UAB IT’s Cellular Services office will be moving to the Administration Building as of Friday, Dec. 7.

Ed Ramsey, who oversees cellular services and device distribution, will be moving from the TechConnect Store at the Hill Student Center to 515A in the Administration Building.

Contact Ramsey at 205-934-1527 if you have questions.

UAB IT is adding 3 petabytes of storage to its Cheaha high-performance computing cluster over the holiday break, which will provide more storage capacity for the fastest supercomputer in the state.

Ralph Zottola, Ph.D., assistant vice president for research computing at UAB, announced the addition at the annual Research Computing Day held Nov. 7.

Zottola, who joined UAB last summer, has been meeting with researchers across campus to get an idea of their computing needs.

“As we grow research computing, it will take all of us together at UAB,” Zottola said. “It’s essential for us to understand what the research community is doing and what their needs are.”

Researchers at UAB use the supercomputer for studies such as comparing brain scans for Parkinson’s disease research. Cheaha’s power, which has increased to 450 teraflops — a 45-fold increase — over the past three years with the addition of new processing units. The supercomputer can process brain images in hours, rather than the months or years it would take on normal machines. Cheaha can give researchers a competitive advantage when they seek grants and collaborate with other institutions.

The research computing team itself has tripled over the past year, from three full-time staff to 10. Scientists and developers on the team work closely with researchers to help determine their needs and analyze their data.

That team, Zottola said, is most important to the success of research computing at UAB.

“The computer’s performance is just a number,” he said. “It’s the people who make it run.”

Santa Pictures DS 720
Santa Claus will be busy in December, appearing at three events with UAB IT as he helps promote the UAB Toy Drive.

First up is the Dec. 4 home basketball game, at which UAB will take on North Alabama. UAB IT will be in the lobby collecting new, unwrapped toys for the UAB Toy Drive, with Santa on hand to greet fans.

Then from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Dec. 5, Santa will be taking free photos outside the TechConnect store at the Hill Student Center. Stop by to visit the store, drop off a toy for the Toy Drive and tell Santa what you want for Christmas.

Finally, Santa will help wrap up the UAB Toy Drive on Thursday, Dec. 6, with the annual Drive-Thru Santa event outside the Administration Building. Toys donated across campus will be collected there for pickup by the U.S. Marines for Toys for Tots.

Toy Drive drop-off boxes are located across campus, in buildings that include Cudworth Hall, Hill Student Center, Heritage Hall, Medical Towers, Worrell Building, UAB Police Department, Mervyn Stern Library, Facilities, Hoehn Engineering Building, Lister Hill Library, School of Optometry, RSB and School of Nursing.

Santa Claus will be busy in December, appearing at three events with UAB IT as he helps promote the UAB Toy Drive.

First up is the Dec. 4 home basketball game, at which UAB will take on North Alabama. UAB IT will be in the lobby collecting new, unwrapped toys for the UAB Toy Drive, with Santa on hand to greet fans.

Then from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Dec. 5, Santa will be taking free photos outside the TechConnect store at the Hill Student Center. Stop by to visit the store, drop off a toy for the Toy Drive and tell Santa what you want for Christmas.

Finally, Santa will help wrap up the UAB Toy Drive on Thursday, Dec. 6, with the annual Drive-Thru Santa event outside the Administration Building. Toys donated across campus will be collected there for pickup by the U.S. Marines for Toys for Tots.

Toy Drive drop-off boxes are located across campus, in buildings that include Cudworth Hall, Hill Student Center, Heritage Hall, Medical Towers, Worrell Building, UAB Police Department, Mervyn Stern Library, Facilities, Hoehn Engineering Building, Lister Hill Library, School of Optometry, RSB and School of Nursing.

Ferrill RobRob Ferrill has been named assistant vice president and chief information security officer for UAB following a national search.

Ferrill, who currently serves as chief information security officer for UAB Medicine, will start his new position on Jan. 1, 2019. He also serves as HIPAA security officer for both the Health System and the University.

“Security is our most important IT imperative at UAB, and Rob brings a wealth of experience to this position, which is key to our goal of creating a secure computing environment through policies, training and technology,” said Vice President and Chief Information Officer Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D. “Rob partnered with UAB IT on a number of shared governance projects over the past few years and will help bring new ideas as we chart a path toward a new strategic plan in the coming year.”

