Results from the First ITS “FedEx/Innovation Time Off” Day

whiteboardGoogle is famous for the “Innovation Time Off” program in which employees are encouraged to spend 20% of their time working on projects that interest them. Software developer Atlassian created “FedEx Days” as a “hack day, a one-day creative burst of brainstorming, prototyping and presenting” where employees work on potential enhancements to its products. ITS’ first FedEx Day was held from noon to noon, March 8 – 9.

The following are brief notes regarding the projects and technologies our staff members took on:

Michael P: using a 3D video camera

Don and Glenn: EC2 and S3 from Amazon Web Services exploring how it might work for us, also offer an external DNS

Kim: using Camtasia to create training videos, sample was for hiring students

Ed and Wenping: Banner patch management, “tedious process,” do the same thing in Test, then in Prod, then verify that things synch up. Developed a system to track current versions of things, status of patches in Test, Prod, Test not Prod, Prod not Test, and a request form which creates a Jira ticket.

Les: a way to display audio/video on our new web site — starts with Flash, if it fails it will present the HTML5 version. 2000 lines of code to support Kaltura version, 40 to support HTML5 version.

Mark Davis and Ken: timeline for summer replacements. Especially helpful to Ken as he’s involved from the beginning this year. Done on August 3. Mark also worked on starting the VDI pool for Nolij on Windows XP (Mac client doesn’t support Win 7 yet) allows Mac users to use Banner and Nolij with Nolij Connect.

Gayle: explored tools for creating recurring event calendars/Gantt charts, and created a model for representing required/routine/transformational work.

Kelly: worked on cleaning out the storage room

Seth, Heather, and Aixa: call tracker re-categorization, divided into categories, products, and actions. Likely to have a new instance and not try to convert the old data, with a manual transfer for open calls.

Nick and Mike C: SPF stats, “sender policy framework”, another tool to reduce spam, also reduces chance that our mail will be rejected by other servers

Bob and Michael P: IPTV over wireless. Learned about from Liberty University where they were replacing a wired solution, can watch 17 channels. Aruba Networks with Video Toaster and Direct TV. Have seen a big cost savings from getting rid of switches. Works for 802.11 a, b, g, or n. We occasionally get requests for cable TV in a classroom, like with elections.

Doug and Les: mapping for the Global Nonviolent Action Database, 1,000 data points. Added the terrain map, mouse scrolling. Doug learning JavaScript and Drupal to do map searches.

Justin: researching color correction for video for the web; browsers vary in how they handle color.

David: Linked a motion detector to a USB mouse so screens like Mike Jones’ are only on when someone is there to watch. Used a heat sensor that detects people who weigh over 60 pounds. Calls it WakeyUppy.

Frank and Jean: auto-indexing documents received from the Common App. Need an upgrade to Nolij 6, studied what’s involved and laid out the roadmap. Also, looking for a way to control/limit access to Nolij documents using proxy users.

Eric: review of apps that may support the process of grading papers — get papers from students and return them graded. One general recommendation is to stop recommending Good Reader. had the best dropbox option and can be embedded in Moodle. Recommends PDFexpert; students have to submit as PDFs. iAnnotate PDF has a lot of features.

Robin and Rhoni: deliver Argos reports using the new API feature so people don’t need the Argos software to generate a report, such as the faculty/staff directory and the course schedule. Interactive reports and reports for a limited audience are more complicated.

Michael R: finished 7 of 9 chapters in studying for his re-certification exams

Nathan and Jason: identified a multi-platform keystore…

Andrew: displaying real time and historical campus resource usage. Used 10 different technologies, like RedisDB, node.js, and had fun playing with interesting stuff learned from Glenn.