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OU and Related Software Installation and Validation Log

Important Note

The OU Software for FirstClass and Internet Access, in particular, is well supported with documentation which give some of the best guides to installing and configuring that I have found. What is written on these pages is a diary of our own experiences and is not intended to replace in any way the documentation supplied with any of the OU software. Any problems and hints often relate to particular configurations - we have Windows 95 and initially ran Internet Explorer 4.01 on the main machine and Internet Explorer 3.02 on the Laptop. We now have upgraded to Internet Explorer 5 on the main machine and Internet Explorer 4.01 SP1 on the Libretto. We have also chosen particular directory structures so programs are not always loaded into default directories.


The times in [ ] refer only to the time taken for essential activities for the course to be taught effectively and efficiently and to provide an adequate service to my students. See below.

27 th July [2.5 hours install and test plus 6 hours documentation]

Lyceum 1.2 loaded and tested: The update caused major system problems and the whole of Lyceum had to uninstalled and reinstalled. The problem was because the CD and downloaded portions were incompatible and nearly wiped the disk clean - we lost one of the two redundant FAT32 directories! See Impressions of Lyceum for more details. Audio setup tests run in Lyceum Loopback room and time taken to set up the audio better. We returned to using our own microphone and speakers. Lyceum now usable but still ponderous on a 120 Pentium - needs 400 to be swift enough for real teaching. We also ran tests of 5 potential ISPs for connection quality using the OU Lyceum UDP Quality of Service reporter and provided feedback. Another 6 hours or so spent in writing up and producing the new Requirements for Online Conferencing page with a list of enhancements and changes needed to make Lyceum an effective tool to use for teaching. We felt it important to provide rapid feedback to the course team - it shows too much promise to let it all turn to dust.

21st July 1999 [1 hours]

Updates downloaded from McAfee with new data files. Download of 2.6 mbytes and updates on both machines, scans and test virus dtection run.

17th July 1999 [6 hours]

Create and Load New System Disk: The CD for Lyceum, the online audio and presentation package for B823 turned up. It is an early Beta and the instructions showed it to be at an early state of development so there was no possible way we could consider loading it onto our main machines. The 850 mbyte drive which was replaced by the Quantum was therefore brought back into play as a new system drive. It was there reformatted with a single FAT32 partition, the system transfered and Windows 95 OSR2 loaded. McAfee, Internet Explorer 5.0, Outlook 98, and Office 97 were installed along with utilities such as Adobe Acrobat 4.0 and Winzip. By the time a scandisk had checked the overall integrety this took an elapsed time of 4 hours. The first stage which included making a Dial Up Network connection to Freeserve to check we had all the DUN software installed took 2.5 hours to when we were first connected to the internet.

Lyceum 1.1: Only now was it possible to install Lyceum itself. The program come in two parts, a CD section which needed two and a half sides of instructions, much of it on how to get round the errors in the loader program - such as having to avoid reboots when requested. The second part had to be downloaded from the web as development is very obviously far from complete. The downloads totaled 2.5 Mbytes and took close to 15 minutes on a fast link. The instructions said nothing about having to wait for the various buttons and screens to take up to 10 minutes to appear. It installs a new plugin installer so that the downloads can not be saved to disk to be virus checked. It also loads a new Java compiler for the Browser which may be a serious problem with those using internet banking where patches have to currently be applied to the Java compiler to avoid security problems - these are presumably overwritten. There is no uninstall in the program group.

We ran a few checks to see what it is like and rather than waste space here they have formed the start of First Impressions of Lyceum. In summary many issues including password security, robustness, speed and flexibility must be addressed before it can be assessed or used properly as a teaching tool. It is also far too slow and inflexible in display requirements to be run on the Libretto which may need an expensive upgrade if B823 continues to experiment with this package which has been developed in house. It is what it claims, a beta and an early one and we are very glad we took the time to create a separate system for the experiments.

15th July 1999 [2.5 hours]

A new disk (Quantum Fireball 4.3) was bought for £70 as the Person Post Offices of the two FirstClass servers are now so big (125 and 60 mbytes) we have run out of disk space on our number two drive (D: ) . Disk installed, partitioned and formatted and files transfered. Scandisk run in thorough mode to check overall intergrity.

16th June 1999 [1.5 hours]

A special update downloaded from McAfee with new data files and a scan engine update to 4.0.25 to cover the threats from the latest zip trojans. Download of 3.9 mbytes and updates on both machines, scans and tests.

23rd May 1999 [2 hours]

A full update for McAfee downloaded to give us the latest scan engine version 4.0.22 and virus updates. This is required to cover some of the latest attacks now we are receiving a lot of doc files with M206. Download of 8.3 mbytes. Loaded into both machines and tested with Eicar test virus.

