-

- Server Room - Air conditioner install
Its hot in here...

- Proposoal for new investments and bulk purchase pitch to Dean, Meyer and Dell - For Summer 2008

- Posting of PC Lab bulleting board

- Finish the PC Lab "functionality" adjustements

- Install projectors in PC Lab


-=Top - The Rest =-

-Punch down list for all completed projects.
-re-assess all completed projects. Look from problems.
-Full and complete implementation? Success/failures.
-Backup Disaster plan, restores, better ways?

- Enforcer - You's want software?

- We have invested into the keyserver. This server provides us the ability to share concurrent licenses. This will significantly decrease the cost of software licensing and potentially allow for the purchase of other industry standard software.

- Faculty and student Shares
Encourage data flow, ease of data transfer, collaboration and the conservation of media.

- Data backup and disaster preparedness
-Write Departmental Policy on data backup policies
-Reassess servers and disaster plan for IT. Check over current backups and implementations.
-Implement BU and disaster plan for FO. Centralize local to network backups to Keystone? To an external hard drive for privacy?
-Recommendations to Faculty, Staff and Students via email/web site

- MS Data Protection Manager Server
Hard drive and tae backup Software.

- CRM database - Professor Meyer
Centralized database for contacts.
---Special groups
-Flexibility for adding groups to other groups. Easy of maintenance and use.
-Server/Web Based for Accessibility.
-Backup and Recovery flexibility
-import text file options.
-integration with existing systems (outlook, thunderbird...)

-Does Columbia have anything we can use?

Stadd Pro
Somewhere down the line (before I started), Stadd Pro had some issues. It maybe a license issue. I would like to get this application running and available again.

Beta version of MSDNAA offered to students via web site. I need to work with Columbia to setup a secure departmental login for MSDNAA. So far no luck.

Automated distribution of software and windows updates. Automated hardware/software inventory and monitoring.

- SharePoint
Web base collaboration system

- Wsus?
Microsoft updates management. SMS might handle this.



- Printer paper drawer lock downs - the paper is secure... we can all sleep at night... shooo.
Paper Drawers will be locked down after the successful implementation of the quota system to prevent paper from migrating... A recent enhancement to the public printers is increase paper holding capacity. The department will setup a routine to ensure the printers stay full of paper.

- Tape Backup Donation from CCIT - post testing, it is not reliable, need a new tape backup system.
Received a 128T PowerVault from CCIT. Its missing a few parts and needs tapes to get test ready. Need to test it out and see if it will meet our needs.

Thanks to CCIT for donated several pieces of their replaced equipment to Civil and putting us on the "we'll take that" list.

- Calculations Lab - postponed - got a Calc server instead.
As a side project, I am attempting to configure a small calculations lab from discarded computers. This has had its trials and tribulations, but is inching forward. More to come.

- Drafter - Printer quotas
- postponed.
Monitor and limit print jobs. A quota system will be in place to monitor and protect our paper supplies. I am pushing for a reasonable and free printing quota. The amount of pages per week has not been decided on yet, but I am encouraging a number that students would not normally hit, unless they were abusing the printers. The main reason for this implementation is to make people think before they print. The department spends quite a bit of money on paper and offers printing free to everyone. This is a large cost and needs controls and system measures to plan for budgeting, monitor for abuse, etc.
* Print Server, Drafter is setup
-test new software on test domain
- Any problems or issues?
- Do you need to be on the domain to send a print?
- Does it support quotas and pay printing?
- If it works, re-route all printers through server.
- Backup Plan if server goes down
- Backup & Disaster plan = Static service - ghost/backup each week to Administration server.

- Finish Gnoll Transfer
-Move Canon folders and change canon settings
-Move Front Office share
-Assess remaining data for transfer
-Backup Data if needed
-Remove remaining clients from domain. Trans to Civil
-Trans antivirus service
-Decommission Gnoll.

- Setup Canon for GRA/TA and Adjunct use
-Assess privacy needs and decrease administrative needs. Can they use a group folder, or need individual access. GRA/TA's need individual access for grading, exams, etc.
- Adjuncts?
- Storage of the new drive in Keystone. Store in their Z drive folders for easy access? One drive to map/access. Increase use of Z drive.

