Weekly Web Updates – May 25, 2015

New Features

New Documentation

Our colleagues at MIIS have put together a really nice quick-start guide to editing their Drupal site, including some fun video tutorials. While some of this is specific to the MIIS site, much of it also applies to the Middlebury Drupal site. We’ll be “borrowing” some of this content to improve our documentation.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

  • The site for the MIIS Center for Social Impact Learning has been redesigned to fit in with the rest of the MIIS site and the header features a custom wordmark logo for the program.
  • The MIIS website now has the canonical name of the organization in the site header using JSON-LD microdata format to let search engines know which name to use when displaying links to the site on search results pages. This is something we’ll be rolling out to the Middlebury Drupal sites shortly as well.
  • News stories on the MIIS site use a new set of custom designed social media icons, which will also soon appear in the site footer. Additionally, moving your mouse over the email icon no longer automatically opens a pop-up, you have to manually click on the icon.
  • The Middlebury wordmark in MiddMedia‘s height and width have been adjusted to support the new identity graphic.
  • We’ve added support for embedding Salesforce Pardot forms from learn.middlebury.edu on the Drupal sites using the new [iframe URL] shortcode.

From the College Archives: Middlebury Commencement Through History

We are thrilled to introduce a new series, From the College Archives, curated by Josh Kruskal, ’15. In the weeks of his last semester, Josh, a prized Special Collections staff member, scoured 200 years of Middlebury Kaleidoscopes in search of historic and day-to-day moments. In Josh’s inaugural post: Commencement. In his photo essays to come, look for themes such as Students and Their Dogs, Downtown Middlebury, Halloween Costumes, and many more.  Congratulations Josh, and enjoy…

1929

1929

 

1943

1943

 

1952

1952

 

1959

1959

 

1983

1983

 

1990

1990

 

You CAN search library databases from off campus!

You can search library databases from off campus! Just start at the library site: http://go.middlebury.edu/lib.  JSTOR, ebooks, audiobooks, Summon and all of our online journals, magazines and newspapers are there for you…no matter where you are!

When you’re off campus, links that are on library web pages (for example, Research Guides, Summon and the Journals list) will ask you to log in with Midd credentials. It’s as easy as that!

Seniors: Ask a librarian about alumni access to library databases!

Enjoy the summer!

offcampus

Key Survey / WorldApp Update: Message from the CEO

Here is the message sent by the CEO of WorldApp, Inc. concerning last Friday’s Key Survey down time.  (Key Survey is a software program used to create and distribute surveys, as well as collect & analyze responses.)

KeySurvey Logo

From: Oleg Matsko
Sent: Monday, May 18, 2015 9:36 AM
Subject: An update on Friday’s disruption – a message from our CEO

Last Friday’s issues have been some of the most severe issues to affect WorldAPP since we launched Key Survey in 2002. As CEO, I take immense pride in serving organizations across the world in fulfilling their requirements and I feel immensely sorry and hurt that we let those customers down. As such, I feel it is only right that we be completely open, honest and transparent about what happened, and what we are doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

A few weeks ago we noticed that one of the storage components of our production environment had started to fail. This in itself doesn’t cause an immediate issue, our production environment is built with multiple layers of redundancy, and despite one of the critical elements of this environment not functioning, our applications continued to work in the manner they should, without any impact on availability. It is important though that when these issues occur, we rectify them as quickly as we can, so that should other components of our environment fail, there isn’t any impact on service.

So for the past few weeks we have been preparing our secondary storage components to take over, allowing us to complete the necessary works on the primary components. Our applications collect a lot of data, in fact the equivalent of 11,000 pages of paper an hour, and this amount of data takes a lot of time to transfer. In an absolutely emergency we can complete this transfer in about 12 hours, but as our primary setup was still stable, and the risks of transferring such a huge amount of data in a relatively short amount of time being quite high, we took our time and completed this transfer over a period of a few weeks.

This transfer was completed on Thursday evening, our secondary storage components went live without issue, and our primary storage components were taken offline to allow the required maintenance to be completed. For a few hours, everything worked fine, and then at around 08:00 EDT on Friday morning, without notice our secondary storage components failed. At the moment, the reason why they failed is still unclear, there doesn’t appear to be an obvious cause. We will work hard with our infrastructure partners, to find out why this happened – but the most important thing for us to do on Friday was to get our applications back online.

Key Survey and Form.com are incredibly large and complex applications, and restarting them isn’t a simple operation. The applications are made up of many separate modules, each relating to an area of their functionality, such as reporting, voting or our API. The effort required to restart them is large, so much so that they cannot all be restarted at once. As such, modules were restarted individually, in order of priority. Our main Key Survey and Form.com environments were operational by 15:00 EDT, with all of our reporting modules online by 21:30 EDT and specific instances of our applications for individual customers back online by 00:30 EDT on Saturday morning.

As a result of Friday’s disruption, I have instructed our teams to rebuild our storage infrastructure to include additional layers of redundancy with built in instant failover capabilities. This is no easy challenge, implementing this infrastructure and migrating all our applications will take about a week, but we should be able to complete this without additional disruption. Once these changes are implemented, we will be able to recover our systems in a matter of minutes. This is in addition to the construction of the remote disaster recovery infrastructure which is already underway and estimated to be completed early next year.