26th April 1999 [N/A]

Internet Explorer 5.0: The new version of Internet Explorer turned up on a cover disk and was installed onto the "spare" hard drive without problems. It seems to be a delta improvement with the same basic feel but has a number of nice features - it also seems to do a better job of caching pages so it has been installed onto the main disk as well. The improved caching will be valuable for the OU site. Only problem is one of size - it has used up an additional 60 Mbytes of disk space!

Freezone: The same cover disk had information about another free Internet Service Provider called Freezone. This one is very quick to sign up to, has 20 Mbytes of web space and will also cheaply register and maintain a Domain Name for one. I will probably add it to Freeserve and Telinco in my notes for OU students when I have checked it out. Freeserve still remains my prime TCP/IP connection as it is very fast and reliable.

Web Site: The web site has been mirrored on Freeserve for a long time but the main entry points have had to be transferred and warnings put on the CompuServe site as their servers have been so unreliable recently. Postings have been made into many of the OU conferences.

25th April 1999 [60 minutes]

Marking tool seems to give occasional error messages and get the .ppf and .pt3 files out of step. Time spent chasing it down and copying a set of files showing the problem into a directory and sending off as a zipped attachment to ACS. Times shown are for identifying and documenting problems.

Otherwise the new marking tool is a big improvement and none of the old problems of graphics going walk-about. Tool is slow in recalculating part marks and will be time cinsuming on the Libretto. Timings taken and sent with suggestions on how to speed it up to ACS .

12th April 1999 [30 minutes]

Marking tool template for Word 8 (Office 97) unzipped and put in directory with other templates (searched for normal.dot to find the directory)

Superficial test with a TMA from last year shows it all seems to work and Ticks, Annotations and Marks can be added to the TMA so I can give go ahead to students at Tutorial the same evening.

11th April 1999 [1 hour 15 minutes]

Went to McAfee site to see if patches required to cope with Melissa virus before receiving any TMAs. Scan engine update required and also new virus files. Two downloads one 2.5Mbytes for the engine and one of 650K for data files via Freeserve. Big one failed due to problem at McAfee end and had to be repeated on the same open TCP/IP connection (repeat took 15 minutes whilst doing some browsing). Installed Engine update and new data files unzipped and copied into relevent directory before reboot to save time. Test scan detected the EICAR test virus in a compressed file so install OK. Drives scanned.

Painless ETMA Preparation updated to reflect comments in the ETMA conferences and the availability of the new template [2 hours but not essential to teaching]

10th April 1999 [40 minutes]

Original M206 directory renamed so old Learning Works books remain available.

Updated software loaded from the Course CDs - Debugger, LearningWorks, Object Shop and Grubbles Grommits loaded and checked to be working. No need for reload of Quicktime.

9th April 1999 [30 minutes]

Conferences restored and back in the ETMA pilot but starting from behind! Aliases made of the conferences and put in Offline Folders and Replicated. Student and Tutor Guides extracted from FirstClass and scan read - no major changes from last year except that a lot of our notes from "Painless ETMA Preparation" are now included in the Student Guide but no reference to us!

1st April 1999 [10 minutes]

Some hiccups with ETMA system as all conferences have disappeared from the FirstClass desktop but there is still access to ETMA tutor site. It would seem I have been removed from the pilot due to some fumble or misunderstanding.

Email drafted to get system restored and slept on overnight.

Template for Word8 downloaded.

29th March 1999 [45 minutes]

Virus Data File Updates: The first thing done on our return from New Zealand was to download the latest McAfee virus data files from the CompuServe forum and update both machines. Full on-demand tests run on both machines and the test viruses found. See below for test virus details. This is normally done on a monthly basis and, as a routine operation required for all usage, is often not always recorded in this log.

24th November 1998 [2.75 hours]

McAfee Virus Checker Scan Engine update: The latest version of the McAfee virus checker was downloaded from the McAfee site. The download was 9 Mbytes and took nearly an hour via a Freeserve connection in the early hours of the morning. A full scan of both machines was carried out and the upgrade installation validated in as much as the test viruses were detected in a compressed file in the full disk scans and by attempting an access to the test virus file. See below for test virus details.

24th November 1998 [3 hours]

FirstClass 5.5 Final upgrade to FirstClass 5.5 made for both servers and both machines.

Server 3: An additional copy of FC5.5 loaded and set up for access to Server 3 on both machines.

Desktops: Online and offline desktops and the Offline folder reorganised to reflect the change of M206 to server 3.