- Meyer - PC Lab Install - Inflin

- Work with Berk and Virginia on Inflin-Meyer software project.

- Dean funded New Civil Web site
The Dean is funding a new Civil web site. We are working with a Columbia web design team to make the new site. Currently we are in the navigation construction phase. We should be heading to the graphic design phase fairly soon. I expect the work on this project to conclude near the end of December. Go live expected for early January.
-Meeting 1-Complete
-Proposal 1-Sturctural Layout - Complete
-Meeting 2-complete
-Proposal 2-Sturctural Layout - Complete
-Proposal 3-Sturctural Layout - Complete

-Design Phase1-Artist create and propose Headers
-Design Phase2-Artist create and propose Site design
-CCIT creates and proposes site design
-CEEM receives training on backend administration of new site.
-CEEM transfers data from old site, update text where missing and as needed.
-CEEM add buckets and modify structural design as needed.
-CEEM daily ongoing updates to news event, calendar and other areas as needed
-CEEM - Site security/permissions, site backup and disaster recovery/maintenance plan.
-CEEM transfer of Professor and course sites to the new backed-up redundant Columbia web server


-Two New Professor Computers arriving soon.
Ling & Chen. Need setup and testing.

- Printer Cost Analysis
How much does each printer cost to print/mo/yr. and maintain.
-Any need to upgrade? Cost benefits?
-Identify lock down necessity
-Collect all data
-Create excel spreadsheet and calc actual costs

- Primavera Server - Install for Professor Chiara
Would allow for students to save profiles securely on the server. Allow for various desktop access. Remove hassles and uncertainties with saving to an external media or Z drive.
-------Backup plan Local client install
-Read info
+setup server with sql
-installed web based version and client in pc room. test out
Nic test out
Distribute clients.

- Reinstall of CEEMIT Workstation
My workstation needs reinstalling bad. This is a bit of a project, because I have a few services installed on there.

- Keystone - New Accounts for department
Manual migration of Gnoll accounts to new Keystone

- PC Lab PDF Creator Fixed
A problem with Adobe Acrobat Pro 7.0 was fixed on all computers. I am uncertain what caused the problem. A manual reinstall of all computers via the network corrected it.
Admin 10/17/06

- IT Space Makers
Built Shelves for monitors in IT room. Increase of available desk space in my little cubby hole by 50%. Big thanks to IT Student Liaison, Adrian Bruegger for his Tim the "Tool Man" Taylor expertise and tools, engineering/load bearing excellence and monitor insights and visionary approach.

- Monitoring System a Gogo
What are all those monitors for, anyway? Big Brother?
No. More like proactive IT guy... They are used for monitoring virus activity, windows updates, distributing software, monitoring servers health and uptime, accessing remote services, Systems health and work space productivity...

The Multiple monitors configured in IT office monitors systems and productivity enhancements. The department is moving to an "at a glance" persistent monitoring model. Ideally, this means IT can know about problems before most users do and can act proactively to resolve.

- Keystone Goes AD
Keystone is the new Gnoll. Better, stronger, faster.... and has few more tricks. With Active Directory (AD),
Keystone has taken on the role of our new domain controller, file server, DNS and Active Directory server for the new Civil domain. Not only does it also house your spacious new Z drives, but in addition, Keystone offers a redundant power supply, network connections and a raid array which offers a significant increase in performance, data storage capacity and security and overall reliability.

- Keystone's in charge!

Keystone is replacing the "ever so old and underpowered" Gnoll server. We thank Gnoll for years... and years.... and years.... of honorable service. Keystone is now our central Domain controller and Active Directory server.

- Manager Comes Online
SQL Database Server

-Central Performance Monitoring Service Comes online
The performance of our critical computers is being monitored, "at a glance" with a win2k3 performance tool. This tells us if the machines are active. If they are active when they shouldn't be, well that a good sign they need some attention. The red flag approach to administration.

-Local RDP Service comes online
The setup of Remote Desktop for administrative use has been completed. This allows me to easily remote to the PC Lab or other public computers for quick checkups, test, etc. Handy dandy, but it is cutting into my daily walking exercise =)

- Central Server Monitoring Comes Online-Big Brother
Uh oh, Big Brother? Not to worry, this is a good thing. I have setup a service call big brother to monitor the uptime and status of our important servers. This gives us the ability to "at a glance" see if our servers are responding properly.