Unfortunately, until these changes have been completed, our secondary storage components could fail again, and this leaves us in a precarious position. Whilst the probability of such a failure is low, and we have taken all possible precautions to ensure it doesn’t reoccur, our teams are prepared to restore services as quickly as possible in the event of a second failure. As the amount of data that is migrated to the new infrastructure increases throughout the week, the amount of time to restore services in the event of an issue reduces. This does mean though that should a similar issue occur early this week, we could experience a similar outage as to what happened on Friday.

As mentioned, I want to be transparent about the challenges we face, and honest about what could happen while we take steps to improve our services. We will let you know as soon as this new environment is fully functional and we can be sure that such issues do not cause as much disruption as they have. In the meantime our team are working diligently to monitor and manage our applications to avoid such issues, and are prepared to restore services as quickly as possible in the event of a reoccurrence of Friday’s troubles. I can also assure you that we will investigate thoroughly what caused these components to fail, but for the time being I want to concentrate all our resources on implementing these changes and improving our service to you.

We will support you as much as we can as a result of this disruption – if there is anything WorldAPP can do to assist you from work you weren’t able to complete last week, such as building surveys, forms or reports, please let your account manager know. We’ll endeavour to accommodate as many requests as we can.

Once again I would like to reiterate my thanks for your patience and understanding, and my genuine sorrow that we have let you down. WorldAPP have been a trusted provider of survey, forms and inspection solutions for over 12 years now, and I hope my explanation of what happened, and assurances of the actions we’re taking to ensure it doesn’t happen again, go some way to rebuilding that trust.

Sincerely,
Oleg Matsko
CEO
WorldAPP, Inc.
161 Forbes Rd Ste 300, Braintree, MA, 02184, US

Retirement of Bombay Print Server

Middlebury College is retiring the Bombay print server in July 2015 as it is incompatible with our current 64-bit operating systems. Bombay has been replaced by a new print server named Walnut that has all of the same print queues on it. ITS is reviewing Bombay usage and will be contacting individuals who need to transition to the new print server.

If you’re currently using the Bombay Print Server you must perform the following steps before July 1, 2015 so you do not experience an interruption in printing services:

Steps for Windows 7 computers to move from Bombay to Walnut:

  1. look for printers “on Bombay” print server name listed below queue name. Go to Start>Devices and Printers and look for entries that have “on Bombay” in the name, e.g. “LIB125F on Bombay”
  2. record printer queue names
  3. remove old print queues
  4. add printers from Walnut

Instructions for these steps can be found in our printing documentation: http://mediawiki.middlebury.edu/wiki/LIS/Connect_To_Network_Printers_-_Windows

Steps for Macintosh OS X computers to move from Bombay to Walnut:

  1. record printer queue names(the names are posted on the printers)
  2. remove old print queues
  3. add printer from Walnut via Casper’s Self Service(or manually)

Instructions for these steps can be found in our printing documentation: http://mediawiki.middlebury.edu/wiki/LIS/Connect_To_Network_Printers_-_Mac_OS_X

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact the Helpdesk at 802. 443.2200 or via email to helpdesk@middlebury.edu.

Key Survey / WorldAPP Service Interruption – Update

KeySurvey Logo

The login and survey access issues with Key Survey have not yet been resolved.  Here is the latest information received from their support team:

From: WorldAPP Support [mailto:support@worldapp.com]
Sent: Friday, May 15, 2015 1:30 PM
Subject: WorldAPP System Interruptions

Today, WorldAPP services, including Key Survey, Form.com and associated applications, have been subject to a service disruption. Below is a brief overview of what caused the issue and the actions we’re taking to restore services as quickly as possible.

Recently, a CPU on one of the servers that our applications use to access our database started failing. Whilst the failure of one CPU doesn’t cause disruption to our services, it does require maintenance so that should the others fail, our applications aren’t impacted. Yesterday evening, our team migrated services to our disaster recovery environment to enable the required maintenance to take place. This is common practice during periods of maintenance to enable continuation of service and has been regularly implemented without effect.

After a few hours of operating on the disaster recovery environment, for reasons yet unknown, the disaster recovery environment failed. Our team took immediate steps to bring the environment back online and are working very hard on restoring services in order of priority, with the most critical services being the first to be restored. As this process continues, we’ll provide further updates on our community pages here.

As we continue to experience service disruption, our applications will remain unavailable and respondents attempting to complete a survey or form will be directed to an error page. We are incredibly sorry for the frustration that this disruption is causing you, and assure you we’re working as hard as we can to restore full service as quickly as possible.

Yours sincerely,
Teresa Crisci
Director of Client Services

By: WorldAPP, Inc.
161 Forbes Rd Ste 300, Braintree, MA, 02184, US

Friday Links – May 15, 2015

The Programmable Table

The Programmable Table

From self-assembling furniture to curving racing car wings, seven GIFs that show the future of 4D printing – Today building something means getting our hands dirty – hammering wood, welding metal and cementing bricks. But what if everyday objects could build themselves? If tables could snap into shape when you got them home, or pipes could contract and expand to alter the flow of water.

The science of The Avengers, as told by the American Chemical Society:

Atheer Labs

Atheer Labs

3D smart glasses will transform workflows around the world, says Atheer’s CEO – The augmented reality future is now for workers using 3D smart glasses in healthcare, warehousing, construction, and oil and gas industries, notes Atheer Labs CEO Alberto Torres.