October 1998 [n/a]

Dixons Freeserve We have investigated the Dixons Freeserve internet access from the point of view of Open University Students who are now obliged to use a commercial ISP to access FirstClass and the web. It should be ideal for students needing TCP/IP access who are currently without an ISP. It is equally good for tutors who need web space not currently available through the OU. The bottom line is that it went into our BT "family and friends" list within two days. Guidance Notes on Painless Registration and on Using Multiple ISPs added to the Technical Howto Articles as well as postings into various conferences.

September 1998 [n/a]

Trial FirstClass Upgrade to version 5.5 Software downloaded from the Softarc site and installed. many problems initially with Offline Replication and Trash collection. The details have been added to the FirstClass page

August 1998 [15 mins]

FirstClass Upgraded to 5.1 and installed for both servers on our fixed D: drive to allow access from the interchangable C: drives for marking.

Configured FirstClass to use TCP/IP for both servers and tested.

22nd July 1998 [n/a]

First Trials of e-TMA marking. Went very well. Most students are participating. Tutor site easy to use and download rates very fast (2.6 Kbytes/sec is close to theoretical limit for compressed files for 28kbaud modem). The details of our findings will be posted in FC conferences and a new page Guidance in Preparing e-TMAs has been added to the site.

20th July 1998 [1 hour]

FirstClass Upgraded to version 5.1 for Server 1 (Dell and Libretto). The details have been added to the FirstClass page

New Tutor Marking Tool version 2.04 downloaded and installed. New atmt.dot template copied to Word 6 directory.

Word 6 Disks received for Word 6. Word 6 remains on our second removable drive.

LearningWorks software fix (LW4fix.exe) downloaded and installed on Dell and Libretto.

11th July 1998 [1 hour]

Trial FirstClass Upgrade to version 5.1 The upgrade program (1.5 Mbytes) was downloaded from the sub-conference New FirstClass Software. At this stage only a trial install was carried out on our duplicate test system (we have a removable hard drive for C:). We printed out the instructions as suggested and the install went smoothly into the default location C:\oufc9851 and online operation worked immediately. We did the additional install of the OU splash but will not bother on the final install. The only problem we encountered was that FirstClass Personal would not run at all until we had copied across the Personal Post Office (ppo and subdirectories) which is not done automatically. Again we installed the OU splash but will not bother next time.

First impressions This section has been moved to the new The FirstClass Client and FirstClass Personal page.

10th July 1998 [0.5 hour]

Free Agent: Configured Free Agent available from Forté's Web site as our Offline Newsgroup reader so we could investigate the comp.lang.smalltalk newsgroup being discussed in the tutor conferences. Details have subsequently added to the Technical Howto Articles series as The Free Agent Offline Newsgroup Reader - Installation and configuration

8th July 1998 [0.5 hour]

Offline Glossary: Check of OU M206 Web Site Urgent Notices showed that there is an offline version of the Smalltalk Glossary now available to download as a self installing .exe which installs as an extra folder under c:\M206. Downloaded at circa 2.4 Kbytes/sec and installed. Other Urgent Notices checked - remember to refresh pages - and TMA 07 downloaded.

7th July 1998 [1.5 hour including .75 hour virus update and tests]

Backup of Libretto to main machine: First Class Personal files, My Teaching folder structure, Web site files and Outlook Email and address book etc files copied via Direct Cable Connection to the Dell.

Learning Works version 1.4: The new issue of the Learning Works with extra chapters loaded from the latest Software Issue 4 CD onto the Dell and via the Direct Cable Connection onto the Libretto. Checked that the extra Learning Book we craeted was still present and ran.

Grumbles Grommets: loaded from CD issue 4 along with Quicktime as it was not prent after rebuilding software on Dell. Not loaded on Libretto.

Virus Check update: Downloaded the latest McAfee virus data files from the CompuServe forum and updated on both machines. Full on-demand tests run on both machines and the test viruses found. See below for test virus details.

17th June 1998 [1 hour]

Backup of Libretto to main machine: First Class Personal files, My Teaching folder structure, Web site files and Outlook Email and address book etc files copied via Direct Cable Connection to the Dell.

Virus Check update: Downloaded the latest virus data files and updated on both machines. The McAfee site was slow to access and the OU TCP/IP link broke twice so they were downloaded from the CompuServe forum. (GO McAfee for those with CompuServe and they are in library 1 as are the latest evaluation copies (30 day life) of the software. Full on-demand tests run on both machines and the test viruses found. See below for test virus details.

Learning Book updates: Downloaded from OU web site and installed chapter 27 update.

