Short network outage for some rooms on Wednesday 2019mar20 from 4:15-5:00pm

On Wednesday March 20 during the server upgrade time from 4:15-5:00pm we will be testing one of the new switches that we will be installing for VoIP.  People in the following rooms will be affected:

BA6102  BA6103  BA6104  BA6106  BA6107  BA6108  BA6110  BA6112  BA6114  BA6116  BA6118

This will be a short test and we expect that computers in those offices will not be without network connections for more than 15 minutes.

Networking Hardware Update for VoIP

We will be updating our networking hardware in the near future so that our department can more easily join the new VoIP telecommunications system that UofT has selected. We have to change many network switches and there will be two-hour windows when network connections for some people will stop working. Occassionally there will be short (less than 10 minutes) network outages for whole networks.

Information about the schedule for these outages will be posted on this blog.

For more information about the UofT VoIP project please see:

New (simplified) AV system in BA6183

[There is a summary of how to use our new AV setup at the bottom of this post.]

As many people noticed the matrix switcher for the AV system in BA6183 was failing at the end of last year so just before the break we replaced it and simplified the configuration in that room.  Now there are only two choices for inputs, the built-in computer or a laptop connected on the white panel above the touchscreen.  By default the computer will be displayed, but if a laptop is connected then that will take precedence and the system will automatically switch to displaying that (assuming that the laptop is set to display to its video port).  The laptop can be connected via HDMI (the recommended connection) or VGA (for very old systems).  After disconnecting a laptop the system will automatically switch to displaying the computer again.

We have adapters to change to HDMI from USB-C (untested) or Mini DisplayPort or DVI-D, and an HDMI and a DVI-D cable and a Wireless Presenter with Laser Pointer if needed in the green basket available from the front desk.  As always we strongly recommend that you test that things work as expected at least 24 hours in advance of using the equipment in BA6183.  Changing hardware and software sometimes causes incompatibilities between a laptop and our system.  Using the computer with a USB flash drive usually works with fewer issues.  A VGA cable should be available on the podium.

The USB connectors to the computer (in case you bring just a USB flash drive) are now loose and are labelled and have green tape on them.

You still need to use the touchscreen to activate the screens and projectors.


  1. It is no longer possible to use an extended desktop on the projected screens; whenever two screens are displayed they will be duplicates.
  2. The audio system was not reconnected.  We are looking into getting that functionality back.
  3. Only the computer and laptop inputs work now since the new switcher is much simpler and smaller.
  4. The image aspect ratio is only 4:3 (since our projectors are quite old and that is the aspect ratio of our screens) and the resolution is fixed to prevent interoperability issues with video renegotiation.
  5. HDCP had to be disabled since our hardware is too old which means that HDCP-enabled digital content (much high definition content is protected this way) cannot be displayed.


  1. Log in on the touchscreen to activate the system (the code is available from the front desk).
  2. Choose Computer or Laptop (it does not matter which since a laptop will always have priority over the computer).  If you need the account/password information for the computer please ask at the front desk.
  3. Select whether you wish to display on either the Left or Right (as viewed from the audience) or Both screens.
  4. If you do not connect a laptop the computer desktop will be displayed.  You can use the loose USB ports that have green tape on them if using the computer.
  5. If you connect a laptop its display will take precedence and the laptop screen may adjust its resolution and aspect ratio to that of the projectors.

Bell Centrex system to be replaced by VoIP – Update about 5-digit dialing

As was mentioned in an earlier post the University is moving away from the Bell Canada Centrex system to a BroadConnect Telecom VoIP system.  Many departments have already moved over and our department will be piloting this system very soon in preparation to moving everyone over in the new year.

One consequence of the presence of two different systems on campus is that those of us still on the Centrex system have to use 9 plus the full 10 digit telephone number to call anyone who has already moved to the VoIP system (for example, people in Engineering or Computer Science).  The usual 5-digit dialing still works between two Centrex users (or between two VoIP system users).

The main University website for this changeover is VoIP at U of T.

Latest stable version (R2018a) of matlab has been installed on sphere

The latest version (R2018a) of matlab has been installed on sphere.  We have the following toolboxes: Simulink, Bioinformatics, Control, Curve_Fitting, Signal_Blocks, Data_Acq, Image, Instr_Control, Optimization, Distrib_Computing, Signal, SimMechanics, Simscape, Simulink_Control_Design, Stateflow, Statistics, Symbolic, Econometrics, Financial, and PDE.  The Econometrics and Financial toolboxes are older and node-locked to sphere, and there are only six licenses for the PDE toolbox so please do not keep that toolbox checked out if not necessary.

UofT moving to Quercus/Canvas from Portal/Blackboard

The University has decided to move from the Portal using Blackboard to a new teaching and learning environment called Quercus which uses the Canvas learning management system (LMS) for managing courses.

Portal/Blackboard is going away on August 31, 2018.  Please see:

Local Quercus/Canvas Information Webpage

for more information about backing up your old Blackboard courses and for links to the University resources for the new Quercus/Canvas system.


Server updates on 2018jun27 were successful

The departmental servers appear to be working fine after the updates this afternoon.

UTORmail migration update

The UTORmail migration to UTmail+ is tentatively scheduled to start at 5pm on Wednesday July 4, 2018.  The migration should be finished by 9am on Thursday morning.  UTORmail users will not be able to access that system during the migration time.

If you have been forwarding your UTORmail ( email) to your departmental email ( or then that will be automatically preserved when the UTORmail system is replaced by an Office 365 email system (called UTmail+ at UofT).

You can check if you are forwarding your UTORmail by going to

If you have been using another email system (such as Gmail or Mac Mail) to access your UTORmail account (via IMAP) then that will no longer work after the migration.  You can see for an example of configuring IMAP access to UTmail+ if you still wish to do that.

Departmental webserver, www, update today at 2pm

The departmental webserver, www, will be updated today, Monday June 4, 2018 at 2pm. This should take at most a half-hour and during the upgrade time the main departmental website will be unavailable at times.

UTORmail to Office 365 Migration

The last phase of the University’s migration to Office 365 (locally called UTmail+), moving the old UTORmail accounts prior to the decommissioning of that service, will take place soon.  An email has been sent to the list of UTORmail accounts of people in our department that was sent to us.  You do not have to do anything about this and it does not affect your departmental email.

Here is the information that was send earlier about the migration:

Office 365 Migration on Dec 6, 2017 at 5pm