Author Archive | Mr. Barder

Naming Contest

We only have a few entries so far and would like some more. We have been preparing a new section of the NIS website that will feature a photo gallery and YouTube-style video gallery of events and activities that are NIS-related. However, we are in desperate need of a creative and “cool” sounding name for this part of the site that is better than “Lion-tube” or “NIS-Media” to use as a title and link for this section. Please submit your ideas to the form below and make sure to enter your name and class so that we can recognize your contribution. We will post finalists on the Daily Bulletin in March.

Please select a valid form


Overseas Line Temporary Outage @1515

Good morning,

Today, Friday, 24 February 2017, at 1515, we will have to temporarily shut down our connection to the VPN line for 30-45 minutes for some maintenance on our hardware. We will still have a connection to local internet, but you will need to use your personal VPNs for access to Google and other sites blocked in China for this time. Thank you for your patience as we work to make your surfing experience in the future a better one!

Have a great weekend,

Your Friendly NIS IT Department

Discovery in Space!!!

For those of you wondering why Google had the unique logo yesterday and neglected to click on it, it was celebrating a landmark day in history for space exploration. Not ancient history, but current, up-to-the-minute history! Yesterday, 23 February 2017, with the help of a coordinated effort of ground telescopes and NASA’s Spitzer telescope, we located “the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star,” several of which are in the “habitable zone” and “could potentially have liquid water.” For more on this amazing discovery, check out this link or click on the video below.


Website Login Popup

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-8-38-56-amRecently some people may have been getting a popup on their browser (like the one at the left) when going to a non-secure website (i.e. http vs https). Simply input your email username (without the @ symbol or email address) and password and it should go away. The simple reason is that there is a time limit on the authenticated connection to these non-secure websites – essentially it is a security mechanism. If the popup doesn’t go away after inputting username and password, try turning off then on your wifi, and repeating the username and password input. This is to reestablish a secure connection. If you’d like to learn more you can read more below.

In order to communicate securely between remote servers (servers are essentially computers that “serve” data and information to “client” computers via the internet), there are things called digital certificates that provide verification of the security and authenticity of the information they are sharing. Often times this will be designated by a https:// at the beginning of the website, and designate that it is a secure and legitimate website. At the same time, in order to secure our own network and secure us when viewing non-secure websites, all our traffic on Teacher and the student networks travels through our RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) server that communicates with a central server elsewhere to grant authorized access to these sites. This RADIUS server has a 48-hour authentication period, so that if you visit a non-secure website like on a Friday afternoon at school, then try to visit it again on Monday, you will see the pop-up. However, if you are back on campus sometime within that 48-hour period and navigate to it (via the same network you were on that Friday, nevermind the device) you won’t be asked for that login.

If you’ve gotten this far, and it makes some sense, you’ve reached Level 2 Network agent status. And if you were prompted to look up some of these terms, promote yourself to level 3! As always, feel free to ask any questions you have.


Teacher Internet Interruption AM – FYI

Network Interruption

This is purely an FYI about what happened this morning and our process of solving it so that you, as a user is better informed. Feel free to ask any of us “IT” folk about it for clarification.

There was a brief break in our VPN connection on the Teacher wifi network this morning from about 0750 – 0950. York Zha, our Network “guy,” leapt into action and did some behind the scenes work to shift that connection to the student line to try and minimize the interruption while our provider (GOIP) worked on fixing the issue. Since we have 2 lines – Unicom (for students) and Telecom (for teachers) – dedicated to our VPN provider (GOIP), and only the GOIP Telecom line was down, York worked his magic and switched the Teacher network (network = WiFi) onto the same Unicom line (internet) as the students.

When something like this occurs (or you suspect something like this is occurring) the best thing to do is to turn off then on your wifi. What this does is allow the WiFi card in your computer to reset the settings for connecting to the internet, essentially giving it time to figure out that old addresses it was connected to were not working and find the ones that do. A good example would be when you and a friend are trying to meet up somewhere and figure out how far apart you are: you call each other initially to say that you are just heading out the door; then when you get to the place ahead of your friend, you call to check in and find out where they are/how close they are and find out that they’re running late because of traffic.

If you’ve read this far, congratulations! You can claim to be a level 1 network ninja. If you’re still puzzled, feel free to ask York or any of the rest of IT to clarify. We’re always happy to educate and geek out! Enjoy your weekend and Happy Friday!

USA Election Results – Live

For those teachers and students that would like to follow the US election results live, have a look at this link from the New York Times. It is an interactive map that allows you to see the results as they come in. Hovering over States allows you to see how many votes have been counted (i.e. reported), number of electoral votes per state, and clicking on a state will zoom in on the counties in each state. A great tool for teaching about electoral politics from a different country!

For Your Information – from IT Dept.

Good morning,

This notice is for staff/faculty only.

On Thursday morning China Telecom will be doing some work on the fiber-optic cable outside the school which means that they will have to shut down our connection on that line, temporarily. We have negotiated with them for this outage to occur before working hours from 6-7am. Knowing that the work could go longer, we have taken steps to try and ensure that there will be no disruption to educational technology during this work by making some adjustments to our other line. You do not need to do anything, as our IT team will be handling it all behind the scenes. And while this is purely FYI, nothing is ever certain so we would like you to know if something does go awry. The main things that will be affected during this 6-7am window are the following:

  • Phone lines
  • Local China Telecom lines

Thank you for your patience and understanding while these upgrades take place.

Joe and the IT Team


PYP Variety Show

For those that missed our awesome, PYP Variety Show last week, here is the video archive. Big thanks to Ms. Heidi Dean for putting it all together!

MacOS Sierra Upgrade

Good morning and Happy Friday!

On Tuesday/Wednesday, Apple made its latest operating system upgrade – MacOS Sierra – available for free download on the App store. (For a breakdown of all the features, check out this review by CNET). First of all, please know that you do not need to upgrade your computers, unless you choose to do so. As with all new OS installs, we have noticed a couple of errors that may impact the way you do things on the computer, including one that affects your usage of Microsoft Office 365 client applications(i.e. MS Word, PPT, Excel, etc. on your computer), though this is inconsistent and more testing is needed. While there is no impact on printing, we (the IT Department) recommend waiting to upgrade your system until these “kinks” are worked out. In the meantime, if you do choose to install the new OS, please have a look at this article on some of the most common problems experienced by early adopters. As always, we are here to support you in C135 and C136 with any issues you may have! – Your Friendly IT Department

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