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Timely Info for Power Users and Stanford's Technology 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

Spring 2009 Tech Briefings

Date Topic Presenter(s)
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

April 3

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 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 their 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 Whole Disk Encryption (WDE). It is recommended for Faculty and Staff who must store Restricted and/or Confidential data on their workstation. Please check the Information Security Office Data Classification Guidelines to determine if you might have Restricted or Sensitive data on your workstation.

This session will introduce you to the new IT Services alternative solution for WDE 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.

Shirley Hodges, IT Services
April 10

No Tech Briefing - Good Friday

April 17

Mathematica: A Technical Overview

Come hear author and educator, Paul Wellin, talk about Mathematica 7 and beyond. See how Mathematica is used for everyday computation as well as high-performance computing from the bio-sciences, finance, engineering, and mathematics. Features built-in parallel computing, image processing, information and data visualization, computable data sources, and much more.

About the Presenter:
Paul Wellin directs the Wolfram Education Group at Wolfram Research and is the author of several books on Mathematica including one on programming and another on simulations. He founded, and was the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Mathematica in Education and Research for its first five years. Prior to joining Wolfram Research in 1993, he taught mathematics at Sonoma State University.

Paul Wellin, Director of Wolfram Education Group, Wolfram Research
April 24

Advanced Programming Techniques in MATLAB

This master class will illustrate the usage and explain the benefits of many of the different function types available in MATLAB 7. You will learn how using the right function type can lead to more robust and maintainable code. Demonstrations will show how to apply these techniques to solve optimization problems and make it easier to program GUIs in MATLAB. This session will also provide you with an understanding of how different MATLAB data types are stored in memory.

About the Presenter: Loren Shure Ph.D.
Loren Shure is a Principal MATLAB Developer and has worked at The MathWorks for more than 20 years. She has co-authored several MathWorks products in addition to adding core functionality to MATLAB. Loren currently works on the design of the MATLAB language. She graduated from MIT with a B.S. in Physics, and from the University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography with a Ph.D. in Marine Geophysics. Loren writes about MATLAB on her blog:

Loren Shure, Ph.D., Principal MATLAB Developer, The MathWorks
May 1

Command-Line NetDB

Command-Line PDF used in Presentation

This class will show some of the features of command-line NetDB, which is available to anyone with NetDB access. The primary use of command-line NetDB is to do bulk changes to multiple records much more quickly than can be done with the web form. Integration of web searches and bulk command-line changes will be shown.

Drew Saunders, IT Services

May 8

Working in Second Life

- Second Life page for Educators and Businesses
- Education Resources for Second Life
- You Tube - Education-related videos and mahinima
- YouTube Second Life Channel

Second Life is a free 3D virtual world where users can socialize, connect and create using voice and text chat. Many people are discovering that Second Life is not only a great place for social interaction and creating virtual content, but provides an effective platform for meetings and training. Over 5000 educators use Second Life for everything from research to collaboration; many hold classes in Second Life. Take a tour of Second Life to see some of the many uses that have been created - from virtual museums to custom training situations. We'll discuss some of the advantages - and disadvantages - of working in a virtual space.

There will also be a tour of the Stanford University Library's virtual island -- one of the largest created by a university.

Glenn Fisher, Director of Business Programs, Linden Lab

Deni Wicklund, Manager, Stanford Libraries Tech Support

May 15

Load Balancing

IT Services provides a managed, load balancer service for firewalled systems residing in the White, Forsythe, and core operational zones.

Utilizing distributed pairs of F5 BigIP Load balancers (6400), the load balancer service provides clients with the ability to easily remove servers from pools for maintenance without affecting the availability of a service, distribute inbound traffic across multiple back-end destinations and act as a proxy from the Internet to local private addresses.

In this session, we discuss what the service provides, how to obtain it and as well provide an overview of the architecture and how the load balancers are integrated with the firewalls.

Ray Cooper, IT Services
May 22

Why Choose Lenovo?

Mike Hagerty, Stanford's Lenovo representative, will discuss the highlights of its Campus-Wide Agreement with Stanford:

  • Highly aggressive pricing
  • Exclusive website with customizable products
  • Easy break-fix process ensuring information privacy
  • Unique user-friendly features for durability and manageability
  • New product announcements

Products will be available for demonstration

For more information on what Lenovo offers staff and faculty at Stanford, please visit

Mike Hagerty, Account Executive, Lenovo
May 29

What's New and Different in Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium: Creativity Unleased

Learn how to apply the skills you already have to create rich, compelling content for print and online with Adobe® Creative Suite® 4 Design Premium. In this session you’ll discover powerful new drawing, design, photographic, animation and 3D tools that will enable you to express yourself in exciting new ways and deliver rich, creative experiences across print, web and mobile media.

Presenter info:
Rick Miller is a Senior Solutions Engineer for Education at Adobe Systems where he helps Adobe’s education customers find the solutions they need to enhance the pedagogical experiences of their students. Before working at Adobe Systems, Rick taught Photoshop/Digital Imaging at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, and Digital Design at Cal Poly Pomona University, so he's cognizant of the unique challenges that face educators. Rick is an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop, Lightroom, and Acrobat Connect. Additionally, Rick is an expert in color management. Moreover, Rick is a professional photographer who is certified on the Leaf and Phase One digital backs, and trains users on the Hasselblad digital back. Rick continues to consult with Law Enforcement agencies in the Forensic application of Photoshop.

Rick Miller, Adobe
June 5

Workstation Backup and Recovery

Desktop Backup and Recovery - Presentation (PDF)

One of the most important steps to protecting Stanford's data is to backup the data on desktops and laptops using a reliable, secure, cost effective tool. Historically it has been fairly easy to find backup alternatives for Windows computers. We now also have viable backup alternatives for Macintosh computers.

Please join us as we compare and contrast the desktop backup alternatives for Stanford Macintosh and Windows computers. This will include the viewpoint of the end user, the backup administrator, as well as the cost comparisons.

Dan Stillmaker & Shirley Hodges, IT Services
June 12

No Tech Briefing - Graduation


June 19

Social Networking at Stanford

Social Networking has grown increasingly popular over the past few years. Using Social Networking tools, you can increase your professional and personal contacts while improving communication and collaboration with other people who share similar beliefs, interests, and goals.

In this Tech Briefing, Mark Branom and Dave Ream (IT Services) will be on hand to talk about the various Social Networking tools available and how they can help you.

Mark Branom & Dave Ream, IT Services
June 26

Stanford Email and Calendar

In 2008, IT Services provided Stanford computer users with a new and enhanced email and calendar service that allowed them to more seamlessly use these applications together. Pieces of Stanford's current email and calendar infrastructures have been replaced with a new "collaboration suite.”

This Tech Briefing will focus on demonstrating the new system and answering your questions about the product, the project, and how it will affect your work at Stanford.

More information can be found at

Ammy Hill, 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 Friday, 14-Aug-2009 07:54:59 AM

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