Hands-on with the Surface Studio

This week UNSW IT held some hands-on demonstration sessions with Microsoft’s new Surface Studio. The Surface Studio is a 28inch all-in-one desktop, with an incredible resolution and touch screen. It also supports the Surface Pen, and a new way of interacting with the computer, called the Dial.


UNSW IT invited stakeholders from across the faculties of Engineering, The Built Environment, Arts, and divisions to come along and test the Surface, using some of the apps they use most. We installed Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Solidworks, Autodesk software, and other high end programs to see how the new Surface Studio fared.

Krisjoe Fuertes of the Faculty of Arts summed up the initial impressions of all who came to demo the Surface Studio. “It’s a beautiful looking machine and won’t have any trouble in creating that desire of want in anyone’s heart. I’ve said this to my colleagues before, the Surface Studio design is what the new Macs should’ve been, just continuing to accentuate and improve on the minimalist design.”

Graham Hannah, IT manager of The Built Environment and Law was also impressed. “Straight away it is a pretty glorious experience, particularly for creative work of certain kinds – I would love to draw on it all day.”

  “the surface studio design is what the new macs should’ve been”

Stephen Leonard of Engineering was also excited by the potential. “Engineering schools do a wide range of highly specialised design work in our research and teaching – such as electrical circuits, buildings and waterways, and mechanical systems like engines and drivetrains. This particular system makes it a lot easier to build and prototype 3D systems in the kinds of tools we use than keyboard/mouse interfaces; the high resolution flexible multi-touch interfaces look like they have a genuine and practical application to the way we work, and we’ll now take steps to have a closer look at this kind of technology.”

 

Fuertes had some reservations though. “For me, as a 2d digital artist, I found the pen sensitivity to be a little lacking, I think coming from a Wacom intuos pro where sensitivity levels are at 2048+ of pressure sensitivity vs the surface’s 1024, I found it a little difficult to create the faintest of lines. I don’t think it’s a huge problem since a lot of 2d digital artists in the past have created great works with only 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, however because of its price tag one would expect it to have higher sensitivity. It would be great to trial it on projects for example editing 4k video content or running multiple virtual instruments with multiple tracks for audio projects just to see how it fares.”

Hannah acknowledged there was not much support yet for the Dial and Pen on some of the applications he tested, such as Solidworks, but was optimistic we’ll begin to see new software developed for multi-input interfaces. “As our software starts to explore new ways of working with tech like this we will get a much better insight into what the surface experience can be. Basically, all of our apps have been designed for a mouse and keyboard and it will be fun to see where we go from here with touch, pen, dial and more at our disposal.”

Office 365 has been enabled on all Staff and Student accounts

Overnight, Office 365 was enabled on all staff and student accounts at UNSW.

UNSW IT are consulting with faculty managers and key stakeholders from divisions to determine the best timeline to upgrade software on SOE Mac and PCs, with Law and FBE rolling out the new software this week. We’ll be rolling out the latest desktop software to you soon, so please keep an eye on your inbox to find out when you’ll be upgraded.

While you wait for your area to be upgraded, you can take advantage of some of the new features of Office today. Office 365 allows you to install Office on up to 5 personal computers, and 5 mobile devices, per user. And you can use Word, Excel and Powerpoint in a browser right now, to collaborate on documents with your team.

If you’d like to know more, visit the UNSW Office 365 website. And subscribe to this blog, we’ll be sharing tips about Office 365 over the next few weeks.

Library VPN: A new tool to power research for UNSW Staff and Students

Library VPN was set up so UNSW staff and students could access library material that, due to copyright reasons, can only be accessed from UNSW’s network. Connecting to Library VPN, you can access UNSW Library resources and websites as if you were physically located on campus.

Connecting to Library VPN opens you up to a world of information and research, wherever you are. Complete your research through online eJournals, and access to hundreds of databases, from Access Engineering through to Zoological Record.

