Information Technology Systems and Services at Stanford Link to ITSS Home

Technology Training Services
Tech Briefings
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 ITSS staff, 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 will be announced about a week 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 Phyllis Olrich at 725-1541 or send email to

Spring 2004 Tech Briefings Schedule

April 2: Firewalls at Stanford
April 23: Introduction to Networking
April 30: Web Accessibility
May 7: DHCP at Stanford
May 14: Firewalls and VPNs – The Nitty Gritty
May 21: Patch Management

Date Topic Presenter(s)


Firewalls at Stanford

A firewall is a device that is installed to protect an enterprise, business, application, and/or computing environment from attacks or compromises from the outside world. Application security methods, including firewalls, are being used right now to guard the confidential data that students, faculty, and staff entrust to the computer-based systems at Stanford. At this session, ITSS' Steve Loving will explain how firewalls work, how they break, and the services ITSS plans to offer to protect Stanford business processes, data, and mission-critical applications.

Steve Loving
9 No Tech Briefing Today  
16 No Tech Briefing Today  

A Very Basic Introduction to Networking at Stanford

View this presentation as streaming media at For tips on view streaming media, go to the ITSS Streaming Media site.

What is a network? What is ethernet? What's this "IP" stuff anyway? Does the 7-layer OSI model have anything to do with 7-layer chip dip? This Briefing will introduce you, in 90 short minutes, to some of the basics of computer networking, with an emphasis on ethernet and the Internet Protocol (IP). We'll also go over some of the things that make Stanford's network so special, and introduce, if only briefly, the dreaded 7-layer OSI model. Less comprehensive, yet more detailed, than a "For Dummies" book or presentation, this session would be excellent for anyone in a help desk or desktop support role who needs to understand more of what happens past the desktop. ITSS Networking will offer other Tech Briefings on other topics in more detail. This class will not cover server or desktop configuration or support, email, web browsing or serving, file sharing or printing issues.

Drew Saunders

Web Accessibility: Making Sense of Who It Affects and What Should I Do About It

View this presentation as streaming media at For tips on viewing streaming media, go to the ITSS Streaming Media site.
Download pdf of Web Accessibility Resources.
Download pdf of slide presentation.

Web accessibility is a hot topic. It's also one that is convoluted and confusing, supported by an overwhelming number of resources which can raise more questions than they answer: Who is affected by inaccessible web pages, and what kinds of difficulties do they encounter? (It's not just people with visual impairments!) How can I tell if my web page is inaccessible, and what should I do about it? Are there different levels of accessibility; which am I obligated to meet? And just what is meant by "accessible" anyway?

The Dynamic Duo of Shelley Haven and Judith Blankman will place the twists and turns of web page and online accessibility into perspective. Through demos and short video clips, they will show how usability is affected by various disabilities. In addition to answering the questions above, they will also discuss how Stanford is addressing the issue and provide a sneak preview of what is coming down the pike in terms of best practice guidelines, policies, and resources to assist Stanford folks make online resources accessible to all users.

Whether you're a professional web developer, department webmaster, responsible administrator, or interested web user, this session has something you'll want to know!

Shelley Haven -- Academic Technology Specialist and Technology Coordinator, Office of Accessible Education, and
Judith Blankman -- Producer and Accessibility Point Person, Media Solutions
May 7

DHCP at Stanford

Kent Reuber will describe how DHCP works and what's special about DHCP at Stanford. Techniques for troubleshooting problems with DHCP will also be discussed. Download Kent's PowerPoint slides here.

Kent Reuber

Firewalls & VPNs: The Nitty Gritty

This special two-hour class is for ITSS system administrators, database administrators, application developers, and power users. After a brief review of firewalls and VPNs, we'll talk very specifically about Stanford's firewall deployment for administrative systems. The core of the class will be an interactive exercise where teams will build firewall rules, test, and troubleshoot. Prizes will be given to the best team based on security, manageability, funtionality, and speed. The entire firewall team will be participating so it's also an opportunity to ask questions. RSVP to Download PowerPoint slides here.
Download Excel spreadsheet of rules for the firewall exercise.

Sunia Yang and the Firewall Team

Patch Management is Coming to Stanford!

Some of you may be aware that ITSS is in the beginning stages of deploying a Microsoft Windows patch management system for the entire campus. After the severe problems caused by Blaster and other Internet worms last August, the President, Provost, and Faculty Senate asked ITSS to take whatever steps were necessary to reduce the risk that such problems would recur. A big part of the solution has to be better management of Windows security updates - that is, patches - for all PCs on the campus network.

In this Tech Briefing, Jay Stamps will introduce the BigFix patch management system that the University has licensed for all Stanford PC users. If you use Windows, or support people who do, you'll be hearing about BigFix soon in any case. Come learn more about what it is, how it works, and see a demonstration of how system administrators will use BigFix to manage Windows patching. There will be plenty of time for questions and answers.

Download Jay's PowerPoint presentation here.

Jay Stamps
28 No Tech Briefing Today  
June 4 No Tech Briefing Today  
11 No Tech Briefing Today  

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.

Subscribe to the Tech Briefings Mailing List

To subscribe to the Tech Briefings Mailing List, send email to with the message

subscribe techbriefings

Suggest a Topic

Is there a particular topic you would like to see presented as a Tech Briefing? Let us know! We'll do our best to accommodate you.

Your Email Address (optional):

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 Tuesday, 12-Sep-2006 12:57:28 PDT

© 2003, Stanford University. All rights reserved.
Comments about this document? Use the HelpSU submission form.
Need computing help? Visit HelpSU or call 5-HELP (650-725-4357).


Submit a HelpSU form
or call 5-HELP(4357)

On this page:
links to previous quarters
mailing list
suggestion box
tips for presenters

Pages about this service:
what's new
course information
classes on demand
training guides
Training by Appointment
registration information
Tech Briefings
Tech Express
maps to classrooms
classroom calendars
facility rentals
vision, mission, and staff
other training providers at Stanford

Looking for something else?
Stanford Home
Computing & Communication