Monthly Archives: August 2005

Crunch time

It’s getting down to crunch time here. Students will be back soon, and as UCS finishes up the migration for all those user accounts, I’ve been pretty busy programming scripts to automate parts of that process. (If we tried moving four thousand email accounts by hand, the migration wouldn’t get finished until next year!) So I’ve been setting up scripts for moving email accounts, changing entries in the email alias file (which is how our email system knows whether your mail needs to go to the old or the new system) and preparing user information so that unix accounts can be moved into an LDAP database.

I’ve also finished coding up a couple of generalized PL/SQL functions so our programmers can look people up in the new user database. This probably won’t mena much to most people, but if any of you programmers need more LDAP lookup functions, let me know. Want to be able to check if a user si faculty, staff, or student? Want to be able to do name or email address searches in LDAP? I can get you a function to do that kind of stuff.

When I have more time, I’ll post some more general blog entries about LDAP and other such topics, so everyone will have an easier time understanding the stuff I talk about here.

That’s it for now, though!

What I’ve been up to.

I haven’t been blogging much lately, as you can see. I’ve mostly been busy with the system programming side of my job. Here’s a brief list of the things I’ve done:

  • Added LDAP server accounts for all students registered for Fall
  • For all faculty and staff ccounts migrated so far, added some LDAP attributes that we missed in the migration (this is why the Account Lookup and Password Change feature didn’t work for some of you; hopefully this is all fixed now, but if it isn’t, please tell the Service Request Desk!)
  • Worked on a procedure so that our Oracle web/database applications can talk to the LDAP database and easily use it for logins. (this means that more web applications that used to require their own logins will soon work with your email password, which is also now your network password.)
  • Worked on a system to help us re-code our website. I’ll talk moreabout that later, but it’s a huge job! Once it’s done, though, it should make it easier for everyoen to create web pages with the WOU design.

I’ll try to come up with a more easily digestible explanation of some of this next week. Especially LDAP, since that’s becoming so important to my job lately. Hmmm, I should note that down as a possible FAQ topic for when I start sending those again….

More on trackback spam

I’m getting tired of all this trackback spam I’ve been getting; it’s averaged about sixty a week, usually in one or two big chunks. I’ve tried banning an IP address or two; let’s see if that helps.

How do I ban an IP address, you might ask? Well, it’s pretty easy.

Here’s how it works: first, of course, you need to know the IP address you want to ban. Then on your blog admin page, click on Configuration. Near the upper right of that page, you should see an “IP Banning” link. Click it and you will see a simple form with one input. Enter the IP address to ban and click the Add button; you should then see the newly banned IP address in a list below the form.
If you realize you’ve made a mistake or you want to un-ban the address for any other reason, go to that list and click the checkbox next to the address(es) you want to un-ban. Then click the Delete button below to delete the address(es) from your ban list.
When an address is banned, no computer using that address can leave a comment or a trackback ping. This isn’t foolproof, of course; there are ways for someone to get a new IP. If they are on a large ISP such as AOL, it may well be just a matter of signing off, waiting a few minutes, then signing on again.
For more about IP addresses, check out Wikipedia’s entry.

New Blogs at WOU

We’ve had lots of people start blogs since I last posted a list of new ones, and four of them have made at least two entries so far.

Here they are:

Dale Goodell’s Blog – Dale used to work for Library and Media Services, and now works with UCS on library-related projects.
Joan Guralnick – Joan is a UCS tech support manager and Monmouth resident.
Laura Dunn’s Blog – Laura is a recent graduate of WOU. (Congratulations!)
Mike Soukup’s Blog – Mike is a UCS Banner programmer.

If you want your blog mentioned here, just make at least two entries in it! If you want me to say anything specific about you, please email me.

Busy again

Wow. It’s hard to remember to post here sometimes. I had a really busy week last week; mostly working on the new database system for the website.

On Friday, I came in for a meeting about the University Self-study that we need to do as part of our regular re-accreditation process. I’m one of the UCS representatives in the self-study group, and I expect I’ll have more to say about that later, but at the moment I need to get back to programming; I have some system administration scripts that need to be done by the end of the week.