Monday, December 12, 2011

Alert: 1600grand Reboot Tonight, 12/12/11

In order to 'publish' some new 1600grand channels for the community, we must reboot 1600grand.  The reboot will begin tonight, Monday December 12, at 11:30 PM, and 1600grand will be inaccessible for approximately 30 minutes. The system will be back up and fully functional by 12:00 midnight.  If you have questions, please email Ramón Rentas or call him at 696-6633.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Notice: ITS Maintenance Day Coming January 7

ITS has scheduled a regular system maintenance period for Saturday, January 7 2012, beginning at 6:00 AM and ending by 12:00 noon.  We will be performing upgrades, testing connections, patching, rebooting and doing other tasks to keep our critical campus information systems running efficiently.

Please expect that all networked services will be unavailable, completely or intermittently, during the maintenance period.

More specific information will be published in the week before the 1/7 maintenance day.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact Ramón Rentas via email (rentas@macalester.edu) or at 651-696-6633.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

RESOLVED: Student Wireless Issues

We believe we have restored full service and connectivity on the Macalester-Student wireless network. If you continue to experience difficulty with your wireless signal, please use our Wireless Signal Issues form to tell us where and how you are affected.

Alert: Student Wireless Issues

The Student-Wireless network is currently experiencing intermittent connectivity issues.  We are working as quickly as we can to restore full service, but we need your help!

If you are having difficulty with your wireless connection, please fill out our Wireless Signal Issues form to let us know that your location is affected.  The more detail you can provide, the better.

While we work to resolve this problem, please consider using the Ethernet cable provided to you by ITS to connect to the network in your room. If you don't have an Ethernet cable, you can pick up a free one at the ITS Help Desk, Humanities 314.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Suggested Times in Google Calendar


Have you ever had trouble finding a good time to meet with folks on campus? Google Calendar now has a Suggested Times feature that can help you easily find a time when everyone is available.

  • Create an event in your calendar
  • Add the appropriate guests
  • Click Suggested Times to show the available slots

Contact ITS for more information on this topic.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Back It Up!

As finals loom, your stress level rises, and with it the possibility of catastrophic data loss.  If you're storing your term papers, lab notes and other work in just one place, you risk losing it all if that drive fails or is stolen. Play it safe: keep up-to-date backup copies of your most critical files in one or more locations, such as flash drives, external hard drives or your network H: drive.  You might even burn backups to CD or set up a cloud storage service account.  If the Bad Thing happens, you'll be inconvenienced rather than devastated. 

For tips and assistance in backing up your data, please call the ITS Help Desk at 696-6525. There are two types of computer users: those who have lost data, and those who will.  Be prepared.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Consolidating Your Network Drives 11/22/11

We will be simplifying the network drive structure for everyone beginning at 5:00 PM Tuesday November 22.  At that time, access to the Academic and Admin file servers - your H: drive/individual user folder - will be temporarily stopped.  The various 'user' directories on these servers will be consolidated into one location, such that everyone will have personal network storage space on files.macalester.edu/users.  We expect the consolidation to be complete and all access to your files restored at approximately 9:00 PM.  All other networked services, including email, Banner, the Internet and printing should not be affected.

Macintosh users, you will need to update your drive mappings to smb://files.macalester.edu/users.  If you need help, ITS staff are ready to assist you: contact your AIA or call the Help Desk at 651-696-6525. Windows PC users, your computers should automatically notice the change and update accordingly.  Please let us know if you need assistance or have questions. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Make a Google Form Public: No Login Required

Publish or send a survey with no login required using Google Forms.

Step 1: Go to the live form.

Step 2: Delete a/macalester.edu/ from the URL.


Step 3: Select the updated URL and copy it.



Step 4: Open up a different Web browser and paste the updated URL in the address field to make sure it does not require a Macalester username and password!



For more information, see How do I make my Google Form public?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Faculty Windows PC users: what to expect November 8-9

If you are a faculty member using either a Windows XP or Windows 7 computer, here’s what you need to do to complete your PC’s upgrade from Novell to Active Directory (AD).  (Macintosh users, your transition will be much simpler.  You should have already received information in campus mail, or directly from your AIA.  If you did not, please call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525.)

The upgrade will begin at 5:00 PM on Tuesday November 8.  At this time, access to your G:, H: and M: drives will be disabled so that files can be moved to AD.  When you leave work Tuesday, please shut your computer(s) down.

When you arrive the morning of Wednesday November 9, turn your PC on and log in normally.  Several windows will appear, which means that the update process has started successfully.  If you are prompted with a message asking, “Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?” and listing Novell Client as the program, click Yes.

DO NOTHING on your PC until the computer reboots itself
, which it will do within five or six minutes.  Don’t click anything, don’t type anything, don’t pull the power plug - just let the computer chug along and do its thing.

After the computer reboots, your login screens will look slightly different because Novell has been removed from your system.  Press CTRL + ALT + DELETE, then enter your network username and password and log in.  This is the same username/password combination you use for email and 1600grand.

If you see several login icons instead of a username and password window, click the “Switch User” button, then click “Other User” and log in normally.  This preference will be saved, so you’ll see a normal login screen from now on.