16th May 1998 [1 hour load and quick look at Dolphin Smalltalk]

Dolphin Smalltalk: There is copy of Dolphin Smalltalk available on the cover disk of the June issue of PC Magazine. It is a full version of Smalltalk/98 from Object Arts with no time limits which is designed for proffesionals to produce commercial programs quickly, students at school and university and hobbyists wanting to build software at home. The only reservation is that it is only fron Windows 95 and NT. There are various add on packages available from the Object Arts Web Site to enhance the basic development system. At a quick look it seems to offer a way forwards which will allow real use to be made of the programming skills learnt in the course. It can be downloaded but for the £2.99 it is much easier to buy the magazine and save a 4.5 Mbyte download and registration processes. It is certainly much cheaper than buying smalltalk books and has a complimentary approach in it's built in 'education centre' - an HTML based training course in Smalltalk and the Dolphin development environment which can be separately downloaded (807 Kbytes). The full system occupies just under 15 Mbytes of disk space. We discover it's existence in one of the Tutor Conferences where it was mentioned by a professional who makes full use of Smalltalk in producing commercial applications. NB There is now a Full Report in our Howto Technical Articles

15th May 1998 [15 min]

Learning Work: The new issue of the Learning Works loaded from the latest CD onto the Dell and via the Direct Cable Connection onto the Libretto.

9th May 1998 [15 min]

Learning Book Update: Quick check through the OU Web site and download of update to learning book for chapter 19 to the desktop and install.

21st April 1998 [1 hour]

First Class Personal Files: Looked through a number of conferences and the notes on First Class Personal to see if there was any way of transfering the mailbox and downloaded conferences between the Main machine and the Libretto and also between disks on the main machine as we are now out of disk space. Eventually found that the directory structure c:\oufc98\ppo\... contains all the Personal server files and ppo stands for Personal Post Office. Copying this is enough to transfer the local desktop, mailbox and downloaded conferences. This directory should be backed up on occasion.

12th - 19th April 1998 [4 hours]

Real Experiences of Mobile Communications: The last week has been spent in the Lake District and was the first real test of the mobile system away from home. The holiday home we were sharing did not have a phone line available for a modem so it was the mobile phone - or would have been if there had been a signal! The closest signal area was several hundred meters up a single track road with a 25% gradient to just below the snow line. We were observed by a farmer crouched beside a wall one evening and when he saw us again at 0715 the following morning he immediately stopped and asked if we had been there all night - it already seemed like it as we had got up at 0600 to use the cheap rates.

What we learned: It is impossible to work online efficiently unless one is in reasonable surroundings and without frozen fingers. First Class Personal was clearly essential we succeeded in setting up one copy configured to just download the Mailbox without any manuals. The other server had to wait until our return home as a separate copy has to be installed into a separate directory. Only the simplest and most urgent replies could be sent until then. Having done enough to hold the fort until back home a few more problems in maintaining a proper audit trail showed up. It is possible to go online and mark incoming mail and conferences one has downloaded to the Libretto Portable "Unread" so they can be downloaded a second time to the home machine. It is not possible to mark mail one has sent online as unread or get a copy on line of mail one has written in Personal. The only way round we have found is to copy mail to oneself thereby giving an incoming mail entry one can use to keep the systems in step.

Solutions to the Energis Disconnection Problem: We were suffering very badly and the average connection time had fallen below two minutes meaning that no replies could be made online and only a single one each time by writing offline and pasting in. This was not amusing half way up a cold mountain before the charges went up at 0700. Even at home on a fast link replications could take several goes to get all the conferences down. We have now set up the systems to use the new 0845 number and ounet98 scripts which seems to have solved the problem - we certainly had a 15 minute replication without any break. We did not adopt the TCP/IP solution as we have started seeing some random disconnections with DUN access to the Internet so we were less than convinced that it would solve all the problems. TCP/IP also takes a lot longer to connect using up valuable telephone charges. The problem has cost a lot of money and time and with two machines and two servers we have 6 sets of interconnection scripts etc to change which all takes time and effort to validate.

10th April 1998 [0.5 hours]

A quick search for changes on the OU Web site and download of the TMA03 and the associated learning book. Learning Book installed on Matrix (the home machine) without problem, the TMA printed and the two downloads copied via floppy disk to Libretto and LB installed. Our link via Energis is very variable and problems have been reported. Subjectively it is fine if in use but drops when idle when accessing the Internet - I have never seen it drop if a download is in progress or a page being downloaded. FirstClass does not always complete replications.

