As the chief information officer at ACU, I am writing to respond to Ricky Cadden’s letter to the editor. Ricky stated that Information Technology at ACU had “taken it upon itself to ‘play’ with ports for AOL’s Instant Messenger, rendering the service next to useless for students on campus.”
This is exactly opposite of the truth. Information Technology takes steps daily to improve, not limit, instant messaging performance and the performance of the entire network. There is no reason to block instant messaging because it only uses a small portion of ACU’s Internet capacity.
Instant Messenger has performed poorly for one reason: a huge percentage of ACU’s total Internet capacity is being consumed by peer-to-peer file sharing programs like KaZaA, Gnutella, IMesh, Morpheus and others. This leaves little room for other uses.
These programs give away our Internet capacity to people with no relation to ACU, because they allow outsiders to use ACU student’s computers as file servers. If you have ever installed or run one of these programs you may be inadvertently operating a server.
The Internet at ACU is a shared community resource and access speeds will improve if users will limit their usage of peer to peer file sharing programs. This week we are issuing guidelines to ACU employees in an effort to limit employee usage, and here are three suggestions for all users which may bring improvement.
1) Turn off your computer when you are not using it.
2) Uninstall any peer-to-peer file sharing programs.
3) If you choose to run these programs, be sure you know how to disable file sharing.
We consistently seek student input on this issue, but I agree with Ricky that the campus would benefit from a broader student dialogue. I will ask Jeremy Smith to consider appointing a diverse group of student representatives to act as a focus group to provide feedback about Internet usage at ACU. We would also welcome a student technology advisory committee. If we all work together, we can begin to improve our Internet access.
-Dr. K.B. Massingill
Chief Information Officer for ACU and director of the Adams Center for Teaching Excellence