Your network drives under My Computer may look slightly different, but your access to the G:, H: and M: drives should remain the same.  Don’t be alarmed if directories you have created now show in all capital letters - the contents will remain unchanged.  You will also see slightly different names attached to your network drives:

G: - GROUPS (your shared group directory)
H: - HOME (your personal user directory)
M: - COMMON (the all-campus directory)

If you have any problems, please call the ITS Help Desk immediately at 651-696-6525.  We will be standing by, ready to assist you if needed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A New Look for Google Apps

In the coming weeks, Google Apps for Education is getting a major facelift.

What's different?
  • Icons replace text links 
  • Options are moved into drop-down menus 
  • Better search with new advanced search panel 

Check out Google's New Look and Google's Learning Center for additional resources. 


Here are screen shots of and links to the impending changes to the look and feel of email:




Faculty Macintosh Users: AD Upgrade Clarification

Yesterday’s ‘Faculty AD Upgrade’ notice may have left Macintosh users wondering “will this affect me?”  To be clear, the AD upgrade will benefit all faculty, including Macintosh users, but the process will be simpler for you.  All Mac-using faculty and academic staff will receive detailed information in campus mail about what you can expect to see and do for the upgrade.  If you have questions, please consult your AIA.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Upgrading Faculty to Active Directory

This past summer, ITS began a major network upgrade, moving from Novell Netware to Microsoft Active Directory (AD).  AD is the current industry standard for “directory services,” the central repository for all key elements of a computer network.  When the upgrade is complete, you will see little obvious difference, but you’ll enjoy faster login times, greater security, more stable and reliable network service and improved file sharing.

The Admin server, and all staff computers that connect to it, were upgraded in June.  We will perform a similar upgrade to the Academic server next week, beginning at 5:00 PM Tuesday November 8.  Your Academic Information Associate (AIA) has been visiting faculty computers in your division and preparing them for the upgrade, and you may have received communications about the upgrade from your AIA.  (If you have not yet responded to an AD meeting request from your AIA, please do so before November 8.)  More detailed information will be forthcoming as we prepare for the upgrade.  For now, note this: when you leave campus Tuesday 11/8, please shut your computer down.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 29 Network Maintenance Day Details

As previously announced, ITS will conduct a regular system maintenance period on Saturday October 29 from 6:00 AM until 12:00 noon.  We will be performing upgrades, testing connections, patching and doing other tasks to keep our critical campus information systems running efficiently.

Please expect that most networked services will be down, completely or intermittently, during the maintenance period. 

These services will NOT be affected: Google email, Banner, Internet access, printing in the Library and HRC, CBORD card services.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Ramón Rentas via email (rentas@macalester.edu) or at 651-696-6633.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alert: Internet Maintenance Saturday 10/22/11

Macalester's Internet Service Provider, Global Crossing, will be performing maintenance to its network equipment from 5:00 to 6:30 AM on Saturday October 22. During that time, we will have no Internet access, including Web services.  This maintenance will affect all of Global Crossing's customers in the Twin Cities metro area, and is not limited to the Macalester campus.  All services are expected to be restored by 6:30 AM Saturday.  If you have questions, please call Ramón Rentas at 651-696-6633.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Alert: ITS Planned Maintenance Day Coming 10/29/11

On Saturday October 29, ITS Networking staff will perform regular scheduled maintenance on most of our major systems. Starting at 6:00 AM, significant portions of our electronic services will be taken down to be patched, upgraded and tuned up. Internet service, including email, will NOT be affected. All services taken down for maintenance are expected to be restored by 12:00 noon.  As we get closer to this maintenance day, we will publicize more details about which services, in addition to Internet access, will NOT be affected. Please assume that most other services you utilize will not be available between 6:00 and 12:00 that morning.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Telephone Services Fully Restored, 10/07/11

The telephone equipment that caused issues earlier today, Friday October 7, has been repaired.  All phones should now be working normally.  If you experience any problems with your phone service, please send email to telecom@macalester.edu.

Alert: Telephone Service Disruptions, 10/07/11

We have received several reports of campus telephones being disconnected or going dead this morning, Friday October 7.  We are working to isolate the cause of these problems and fix them as quickly as possible.  If you have questions, please call the ITS Help Desk, 651-696-6525.

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Google Tool: Comment-Only Access for Docs

Google recently released Comment-Only Access for Docs. 

Use this feature to proofread without editing, critique an opinion paper, or collaboratively review a document. 

Comment-Only Access is a sharing option that lets people view and add comments to documents without giving them edit access. To give comment-only access to a document, click on the Share button, add the contact(s) to share the document with, and select Can comment.

If you are interested in assistance, contact the ITS Help Desk.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Alert: All IT Services Down For Repairs Tonight, 09/28/11

Early today an electrical failure brought down the ITS server room.  A temporary fix is in place.  However, we must perform more extensive electrical repairs - or risk greater damage to our servers the next time power fails or surges.