- Central Image Service Comes Online

We have intitiated two ghost servers. One for internal computers and one specifically for the PC Lab.

A ghost or image servers, allows decrease in time it take to install a new computer and/or update several computers for example in our PC Lab. Essentially, it is taking a exact copy of a pc setup as you like it and then copying that image to another computer. The install of a standard computer with all the software, drivers, configurations, tweaks and troubleshooting can take up to 6-8 hours. With a image, you could send a perfected image to multiple computers with 2-4 hours.

- Central Symantec Antivirus Management Comes Online
No man is an Island, unless they have a local install of antivirus software.

Central management of PC Lab, Front Office and volunteered faculty and student computers. Allows IT to "at a glance" monitor for virus activity on multiple machine. Central info on definition updates, engine updates, virus logs, central administration via group scheduled scans, info on last scan, and the ability to initiate updates and scans by command.

This project is groundbreaking in that during the next major virus update, at a glance a one man IT team can say, these machine are (or are not) protected; without having to visit and troubleshoot each computer manually.

IT also increases security, since I can monitor the systems daily and can detect problems such as computers that stop updating or have their antivirus attacked or disabled.

- Surveyor-Administration Server Comes Online
Surveyor is our administration server. It allows for central monitoring of printers, viruses, antispyware, ghost, system event, server status, and other implementation and monitoring software.
It will be hosting many of the services I have been using my old busted desktop for =)

- PC Lab - New HP Scanjet 5590 Scanner
HP Scanjet 5590
We have a new scanner in the PC Lab with a 50 page feeder. It also scans film negatives and slides, but well..., its not very good at that. Did I mention the feeder and flatbed scanning?
Check the specs
Admin 04/20/06
- PC Lab - A Bulldozer in the PC Lab? hp8150dn
Bulldozer is setup and ready for printing. Enjoy the Duplexor and 8.5x17 printout capabilities for timelines.
Check out the new HP Laserjet 8150dn
Check the specs
Admin 04/19/06


The department has purchased two APC (UPS) Uninterrupted Power Supplies for the new servers. These units will help maintain clean, consistent power for our servers and provide a safe shutdown in the case of a power outage. Our servers just became a little more dependable...

- APC Server Case

Our new servers actually have a home! The server case will help to protect our future servers from knees, feet, accidental unplugs, the cleaning personnel's vacuum, etc... and offer a consolidated, vertical housing solution.

- CEEM Public and Front Office Share Comes Online for Staff use.
Shared space for Front Office staff data flow and collaboration.

- Email Listserv
CEEM now has a listserv (mainly for internal use) to communicate to the department with in groups or as a whole. This will facilitate communication and help us distribute information quicker and easier.

- Departmental Wireless Access Installed!
The renovation brought us many good things and wireless access is one of them. We pushed to get three access points on the 6th floor. As such, you should be able to enjoy authentic Columbia wireless access just about anywhere on the 6th floor of Mudd. Let me know how well your wireless is working or if you have any problems.
Admin 05/05/06

- PC Lab - 4 new computers
Optiplex GX620Three new Dell Optiplex GX620 computers added to the CEEM PC Lab and one to the TA Room. This brings the PC Lab Total to 22. Want to know more? Specs.
Admin 04/01/06

- Gigabit Network, vrooom....
0 to 1gb in 60 days.... Post the 2005 renovation, Most areas of the department are running on a new gigabit network. These areas are essentially everything but the professor's hallways =(. They are still running on 10/100 atm. If needed, and we run into a little cash estimated 6-8k for the switches), we can upgrade them also =) Special thanks to Professor Vaicaitis for rising to the networking financial challenge.

- One Dual Monitor setup in PC Lab and TA Room

Use for all your Dual screen needs.- New Monitors in the PC lab
New 19" Dell monitors Added to the PC Lab. One in the TA Room. Say goodbye to the 15" monitors for Autocad and Sap2000, lol. Don't worry though... Like such great cultures as the Eskimo and the Native Americans', CEEM never throws anything away before its dead, dead, dead. The 15" Displays will move to the server room and help save money for the new monitoring systems.

