Every day, the UAB Office of Annual Giving reaches out to more than 1,000 UAB friends and alumni through its student phone center.

A simple technology change provided by UAB IT’s telecommunications unit helped the office better serve potential donors — and helped UAB’s Annual Fund collect more philanthropic gifts to support schools, departments and libraries across campus.

Initially, the Office of Annual Giving asked UAB IT to change its unlisted number projected on caller ID to a live number that would direct back to the office, said Randy Kinder, senior director of Annual Giving for UAB. In just one day, UAB IT fulfilled the request.

“Be careful what you ask for,” Kinder said.

The result of the change was positive — but had the Annual Giving staff, who typically fielded two to three calls a week, trying to keep up with a much greater volume of returned calls from potential donors.

“The result was approximately 50 calls per day to Annual Giving regarding a missed call from our department,” Kinder said. “Most folks just wanted to know who we are and why we were calling, but several also made philanthropic gifts to the university during the return calls.”

In fact, the volume of calls prompted another request to UAB IT.

“We needed these calls to be directed to a different number, with a custom voicemail, and for the voicemails to be sent to an email account,” Kinder said. “This way, we could manage returned calls without drastically impacting our resources.”

That request was also fulfilled quickly, allowing Annual Giving and student phonathon staff to focus on seeking gifts for the Annual Fund, which provides funding for scholarships, programs, out-of-classroom learning, curriculum enhancements and more.

“This has been a monumental addition to our operations, which has allowed us to provide superior donor relations and transparency,” Kinder said.

To learn more about the Office of Annual Giving and the UAB Annual Fund, click here.
An ongoing project to build a new fiber hub for the UAB campus will help protect network traffic with redundant fiber cable infrastructure. 

Begun in 2014, the project has built a new fiber hub building inside the 16th Street parking desk and includes alternate network paths that will help provide greater network protection for the east side of campus.

"The end result is that we will be able to reduce risk and outage time" if there is a network problem, said Skip Peckham, director of telecommunications services for UAB IT. "We'll be able to provide redundancy for critical research and administration needs."

The first phase of the project involved building the structure to house cables in the 16th Street parking deck, with the next phases including installation of fiber cables beneath the streets surrounding the deck and other buildings on the east side of campus. In all, the project will have 19 phases, with nearly half of those phases completed or nearing completion.

UAB IT expects to wrap up the project by the end of 2015.
Thursday, 23 July 2015 09:05

UAB IT releases guidance on Windows 10

Microsoft is scheduled to release Windows 10 on July 29, 2015. Many UAB employees will want to upgrade to the new version, or will be receiving new systems with Windows 10 already installed.

While Windows 10 will add many new features, Windows 10 does not work with many applications at UAB. Most software developers have not released compatibility updates or new versions of their software for Windows 10, and many software incompatibilities are expected.

UAB IT recommendations and guidance:
Because of these issues, UAB IT recommends that Windows 10 not be installed at this time. If Windows 10 is required and is used on a touch-enabled device, UAB IT recommends you use Windows 8 "classic view."
  • UAB IT will offer only limited support for Windows 10.
  • New systems that are ordered from Dell may included Windows 10 by default in the near future, but departments/schools should consider re-imaging those decices using an approved Windows 7 image prior to deployment.
  • Upgrade support for special business cases and exceptions will be evaluated as needed.
  • Windows 7 should remain the primary operating system on university-owned computers until the issues with Windows 10 are resolved.
  • We foresee retiring Windows 7 within three years and moving to Windows 10 as the primary operating system on university-owned computers.

Compatibility Review

Results of our compatibility review of Windows 10 and UAB IT services.

Service Compatible with UAB IT services? Notes
Adobe Creative Suite No All Adobe Creative Suite products are not currently compatible with Windows 10. During installation, the applications stalls and must be ended manually.
Internet Explorer 11 Yes Internet Explorer (IE) 11 is one of two browsers available on Windows 10. The other is the new Edge browser.
Microsoft Office 2013 Yes No published issues.
Banner No Possible use of IE 11 in enterprise mode — no guidance from Banner or Microsoft.
Oracle No On Microsoft compatibility list. This does not include any UAB applications in the Oracle system.
Software Center (SCCM) No Software Center and other software management tools do not successfully install on Windows 10. (They will be available on the next update from Microsoft.)

UAB IT will continue to test the subsequent releases of Windows 10 with the various services and most frequently used software titles. Once we have confirmed that Windows 10 is compatible with most, if not all, services and software that the product is ready for mainstream distribution, this section will be updated with information on how to obtain the new operating system.

If your school or department IT professionals are interested and available to participate in any evaluation and testing related to Windows 10, please contact Sterling Griffin.

Anticipated hardware requirements
Recommended minimum hardware requirements for Windows 10:
  • Processor: 1.5 Ghz (gigahertz) dual core or better
  • RAM: 8 GB (gigabytes) or more
  • Free hard disk space: 30 GB or more
  • Graphics card: Microsoft Direct X 9 graphics deveice with WDDM driver or better
Portions of two streets on campus will be closed for one more night, Friday, July 10, as part of the completion to a project to upgrade UAB's fiber network.

Crews were delayed and will finish paving Friday night.

