It was good to see everyone at the LGfL Conference 2013 and have an opportunity to meet and answer your questions regarding the services already in use and those yet to come. If you didn’t get a chance to speak with us then do drop us an email at email@example.com – it was a very busy day and we tried our best to speak to as many people as possible. It was nice to see some familiar faces!
The Atomwide stand ran a competition to win one of three prizes:
1st prize – A year’s free subscription to the School Shop (cashless payment system) – worth £500
2nd prize – A year’s free subscription to USO-AutoText with 1000 texts – worth up to £300
3rd prize – A year’s free subscription to Fax Service (online faxing) – worth £200
We had nearly 100 entries and are delighted to announce the winners:
1st place – Anglica School Partnership – Bexley
2nd place – Sellincourt Primary School – Wandsworth
3rd place – Blessed Sacrament Catholic School – Islington
If you didn’t win this time, do keep an eye out on our blog posts and Twitter for more competitions in the coming months.
If you would like any further details on the competition prizes or any of the products and services discussed on the day, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Congratulations again to our lucky winners!
myUSO is a password-protected bookmark service for all USO-enabled schools, giving school staff the ability to pre-configure a set of managed links to Internet and Intranet-based services for their users.
By creating a publishable ‘Home page’ from which staff and pupils can easily access all USO authenticated services, plus any additional web-based services linked alongside, myUSO presents a simple, convenient and organised route to online resources for schools.
myUSO can be configured by staff for use by any person in their school that has a USO account. Staff can create tabs within the website which contain links relevant to all users, staff-only, or specified year groups or classes, and make each tab visible accordingly.
All users except young children using a special ‘Early Years’ log in can sort, search and filter the links available to them through an intuitive control which also defines how the information about each link is viewed.
Additionally, all users can easily create a set of personal bookmarks with just a simple ‘drag & drop’ structure enabling links to be organised into folders.
An unlimited number of links can be placed within each tab, and the collection of bookmarks presented to pupils and staff can be as limited, or as comprehensive, as the school wishes.
myUSO is a free service available to any USO-enabled school, and can be accessed via http://my.uso.im/ using any student or staff USO account.
Full details about the service are available here.
Atomwide is pleased to announce that it has added the LapSafe range of security and charging products for laptops, netbooks and tablets to its growing catalogue of services for schools. The LapSafe products available from Atomwide will help your school support the implementation of any type of mobile computer solution and manage:
The complete range of LapSafe products is available at extremely competitive prices through Atomwide. You can find the whole range by visiting the Atomwide online shop and for further information please contact email@example.com.
Atomwide is holding a number of prize draws through 2013 where a USO-enabled school can win a year’s subscription to the AutoText service and 2000 text messages.
To be able to enter simply follow Atomwide on Twitter by going to http://twitter.com/atomwide.
Schools can increase their chances of winning by having multiple members of staff enter the competition. The only requirement is that anyone wishing to enter the prize draw on your school’s behalf must have a functioning USO account and be following Atomwide on Twitter.
Everyone following us on Twitter will receive a tweet containing information on how to enter the AutoText prize draw. To enter, simply log in to the Atomwide survey website using the link that will be provided and answer three simple questions.
The survey site will be live for 48 hours from the time of the tweet after which a winner will be selected from the completed submissions. The winner will receive a year’s subscription to AutoText and 2000 text messages for their school. If the winner’s school already subscribes to AutoText then 3000 free text messages will be added to the school’s AutoText account instead.
Atomwide will be running multiple competitions in the coming months so if you don’t win at first keep watching!
Using Google search will often take users (unknowingly) to the HTTPS version of their search engine. This changes the search experience as the data and content become encrypted, making it hard to filter against content or key words using filter systems such as WebScreen 2 and prevents the Google Safe Search function from being enforced.
If you wish to disable Google searches from taking place in an HTTPS environment so that filtering rules can be enforced along with Safe Search, you can do so by using the DNS servers in the core of the LGfL Network. These have been configured to ensure that any request for https://www.google.ee is redirected to a non-HTTPS version of the Google site in the locale requested. This means that for example if a user trys to surf to https://www.google.ee/ they will always end up at http://www.google.ee/
This DNS redirection does NOT affect other Google systems such as Gmail, to which secure access is still available.
