[Prospice] [Fallibroome] [Investor in people]
Fallibroome High School, Priory Lane, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 4AF
Tel: +44 (0) 1625 827 898  ::  Fax: +44 (0) 1625 820 051  ::  Email: info@fallibroome.cheshire.sch.uk
Headteacher: Mr P.W.Rubery M.Ed MBA FRSA  ::  Chairman of Governors: Mr. R.D.Hipperson
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home-trans.gif ICT Network News   
 

JUL 04

VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

We have installed and are currently trialling an Open Source VLE, called Moodle on our servers. It is hoped this will eventually be made accessible from outside, to give pupils access to coursework.

JUNE 04

CHESHIRE BROADBAND LINK

We are largely unaffected by Cheshire's routing errors from outside, however the following may be of interest to people experiencing problems:

Message from Cheshire's ICT Helpdesk

Subject: INFORMATION: Internet Problem Update
Message-ID: <BA6BA0A39C9EE149868BD4032F3522870378DA69 @dumas.cccnet>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 16:20:15 +0100
>
> Internet Access Update
>
> Unfortunately we are still experiencing intermittent problems with
> Internet access. The fault appears to lie with our Internet Service
> Provider and is due to inconsistent routing across the internet Other
> organisations are experiencing similar issues with the same Provider.
>
> Due to the inconsistent nature of the fault, web pages can time out or
> load slowly. One of the web pages affected is www.learningalive.co.uk
> <www.learningalive.co.uk> which is the home page for the majority of
> primary schools. Therefore it will appear that the Internet is not working
> however if you try another page eg www.google.co.uk <www.google.co.uk>
> then it will work.
>
> We continue to work with our Internet Service Provider to rectify these
> faults, and your patience is much appreciated.
>
> The receiving and sending of Internet messages is working as normal, as is
> the Cheshire website.
>
> We are still investigating the problems, and will send you a further
> update as soon as we can.
>
> Issued by ICT Helpdesk on behalf of ICT Infrastructure

MAY 04

EMAIL SERVER

Due to the increasing number of junk emails (spam) received by the School, we are tightening our spam filters.

Please remember: emails sent to the school containing viruses are deleted without warning. This is because most of them forge To: and From: addresses, making auto-notification completely pointless - we get enough of these false alarms from other mis-configured mail servers, without adding to the problem ourselves!

PROXY SERVER & WEB FILTER

We've patched squidGuard to provide extended regular expressions. Basically this means we can force, for example, Google, to always use the "Safe Surf" option. We do this by rewriting all URLs to contain the string: &safe=active .

For more info, see:
https://listman.redhat.com/archives/k12osn/2004-April/msg00805.html

Now how cool is that!?

MAR 04

EMAIL SERVER

01-03-04. Our mail server is misbehaving again! Rather than lose mail, we will be taking it off-line until the problem is resolved.
19-03-04. The Linux mail server has been rebuilt with brand new hardware: SCSI Raid5, Twin 2.8Ghz Athlon-MP CPUs, 1 gig of RAM (yes, we know is a MAJOR overkill for a Mail server, but we needed to test some new server equipment). Current versions of Postfix, Amavis (which now blocks most EXE files), Qpopper, Slackware and the new Linux 2.6.x (SMP) kernel have been installed. We are also testing our in-house swear word filter.
30-03-04. Our mail server was taken off line for approximately 1 hour at 11am today while we completed the hardware installation (CoolDrives for the hard disks and a more powerful PSU).

FEB 04

EXTERNAL ACCESS TO THIS SITE

We've had reports of people experiencing problems accessing the school web site. Google can see us, as it's archiving current information; Netcraft can see us, as its still monitoring uptime; we can access everything from our home machines, however checkdns.net times-out. We are looking into this!

DNS

We are reducing the TTL on our name servers - this will allow us to redirect our site to its spare address quicker, should the main link fail.

EMAIL

06-02-2004: There is a problem with our mail server - it can't always cope with the traffic we force through it during the day. When traffic dies down it will start accepting mail again. The only way to fix this is to upgrade it - new hardware is being ordered next week.

ELECTRICAL MAINTENANCE

24-02-2004: Our servers were unavailable between 18th and 23rd Feb, while electrical work was caried out in the main building (our battery backups only provide a few hours cover without a mains supply).

JAN 04

BROADBAND PROBLEMS

We lost broadband Internet access at 10-ish Friday morning (23rd Jan). This was traced by Cheshire to a faulty network interface at their end. Email was temporarily routed through our ISDN link over the weekend and Cheshire managed to rectify the problem Monday morning.

VIRUS INFO

PLEASE NOTE: YOU WILL NO LONGER RECEIVE A WARNING MESSAGE IF YOU SEND A VIRUS TO THE SCHOOL - THE SERVER WILL SILENTLY QUARENTINE IT.

Most new viruses look in your Outlook addresses book and send random emails from people in there to other people in there. This causes unnecessary traffic and results in false alarms being sent out - we get enough of these from other companies with virus scanners set to do this, without us adding to the traffic!

INTERNET PROBLEMS (AGAIN)

What a nightmare: Our webserver was unavailable for a short time yesterday morning (29-01-04), due to loss of power during the electrical work being carried out in the main building - we'd forgotten to plug it into our UPS! We also had problems with Cheshire's Broadband service later that day: HTTP traffic (web) in both directions was unavailable due to routing problems at their end. Our Email server crashed yesterday too :-(

DEC 03

NETWORK BACKUPS

Due to stability issues with the main curriculum server and our ADR50 backup drive, a separate Netware server was built out of old equipment. The backup unit was installed into that - if it still crashes it should only affect the current backup, not the whole network, as was previously the case.

