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Penn Computing News 2002-2003

Three Leading Edge Laptops

three laptops graphic

The University's three affiliated laptop vendors have all recently shipped laptops that represent design leaders for their respective companies.

In late March 2003, Dell's Latitude D600 became commonly available. The D600 is the first Pentium-M based laptop from Dell. Along with internal advances in chip and motherboard, the Latitude D600 is also a complete redesign (including module bay) of the mid-weight 'desktop-equivalent' portion of Dell's five-part laptop line - the first such redesign in several years. For more detailed information, see ISC's Latitude D600 page.

In early April 2003, IBM's ThinkPad T40 became commonly available. The ThinkPad T40 represents the mid-weight 'desktop-equivelant' portion of IBM's four-part laptop line. It includes the first Pentium-M processor on a two-spindle IBM laptop. Mostly because of the change to the Pentium-M processor, the ThinkPad T40 is almost half a pound lighter (at 4.9 to 5.3 pounds) than the Pentium 4 Mobile-based ThinkPad T30 it replaced. For more detailed information, see ISC's ThinkPad T40 page.

In early April 2003, Apple's PowerBook G4 17-inch became commonly available. At 6.8 pounds, the new PowerBook boasts features such as a 17.0-inch widescreen display, standard SuperDrive (ability to burn DVD-Rs), integrated FireWire 800, Bluetooth, and 802.11g, and versatile built-in video support (VGA, S-Video, composite), all in an aluminum alloy enclosure. For more detailed information, see ISC's PowerBook G4 17-inch page.

-- John Mulhern III, Nicholas Allen, Vern Yoneyama, & Kristen Zborowski, ISC Technology Support Services (April 6, 2003)

Intel's Pentium-M & Centrino

Centrino logo set

On March 12, 2003 Intel formally released a new line of products (Pentium-M and Mobile 855 chipset) and debuted a new brand name (Centrino). Centrino is a new strategic direction for Intel in several ways. For starters, Centrino is an umbrella brand - one that describes the combination of three products:

Centrino = Pentium-M + Intel 855 chipset + Intel 802.11b

In mainstream laptops where a combination of good battery life and high performance is desired, the Pentium-M is intended to replace the Mobile Pentium 4.

Along with the new Centrino brand comes a new logo, the usual Intel blue combined with magenta in the shape of an arrow, which Intel says is designed to convey "a feeling of speed, mobility, and streamlined technology".

For more detailed information, see ISC's Pentium-M/Centrino page.

-- John Mulhern III, Nicholas Allen, Vern Yoneyama, & Robert Barron, ISC Technology Support Services (March 13, 2003)

Apple's PowerBook G4 12-inch

PowerBook G4 12-inch picture

On January 7, 2003, Apple introduced a smaller, 12-inch, PowerBook G4. While only 4.6 pounds (almost a full pound lighter than the current 15-inch form factor) the new PowerBook boasts features such as integrated Bluetooth capability, support for 802.11g wireless networking via an optional AirPort Extreme card, optional SuperDrive (ability to burn DVD-Rs), versatile built-in video support (VGA, S-Video, composite), all in a strong, compact aluminum alloy enclosure.

For more detailed information, see ISC's PowerBook G4 12-inch page.

--Kristen Zborowski & Vern Yoneyama, ISC Technology Support Services (February 10, 2003)

Dell's OptiPlex SX260

OptiPlex SX260 picture

Dell introduced the OptiPlex SX260 systems on October 28, 2002. The SX260 represents the addition of a new, extremely small form factor to Dell's professional desktop product line - it uses 50% of the space of Dell's previous smallest desktop configuration (the OptiPlex GX260 small form factor) and only 15% of the space of an OptiPlex GX260 minitower. Despite the miniaturization involved, the cost differential between a SX260 and a similarly configured GX260 is only about $50.

For more detailed information, see ISC's OptiPlex SX260 page.

--Robert Short & John Mulhern III, ISC Technology Support Services (February 3, 2003)

PennKey Priority Period: Monday, September 30 - Sunday, October 13

The University is implementing enhanced security standards for network access, and introducing a new authentication system called PennKey. All Penn faculty, staff, and students are urged to register themselves in the PennKey system online during the PennKey Priority Period: Monday, September 30 - Sunday, October 13th.

Among the many Penn services switching to the new PennKey system for login access on Monday, October 14, 2002, are Penn InTouch, Blackboard, Campus Express, BEN Reports and Deposits, Advisor InTouch, and GRAM. The new PennPortal for students, set to arrive in late October, will use PennKey as well.

By registering during the PennKey Priority Period, users can ensure that their access to these and a growing number of other services remains uninterrupted. All users who register their PennKeys before midnight on Wednesday, October 9, are also eligible to win a Palm Pilot 515 (courtesy of the Computer Connection) or one of ten Bookstore gift certificates.

Visit the PennKey website for more information, including Quick Links to the online PennKey registration site, at

--Robin Beck, Vice President - Information Systems and Computing (September 30, 2002)

PennNet ID Authentication To Be Discontinued on October 14, 2002

PennNet authentication changes logo

The PennNet Authentication System (also known as PAS) will be discontinued on Monday, October 14, 2002, and will be replaced by a more robust authentication system called PennKey. The new PennKey system is based on Kerberos technology, which was developed at MIT and is one of the most secure authentication methods available today. Beginning October 14, online services that currently use a PennNet ID and password for authenticated login will instead require a registered PennKey (user ID) and password.

