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Friday, May 5, 2000

  • I love you too, but this is ridiculous
  • First payday of the fiscal year
  • 25 years of strengthening hearts
  • And Jupiter aligns with Mars

[White blossoms against blue sky] Ralph Dickhout of the department of chemical engineering caught these cherry blossoms against a bright summer sky outside the Doug Wright Engineering Building earlier this week.

I love you too, but this is ridiculous

They say nobody gets too much love, but computer users at UW and around the world got too many I-love-yous yesterday. An e-mail "virus" carrying that message spread across the Internet in the early hours of Thursday and was plugging up UW computers before the second cup of coffee.

By mid-morning the "admmail" system and the library's e-mail network had both been shut down so a "filter" could be put in place to help stop the spread of the "I Love You" virus. "This is hitting campus pretty badly," said Carol Vogt, head of the electronic workplace group in the information systems and technology department. She said it seemed to be the worst virus attack UW has ever experienced.

(Maybe I should feel slightly unloved, having received only one copy of the mail yesterday morning. I spoke to one e-mail user who said she'd had "at least a hundred" and whose Outlook address book had apparently sent the virus along to dozens of other users.)

"Information trickling through," said Vogt, "seems to indicate that you must open the attachment to unleash the virus." People who receive love-letter e-mail should delete it without opening it, she said (and Outlook users have to delete it from the in-box and again from the delete-box to make sure it's gone). "Further research continues," Vogt said. "We have downloaded the virus protection update from Symantec, and will be attempting to get it distributed to people." IST is hoping that a new virus alert web page, which now has details of the Symantec fix, will carry help for future viruses as well.

News reports from around the world said the virus first showed up in Asia, then passed to Europe as the time zones turned, and finally was reported across North America. Said BBC News:

[Hearts circle the world]

Other coverage

  • CNN
  • InternetNews
  • TechWeb
  • GeekNews
  • The virus appears in the form of an 'Iloveyou' e-mail with an attachment that people are encouraged to open. Martin Eddolls, of Internet Marketing Management, describes it as "one of the nastiest I've seen".

    Once opened it forwards itself using the personal and business address books of e-mails so the spread is very rapid. Another expert said: "It began spreading like wild fire, taking out computers left, right and centre."

    Computer virus experts say they are developing an antidote to the problem, which is thought to be targeting Microsoft's Outlook e-mail software.

    "Please be aware that sometimes information about a virus is a hoax," says an IST information page about viruses, but yesterday's incident was no hoax. What was identified as "VBS.LoveLetter.A" was classed as a "worm" that Sensible Security described as apparently "of Philippine origin". Apparently it damages files within a computer, as well as quickly clogging networks by remailing itself to all the addresses listed in a Microsoft Outlook address book.

    By this morning, new variants of the virus were being reported, said Marj Kohli of IST, including one that carries the subject line "Joke" and has an attachment called "VeryFunny.vbs" instead of a love letter.

    First payday of the fiscal year

    Today is payday for unionized staff members, who will see an increase from the cheques they got two weeks ago. With the beginning of the new UW fiscal year on May 1, union members are into the second year of a three-year contract negotiated last fall, and received a 1 per cent scale increase.

    Non-union staff, who are paid monthly, also got a May 1 pay increase -- 1 per cent applied to pay scales, with individual increases varying based on merit. "Increases are being processed," says Sandra Hurlburt, assistant director of human resources, "and employees will receive a notice of increase prior to this month's pay date of May 26."

    And then there's the May 1 increase for faculty members, which is still under negotiation. An arbitrator visited campus Wednesday and met with faculty association and management representatives; a decision is expected soon.

    The human resources department sends word that "new employees with benefits" -- those who joined the payroll as of May 1 -- "must make an appointment with their payroll benefits assistant. This will assist in scheduling our resources to provide good service. Also, there is a sign-up for new graduate students, temporary and casual employees on May 9, 2000, from 2 to 3 p.m. and May 10, 2000, from 10 to 11 a.m. Both sessions will be held in Davis Centre room 1302." New grad students and casual employees should bring Social Insurance Number and bank account information to one of those information sessions.

    25 years of strengthening hearts -- from the UW news bureau

    A quarter-century of making weak hearts healthier will be celebrated Saturday with a walkathon in Waterloo Park.

