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Digitalk: Where IT's at

MIT Mobile Web

Information Services and Technology (IS&T) has released a beta version of the MIT Mobile Web at The site is designed to provide mobile-device users in the MIT community with convenient, fast access to useful information. The beta version provides links to the MIT People Directory, Campus Map, Shuttle Schedule, Events Calendar, Stellar, Emergency Information and 3DOWN (Services Status).

Users can access this site from any cell phone with mobile-browsing capability (feature phones) or any mobile device with a web browser (smartphones, including Apple iPhone, Windows Mobile, Palm OS and BlackBerry devices).

In June, IS&T will officially launch the MIT Mobile Web service with offerings that will evolve and grow over time. Feedback is welcome; send your comments to

Support for

The IS&T Computing Help Desk now offers support for domain users and container administrators. The domain, a centrally managed Windows environment for the MIT campus, offers opportunities for greater efficiency and collaboration via a common set of services, data and tools. It is integrated with Kerberos, the Moira database and MIT's DNS namespace.

Users of the domain who have questions are encouraged to get in touch first with their container administrator. Help Desk staff will assist container administrators in resolving problems and, if needed, will determine the correct escalation path.

You can get in touch with the Computing Help Desk at 617-253-1101 or For links to documentation and stock answers, visit

Safeguards for SSNs

Last December, MIT launched a program to protect personally identifying information (PII) in response to concerns about identity theft. The initial focus of the program is to identify all the places at MIT where Social Security numbers (SSNs) have been collected or recorded--computer systems as well as paper files.

In parallel, the program is working to reduce MIT's risks by limiting the number of places where SSNs are collected, reducing the number of people with access to SSNs and ensuring that SSNs needed for business purposes are effectively protected.

Since the data-collection effort encompasses the whole campus, members of the PII Team are available to talk with groups or individuals about different protection methods, from using cross-cut shredders to replacing SSNs with MIT ID numbers on forms.

The PII Team is interested in hearing from community members. If you encounter SSNs, especially in unexpected places, or want to request a presentation, contact the team at To learn more about MIT initiatives to protect sensitive information, visit

Athena turns 25

MIT's Project Athena--the springboard for today's campuswide Athena computing environment--had its start 25 years ago this month. Back in 1983, one of the project's key goals was to integrate the graphical and computational power of workstations into the teaching of MIT courses. Although this was not fully achieved, Project Athena's cross-platform, distributed-network environment helped define a new computing paradigm adopted around the world. The project marked a major milestone when it successfully linked 1,000 computers across campus and Athena's Kerberos authentication software and the MIT X Window System have since become international standards.

DEC and IBM provided significant funding and staffing for the original $100 million project. In 1991, Athena's service-delivery functions were transferred to what was then Information Systems, now IS&T. Today, Athena and its services and software are used for academic computing and research. In addition to private Athena workstations, public Athena clusters and Quickstations dot the campus. The current Athena release (9.4) is fully supported for Sun Solaris 10 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.

To find out more about Athena, visit

Digitalk is compiled by Information Services and Technology.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 14, 2008 (download PDF).

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