Tag Archives: Bread Loaf

Upgrade to FirstClass Server

For many years, the Bread Loaf School of English has been using a mail/conferencing system called FirstClass.  FirstClass was one of the first ‘bulletin boards’ to develop a graphic user interface and the BLSE has used this technology for mail, course conferences, support of the Bread Loaf Teachers Network and general discussion conferences.  Until last May, the server running the FirstClass server software was located on campus and supported by the Enterprise and Network Solutions group.

Last May, LIS decided to outsource the administration and support of this server to WhatIf Networks, a company based in Westbrook, ME that has years of experience supporting FirstClass servers.  The cut over of services took place just before the beginning of the 2010 BLSE summer sessions.   At the conclusion of the summer classes, we began planning to upgrade the server to a newer version of the software, from version 8.0 to version 9.1. One of the driving factors in this decision was the increasing number of requests of the BreadNet community to access their mail and conferences from smart phones (particularly iPhones) and iPads.  Our upgrade now makes this possible and we have a number of happy smart phone users.

However, to prepare for the upgrade, it was necessary to reconfigure the roughly 1000 user desktops so that the upgraded client view was clean and uncluttered. Caroline Eisner, the director of Breadnet;  Margaret ‘Mugs’ Johnson of WhatIf Networks and Shel Sax worked over the weekend reconfiguring the user desktops in preparation for the upgrade.  The upgrade was effected late Saturday afternoon, November 20th and the new software installed without incident

After the upgrade, a typical FirstClass client desktop looks like this:

screen shot first class server

Welcome, Bread Loaf and Language School Students!

We’re glad to have you here this summer.  Library and Information Services (LIS) offers a variety of research resources and technical support.
You’ll find starting points for our services online:
Let us know if you have any questions! For library assistance, ask a librarian (see Ask Us). For technical support, contact the HelpDesk (helpdesk@middlebury.edu, 802.443.2100, or the Walk-in Center on the Main Level of the Davis Family Library).

Telephone Services Updates: Washouts, Enhanced 911, and AlertFind


Submitted by Peggy Fischel

The heavy rain in early August washed out the road to Burdick House at the Bread Loaf campus in Ripton. Burdick was home to some BL School of English summer faculty. Our telephone system contractor, Jim Fitzgerald, was called out to repair the telephone line in the house, but as the attached photos indicate, the road was not drivable. Intrepid Jim walked the 1/2 mile in to repair the phone connection.

In late July we installed an upgrade to our enhanced 911 notification system. Thanks to Rick James for his assistance in setting up the new server and applications. With this new equipment, we are using four dedicated circuits from existing PRI lines to send calls. This allows us to remove the FairPoint special service trunks and PS/ALI service at a savings of $7700 per year which will pay for the new system in less than two years.

In August several AlertFind administrators from the President’s staff were given a tutorial on the recently upgraded message composition features. Documentation was re-written in the form of a quick reference guide to aid administrators if/when they need to send an emergency campus notification.