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Computing News Archive 1998-1999

Year 2000 is approaching fast - are you ready?

Dialing changes to affect Penn modem pools

Due to the introduction of two new area codes in the Philadelphia region, all users will soon need to dial a 10-digit number (the area code + the phone number) to access any of Penn's modem pools. The 10-digit calling system will become mandatory on June 5, 1999, replacing 7-digit phone numbers. Bell Atlantic will permanently allow calls to be dialed as "1 + ten" digits, but the "1" is not necessary.

The change is due to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's decision to use an area code overlay to double the number of area codes serving Southeastern Pennsylvania, as the existing supply of numbers within each area code is exhausted. With an overlay, the geographic boundaries of the current area codes remain the same and current customers will keep the same telephone numbers. An additional area code will be added to both the 215 and 610 regions, and may be assigned to any new phone numbers.

For modem users, ISC recommends using 1 + 215 + number because this will work both inside and outside the Philadelphia area. ISC has revised its Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) documentation (Macintosh, Windows 95, 98, NT, 3.1x) to incorporate the new dialing instructions as a way to help users make the necessary changes during the December to June grace period. For more information on the new area codes, see the Bell Atlantic web site and Penn's Telecommunications web site.

--John Mulhern III, Senior IT Support Specialist, ISC Client Services Group (June 3, 1999)

Modem pool summer hours to begin on June 1, 1999

Beginning on June 1, 1999 and lasting until August 16, 1999, ISC Networking will be raising the peak-time session limits on the PPP and CLI modem pools from one hour to two hours. Peak time ranges from 6:00 PM until midnight each day.

Session limits during off-peak hours will remain at four hours. ISC Networking will be sending out a reminder early in August that sessions will be returning to normal on August 16, 1999.

Have a great Summer!

--Michael Palladino, Executive Director, ISC Networking (May 26, 1999)

Changes to Penn's CLI modem service coming on May 18, 1999

Penn's CLI modem service (215-898-0834), characterized by the annex prompt, will be modified on May 18, 1999.

  • New, year 2000-compliant server software will display a different prompt - "HiPer" rather than "annex" - to users, and provide fewer functions than were available previously.

  • Because of the changes to the server software, existing scripts that automate the dial-in procedure will not work as of May 18.

  • Session limits similar to those in place for Penn's PPP dial-in services will also come into effect.

Note also that the CLI modem service will be discontinued after June 30, 2000. Current users of the CLI service are encouraged to migrate to the regular or express PPP service as soon as they can. For those not yet able to migrate to PPP, details of upcoming changes to the CLI Pool follow.

Those who use PPP software to dial in to Penn's regular PPP service (215/573-4777) and the express PPP service (215/573-9773) will not be affected by these changes (read MORE).

--Information Systems and Computing (April 27, 1999)

Networking service and rate changes for FY 2000

On July 1, 1999, several networking service and rate changes will go into effect. These changes are a result of recommendations made by the Network Planning Task Force, the cross-campus team that meets to discuss and resolve issues surrounding the planning and funding of PennNet.

Information Systems and Computing (ISC) is making the following networking service and rate changes based on the Network Planning Task Force's recommendations:

  • On July 1, 1999, ISC will discontinue asynchronous desktop connections.

  • E-mail accounts on Dolphin are no longer supported by the ResNet construction budget and so Schools and centers who rely on this service will be billed $17 per account per year. It will be up to the Schools and centers to determine whether to pass these charges on to end users.

  • 10Base2 monthly connection rates will increase from $26.00 to $30.00. Users are encouraged to switch from 10Base2 to 10Base-T connections through ISC's conversion program.

  • 10Base-T monthly connection rates will decrease from $19.25 to $16.45. The table below shows a breakdown of the monthly fees for a 10Base-T connection in FY 1999 and FY 2000 (read MORE).

--Michael Palladino, Executive Director, ISC Networking (April 6, 1999)

E-mail alert for Pobox and Dolphin!

Early on March 1st, after consultation with local mail administrators and support providers, Information Systems & Computing (ISC) will discontinue support for open SMTP relay through its e-mail hosts Dolphin and Pobox, as well as This change is necessary to quickly address serious problems related to inappropriate use (spamming) of these resources by parties outside the University, which led some other e-mail hosts to refuse mail from these systems.

You will be affected by this change only if all three of the following conditions are true:

  • You use an external Internet Service Provider (such as DCANet, Netcom, etc.) and
  • You use a POP or IMAP e-mail client such as Eudora or Netscape and
  • You use Pobox or Dolphin as your mail host

You will not be affected by this change if you meet one or more of these conditions:

  • You connect to Pobox or Dolphin from an on-campus Ethernet connection or via Penn's modem pool
  • You use Elm or any other host-based e-mail client to access your mail from off campus
  • You connect to mail hosts other than Pobox and Dolphin

We have made best efforts to notify all those likely to be affected by this change. However, if you begin experiencing problems sending your mail on March 1st, the difficulty may be a result of this change. You can correct this problem by reconfiguring the SMTP settings in your e-mail client.

Note: If you connect to your e-mail host via an external Internet Service Provider and also an on-campus Ethernet connection using the same computer, you will have to reconfigure the SMTP settings each time you change locations.

Please follow the SMTP configuration instructions below for Penn's supported POP and IMAP e-mail clients:

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact your local support provider. Local support providers with questions can contact the ISC Provider Desk at or 573-4017.

