Blog from November, 2010

We are experience some issues with Google Calendar (starting around 8am this morning, for some users).

you may get a server error message when trying to load calendar. In some cases, you may not be able to add an event or see events a few months out.

Ticket #865764 has been created with Google as a high impact issue.

Posts marked Linked are links to blog posts, websites, and news stories that we think the Berkeley Lab community might find interesting...

How Google Docs won me over - Stephen Shankland

With a single new feature added to its online word processor yesterday, Google has diminished many concerns I had about taking the cloud-computing plunge a few months ago.

Read more:

Google is rolling out the ability to edit your google docs from your mobile device, including iPad and iPhone. More information>>>

We have received reports that Google Calendar is failing to load for a number of Berkeley Lab Customers. (as of 8AM)

We submitted a ticket with Google and noted that their applications dashboard is now indicating an issue.

UPDATE: 10:25AM - According to Google, the Calendar problem has been resolved.

Google is gradually rolling out another enhancement to the Calendar Product. The ability to label guests as "optional" when you create a meeting is being deployed. We understand that this will be completed by November 16 for all enterprise customers.

The following screen shot gives you an idea of what the user interface looks like. We think the Smart Rescheduler lab is eventually going to take advantage of this feature when providing suggested times to schedule a meeting.

Over the past four years, Berkeley Lab's IT and EETD Divisions have been working on a number of cooperative projects around greening our data centers. At an event on Tuesday with industry partner synapsense, EETD researchers and IT's data center managers discussed the innovations made possible by realtime monitoring. More information is available in the article below:

DOE lab teams with wireless company to curb data center's power needs (11/10/2010)
BERKELEY, Calif. – The Bay Area's foremost energy research facility has increased its data load capacity by 50 percent over the past three years with virtually no additional investment in cooling infrastructure, according to officials at the Energy Department.

More from Greenwire>>>

A contract with Carbonite was signed last week. Initially, IT staff will be working with current backup service customers using "Connected" for their internet based backup solution and replacing it with Carbonite.

The new service will be significantly cheaper that either Connected or our own in-house Veritas NetBackup solution - both of which are used for laptops and desktops.

Access to the new service will be provide through the Software Download Site and available for general use by the end of the year.

Google continues to bring out new features in Google Docs. For those of you using Gdocs for real time collaborative editing (the same doc at the same time with multiple editors) - improvements in our ability to see what others are updating, the ability to communicate in an ad-hoc Gdoc centric chat session, and improvements to the options for sharing stand out.

The spreadsheet and drawing applications are gaining functionality as well. We often see these incremental improvements when the rest of our customers see them and it is useful to revisit the new features link at the top of the Google document - it may surprise you that so much is being added.

Camtasia relay Version 3 is expected to come out soon. We will upgrade our test environment when it does, and start to recruit volunteers willing to test the software.

go here for details on what version 3 will offer.

The IT Division has over 100 virtual machines running on an enterprise VMware based environment. The Infrastructure Group within the Lab’s IT Division has been deploying virtual machines using VMWare in a pilot mode since January 2007

Three primary reasons why we think this makes sense: Energy Savings, space optimization, and increased efficiencies in deployment of new applications.

  • Energy savings accrue due the reduced use of physical servers for testing and development environments, which typically have much lower duty cycles, yet consume a significant amount of energy while powered up.
  • Increased Efficiency: much quicker response in setting up test and production environments, ability to have virtual machines for product and service evaluations-to perform ‘what if’ scenarios without buying a physical server. It will also reduce costs in acquisition of underutilized single purpose physical servers.
  • Space is a critical resource at the lab. By consolidation of physical machines into institutionally provided computer room space using virtualization technology, office space can be reclaimed to support the significant growth in lab employee count.

We have extended use of the VM environment to experienced system administrators who work in the IT Division on behalf of a customer.  Because we can restrict the scope to experienced staff, the costs for providing the service can be reduced.

The Smartsheet road map can be found here.   For those of you who would like more granular permission assignment, it looks like some improvements will surface before the end of this calendar year. (the ability to lock down editing of a particular column, for example.

We would like to confirm the scheduling of a production outage for the evening of 11/9 from 6pm - 10pm.

We have identified several bug fix/enhancement requests to Google.

1.  Calendar Loading issues: from time to time a resource or personal calendar fails to load.  We have created tickets for a number of these occurrences, as they are reported to the Help Desk. 

2.  The ability to save a meeting which requires an already booked resource has been reported to Google as our number one issue.  At the least, we expect to see a warning come up prior to saving the meeting.

3. When a meeting is scheduled that involves a number of different attendees and a conference room at a time that is available to all, we find that subsequent views of this same meeting show confusing results. Some attendees will have nothing in the time slot (in the "Find a Time" tab) and others will have a single bar labeled "busy").  What you see depends on the permissions you have on the person or resource calendar.  See this FAQ for more info.

Commons will be upgraded to version 3.4 by December 1.   A development site is being set up to insure our third party macros and plugins will work with this version.  This development site is expected to be ready by November 15 and will be made available to frequent users of Commons.  Julie Petersen is the project manager.

Release notes and a short video on new features is here

A longer 30 minute video on the Atlassian blog site can be found here .

If you are a traveler or if you just want to the protection of having a version of your calendar (or a co-worker or resource calendar) available on your desktop or laptop when access to the internet or google itself has been interrupted, off line mode is for you.

If you are interested, go here .