August 2009


For Newcomers – PolyU NetID What & How and IT Orientation Programmes
Security Tips on Using Public Wireless Hotspots
2nd Road Show for Annual Notebook Ownership Programme Starting 1 September

GroupWise 7 Series: New Home Folder & GroupWise 7 WebAccess   

Annual Business Continuity Drill of Central Computer Systems

Message from the New Director of Information Technology


It is my great pleasure to greet you all in this foreword to the ITS Newsletter. As the new Director of Information Technology of the University with little under a month’s experience of Hong Kong, I can report to being more than a little overwhelmed.  Not only by the vibrancy and energy of Hong Kong and the University but also from the warmth and hospitality I have been exposed to.  It is a great privilege to become a member of PolyU family – you have made me very welcome – thank you.

I have just completed 20 years service as the Chief Information Officer of Massey University in New Zealand and took on the University role of Director of Information Technology at PolyU as the next adventure!  It is certainly proving to be engaging.  I am on a steep learning curve coping with the changes in culture, language, personalities and the details of a new and vibrant institution with enormous growth and changes coming down the track.
There are unique issues facing the University that need special thought and attention such as the upcoming changes to the degree structures and the specific challenges of space and growth.  There are many familiar challenges:  budget constraints, the need to find ways to collaborate and optimize resources and equipment; the challenges of pedagogical change; the emergence of data centric research (often called e-research, e-science or cyberscience); the arrival of technologically savvy students, the digital natives who have expectations of their learning environments that challenge conventional approaches to teaching and learning.

I have spent most of this first month meeting colleagues and just learning about the ways things work at PolyU.  My colleagues, apart from making me feel very welcome, have been inducting me into the unique nature of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the particular issues and challenges associated with information and communications technology.  The University has grown quickly and it is a great challenge to have the infrastructure and services to keep up with the aspirations of departments, faculties, staff and students. 

It has been very encouraging discovering how hard working and industrious staff across the University are and how much has been achieved. The University’s research reputation has grown consistently over the last few years and student numbers continue to climb.  The interactions I have been having are vital for me to understand what is needed to take the University forward and give it the IT infrastructure and support mechanisms that will enable teaching, learning, research and administration going forward.

I am looking for opinions and suggestions from Departments, Faculties and Administrative Offices to help shape and improve the University’s use of information and communications technology.  I truly believe that ICT is a fundamental enabler for the University’s growth and development but I need your help to make it happen.

Thank you for your welcome.  Do not hesitate to make contact with me if you wish to discuss any dimension of University information technology provision or service.  I promise you I will give you my full attention and provide you with the best advice I can.

Gerrit W Bahlman
Director of Information Technology



For Newcomers – PolyU NetID What & How and IT Orientation Programmes


As an IT-savvy institution, PolyU provides a highly IT-infused learning and working environment for our students and staff. The first step to this new experience is to create your PolyU NetID which is your access key to all the central IT resources. We have prepared some basic 'need-to-knows' about the PolyU NetID to help you get started. IT orientation programmes are also arranged for newcomers to learn about the central IT facilities and services available for your study and work.

PolyU NetID - The What & How

The PolyU NetID is your key to all the central IT facilities and services on campus including e-mail, University Portal, Academic Unix Cluster, e-learning services, wireless LAN, administrative information systems, etc. It is your unique personal identifier known by the University's computer systems which will enable you to apply a single username and password pair, named as NetID and NetPassword, to access the central IT facilities and services.

All students and staff are entitled to have a NetID. If you have not yet created your NetID, please do so immediately to gain access to the central IT resources.


Create Your NetID

Students New students can create your NetID via the 'Student NetID Creation' facility of the NetID Management System the next day after you have completed the registration procedures and received your student ID card.
Staff Similarly, new staff can apply for a NetID via the 'Staff NetID Creation' facility of the NetID Management System on your first day of duty after you have received your staff ID card.


