Skip to content Skip to site navigation Skip to service navigation

Tech Briefing - Winter 2011

Timely Info for Power Users and Stanford's Technology Community


Held Friday afternoons in Turing Auditorium, Tech Briefings are informal, interactive seminars on computer-related topics of interest to the Stanford community. These sessions are open to everyone - faculty, staff, and students - and no registration required. Your opportunity to get technology updates from and ask questions of subject-matter experts.

The Tech Briefings, led by knowledgeable University IT staff or other IT professionals, run from 2:00 to 3:30 P.M. No registration is required - just come on by and learn something new. No fees. No fuss.

Turing Auditorium is Room 111 of Polya Hall. See this map to Polya Hall.

The success of these sessions depends on you! Questions from attendees are strongly encouraged. Topics are announced in advance through the techbriefings mailing list and on this web page.

Because we are presenting emerging technical topics, please feel free to contact the Tech Briefing coordinator with any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns. Call 723-4391 or send email to

Winter 2011

Special Tech Briefing: Drupal 7 Release Gathering
Jan 14:
No Tech Briefing
Twitter @ Stanford
HTML 5 - A Postcard from the Trenches
Second Life in Action: Learning, Collaboration, Innovation and More!
OpenSocial at Stanford - Integration and Mashups for Social Media
Doing More with Stanford Email and Calendar
Intermediate Networking: Ethernet and IP
Security Update at Stanford
Google Analytics: How to get and retain the "right" users to your site
Open Source Tools in Higher Education
Stanford Managed Desktop Service
Date Topic Presenter(s)
January 7

Special Drupal 7 Release Gathering

Join fellow Drupallers at Stanford for the Drupal 7 Release Gathering. Drupal experts will be on hand to help those who need help with their Drupal installation: theming, coding, or configuration. Be prepared for an afternoon of drupally goodness.

Drupal experts on campus
Jan 21

Twitter @ Stanford

In this Tech Briefing, Mark and Dave will guide you through ways and which Stanford groups and departments are using Twitter to communicate information about their department for their clientele.

They will show you how YOU can use Twitter to promote your group and showcase speakers, events, or other cool things about your department, or news and other topics related to your group.  

Some topics covered include setting up a departmental Twitter account, best practices for "tweeting", integrating Twitter into Facebook, Drupal and other social media tools.

Come with your Twitter questions, and Mark and Dave will help point you in the right direction.

Mark Branom & Dave Ream, University IT
Jan 28


HTML5 is here, it's hot and everyone wants to know more. But what *is* HTML5, and can we really start using it today? Stanford's Online Accessibility Program's John Foliot has been actively involved at the W3C during the development of HTML5, serving as co-Chair of the HTML5-Accessibility Task Force (media), and shares insight as to where we stand today.

- What does HTML5 really mean?
- What does it include?
- Exclude?
- What about accessibility?
- Interoperability?
- "Browser wars" Part 2?
- Can we use HTML5 today?

Join John as he seeks to answer these questions and more.

HTML 5: A Postcard from the Trenches 2 Presentation Slides

John Foliot, Stanford Online Accessibility Program
Feb 4

Second Life in Action: Learning, Collaboration, Innovation and More!

In this session, we will review how innovative organizations are using the Second Life platform and tools to increase learning, collaboration, and innovation.

We will "literally" walk through some case studies that will help us better understand the benefits and applications of this platform. But that is not all, we will also demonstrate how interactive exercises and simulations are conducted, so you can experience Virtual Worlds more fully as a fascinating and transformational learning and team building environment!
In addition, we will visit the Stanford Libraries Island in Second Life and walk through the numerous resources that are available on the island in addition to demonstrating how you can make use of the island as a learning, meeting, and collaboration virtual workspace.

Pierre Khawand, People-OnTheGo, and
Deni Wicklund, SULAIR
Feb 11

OpenSocial at Stanford - Integration and Mashups for Social Media and Beyond


OpenSocial is a published set of programming interface specifications originally targeting integration of social networking applications and services.

In the past 5 years it has certainly become widely adopted as a framework in that segment with social networking services such as iGoogle, MySpace, Yahoo!, Ning, LinkedIn, orkut and many others.  The flexibility OpenSocial as an integration framework has also led to a number of other uses of this technology like web application mashups well beyond social networking. 

At this Tech Briefing, we will cover some of what OpenSocial is and the various ways it's been used both inside and outside social networking.


More Information

OpenSocial in Google -

Apache Shindig -
An OpenSocial container and helps you to start hosting OpenSocial apps quickly

Oauth -
An open protocol to allow secure API authorization in a simple and standard method from desktop and web applications    

OpenSocial on Confluence -

Bruce Vincent & Scotty Logan, University IT
Feb 18

Doing More with Stanford Email and Calendar

This Briefing will cover features and capabilities in Stanford's Email and Calendar program (Zimbra) that many aren't aware of, including:

  • Remote Wipe to erase your data in the event you lose your iPhone.
  • Advanced Search to quickly create complex searches across your entire mailbox.
  • Using Distribution Lists and linking them to Workgroup Manage to more efficiently schedule meetings or share items with groups in your department.
  • Explore newly-added Zimlets that allow you to do things like add Webex information to your appointments, locate buildings on campus and even translate email messages.
 Jason Cowart, University IT
Feb 25

Intermediate Networking: Ethernet and IP


Expanding on some of the topics covered in the introductory class, the Ethernet and IP class will go into some more detail on the most common two protocols of modern networking.