1st April 1998 [0.5 hours]

The Browse Button - File Upload from Internet Explorer 3.02: There have been many comments in the conferences about the missing Browse button and it is not clear that Students and all Tutors are fully aware that a patch is needed to Internet Explorer 3.02 before uploading to the ETMA site. I thought that after yesterday it was time to find out the worst and try the patch. I had previously downloaded RFC1867.EXE and installed it. I now moved the ordinary house modem onto the Libretto and accessed the OU Tutor ETMA site, logged in and and checked that the Browse button appears on the ETMA return page showing the upload facility is installed.

Powerpoint ActiveX Animations problems with Netscape Navigator: Although not a OU software activity it is worth cross referencing to the Entry in "Diary of a Home Page" which covers a problem reported by another Tutor, namely that our back copies of presentations at Tutorials can not be accessed on line by recent versions of Netscape Navigator although they work fine with downloaded copies. There are no problems using the current version of Internet Explorer.

31st March 1998 [4 hours]


Word Viewer Warning: I downloaded the Word Viewer for Word 6 from the Tutor site as that is supposed to be the definitive test of files we send to Students. I expected it to be the latest version as the site had only just opened. Installing involved running the self extracting file into a new directory and running the wv.exe program which, in retrospect, did not feel right for a new Microsoft program. This installation gave serious problems as this turned out to be an early viewer which was not capable of detecting that Word was also loaded and took over the associations for the .doc and .dot files from Office 97. In other words if you double clicked a Word Document it no longer opened in Word and the Right Click menus were also changed. It is nearly impossible to reset all the associations for Word as they have too many options, menus etc set up. In the end Peter was forced to reload Office 97 from CD which reset the associations and some of the customisation he had carried out.

Having got everything working again we assumed the viewer would now work if you opened files internally or droped files onto it - it did but it also reset all the associations again, so once more Office 97 had to be reloaded from CD. Peter was close to balistic at this point. This program can not be used with Office 97 (or other programs which use .doc such as Word Perfect) and use of this Word Viewer 6 may lead to seriously damaging systems - if they have come with preloaded software if may not be possible to restore it. There are more recent versions of Word Viewers available I am sure which are compatible with the newer Office/Word systems (Microsoft have a reputation to keep up) - the one on the Software Disk is hopefully a newer version but I have not risked installing it - that will have to be on our spare hard drive with the development system.

Time spent on Software Installation and Validation: It seems appropriate at the end of a bad day to look at the time this is all taking. I have been back through the log and added approximate times for each day - the totals are probably correct to an hour or so. We would keep a log in any case but I have tried to deduct the time taken in "polishing" to the level that we are not ashamed to share - we hope you can tell the difference between the pre March and current level. Some will comment we are doing more than necessary but preparation always pays off in the long run and the 2 or 3 hours, seeking downloading and reading the Tutors and Students Guides and the couple of hours preparation and validation of proceedures, organisation of directories etc resulted in the trial ETMA run being completed with a "marked" uploaded TMA within 50 minutes of login and with less than 3 minutes total time on line. From now on the times will be entirely dominated by download and upload speed of the TMAs and of course the actual marking. I am really looking forwards to the start of the electronic marking - it is a key component of the course and, despite the considerable investment in time the first time through, it is regretable it could not have been introduced earlier. Rapid progress towards electronic teaching must also be a key objective if the OU is to become a credible player in the Global Marketplace.

27th March 1998 [2 hours]

Directory Structure: The OU software now has sufficient impact on the machines that we have had to extend our Directory (Folder) structure. The existing structure has been carefully designed to aid backing up of data and disaster recovery. At top level with Windows 95 one usually has Windows, My Documents and Program Files, and we follow the W95 convention, where possible, and install programs in the Program Files folder. We have added My Programs for sources etc of the installed software needed to rebuild the system, My Backups for other backup data and My Web Site for the "Image" of our web site. The 4 "My xxxx" folders contain all the data and programs needed to rebuild the system other than programs supplied on CDs. They are backed up to tape at least weekly. We also have two working directories _Download and _Workspace - the underline forces them to come at the start of the listings for quick access when online. The full rationale is more fully explained in our pages on Backup Philosophy and System Rebuilding.

My Teaching folder: The time has come to add another top level directory which can be "shared" between our two machines called My Teaching to cover the OU specific documents. OU program sources will still be held in My Programs and installed under Program Files, where possible, and the long term archives of ETMA Downloads and Returns will be held under My Backups.

Directory Structure for Electronic Marking: This will, initially anyway, follow the OU suggestions with in our case a level below My Teaching holding a _Download folder, a _Return folder and a set of Course Folders under which will be Individual Student folders named as per their usernames. The only addition will be a local _Workspace folder for temporary use.

