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Timely Info for Power Users and Stanford's Technology Support Community


Held Friday afternoons in Turing Auditorium, Tech Briefings are informal, interactive seminars on computer-related topics of interest to the Stanford community. These sessions are intended for power users, Expert Partners, and those with IT responsibilities, but are open to everyone - faculty, staff, and students. The Tech Briefings, led by knowledgeable IT Services staff or other IT professionals, run from 2:00 to 3:30 P.M. No registration is required - just come on by and learn something new. No fees. No fuss.

Turing Auditorium is Room 111 of Polya Hall. See this map to Polya Hall.

The success of these sessions depends on you! Questions from attendees are strongly encouraged. Topics are announced in advance through the techbriefings mailing list and on this web page.

Because we are presenting emerging technical topics, please feel free to contact the Tech Briefing coordinator with any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns. Call 723-4391 or send email to

Winter 2009 Tech Briefings

Date Topic Presenter(s)

Jan 9

Low Cost Storage Solutions

Dan Stillmaker, Technical Manager in IT Services will discuss the intended and possible uses for the LCSS. The talk will be about how to get it, the pro’s and con’s, the alternatives, and future plans. There will also be a discussion on CIFS and AFS (two current ways to get the storage), as well as iSCSI. If time permits, the presenter will solicit feedback for better fitting client needs.

- PowerPoint Presentation
- Amazon Comparisons to LCCS (Excel File)
- CIFS Service Description (Word File)
- Storage Services Handout (Word File)
Dan Stillmaker, IT Services
Jan 16

Apple Presents

Come hear Stanford's Apple rep Wyn Davies talk about the exciting new Apple products, direct from Macworld 2009.

Wyn Davies, Apple
Jan 23

Introduction to Networking

If you've ever been curious as to how computers talk to each other, this class will give a brief overview of some of the concepts of computer networking. This class will be a very basic introduction to common modern networking technology and terminology and how they apply to Stanford. Topics covered include networking models and protocols, ethernet, wireless ethernet, the Internet Protocol (IP) and networking equipment.

Drew Saunders, IT Services
Jan 30

Introducing Stanford Captioning

While captioning audio/video presentations is a lifeline for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, captioning can also be used to improve your media product and enhance its accessibility to a much larger community.

The problem today is creating captioned media for the web is still seen as very much a difficult hands-on process, which requires specific skills, technologies, and/or software that is complex, expensive, and intricate to work with. Because of this, creating captioned media is often out-sourced to third-party, for-profit production houses, leaving the perception that it is also an expensive proposition.

For captioned media to be fully embraced at Stanford a system and work-flow must be developed that addresses these issues - it needs to appear to be as simple and seamless as posting a video to YouTube. This is the primary goal of Stanford Captioning.

Join John Foliot [SOAP] and Sean Keegan [Office of Accessible Education] to see the real benefits of captioned media at Stanford, learn more about this pilot project, and find out how you can be part of this exciting initiative.

John Foliot, Stanford Online Accessibility Program

Sean Keegan, Office of Accessible Education

Feb 6

Intermediate Networking: Ethernet and IP

Expanding on some of the topics covered in the introductory class, the Ethernet and IP class will go into some more detail on the most common two protocols of modern networking. This class will cover more detail on the ethernet protocol and common troubleshooting problems. For the Internet Protocol (IP), this class will cover TCP, UDP and ICMP and what they're used for; IP addressing concepts; subnet masks; and some troubleshooting of common IP problems.

Drew Saunders, IT Services

Feb 13

No Tech Briefing - President's Day Weekend

Abraham Lincoln    USA Flag and eagle.  Image courtesy Pam Roth from,    George Washington


Feb 20

The Stanford iPhone

iStanford is a fully integrated suite of Stanford services exclusively for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The suite allows users to access Stanford's directory, campus maps, course bulletin, events calendar, and athletic news, schedules and scores.

Since its release to the public, there has been nearly three times as many downloads of iStanford as there are registered iPhones on campus. On average, users spend around five minutes per session, and some of the most popular features include "Find Me" in Maps, and searching for a person in the directory.

Aaron Wasserman
Aaron is one of the managing partners of Terriblyclever Design. He is also currently in his junior year at Stanford, pursuing a major in Economics. Since joining Terriblyclever, Aaron has helped oversee the sales and marketing efforts of "iStanford" to universities across the country.

Kayvon Beykpour
Kayvon is the CEO and co-founder of Terriblyclever Design. Since founding the company in the summer of 2007, Kayvon has committed his time both to the engineering and business sides of the company, and spearheaded Terriblyclever's transition into the mobile technology industry. Kayvon is also a junior at Stanford, pursuing a major in Computer Science.

