Category Archives: General

Time flies…

And yet again it’s been a few months since I last posted. In my defense, these have been crazy months, including the mailserver upgrade, the mess with the all-faculty-staff email lists, frantically trying to get caught up on all the other stuff I had to lets slide because of the big things, then I went on vacation, then I came back and had to get caught up from that, then I was out sick a few days…

Sheesh. The thing is, none of this stuff should be a barrier to updating my blog. I think my problem is that I feel like I have to write something long and involved, not to mention at least a bit witty. Really all that’s needed are quick updates.

So let’s see if, this time, I can do better. I’ve been working on those posts about “how does the Web work anyway” that I mentioned, but they’re pretty dense, so it might be a while before I put them up. Meanwhile I’ll concentrate on shorter posts and try to catch up on my entry count.

Tap tap… is this thing on?

So, um, yeah, I haven’t posted anything to my blog in way too long. Time to fix that.

Here’s my current project list with a bit of explanation on each (I’ll go into more detail on some of these later, because many of them won’t make sense unless you’re actually in UCS.)

  • User account renaming – Setting up a process to change people’s usernames on request. Actually a lot harder than it sounds.
  • User account deletion – We need a process to delete user accounts when they are no longer needed. This will be run every year or so.
  • Blog server upgrade – The new version is ready for testing… check it out at
  • Course catalog information on web – We’re working on a way to more easily update and display stuff like course descriptions and degree program requirements on the Web.

Plus there’s lots of little stuff; improving the efficiency of some of our processes, improving the programs we use to manage our user databases, looking for security holes and plugging them, and the usual ongoing tasks of website, blog server, and wiki server administration.

Future projects:

  • Rewrite Websmith – I want to redo websmith in a different programming language (PHP instead of Perl) that will allow a lot tighter integration with the website, and creation of new features.
  • Automatic K: drive folders – We’re planning a system (probably for next year) that will let faculty request folders on the K: drive for specific classes, and have them be automatically created. Right now we spend a lot of time doing this manually.

That’s it for now. I’ll go more in-depth on some of these later.


Erm, yeah, I was going to start posting here more often, wasn’t I. No excuses, really, just busy… but it only takes a couple of minutes to post something if I’m not perfectionistic about it. So let’s see if I can keep up with this a bit better.

This isn’t an official outlet for WOU or UCS news or policy or anything like that; I’ll probably be talking about that stuff, but using my own voice and not worrying too hard about making it sound just right.

So anyway in the next while I’ll be posting about the projects that have been keeping me busy recently. But I have to get back to one of them right now, so it may be a day or two…


Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention I’m going to be on vacation next week; we’re heading for the historic city of Deadwood, South Dakota, in the heart of the Black Hills. We’ve been looking forward to this for months!

I’ll be back on September 5th. In the mean time, refer web conversion questions to Stewart Gilbert, and all other questions to the UCS Service Request Desk.

It’s been a while.

Hmmm, I’ve left this blog alone way longer than I intended. That needs to change.

The automatic user creation process is finished, except for the very last step; the automatic part. For some reason it gets errors when we schedule it as an automatic job, even though it works fine when we run the command manually. So all I have to do is remember to type in a command once a day, even on weekends, until this last little issue gets figured out.

I’ve been busy lately with the new web design project. Sometimes it seems that progress is slow, but at least there is progress.

Other projects I’ve put time into are the Calendar of Events (fixing bugs and making minor function upgrades) and an export filter for the Business office to get loan data exported by one of their programs into the proper format for the Treasury department’s new system.

Oh, and my office has moved as well. I’m still in 009, but now instead of my little office by the front door, I’m now in the room behind the helpdesk where the hardware repair area was. Joe and his team are moving into ITC007. I’m sharing the new space with Dale Goodell, so my new area is actually smaller than the old one; however, I wasn’t using a lot of the space in my old office, so I’m not suffering from the change. Getting a new machine sweetened the deal a lot; my old one was over four years old.

And as always, my job has lots of little tasks; updating webpages, fixing little problems on the website, creating URL shortcuts, and setting up editing permissions on new and existing folders.

And that, of course, brings me to the webserver migration, but tonight I’m busy enough working on it that I don’t have any more time to talk. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get an entry up explaining more about that. With luck, I’ll have time to get an FAQ written this week, believe it or not!

Which reminds me, if anyone has a topic they want to see explained in an FAQ, please let me know!


I’m on vacation starting Friday the 23rd and won’t be back until January 4th.

I’ve been busy in the past few weeks, working on automatic user creation, polishing up the events calendar, and getting the new website template ready. More about that when I get back!

Back from vacation

Hey, folks, I’m back. It was a good week; we spent the last part of it camping and touring the northcoast, from Tillamook to Astoria. There wasn’t enough time to see everything we wanted to see, but wow, it’s beautiful up there.

So anyway, now I’m digging my way out from under the pile of things that built up while I was gone. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be; by now I actually have time to write a blog entry!

I’m also getting ready to work on a mass creation script for blogs; we hope to automatically create a blog for every incoming freshman by Fall Term.

That’s all for now!


I’ll be on vacation from Monday, June 20, through Friday, June 24. I’ll be back on Monday the 27th as normal.

During that time I will be checking email and voicemail only rarely. If you need help that can’t wait for my return, please call the UCS Service Request Desk at 88925 or email them at

Emails to,, and will wait in my inbox until I return; if you have an urgent question related to any of these three areas, please email Travis at