Just when I need it

The UCF Groupwise server seems to be down. I need to login and retrieve a file, but can’t. I have also had several other problems accessing mail using Thunderbird, my email client. Old emails mysteriously get downloaded again, and get tagged as new, and then I have to delete them.

UCF has a really weak and sorry IT infrastructure. It is almost entirely built upon Windows technologies.

What other university website do you know of, where the “www” subdomain returns a different page from the example.edu page. ucf.edu and www.ucf.edu are not the same.

I tried setting up my website at http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~ca851813 before I outgrew it, since it just didn’t work, most of the time. The default index page on that server is “home.html” and not “index.html” which is kind of arcane.

I wonder why unlike some other universities, UCF is not so welcoming to open source technologies and products. Someone at the GOLUG said that when they tried to generate some interest for the LUG among the university engineering professors, the response they got was, “No, we really don’t want to be associated with evil hackers, now, do we?”.

The university-wide online management system, based on PeopleSoft even returns a”You are not using Internet Explorer, and you can expect to die, or rot in hell” error if you try to login using anything but IE.

The other day I called the writing center for some LaTeX related help. They were confused at first, and I guess they thought I was some crazy Indian screwing up the English language, and so I spelt it out for them. They said they will get back to me after they find someone who is an expert at using LaTeX. A half hour later I got a call saying no one in the writing center had heard of LaTeX before.

There are so many instances, that occur almost on a daily basis, that makes it more difficult for me to work efficiently (not that I am really industrious), like for example WebCT, which I have to fight with as a part of my job as a T.A. Setting up a website for a course is hell, if you don’t have your own private server/hosting account.

Oh well – I just had to let go of a little steam. UCF would make a perfect case-study of how open source technology can make life easier and simpler, and more economical, too.

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5 Responses to Just when I need it

  1. Rich says:

    What version of PeopleSoft are you guys running? I work at PeopleSoft and we support IE (obviously), Mozilla, and Safari.

  2. Mohit says:

    I understand the frustration of not getting the resource when required…
    But I worked in UCF web development department,….

    Schedule maintenance is required for all the mail client and if they are not clustered there will be down time always (They should be doing it after hours or on weekends)

    I feel our school was doing very good and promoting the open source community… but when I was working the major problem was for support as University cannot afford downtime of a functional website due to lack of support.. )
    The polaris application running on peoplesoft was needed 128 bit encryption and other browser at that time did not support that so there was people check to use IE…

    The IT department of our school was using all the open source tools for development except windows.

    WEEEBCT is piece of junk, and we tried to make our own ecommunity but its not easy and became big project

    Our school has better IT structure and resources than many many other schools as I met to various students of various school while my transition and felt proud to be a art of UCF, even though the fee is sooooo high..

  3. Carthik says:

    Hey, thanks for the comment Mohit.
    I understand backing up. I don’t understand a few other things. As for webct, there is .LRN (http://dotlrn.mit.edu/about-us/)an MIT based OpenSource initiative.

    The overwhelming impression I get is that no one cares, really, which is kind of sad. I have tried calling and talking to people twice, to acheive something, without any result, which discourages me, too.

  4. Mohit says:

    True,
    But university was growing in IT field, although growth rate is not high.
    Changing WEB-CT is a big decision and I think without a good support UCF will switch to other product as it is very important and UCF cannot afford it down for 3 days and it will be worse if it’s the end of the semester.
    But I wish that cdws research team should start evaluating it.

  5. Mohit says:

    True,
    But university was growing in IT field, although growth rate is not high.
    Changing WEB-CT is a big decision and I think without a good support UCF will not switch to other product as WEBCT is very important part of UCF learning and UCF cannot afford it down for 3 days and it will be worse if it’s the end of the semester.
    But I wish that cdws research team should start evaluating it.