It’s all going to be a bit quiet between now and Christmas (Although the three lifts @mab_sheila, @mab_jane and @mht_marie have promised to keep you company), but I bring exciting news (as promised) about the big changeover date for network access in student accommodation.

On the 4th of January, how you log in to the University’s network from University accommodation will change.

OK, that’s a bit of a lie to get your attention. How you log in won’t change, it’ll only look a bit different. The mechanics of registering a new computer won’t change either (and as a Christmas present you’ll be able to register games consoles!). However, a bit in the middle will be changing significantly – you will be required to run a quick scan of your computer when it is connected to the network. This is completely non-invasive (we honestly don’t care about the contents of your files, or your internet history, or your music collection) and only checks for the presence of certain required things, such as anti-virus and anti-malware software, the latest service packs, critical updates and so on.

Most people will be familiar with the process of logging in, downloading the scan application and running it – nothing changes on that side. The changes are to what happens when you run the scan. It might take a few seconds longer than usual, because the scan is now checking your computer to make sure it meets the minimum requirements for being connected to our network. You will be required to have up to date anti-virus and anti-malware software and be running the latest version of your operating system.

We know that some people get a bit jumpy when we mention the word “scan”, so here’s a list of things the scan doesn’t do. It doesn’t look through your browser history to make sure you’re not looking at the more exotic of websites or your music folder to see if you’ve ‘borrowed’ music from your friends. It doesn’t check to see if you use Kazaa or BitTorrent (although copyright infringement is against the terms of use, please don’t do it). It doesn’t bother scanning your applications to make sure you’re not using hacked serial keys (see above comment on copyright infringement). It doesn’t install anything on your computer. It doesn’t change any settings on your computer (although it might make recommendations that you make the changes yourself), enable things, disable things or adjust things. It doesn’t even leave any configuration files or registry settings lying around. In short, it only does what it says on the tin.

Anybody with any comments on the changes are asked to let us know! The SU will take comments from you and pass them on to us, or alternatively you can email me at nijackson@lincoln.ac.uk and I’ll make sure your comments are heard (I’ll even make them anonymous if you want).