- New recommended Malware, spyware and adware tool
I am recommending Microsoft's Defender. I installed it on all PC labs and installing it on on new computers. Why not use the site licensed Pest patrol. This is an ok product and allows for central administration, which we all know I like =) But, it does not work with restricted user profiles, such as in our PC Lab. The company knows about this issue. This is kind of a joke, honestly. I mean, the secure way to use windows is with a restricted user profile for normal surfing and an administrator profile for, well... administrator stuff. So, a security company that makes a product that does not work under the security setting designated by the OS, is well... sad.

- Electronic door swipe locks installed!
Software to be purchase via the projects funds.

- Server Room 1gb Cat VI Ethernet installed!
16 ethernet ports installed in the server room.

- Server Room Power Installed!
Eight dedicated 120v 20amp circuits installed in the new server room.

- The IT nomad on the move again
Renovation completed and time to move into my new office.

- New Department Wide Network Jacks
The renovation has allowed for the install o multiple new network jacks. The ratio is roughly 2:1 ports/computers. This is for future and redundancy reasons. This is quite an advancement over the solo port in the TA room that occasionally decided to take a break. This also removes those "ever so trusty Dlink and CompUSA switches from our network" Yaeeee.. This will mean less "Why is this not working and more.... well... work getting done.

- New computers in the PC lab!

Wave goodbye to the old N' busted 900GHz Dell Dimension 4100's. They served as best they could. They are being replaced by Dell Optiplex GX260's with 20" flat screens.

- The nomadic IT guy moves to the former PC Lab Room During the renovation, the front office and IT have picked up our belongs and worldly possessions and move to the old PC Lab. The servers among my most precious items are moving with us.

- Removal of Multiple Viruses and Spyware from Multiple Computers
I will not name names at this point, but my god man, thats a lot of badness and quite frankly, its out of control. Taking measures to prevent thismoving forward

- Department Email to Columbia Email transfer.
Negotiation with Columbia to get increased space 280MB each and keep vanity plates (X@civil.columbia.edu).

- Finite Email Server Retires
Based on the recent hack, the consistent performances issues and a cost analysis of a new redundant Email system vs Columbia free and supported email systems, it is my recommendation and the departments decision to retire Finite and move all emails to the columbia system.
Email is a critical app. It must be respected and maintained in an enterprise fashion within a business.

What are we gaining by this move?

-24/7 maintenance and technical support
-24/7 security
-Ongoing hardware & software upgrades
-Backups-Hard drive, snap shots and off site.
-Solid Uptime
-Promised Email upgrade to Cirus leading to more space, speed and reliability
-Free - no cost to the department. No investment or reoccurring costs for hardware, software or maintenance support.
*Ultimately, the departments pay for central IT resources one why or another. This solution allow you to get yours...

What are we losing?
-Extremely large amounts of space for storing email.
-The freedom to large & certain extensions easily via email.
-A Non-backed-up email server

How does this effect our beloved IT guru?
-I still manage, support and accommodate your every email problems and/or needs. This just removes the costs and risks involved with our current in-house solution. Oh, and I don't get woken up at 2am because the email server is down.

*There was a concern that I would not have anything to do if the email server gets transferred. Well, I appreciate the thought, but don't you worry about me running out of things to do, I have plenty and then some.

- Finite - Troubleshoot hacked email server
Thanks to the impressive and valiant efforts of myself and the legendary previous Civil IT Admin, John Lin, we have removed a SSL hack on the Email server

- Several issues with Email
slow, connectivity timing out, cannot log-in. I am looking into the cause, but one problem is the machine is antiquated, thus an upgrade is recommended. The current server is a 400mhz PII, with 256 memory housing over 600 accounts. A new Dell Server was purchased, but although it is an actual server grade computer, the specs are on the low end. 800mhz, 256mb memory. Also the three internal 40gb seagate drives are non-functional.

Major troubleshooting of connectivity issues.
Replace ancient Cat III cables and broken clips that are causing many connectivity issues. Moved switches from the floor to the desk to prevent them from being kicked and damaged. Replaced compusa super poor quality switches.


Privacy Policy | Contact Us | ©2006 CEEMIT