Monthly Archives: January 2014

Kresge Lower Level Closed on Saturday, February 1st

UPDATE: The Kresge Lower Level is now open and all construction has been completed.

The entire Kresge Lower Level will be closed this Saturday, February 1, from 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM for construction.

The LL19 main computer lab and LL6 computer classroom will not be accessible.

Students may use the Kresge 209, 210, and 213 computer laboratories during this period.

We apologize for the inconvenience.  This final repair will complete construction efforts.

New Staff Addition: Helton Alves

Helton Alves began working as a co-op on January 16 and will be working 10-12 hours each week through early May as part of his program at Roxbury Community College (RCC).  He is a candidate for an associate degree in network administration with an anticipated graduation date of May 2014.

At RCC, Helton is a team leader for the “Find My Fine Application” academic support group.  One of this group’s recent accomplishments was to create a helpdesk ticketing application using the .NET technologies.

Helton Alves

Helton Alves, Roxbury Community College Intern

Helton is our fifth co-op in the HSPH-RCC partnership coordinated by the HSPH Office of Human Resources.

Please join us in welcoming Helton to the Harvard School of Public Health!

Successful Disaster Recovery Testing Over Winter Recess

The Department of Information Technology is pleased to report that our disaster recovery testing was very successful over winter break.

On Thursday, December 26, we moved all key systems from on-premises server rooms in the Kresge Building to our off-site disaster recovery site. We were fully operational within 8 hours, with most servers operational within 5 hours.

Server Room in Kresge Building

One of HSPH’s Server Rooms in the Kresge Building

These key systems included:

  • Network storage (P and S drives)
  • Critical building monitoring and security systems
  • Student information system, financial aid systems, and MyHSPH portal
  • Web application servers powering dozens of administrative applications
  • Database servers
  • Accellion secure file transfer service

From December 26 to December 30, we operated all services from our disaster recovery site with very few issues and with excellent speed.

On Monday, December 30, we successfully reverted all systems back to HSPH, reducing the total time required to 5 hours.

This also represents the first DR test the Department of Information Technology has completed with no employees on site. Staff members worked to move systems remotely, either from their homes or on the road in both California and Florida!

A special thank-you to the server team, Brian Pedranti, Tom Gatton, and Nate Varney, for their hard work during break. Additionally, we thank Caryn D’Agostino of the SIS team for their work with the student systems.  Finally, we thank the HSPH community for their patience on December 26 and December 30 during the maintenance window.

The creation of a disaster recovery and business continuity plan is very important, but actually testing and improving upon that plan is the most critical step toward reducing risk in case of an emergency.

New Staff Additions: Lina Ji and Thomas (TJ) Porter

We are pleased to welcome two new additions to the Department of Information Technology, Lina Ji and Thomas (TJ) Porter.  Both Lina and TJ are Northeastern University students and will be working for 6 months full-time as co-ops at HSPH as part of their degree program.  They replace Anastasiya (Stacey) Gudoshnik and Joe Horrigan, who completed their assignments with great success.

Lina Ji is a candidate for a bachelor of science in industrial engineering and will graduate from NEU in May 2015.  Her last co-op was with Agricultural Bank of China in Shanghai, China, where she was a systems engineer responsible for building LINUX servers.

Lina is fluent in Mandarin and is a Northeastern Student Ambassador, which helps new international students become acquainted with the campus.

She will be working the 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM shift.

Lina Ji

Lina Ji, Northeastern Co-op

Thomas (TJ) Porter is candidate bachelor of science in business administration. He will graduate from NEU in May 2016.

His last co-op was with New England Baptist Hospital as a General Stores co-op, where he helped stock operating rooms.  While there, he discovered annual cost savings opportunities in the amount of $9000 in their supply ordering chain.

For you gamers, he is a published contributor to Alienware as an arena writer! He is also a referee and scorekeeper for the Hudson Youth DekHockey League.

He will work the 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM shift.