In order to repair our electrical supply, we must take all IT services offline from 9:00 to 11:00 PM tonight, Wednesday September 28.  All IT services - including, but not limited to Internet access, email, Banner, 1600grand, networked file servers, Moodle, CBORD card services and Macalester's Web server - will be shut down at 9:00 PM this evening.  After the power reconfiguration, we expect to restore the most critical systems first (for example, Internet access and the Macalester Web site) beginning at approximately 10:00 PM. Other services will follow in tandem.  All IT services should be fully functional again by 11:00 PM.

We regret the necessity for interrupting services to you.  We would certainly defer it or avoid it altogether if those were workable options.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Ramón Rentas at 651-696-6633.

10:15 AM 09/28/11: Printing, Wireless Services Restored

As of 10:15 AM today, Wednesday September 28, all network printing services and wireless network connectivity have been restored.  If you continue to experience problems with these or other services, please call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

Alert: Power Outage Affects Printing, Wireless, 09/28/11

Between 3:30 and 4:00 AM today, Wednesday September 28, electricity to the ITS server room unexpectedly failed. As of 5:00 AM, most services have been restored. 

One widely-used server is still down: this is C1N1, the campus' primary print server.  ITS staff are working to bring this server back online this morning, but you may experience difficulty printing until it is restored.  If you have a critical printing need, please call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525. 

Also, wireless network services are down in some locations.  We are working to restore these services as well.  If you encounter difficulty with wireless, wait a few minutes and try connecting again. 

Internet access, email, Banner and 1600grand are all operational.  If you have questions, please call Ramón Rentas at 651-696-6633.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Web Page Maintainers: Server Upgrade Notice

This message has been sent directly to individuals who maintain websites for college departments and offices.

The next phase of our Novell to Active Directory migration will occur next Tuesday, September 27, with the upgrade of the Novell Web server to the Active Directory platform.  This is what you can expect will happen over the next few days:

  • Friday, September 23:  The upgrade process begins during the evening with an initial file copy.   Web pages will still be available for editing during this time, but due to the way the file copy and synchronization works, we ask that you do not do major restructuring of websites until after the migration is complete.  Please avoid deleting files and moving files to new locations.  Editing of department Web pages is fine throughout the weekend and on Monday and Tuesday.

  • Tuesday, September 27:  Beginning at 5:00 PM, there will be no access to the Novell Web server for Web page editing.  During the evening and overnight, a final file synchronization process will occur.  Web pages will be available for browsing/viewing during this entire time (the Macalester website will not be down; only page editing will be affected).

  • Wednesday, September 28:  Web files will be available for editing beginning at 8:00 AM.  Web maintainers will need to update file pathnames in Web editing software (Dreamweaver and/or Contribute) in order to access Web pages for editing.  Instructions will be provided to you next week, and personal assistance will be available from the ITS Help Desk and Web Services.
If you have questions about the server migration, please call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Google Introduces Appointment Slots

This summer, Google added Appointment Slots to the calendar.

Appointment slots can be used to sign up for faculty/staff office hours, advising, auditions, oral exams, or other activities where you ask a participant to choose a meeting time from a range of possibilities.

With the recent upgrade to our Google services, Appointment Slots can now be used within the Macalester community. Visit the Google Blog for step-by-step instructions on using this feature. If you are interested in assistance, contact the ITS Help Desk.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New Google Services

Now that all Macalester Google accounts have been upgraded, you have access to several new services. To try any of these new goodies, quit both your Macalester Google account and your personal GMail account before following these links. Use your Macalester email and password (e.g., username@macalester.edu) to sign in.

Blogger is for creating your own blog and reading others' blogs.

Google Reader collects multiple information sources you choose from the Web into one list. New content posted to any of these sources automatically comes to your Reader account.

Picasa gives you tools to archive and publish your photos, as well as viewing other people's shared pictures.

Maps helps you get and save travel directions.

News lets you customize your own newsfeed.

Try them! Remember, you can now switch between your Macalester Google account and your GMail account - see our note from August 29. You can access any of these services through either account.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wireless Key Reminder

This is a gentle reminder that our wireless network is divided into segments dedicated for use by specific groups.  Faculty and staff use 'Macalester'; students use 'Macalester-Student', and visitors use 'Macalester-Guest'.  To access your wireless segment, you must enter a wireless 'key' one time.  These keys were e-mailed directly on August 10,  and again on August 30.  'Macalester-Guest' has no key.

Please do not share your key with others.  If you do, you may compromise the security and confidentiality of your data.  Please call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525 if you have questions or need assistance.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Google Multiple Account Sign In

Now that your Google Apps account has been upgraded, there is a new way to access your personal GMail account from the same Web browser you use to access your Macalester email account. 

Step 1: After signing in to your Macalester email account, click on your email address in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Then select Account settings from the drop down list.








Step 2: On the Google accounts screen, locate Multiple sign-in, click Edit












Step 3: On the Sign in to Multiple Google Accounts screen, select On – Use multiple Google Accounts in the same web browser. Then click each of the checkboxes below to confirm you understand how to use multiple sign-in. Then click Save.












Step 4: After clicking Save, log out of your Macalester email and, if applicable, your personal gmail. Log back in to your Macalester email, click on your email address in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Then select Switch account from the drop down list.