Ferrill is a graduate of Auburn University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in management information systems. He holds the CISSP certification, considered the world’s premier cybersecurity certification, and held a number of others previously. He has more than 25 years of experience in information technology, 19 of them focused on information security.

At UAB Medicine, he has led a team of security professionals responsible for developing, maintaining, overseeing and operating security tools, processes and policies. He also oversees protection of information assets via security event management, risk management, technology reviews, and incident response and digital forensics.

“I am extremely grateful to begin this new season of life as the CISO for UAB,” Ferrill said. “Additionally, I am excited to be joining the skilled and adept leadership team that is already in place. I look forward to serving the University to the best of my ability.”

Members of the search committee included Brian Rivers, former UAB CISO and now chief technology officer; Cindy Jones, director of security risk management for UAB IT; Teresa Bragg, chief risk and compliance officer for UAB; Chip Bivins, chief audit officer for UAB; Julio Rivera, associate professor in Collat School of Business; Alesia Jones, chief human resources officer for UAB; and Kendra Thompson, personnel generalist for UAB IT.

2018 Toy Drive Web

For the 25th year, UAB students and employees will come together to make the holidays brighter for area children in need.

UAB IT is kicking off UAB's 25th annual Toy Drive on Friday, Nov. 9. UAB IT has organized the Toy Drive for more than 10 years.

To participate, bring new, unwrapped toys to any of the Toys for Tots boxes across campus. Boxes will be placed at the Administration Building, academic buildings, and Hill Student Center, among other locations.

Toys collected in the drive are donated to Toys for Tots. UAB is among the largest contributors to the Jefferson County Toys for Tots effort. 

Volunteers will pick up the toys the morning of Thursday, Dec. 6, and collect them in the lobby of the Administration Building, where Santa Claus and his elf will greet those with last-minute donations at the fourth annual Drive-Thru Santa event.
Ralph Zottola, Ph.D., associate vice president for research computing, has been elected to serve on the Mission Committee for the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation.

CASC is an educational non-profit organization with 86 member institutions representing many of the nation's most forward-thinking universities and computing centers. The Mission Committee is charged with charting the future course of the organization, which is dedicated to advocating the use of the most advanced computing technology to accelerate scientific discovery.

Zottola has also been nominated for election as secretary of the Executive Committee.

"I am pleased that UAB will have a voice in shaping the future of CASC, an organization that includes so many high-powered research universities," said Zottola, who joined the University in June and serves as chief architect for UAB Research Computing, including the state's fastest supercomputer.

Need to conceal some unflattering surroundings during a video conference call? You can now blur your background when in a conference or meeting in Microsoft Teams.

To start a meeting with background blur, on the Choose your audio and video settings screen when you’re joining the meeting, move the blur slider — the one to the right of the video slider — to the right. FYI, this only works for scheduled meetings.

To turn on background blur during a meeting, click More options > Blur my background.

Microsoft is still working on making this available to all devices.

To find out if it’s available on your device, just try the methods described above.

Note:  Background blurring might not prevent sensitive information from being visible to other meeting participants.

Learn more about Microsoft Teams at UAB here.

Learn more about background blur here.

If you’re a Duo user, you already know that the best thing about the 2-factor authentication service is that you never have to change your BlazerID password again. But hopefully you also know that the easiest way to use Duo 2-factor authentication is with the push notification through the Duo app.

The Duo Push is the easiest method for using the 2-factor authentication tool, and it’s recommended by UAB IT. When you click the “Send me a Push” button when logging in, you’ll get a notification on your mobile device to open the Duo app. When you open it, the app displays a green button and a red button. Touching the green button completes the 2FA login process, while the red button cancels it. If you’re expecting a Push and haven’t received it, open the app and then swipe down. This often brings up the Push notification and allows you to complete the 2FA process.

You also can use the Duo app to generate a passcode, and this feature works even if your device has no Internet connection or cellular signal. When you’re at the Duo portal, click the “Enter a Passcode” button. Then, in the Duo app on your phone, click the down arrow to the right of “UAB-BlazerID.” This generates a six-digit, one-time code that you can type in to the Duo portal in order to complete the 2FA process.

These two methods are much easier to use than receiving passcodes from Duo via SMS texting. 

