Thursday, 22 December 2011

myCiCSnews - now available for your iPad!

The CiCS magazine, myCiCSnews, is designed to complement our monthly email bulletins. Whereas our email newsletter contains brief, timely updates on changes to services, myCiCSnews contains more detailed features on services being developed or launched, and outlines how CiCS is updating University IT provision to align with emerging trends in the IT sector. Each feature has its own hashtag to enable staff to discuss the articles on Twitter.


For the first time, users of iPads and other tablet devices can access a bespoke mobile version of myCiCSnews optimised for tablet devices. Tap the link below on your tablet device to access myCiCSnews in your mobile browser.


For PC and Mac users the latest edition of myCiCSnews is available to download in PDF format from the link below.


There is a small number of paper copies available. If you require a paper version for yourself or a colleague with limited access to a computer please email

Monday, 19 December 2011

Changes to Vacation Message Facility

As we continue to decommission in-house University email services in favour of superior services provided by Google, the next service to be replaced is the Vacation Message facility. Google Mail provides an out of office facility from within the mail settings screen with the following advanced features:

  • Specify a start date - lets you set up a vacation message in advance
  • Stores previous vacation message - you can just amend the dates for your next holiday
  • Specify who will receive the vacation message - everyone, University members, or just your contacts
The in-house vacation message facility will be decommissioned next year, however, we suggest you start using the Google out of office facility straight away. Instructions are available via the link below:

Google's Out of Office (Vacation Message) Facility

Friday, 16 December 2011

myJob, myTeam, myPurchase, uBASE Unavailable

As part of the final switch-on of the upgraded Human Resources and Finance systems, myJob, myTeam, myPurchase and uBASE will not be available from 5pm on Thursday 12th January 2012 to 8am on Tuesday 17th January 2012. This will mean that NO staff will be able to access these systems and colleagues in the Departments of Human Resources and Finance will not be able to assist with any specific employee record, payroll, pensions, purchase invoice, sales invoice and uBASE reports queries on Friday 13th and Monday 16th January 2012. Staff will however be able to respond to general queries that do not require system access.
In addition:
  • All staff are advised to check their payslips as soon as they are made available so that any queries can be dealt with in plenty of time before pay-day and, if after pay-day, before Friday 13th January 2012. Electronic payslips for January will be available as normal.
  • URMS users will not be able to create a new costing for a research project but will be able to access information that has already been submitted.
  • New staff will not be able to have a UCard or computer account created on Friday 13th or Monday 16th January 2012 if their details have not been fully input to the HR system by 5pm on Thursday 12th January 2012.
The eRecruitment service and eRecruitment approvals are not affected by this upgrade work and will be available to users, as normal, throughout this period.
Following the upgrade, on Tuesday 17th January 2012, myJob, myTeam and uBASE will be returned to normal service. Any changes to these systems as a result of the upgrade will have minimal impact on staff and users should not require any additional training. The upgraded systems will, however, provide a springboard from which to apply a succession of improvements and new features over time.
The myPurchase system will also be returned to service but with an improved look and feel. A range of training materials, and a list of recommended and supported web browsers, for the new look myPurchase will be available from the Department of Finance website and myPurchase and uBASE uSpace. Existing myPurchase users will be sent specific guidance nearer to go-live.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The latest upgrade of Iceberg is now live!

The new Iceberg nodes have faster Intel CPUs, with more memory per node and a high-speed Infiniband interconnect. We've also added a new high-performance file-store to Iceberg to provide large amounts of temporary disk space whilst jobs are running. For more info on the new system see

Due to the increase in the number of cores per node in the new system the default memory allocation for jobs is being reduced from 4GB to 2GB.  This change will take effect for all new jobs submitted after 10am on Wednesday, 14th December. 

The new cluster also includes a number of General Purpose Graphical Proessing Units (GPUs), along with the CUDA software libraries - to gain access to the GPU nodes please email

We've also implemented the 'module' command as a means of loading software libraries/environments.  You can see a list of the modules available by running 'module avail' from any worker node. 

As part of the upgrade we've also updated the parallel MPI environments - OpenMPI and MvaPICH2.  The new environments can be accessed using the 'module' command.  Support for previous versions of MPI will be discontinued shortly.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Varsity Gifts Online

Varsity Gifts can now be purchased on-line through the University’s online store at:  . Print & Design Solutions have created a web page featuring pictures of the products with a description and prices.

The 27 items for sale comprising glass, silver, local pewter and stainless steel have been carefully selected for quality and style and will appeal to a broad range of customers.  The range is continually being added to. To be launched in December are three “Made in Sheffield” products: cuff links, a book mark and a money clip.

Customers will be able to pay by credit/debit charge and the goods will be despatched within 10 working days.  A confirmation email with an order number will be sent out to notify customers that their payment has been successful.

UK  postage and package costs will be applied at check out, however, customers requiring goods to be despatched to Europe and the rest of the world will have to contact Print & Design Solutions to obtain a price

This is another avenue for the University to promote Varsity Gifts.  All products are available on the CiCS web site at and there is also a unique email:

The display cabinets in the Octagon Centre and Print & Design Solutions have been refurbished and contain all the gifts for sale so that customers can view before they buy and all the products are available over the counter at Print & Design Solutions Reception.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Realistic Phishing Scams

Phishing emails, which attempt to trick people into revealing personal information, passwords and bank details, are becoming more sophisticated.

Modern phishing emails contains graphics and logos copied from legitimate organisations, use professional language and provide a link for recipients to log into a copy of the legitimate website. However, it's a trap and once you log in your account details are captured and used by the criminals to log into the legitimate website and get access to your money and to the organisation's computer systems.

Once we become aware of a phishing attack we shut down the link so that it is impossible to access from the University, but by that stage several University members may have already been duped.
  • Be very wary of any email warning that there has been suspicious or unusual activity in your account.
  • Never click on a link in an email to log into a secure service - it's getting too difficult to distinguish between real and fake
Below are some examples of recent fraudulent phising emails:

Convincing Halifax Clone

Convincing Barclays Clone

More traditional Student Loan Company Clone

You can see the bank clones are becoming more realisting than the older-fashioned Student Loan Company example, but the fraudsters continue to improve their techniques making each wave of attacks more convincing than the previous.

The best advice we can give is never click on a link in an email to access a secure service. Always type the web address you require into your browser directly, or do a web search.