Steps to Create NetID
Access the NetID Management System at:
Click the New Student or New Staff button to access the 'Student NetID Creation' / 'Staff NetID Creation' facility
Enter your Student / Staff No. and click Submit
Read and accept the PolyU Acceptable Use Policy for IT Facilities and Services and the Computer Systems Security Policy
Enter the requested personal data and the NetID (for staff only) and NetPassword of your choice
Click Submit


Manage Your NetID

You can manage your NetID, NetPassword and the associated accounts and services via the NetID Management System. Listed below are what you can do via the system:

Create your PolyU NetID
Re-set your NetPassword (in case you have forgotten it)
Change your NetPassword
View your central IT account profile (e.g. IT services available to you, e-mail account profile, etc.)
Activate / Deactivate some optional IT services
Choose Preferred Name / Address for E-mail Accounts
Reactivate Old NetID (for staff only)


Change Your NetPassword Regularly

Since your NetID and NetPassword will give access to all the central IT resources, it is important that you keep your NetPassword strictly confidential and never disclose it to anybody.

For security reason, you are strongly advised to change your NetPassword via the NetID Management System regularly, preferably once every 3 months.


Come Join our IT Orientation Programmes

Don’t know what IT facilities are available to you and where to get started? Come and join our IT orientation workshops for all you need to know -


Orientation Workshops for Students

A series of IT Orientation Workshops for students are being held at the Student Computer Centre till mid September. The 1-hour workshops will highlight the University's central IT facilities and services available to students including e-mail, University Portal, Student Computer Centre, WebCT/Blackboard e-Learning platform, network storage service, Help Centre and Hotline services, etc. Check out the Workshop schedule and reserve your seat by calling our hotline at 2766 5900. 


Orientation Workshops for Staff

All new staff members are also invited to the IT Orientation Workshop for new staff to be held on 14 September 2009. Details of the workshop are as below:

Interested colleagues please reserve your seat directly online via the Staff IT Training Workshop Enrolment System.



Upgrade Projects on the Campus Network Infrastructure and e-Services



To further enhance the quality of our services, a host of upgrade projects on the campus network infrastructure and e-Services have been undertaken or are near completion. These include:


In our continuous efforts to maintain an up-to-date campus network, more network switches have been upgraded to Gigabit Ethernet (1000 Mbps) in 2009. The bandwidth of our Campus Network Backbone has also been upgraded to 10 Gbps in June 2009 to ensure that sufficient campus network bandwidth is provided.


As announced earlier, the broken submarine cables resulting from the recent storm and earthquakes in the East Asia have limited our International Internet bandwidth.  As confirmed by the Internet Service Provider, the International bandwidth of HARNET (Hong Kong Academic and Research Network, through which PolyU is connected to the Internet) would be increased from 840Mbps to 1,200 Mbps effective from 1 September 2009 to cope with the usage demand in the new academic year.  A tendering exercise is also being conducted to acquire an additional PolyU dedicated Internet link so as to provide more bandwidth to users and as contingency provision.


400 new wireless access points (AP) will be installed throughout the campus to further extend and improve the WiFi coverage and throughput. The first batch of APs will be in service by the middle of September 2009. The whole of Library and all Lecture Theatres will then be covered by new APs with IEEE 802.11n wireless networking standard.

The new APs not only will improve the WiFi coverage, but will also increase the network data transfer throughput. The IEEE 802.11n wireless networking standard can support data transfer rate of up to 300 Mbps, as well as backward compatibility with IEEE 802.11 a/b/g standard so that older model computers, PDAs or other client devices can be supported.

With regard to the security protocol, ITS will initially support both WPA (WiFi Protected Access) and WPA2. We will tighten the security standard later and will only support WPA2 when the majority of client devices can run WPA2.  


With the launch of the Campus Video Broadcasting Service in August 2008, the following free video broadcasting and HDTV channels are now available for viewing on campus:

PolyU Info Channel Users would be able to view the video clips provided by PolyU departments, including CPA and LIB, via this channel.

Research channel

This channel is founded by a consortium of leading research and academic institutions to share the valuable work of their researchers with the public.
aTV: HD Channel Live television broadcast of Hong Kong aTV High Definition Channel.

Users can view the 3 channels on PCs with at least Core 2 Duo 3.0GHz CPU and 4GB RAM, which are connected to the campus network and installed with the VLC Media Player (free software). The VLC Media Player is pre-installed on all new staff PCs provided in the recent Staff PC Upgrade Exercise. More information on the Campus Video Broadcasting Service is available here.