Efficient Use of WinZip and the Folder Structure: WinZip is a very versatile program allowing a number of different ways to kill the same cat. We have found it easiest to work within a WinZip Window and drag, run or open files - I rarely extract files to a temporary or other folder. The ETMAs are delivered as Archives containing further Zipped Archives. Opening Windows Explorer and double clicking on a ETMA download in C:\My Teaching\_Download reveals several .zip files in the WinZip Window. Double clicking on the first opens another WinZip window showing the files from a single student ready to drag to his/her folder - by default it is a copy. That window can be closed and the next opened etc. This leaves no intermediate files and leaves the original Archive unchanged and ready for a copy to be made in the My Backups archive (or should one make the copy first?). When uploading a zip file can be created using the Right Click Menu New|WinZip File which is then opened by a double click and files are then dragged in from the marked files in the Students Folders. Again this leaving no intermediate files around to be tidied up. After sending and confirmation the outgoing archive can be copied or moved to C:\My Backups\OU ETMA Archive. This is all very intuitive and gives good visability - it is also much quicker to do than describe! [This is an hour or more writing up the proceedure we used by Peter]

26th March 1998 [8 hours]

  1. ETMA Marking Tools: Peter started the search for ways to satisfy the requirement to have Word 6 to run the Electronic TMA Marking Macro now we have upgraded from Office 95 to Office 97. The notes make interesting reading and his contribution on this of 2.5 hours is included above:

    • Could not find any backup tapes old enough to still have Office 95 on them but I did find some very old backup disks with Office 4.2 in the reuse pile. They had not been used as they had been marked as having errors (bad sectors) when checked by Scandisk (I always check the integrity important disks).
    • Changed Master (Boot) Hard Disk drive on Matrix to the one used for system development and trial rebuilds. This is way of testing described in Diary Part 4.
    • The test system was found to already have Word 97, Excel 97, Outlook 97 and Powerpoint 95 - ideal to test the impact of loading additional older software!
    • Loaded Office 4.2 from the disks keeping figures crossed that the unreadable sectors were not in files needed for Word 6. The minimum configuration was chosen for that reason.
    • Whenever the install program detected existing programs a different directory was chosen.
    • Fortunately none of the bad sectors were accessed and Word 6 loaded OK.
    • Word 97 and Word 6 appear to co-exist although I initially got error messages because I had run out of disk space. This was followed by one case of a registry error and missing DLL reported in Word 97. The error could not be reproduced once disk space had been freed up and the system rebooted but I have no way of checking if a DLL had been overwritten with an earlier version.
    • The atmt.dot template copied into the Word 6 template folder and the Marking tool run - OK.
    • The Office 4.2 Software was uninstalled once the tests over and the normal hard drive reconnected. The floppies were put back into the pile for reuse for undemanding applications - never buy cheap floppies .

    Conclusions: Although not very satisfactory the way forwards seems to be to load the legitimate copy of the Word 6 Software we expect to be provided by the OU onto Matrix into a separate folder from Office 97. Before loading, we will make a copy of all the DLLs in C:\Windows\System and then check to make sure that none are removed or overwritten when Word 6 loaded.

  2. File Upload from Internet Explorer 3.02: As I am not of a trusting nature I searched Microsoft Knowledge base to find out more about RFC1867.EXE which is described as an "Add on for Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.02 to allow file uploading". It seems to be an upgrade to match a new protocol 1867 for uploading files or to quote the Microsoft Internet Explorer Download Page you can now "Send files straight from your browser. HTTP File Upload lets you send files to server locations on the Internet or corporate intranet without ever leaving your browser. Corporate customers have asked for this feature so their site designers can create a document sharing and management solution based on an HTML form, using the browser as the sole interface to the network." This should allow proper upload of TMAs from Students and marked scripts from Tutors to the ETMA system using IE 3.02 like we are on the Libretto [another hour from Peter].

    Ran RFC1867.exe on the Libretto which ended stating it had installed the file uploading facility. Control Panel|Add/Remove programs does not list it and there seems to be no uninstall facility. No way of testing until it is time for an upload from the Libretto!

  3. Convertors for Microsoft Word: There is also a convertor (Wrd97cnv.exe) in the download area to allow Word 6 for Windows and Word 7 in Office 95 (which have the same basic file format) to open files in Word 8 (Office 97) format. The converter is also available in the ValuPack folder on the Word 97 and Office 97 CD-ROM if you want to save download time. There is a little more about it in the Microsoft Software Library at http://www.microsoft.com/word/freestuff/converters/wrd97cnv.htm For more information still, see the Wrd97cnv.doc file installed during Word 97 converter Setup. I installed and used the downloaded version before I got Office 97 without any visible problems [another hour of background support from Peter] .

