iSolutions (ISS, Central IT)
Have I been working over Christmas? Yes, but I’m actually quite enjoying it and it will only do me good in the long term.
I’ve been getting Flash to communicate with Flash Media Server 2 over the break and it’s not short work.
I’m very new to the server side coding of ActionScript. I’m armed with ‘Programming Flash Communications Server’, a very good O’Reilly book that is about 2 years out of date and Google. Shame there aren’t that many people who do this sort of thing so there is not much information.
The main thing I’m trying to do is security. Our system will have 3 levels of security – Internal only, passworded, none. None is easy as anyone can use the thing, internal and passworded are harder.
Flash can do a lot of checking of things, it can check to see if it is on the University network and whether you are logged into a site, the trouble is that anything tested on the client pc can be faked; so I need to get Flash to do the hard work and then get the server to check that the information is right. I think I’m on my way there now, but seeing as I’m on my 92nd version of the server application I should be.
I’ve managed to get Flash to check a PHP page and create a code that proves that they are internal and that they are allowed to view the video. Flash sends the time and key to the server, who then tries to create the same key with the same time stamp. If both the codes are the same then the server allows the video to stream.
The big plus side of using PHP is that we can get program information to appear inside the video, as apparently we have to show the title, broadcaster and date of broadcast with every video we send. We originally thought that academics would have to edit this into their video themselves so pulling it automatically would be a great way of making life easier.
It’s all hard to explain without a) going too technical b) going too simple or c) telling you how I made it so you can reverse my processes. But it is looking good.
Seriously, how does anyone get any work done when this program has about a 33% chance of crashing every time you preview or publish a movie. This never happens on Vista or XP (well it does, but once a day rather than 3 times an hour).
On the flip side we set up a new Vista laptop yesterday. It got a virus by the time we had downloaded Avast and done the Windows updates. Typical.
I’ve un-password protected the posts that implied that I was on holiday. Now the sun is shining I’m back, typical.
Tomorrow I’ll be back at work as part of the central IT department. It’s all official as my boss has put it out
As many of you will be aware the School has been working closely with ISS over the past eighteen months with the intention of them taking responsibility for much of the schools ICT infrastructure and technical support.
This is part of a wider university initiative which will enable Schools to benefit from certain economies of scale and have more direct access to a large pool of expertise available in ISS.
As part of this initiative the technical support team, Graham Robinson, Paul Sugarman and Graham Cronin officially become members of the ISS team as from tomorrow, 1st August. They will continue to be based at the Avenue campus providing the excellent first line support they have always provided.
Mark Angers from ISS will be overseeing the transition process in the coming months and will be pleased to answer any questions you may have. He can be contacted at [Snip] @soton.ac.uk or tel: [snip]
From 1st August if you require technical assistance we would encourage you to phone serviceline on [snip] or e-mail them at
[snip] @soton.ac.uk. Of course you can always find the team in room 2161 (upper level 2) in emergencies, if it is quicker to call in person or you wish to discuss a technical matter.