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Excel courses for staff

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

The following 3 day Excel courses are available for SU staff exclusively: 

1, 2, 3 July  (Stellietech) Launchlab, STB

29, 30 31 July (Stellietech) Launchlab, STB

12,13,14 August (Stellietech) Gerga TYG

To register for these courses, go to the Sun-e-hr portal and click on SUN EMPLOYEE SELF-SERVICE => Training and Development => Course Catalogue => Information Technology

More information on the course. Any other enquiries can be sent to itkursus@sun.ac.za

 

SafeCom: 3 things to remember

Thursday, May 9th, 2019

In 2010 our campuses switched to the Safecom printing system, a centralised print management system with accounting capabilities.

The main motivations for its implementation were the ease of use, lower paper usage and reducing overall costs. Additionally the printing system provides secure pull printing with access control and full encryption, enable staff and students to print from anywhere and also reduces waste. More detailed instructions can be found on FIRGA’s website.

There are three things to remember when you use a Safecom printer:

After using a Safecom printer you have to sign off.

This is important for two reasons:

  1. If you remain signed in, someone else can use your print credits.
  2. Your credits are reserved by the printer for an hour after which it is released. If you don’t immediately print and go to another printer without signing off at the first one, your credits will remain reserved and it could indicate that you don’t have enough credits. This means that a person can only print at one printer at a time.

Make sure you have enough credits. 

Safecom cannot establish beforehand how many credits your printing will cost. If you start printing and you run out of credits, it will be problematic.

Select the correct colour option

Before you print, choose the appropriate colour option in the print interface on your PC. If the default is colour, it will cost substantially more. (price per page is listed on our Service Catalogue)

 

Protect your equipment against power outages

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

By now we’re used to the unpredictable nature of our electricity supply and started making changes to ensure our daily routine can continue in spite of it.

But have you considered the effect these irregular power surges might have on your appliances at home and the office? To ensure you don’t suffer any serious damage, there are a few measures you can take.

the-light-bulb-371652_6401. Regularly check the load shedding schedule.
This is important since you can’t protect your appliances if you’re not sure when power will be shut down. There are various ways to do this, including Eskom’s Twitter feed, website, as well as various apps. 

2. Switch off and unplug
Before scheduled load shedding, turn off and unplug or disconnect all your electrical appliances. By doing this, you will avoid a sudden strong surge of power to your device which could damage sensitive electronic circuitry.

It is also important to unplug computer power cables from plugs, as well as telephone cables.

3. Use surge protectors
As mentioned above, power surges could damage your appliances. To prevent this, you can also fit plugs equipped with surge protectors which will lessen the surge. Just remember, even if you use surge protectors, it’s still safer to unplug devices entirely.

4. Get a power bank
These useful little things are portable chargers which you can charge your phone and any other USB device with. With their help, you won’t be stuck without your cell phone or tablet while the rest of the world is shrouded in darkness.

They are readily available at online stores like Takealot and are not that expensive considering the convenience.

5. Get a UPS
A UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply functions as a surge protector, but with also has a built-in battery, and can provide a constant power output for up to an hour. A UPS is merely a backup system to buy you time to protect appliances and save data. 

6. Backup
Backing up your data shouldn’t be done only when load shedding is prevalent. It should be part of your weekly routine. If you know load shedding will take place, do regular backups while working or before the scheduled power outage. This will ensure you don’t lose important work.

 

[SOURCE: www.eskom.co.za, www.mg.co.za, www.fin24.com, www.mweb.co.za, www.property24.com]

 

Industry-wide shortage of processors

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

Intel is facing higher than expected market demands, resulting in industry-wide supply tightness for their desktop and notebook processors.  While Intel is diligently working to maximize factory output, they expect supply to be short in Q1 and to remain tight through the end of the year. 

Dell and Lenovo, the Universities preferred suppliers of desktops and laptops, utilises Intel processors which means that there might be lead times in delivery.

Dell is however not disadvantaged in terms of supply compared to other IT providers.  Products most impacted by the supply constraints include certain configurations in the Latitude, Precision and OptiPlex product lines. 

It is important to note that these products will continue to be available, though they may be on extended lead time until supply ramps to meet demand. 

 

TechSmith Relay for lecture recordings

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

TechSmith Relay has been in use within Faculties and on personal devices by lecturers for lecture capture in multiple formats for a number of years. Recently, the Academic ICT department has been informed, with minimal notice, that TechSmith Relay will no longer support this self-hosted version of the software. The information provided by TechSmith Relay indicates that they will be focusing their efforts on developing a cloud-based solution. There are, however, no timelines available for if/when this will be available in South Africa.

What does this mean to lecturers and students?

Currently, the software is still fully functional. All licenses are still valid. However, should any changes (or upgrades) take place on our operating systems, this may result in a situation where the software is no longer compatible with our devices. Recordings are still accessible and downloadable in MP4/MP3 format for safekeeping, and we recommend that this continue as per normal. The content that has already recorded will not be lost.

What is ICT doing to provide a viable solution?

Since receiving this notice from TechSmith, we have been actively testing alternatives. We have also requested that a workgroup investigate sustainable alternatives and recommend a way forward for the University. This workgroup includes members of ICT staff/ Centre for Learning Technologies and the Computer User Area Manager team. This workgroup has been requested to provide feedback and initiate testing within the next four weeks. In the interim, all effort will be made to maintain the operating systems on the computers in lecture halls to avoid any potential issues with the software.

What is the alternative?

Our recommendation is that lecturers can continue with the use of TechSmith Relay for recordings for the next two months. We will notify all academic partners should the situation change in this time. However, should you be concerned about the stability of the TechSmith relay option, the SUNStream (Adobe Connect) plugin within SUNLearn is a stable and reliable alternative. Many lecturers already use this method for lecture capture and capturing any interaction with students who may be joining the classes via streaming. Assistance with user guides and/or training on using this option within your SUNLearn module will be provided via the CLT support desk

Lecturers may direct additional questions to the CLT support desk.

 

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