Wyn Davies, Apple

Aaron Wasserman & Kayvon Beykpour,
Terribly Clever

Feb 27

Green IT: From Desktops to Datacenters

Sustainable IT is a new effort at Stanford led by the Department of Sustainability & Energy management, and co-sponsored by IT Services. The goals are twofold -- reduce the University's carbon footprint, and reduce overall IT costs for the University. This involves looking at how the University manages and runs both the IT infrastructure as well as the buildings that house the equipment.

While focused on the entire lifecycle of IT equipment & infrastructure, initial efforts are targeting energy reduction. IT on campus, including desktop computing, datacenters, and dozens of distributed data 'closets' used for academic, administrative and research computing, represents approximately 15% of the University's total energy usage. Reducing energy usage is not only good for the planet, but it also saves money for the schools and departments across the University.

In this presentation, find out more about Sustainable IT at Stanford, along with tips on what you can do in your own office to save energy.

Joyce Dickerson, Department of Sustainability & Energy Management and IT Services
Mar 6

NetDB Power Searching

This briefing is for people with NetDB access who want to learn more about some of the searching tools available to them. We will cover NetDB log searches, which let you see the whole history of a NetDB entry: who made it and when, and all modifications. We will also cover the command line tool ipm, which lets you search our logs of router arp tables; this is especially handy in finding IP thieves or the history of a laptop that roams from one network to another. Finally, we'll cover the various DHCP log searches, which give detailed information on the successes or failures of a computer's usage of Stanford's DHCP service. NetDB access is required to use some of these tools, and NetDB familiarity is suggested for anyone attending this briefing.

P.S. Go ahead and bring a laptop with a wireless interface if you'd like to do some of the searches during the demonstration. Drew would be happy to spend much of the class demonstrating real world searches that you want to bring to the class as well.

Drew Saunders, IT Services
Mar 13

Research Using LabVIEW

In this training you will:

· Discover firsthand how LabVIEW can help simplify your design projects for virtually all of your technical computing needs.
· Learn how to create complete LabVIEW applications from scratch in minutes with interactive Express VIs and I/O assistants
· Learn how to integrate your m-file scripts, created using The MathWorks, Inc. MATLAB® development environment, with LabVIEW MathScript.
· See live demonstrations utilizing the latest LabVIEW features.

Obtain the latest versions of the LabVIEW development environment, modules, and toolkits as well as nearly all NI software via the Stanford's Software Licensing Group.

Visit to get started today.

Hani Rajabi, National Instruments Field Engineer, Stanford
Mar 20

Stanford Whole Disk Encryption (SWDE)

Due to the recent loss of University data, Stanford is in the process of revisiting the level of protection for campus desktops/laptops and associated Stanford data.

Across campus there is no single solution to protect the University's data. IT Services is focused on providing alternatives for campus users to increase the protection of Stanford data while providing alternatives that are secure and not overly burdensome, increasing the likelihood they will be used.

The alternative service provided by this project is Stanford Whole Disk Encryption (SWDE). It is recommended for Faculty and Staff who must store Restricted and/or Confidential data on their computer. Please check the Information Security Office Data Classification Guidelines to determine if you might have Restricted or Confidential Data on your computer.

This session will introduce you to the new IT Services alternative solution for SWDE using PGP’s Universal Server. If you know you need this solution, think you need the solution, are part of an IT support group at SU, or are just interested, please attend.


    • Why Whole Disk Encryption?
    • What are the business drivers at SU?
    • What is the SWDE service?
    • Who can participate?
    • How can one become a SWDE participant
    • How does SWDE work?
    • SWDE Demonstration
    • Installation and Program Wrapper Demo
    • ‘Forgot my passphrase’ Demo


Randy Livingston, CFO

Shirley Hodges, IT Services

Stacy Lee,
IT Services

Jeremy Tavan, IT Services

Dennen Monks, Aurora Systems


Mar 27

Website Security

In this presentation, learn about controlling access to internal or confidential documents on a Stanford website using the Stanford Web Authentication Services, commonly known as WebAuth, along with other standard password protection schemes.

The presenter will cover how to restrict access to certain website directories to certain SUNet IDs, and how to create a password protection scheme that can be used by any selected group of users - such as collaborators at other universities or institutions who might not have a SUNet ID.

Tim Torgenrud, IT Services


Links to Previous Quarters

Click on these links to previous quarters to see the Tech Briefings/TGIF topics we have presented in the past. Links to handouts for most presentations are also available at these sites.

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Tips for Presenters

So, you're going to give a presentation at an upcoming Tech Express. Find out what services we provide and what's expected of you. Refer to this PowerPoint document Tips for Presenters for guidelines on preparing for your presentation. You will find templates, as well as other useful information regarding timelines, marketing, and resources.


Last modified Monday, 23-Mar-2009 03:45:28 PM

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