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Showing posts from July, 2013

Our Unidesk shared service

I'm pleased to see that UCISA's Executive Secretary has written a blog post about the Unidesk shared service for service management.  This was set up by the universities of Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Abertay, who were joined last year by Sheffield Hallam.  Unidesk currently provides facilities for incident reporting and handling (i.e. service calls), enhancement request, and for managing change & release.  The next development of the service will add a configuration management database.

I am impressed that Peter managed to write his blog post without once mentioning the ITIL framework for service management.  From our point of view, the entire aim of the Unidesk project was to provide a comprehensive service for the ITIL set of practices.  Peter is more interested in how the shared service was set up and managed.

Unidesk has been a great success for us.  It hasn't always been plain sailing behind the scenes, as you would expect with any complex IT installation.  Back a…

Artistic and computational thinking

On the rare occasions when we computer folk get to collaborate with artists, I'm always fascinated by the different ways we approach design.  I first noticed this back when I was working for the National e-Science Centre and an art project used our video conferencing system for a live performance project.   During the performance the video system started to glitch.  Instead of stopping and fixing the problem, the musicians and dancers started to incorporate the glitch into the work.  That was neat.

More recently, some of my colleagues have worked with artists on a couple of web applications.  These collaborations have exposed wide differences in the ways people think.  For one project, we did our usual approach of producing wire-frame outlines of the user interface, with the aim of letting sample users step through a draft design.  To our surprise, the users couldn't handle this sort of abstraction.   They needed to see a completed graphic design - to see the full picture in t…