December 2009


Progress of IS Development Projects for 334 Implementation

Be Green and Be Safe – What to Do with Your Computer before Holidays?



Getting ready for a long holiday after months of hard work? Or hurrying to leave the office at the end of a long day? Wait!  Don’t forget to save the Earth with one simple 'Click’, that is, to shut down your computers before leaving.


Better Practice, Better Environment

PCs consume significant amount of energy in most medium and large organizations. In support of the world-wide energy conservation campaign to save our environment, don’t forget to turn off your computers when you leave the office at the end of the day and of course, before long holidays. With this simple step, surprisingly, you are making a great contribution to reducing energy consumption and thereby saving both money and resources.

If you really have to keep your computer running for some prolonged processes, you can also save energy by turning off your monitor. For a large organization, monitor power management could save approximately 200,000 kWh per year for every 1,000 monitors*. This amounts to:

$17,000 per year saved at 8.5 cents/kWh
Enough energy to power 230 households for one month
CO2 reductions equivalent to preventing the emissions from 28 cars or planting 2 million square feet of trees

*Information sources from Accurate Solution


Better Practice, Better Security

Apart from saving energy, powering off your computers could also make them less vulnerable from security attacks. Although the University has implemented security measures at different levels to protect systems connected to the campus network, it is important that you do your part to further minimize the risk.

Shutting down your computer when not in use is the most simple and yet effective measure against security threats. Some of the most significant attacks that ever occurred (e.g. Sircam, Red Code or Blaster) were recorded to be spread out during the night or holiday periods. 

So, let's join hands to form a stronghold to keep our environment green and our computers safe.



The NoI Story - A New Notice System on IT Services


Users may notice the use of a new kind of service announcements over the next few months.  The new notices are in the form of a simple structured message and occur in three flavours viz the NoI, NoS and NoA messages.


What sort of Notices will you see?

Notification of Incident (NoI)

The NoI tells affected users that a service is broken, and provides updates and reports when the service has been restored.

Notification of Scheduled Change (NoS)

The NoS provides users with an early warning that a change to a service is planned/scheduled and allows users of the service to raise any concerns they may have about the proposed change.

Notification of Action (NoA)

The NoA tells users of any emergency changes that have been made to services or informs users of the completion of planned or emergency changes that have been the subject of an earlier NoS.


What is the point of the Notices?

People who use services do not like surprises!  People don't like having to discover that a service is broken or that a service has been changed without warning.  Basically, no one likes unpleasant surprises and especially not for IT services! 

This new notice system is designed to make sure you know what is happening with IT services and remove the unpleasant surprises from your IT environment.

If you know what is happening or what will be coming up, you can find ways to work around the problem.  If you are surprised by service breaks or service changes, it can seriously interfere with your productivity.  Hopefully this Incident and Change Notification system will help reduce the negative impact of services disruptions.

Remember, if a service is broken, you may be the first person to experience it - always report breaks in service to the ITS Help Centre - if no one knows the service is broken then it usually does not get fixed!!



GroupWise 7.0 WebAccess – Tips for Faster Performance


As you may notice, the GroupWise 7 WebAccess has been launched. You can now enjoy this new online version with any common Internet browsers anytime, anywhere, in a familiar interface as if you are working at your office desk, without actually installing the GroupWise client.

This new version has been enhanced in terms of user interface. But as more graphics are included, some users with slow Internet connection may experience a slower performance, especially for those who are accessing from Mainland China or some Asia countries.

In that case, you can use the bundled feature of WebAccess to 'tune down' the graphic overhead.  To do this:


Select 'Settings' at the login page of WebAccess

Select 'Low (Dialup)' at 'Connection Speed'. Normally, this should help to significantly improve the performance. If even this is not adequate, do step 3 as well.

Check the 'Use the basic interface' option, which will allow you to work without graphic icons

Now, simply click on this URL to try it right away:


The 'Old Face' is Still Available

If you still miss the pervious working environment, don’t worry, the old version of WebAccess is still available.  This is for users who have get used to the classic interface, and it also has advantage for users who are using a slow Internet connection.  Check this out at:



Are We Deploying the Best Anti-virus Software?


Why do we still get virus infections if the University has purchased anti-virus software?  Are we deploying the best anti-virus software? Why do we still get infections? This article explains a little more about the perpetual problem of virus infections and what the University is doing to protect us against them.

A key question we are all interested in is: which is the best anti-virus software package to provide the highest level of protection for our community?  As with most things, there is no simple answer.

The University is currently reviewing and looking into various anti-virus software packages as the current anti-virus software license will soon expire. A list of popular anti-virus software is being tested for detection power, signature update speed, ease of use and compatibility with our existing systems.

Computer viruses are similar to human viruses. There are 'localized' or 'regional' viruses and certain vaccine or anti-virus software works better than others.  For example, some anti-virus software from China and Russia are more aggressive than some better known ones that gain coverage in the media. Some of these viruses are not well known, or are locally developed or targeted at local regional websites.  Identifying and finding a vaccine for such viruses is often harder.  Even finding the virus can be a problem and that can delay the development of an appropriate vaccine.

So, there is no ‘best’ anti-virus software that will protect your machine from computer viruses all the times.

