Old hardware available as is (before disposal)

We have many (29) old monitors which are small and/or old (at least 10 years), 5 old printers and 2 boxes of 3.5″ floppy disks which we will be giving to the swap shop after the end of this week.

If you are interested in any of this then we can show you the hardware and you are invited to take some home.  This is “as is”…we don’t know if anything works, what resolution the monitors are, if toner cartridges are still available for the printers, etc.  We can only provide power cords and a video cable if you want a monitor.

Please email requests@math.toronto.edu if you would like to see any of this.

Server updates on 2018jan31 were successful

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

Updates at 4:15pm on Wednesday January 31, 2018

The departmental servers coxeter, sphere, and the mail, web, share, and ptr servers will have software updates applied on Wednesday afternoon, January 31, 2018 which will require rebooting (most servers will be unavailable starting at 4:15pm). Since some updates will be applied while the servers are still up there may be some temporary issues with some software. We hope that any such issues will be minor and by doing most of the upgrading before bringing systems down the shorter downtime will be worth the potential minor problems. Please restart any programs if you observe problems during the upgrades (and please let us know at requests@math.toronto.edu, so we can investigate). We expect the systems to be back up by 5:00pm.

Server updates on 2018jan05 were successful

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

Special server updates at 4:15pm on Friday, January 5, 2018

As you may have read recently two critical vulnerabilities in most modern processors have been announced. They are called Meltdown and Spectre. Meltdown only affects Intel processors and there is a patch for our systems that became available shortly after we restarted our systems after last night’s power outage. We will be applying the Meltdown patch tomorrow afternoon, hence an unusual Friday downtime is scheduled. It is unclear when Spectre will be fixed.

An update of coxeter and the mail, web, and public servers will be applied and they will be rebooted starting at approximately 4:15pm tomorrow Friday, January 5. We expect that the servers will be back up around 4:45pm if there are no unforeseen problems.

Bahen and 215 Huron Power Shutdowns starting at 7pm on January 3, 2018

A major electrical shutdown has been scheduled by the University.  Bahen  will have a complete power shutdown on:

Wednesday January 3, 2018 starting at 8:30pm and ending at 8:30am the next day

All the departmental systems (coxeter, sphere, mail, web, etc.) will be brought down starting at 7:00pm before the outage and brought back up the following morning.  We estimate that things should be back to normal by about 9:30am.

We will also have to shutdown the machines in 215 Huron since there will be several brief (less than 1 minute) power interruptions in that building during that time.

In the event that special circumstances arise then, if time permits, a notice will be posted here.

Very serious macOS bug in “High Sierra” has been fixed

Apple has released an update for the bug mentioned in the previous posting.

Please ensure that you have this update if you are running “High Sierra”.

Very serious macOS bug in “High Sierra”, version 10.13.0 or 10.13.1

There is a very serious macOS bug which you should fix immediately.



for step-by-step details.


Below is a message that was written for users in the Department of Cell & Systems Biology (thank you to Ryan MacDonald).

An extremely serious flaw in the latest version of Mac OS was publicized today. If you have a Mac running “High Sierra”, version 10.13.0 or 10.13.1, your computer is vulnerable. Please follow the steps below to protect your data.

“High Sierra” was released in September. Any new Mac purchased in the past two months has it. Previous versions of Mac OS, including “Sierra”, are not known to be affected. You can confirm which version you have by clicking the Apple menu / About This Mac.

Apple will certainly issue a patch in the next day or two, but until then we strongly recommend taking the following mitigating steps. This changes your machine’s root (master) password from blank to something you know. If you wish you can use the same as the password you use on your own account.


– Run the built-in Terminal app. It is in the Applications / Utilities folder, or search for Terminal using Spotlight.

– A terminal window will appear with a prompt, such as:
Somebody’s iMac:~ jonyappleseed$

– Into this window, type or paste:
sudo passwd root

– At the Password: prompt, enter your regular account password. No characters will be displayed as you type.

– Next you will be asked to enter a new password, and then to confirm it:
Changing password for root.
New password:
Retype new password:

– If this completes without error, you can close the Terminal program and relax. If it fails for any reason, repeat the steps. Note that the password you are creating won’t be needed to use the machine, it is only there to protect your computer from local and remote attack.

Over the next couple of days, check your computer’s App Store / Updates page for a proper fix from Apple.


Contact us if you have questions or need assistance with the steps above.


Office 365 Migration on Dec 6, 2017 at 5pm

The University is moving to a cloud-based Office 365 service due to the desire to decommission the UTORexchange and UTORmail email servers and to provide more modern communication and collaboration services.

This will not affect the departmental mail service (your email ending “@math.toronto.edu” or “@math.utoronto.ca“) which you can access with pine or Thunderbird (for example) or as always with a web browser at:


The current schedule is for the migration of people with UTORexchange accounts in our department to start at 5pm on Wednesday December 6, 2017 and finish by 9am the following morning.  UTORmail users will be migrated at a future date.

Once migrated, users should use:


to access their “@utoronto.ca” email via webmail.

Please see:


for general information about this move and what you should do before and after the migration (upgrading to Office 2016 if you have an earlier version will be the main task for most people).


has information about accessing your “@utoronto.ca” email after the migration.

There is documentation about using Office 365 at:



Bell Centrex system to be replaced by VoIP

The University is moving from the current Bell Centrex system for telephones to a new VoIP (Voice over IP; essentially using computer networks to replace telephone networks) system.  The change will provide enhanced communication features and significant cost savings.

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

Currently the Faculty of Arts and Science is in discussions about this changeover with the central people and the departments within the faculty.

More updates will be posted on this blog as the project progresses.