If you do not see the “Send me a Push” option in the Duo portal and only see a button for entering passcodes, your phone may not have been properly enrolled for use with Duo when you first created an account. All iPhone and Android phone users should have the Duo app installed and should use it for logging in with Duo. If you have an iPhone or Android phone and only see the “Enter a Passcode” option in the Duo portal, contact AskIT at 996-5555. A Help Desk representative can help ensure your phone is properly configured so you can use the Push or generate a Passcode features.

For additional information, all Duo users are welcome to visit uab.edu/2factor to learn more about using Duo with the phone or tablet of their choice.

Research Computing Signage2 Instagram
Learn more about leveraging the power of computers to grow the depth of our investigation and research at Research Computing Day on Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Research Computing Day at UAB is an annual event that welcomes discussions on science, engineering, the arts and humanities focused on the drive to open new research frontiers with advances in technology.

The event, which opens with a welcome from UAB Vice President and CIO Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D., will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Alumni Theater at Hill Student Center. Register here. Lunch will be provided.

UAB is home to the state’s fastest supercomputer, named Cheaha after Alabama’s highest peak. Whether computers are used to increase the accuracy of a model, to interpret the ever-growing stream of data from new image collections and instruments or to engage with peers around the globe, UAB’s status as a leading research community depends on the ability to incorporate these capabilities into the research process. The focus of this year’s Research Computing Day will highlight successes, preview enhancements and be an opportunity for the community to help shape strategic direction.

New Assistant Vice President for Research Computing Ralph Zottola, Ph.D., will provide a review of what he has heard from faculty to date about their research computing needs. Other topics include:

  • Supporting world-class science on a Leadership-Class Supercomputing System, with Glenn Brook, Ph.D., from the Joint Institute for Computational Science at Oak Ridge National Lab.
  • Research Computing Use Cases, with Jelai Wang and John-Paul Robinson
  • Research Data Landscape, with John Osborne, Zottola and Robinson
  • A panel discussion on research engagement beyond high-performance computing, moderated by Zottola.

Learn more about UAB research computing here.

STATADigitalSign DS
Statistical software Stata is now available free for active students, faculty and staff at UAB.

Stata an integrated statistical software package that provides everything you need for data analysis, data management and graphics. Stata is primarily used by researchers in the fields of economics, biomedicine and political science. Stata obtains and manipulates data and has a command line with a graphical user interface.

Here’s how to access Stata:


Training resources:
Stata is the latest software title to be offered free; earlier this year, UAB IT began offering NVivo for free as well. NVivo and Stata presented UAB IT with an opportunity to provide free software to empower researchers, students and staff at minimal cost. Other software — such as Adobe Creative Cloud, which is offered at a significant discount — often represents significant costs the University cannot absorb. 

The 1809 update of Windows 10 may have a bug that is causing data deletion for users who choose to manually push the update. UAB IT is advising students, faculty and staff not to upgrade to the 1809 update on their own.

Microsoft has rolled back the Windows 10 update and is advising anyone who downloaded it but has not installed it yet NOT to install it.

Learn more here.

TechInnovationCenter
The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees on Friday, Sept. 21, approved phase three of the construction plan for a new UAB Technology Innovation Center.

The $26.5 million facility is scheduled for completion in November 2020 and will house much of UAB’s technology infrastructure, including the Cheaha high-performance computing cluster, the fastest supercomputer in Alabama. The Technology Innovation Center, which will replace the Rust building, will be located at the corner of 17th Street South and Ninth Avenue South.

“UAB’s students, researchers, faculty and staff inspire IT,” said Vice President and Chief Information Officer Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D. “This new center will facilitate the collaboration and technology that can fuel your innovation, so you can change the world.”

The University is moving forward with plans to renovate the Cudworth building, which houses administrative, applications and help desk areas of UAB IT. Renovations are set to take place in multiple phases to create new, modern work experiences for all employees.

UAB IT has automated the application for degree process, saving hours of manual work previously done by the Office of the Registrar.

Nearly 1,600 applications have been submitted through the program for fall 2018 from the undergraduate and graduate students.

The automated application minimizes manual mistakes, maintains accurate information and allows us to respond more quickly and process the applications more quickly," said Rhonda Stevens, assistant registrar for UAB. "And we have easy access in the system to make changes autonomously."

The new application provides significant automation, replacing a paper-based workflow that touches students, advisors, department chairpersons and associate deans.

Once all approvals are in, the application programmatically enters all pertinent degree information into the appropriate Banner form, replacing previous manual work.

SnowPortalScreenshot
When you need technology help, you need to be able to find it fast — so you can get back to work.

