Blog from August, 2011

When LBL moved to Google Calendar as its personal/enterprise calendaring program in 2010, one important loss of functionality was the ability to seamlessly schedule meetings with UCB Faculty and Staff. This functionality was only available when both institutions used Oracle Calendar; however, both institutions were moving to standards based calendaring products (LBL to Google Calendar, UCB in a short time to Bedework) which would make this functionality available again in the future (as soon as UCB completed its migration). We anticipated that this would be complete around now.

Unfortunately, on August 15, 2011, UC Berkeley's IST organization announced that they were ending their project to replace Oracle Calendar with the open source program Bedework. UCB now has an Operational Excellence initiative to address the personal productivity suite, and calendar will be a part of that process.

We anticipate that whenever UCB chooses a new calendaring program, it will support opt-in interoperable scheduling with Google Calendar (via published calendar or published free-busy). We apologize for the delay in restoring this functionality to both communities.

Update: Visitor Wireless was restored at noon on Saturday. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Original Information:

A hardware issue has caused visitor wireless to be unavailable as of 10.19PM Friday Aug 26. Hardware replacement will begin Saturday morning at approximately 8AM. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Conference Rooms That Work

LBL's conference rooms see nearly constant use, yet most aren't equipped with modern (never mind cutting edge) technology to support presentations, collaboration, and discussions. IT has never supported conference rooms outside of Building 50, and several years ago during budget cuts, stewardship of the technology for even these rooms was turned over to various Divisional owners.

Starting in October, this will change. IT is refreshing the core-technology in 50A-5132, 50b-4205, and the Director's Conference Room with current generation, high-brightness projectors and user-friendly controls. For the first time (even though this technology has been around for quite a while), the helpdesk will be able to provide remote support to conference rooms, including resetting projectors, changing inputs, checking lamp life, and more.

All three rooms will have basically the same control system, so users of these rooms should feel comfortable in all three. 4205 will, for the first time in years (warning), have a built in projector and sound-system. All three projectors should be capable of clearly projecting slides without closing the windows or dimming the lights at all but the brightest times of day.

Our goal is to demonstrate that a consistent, reasonably priced technology suite can make conference rooms work better. We'll be working with division business managers and other interested parties as we see how it goes to encourage adoption of the same suite in new and refreshed conference rooms throughout the hill.

More as we get closer to completing the refresh in 50...

Ron Ustich from Apple presented some information on the new Lion OS at the last Mac User Group (MUG) meeting. Some of this information might be useful to other MUG members who could not attend, Apple enthusiasts at the Lab, as well as IT support staff.

The event will be held in the 70A-3377 conference room on Monday August 22.

As per Ron, he will cover:

Noon - 1pm: Ron and others from Apple will be presenting an Apple product showcase

1:30pm - 3pm - HOW TO MAKE OS X LION ROAR!

Review some of the 250 new features in OS X lion to help you work faster and smarter:

  • Work faster with Mission Control, Launchpad, AirDrop
  • Work smarter with Auto Save, Versions, and Conversations in Mail
  • 64-bit double precision floating point operations
  • TeraFLOP performance and more
  • Tips and Tricks on how to upgrade and use Lion


As of August 1, 2011 Report Coordination no longer requires hard copies to be submitted to RCO. Should you need to make a correction to your report, send an updated pdf to repcoor@lbl.gov . If you have any questions please visit us on the web by clicking here or by contacting Shaylah Rigmaiden at x6504.

The IT Division is sponsoring a Google Users Group

Now that the transition to Google has been completed, we see a need to enhance communication and training  efforts.  To that end, we are creating a Google Users Group - patterned after the very successful Mac Users Group (MUG).

The LBL Google Users Group will initially consist of lab employees who were members of Google Guides during the migration to Google and who indicate an interest in continuing on. In addition it will include those Google Survey respondents who indicated an interest in participating in regular communications about Google tools.

Membership is open to anyone at the lab who has an interest. Members can opt out of the group at any time.

The LBL Google Users Group will be invited to participate in email interaction through the group, attend Google hands-on training or attend seminars.

The first event will be on Friday, September 2, 2011, at noon in the Building 50 auditorium. We will go over recent improvements in the applications we use, how we communicate issues with Google, and listen to concerns that need to be given more priority by IT as well as Google's enterprise support team

Do you want to participate?

If you are interested, click here to join.

System maintenance affecting Windows File Services and Home Directories, Commons, Software Site, Webspace, Printing, and Anti-Virus Update Service on Thursday night, August 11, 2011.