Browse through thousands of documentaries, television shows and movies available to stream. Listen to huge catalogue of music, complete with composer and artist biographies, notes and sheet music, to expand your understanding of the arts.

And as the first “full traffic” VPN offered by UNSW, you can use Library VPN overseas to browse the web like you were still in Australia. That means you can continue to use Google’s services in China, continue to use social media in Egypt to connect to your team back home, or to simply watch ABC’s iView to stay informed on events back in Australia while overseas.

To connect your devices to the Library VPN, use the following guides:

 

You should note that when connected to the Library VPN, all internet traffic will be sent through the VPN. This can, in some cases, impact the speed of your internet connection. All traffic will also be logged by UNSW, just as the traffic on UniWide is logged.

Office 365 at UNSW – Your Data Stays in Australia

One of the most asked questions about Office 365 and OneDrive cloud storage here at UNSW, from professional staff, students and academics, is where exactly will the data be stored?

It’s a fair question. Data sovereignty is a major concern for many academics, as some research grants will require all research data to stay in Australia. Storing research in”the cloud” can make this difficult, as it’s often hard to tell where exactly the servers that make up a cloud offering are based, and many providers will mirror your data across multiple servers in multiple countries.

Well, the good news is all data stored in Office 365 and OneDrive accounts linked to a UNSW account will be stored right here, in Australia. Late last year, Microsoft moved all data from UNSW customers from servers in Singapore to servers here in Australia, ahead of the university wide roll out of Office 365.

When Office 365 is turned on on your account, you’ll be able to store any important data you need in your OneDrive account. UNSW staff and students will receive one terabyte of storage, enough for roughly 85 million word documents. And because that data lives in the cloud, you’ll be able to access it from anywhere, including your home or mobile devices.

Microsoft has over twenty years experience storing and securing data for enterprise and government customers. We chose Office 365 as our cloud solution at UNSW due to Microsoft’s commitment to privacy, security and data sovereignty.

Recognition Program LaunchPad Session

We’re creating a new recognition program at UNSW IT to celebrate individuals and teams doing great work. To start, we’ve organised LaunchPad sessions with people from all areas of IT to understand how the recognition program should take shape. The first session was a great success, and from that the team pulled apart three areas to focus on; Having a Go, Showing Passion, and Focus on Outcomes. Below are some of the ideas generated in that LaunchPad session. Continue reading

VR and AR Research at UNSW

LiteRoom - 1 of 11 (7)
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality research is in full swing at UNSW Australia. The latest technologies are being used by teaching staff and researchers from facilities as diverse as Art and Design, the Built Environment, Engineering and Medicine. Facilitating this is the LITEroom, a dedicated space for UNSW to showcase new educational technologies, allowing staff hands-on access to new products and equipment that have the potential to make a positive contribution to learning and teaching practices.

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Podcasts at UNSW Australia

Podcasts are radio shows you pick and choose from the internet, to create a radio station that’s tuned just to your interests. No subject is too niche, as long as the hosts are passionate and engaging. We’ve discovered some fascinating shows being produced on campus and spoke to the producers to find out what is involved in producing a show, and how you can get your own podcast started.  Continue reading

Introducing The IT LaunchPad- Where we are changing the way we work

In IT we are excited and energised by the 2025 Strategy.

We believe UNSW IT is in a great position to support the University in its commitment to transform lives through excellence, to become something different to what we are today and to support our customers through the same journey.

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Lynda Courses Experiencing Rapid Growth

Have you taken advantage of the thousands of free online courses available to UNSW staff and students at Lynda.com?

7415 UNSW staff and students have signed up for their free Lynda.com accounts. Together we’ve watched 306801 videos, for a total of 21152 hours of videos viewed. Lynda doesn’t just provide videos, they offer short courses with exams and accreditation, and so far 3324 of these courses have been completed. 

It’s just another way we’re providing support and education to staff and students at UNSW Australia.

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