In the LGfL 2.0 network, the LGfL core DNS servers located at 172.30.178.53 and 172.30.178.54 can be used to perform this redirect for Google, in other broadband networks use your core DNS servers.
If you do not wish to make use of this service and wish to run your own local DNS then you can point them at root DNS servers on the internet which are NOT blocked on your network by default.
If you wish to completely secure your school’s network then please raise a support case and ask for all non-core DNS requests to be blocked through your local firewall. This will prevent local users from changing the DNS servers they are using away from the core servers.
It is now possible to configure a remote workstation or laptop to enable the user to establish a VPN connection to the school’s network before logging in to the machine itself. In schools where staff are issued Windows devices to use away from school premises, administrators can configure such devices for the other staff.
The correct configuration would then allow the user to establish a secure connection to the school’s network even before logging into Windows. Once the secure connection is established, users will be able to log into the school’s domain which enables relevant scripts to run and mapped drive connections to be made.
The configuration must be made locally on each device and is currently supported for Windows devices only on post-Windows XP operating systems.
For full details on how to configure this setting please see the configuration instructions.
When using any texting service, there will be instances where text messages don’t make it to the end user’s mobile phone. This can lead to confusion on the part of the sender as to what exactly has occured. This post aims to help senders understand what actually happens when a text message is sent.
To read the full article, please click here.
Atomwide will be at Stand F120 – London’s ExCeL, January 30th – February 2nd
At BETT 2013, Atomwide will be demonstrating the innovative new IP Telephony and Managed Wireless systems that are available to LGfL 2.0 Schools on Stand F120.
Please come and meet the team at the BETT Show between 30th January and 2nd February at London’s ExCeL to find out how these services can provide your school with high quality service and fantastic cost savings.
For more detailed information regarding these services please read this page.
In situations where it is necessary for a user to send email via SMTP from a mobile device it will be possible to use the LGfL SMTP server settings in the mail client to enable mail to be sent. Users can authenticate securely with their USO credentials against the SMTP server set up in the core of LGfL specifically for this purpose.
This free service is intended for use by establishments running their own non-Exchange mail server and where users need to be able to send mail from various devices. In such circumstances, it will be possible to configure a mail client with the relevant settings to enable users to send email securely whenever necessary.
The service works on the basis that the “from” address configured in the mail client is the same email address as that registered to the user’s USO account. To enable the service, a Nominated Contact from any LGfL-subscribing establishment needs to raise a support case and request it.
The Fax to Email Service allows establishments to send and receive faxes electronically without the need for an extra phone line or a physical fax machine. This secure service makes faxing convenient and simple to use and set up. Set-up charges apply, although schools already using the LGfL 2.0 IP Telephony system will not be charged any set-up fees to enable faxing.
To enable this service for any establishment, there is a one-off set-up charge of £50. Annual subscription is priced at £200 plus the cost of calls, which are invoiced quarterly.
Establishments already using LGfL 2.0 IP Telephony will have no set-up fee and will be offered a reduced annual subscription charge of £100. Each subscription is allocated one fax number.
To purchase the service or for further information please email our sales team. All costs are quoted excluding VAT.
Following the recent notice from Microsoft of the imminent demise of Windows Live Messenger (AKA: MSN), and the additional challenges that schools may face when asked to deploy Skype as the alternative, Atomwide is pleased to make Atomwide Chat available to full USO-subscribing schools at no additional charge.
Operating in a similar, and hence familiar, manner to MSN or Windows Messaging, Atomwide Chat is an authenticated instant messaging service that can be used in schools, with access controlled via a USO account, and which keeps a secured history of conversations.
Atomwide Chat can be used in schools with a greater degree of security compared to publicly available messaging services, and access can be restricted to staff and/or pupil groups separately on a per school basis. Messages can be exchanged between any valid, and locally-enabled, USO accounts.
Users can access a simple web-based interface or install one of the several more feature-rich client applications that are available for most platforms, including PC and Mac, and many mobile devices.