NOV 03

DATA RECOVERED

We found a backup of ICT Network News after all....!

DEAD WEBSERVER

One of the hard drives died on our web server (25-11-03). We back up the important information, however someone forgot to back up our network news section! D-oh. We'll make up^w^w add the missing bits shortly;)!

WEBSITE UPDATES

It is now possible to access the School Intranet from outside. This area is password protected for copyright reasons (the majority of information will be of no use to people outside the School anyway).

CMIS IMPLEMENTATION STAGE 3

Designated rooms and all the Admin network can now use CMIS as required.

CMIS IMPLEMENTATION STAGE 2

No more than 10 clients could connect simultaneously. The problem was eventually resolved in-house by the Fallibroome IT team , as information given to us by CMIS user support before, during and after installation was wrong! Details available on request.

OCT 03

CMIS IMPLEMENTATION STAGE 1

This was a success and allowed 6 users to connect to the system, perform a number of queries and print the results from designated workstations.

SEP 03

ADMIN NETWORK

Upgrades to the Admin network are going according to schedule. Two new servers are being tested: a Windows 2000 workstation to run MSSQL for CMIS and a Linux server to provide file and print sharing for the Admin network.

AUG 03

BROADBAND

Its here! The final link to the Cheshire Schools Network was made on the 28th August, 2003. We experienced some network downtime due to re-configuration of IP addresses and power cuts over the weekend - our UPS only provides a finite amount of battery backup. An email relay was set up to route emails from the old IP address to our new address until DNS catches up.

JUL 03

SUMMER MAINTENANCE

In addition to general maintenance work that is done every vacation, e.g. re-installing machines, updating drivers, etc. the following work was also carried out:

CABLING

Additional Cat5E data cables were installed in the 6th Form block for a new PC room. Old cables were replaced in the C-Block and Admin areas of the school to improve network stability and performance.

MACHINE UPDATES

Further to recommendations made by OFSTED in November last year, 12 smaller computers were installed into the central bank of desks in the main IT room (we couldn't see year 7 pupils behind the other ones!) 12 machines were moved into the new 6th form PC room.

JUN 03

WEBSITE UPDATES

The website has been reorganised slightly. We've added a proper front page, moved ICT Network news back to its intended location and added some info about ICT facilities and started adding Printer friendlyprinter-icon.gif links. Information from other departments will appear on here as and when it arrives.

CONFUSION OVER EMAIL ADDRESSES

The mail server was reconfigured on 11 June to accept messages addressed (incorrectly) to username@ mail. fallibroome.cheshire.sch.uk - the correct way to send email to the School is to leave out the host part of the domain (in this case the bit that says mail.), i.e.: username @ fallibroome.cheshire.sch.uk, in case the name of the mail server changes, or additional servers installed.

WEB SERVER UPDATES

The web server was taken off-line for approximately 2 minutes on Thursday 05 June while we updated our scripting engine: PHP.

DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM

Forward name resolution is now working, however reverse DNS fails to point back to our servers (this can occasionally cause problems when sending email to certain sites). Our ISP is not prepared to correct this, despite 3 previous ISPs allowing it! Watch this space for further details.

MAY 03

EMAIL SERVER PROBLEMS

One of the hard drives is failing on our email server. An upgrade was planned for the Summer vacation, however it may be necessary to bring this forward - watch this space.

APR 03

INTERNET UPDATE

Due to further delays with Cheshire's broadband, we elected to implement our own temporary solution and install a BT ISDN Line over half term. An ADSL/ISDN router was purchased and a contract was taken out with a new ISP. We are currently waiting for DNS to be updated to point to the new addresses of our servers.

MAR 03

WEB SERVER UPDATES

The Linux web server has been upgraded and is currently under test. Internally, we installed a web-caching proxy server called Squid to speed up web access and a web filter called squidGuard to prevent users accessing inappropriate sites. Both applications are released under the GNU General Public License, making them FREE under most conditions. Initial tests indicate that this solution performs as well as the commercial equivalents looked at and will reduce our IT running costs by approximately £1500 per year.

FEB 03

BROADBAND UPDATE

The Cheshire Broadband Team inform us that the point-to-point link to the core site has now been established. They hope to link this to the rest of the Cheshire intranet in approximately 9 weeks.

JAN 03

INTERNET UPDATE

Having worked with Business Serve to restore routing, we find that our existing equipment prevents us from forwarding traffic back into the School's servers anyway. This means we're actually no better off than before and, as a result, we will manage with our temporary solution until broadband arrives (around February / March 2003): A separate POP3 account has been set up to allow people to send email the school in the event of an emergency - this is read by a number of different members of staff, including the Deputy Head teacher, the admin staff and ICT Services, therefore if you have any concerns over privacy, please do not send email to this address.

DEC 02

LOSS OF INTERNET CONNECTIVITY

This was due to our ISP (Business Serve) closing their Stoke Data Centre, severing our leased line (we received less than a week's notice).

We routed all outgoing network traffic through our ISDN phone system (in a similar way to a home 'dial-up' connection) which allowed us to send email and browse the internet. Unfortunately our ISP has complete control over the routing of external traffic to our internal web and email servers, preventing us from fixing things from our end at this time.

Please note that any external email sent to the School's normal email addresses will need to be resent when network connectivity is restored.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.


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