Please note that due to the bandwidth limitation of the campus network at certain areas, the TV and video broadcasting service is NOT available for connection via the Wireless LAN, SPAN (Secure Public Access Network) sockets, classrooms, and the Student Halls of Residence.


As previously announced, the PolyU dial-up modem service will be phased-out on 1 September 2009, as the demand for the service has become less and less during the past few years. Users are strongly recommended to use broadband Internet service provided by commercial Internet Service Providers.  


During the summer, we have completed the revamp of our e-services infrastructure. This includes:

Upgrade of the Traffic Shaper, Internet Firewall and Server Load Balancing System;

Phasing out of the Web Proxy System and Web Proxy Redirector;

Tuning of the Intrusion Prevention System.

This will provide a more robust environment to enhance users’ Internet surfing experience.


The operating system of all the computer nodes under the Academic Unix Cluster have been upgraded to Solaris 10The hosting server machines of the NFS file server, myStore, myWeb and mySurvey services have also been upgraded. Each user is now provided with 5GB disk quota for myStore and 2GB disk quota for myWeb (increased by 1 GB) and users should be able to enjoy faster system response on these services. While the system hardware and software have been upgraded, the functionalities and features of the systems / services remain the same. The hardware configuration of more computer nodes under the Academic Unix Cluster will be upgraded in the coming year.

The Internet Web Server ( and Intranet Web Server ( have also been migrated to new hosting server machines running Apache web server software on top of the Linux platform with High Availability (HA) design.


The new anti-spam engine for the Campus E-mail System has been in operation with the launch of the new SMTP servers of the System on 1 May 2009. Details could be found in our May issue. The message store of the Campus E-mail System has also been upgraded in August 2009 with High Availability (HA) design and larger user mailbox capacity. Users’ mailbox quota has been increased to 1GB and the e-mail retention period has been extended to 180 days.

All the upgraded systems will be included in the coming Business Continuity Drill to be conducted on 1 and 26 October 2009.


Related Websites:




Security Tips on Using Public Wireless Hotspots



With the popular adoption of mobile devices, wireless hotspots are now widely available at public locations such as Internet cafes and restaurants, shopping malls, airports and hotels, public libraries and government office buildings. While enjoying the convenience of getting connected anywhere you go, take a look at some security tips that every mobile user needs so as to stay safe:


Beware of fake hotspots - Hackers may set up fake hotspots using a deceptive name that looks like a legitimate hotspot network. When in doubt, check with the service provider to confirm the name of the network and the appearance of the login page. Also, disable the automatic connection feature to prevent connection to fake hotspots without your knowing.

Turn on the personal firewall and anti-virus programThis is an important step before you make a wireless connection. Always turn on the personal firewall and the anti-virus software on your device to prevent unauthorised access and virus attacks.  

To activate the Windows Firewall

For Windows Vista:

Control Panel > Security > Windows Firewall >select “Turn Windows Firewall on or off” > click “on”

For Windows XP:

Control Panel > Network Connections > At Network Tasks, select “Change Windows Firewall Settings” > select the “General tab > click “on”

Do not use public hotspots if your device contains highly sensitive / confidential data Due to its open nature, there is no guarantee on privacy at public hotspots. A more secure environment should be used if your device is storing highly sensitive information.

Do not send personal / sensitive data - Public hotspots generally do not encrypt data during transmission. You will be at risk if you send your personal data like bank account password, credit card number, ID card number, etc. using a public wireless network.

Keep your operating system (OS) and security patches up-to-date Regularly install the latest security patches for your OS to protect it from known security holes.

Turn off file sharing The file sharing feature enables others on the same network to access your computer. On a public wireless network, this may leave your computer vulnerable to hackers.

To turn off file sharing

For Windows Vista:

Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Under "Sharing and Discovery", select "File sharing" > check “Turn off file sharing” and then click “Apply”

For Windows XP:

Control Panel > Security Center > Windows Firewall > select the “Exceptions tab > Programs and Services > uncheck “File and Printer Sharing”

Communicate only with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protected sites SSL protected sites can be identified by the “https” at the beginning of the web address.  A secure site will display a padlock or certificate information next to the address bar in the browser. 