    The "Hardy Hearts" cardiac rehabilitation program launched in 1975 has had an impact on more than 1,000 cardiac patients during the past 25 years, said Mike Sharratt, dean of the faculty of applied health sciences.

    The celebratory walkathon begins at 10 a.m. in Waterloo Park. "We would be delighted to have anyone come and join us and pledge any amount to support this not-for-profit program," Sharratt said. The program is now an incorporated foundation so tax receipts can be issued for donations.

    A faculty member in the kinesiology department, Sharratt said he began the program with four patients in cooperation with a local internist, Dr. Ron Fowlis. "Grand River Hospital was kind enough to allow us to use their gymnasium a couple nights a week and the rest is history."

    The program is run by UW kinesiology students who have taken specific courses in coronary heart disease taught by Sharratt. Given their skills and talents, many hospitals recruit the students when they graduate. Under the program, doctors look after the patients' health care while the students take care of their physical rehabilitation. As well, coronary care nurses assist with the supervision of the patients.

    "It has been most gratifying to have students take the on-campus course -- now offered on the Internet as well -- participate in the local program and then tell me it had a significant impact on their choice of medicine or cardiac rehabilitation as a career," he said. "We run on a 'shoestring' and always have. The students love to volunteer and a few actually can take a specialized practicuum for credit."

    The current physical director of the program is Zach Weston, a UW graduate student in kinesiology who had once been a volunteer in the Hardy Hearts program and then worked in cardiac rehabilitation at Credit Valley Hospital before returning for graduate studies.

    And Jupiter aligns with Mars

    It's an unusual day astronomically, a weary morning-after for computing support staff at UW, the first Friday of the term -- and a day when a few things of interest are happening, including these:

    A special event is scheduled for 7:30 tonight in the great hall of Conrad Grebel College -- a talk on "The Church as Peacemaker: A Voice from Cuba", sponsored by Project Ploughshares. The speaker is Ofelia Ortega, principal of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cuba and vice-president of the Ecumenical Council of Cuba. A Presbyterian minister, she has also served as an executive of the World Council of Churches. There's no charge for admission to tonight's talk.

    The Korean Christian Fellowship will hold its first meeting of the spring term tonight at 6:00 in Physics room 150. "All are welcomed," says Denny Suh, a member of the group. "We also have prayer morning meetings in Student Life Centre 2132 at 7:30 a.m."

    It's dance recital season again in the Humanities Theatre. "Dancefest" competitions are taking place this afternoon and evening, all day tomorrow and most of Sunday.

    The UW libraries will be in operation for limited hours this weekend: both the Dana Porter Library and the Davis Centre Library will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and the University Map and Design Library from 1 to 5 p.m. Circulation service will be available starting at 1:00 in all libraries and ending at 4:45 in Porter, 5:00 in UMD, 5:45 in Davis.

    Off campus -- but involving a number of UW people -- the Waterloo Gem and Mineral Show and Swap is scheduled for this weekend at the Waterloo Community Arts Centre, a.k.a. "the Button Factory", on Regina Street. The event runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow, "featuring minerals, gemstones, rocks, fossils and jewellery"; admission is free.

    Ballots and related information in the staff association election were distributed yesterday, and votes are due back at the association office on May 19. There will be an open meeting next Thursday at 12 noon for members to ask questions of the two candidates for president-elect, Ed Chrzanowski (math faculty computing) and Joe Szalai (library user services). Members are also being invited to vote among three candidates to fill two seats on the association board of directors; other positions (treasurer, secretary, vice-president) have been filled by acclamation.

    Advance note: this year's Matthews Golf Classic is to be held Monday, June 19, at the Grand Valley Golf Course. Says Hazel Austin of engineering computing: "The event, as usual, is for staff, faculty and retirees. The event starts at 12:00 noon for the team photographs and winds 12:00 noon for the up at 6:00 for dinner. The event is a scramble, which means that all four members tee off at each hole and the team decides which of the four balls will be played for the second shot. Cost is $46 for golf and dinner, $26 for golf only and $20 for dinner only." More information is available from Jan Willwerth in information systems and technology, phone ext. 2376.


    Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
    Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
    credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
    http://www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca | Yesterday's Bulletin
    Copyright © 2000 University of Waterloo