UAB IT has launched an updated IT Service Portal that allows you to more quickly and easily order services, software or equipment; find answers; or report something that’s broken.

The updated IT Tech Help Portal is designed to give you a more streamlined customer experience.

  • The portal is more easily searchable — you don’t have to be logged in with your BlazerID to search the knowledge base or the service catalog.
  • It will take you fewer clicks to get to what you need — whether that’s ordering Adobe Acrobat or reporting that your laptop won’t connect to the network — and browsing is more intuitive.
  • When you are logged in, you get a personalized experience — your tickets are right on the front page, and you can communicate about them to UAB IT more easily within the portal.
  • The portal is mobile friendly.

Next month, UAB IT will stop supporting legacy email protocols such as IMAP, POP3 and SMTP.

This is not a change that will affect most email users on campus.

Beginning Oct. 12, UAB IT will begin provisioning all new user accounts without legacy protocol support for accessing the user’s Office 365 UAB.EDU email account; these protocols include Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI), Exchange Web Services (EWS)
Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), Post office Protocol version 3 (POP3), and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP).

Beginning Oct. 19, UAB IT will cease supporting any connections for existing UAB.EDU user addresses using the IMAPPOP3, and SMTP legacy protocols.

While most modern mail clientswill continue to function, we recommend that users connect to their UAB Office 365 email through one of the following ways:

  • Via the Outlook 2013 (or later) desktop client
  • Using the most current version of Outlook App for iOS/Android
  • By connecting to Outlook on the Web (mail.uab.edu) using a supported web browser

Users who determine that they have a business need for using a legacy protocol should contact AskIT and request a security exception. Please note, this change does not affect appliances (such as printers) sending via SMTP; this is for Office 365 UAB.EDU user email accounts only.

Since Jan. 8, 2018, Duo Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) has been available as an optional protection mechanism for UAB users. Disabling legacy mail protocols is required to ensure that malicious actors cannot bypass 2FA by using a legacy protocol that is not compatible with 2FA.

If you have not signed up for 2-factor authentication, we encourage you to do so at uab.edu/2factor to better protect your accounts and UAB data. As an incentive, if you use 2FA, you never have to change your BlazerID password again (unless the account is compromised).

If you have any questions, please contact AskIT or 205-996-5555.

A unique new phishing attempt is targeting email inboxes across campus, using compromised accounts to reply to existing messages.

The phishing email may be sent by someone you know and have the following message:
Phishing091218

Do not click on the image. It is an attempt to steal your information.

To report suspected phishing to AskIT, email it to phishing@uab.edu or download the PhishMe Reporter button for one-click reporting in Outlook.

To better protect your UAB accounts, sign up for 2-factor authentication using Duo.

Backtoschool Employeev2 DS copy

UAB employees can get $150 off a new Dell computer at TechConnect, UAB's on-campus technology store.

Celebrate back-to-school and the start of the football season by stacking two promos — $100 off a Dell laptop of $499 or more and $50 off for UAB employees. 

The sale is available in-store only. Just show your UAB ONECard to receive the employee discount.

Visit TechConnect on the first floor of the Hill Student Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.



NVivo, a data analysis software, is now available for free for UAB students, faculty and staff.

NVivo is built for qualitative and mixed-methods research. It provides a place to organize, store and retrieve your data more efficiently, save time, and rigorously back up findings with evidence.

With NVivo, you can import data from almost any source — text, audio, video, emails, images, spreadsheets, online services, social and web content, and more.

With advanced data management, query and visualization tools, NVivo allows you to ask complex questions of your data so you can discover more.

Here’s how to access NVivo:

  • For UAB-owned systems used by faculty and staff, contact AskIT at 205-996-5555, or request the software here
  • For personal machines, visit uab.onthehub.com, sign in to the site with your BlazerID and password, and search for NVivo.

NVivo offers online and face-to-face courses to help users get up and running with the software. View available courses and access free learning resources.

UAB IT is offering a new tool through Office 365 to help you connect with teammates.

Microsoft Teams is a chat-driven application that can be used for quick communication, online conferencing, sharing files, and more.

Teams integrates with all Microsoft Office 365 apps, so you can collaborate and share files in SharePoint online, Project and more.

Teams has desktop and mobile apps to make it easier to communicate in the office or on the go, and you can even create different channels within your chats for different projects or subjects — and punctuate them with emojis or even gifs for the right sentiment.