Use strong passwords for access to your device and the sensitive files / folders therein - A strong password can minimize its risk of being cracked or guessed by others. It should include a mixture of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols.  Avoid using your login name, real name and words found in the dictionary, as well as any meaningful numbers such as your date of birth, phone number, ID card number, etc.

Turn off your wireless connection when not in use Finally, remember to turn off your connection after use. This will help to prevent unauthorized access to your device and data without your knowing.  


Free Wireless Access at PCCW and Y5ZONE Hotspots

Through collaboration with local wireless service providers including Y5ZONE and PCCW, PolyU staff and students can enjoy free Internet connectivity at thousands of hotspots at public places in Hong Kong including popular shopping malls, restaurants, fast food chains, coffee shops, convenience stores, MTR stations, etc.

Users are advised to use these wireless hotspots if such are available, as they adopt a more secure wireless access protocol and user authentication is required for access. Please click here for the procedures of setting up your device to use the PCCW and Y5ZONE hotspots.    

Please contact the ITS Help Centre at 2766 5900 if you need advice or assistance on using wireless hotspots.  


2nd Road Show for Annual Notebook Ownership Programme Starting 1 September


Commenced in early August, this year’s annual notebook ownership programme has been very well received, and over 7,000 Fujitsu notebooks / mini-notebooks have been sold during the 1st road show period.

The 2nd road show will soon start on 1 September and if you did not have a chance to visit the road show counter last time, don’t miss the opportunity to acquire Fujitsu notebooks at discounted prices during the next road show:


Meanwhile, please click here to view the different models ranging from HK$2,780 to HK$12,800.

The annual notebook ownership programme is offered to all PolyU students, staff and alumni. For enquiries, please call the sales hotline of Sunlite Computronics at 3576 3860 (27 July – 31 October 2009) from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm on Monday – Friday.



September Staff IT Training Programmes


Training Workshops

You may view the full list of workshops offered in September and make online enrolment via the Staff IT Training Workshop Enrolment System. You will be notified instantly of the enrolment results.


Online Courses

  September Online Courses


Access 2007: Level 1 &2

  Access 2007: New Features


Acrobat 8: New Features


Acrobat 9.0 Pro: Level 1 & 2


Excel 2007: Level 1 & 2


Excel 2007: New Features


GroupWise 7.0 Level 1-1: Using GroupWise E-mail


GroupWise 7.0 Level 1-2: Organizing E-mails and Address Book in GroupWise

  GroupWise 7.0 Level 1-3: Using GroupWise Calendar and Resources
  GroupWise 7.0 Level 2-1: Exploring Advanced Mail and Message Features


GroupWise 7.0 Level 2-2: Exploring WebAccess, Rules and Access Rights


PowerPoint 2007: Level 1 & 2


PowerPoint 2007: New Features


Project 2007: Level 1 & 2


Publisher 2007


Security Awareness (Part 1): Accessing a Computer, a Network and the Internet in a Secure Manner


Security Awareness (Part 2) : Maintaining File and Email Security


Security Awareness (Part 3): Promoting Web Security and Proper Responses to Security Incidents


SharePoint Designer 2007: Level 1 & 2


Visio 2007 Professional: Level 1 & 2

  What's New in Visio 2007


Windows Vista : New Features


Word 2007: Level 1 & 2


Word 2007: New Features


Please click here for the detailed description of each course. To enrol, please complete and return the web-based proforma reply and you will be informed of the enrolment results in early September via e-mail.

Enquiries: 4566

GroupWise 7 Series: New Home Folder & GroupWise 7 WebAccess


New Home Folder

In GroupWise 7, a new 'Home Folder’ is available to provide you with a quick view of some important information in the different folders of your GroupWise account, such as your appointments, checklist items, unread message items, etc. You can also customize the Homepage Folder to display the information in a way convenient to you.

To access the Home Folder, click the Home button in the Navigation Bar or click the top icon '<You Name> Home' in the folder list.