University faculty, staff, and students who have created a PennNet ID and password before October 14th can use them to conveniently register online in the new PennKey system before the changeover occurs. Users who have forgotten their PennNet passwords or who are uncertain about their PennNet ID status are encouraged to visit a campus PennNet ID station, where they can reset or create a PennNet password before October 14th.

PennNet ID stations will be deactivated on October 14, when it will no longer be possible to create a PennNet ID or to reset a forgotten PennNet password.

(Note: If you are a UPHS employee who does not currently have a PennNet ID, or who has forgotten your password, you should not attempt to create or reset your PennNet ID. Please wait until October 14, and then follow the PennKey registration procedure implemented for new members of the University community at that time.)

--Mike Lazenka, IT Project Leader, ISC Networking & Telecommunications (September 18, 2002)

PennConnect CD-ROM Fall 2002

PennConnect Fall cover Information Systems & Computing (ISC) has released the PennConnect CD-ROM for fall 2002, which contains the recommended networking and anti-virus software for off-campus students, staff, and faculty, as well as on-campus ResNet students. The CD-ROM includes the recommended Web browsers and other Internet applications including clients for terminal emulation, e-mail, and NetNews.

The CD-ROM features a graphical interface that guides users through installation and configuration of the software. The CD-ROM is cross-platform and works on Mac OS 8.6, Mac OS 9.x, Mac OS X.x, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, Windows 2000 Professional, and Windows XP.

Copies are available for many faculty and staff directly from their local support provider or at the Computing Resource Center, Suite 202, Sansom Place West, 3650 Chestnut Street. The CRC's hours are M-F, 9-4:30 until 9/13 and then 2-4:30 pm thereafter. The software is also available for download via the network. The Supported Products page provides additional information and download links to the software.

--Denise McCole, Operations Manager, ISC Client Services Group (September 9, 2002)

Apple’s Power Mac G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors)

dual bay Power Mac G4

Apple introduced the Power Mac G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors) systems on August 13, 2002. The Power Mac G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors) adds dual processors across the line, DDR memory, greater expandability, and several other enhancements to the fourth generation of a Power Macintosh G4 product line Apple originally introduced almost three years ago, in September, 1999.

Information Systems & Computing (ISC) sees the Power Macintoshes as evolutionary improvements over the previous generation "Quicksilver" models.

For more detailed information, see ISC's Power Mac G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors) page.

--John Mulhern III, Senior IT Project Leader, ISC Technology Support Services (September 5, 2002)

Mac OS X version 10.2 Jaguar

Mac OS X version 10.2 Jaguar, released on August 24, 2002, is the latest version of Apple’s flagship operating system. Mac OS X version 10.2 is the second significant update to Mac OS X.

Mac OS 10.2 box

Information Systems & Computing (ISC) will support Mac OS X version 10.2 for its clients, including off-campus students, only on new Macintoshes that ship with Mac OS X version 10.2 pre-installed. ISC strongly recommends that all other users adopt a "wait and see" approach, continuing to use previous versions of the Mac OS (including Mac OS X versions 10.1.4 and 10.1.5) until the initial bugs in Mac OS X version 10.2 are identified and fixed.

For more detailed information, see ISC's Mac OS X version 10.2 page.

--John Mulhern III, Senior IT Project Leader, ISC Technology Support Services (August 24, 2002)

Apple’s 17-inch iMac/G4

iMac graphic

Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iMac 17-inch system on July 16, 2002 at Macworld Expo New York. The iMac 17-inch adds a high-resolution wide-screen 17-inch LCD and a few other enhancements to the iMac/G4 product line Apple introduced in January, 2002.

The iMac 17-inch's primary differentiating feature is a wide-screen LCD that is 2.4 inches wider than the 15-inch XGA screen that is on the other iMac/G4s and (at 1440 x 900) has 65% more pixels - approximately 100 pixels per inch. The display has the same aspect ratio (8:5) that Apple's $3,150 Cinema HD Display does.

For more detailed information, see ISC's iMac 17-inch page.

--John Mulhern III, Senior IT Project Leader, ISC Technology Support Services (July 25, 2002)

Penn Express Modem Pool Discontinued on June 30, 2002

modem graphic

Penn's Express Modem Pool was discontinued on June 30, 2002. The termination plans were first announced two years ago, when the regular modem pool was discontinued and users were directed to commercial ISP services for remote access to PennNet and the Internet. Since that time, the Express Pool had been continued as a transitional service for the convenience of the Penn community. The Express Pool used aging technology and did not provide the data transfer speeds that commercial ISPs offer and that are required to take advantage of many online services.

The termination of the Modem Pool affected about 1,200 individuals, most of whom use the service sporadically, rather than as their primary means of accessing the Internet from off-campus. Those who used the Express Modem Pool as their primary ISP can learn about alternatives from the remote access web page at The web site provides information on how to get assistance with making the transition. A useful chart comparing service options and prices is available at

--Mike Lazenka, IT Project Leader, ISC Networking & Telecommunications (July 1, 2002)


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