• Innovative Learning Week 2012 (Stuart)
    • Deferred to next week
  • Programming in first and second year (Stuart)
    • Stuart has spoken to Ewan
    • Possibly using Python in first year
    • Action: James to find out what first years think
  • Diagnostic testing on programming (Stuart)
    • Students do diagnostic tests before starting here
    • If test doesn't go well, they take current OOP course instead of FP
    • More advanced Java course during second semester of first year
  • Reflective questionnaires (Stuart)
    • Deferred to next week
  • mi3/4
    • As long as Geometry exam isn't too difficult, not much more that can be done about the current maths course
    • New courses to start from September
    • Action: Stuart to speak to Maths
  • Inf1 drop-in labs (James Wheatley)
    • CLW is sometimes being closed during drop-in labs, leaving little space for other students
    • Action: Stuart to speak to demonstrators about taking computer availability into account and only closing part of the lab
  • Skype and Dropbox on DICE (James Wheatley)
    • Skype has a strange protocol that makes the network unstable with lots of users
    • Action: Neil to raise ticket about installing Dropbox
    • UPDATE: See below for update from Computing Support
  • Informatics Online Store (James Wheatley)
    • Store is now empty
    • Informatics no longer doing hoodies
    • University decided not to offer Informatics hoodies themselves
    • Action: Neil to look into getting all links to the store removed
  • Placements and Careers (Stuart)
    • ScotlandIS want to start a placements scheme where all Informatics students would be offered a placement
    • Need to work out what students want in terms of placements
    • Need to consider what could be done to make students (particularly first and second year) be doing more to make themselves employable
    • Possibility of a cascaded employability scheme

The Official Line on Dropbox

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px}

Response 1:

Frankly we'd rather not, there are a number of issues with appearing to

sanction it's use:

1. Anything placed in the Dropbox directory is copied onto a server or

servers in the US, this exposes our users to US laws which may

criminalise things which are not in the UK. Equally when you place files

in the Dropbox directory you are in effect exporting the files outside

of the EU and depending on the contents there are DPA issues as DropBox

is not certified as a safe harbour.

2. From a technical point of view there are issues with the install, the

software that is installed doesn't actually do the file synchronisation,

instead it provides hooks into the gnome file browser and then downloads

a proprietry daemon to do the file copying. Whilst we run proprietary,

closed source software I'm a little queasy about the way that dropbox

does this.

Finally,I'm also not convinced just how well it works, this is on my PC

at home:

bash-4.1$ dropbox help

Dropbox command-line interface


Note: use dropbox help <command> to view usage for a specific command.

status get current status of the dropboxd

help provide help

puburl get public url of a file in your dropbox

stop stop dropboxd

running return whether dropbox is running

start start dropboxd

filestatus get current sync status of one or more files

ls list directory contents with current sync status

autostart automatically start dropbox at login

exclude ignores/excludes a directory from syncing

bash-4.1$ dropbox status

Dropbox isn't running!

bash-4.1$ ps auxww|grep dropbox

iainr 19473 0.0 1.3 155384 27360 ? Ssl 03:31 0:08


iainr 21266 0.0 0.0 4468 728 pts/7 S+ 10:25 0:00 grep


bash-4.1$ dropbox start

Dropbox isn't running!

Dropbox is already running!

bash-4.1$ dropbox stop

Dropbox isn't running!

bash-4.1$ ps auxww|grep dropbox

iainr 19473 0.0 1.3 155384 27360 ? Ssl 03:31 0:08


iainr 21273 0.0 0.0 4468 728 pts/7 S+ 10:25 0:00 grep


bash-4.1$ kill 19473

bash-4.1$ ps auxww|grep dropbox

iainr 21308 0.0 0.0 4468 728 pts/7 S+ 10:28 0:00 grep


bash-4.1$ dropbox start

Starting Dropbox...Dropbox isn't running!


bash-4.1$ dropbox status

Dropbox isn't running!

What facilities does it provide that we're not providing at the moment?

Response 2:

Each student has a home directory on AFS, which allows them not only to

share files at will with fellow students (by granting access by specific

users or groups of users to specific folders) but also allows them to

access their files from any computer connected to the internet, (subject

to installation of the OpenAFS client for Linux, Windows or MacOS ).

This covers all of the DropBox functionality I'm aware of, and has all

the advantages of an Informatics manged service (and of course therefore

lacks the caveats of an externally-hosted one).

I suspect that we (the computing staff) have not succeeded in educating

our students as to the advantages of our globally-accessible filesystem,

but perhaps now would be a good time for us to do so.

-- Main.s0915100 - 24 Jan 2011

Topic revision: r7 - 01 Feb 2011 - 19:46:37 - Main.s0915100
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