  4. Word 97 output in Word 6 Format: Whilst discussing patches for various bits of Microsoft Software I should mention that the first versions only of Word 97 do not correctly output in Word 6 format - it is in fact RTF format. There is a patch which I used before getting Service Release 1 of Office 97 (look for a tiny SR-1 on the CD or Help|About Microsoft Word to find out what you have). It is available on the Microsoft Site - there is no simple URL but I have checked there is still a link at the bottom of http://www.microsoft.com/word/freestuff/converters/wrd97cnv.htm otherwise search for Wd6ex32.exe in the Microsoft Knowledge Base (Search on the Microsoft Home Page gets you there eventually!) [another contibution from Peter]

  5. Download of Test TMAs: This was started at 1801 to give maximum stress to the system at the start of cheap phone calls. The form was filled in before connecting and there was only one TMA to collect with a file size of 13K. We have the system configured to always use a top level folder _Download to save time. The download was too fast to time but I saw an acceptable 1.9 Kbytes/sec flash up. Total connect time shown at disconnect was 1 minute 32 seconds on the DUN connection panel.

  6. Return of Marked TMAs: This was started at 1850 following marking using the simple marking tool. Again details were entered on the form before connection. Browsing to the directory and marking the file was quick and the confirmation appeared after a significant pause - how much was uplifting and how much was processing could not be determined. Printing of the confirmation was initiated and an immediate disconnection resulted in total connect time of 1 minute 12 seconds recorded on the DUN connection panel.

25th March 1998 [1 Hour]

  1. Virus Checker Validation: Carried out test on McAfee virus checker using the EICAR test virus supplied by McAfee. This is a test virus which all Virus checkers recognise to allow non destructive testing.
  2. To make the test virus copy the following string via the clipboard (without extra returns) and save it as EICAR.txt

    It is probably best to get at the source of this file .htm rather than use the Browser - copying via Internet Explorer 4 gave me a space at the end which should not be present.

  3. The detailed tests we carried out were to:
    • Copy the code into a notepad .txt file and then rename to a .doc file. Zip the .doc file with WinZip to give EICAR.zip
    • Tests showed that the Virus Checker would not allow .doc file to be moved or opened by double click and Word could not open direct.
    • WinZip showed the contents of EICAR.Zip but one could not extract it or open it from within WinZip without virus being detected.
    • WinZip has a Virus Scan on the Actions Menu which ran McAfee and again found the virus.
    • On demand scan found the virus in the compressed and uncompressed forms when run with compressed files box ticked.
  4. Overall the Background checks seem adequate and On-demand scan will detect any Word macro viruses before the files are opened.
  5. McAfee scored as the best buy in Secure Computing magazine in its last set of annual tests, narrowly overtaking Dr Solomon's which is generally accepted to be the standard against which all other virus checker should be judged.

24th March 1998 [3 hours]

  1. Electronic TMA marking software: We started to set up the Electronic TMA marking software.
  2. The Tutors Guide was supposed to be available for download a week ago but was not in the download list - found that one got it by pressing the Help button which is something I rarely do so I had missed it! Students guide found more easily through the conferences. Between them there are over 60 pages to read and understand.
  3. Downloaded the Special Test Marking Tool for the tests due to be run on 25th March. It is a self extracting zip file which contains tmt.exe. Could find no documentation so eventually ran tmt.exe which provided a Window into which it stated one could drop .pt3 files.
  4. Marking Tool: Ran instmt.exe previously downloaded which installed a file tmt.exe into C:\Program Files\outmt and a template atmt.doc for Word which was copied into the appropriate templates folder c:\program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates in our case. This tmt.exe seems to identical to the one loaded above for the special test - it is the same size and created date to the last second. We must be missing something somewhere in the conferences!
  5. Template for Word 6: Tried to open the template within Word 97 but it gave errors in converting from the Word 6 macros to Word 97 which uses Visual Basic. The Tutor notes say that Word 6 should be used which will give many people a problem as Office 97 is the current version and provided on most new machines. We have given away our earlier version complete with license so have had to requested a reissue of Word 6 from OU. This is still a major concern as we have no idea what will happen if we try to load it at the same time as the new version. Maybe we can reload an old system from a backup tape onto our spare hard drive for the tests this week but that means going home rather than the true mobile test we hoped for.

22nd March 1998

  1. Log updated and tidied ready for conversion to an HTML file for Web site. New entries will be more detailed.

19th March 1998

  1. Downloaded files instmt.exe and rfc1687.exe for electronic marking and uploading from web - not installed but placed in C:\My Programs\Uninstalled and Reference Programs\OU Software\. Virus checks run.