Step 5: To sign into another Gmail account, Select Sign in to another account…








Step 6: Sign in to your personal Gmail account, which will open in a new tab.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Upgrade Coming to Google Apps

Beginning Monday, August 29th, Google will be upgrading its Education suite of apps.  Google is doing this to expand the set of great tools available to us.  Just accept a new Terms of Agreement when you log in on Monday.  As soon as you do this, you'll be able to use new services, like Blogger, Google Reader, and Picasa for photos.

There will be no loss of service or downtime during this upgrade.  If you had previously created an additional personal Google Apps account using your Macalester email address, you will be asked to create a new personal account in this process.

Direct any questions to helpdesk@macalester.edu or call 651-696-6525.

Alert: Brief Banner, Admin Downtime Thursday 8/25

Banner and the Admin server will be taken down briefly for critical maintenance tomorrow morning, Thursday August 25 from 7:00 to 7:30 AM.  During this period there will be no Banner access, including no Banner channels in 1600grand.  While Admin is down, staff will not be able to access any files on it, including groups directories (G: drives) and individual user directories (H: drives).  No other IT services will be affected, and we expect to bring both Banner and Admin back up by 7:30 AM. Direct any questions or concerns to Ramón Rentas at 651-696-6633.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Student Computer Information

Here is basic information you need about computers at Macalester. Full details are on the ITS Web site, www.macalester.edu/its/especially the New and Current Student Techlists.

If you need assistance or have questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk, located in Humanities 314, phone (651) 696-6525 or email helpdesk@macalester.edu.

Bringing a computer to campus? If your computer meets or exceeds our baselines, you should have full access to resources: http://www.macalester.edu/its/hardware-software/studentcomputers/

To connect your computer, smartphone or gaming console to our network, it must be registered. For computers, this makes sure the computer is updated, patched and fully protected against viruses. If you want to verify that your computer will pass our on-campus registration scan, you can test it with a remote scan at http://cmremotescan.macalester.edu/ before you arrive at Macalester. Once you get here, open a Web browser and the real registration process will begin.

Want help with registration or other computer issues? ITS will hold drop-in sessions for assistance in the Library’s lower level on Friday, September 2 and Saturday, September 3 between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. If you are unable to attend a drop-in session, ITS staff will also be available for extended Help Desk hours over the Orientation weekend.

Want to use wireless? The students-only wireless network, 'Macalester-Student,' is accessible on a registered computer or smartphone after you enter a wireless key. You need to enter the key only once. The student key was emailed to all students via the Student-Notification-L list on Monday August 22. Do not share this key with faculty, staff or visitors to campus. They have wireless networks of their own. If you share it, you risk damage to or theft of your personal data.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Faculty personal Web page problem

We are aware that some faculty members' personal Web pages are not working.  (These are pages saved on Academic, in your public.www folder.  Departmental and other college pages stored on the Web server are not affected.)  We are investigating the cause of this problem and will fix it as soon as possible.

Welcome and Macalester ITS Communication

Welcome to Macalester College from all of us in Information Technology Services, whether you are new to campus or returning for the new academic year! Whenever there's something happening with information technologies at Macalester, we will communicate it to you.  Our primary information venues are this ITS 'Notices and Alerts' blog (also linked from the ITS Web pages, http://www.macalester.edu/its/), and the Daily Piper, published by the Communications & Public Relations office. We send advance notice of scheduled system downtimes, planned maintenance, new developments and other issues that concern you to our blog and the Piper.  Check these sources first. 

When unplanned system events or immediate issues arise, we also use 'ITS-Alert' e-mail lists for faculty, staff and students. All postings include links to archives.  We try to notify you of significant technical events, and we realize you prefer messages that are brief, clear, relevant and infrequent. ITS staff will always communicate with you using our own Macalester accounts or with Macalester distribution lists, such as ITS-Alert.  All ITS staff are listed in the online Directory, and all of us include accurate contact information in messages we send to you.

Don't be fooled by "phishing" scam emails. These fake messages look like official communications from banks, government offices, vendors, even from Macalester ITS. They try to get you to divulge personal information "to keep your account open" or "to maintain your password." If you reply, your information can be used to perpetrate other frauds in your name, or even get access to your bank accounts, medical records, etc.  You should never reply to a phishing scam, but simply delete the message. If you are suspicious of any email you receive, please call our Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Webfile Access Returns to Admin

We promised staff members improved network service as a result of the Active Directory (AD) upgrade. Here's one! Staff members using the Admin server can once again access, move and copy files on your G: and H: drives from any Web browser. The new Webfile service is more robust and offers more features than the current tool in use on Academic and Web.  Admin users can use the new Webfile now; Academic and Web users can expect the same later this fall after their AD upgrades.

To access Webfile, go to http://webfile.macalester.edu.  On the Webfile page, select the Academic, Admin or Web link, and enter your Macalester username and password when prompted. Be sure to update any bookmarks for future reference.

If you have any questions about the new Webfile service for Admin server users (staff), please contact the ITS Help Desk, by phone at 651-696-6525 or via email, helpdesk@macalester.edu.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Faculty/Staff Wireless Key Changing 8/15

Macalester's wireless network is divided into three segments - one for faculty and staff ('Macalester'), one for students ('Macalester-Student') and one for visitors, guests and neighbors ('Macalester-Guest').  To prevent unauthorized persons from using 'Macalester,' we will be changing the wireless key for this network segment early on Monday August 15.  The faculty/staff wireless key for Fall 2011 will be sent directly to all faculty and staff via email.