--Dave Millar, University Information Security Officer (February 25, 1999)

Apple's second generation G3s

On January 5, 1999, Apple Computer introduced the second generation of G3 minitower systems (otherwise known as the "blue" G3s because of their new coloration). These systems are probably the most significant technological advance for Apple since the original Power PCs in 1994. They include FireWire, Universal Serial Bus (USB), and an advanced industrial case design with extreme ease of access to the motherboard (read MORE).

--John Mulhern III, Senior IT Support Specialist, ISC Provider Desk (January 15, 1999)

ISC lowers rate for 10Base-T connections

Information Systems and Computing (ISC) lowered its monthly rate for ISC-supported 10Base-T Ethernet connections on October 1, 1998. The rate reduction is part of a program to encourage the University community to complete the transition from 10Base2 (coax) to 10Base-T (twisted-pair) Ethernet wiring and connections. The newer unshielded, twisted-pair cable (called Category 5), coupled with switched electronics, allows for greater bandwidth, faster speeds, and quicker problem resolution.

The new rate is $19.25 a month per 10Base-T connection, a $3.00 per month decrease. A further rate reduction is expected on July 1, 1999. By comparison, the 10Base2 rate is currently $26.00 a month per connection and is expected to go up to $30.00 a month per connection on July 1, 1999.

ISC Networking will also continue to convert existing 10Base2 connections to 10Base-T free of charge between now and June 30, 1999. The $91.00 fee per 10Base-T connection will be waived for clients who ask ISC to disconnect an existing 10Base2 connection and simultaneously activate a new 10Base-T connection in the same wall plate or room. The free conversion offer is applicable only on ISC-supported 10Base2 connections and excludes new wiring charges that may be needed.

In addition, since 10Base2 connections are no longer strategic and are not likely to be supported for more than two or three years, ISC will no longer install coax cables for new 10Base2 connections as of January 5, 1999.

For new installations or to schedule a conversion, please call 898-9654 or send e-mail to (read MORE).

--Michael Palladino, Executive Director, ISC Networking (November 3, 1998)

Mac OS 8.5 release

Mac OS 8.5 (code name "Allegro"), released on October 17th, 1998, is the latest version of Apple's flagship operating system.

Please note that Information Systems and Computing (ISC) is not currently recommending an upgrade to Mac OS 8.5 for existing systems, but expects to see systems shipping with Mac OS 8.5 later in October. Further, ISC recommends that Mac OS 8.5 only be installed on Macintosh and Mac OS-compatible computers that meet these minimum requirements:

  • Any PowerPC with 32 megabytes of RAM

Mac OS 8.5 only works on Power Macintoshes and PowerPC-based Macintosh clones--Mac OS 8.1 was the last version of the operating system to support Macintoshes with the 68040 processor.

The full install of Mac OS 8.5 uses between 85 and 265 megabytes of hard disk space, depending on the type of Power Macintosh and choices made during the install.

For more detailed information, including compatibility, conflicts, and pricing, see the Mac OS 8.5 page.

--John Mulhern III, Senior IT Support Specialist, ISC Client Services Group (October 23, 1998)

Year 2000 reminder

The Year 2000 problem continues to receive international attention as its "deadline" moves ever nearer. The University has made significant progress, but much remains to be done. The Almanac recently published a letter to the University community from Provost Michael Wachter and Executive Vice President John Fry, reminding us of our obligation to manage the risks presented by this real and serious problem.

The University's Year 2000 web site is a good starting point to find out more about the issue. It contains links to both Penn-specific and other material of interest to faculty, staff, and students.

--Michael Kearney, IT Technical Director, ISC Administrative Technologies (October 14, 1998)

PennConnect CD-ROM network applications fall 1998

Information Systems and Computing has released the PennConnect CD-ROM for fall 1998, 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 PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) software, which allows for remote connectivity to PennNet; the recommended Web browser; and other Internet applications including clients for Telnet, e-mail, and NetNews.

Also available are documents for configuring your system to dial into PennNet via modem, for connecting to PennNet from an on-campus ResNet building, and for installing and configuring the network applications.

This CD-ROM is cross-platform and works on Mac OS, Windows 95/98, Windows NT, and Windows 3.11. Copies of the CD-ROM are available for many faculty and staff directly from their local support provider or at the Computing Resource Center, Suite 202, Sansom West (Graduate Tower B), 3650 Chestnut Street, hours M-F, 9-4:30. The software is also available for download from the software distribution area of Penn's FTP server,

--Mary Griffin, Senior IT Support Specialist, ISC Client Services Group (September 3, 1998)

Supported products update

The Supported Products page on the Penn Computing Web has been updated to reflect the recommended products for the 1998-99 academic year. The index provides an at-a-glance view of the supported software and hardware products for both Mac OS and Windows. Each product is linked from this index page to a "spec sheet," which provides a brief description of the product; availability, configuration, support, and year 2000 compliancy information; and links to related resources. Where appropriate, products are available for download from Penn's FTP server right from the spec sheets.

--Mark Aseltine, Director, ISC Provider Support Services (August 28, 1998)

Support for Windows NT Workstation 4.0

Following a period of training, preparation, documentation, and testing, ISC rolled out limited support for Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 on July 1, 1998. This support from ISC consists of, among other things:

--Mark Aseltine, Director, ISC Provider Support Services (August 28, 1998)

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