Thursday, 26 February 2015

Phoning the University from Hospital Extensions - Prefix an 8

On the 9th March 2015 a change will be made to the way in which hospital extensions numbers call those on the University’s telephone system.  Only calls made from Hospital extensions to University extensions will be affected by this change. 

Currently, hospital extensions can call University numbers by dialling the 5 digit extension number (in the same way as calling an extension on the hospital system).  From the 9th March onwards, calls to the University will need to be prefixed with an 8.  For example, calling extension 20000 on the University system will be dialled as 820000.

Why is this being done?
Historically the STH sites and University have maintained separate extension ranges, with the University using 2xxxx numbers and the Hospitals having 6xxxx and 1xxxx.  Due to recent expansion, a potential clash of number ranges between the two sites requires these changes to be made

What will this affect?
Only calls made from Hospital extensions to University extensions will be affected by this change. Calls between Hospital extensions and external calls remain unchanged.  Calls from University extensions are also unaffected by this work as an 8 prefix has been in use when calling the Hospitals for a number of years .   

It is worth remembering that although most University staff based on STH sites will be using the Hospital telephone system, there are some exceptions to this where the University system is in use.  Here is a quick way to check which system you are using:

Your Telephone Number
Will This Change Affect Me?
0114 226 xxxx
0114 271 xxxx
0114 222 xxxx
0114 215 7xxx
0114 215 8xxx
0114 215 9xxx

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Google Inbox is coming to work

Yesterday Google announced that Inbox, their shiny new email service will be coming to Google Apps.

Inbox is a new way of looking at email. With features like a snooze button, an email to do list and automatic bundling of similar messages, Inbox is focussed on getting things done. And last year when it was first released for consumer accounts, many of you said you'd like it for your work account. Following feedback from us and other apps users it is now on its way.

The roll out for Inbox for Work will be pretty slow. At the moment only a small group of Google Apps administrators can apply for the early adopter program. This is because Google want to work closely with early adopters and learn about what they need from Inbox.

This means most of us won't be able to use it just yet. But it is definitely coming. In the meantime if you want to try it out, you can request an invite for a personal account if you have one. Otherwise watch this space.

Learn more about Inbox

Monday, 23 February 2015

Security flaws found on lenovo laptops and comodo/lavasoft security software

Late last week it was announced that some Lenovo consumer laptops contained a pre-installed application called ‘Superfish’. This provides targeted adverts based on web content being viewed in a way that presents a serious security risk.

Lenovo have now released a series of statements, revealing:
  • The software was installed on laptops sold between September 2014 and February 2015
  • The software was only installed on consumer laptops, not enterprise laptops such as the Thinkpad range. All affected laptop models are listed in the statements

If you use a Lenovo laptop you must remove Superfish. A removal tool has been made available by Lenovo or alternatively Superfish can be detected and removed by Microsoft Forefront and Security Essentials, recommended by CiCS.

Superfish works by intercepting secure internet traffic to collect and analyse sensitive data before presenting ‘shopping tips’. This significantly erodes the chain of trust provided by certificates.

Further analysis has revealed that certain security products use similar techniques to intercept secure traffic. Notably this includes Comodo Privdog and Lavasoft Ad-Aware Web Companion (not the same as the core Ad-Aware program).

If you have installed either of these we strongly recommend you remove them along with their underlying root certificates. Removal tools are being made available on the respective vendors’ websites.

Please feel free to contact us at if you’d like further information about this issue.

This post is based on information available on 23 February 2015 but the story is still developing. Updates will be posted to ths blog.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

University Desktop performance update

Following investigations into reports of poor performance of the University Managed Desktop, we have identified an area of overall poor performance and stability affecting staff. The problem seems to lie in the CIFS process which is used by Windows computers to connect to home directories (U:drive) and profile information. In normal running, performance is not as good as we would have expected, there are times of significant slowness and crashes. This has particularly affected Professional Services staff with their data on the server STFDATA01.

So far, we have no fix for performance issues and have been unable to isolate the underlying cause. We don't believe these problems are unique to the main Professional Services file server, STFDATA01 - but that this is where problems are most visible and most debilitating. We have tried to optimise service for the production day but as we have had a disappointing lack of support from our suppliers we have decided to remove the problem by accelerating our plans to store home directories on different technologies. We will likely pilot these options with staff who are most affected and expect there to be benefits in functionality and performance.

Addressing performance problems is always difficult. We have seen many problems that appear to present the same symptoms but with quite different underlying causes. This has undoubtedly muddied the waters for us, and we have been working to improve the flow of information: from the moment you are affected, to your first contact with us, right through to our technical teams investigating the problems. Especially where problems are widespread.

We do appreciate your patience. And still, any information you can give us about issues you’re having is valuable. Especially things like:
  • Where are the performance problems occurring?
  • Which applications are you using?
  • What symptoms do you see?
  • Is there any particular time that the problem occurs?
  • Are your colleagues seeing the same symptoms?

If you or any of your colleagues have problems using the University Desktop (or any university IT services) then please do make sure that you or they get in touch with us either by phone, email or self-service through MUSE. We’ll do our best to get them fixed.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

eRecruitment Recruiter Changes

The CiCS SAP team working in conjunction with colleagues in HR recently delivered improvements to the eRecruitment system. We originally implemented the system back in 2009, and updated it in 2013 to add Safari and Google Chrome browser support for people applying for jobs, but the Recruiter side of the application was left as it was until SAP had re-written the web pages into newer technology, which matched myJob, myTeam and myPurchase.

When you log on to the system you'll discover that there are a number of improvements and benefits that have been realised with this upgrade to eRecruitment.

SAP has redesigned the search engine functionality that enables both job searches by people applying for jobs, and also retrieval of candidates when hiring. On the back of this work we’ve enabled text searching and customised it to include searching of the “About the Job” attachments which provide much richer information about the job than the summary included in the advert pages.

You can now carry out a job search specifically for part-time or full-time jobs by candidates.

Recruiters now have free-text search of requisitions and candidates to help locate details in the system; a unified “dashboard” to track requisitions and get an overview of applications against them; and new pages for processing applications that are received.

The system tracks the status of each application through the process from an application being received, through selection, short-listing to hiring/rejection. It provides a cleaner, clearer view of what activities have been applied to each application and whether email correspondence has been sent out.

The requisition form is logically grouped with fields only displayed as necessary depending on the nature of the requisition. e.g. Fixed-term contracts require extra details that aren’t applicable to open ended contracts. These were custom changes that greatly simplify the requisition and contract change forms.

Job adverts that are currently published can be extended on the same reference code rather than having to republish on a new code confusing applicants.

Panel Members functionality hasn't changed, but hiring managers can now multi-select candidates when applying assessments, and the candidate list now syncs automatically when assessments are applied instead of needing manual refresh.