For first time access, a Welcome page will be shown and you can check the box 'Don’t show this again’ at the bottom to skip this page for next access. Then click 'GroupWise Home Folder’ to view your Home Folder.

The Home Folder uses panels to display different types of information. By default, the panels for Calendar, Checklist and Unread Items will be shown. You can customize the available panels, add or delete new / existing panels, etc. in the Home Folder based on your personal preference.

If you would like to set the Home Folder as the default folder to be displayed when you login your GroupWise account, you can: Select Tools > Options > Environment > at "Default Actions" tab, select "Home folder"


In our next issue, we will discuss in details on how to customize the Home Folder and its different panels to suit your personal needs.


GroupWise 7 WebAccess

In addition to enhancements for the GroupWise client, GroupWise 7 has also improved its WebAccess function to provide similar user interface and features to the GroupWise client. The new GroupWise 7 WebAccess will be launched in early September and it can be accessed via the existing URL at

Major enhancements include:

New look and feel The user interface of GroupWise 7 WebAccess is very similar to the GroupWise client, which enables colleagues to work in a familiar environment even when they are out of office. 
Work in Progress folder The 'Work in Progress’ folder is now available for colleagues to save draft messages for review and send out at a later time.
Name CompletionThe Name Completion feature finishes known addresses based on the Frequent Contact Address Book.
Right click menus You can now right click on a folder or item for the pop-up menus to view the list of available functions / options.
Post calendar items You can schedule appointments, tasks and reminder notes for yourself and other users.
QuickFind – You can use the QuickFind function for fast, full-text search through your mailbox.
Resend - You can resend items that you have sent out.
Drag and drop – You can drag and drop items around your desktop with a click of your mouse.


Login Screen for GroupWise 7 WebAccess

Please click here for more details on the new features of GroupWise 7 WebAccess.



Blackboard (WebCT) Version 9 Launched for the Early Adopters


In collaboration with the Educational Development Centre (EDC), a group of academic staff have been invited as early adopters of Blackboard (WebCT) Version 9 for e-Learning activities in the first semester. 

Blackboard (WebCT) Version 9 has integrated a number of Web 2.0 features with the core components of the e-Learning platform.  Details of its functions are available here.

After consolidating the user experiences and good practices, a wider usage will be planned in the second semester, so that more colleagues could make use of the new features to enrich the e-Learning experiences of students.

The original version of Blackboard (WebCT), Version 4, will continue to be available to lecturers and students until August 2011. The transition plan will be worked out in consultation with the academic departments for a smooth migration in the next 2 years.

What’s New in the Student Computer Centre – Kirsten Viewer for Second Life and New LCD Projectors


Kirsten Viewer for Second Life

To support PolyU's virtual campus initiative in Second Life, the Kirsten Viewer, which is a good tool to connect to Second Life, has been installed on over 220 PCs at the Student Computer Centre (SCC) in Room M301, M304, M402 and M405. Come and check it out!

New LCD Projectors 

Also new are the LCD projectors and sound systems in all PC rooms in the SCC. Lecturers may bring their own IR wireless microphone, which is the same type that can be used in the Lecture Theaters and General Teaching Rooms, for connection to the new sound system. Wired microphone is also available for use in each PC room.



Annual Business Continuity Drill of Central Computer Systems


As an annual exercise, the Business Continuity (BC) Drill for the Central Computer Systems will be conducted on 1 October 2009 (National Day) and 26 October 2009 (Chung Yeung Festival) this year. Departments/offices should avoid carrying out critical events which would have to rely on the central computer systems on these days.

What will be done?

Same as in the previous years, we will simulate the failure of some or all of our systems in the Main and Secondary Computer Rooms, to rehearse the established business continuity procedures in order to maintain the University’s mission-critical processes in case of disaster.

What services will be affected?

While Internet access and the campus network will be maintained within campus and in the Student Hostel during the exercise, all other computer systems will be shut down for 8 hours (07:00 - 15:00) in each part of the Drill. The affected time for different services with or without high availability (HA) protection have been detailed in our earlier announcement which can be viewed here.

For further information or enquiries, please contact our Help Centre at 2766 5900.