You will need to enter the key into your wireless device(s) only once when prompted. It will remain in place through the end of Fall semester 2011. We will change the key in early 2012, and we will publicize the new key in advance.

Faculty and staff, you should not share the 'Macalester' key with students or guests for any reason.  Sharing the key will compromise network security and place your networked information - your research, files, academic records and personal data - at risk. Be assured that students and guests have appropriate access through their own wireless network segments.

If you have any questions about using the wireless key, please contact the ITS Help Desk at x.6525 or via e-mail, helpdesk@macalester.edu.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

PCard Holders: Citrix is Out, Macintosh is In

Wells Fargo has updated the Commercial Expense Reporting tool that Macalester PCard holders use to view and reconcile statements.  You can now view and reconcile your monthly statements directly with your Macintosh, using either Firefox or Safari as your browser.  It is no longer necessary to use Citrix. This will be easier and faster - for example, you only need one login (to the Wells Fargo site).  Please stop using Citrix for PCard business.  As of Friday August 5, PCard access through Citrix will be discontinued.  If you have questions, please call the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office at 651-696-6565.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Reminder: Banner Maintenance Tomorrow, 7/30

1600grand and Banner will be taken offline tomorrow, Saturday July 30 starting at 8:00 AM for scheduled maintenance. 1600grand and Banner will be unavailable for approximately 8 hours while Banner is patched and updated. Access should be restored by 4:00 PM. All other IT services, such as Web access, email, Moodle and Internet access should not be affected. Please contact the Help Desk at 651-696-6525 with any questions relating to this scheduled maintenance period.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Apple Releases Lion OS

Apple has just released Mac OS X 10.7, Lion.  Due to some software incompatibilities, ITS does not recommend upgrading your Macintosh to Lion at this time.  We will continue to test Lion with our supported software tools. 

Please don’t go online and buy Lion with your PCard!  When the incompatibilities are worked out, College-owned Macs can be upgraded free under the terms of our Apple Educational License Program.  (To get Lion for a personally-owned computer, you’ll need to purchase it.)  If you have questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525 or email helpdesk@macalester.edu.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Community Update: Admin Upgrade to Active Directory


We want to report on our progress in upgrading the Admin server to Microsoft Active Directory (AD). The Novell Netware Admin server has been taken out of service.  All administrative staff departments are now sharing and storing files on a brand-new Microsoft AD Admin server.  The next phase of the campus upgrade will be to make the same changes for the Novell Web and Academic servers, which we will do in the Fall.  

Since we’re using a new system, some things will inevitably look different and act differently than before.  If you see anything that strikes you as odd, whether or not it is potentially a problem, please don’t live with it—call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525.  What you’ve noticed may just be new, and we’ll reassure you.  If you have identified a real problem, we will work to resolve it for you.  

Thanks to all staff for your patience during this transition!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reminder: AD Upgrade Starts 5:30 PM Today

This is a gentle reminder that the next phase of our upgrade from Novell to Active Directory starts today, Wednesday July 20, at 5:30 PM.  All staff access to the Admin server (including your G: and H: drives) will be disabled at that time so that we can make the change on the back end.  Please shut down your computer when you leave work today.  Tomorrow morning, July 21, you can finish the upgrade on your computer(s) by following the brief directions we’ve published in the Daily Piper and this blog.  If you have any questions about the upgrade, or if you experience any problems, please call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Staff remote access users: what to expect July 20-21

If you are a staff member who remotely accesses files on the Admin server’s G:, H: and M: drives from off campus, the upgrade from Novell to Active Directory (AD) will change how you get to those files. This upgrade will only affect files stored on Admin - for example, Argos and Advance will not change. If you do not access Admin files remotely, you can skip this message.

We have created some useful information to help you re-establish your remote access to Admin files:  

Windows PCs: Instructions for Windows PC remote access.  

Apple Macintosh: Instructions for Macintosh remote access.  

If you have problems, please call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525. 

Staff Student Employee Supervisors: what to expect July 20-21

This posting  is intended for all staff members whose student workers access files on the Admin server’s G:, H: and M: drives using Windows PCs.  If you do not supervise student employees, or if your student workers use only Macintosh computers, you can ignore this message.  Please note, this does not apply to computers in labs, nor to general-access computers—only to Windows PCs used to access Admin by work-study student employees.

On the morning of Thursday July 21, you will need to log into all of your student employee workstations as ‘Administrator’ in order to complete the AD upgrade for those PCs.  Other than choosing ‘Administrator,’ the process will run just as for other Windows PCs, described in a separate Windows posting.  If you encounter any problems, please do not hesitate to call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525: we will have extra staff standing by to assist you immediately. 

Staff Windows PC users: what to expect July 20-21

If you are a staff member using either a Windows XP or Windows 7 computer, here’s what you need to do to complete your PC’s upgrade from Novell to Active Directory (AD).

