Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Research IT events

Along with various partners like Nvivo and Amazon, we are hosting a number of events where you get a chance to meet the research computing support team, research software engineers, you can talk about your research IT needs and get advice on best practices for your research. Whether you are interested in Qualitative Analysis, Data Analysis or High performance computing, there is an event to help you get the most out of research IT facilities.

Booking information to follow.

Upcoming events


Join us for the official launch of the Sheffield Advanced Research Computer (ShARC), and learn more about High Performance Computing (HPC) at our HPC@Sheffield event. This is an excellent event for people who are new to this area and want to find out more.

Find out how Sheffield researchers are currently using HPC and hear from industry experts about new HPC technologies.In our poster competition you’ll also have the chance to win prizes donated by Intel. The closing date is Friday 24 March. More information to follow.  

When: Tuesday 4 April

Where: Firth Hall


We’re hosting a day long event with the developers of NVivo, QSR international, to help with your Qualitative Analysis. 

You can attend a seminar on using NVivo, get expert advice on your current projects, and speak to QSR representatives about any questions you may have. If you’re new to NVivo you will have the chance to try the software. 

Take part in our poster competition and s
how us how you’re using NVivo in your research. First prize is £400 towards the academic conference registration of your choosing. The closing date is Tuesday 28 February, find out more information here

When: Tuesday 4 April

Where: ICOSS, 219 Portobello

Amazon workshop

Take part in an Amazon immersion event.

Set up a small HPC cluster in a hands on session using Amazon EC2 for research, and learn more administering research facilities on Amazon for the research community.

The second half of the day will comprise two breakout sessions:

1. Accessing EC2 a hands on session where researchers can set up machines on Amazon thre will also be an opportunity to set up a small HPC cluster on Amazon using Alces flight.

2. Administering research facilities on Amazon for the research community; using S3 storage, integrating local infrastructure with Amazon to cloud burst when resources are required on demand.

When: Thursday 20 April

Where: Venue and booking details to be confirmed.

More information to follow.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Team Drives are here

You may have noticed a new feature in your Google Drive called Team Drives. Team Drives are shared spaces where your team can store files and guarantee that every member has the most up-to-date information.  

The best feature of Team Drives is that if a document’s owner moves teams or leaves the University, the document doesn’t go with them so your team doesn’t lose access. 

Team Drives also make onboarding easy, because every person and Google Group added to a Team Drive gets instant access to that team’s documents.

To set up your Team Drive, click Team Drives under My Drive. Name your Team Drive, then click on to add members.

Manage access controls by clicking on the arrow next to your Team Drive’s name and click Manage members. You can give team members different levels of access, either for the whole drive or for individual docs.

Deleted files are also moved to the Team Drive bin, meaning they can be easily recovered. Files that haven’t been recovered are permanently deleted after 30 days.

Team Drive themes also let you customise the space to suit your team.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Lynda.com security information

We have been informed that the online learning platform, Lynda.com, has recently been compromised by an unauthorised third party. The breach took place on a database that included information on learning data, such as contact information and courses viewed. None of the lost data has been made publicly available at this time.

While this is a service that we offer to all University staff and students, we do not store any passwords with Lynda.com and can assure you that this information has not been accessed. Whether you have used Lynda.com or not you do not need to take any action as a result of this incident.

You may receive or have already received an email notifying you of the security breach, this has been sent to all registered Lynda.com users, and does not mean that your data has been compromised. Lynda.com is contacting users as an ‘abundance of caution’ and as all University of Sheffield users’ passwords are unaffected, no action is required.

We take security of services we provide very seriously, and are working with Lynda.com to investigate and understand the incident.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Meet the new Google Sites

Google Sites has had an overhaul. The basic website building tool is now easier to use, with a new drag-and-drop interface. The complex features of the old Google Sites like gadgets, sidebars and complicated menu options have all disappeared. Instead, Sites now offers a straightforward single-column layout with a handful of themes, fonts and colour options that work seamlessly on any device. It takes the hard work out of designing a coherent website. 

Your current Google Site will remain the same unless you migrate it over to the new version. Migration tools to transition your classic site will be released in 2017.

Here’s some of the key features of the new Sites.

1. Responsive Design

The old Google Sites was pretty bad at displaying content on different devices. The new single-column, no-sidebar layout is designed to scale to any screen size and the two available menu options make navigation easy.

2. Google apps integration


The new Sites allows you to insert content from any of Google’s apps within your Drive account, including Docs, Sheets, Forms and Charts, into your site from within the editor. Youtube videos and Maps can also be embedded and easily resized and moved around the page without having to delve into the source code.