TJ Porter, Northeastern Co-op

Please join us in welcoming Lina and TJ to the Harvard School of Public Health!

Maintenance Window: Thursday, January 16, 2014

UPDATE: All updates were successful and systems are fully operational.

On Thursday, January 16, 2014 we will be performing our normal system maintenance to all servers.

The maintenance window will last from 7PM to 1 AM.

The following services will have one or two small outages:

(You can continue to work, but may have brief pauses while services restart)

The following services will be unavailable from 7 pm – 10:30pm:

The following services will be unaffected during the maintenance window: 

Upcoming maintenance dates:

  • 2/13/2014
  • 3/16/2014 (Moved to Sunday)
  • 4/10/2014
  • 5/18/2014 (Moved to Sunday)
  • 6/12/2014

Thank You,
HSPH Department of Information Technology

HSPH Website: Changes in 2014!

Dear HSPH Website Administrators,

We will be holding two HSPH website informational sessions to kick off 2014.  They will be held in Kresge G2 on:

  • Thursday, January 16, 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
  • Tuesday, January 21, 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

At these sessions, we will bring you up to date on planned initiatives for the HSPH website in 2014, including a major initiative to make the website easier to read and use on mobile devices, including cell phones, iPads and the like.  More than 22 percent of web traffic to the HSPH website now comes through mobile devices that employ smaller screens than traditional desktop and laptop computers – and that percentage is expected to grow tremendously. This project will likely influence how you think about such things as layout and site navigation on the websites you update and manage at the School.  David Marshall, senior web developer, will take you through a discussion of “Responsive Design: Making the HSPH Website Mobile-friendly.” Finally, we’ll leave time for your questions on mobile design or other web topics.

campaign responsive

HSPH capital campaign website is one of our first responsive designs

We hope to see you at a session!

Deane Eastwood
for the HSPH Web Team


  • Introduction and recap of key 2013 website accomplishments
  • Highlighted initiatives in 2014
  • Responsive Design: Making the HSPH Website Mobile-friendly
    • What is Responsive Design?
    • Why is it important?
    • When is it coming to HSPH?
    • How does this impact you as site administrators?
    • How can you help with this important initiative?
    • Q&A

WordPress Updates

Over winter break the WebTeam was hard at work making some changes and updates to the website. Most of these changes are related to performance and optimization, so you will not be able to see them. However, there are two main changes that we would like to call to your attention.

widget visibilityWidget Visibility

Widget Visibility is a new module that enables you to configure widgets to appear or to be hidden only on certain pages through use of the Visibility panel. If you cannot see the Widget Visibility module, please contact the WebTeam to have it enabled. For full documentation on how this module works, check out the article here:

Heading StylesHeading Styles

When the website went live almost a year ago, the vendor assigned font styles to the headings H2, H3, and so on down the line, but the heading H1 was never utilized. Because H1 is the most important heading tag for search engines and content optimization, we reintroduced the H1 tag in its proper position (as the title line for each page). We strongly suggest that you look at your pages and update the heading styles to reflect this addition of H1. Doing so will maintain consistency and search/content optimization across the HSPH website. We will be discussing the heading styles further at the WordPress trainings.

Upcoming Trainings

As always, we have some more training sessions to announce for the month of January. One is focused on WordPress, while the other is an open-air session to answer any questions you may have. Please visit: for more info.

Outlook email maintenance window on Thursday, January 9

On Thursday, January 9, from 4:00 AM to 7:00 AM, Harvard University Information Technology will be performing monthly maintenance on Outlook/Exchange system (ICEMail) that will impact faculty and staff email services at HSPH.

This monthly patching window will be utilized to apply a set of security patches. During the scheduled maintenance window users may experience delays in email delivery or receipt, disconnection or possible unavailability of services. Every effort will be made to keep these disruptions brief. This maintenance work will not result in lost information or email messages.

This maintenance window will not impact HSPH student email on GMAIL.