The migration will begin at 5:30 PM on Wednesday, July 20.  At this time, access to your G:, H: and M: drives will be disabled so that the files can be moved to AD. When you leave work Wednesday, please shut your computer down.

When you arrive the morning of Thursday, July 21, turn your PC on and log in normally.  Several windows will appear, which means that the update process has started successfully.   If you are prompted with a message asking, “Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?” and listing Novell Client as the program, click OK.

DO NOTHING on your PC until the computer reboots itself, which it will do within five or six minutes.  Don’t click anything, don’t type anything, don’t pull the power plug – just let the computer chug along and do its thing.

After the computer reboots, your login screens will look slightly different because Novell has been removed from your system.  Press CTRL + ALT + DELETE, then enter your network (email, 1600grand, Novell) username and password and log in.

If you see several login icons instead of a username and password window, click the “Switch User” button, then click “Other User” and log in normally.   This preference will be saved, so you’ll see a normal login screen from now on.

Your network drives under My Computer may look slightly different, but your access to the G:, H: and M: drives should remain the same.  Don’t be alarmed if directories you have created now show in all capital letters - the contents will remain unchanged. You will also see slightly different names attached to your network drives:
        
G: - GROUPS (your shared group directory)
H: - HOME (your personal user directory)
M: - COMMON (the all-campus directory)

If you have any problems, please call the ITS Help Desk immediately at 651-696-6525.  We will be standing by ready to assist you if needed.

Staff Macintosh users: what to expect July 20-21

If you are a staff member who accesses files on the Admin server’s G: (GROUPS) or H: (FACSTF2) drives using an Apple Macintosh, the upgrade from Novell to Active Directory (AD) will change how you get to those files.  Existing aliases will no longer work to access Admin.  To re-establish your Admin file access, here are two methods:

1.  ITS staff will send out two customized aliases, G_Groups and H_Users, via email on Thursday 7/21.  Copy one or both of these shortcuts to your Mac, then doubleclick on the alias to connect.

2.  Open the Finder.  Under the Go menu, select Connect to Server.  Enter either smb://files.macalester.edu/admin/groups or smb://files.macalester.edu/users.

If you have difficulty, please call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Banner Maintenance Coming Saturday July 30

1600grand and Banner will be taken offline on the morning of Saturday, July 30 starting at 8:00 AM for scheduled maintenance. 1600grand and Banner will be unavailable for approximately 8 hours while updates and patching take place. Access should be restored by 4:00 PM. 1600grand and Banner provide services such as Course Schedules, Transcripts, Financial Aid Awards and Requirements, Leave Balances and Time Sheets. (All other IT services, such as Web access, email, Moodle and Internet access should not be affected.) Please contact the Help Desk at 651-696-6525 with any questions relating to this scheduled maintenance period.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

“Why should I care about this AD upgrade thing?”

ITS has been telling you a lot about our Active Directory (AD) upgrade over the past few weeks. You’ve read that we will begin the next phase of the upgrade at 5:30 PM next Wednesday July 20, and that you will run a process on Thursday July 21 to complete switching your computer away from Novell Netware.  Details will be published next week about what you will see, what steps you may need to take, problems you may encounter and how to get our help with those problems.  Watch for those details in the Daily Piper and the ITS blog.   You will find all the “what,” “where” and “how” in those postings.

What you may want to know now is “why are we moving from Novell to AD?  What benefits will I notice?”  Since Novell Netware is no longer being actively developed, we must upgrade our network OS, and AD is the industry standard product.  We are beginning the upgrade with staff members and the Admin server’s G:, H: and M: drives because you’re here, while most faculty and students are away from campus.  (We will upgrade the Academic server later, during the Fall semester, when faculty and students are back.)  You will see real benefits from this upgrade, including

*faster logins
*one single login to your computer, tied to your network account
*fewer drive mappings (but you’ll keep the ones that matter)
*significantly increased reliability and stability on Admin
*more reliable printing across the network
*unification of Admin and Academic file systems, creating easier access to files that were previously stored on other servers

You won’t see it now, but this upgrade also lays a strong foundation for continued development of new online tools and resources, which will ultimately benefit you as well.

Thank you for your support as we get ready to enter the next phase of the AD upgrade!  If you have questions, please call our ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Active Directory Upgrade: Enhanced Schedule

ITS is moving the Admin server’s Novell Netware to Active Directory cutover to Wednesday July 20 - Thursday July 21. We will use this period for further testing of our procedures and supporting materials. You can expect to receive detailed communications on what you will see (and, in some cases, what you need to do) to complete your upgrade on Thursday July 21.

The general procedure remains the same. Please shut down your computer when you leave work Wednesday 7/20. At 5:30 PM that day, logins to the Admin server’s G:, H: and M: drives will be disabled so that we can migrate your files. On the morning of Thursday July 21, Novell Netware will be a thing of the past for all Admin users, and you’ll enjoy faster logins as well as better support under Active Directory.