This class will cover more detail on the ethernet protocol and common troubleshooting problems. For the Internet Protocol (IP), this class will cover TCP, UDP and ICMP and what they're used for; IP addressing concepts; subnet masks; and some troubleshooting of common IP problems.

Drew Saunders, University IT
Mar 4

Security Update at Stanford

1. Managing Information Security @ Stanford -
- More information: Information Security Website

2. Techie Tips Blog
- Avoiding Identity Theft


Managing Information Security at Stanford - Tina Darmohray

Managing at Stanford often includes working with computers and sensitive data, or supervising individuals who do. This presentation will cover what criteria to use to determine if you're working with non-public data and what steps you should take if you are. We'll describe the most common ways that computers can be compromised and present strategies to use to protect yourself and your computer. Finally, we'll present some case studies which highlight managers' roles in protecting Stanford computing resources.

Tina Darmohray is Stanford's Information Security Officer. Along with the rest of the Information Security Office staff she works to keep Stanford's computing resources safe and reliable.

Desktop Security (including Wireless "Non" Security) - David Hoffman
 David Hoffman of Information Security Office Operations covers the current state of wireless security on campus and gives some practical advice on how to secure your connections in the Stanford environment and the world at large. You'll get an overview of the security practices that he employs on his own desktop while still managing to get work done.

You may find this brief look into the mind of a security professional useful, puzzling, or laughable - hopefully all three.

Sophos on the Desktop - Sophos Technical Team
Sophos Anti-Virus is Stanford's site-licensed anti-malware software. It can protect your computer against viruses, adware/spyware, and other malicious software.

Representatives from the Sophos Technical team and University IT will discuss this new software and answer questions from the user community about it.

Computer Viruses / Identity Theft / Spam - Mark Branom
 Learn tips and tricks on how to avoid attacks by computer viruses and hackers, as well as protecting your identity from thieves.  

 - Tina Darmohray,
David Hoffman, and
Mark Branom, University IT

- Sophos Technical Team


Mar 11

Google Analytics: How to get and retain the "right" users to your site?

Google Analytics is the most popular website, social, and mobile tracking tool today. 

This session covers how effective marketers and site owners use GA to identify the 'right' audience for their sites and retain them.  The talk will cover some basic setup and interpretation of metrics & reports.  The speakers will also be illustrating recently released features in the context of how successful clients are leveraging them to meet their website and marketing goals.

This session will be presented by the Google Analytics Team, with an introduction by Phil Mui, Ph.D, the Group Product Manager for Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Team

Yi Wang, Ph.D.
- Product Manager

John Jersin
- Product Manager

Kate Cushing
- Associate Product Manager

Mar 18

Open Source Tools in Higher Education

List of Open Source Tools

Join us for a brief overview of various free and open source tools, and how they are being used to facilitate teaching, learning, and research in higher education.

Tools discussed will range from Desktop Applications to Operating Systems. Learn about such open source tools as OpenOffice and GIMP. Learn about open source alternatives that deal with Video Conferencing, Web Publishing, etc.

- John Bickar, Stanford Libraries

- Irina Zaks, Law Communications

Mar 25

Stanford Managed Desktop Service:
Windows and Mac OS X Provisioning, Monitoring and Configuration Management


Jay Stamps, one of the developers of Stanford's new Managed Desktop Service (MDS), presents a technical overview of the MDS toolkit, which includes BigFix and Stanford Desktop Tools as essential components.

This toolkit flexibly enables the automated performance of many important administrative tasks for both Windows and Mac OS X endpoint systems that are otherwise quite challenging to undertake in Stanford's mixed-platform, highly decentralized environment.

There should be lots of time for questions and discussion.

 Jay Stamps, University IT

Previous Quarters of Tech Briefings

Missed a Tech Briefing? Visit the list of Previous Quarters of Tech Briefings to download presentation information where available.

Subscribe to the Tech Briefings Mailing List

To subscribe to the Tech Briefings Mailing List, either:

Subscribe via the RSS / iCal Feed

Tech Briefing announcements are available as both an RSS feed and an iCal feed via


To add the events in Zimbra:
1) In Calendar, click Create a new calendar.
2) Give the new calendar a name (e.g., Tech Briefings).
3) Choose the color you want the calendar to use.
4) Check the box "Exclude this calendar when reporting free/busy times"
5) Check the box "Synchronize appointments from remote calendar", and in the URL field, enter
6) Click OK.

Tips for Presenters

So, you're going to give a presentation at an upcoming Tech Briefing. Find out what services we provide and what's expected of you. Refer to this PowerPoint document Tips for Presenters for guidelines on preparing for your presentation. You will find templates, as well as other useful information regarding timelines, marketing, and resources.

Last modified March 8, 2017