OIT vendor Catapult Systems has been acquired by ChinaSoft International Limited for more than $41 million. Catapult, which is assisting OIT with implementation of unified messaging across the university in 2014, will be run as a wholly-owned subsidiary of ChinaSoft. The acquisition was announced Nov. 14.
The Austin-based Microsoft software consultation company now comes under the wing of the large China-based software and information services provider. ChinaSoft has nearly 19,000 employees located in 25 cities across the globe and provides services to more than 100 international companies.
Catapult employs 423 in the U.S., with more than 100 employees working out of the company’s Austin headquarters. Last year it was the 20th largest private company in Austin, based on gross revenue, and was the second largest software developer in the area, employing more than 70 software engineers as of March 2012.
“As the premier provider of integration services, Catapult is positioning at the forefront of the current ‘digitization’ movement worldwide,” ChinaSoft said in a statement. “Catapult has launched four new capabilities over the past several years in Managed Services, Creative Services, Mobile Application and Cloud Services, all to take early market leadership positions in emerging technology and market demand. Specifically, Catapult’s new Cloud Services offering has already positioned itself as one of Microsoft’s leading cloud migration partners in the U.S.”
Researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Notre Dame are working with Internet2 and Rackspace® Hosting (NYSE: RAX), the open cloud company based in San Antonio, to build an OpenStack-based hybrid cloud environment for the research and education community. The new Internet2 NET+ services are expected to be available to other institutions by next spring. To learn more, go to http://bit.ly/Internet2-Rackspace.
Connectivity in Australia lags behind that of the United States, Ken Pierce, OIT’s Vice Provost for Information Technology and CIO, discovered during his recent trip “down under.”
Pierce spoke on the topic, “Can Games Save Education?,” a discussion about the potential impact of gaming designs and strategies on education, at the prestigious Gartner Symposium, a major technology symposium in that country’s Gold Coast.
Due to Australia’s large size, sparse population and remoteness to other countries, Internet access isn’t as widely available as it is here. “We take connectivity here for granted,” Pierce observed. “Over there, it’s expensive and limited.” Nearly three quarters of Australian homes have Internet access, but wireless hot spots are scarce in rural areas. In his hotel, wireless was roughly $25 USD per day for 500 MB of downloads.
On the Connectivity Scorecard 2013 Index, Australia ranks 10th amongst innovation-driven economies in the world. On the other hand, the U.S. ranks third this year in connectivity behind Denmark and Malaysia, based on performance in business, consumer and public sectors. The Connectivity Scorecard examines the quality and quantity of usage and infrastructure and links it to a country’s social and economic prosperity.
However, the Australian commonwealth restricts certain video games and Internet sites. The government there maintains a classification system that is considered to be the strictest in the western world.
In Australia, Pierce and his wife, Jill, visited family, beaches and wineries while vacationing in Perth, Australia’s westernmost capital city on the Swan River and Indian Ocean; Brisbane, Queensland’s subtropical capital; and Caloundra, along the Sunshine Coast’s southern region.
His observations about their unique culture:
The trip took 31 ½ hours of travel time, one way, because Australia is so distant from San Antonio, but no jet lag, thankfully. It took 4 planes, a train ride, and a taxi to get from San Antonio to the hotel!
Coffee is excellent in Australia (so is the beer and wine)! Try a long black or flat white if you go, as drip coffee is hard to find. Coffee baristas enjoy high status and are very skilled.
Australians spend $4 billion a year on chocolate: Moo-Lolly-Bars, Violet Crumbles, Cherry Ripes and Aeros. Overall, dining is fresh and cosmopolitan and there’s essentially no tipping.
Order some pancakes for breakfast, and you’ll get pancakes with the usual small round of butter and maple syrup; but you’ll also find a scoop of vanilla ice cream on them as well!
You can go to your local 7-11 and buy a 20 oz. Coke that will set you back about $4.90.
Australia is strict on drinking and driving; alcohol consumption cutoff is .04 compared to .06 - .08 in the U.S. and they do random stopping to administer a Breathalyzer.
San Antonio is heading into winter; Australia is heading into summer.
Queensland recently passed a law prohibiting more than four people from riding a motorcycle together at any given time. It is a new law, the “bikee law,” restricting motorcycle gangs. Here they’re “bikers;” in Australia, they’re “bikees.” Aussies seem to add “ees” to many words, as in “fish and chipees, “go for walkies” and “cheeries.” Interestingly enough, mine workers are still called miners, not “minees.”