17th March 1998

  1. Learning book for chapter 12 downloaded as an .exe file and installed by running from the _Download directory.
  2. Installed across parallel Direct cable Connection onto Libretto and checked.

14th March 1998

  1. New Software CD - Software 2 from OU.

    • New copy of learning book installed over the top of existing versions on Matrix and Libretto - OK.
    • Debugger tutorial installed – this just adds an Icon to run it from CD on Matrix (the Dell) whilst an Image of the CD had to be copied onto the Libretto which has no CD.
    • Stuffit Expander installed into directory under Program Files (use c:\progra~1\stuffit) as it is a Windows 3.1 program which does not support long file names. It changes the associations so Winzip came up with splash screen asking for associations to be restored which I did. Ended up with odd Explorer Windows from Stuffit Program Group on desktop every reboot and virus checker stopped running. Cleared out every reference and directory involved with Stuffit and system recovered. It was not installed onto the Libretto!

13th March 1998

  1. Object Shop loaded - it runs from CD on Dell.
  2. On Libretto it works using a CD Image in directory c:\shop OK but not if the Image is at a lower level.
  3. Libretto also needed to have QuickTime installed.

11th March 1998

Return from NZ. Downloaded updated McAfee Virus Scan engine 3.1.4 and data files via SecureCast and installed before any Internet or FirstClass access. Full virus scan run with settings to include compressed files - it detected the two test viruses in .txt and .zip files so machine OK for use.

16th December 1997

Course Map loaded for M206. Requested load of QuickTime, which was installed. Allowed search for earlier versions, which were not present. Test demo animation run and OK Free space has fallen by 6 Mbytes.

LearningWorks installed. Initial install used option of selecting directory, which was selected as C:\Program Files\M206. This did not work and Icon was not added to programme group and it would not run recording messages of missing items. Reinstalled with no further success into same directory. Check of Log file showed that it was only copying into directories below M206 so possible to clean up.

Reinstalled into C:\M206 as per default and then seems to work OK with Icon created on Desktop and link in Start Directory.

The entire C:\Program Files\M206 directories were then deleted. Still works OK.

14th December 1997

First Class was installed twice into two Directories to allow First Class personal to be run on both servers. The directories are C:\Oufc98 for Server 1 and C:\Oufc98-2 for Server 2. Together they occupy 10 Mbytes of space.

A folder is set up on the Desktop with shortcuts to the On and Off line versions of First Class on each server, the TCP/IP OU DUN connection (not currently required), the Help File and this Log File.

The connections are currently via Direct Modem Connection and the Modems Connections are configured to use the Reading Energis Number 9287447. This may have to be changed to the 0845 number at some point.

The TCP/IP Connection has also been configured, as per OU First Class handbook, and tested.

Dedicated OU Software log started with excerpts from main log covering OU specific software back to last complete software rebuild in August 1996.

27th November 1997

Installed Office 97 professional with custom install. Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and Excel installed. HTML extensions to Word and Powerpoint loaded.

25th November 1997

Microsoft Office 97 received to use for OU teach - bought on Microsoft Student license endorsed by OU.

21st November 1997

AWE64 fitted and software loaded. Loaded handlers from the AWE disk and the standard software suite. Provides sound for OU T206.

15th November 1997

FirstClass 98installed again so it is in two Directories to allow First Class Personal to be run on both servers. The directories are C:\Oufc98 for Server 1 and C:\Oufc98-2 for Server 2. Together they occupy 10 Mbytes of space.

25th October 1997

Latest version of OU FirstClass 98 software loaded and previous version uninstalled when new version fully tested.

25th September 1997

Downloaded and installed the Word 97 Converter. This modifies Word 7 to read the new Office 97 files which will be used by OU students for T206.

Friday 21th November 1996

OU First Class 97 downloaded from Conference area and installed. New password set for server 2.

Wednesday 28th August, 1996

Set up DUN for OU link for first time - DNS set to be supplied by server and no script file needed. Settings deduced from looking at setup files within a Trumpet Winsock for Windows 3.1 as OU documentation not available.

27th August 1996

Complete rebuild of system including First Class onto reformatted hard disk - a successful first test of the Disaster Recovery plan. See the various parts of Diary of a Home Page for more details.

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The views here are entirely our own and are not endorsed in any way by the Open University. What is written on these pages is our own experiences and is not intended to replace in any way the documentation supplied with any of the Open University software.

Copyright © Peter and Pauline Curtis
Content revised: 4 th August, 1999