Watch for messages in the Daily Piper describing specific points of interest for the following types of staff members who use Admin:

*Windows PC users, both XP and 7
*Apple Macintosh users
*Staff who access Admin drives remotely from off campus (Windows and Mac)
*Staff who supervise student employees with Windows PC workstations

If you have any questions about the upgrade, please call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Alert: Internet Service Interruptions 7/7/11

Starting at 9:45 AM today, Thursday July 7, our Internet connection has been intermittently cutting out. The interruptions are brief - usually less than a minute - and may not immediately be noticeable. We are working with our Internet Service Provider to determine what is going on, and fix the problem. We will send more information as we have it.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

ITS Active Directory Update

Phase one of the upgrade from Novell Netware to Active Directory, updating the campus PC computers, is complete. A few individuals who were unavailable during our original upgrade dates will be visited separately. If you think that your PC was never visited or you have any remaining questions about phase one, please contact the ITS Help Desk.

Thanks to everyone for your patience and collaboration during this project. In the coming weeks, all shared files on the G and H drives will be moved to Active Directory. Our next phases of the Active Directory project will include updating all the Macintosh computers, academic computers, public computers, and connections to the web server. All affected users will be notified in advance of any interruption to their work day. Stay tuned to the ITS Web site for continued updates on this project.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Technical Issues Resolved

We believe we have resolved the technical issues from earlier today. At this time, Banner, 1600grand, Moodle and other affected services seem to be back to normal. We are taking steps to make sure that the root issue cannot occur again.

If you have questions please contact the ITS Help Desk, 651-696-6525.

Technical Issues: Banner, 1600grand and Moodle

We are experiencing technical issues with servers that support several
of our systems (including Banner, 1600grand, and Moodle). These issues
have impacted Moodle response time and rendered Banner temporarily
inaccessible (both Banner INB and 1600grand Banner Channels). Our
networking staff is working to resolve these issues. We will let you
know as soon as this problem is resolved. If you have questions,
please contact the ITS Help Desk, 651-696-6525

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fall 2011 Moodle Course Sites Available June 15

To prepare for our upcoming semester, Fall 2011 class sites will be created in Moodle on Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Spring 2011 course sites will be moved to the MoodleArchive and will be available there to help you build your new course sites. Moodle will be unavailable most of June 15 to facilitate this work. If you have any questions, or would like help with Moodle, please contact your Academic Information Associate or the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525 or helpdesk@macalester.edu.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

ITS is Coming to Visit YOU!

This summer ITS is conducting a major network upgrade, moving from Novell Netware to Microsoft Active Directory (AD). AD is the current industry standard for “directory services”, the central repository for all key elements of a computer network. AD will provide a more stable, secure, current and reliable network. Improvements you’ll see include faster login times, more reliable network access and easier file-sharing.

Upgrades will involve a brief visit to your PC by ITS staff. Visits will start Monday June 13 and proceed by building and by department, so you and your colleagues will be upgraded at the same time. There is a volunteer ‘upgrade liaison’ person in your office, through whom we will work to schedule the upgrades and pass on needed information. Please be assured we will do our best to minimize inconvenience to you and your colleagues.

If you have any questions about the upgrade, please let us know. Call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525 or email helpdesk@macalester.edu.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Brief File Server Downtimes Tonight

We must perform maintenance tonight, Monday June 6, to our Novell file servers (including Academic and Admin). These are the servers you access when working with or moving files on the G:, H: and M: drives. While the servers will not be brought down, you may experience intermittent periods between 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM during which you cannot log into them. If you are logged in before the access is temporarily stopped, you should be able to continue using the servers without difficulty.

Please note that no other services will be affected. The college Web site, Banner, 1600grand, Moodle, Internet access, Google Apps and major information systems in Advancement and Admissions will not be touched, and should remain active the entire time. If you have questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk, 696-6525, or Gabe Stitzel, 696-6823.

Upgrading Macalester's Network to AD

This summer ITS is conducting a major network upgrade, moving from Novell Netware directory service to Microsoft Active Directory (AD). A directory service is the central repository for the key elements of a computer network, the place where ITS administrators manage users, computers, network folders and printers. AD provides a more stable, secure, up to date and reliable network.

There are many reasons for this move to Microsoft AD. Novell Netware is being discontinued. AD is now the industry standard. Third-party software products are now routinely created for AD and rarely for Novell. Finally, AD permits Macalester ITS staff to leverage the latest administrative tools for software installation, desktop patches/updates, and an extensive knowledge base for resolving problems.

The move to AD will take place in phases over several months, but with minimal interruption to users. During those months, users will be connected to both Novell and AD. User accounts will be created from the existing Novell accounts and kept in sync until the migration is complete.

The first visible phase of this project is the migration of Macalester staff computers to the AD domain. The next phases of the AD migration will include administrative (staff) files, faculty and academic staff computers, academic files, public computers, and connections to the Web server.

When the upgrade is complete, you will see little obvious difference, but you’ll enjoy faster login times, more reliable network service and improved file sharing.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Alert: Power-Related Systems Downtime POSTPONED

Due to scheduling conflicts, Facilities Services has postponed the Humanities Building electrical shutdown previously announced for Wednesday 5/18. There will be no IT service interruptions or scheduled downtimes during the week of May 16-20. All ITS infrastructure and equipment will remain on and accessible.