Golfers push golf-bag carts in front of them (with umbrellas) as they walk the course, instead of riding in a golf cart as in the U.S. White socks only, please.
It seemed like one of every three homes in Western Australia relies on solar energy for electricity. Solar energy is cheaper there than here.
The Australian government was debating whether or not to raise the debt limit to $500 billion, compared to the U.S. debt of $17 trillion.
Kangaroos are considered the essence of Australia, but pesky little black bushflies have inspired a new fashion trend: the “great Aussie salute,” an elegant flick of the fingers.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Office of Information Technology.
In the event of a fire or other emergency requiring evacuation, employees of the Office of Information Technology are reminded to exit the building according to the posted evacuation plan and move 150 feet away from the building.
OIT employees at the Bosque Street Building are asked to congregate across the parking lot near Laurel Village (north side) or by the Fiesta Dancer statues near the UC (south side), instead of standing near the outside doorways.
When evacuating, close doors and windows, and assist others around you. Prior to any emergency, the best advice is to prepare by familiarizing yourself with your evacuation route, emergency plans, and know what to do. A good resource is the UTSA Campus Alerts website at www.alerts.utsa.edu – bookmark this website on your smartphones, and you can always stay connected with the latest on campus emergency operations.
The Office of Information Technology was recently honored for its contribution to UTSA’s Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) program. HUB vendors are minority- and women-owned businesses certified by the state.
Award winners were chosen through a point system that took into account budget, number of HUB vendors utilized and the percentage of dollars spent with HUBs. Ten individuals and four departments, including OIT’s Application Development and Support (ADS) group, were recognized at the event. Winners received special Texas-shaped awards to recognize their support of Texas HUBs.
The Application Development and Support group designs, develops and maintains various software systems that support university functions for students, faculty and staff.
Click here to view photos of the award.
Mr. Fix-It: Paul Carney
People often wonder how others have gotten to where they are in their careers. Are people born college presidents? Have they always known since childhood how to fix cars or computers? The answer is not always that obvious.
Take, for example, Paul Carney of UTSA’s Office of Information Technology. He’s The Fix-It Guy. He’s the one people turn to when they have an issue with their network, their computers, their laptops. So how did Paul Carney become an expert at fixing computers? Turns out, he has a unique skill that many people lack these days – the ability to “roll up your sleeves and get the job done,” he admits. No matter what that job is.
A native of Houston, Paul worked in a variety of jobs before finding his niche as a Network Technician/Support Specialist II for OIT.
From an early age he set his own course through life. He left home at age 17 and, because he didn’t want to starve, he found work at a variety of jobs. He worked in restaurants and in the construction business framing houses. In his late 20’s he inadvertently found himself in Information Technology but never thought of it as a career field.
He had gotten himself a job at a start-up company in San Antonio – Org Solutions, as a salesman. His father, after all, had spent his career as a super-successful salesman In Houston. The chief executive officer of the new firm had a computer but he wanted to set up a marketing database. Paul set it up for him. Paul turned out to be not such a good salesman, but he really liked helping the other salesmen set up their systems and dramatically increasing their sales. A new career was born. Not as a salesman, like his dad, however, as someone who knows how to network computers for maximum efficiency.
At a second start-up company he tried his hand at another variety of skills: photography, marketing, promoting videos for products and services. He was even an actor in company promotions. “Whatever needs to be done, I’ll do,” says Paul.
He ended up managing a computer store for this same start-up firm. When the three locations run by that company were consolidated into a single store, he found himself out of a job again. That turned out to be a lucky break because he found temporary employment at ArrowTech doing field service work. This job found him repairing computers for Dell, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba and a host of other companies. The job gave him depth of knowledge he would otherwise not have had.
“Whatever I did never mattered to me,” he said. “My question has always been, What do you need? Just give me a job and I’ll get it done.”
Many people hold back when it comes to performing work that’s out of their comfort zone. But not Paul – if you give him a job, he’ll get it done. “That’s why I can do just about anything,” admits Paul.
The result: a valuable attitude and a valuable employee.
Even today, his motto is, “What do you need me to do next?”
At UTSA he provides hardware and software support using technical skills for the installation, operation and optimization of digital network communications equipment. In other words, he installs and maintains equipment and software for terminals, workstations, personal computers and mainframe computers. He works on a variety of IT networking, communications and Internet security issues on a daily basis.
Other than having a “can do” attitude, what advice would Paul give students at UTSA today?
1) “Don’t take advice from people who have not been successful in the field you want to go into,” he said. “If you want to ask for help, make sure you ask someone who has been successful in that field.”