Further details are available to USO Nominated Contacts via the Support Site User Guide.
The LGfL USO Support Site contains pages which can be viewed and acted on only by Headteachers. To assist Headteachers in finding all the relevant pages, they have been grouped together into logical cut down menus to be displayed via a simplified interface in the Support Site. The feature is designed to guide a Headteacher’s attention to only the pages, information, and decisions that are specifically related to, or dependent upon, them.
Some of the functionality available to Headteachers can be accessed and configured only by individuals with registered OTP tags. These are only required for individual processes that typically represent a network security risk, rather than a data protection one. Such services currently include the online signing up of Nominated Contacts and the request to give Option 2 status to a school.
The re-organised view of the support site can be accessed by clicking on the link titled “Switch to basic menus” which appears in the top line of the Support Site. The option may also be used by others to simplify their view and so is not actually labelled as being purely for Heads. The last mode of view chosen is ‘remembered’ for subsequent sessions. The link can be used to toggle between the two different views as needed.
Under USO Support Site
As part of schools’ LGfL 2.0 subscriptions in London, access is included to a wide range of premium software from commercial providers that would cost many thousands of pounds if purchased separately.
Some of these software packages have been enhanced to be “LGfL aware” – meaning that they include additional, unique features linked to a school’s staff and pupils’ USO accounts. For example, the popular website “MangaHigh” can “know” the names of a school’s classes, along with their teachers and pupils. This makes the process of setting up MangaHigh accounts automatic – a job that would otherwise be very time-consuming and require continual manual updating.
LGfL has established a “Federation” of carefully-selected partners that may be permitted to access USO data, and has strict rules in place to regulate this activity.
Access by Federation partners to each school’s data is managed through the Federation data release page of the LGfL USO Support Site, accessible only by the Head Teacher. The page summarises what, if any, data is available to which Federation partners and why. It also allows a Headteacher to switch on, or off, any data sharing links for their school.
In an environment containing machines running Windows XP, users may have had difficulties accessing LondonMail when using certain browsers. This issue is related to the blog post below regarding access to secure sites using Windows XP.
In order to grant access to LGfL-supported Microsoft services such as LondonMail, the relevant WebScreen 2.0 filtering policies need to have the Microsoft IP ranges added to the Allowed URL and keyword lists in those policies.
It is important to note that if you have previously allowed the category “Host is an IP” in your policies to overcome problems with accessing LondonMail, then you may wish to consider blocking this category once more to ensure maximum control of access to sites which may be accessed via IP addresses rather than more conventional URLs.
For full details and a list of the required IP ranges please see the WebScreen 2.0 FAQs section found in the Support Site User Guide.
Due to the way Microsoft XP interacts with various browsers, users of Internet Explorer, Chrome or Safari browsers on a workstation running Windows XP, are likely to experience an issue when trying to access https sites. Only this particular combination of technologies is affected due to the way Microsoft handles https sites in XP. Please note that Firefox users will NOT be affected in the same way as Firefox bypasses the built-in Microsoft XP routines. There are also no issues with any of the browsers in combination with a later version of Windows. The best long-term solution is to upgrade workstations to a later version of the operating system or use Firefox as the default browser.
Under XP, when browser requests to https sites are sent using the full standard URL, the URL gets translated to the IP address of that site before it reaches the filtering system. Access to the site may then be denied unless the IP address has been explicitly allowed.
For example: a request to visit
is presented to the filtering system as a request for
Further complications may arise when destination sites have multiple IP address possibilities as they are hosted on multiple servers. So the above example could appear as
depending upon the address to which the URL translates at the time.
As a result, to ensure that an https site is allowed/blocked correctly for those using the XP system with one of the affected browsers, the URL and any IP addresses belonging to the site should be added to the appropriate filtering policy. This approach is effective in situations where target websites are hosted on single IP addresses that can be identified relatively easily, either by pinging the target URL and making note of the IP address returned or by a careful examination of the reports available under the Webscreen 2.0 interface on the USO support site.
It should be noted that although the category “Host is an IP” can be allowed, this results in any https site becoming accessible.