This year IITS is starting a new practice of asking users to log on to public computers, including those in classrooms, computer labs and the libraries.
All public computers are part of a new windows domain called Quaker. A windows domain, explained simply, is a collection of computers that can work together as a group, be managed centrally and be monitored for small problems before they become major headaches. This domain will eventually become the sole windows domain across the entire college.
For Haverford Students one of the biggest changes you’ll notice right away is that you can’t log in using a generic username and password. The old practice of logging in with “student,” is gone.
Another thing you’ll notice is that the first time you log in to the Quaker domain, you need to set up a password. Your account and temporary password are already created. Your user name is the same as your Haverford username. John Smith would be jsmith.
Your starting password is the five or six digit number below your picture on your Haverford College ID. You can use this password at any computer that’s connected to the Quaker domain. Log in once with it then you’ll need to change it. From then on, use the new password you created to log in at any public lab or library workstation.
Finally – and we know this is something we need to work towards making better – when you log on to any given computer the first time in a semester it takes a while. Sometimes it takes as long as 2 minutes and 15 seconds. This happens because the first time you log on to a computer, a profile is created in your name. Setting up that profile involves lots of computer gymnastics – from creating folders just for you to connecting that computer to printers nearby so you can print.
Two minutes to log on?! Not acceptable.
Correct. It’s not. We’re working as quickly as possible to make this better. Our first goal is to get the login time down to a minute or less, and then keep chipping away at it. We appreciate your patience, but please know that we don’t take your time for granted.
Note that any subsequent logins by a given user at the same computer are very quick – 5-10 seconds typically – but that first step is a doozy and we know it.
So Why The Changes?
We are building the Quaker domain for a number of reasons. Some were alluded to above – computers on a domain are easier to manage remotely. We can install and remove software, troubleshoot problems and make system changes from the IITS control center without having to visit every computer individually across campus. This will improve our ability to take good care of the computers you rely on so heavily.
Another reason for the change is that in a public computing environment we have a responsibility to protect the college’s electronic resources and the copyrights of Haverford Community members and others. To be clear, we do not actively monitor what you do or how you use our public workstations. However if someone comes along and then proceeds to share copyrighted materials using our equipment the College invariably gets complaints. If that person logs in to a computer with a generic user name and password (like the old “student” login) we have no way of figuring out who did it. Being able to trace that activity back to the responsible user protects the entire community. User specific logins allow us to do exactly that.
Finally, we’re moving toward a time when quota-based printing will become a reality. There’s no clear answer yet on exactly when or how that will work, but we do know that the quantity of printing will eventually be metered in some way. User specific logins are the first of many infrastructure changes necessary to make a quota-based system work.
Have a Thought to Share?
I’m always interested in hearing what folks have to say about our services. Your feelings on our performance is one of the many factors on my mind as we implement new or changed services. Let me know what you think. E-mail me at sfabiani [at] haverford.edu. And, as always, thanks.