Facilities Services, Information Technology Services and our electrical contractors will be working together to reschedule the necessary Humanities building electrical cutover. When we have determined the new date, we will communicate that to you as quickly as possible, as well as any other relevant information. Again, thanks for your understanding.

Graduates' Accounts Disabled September 16, 2011

Congratulations to the Class of 2011! As you transition from student to alumnus, plan ahead. Your Macalester electronic accounts will be disabled on Friday, September 16, 2011. These include not just your Google email, but also Google Docs, Calendar, Sites and other Google services; files you have saved on the G:, H: and M: drives, and any personal Web pages. You will need to migrate any files you want out of these accounts before September 16, 2011.

For shared files, especially Google docs, you should transfer ownership to someone else. By making another person (who is not graduating) the owner, a Google doc can continue to be shared and edited after your account is deleted.

Full details and instructions are posted on the ITS Web site.

Depending on how much mail you have, it can take several days—even a week—for the Google Mail Fetcher to migrate your messages. Don’t wait until the last minute to begin migrating your data. Move it or lose it!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Students, Back Up Your Stuff!

If your capstone project, term papers, research notes and other data are stored in just one place - say, only on your computer - you risk losing it all in a heartbeat. One spilled beverage, power surge or accidental fumble and it all could be permanently gone. Back it up.

*Store copies of your most critical files in your network H: drive.

*External hard drives are not expensive.

*Flash drives ("thumb drives") are even cheaper.

*Consider burning your data to CD.

If you need advice or assistance about how to back up and protect your data, please call the ITS Help Desk at x.6525 or email helpdesk@macalester.edu.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Alert: Admin Maintenance Saturday 4/30

The Admin server will be inaccessible on Saturday April 30 from 6:00 AM to 12:00 noon. If you use Admin, will not be able to reach your G: and H: drives during this maintenance period. We will be applying multiple patches to Admin in an ongoing effort to fix recent performance issues. All other services will remain available, including email, Banner, Internet access, College and departmental Web pages. If you have questions please contact Gabe Stitzel at x.6823 or via email, stitzel@macalester.edu.

Novell Client Patching

If your computer runs Windows 7, please click "yes" to the prompt next time you log in. Others don't need to do anything.

Further information: in an effort to improve the performance of your network drives, we will be automatically applying patches to Windows computers running the Novell Client. This will increase reliability when accessing your files on the college network.

* Windows 7 users will see a prompt to allow software to be run next time they log in to Novell. Please click "Yes" in response to the prompt. You should only see the prompt once.

* Windows XP users will not see a prompt and no action is required.

* Macintosh users will not be affected by this change.

If you have questions please contact the Help Desk at 651-696-6525 or email helpdesk@macalester.edu.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Alert: 1600grand, Banner Operational

An unplanned 1600grand/Banner outage occurred last evening. As of 8:30 AM, both systems are back up and working. If you experience problems with either 1600grand or Banner, please call the Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Please Change Your Password!

(This message was sent directly to 35 faculty and staff who are directly affected.)

In order for us to improve our network services, we need you to update your password using this link. Please take a moment to do this now. To help you, here are ITS' recommendations on how to create a better password. If you have any questions, please email the Help Desk, call 651-696-6525, or contact your AIA. Please note, we are not asking you to divulge your password, only that you change it. Thank you!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Notice: Graduates' Accounts Disabled September 16

Congratulations to the Class of 2011! As you get ready for finals, Commencement and your Senior Summer, plan ahead. Your Macalester electronic accounts will be disabled on Friday September 16. These include not just your Google email, but also Google Docs, Calendar, Sites and other Google services; files you have saved on the G:, H: and M: drives, and any personal Web pages. You will need to migrate any files you want out of these accounts before September 16.

For shared files, especially Google docs, you should transfer ownership to someone else. By making another person (who is not graduating) the owner, a Google doc can continue to be shared and edited after your account is deleted.

Here are simple instructions to move your Google mail to a different GMail account. Depending on how much mail you have, it can take several days - even a week - for the Google Mail Fetcher to migrate your messages. Don't wait until the last minute to begin migrating your data. Move it or lose it!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Alert: iPrint Problems

The iPrint system is down as of this morning, Tuesday March 29. iPrint is used solely by some Windows PCs which print through Novell; this problem does not affect Apple Macintosh printing, use of multi-function devices, color printing or printing in computer labs. ITS Network staff are working to resolve the iPrint difficulties. In the meantime, if you are a Windows PC user and cannot print, please call the ITS Help Desk at (651) 696-6525. We will help set you up to print directly to your printer, bypassing the problematic iPrint system.

This notice has been sent directly to faculty and staff members. Students are not likely to be affected.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Alert: Admin reboot tonight

We migrated all data on the Admin server to new hardware this past weekend. The migration resolved most, but not all, of the problems we've been having with Admin. We have continued to work with our vendor on fixing the remaining issues, and the vendor directs us to change some settings in an effort to correct these problems. This will require a brief Admin downtime this evening. We plan to take Admin down at 9:00 PM, and will restore service by 10:00 PM. We understand that some offices are very busy at this time, and we regret the inconvenience - but we want to do all we can to correct the problem before classes resume. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Gabe Stitzel at stitzel@macalester.edu or 651-696-6823.