3. Real-time collaborative editing

Multiple people can now simultaneously edit a Google Site, seeing each other’s changes in real-time, just like Google Docs, without worrying about conflicts or locked pages.

Monday, 28 November 2016

New and improved Internet resilience

In November, after months of planning, we implemented the University's new link to our Internet Service Provider, Janet. Just like large companies such as Google and the BBC, we now have our own direct link to an Internet Exchange Point in London Docklands providing us with greatly increased resilience to potential network problems.

Back in January, the University lost internet access for several hours, leaving important IT services including MOLE and Google Apps inaccessible. This problem was caused by two separate but simultaneous failures in the Yorkshire and Humberside Region (YHR) network, which affected our primary and backup internet connections. Now, thanks to our new link to London Docklands, we are no longer reliant on the YHR network, meaning that any future faults on the network won't affect us.

As the new link will serve as our primary network connection, another benefit is that we can now dedicate a 10Gbps internet connection to high volume research use, including High Performance Computing.

The diagram below outlines what our network now looks like, with the new link shown in red:

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Be a CiCS Graduate Intern

We have two Graduate Internships available: Digital Media Assistant & IT Security Analyst. The Graduate Internship will offer you a six month paid placement where your work will focus on a specific and defined project. You will be supported throughout your internship and will benefit from a detailed induction and a development programme.

Apply through Career Connect in MUSE. Applications close on 4 November.

Digital Media Assistant

Job ref: UOS014691

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Graduate Intern to work as a Digital Media Assistant within Print and Design Solutions (PDS). We are the University’s internal print and graphic design service with an annual income of £1.6M and are responsible for delivering creative, digital and graphical services and to manage all print production and specialist print services.

As a Digital Media Assistant you will be an enthusiastic, creative and a dynamic individual who will play a key role to develop the services digital assets. This will include producing a number of short videos to be used for promotional and training purposes. The videos will be intended for students and staff and aim to improve their awareness of the value of PDS services. Reporting to the Design Manager and working closely with graphic designers, creative media and the communications teams, you will be required to research, write, design and produce short videos to showcase PDS products and services.

The Graduate Internship will offer you a six month paid placement where your work will focus on a specific and defined project(s). You will be supported throughout your internship and will benefit from a detailed induction and a development programme.

You will have graduated from the University of Sheffield with a good Undergraduate honours degree within the last academic year. Have proven experience using industry standard software for Apple Macintosh or PC and the ability to assess and organise resources and plan and progress work activities. You will have excellent verbal and written communication skills, ability to work independently and as part of a team and experience of adapting own skills to new circumstances.

IT Security Analyst
Job ref: UOS014674

We are seeking a motivated and enthusiastic individual with strong interpersonal, organisational and technical skills to contribute to the University’s IT security improvement programme over a six- month period.

You will be responsible for performing a variety of network and IT security assessments and co-ordinating actions with colleagues across the University.

This exciting opportunity will involve working with a wide variety of enterprise-level IT systems, including network devices, web servers, authentication systems and databases.

You will be required to collaborate with a range of staff across the University, therefore you must have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. You will need to co-ordinate your activities with other people and systems, working efficiently and accurately with large data sets.

This is a great opportunity for someone who has interest and skills in networking and IT Security, an aptitude to learn and the communication skills required to share their knowledge with others. In return you will gain valuable experience of IT security operational activities and enterprise-level IT systems.

An existing knowledge of enterprise networks and system administration would be advantageous but not essential, as colleagues will support you throughout the project.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Do not feed the phish!

Criminals would love to get their hands on your student loan, your university password, bank account details or our resources. We block most of these phishing emails, but sometimes they slip through the net. Make sure you know how to avoid them.

How to avoid phishing scams

  • Many phishing emails will try to get you to reply with a username and password, or ask you to click on a link and submit personal information such as log in details or bank account details. Don't reply and don't click on any links to avoid falling victim. If in doubt, forward the email to phishing@shef.ac.uk, then mark the email as spam and delete it.

  • Look out for Gmail warnings! If you get an email that looks like it's from a @sheffield.ac.uk email address but actually isn't, Google will flag it as being unauthenticated. If you see this, be wary and look out for signs of phishing. The message on the right below is how it will look, compared to a message from an authenticated sender on the left:


  • Be suspicious of any emails that claim to come from Student Finance England. These can be convincing, but real Student Finance emails will never ask you to confirm your log in or bank account details via email.

  • Look out for the Gmail warning that will be displayed if you receive a message which includes a link to a website known for phishing, malware or unwanted software. Don't click on any links when you see this warning, it's not worth the risk!

  • Hover over links before you click on them to check where they go. The real URL should reveal itself in the bottom left corner of the browser.