Central Windows File Services and Home Directories, Commons, Software Download Site, Webspace, Printing, and Anti-Virus Update Service will be unavailable this Thursday night from 7 to 11 p.m.

This outage is required for essential maintenance on our Network Storage hardware. For more information, contact the Help Desk (x4357).

We need some help testing  a new self help tool for updating phone, fax, nickname and location information.  We have a test environment set up that does not impact your real data.   Send  comments back to idm@lbl.gov

Summary of Changes

Right now lab employees who want to change phone, location, fax, nickname info send an email (or fill out a web form which in turn sends email ) to Telephone Services. (tsc@lbl.gov)

In the future, users will do this themselves, directly to  our directory service "phone book".    We are looking at a go live date of Friday August 26 (switchover the evening before). 

Test Procedure

1.  Go here (select Lawrence Berkeley as the location - an intermediate step that will not be in the final production page).
https://panic.lbl.gov/IdentitySelfService2/edit.jsp

2.  Change some of the data associated with your employee number (phone/fax/location/nickname info) using this TEST environment and click submit.

3.  Look at this AFTER you have updated your information

A modified version of the directory services lookup page that handles the logic for people who have the new content can be accessed here: (again - this is just TEST data)
http://panic.lbl.gov/~gregh/ldap3-ds/

For more information, go to the IT FAQ pages at faq.lbl.gov  and look for Directory Services,or click here.

What was installed:

Cluster support group added the following:

  • 1 full rack – 44 nodes, Voltaire Linux Cluster
  • BlueArc Shelf 1 (Voltaire Cluster)

Business Systems group added the following:

  • 1U server for network monitoring
  • Two BigIP 1600 servers

What was removed:

None

June average Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE): 1.47

  • Average Power Consumption: 466k
    • 1kw Lighting 
    • 24.1 Building and IT Losses
    • 196 Cooling Power
  • Average Cooling Load: 130 tons
  • Available Rack Space: 54



Data Center Efficiency Progress:

The DOE national average PUE for data centers is 1.75. 50B-1275 data center has evolved from an average PUE of 1.65 (calculated in 2009) to today’s 1.47. Getting there, staying there, and further improving the PUE is an ongoing effort.

Key highlights for this month include:

  • Progressing work to allow automatic adjustment of air flow. We have installed variable speed fan motors in the air handler units. The air handlers will be connected directly to the room environmental monitoring system, which in turn will automatically adjust air flow depending on IT power consumption and heat load and may allow us to turn off air handlers, which will improve improve our PUE.
  • The new software required for this functionality is due in late August/early September.

July 2011 Planned Activities:

  • The Lawrencium cluster will be relocated to San Diego Computer facility.  The space and power saving will allow researchers to continue to use the LBNL data center for their computational research clusters.

Google is showcasing another option for web Gmail users. Using the Preview Pane Lab, you can decide to have a mail experience that looks like Thunderbird (list of emails on the top with the selected message displayed in the bottom pane - a horizontal split) or the iPad look with a vertical split.

This is a new lab, so there are a few conflicts with other labs as well as a few bugs. When the preview pane lab is enabled (as reported by early adoptors):

  • The right side chat lab stop working
  • The multiple inbox labs stop working
  • The lefthand side bar also has weird scrolling behaviors. Some of the gadgets are lumped together and and there are scrollbars within scrollbars

If these or other symptoms cause problems, the lab can be disabled. We think it is worth a look, since it gives us an indication of where the product might evolve in the future.

Labs can be found by clicking on the wrench symbol in the upper right (either click settings for the whole range of settings for Gmail, or just the lab link)

locate the preview pane lab and enable it

Selectively implement either of the two new options or turn it off.

Did You Know..? Databases

The LBNL Library has a convenient listing of over 50 online science databases and other online resources.   Some of the databases provided are:   Web of Science, which indexes science journals 1900-present; ASTMStandards; ACM Digital Library; ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) journals; CRCnetBASE; online edition of the current CRC Handbook of Chemistry; Faculty of 1000 Biology, reviews papers in biological sciences, and SciFinder Scholar, bibliographic and chemical structure searching of chemistry and patent literature from 1967 onwards. Check it out here, and bookmark it!

While the LBNL Library has access to thousands of online journals and books, we know we don’t have access to everything.  We do though have a way of borrowing those materials we don’t have, whether from a UC library, or from another library around the world, through our Interlibrary Loan service.  Just send us, library@lbl.gov, the citation(s) of what you need.  We will try to track it down and get it to you as quickly as possible, many times at no cost to you.