Operations and Applications Technology Committee
Meeting Minutes
February 20, 1997

Members present:Eugene Brown, Thomas Butler, Jose Chavez, David Karstens, Jose Montero, Vincent Pizzurro (chair), Daniel Riley, Steven Sachs, David Williams
Also present: Robert Bruce, Paul Parker, Janet Zilczer
Absent:George Bergeman, Carmen Goodman, Carmen Medina, Martin Olson, Deborah Rodgers, John Sartorius, Jane Townend, Jeff Williamson

1. There were no comments or questions on the minutes of the last meeting, which had been distributed in January.

2. Status of infrastructure upgrades
Within the last month, Facilities personnel have generated and provided to CIS the room layouts that will be used by in-house staff and contractors to plan and record infrastructure installations and data jack types and locations. Initial meetings and walk-throughs with the cabling contractors have taken place, and the first job assignments have been issued. Work is proceeding more slowly than planned, however. One of the contractors, for instance, has only a two-man crew assigned to our account, and has indicated that it will take one to two months to complete the initial work assignment they have been given. To speed the installation process for the College, CIS is requesting that Purchasing award contracts to two additional firms, so that a total of five contractors can proceed with work simultaneously.

3. Status of purchases
The initial order for 109 WIN 166 MHz pentiums has been received in the warehouse. Additional hardware orders are being deferred to avoid the disruption of trying to receive and install equipment in the April-May timeframe, at the close of the Spring semester. Consideration is also being given to the merits of downgrading orders from 166 MHz to 133 MHz pentiums. If sufficient savings can be realized in this fashion, it should be possible to buy more new, fully- warranted machines, instead of upgrading out-of-warranty 486s.

Software orders are also being deferred for the time being, since there is a possibility that the software will come installed on the computers.

A recent reversal of interpretations by DPS lifts the prohibition against "piggy-backing" on William and Mary's Gateway contract. Gateway computers, which come with the Microsoft Office suite, can therefore be ordered. At the same time, DPS has issued a contract renewal notice to WIN Labs for generic microcomputers; the price reductions and/or model upgrades to be included have not yet been announced.

4. HRD training plan
Dr. Sachs and Dr. McVeigh have circulated their comments on the training plan Mr. Van Dyke published. (Copies of their comments were distributed.) That plan was largely course-based. Additional approaches, including in-house trainers and "mentoring" are other alternatives to be considered. Mr. Van Dyke needs comments and input from all quarters in order to flesh out the plan.

5. Subcommittee report
Dr. Williams distributed a memorandum summarizing the E- mail/ Internet access subcommittee's recommendations.

a. With regard to E-mail clients, the subcommittee found five free (shareware) packages to be worthy of further consideration: Eudora Lite, Microsoft Exchange, Pegasus Mail, Microsoft Explorer, and Netscape Communicator. However, due to limited CITG participation, the subcommittee decided not to conduct formal tests of these packages. Upon further discussion, the OAT Committee as a whole agreed that the inclusion of the Microsoft Exchange client within Windows 95 made it the most expedient current choice. Users who prefer another shareware product or (at departmental expense) a more feature-laden commercial package, would still be free to use a different E-mail client.

b. With regard to issues surrounding Internet access and Internet service providers, including dial access to E-mail and dial-in access to the Internet, the subcommittee recommends that the College engage a consultant to study and recommend alternatives.

6. SNA/TCP conversion
NVCC and several other colleges have successfully "embedded" SNA so that current inventories of 3270 devices can continue to provide service over the ATM network. This technique allows for continuity of operations while the transition to a full complement of network-attached PCs takes place. It also buys time so that solutions to the problems of massive batch printing jobs in a pure TCP/IP environment can be found.

7. Virus protection
Current College licensing and alternate anti-virus software were discussed. With plans for growing faculty use of computers and growth in the use of the Internet, concerns were raised about the potential for an increase in Internet- specific virus problems and a general increase in the transport of viruses between work and home. Training of faculty and staff in "safe computing" practices will become more important than ever. Dr. Sachs suggested that the Campus Information Resource Associates draft a set of instructions to make users aware of how best to configure and use anti-virus software. It was agreed that such general instructions could be posted on the NVCC home page for users to access. Managers of computer labs need to follow even more stringent, specialized practices tailored to meet the challenges of heavy student usage.

8. CITG feedback on microcomputer repair outsourcing
Comments from the Loudoun and Woodbridge CITGs on microcomputer repair outsourcing were distributed. Thus far, feedback from the campuses has been too limited to form the basis for recommendations or decision-making by either the OATC or the ITC. At the February 21 ITC meeting, the Provosts will be requested to provide their preferences and/or additional comments that would be helpful in formulating a College proposal. It is envisioned that the future solution could be campus-specific, and there is cosiderable latitude that could be exercised in this area.

The next session of the OATC is scheduled for Thursday, March 13, at 1:30 p.m. The location (Large Board Room, Brault Building or Annandale Provost's Conference Room) will be confirmed when the agenda is distributed.

Minutes Prepared by: Janet Zilcher

Distribution: OATC members (and others present)
ITC members
Dr. Ernst

OATC Minutes Index

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