Blazer411 • UAB Electronic Phonebook

WHAT'S NEW
The following is a list of new features which have been recently added to the UAB Electronic Phonebook. If you have any suggestions for future enhancements, please let us know at AskIT@uab.edu!

Moved to new server

The Phonebook and BlazerID Central have been moved to a new server. The main URLs remain the same, www.uab.edu/phonebook and www.uab.edu/blazerid respectively, and all other links should redirect. We've also updated the format a bit as part of the UABIT Web Site Redesign.

Facelift!

New headings and quick links were implemented to make the Phonebook more useful and align its look and feel with the upcoming redesign of the UAB Home page.

Holiday Break updates

Lots of changes to DPO and Phonebook services during the Christmas and New Year's break in December 2004 and early 2005. For a full list, see the IT News item.

BlazerID Central

A new "one-stop shopping" page has been developed to provide a number of BlazerID-related functions in a single place, including registration, verification of whether a person has an ID, instructions on checking their mail as forwarded by the Phonebook, and so on. The new page can be reached at http://www.uab.edu/blazerid

Strong passwords

Phonebook passwords set from this day forward, either at BlazerID registration time or with the Change Password function, must now be strong, meaning they must meet certain criteria to make them difficult to guess. More info on what constitutes a strong password can be found here.

Secure Web server

In order to ensure that Phonebook passwords and other sensitive information is not sent "in the clear" over the network, any function which requires authentication is now provided by a new secure Web server. This means the little padlock in your browser should light up when you access them, indicating that your connection is being encrypted and verified to be legitimate. This change will require that your browser support 128-bit encryption, which is the case with almost all recent browsers.

Functions that do not require authentication (i.e., searches) will continue to be serviced as before, from our non-secure server. This reduces overhead and accommodates users who may be located in countries where high encryption cannot be provided.

BlazerID

In order to reflect its increasing role as an authenticator for various computer services around campus, it has been decided to use the term BlazerID as a more accurate alternative to Phonebook alias. In order to clear up any confusion about this, as well as to answer many often asked questions about the BlazerID/Phonebook alias in general, a new FAQ page is now online.

Note that the process of updating web sites to use the new terminology will be an ongoing task. Just keep in mind that the two are equivalent; if you have one, it is the same as the other. You use the same ID regardless of which a screen may reference.

Mail-only aliases

Because the UAB Phonebook is utilized by a number of servers for authentication purposes, we cannot allow the creation of BlazerIDs (primary aliases) longer than eight characters. Also, BlazerIDs get "locked in" a number of places, to the point that it now requires an enormous amount of effort to change them. The introduction of mail-only aliases should hopefully address these issues.

Mail-only aliases are created in addition to the BlazerID you have set for your Phonebook entry. You can have up to three of these aliases, and each one can be up to 16 characters in length, upper or lower case. You can designate any of the three, or your primary, as your "display" alias, which means it will be shown by default when someone asks for your information.

A good use for this feature is for people who get married, and want to update their e-mail address with their new name. For example, if Jane Doe had an alias address of janedoe@uab.edu and her married name is now Jane Smithee, she can sign up for a mail-only alias address of JSmithee@uab.edu. Note that her BlazerID (what she will use for authentication purposes) will remain 'janedoe', but she will now be able to receive e-mail at JSmithee@uab.edu just as she did (and will continue to do) with messages sent to janedoe@uab.edu.

For more information on setting up your own mail-only alias, use the Change Information function to bring up your entry, then look towards the bottom for the Add/Change link next to Mail-only aliases.

Name capitalization customization

Unfortunately, names are currently entered into UAB's official records in all upper case. In order to present a more user-friendly display, the Phonebook attempts to translate them into lower and upper case, but it is impossible to do this correctly 100% of the time. For example, there is no good way to programmatically know that "DEWALT" should really be listed as "DeWalt" or "deWalt" instead of "Dewalt".

If the Phonebook has incorrectly determined how your name should be capitalized, there is a feature available which lets you indicate whether each specific letter of your name should be upper or lower case. To do this, use the Change Information function to bring up your entry, and then look for the link right under your name.

Note that this function can be used only to change the capitalization of your name, not the spelling or spacing. If your name is incorrect in the Phonebook, please follow the recommended steps for getting your entry updated. Also, if your name changes in the official records, you will need to redo the capitalization in the Phonebook.

Improved search capability

Thanks to suggestions from Dr. Michael Wyss, some improvements have been made to the search function in the Phonebook:

 


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