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The FE Blog
News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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March, 2009

  • FE blog

    Education Live Meeting: Secure Application Access with IAG 2007 for Further and Higher Education


    Tuesday 24th March 2009, 15:00 - 16:00


    This session will be presented by Microsoft, Oxford Computer Group and Alistair Sandford from the University of the West of England and will explain how education providers can:

    • Manage secure access to applications from within the firewall or for remote access
    • Support internal, remote and external users with improved security, an enhanced user experience and simplified management
    • Protect applications and provide the following; end point security, single sign-on, access policies and control, data cleaning, integrated application firewall and granular access control


    • Introductions from presenters
    • IAG Solution Overview and Demonstration
    • Customer case study review of the solution by Alistair Sandford from the University of the West of England
    • Q & A

    Event presenters

    Dominic Watts (Microsoft), Darren Bonehill (OCG) and Alistair Sandford (UWE)


    Registration is quick and easy, please use the following link to confirm your attendance and you will receive an Outlook calendar entry with full details:


    About Oxford Computer Group

    Oxford Computer Group (OCG) is a Microsoft Gold Partner and Partner Of The Year Winner (2008) that specialises in identity and access (IDA) management. OCG has an enviable repository of expertise, solution components and training courses from 300+ identity and access deployments and from training 3,000+ people on Microsoft IDA technologies. Education customers include King's College London, the University of Reading, Royal Holloway University of London, University of the West of England and many more.

  • FE blog

    Blogging over free breakfast


    The best public sector IT blogsLast year I was surprised and pleased to learn that I’d somehow made it to become the Computer Weekly 2008 Public Sector blogger of the year (for my Schools blog). And it led to me running a few internal training sessions for Microsoft people, talking about blogging and offering advice for people who are considering starting blogging, or had made some first tentative steps.

    A colleague suggested that I should offer the same session to other people – so here’s the invitation!

    On 15th April, I’m going to run a “Blogging over Breakfast” session at our offices in central London, for unexperienced or less experienced bloggers – if you’ve always itched to tell your story, then this may be for you. It’s not going to be about the technology of blogging, but will focus on generic advice on blogging in the UK Public Sector. I’ll cover a bunch of things from the basics of sitting down to write, to information on the Civil Service code on blogging.

    I’m hoping that we can make the session quite interactive, and limit to a maximum of 14 people. It will be suitable for you if you want to:

    I’ve scheduled it during the Easter holidays, as I think that the kind of people who might find this useful wouldn’t be able to get out of college during term time. It’ll be a small group – and I’ll allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis.

    The details: 15th April, 8:30-10:30 at the Microsoft offices at 100 Victoria Street, London

    If you’d like to come along, then drop me an email.

    If I’ve got it wrong, and you could only make it during term-time, then flame me with an email, and if I get enough requests, I’ll add another date.

    I’ll buy the coffees and the breakfast – you just bring your ideas to contribute to the conversation

  • FE blog

    From Hansard – Thin Client doesn’t equal energy efficient


    I like “They Work for You”, a website which tracks things which go on in Parliament. I use the RSS feeds of education ministers to keep an eye on news I’ve missed (such as new statistics published, or progress on big programmes), and I’ve also used it personally to contact my local MP about an approaching vote on publishing MPs expenses. It has to be said, a lot of what is published is quite dull, but every now and again there’s a nugget.

    Like last Monday, when Jane Kennedy (who is Minister of State for Farming and the Environment at DEFRA) was asked in a written question “What steps the Department is taking to encourage (a) thin computing and (b) environmentally-friendly computing practices in the public sector.”

    And the answer is:

    “DEFRA carefully considered the promotion of 'thin' clients, which are centrally managed computers with most of the function of the system located in a central server room. However, evidence to date has shown that the increased electricity consumption of these server rooms (e.g. through the air conditioning needed to cool the room) renders this technology less attractive than previously thought from an energy efficiency perspective.

    The Government's "Greening ICT Strategy" published last year sets out a strategy for reducing the environmental impact of Government's computer systems. One of their main aims is to make the energy consumption of our ICT systems carbon neutral by 2012. We also mandated a set of minimum environmental standards for commonly-purchased products, including ICT.”

    Read it yourself here. Just in case DEFRA is new to you, the “E” stands for “Environment”, so they’ve definitely got credentials!

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