From 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., the following roads will be closed: 

  • Ninth Avenue South between 17th Street South and 19th Street South
  • 18th Street South between University Boulevard and Ninth Avenue South

Access to the following buildings may be partially or fully affected:

Rust, Research Support Building, Southeastern Biosafety Lab (SEB Lab), 1715 Building, Ninth Avenue Office Building, School of Nursing, School of Public Health, Learning Resource Center, and 19th Street Parking Deck.

The City of Birmingham will be milling and paving those streets following an upgrade to the underground fiber hub.
UAB IT took advantage of an unexpected service interruption earlier this month to upgrade the servers that support several campus systems, including eLAS and LMS.

This upgrade improved system performance and strengthened security.

These technical changes did result in a new URL for several services, so users may need to update their bookmarks. Affected systems included eLAS (the Electronic Leave Accrual System for monthly employees); the LMS (the learning system for faculty and staff); Sponsored Access to Accounting Systems (SASS); Benevolent Fund; and State Transparency (UAB Expenditure Transactions).

UAB IT recommends that users bookmark the Administrative Systems page to ensure seamless log in to key systems and to receive alerts and messages.

Work to repair telephone cables damaged during installation of a manhole last week is complete.

The damage caused an interruption of service to the Burleson Building and Building 912.

Crews worked after hours over the weekend to repair the damage.
UAB IT is working to restore service to telephone cables damaged during installation of a manhole this morning.

The damage caused an interruption of service to the Burleson Building and Building 912, but service should be restored by the end of the day.

Full repairs to the damaged cable will be done after hours this weekend.
Thursday, 08 January 2015 14:31

UAB IT's Anthony to speak about Big Data Lab

Thomas Anthony, director of the UAB Big Data Lab, will present an overview of the lab and its associated platforms and technology at the February meeting of the IEEE Computer Society. Thomas Anthony

Anthony will speak Thursday, Feb. 12, at the IEEE meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Business & Engineering Complex, Room 154.

Anthony's talk will provide information about new computing technologies such as MapReduce, Hadoop, Pig and Spark, which are being used in business analytics and insights.

UAB Big Data Lab

The mission of the UAB Big Data Lab is to make infrastructure and software supporting state-of-the-art tools such as MapReduce, Hadoop, Pig and Spark available; to support a broad base of data analysis applications across UAB’s medical and other research centers; to provide core capability for the leveraging of genomic, microbiome and pathological images in the support of personalized medicine; to provide big data analytics services to a campus-wide community of researchers; to pursue cutting-edge research within the data science space in collaboration with advanced industrial collaborators; to establish an innovation incubator for big data analytics research, support and skill-building at UAB.

Thomas Anthony

Anthony is director of the Big Data Research and Analytics Lab in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UAB. His research interests include big data analytics for brain mapping using magnetic resonance imaging, high-performance and high-throughput computation for scientific applications and simulation of wireless sensor networks. He has extensive expertise in scientific computing systems development and management.

His current projects are funded by pilot grants from the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the National Institute of Health for the detection of Parkinson’s Disease using imaging and by a compute allocation grant from the National Institute for Computational Sciences at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He is also part of Research Computing at UAB IT, which is tasked with developing and maintaining the high performance computing system at UAB. He also teaches courses in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Thursday, 06 November 2014 15:07

IRS warns of continued phone scams

UAB Information Technology reminds faculty, staff, and students that fraudulent email, internet, and phone scams tend to increase around the holidays.  Users should be vigilant to confirm that unsolicited requests for information are legitimate prior to providing sensitive information. 

A current telephone scam making its way around campus is one in which imposters claiming to be representatives of the Internal Revenue Service. 

Among the most common scams are callers who tell you that you owe money or that you have a refund coming, to try to trick you into sharing private information, according to the IRS.

The IRS, according to its latest alert, does not:

• Call or e-mail to demand payment without having first mailed you a bill.

• Demand you pay taxes without giving you the chance to appeal the amount they say you owe.

• Require you to use a specific payment method.

• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

• Threaten to use law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.

If you receive a phone call you believe is fraudulent, here is what you can do:

• If you know or think you owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 so that IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.

• If you believe you don’t owe taxes, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.

• If you have been targeted by a scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of the complaint.
Three months after introducing a stronger WiFi network to campus, UAB IT is reminding users that the WiFi network named "uabwifi_nac" will be discontinued on Dec. 15.

Users whose devices are still logged into uabwifi_nac will need to configure their devices one of two new WiFi networks, UABStartHere or UABSecure.

For users with a BlazerID and password, UABSecure is the preferred network because it provides encryption for sensitive data. UABStartHere is a completely open network, which means it provides no encryption and users will not need to enter a WEP key as they have in the past.

WiFi users who want to connect to UAB’s WiFi network can begin by choosing the UABStartHere network from their device. Upon opening a web browser, users are  automatically directed to a Web site where they can choose whether to configure their device for the UABSecure network, log on to the UABStartHere network or to register as a guest user.

Guests on campus are no longer be required to get sponsor access to use the campus WiFi network. They can simply log on to UABStartHere using a valid e-mail address to get 24 hours of access to the WiFi network.

Unencrypted, sensitive data should NOT be transmitted through the UABStartHere network unless protected by other means, such as a virtual private network (VPN) session. 

If your WiFi device can support the UABSecure network, we highly suggest taking the time to walk through configuring your device using QuickConnect. Click here for instructions.