A successful anti-virus solution involves several factors: The software itself must be stable and the virus signature must be up-to-date.  Most importantly, the software must be up and running.  However, in some cases, the protection of a machine cannot be guaranteed by the anti-virus software alone; an infection may be caused by loopholes in the operating system or even wrong configuration settings on the machine. Anti-virus software on a PC is a necessary but not sufficient condition for protection.

The University has a number of different measures in place to improve the level of protection for our community.  At the PC level, standard procedures adopted by ITS include configuring machines so that personal firewalls are automatically activated, and Windows auto updates are accepted by default on each PC. At the infrastructure level, the University has established campus firewalls and corporate level virus filtering systems aimed at email gateway traffic. Emails are screened coming in and going out using products such as Sophos to eliminate or contain the spread of viruses.

The bottom line is that there is no 'best' anti-virus solution. There is only the 'best practices’ that can be applied to contain or reduce the problem. So what can you do to reduce the risk of virus infection?

Do not open attachment / download files from unknown sources
Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date and up-and-running
Keep your operating system updated with latest critical patches
Do not allow files / medias to auto-run on your machine
Do not alter the system settings on your machine provided by Central
Backup your critical and important data files

As far as the investigation of the anti-virus products for the desktop is concerned, the University will choose the best product(s) based on their performance, support, and pricing. But remember, there is no perfect solution and there will be virus infections regardless of the products deployed!



Progress of IS Development Projects for 334 Implementation


Administrative system redevelopment work and design to renew administrative systems and to prepare for the changes associated with the implementation of the 334 academic restructuring continues.

The system design work for admission administration is in active progress while the requirements analysis for the student administration area has also started. For the Student Account System, users’ requirements on screen design, security, etc. are being collected and the list of functions to be provided is under design. The development of the Scholarship and Financial Assistance System is also underway with the 1st module to be ready for User Acceptance Test by the end of December.

Work on the interface of various student-related systems is also being undertaken in active collaboration with  AS, SAO and FO.

The technical evaluation for the acquisition of equipment to support the administrative computing infrastructure is also in full swing, and recommendation is expected to be ready by early 2010.



A New Look for WebMail in the New Year


WebMail will welcome you to the new year with a brand new look! To be launched on 3 January 2010, the new User Interface (UI) of WebMail will make it much easier for you to navigate and perform different functions.


In addition to the new user interface, enhancements can also be found in the following areas:


  • Auto fill-in of the recipient’s email address by entering his /her nickname saved in the address book

  • Request for delivery and read receipt

  • Search by the size of the email messages (i.e. larger than or smaller than a specified message size)


  • Set the default recipient email address when replying an email

  • Set the default display order of email messages, either in chronological or reverse chronological order

  • 'HTML Message' option - whether contents like pictures, background images, sounds, etc. in incoming emails are to be downloaded automatically or only upon users' confirmation

  • Control the default setting of the Compose page, either in 'plain text' or HTML text

  • Control the default setting of requesting for delivery and read receipts

  • Control the default setting of sending read receipt

  • Control the default setting of replying an email, whether to include the original email, attachment, etc.

You may refer to the WebMail Help function for more details.



Renewal of Adobe Open Options Contractual Licensing Programme


Through the Adobe Open Options Contractual Licensing Programme (CLP) centrally coordinated by ITS, departments can enjoy educational discount on the acquisition of licences for a list of commonly-used Adobe software.

The current CLP programme will soon expire on 31 January 2010 and the University is in the process of finalizing the renewal arrangements for the next 2-year period.

For departments who have currently acquired maintenance options for their Adobe licences and wish to continue the maintenance protection in the coming 2 years, don’t forget to renew the maintenance options in January upon finalization of the new Programme.  

Details of the new Programme will be announced shortly when the renewal arrangements have been finalized. In the meantime, please contact Ms Cecilia Chan at Ext. 5934 for any enquiries.



Web Browser for Accessing the University Administrative Systems


Web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc. are commonly-used nowadays and different users may have their own preference.  We have received feedback from users that some administrative systems of PolyU can only be viewed with Internet Explorer but not other browsers such as Firefox.

In some cases, the applications have not been able to be tested for the full range of possible web browsers that users could be using. Apart from the various versions of Internet Explorer which is now up to version 8; there are multiple versions of Firefox, Chrome and Safari, not to mention a range of other browsers that are commonly used by people.

There is a very real cost in testing browsers with applications and in some cases the costs of doing so are prohibitive. The costs of maintaining compatibility with all of the browsers available on the Internet are too great for that guarantee to be applied generally.

In PolyU's case the University administrative systems are tested on Internet Explorer (IE) before they are released into production. The systems may still work with other browsers but they are guaranteed to work with IE.

The rule of thumb is, by all means use your favourite browser. But if it does not work, then use the standard browser recommended by the web site.



January Staff IT Training Programmes


Training Workshops

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


Online Courses

  January Online Courses


Access 2007: Level 1 & 2

  Access 2007: New Features


Acrobat 9.0 Pro: Level 1 & 2


Excel 2007: Level 1, 2 & 3


Excel 2007: New Features

  Excel 2007: VBA


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 January via e-mail.

Enquiries: 4566