2) Don’t talk to friends about what you’re thinking of doing, he suggests; instead find a successful person in your chosen field and pick their brains.
As a father to three, he’s raising his own children to be independent and he’s also teaching them to like to work – at whatever work they choose.
When he’s not fixing computers and networks at UTSA, he’s busy reading historical novels. Among his favorites are Sharon Key Penman, a UT Austin graduate and New York Times bestselling author of Time and Chance and Bernard Cornwell, who wrote eight novels in a series about Napoleonic Wars rifleman Richard Sharpe, that were later adapted into a series of television films. Paul is fond of Penman’s first novel, The Sunne in Splendour, a stand-alone novel about the misunderstood King Richard II of England during the War of the Roses.
Ken Pierce, Vice Provost for Information Technology & CIO, returned this past week from visiting Australia, bringing with him a host of new insights, novel ideas and experiences worth sharing.
He spoke at the prestigious Gartner Symposium, a major technology symposium in Gold Coast, Australia. He also visited Perth, Brisbane and Caloundra, during his work and vacation visit to Australia.
Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 is an important gathering of information officers and senior information technology experts. It is aimed at helping executives learn to manage powerful forces – mobile, social, cloud and information – to reshape how business gets done now and in the future. Attendees are at the center of this transformation, leading the creation of the digital enterprise.
In his presentation entitled “Can Games Save Education?,” Pierce challenged his listeners to think about what changes would be necessary if institutions of higher learning worldwide were to adopt the approach used by video game developers.
UTSA’s Chief Information Officer startled many analysts and technology experts from around the world with his theories about the application of video game technologies and concepts to higher education.
“Think about what video games represent,” he said. “People line up to play games; they don’t eat, they don’t sleep. Is this the kind of intense learning and participatory experience we’re offering students?”
He asked the technology experts in the audience to visualize how their roles would differ if educational institutions were to change their focus by transforming the design and motivation of technologies for learning. The priority would switch from classroom learning led by a faculty member to a “big-value, big-data driven” environment in which teams collaborate to deliver intense educational experiences to students.
Learning in a data-rich environment could be similar to that of a videogame in which every second of participation is recorded and every keystroke entry is counted. It could be an intensive, all-inclusive environment in which participants reach higher and higher levels of achievement through practice.
Such novel ideas are at the heart of the transformation of universities in the future, Pierce told the Gold Coast audience, sharing his perspective on the future of game development and the learning experience. The tech guys in the audience “got it right away,” he said.
“Online games are developed by teams of graphic designers, technology suppliers and many others, all cooperating to deliver a product that surpasses the expectations of the intended recipients,” he said. “Adopting this approach to education could mean many changes in the way universities operate in the future.”
The buzzword or catch phrase, “big data,” as discussed by Pierce in his presentation, applies to massively collected data that is analyzed in large sets. Analyzing and capturing this kind of data will become key to future innovation, competitiveness and productivity.
Most educational organizations, he acknowledged, would have a hard time processing real-time learning data using traditional database and software techniques without major changes in approach and management.
At UTSA, Pierce is tasked with overseeing efforts to develop strategic technology needs, identifying emerging technology needs across the institution and establishing annual technology priorities in support of UTSA’s strategic plan.
Experts from banking, energy, government, healthcare, manufacturing and retail industries also shared their perspectives and experiences at the Gold Coast event.
Lee Gildon, OIT’s Chief Operations Officer and Bryan Wilson, Executive Director of Enterprise Systems, attended an earlier Gartner Symposium in Orlando, Florida.
Customer Support Supervisor-IT – Open until filled
Instructional Designer – Open until filled
If you were wondering where to buy Lync-certified devices, we now have a secure site that you can purchase directly from Hello Direct, a Jabra vendor.
Hello Direct offers a multitude of products with inexpensive pricing, thanks to UTSA-only discount pricing.
The site includes substantial reductions for faculty and staff on a range of products such as conference room equipment, personal wireless headsets, wired headsets and video cameras.
The site includes: information about Lync and about how to purchase Lync-certified products; installation links for both PC and Mac; tutorial videos; and downloadable Lync How-To-Cards. There is also a section for Lync FAQs.
Lync is a communication and collaboration tool that allows the UTSA community to instant message, voice call or video call with coworkers on or off campus.
Users are able to share desktops, programs and files within the conversation using Microsoft tools like the whiteboard and OneNote. Lync integrates with Office 2013 and Office 365 to make it easy to begin a conversation and start collaborating.