Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Weird Sun Media - York U Internet Problem (Update 2)

Are you at York University right now? Quick, try to connect to,,,, and

Add a comment below (or email if you don't want it to be public) with the following info:
  1. What do you see?
  2. What's your computer, operating system, and browser?
  3. What's your IP address? (fastest way to find it: use Google)
I'll update when I find out more.

Update Dec. 3: The outage is fixed! I got a call from Sun Media's Director of Networks, Telecom, and Information Security. He asked me to send some technical details, and their tech team seems to have solved the problem. It's not clear what happened, but the director mentioned that it might have been in response to hacking attempts, as I suspected. (Meanwhile, the only response I got from York's UIT was to close my support ticket without explanation.)

Update Dec. 1: The outage is real. I can't reach the Sun papers from either of the computers in my office (in the subnet), nor can I reach them when I connect to AirYork. The outage has lasted several days at least. However, the outage is not universal to Sun Media sites (listed here). Only the above five sites are affected.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

If I were Dean of Graduate Studies: Rethinking the PhD

With the departure of Douglas Peers to Waterloo, York University is now looking for a new Dean of Graduate Studies. So let's say I put my resume in, and let's also say all the other candidates got struck by lightning. What would I do if I were Dean?

I've sat on the graduate faculty council, so I'm well aware that the nuts and bolts of graduate administration is mundane; even the controversies are kind of boring. But as your new Dean of Graduate Studies, I would address an issue that I don't see discussed very much: what should a graduate faculty be teaching?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

UPDATED: Big news for York Engineering

UPDATE Nov. 2: York science librarian John Dupuis livetweeted the event (and collected a summary of tweets here). From John's blog:
I did a ton of live tweeting of the announcement, some of which is here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. The most significant new information revolves around naming the new engineering school The Lassonde School of Engineering. As well, what is now the Computer Science and Engineering Building will be known as the Lassonde Building.
Original post follows.

Canadian entrepreneur Pierre Lassonde is donating $25 million to expand engineering programs at York University. The donation will be matched by the university, and combined with the earlier announcement of $50 million for a new engineering building, that makes a total of $100 million for engineering expansion at York. We've been told that Lassonde's contribution is the largest single private donation in university history.

The official announcement will happen today at 1 PM, but in the meanwhile you can read more about the donation in this Globe and Mail story.

With the donation, the university's goal is to move away from the "niche" engineering programs currently in the program, and become a full-fledged "traditional" engineering school. You can expect York to add traditional engineering disciplines like civil, mechanical, and chemical over the next few years.

However, it's electrical engineering that will take the lead in expansion. I am chairing the committee that will write the EE proposal, and we're operating under the assumption that the first students will be admitted in 2013.  I'll try to blog more about our progress as things develop.

For now, it's definitely an exciting time to be at York.