Meeting Minutes

November 1, 1996

MEMBERS PRESENT: Paul Dworak, Bill Buntain, Paul Hons, Jim Curry, Mike Hatch, Dallas Newell, Tim Christian, Craig Berry, Chris Strauss, Phillip Chukwuma, Maurice Leatherbury (Chair), Sue Ellen Richey (Recording Secretary)

MEMBERS ABSENT: Rich Anderson, Robert Pierce, Abraham John, Ginger Boone, Cyndie Harris, Eric DuChemin, Cengiz Capan

GUESTS PRESENT: Richard Harris, Ovee Rahman

The minutes of the October 17, 1996 meeting were approved with the following changes:

Page 1, Paragraph 2: "Tim Christian reported for the Network Operating System Management Sub-committee that his committee has evaluated a lot of products and the differences between them all were quite obvious."

Page 2, Paragraph 1, last sentence: "It was also pointed out that ManageWise will not work with Windows NT at this time, either."

Page 2, Paragraph 6: "In the discussion that followed, it was pointed out that a long-term strategy should be established if UNT switches over to Windows NT."

Maurice announced that all future meetings of this committee will be held at 2:00 p.m.

Tim Christian reported for the Network Operating System Management Sub-committee explaining that the sub-committee's charge had been to come up with standardization on tree names, but the committee has not begun to deal with those issues yet. He stated that he doesn't have time to chair this sub-committee right now because of the equipment upgrades and the roll out of Netware 4.x and GroupWise in Arts & Sciences. Maurice said he would appoint a new chair. Tim did report that when he set up GroupWise, he was forced to reconfigure their tree, so he explained how he set it up. Phillip Chukwuma commented that they are setting their tree up the same way as A&S, in College of Business. There was some discussion about student e-mail and class accounts. Mike Hatch suggested that there needs to be standardization across servers, so that a person can access GroupWise from a server other than his own.

Mike Hatch reported that the Intel 32-bit Operating System Standardization Sub-committee has not met, but that several individuals are trying out WinInstall. Ovee commented that Apple and Novell are supposed to be working on the problem of compatibility between Apple's open transport architecture and the VLM architecture of Novell.

Paul Hons reported that the Call Tracking System Sub-committee has not met. They are waiting for Support Magic software, which has now arrived. They will try to install it on Monday to see how it works.

There was no report from the Desktop Standardization Sub-committee because they had not met either.

Bill reported that they are in the process of getting prices on DS Expert. It was also reported that WinInstall has been ordered, as well as 1800 copies of Windows '95, which will come with a manual. Anyone who did not place an order with the Computing Center in time to be included in this blanket order can probably contact Microsoft directly to see if they will extend the special offer.

Bill Buntain distributed hard copies of a notice that will be distributed electronically announcing the release of GroupWise Remote on November 11, 1996. Interested faculty and staff should contact their respective network managers to get either a set of disks or a CD-ROM, for DOS and Windows clients. When asked about Web access, Bill explained that they have been slow to provide Web access for 4.1 because it won't support sending attachments. There was some discussion about GroupWise's difficulty in identifying various types of modems, which creates a support problem. It is often necessary to go to an individual's home to troubleshoot the problems associated with hooking up to GroupWise remote. Several network managers reported that they will not be able to support very many users. Richard suggested that a pool of student workers be trained to do remote installs and individuals could hire them through Student Employment to go out to their homes. Paul Hons commented that in the College of Education, faculty and staff bring their machines in to the office and the support staff sets up GroupWise remote for them. Bill Buntain stated that Computing Center support staff cannot debug problems at home for people.

Maurice introduced the next agenda item, asking for a preliminary discussion of Computing Center help desk functions and its relationship to distributed support areas. The major reason for beginning this discussion is to explore what will be done with the call tracking software, and educate everyone about what the help desk does. Chris Strauss briefly explained the evolution of the help desk, from taking data communications trouble calls and answering WordPerfect and other software application questions to more general campus-wide resource that it is today. He said that the vast majority of the support work they do relates to general access, premium dial-up, the use of the Internet on Jove and other Internet applications. A major problem they have is dealing with users who have no idea what their problem is, which results in a 30-40 minutes phone call trying to find out what is really the matter, and which in many cases turns out to be an operating system problem. Chris said they end up helping people with problems that should, more appropriately, have been directed to their local, departmental support person. Chris explained that when the help desk receives a call about remote access, that they can't handle, they escalate the call to either Rory Rivoire or Steve Rowell. Rory and Steve usually tell the person to bring their computer to their office.

There was some discussion about the possibility of adding a support charge to the cost of dial-up service, for installation. It was also suggested that CompUSA might negotiate a deal to install the remote software on new computers that are bought by UNT faculty, staff, or students.

Chris continued that the help desk receives calls from people who say that the lab monitor couldn't help them, or they couldn't find their network manager. The Computing Center support structure is set up to solve users' problems, and the help desk doesn't worry about who is "supposed" to do it. Tim responded that general access lab monitors are not qualified to solve problems; they are just lab monitors. Tim further explained that when people in Arts & Sciences log onto their computers they see a banner that tells them who to call or where to send e-mail messages if they have problems. Tim stated that he is extremely pleased with how well A&S accomplished their upgrade and rollout of GroupWise and gave credit to the excellent support he received from the Computing Center.

Chris went on to say that a large volume of business at the help desk comes from walk-in's who need help with Internet applications and desktop applications. Chris stated that a better understanding is needed of what role each computing support area plays, as well as what is supported and how.

Maurice closed the meeting, stating that this discussion would continue at the next meeting.

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