Thursday, December 20, 2012

Alert: Don't Go For Grovo

Several people have called ITS and reported getting email invitations along the lines of "John Doe has challenged you to join Grovo," where John Doe is actually the name of a colleague or friend at Macalester. If you open the message, you see some professional-looking graphics and text reading "Is John Doe your friend?" with 'yes' and 'no' buttons. 

Grovo.com purports to be a legitimate vendor, mainly by including the logos and names of many trusted Internet resources such as Amazon, Pinterest and Twitter - and, of course, by using the names of people you know.  However, those who have entered the site or clicked a response discover, too late, that their Google contact lists have been hijacked, and "challenges" to join Grovo have been sent to all of their contacts.  Whether legitimate or not, Grovo's advertising and publicity methods are so aggressive as to constitute spam. 

If you get Grovo invitations from someone you know, consider calling that person for verification. Better still, click the 'spam' button at upper left. This will remove the message from your Inbox and put it in your spam folder, where it belongs. Whenever you get a message that looks suspicious, don't hesitate to consult the ITS Help Desk, 651-696-6525, for a second opinion.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Notice: Network and Banner Maintenance Day, Saturday January 5

ITS staff will conduct a regular system maintenance period on Saturday January 5 from 6:00 AM until 12:00 noon, and then a Banner maintenance period from 12:00 noon to 5:00 PM.  In the morning, we will be performing upgrades, testing connections, patching and doing other tasks to keep our critical campus information systems running efficiently. During the afternoon, we will make database upgrades to Banner (these must follow the other network maintenance, and cannot be performed at the same time).

Please expect that most networked services will be down, intermittently or completely, during the morning maintenance period.  Banner will be down, intermittently or completely, during the afternoon maintenance period. Internet access will NOT be affected during either maintenance period.

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Google Sunsets Appointment Slots 1/4/2013

Google's Winter cleaning announcement came out yesterday, December 14, 2013. Several Calendar features are being discontinued, including Appointment Slots:
On January 4, 2013, we’ll be shutting down several less popular Google Calendar features. You’ll be unable to create new reservable times on your Calendar through Appointment slots, but existing Appointment slots will continue working for one year. In addition, we’ll discontinue two Calendar Labs – Smart Rescheduler (we recommend Find a time view or Suggested times as alternatives) and Add gadget by URL. Finally, Check your calendar via sms and Create event via sms (GVENT) – U.S. - only features for creating and checking meetings by texting information to Google – will be discontinued today, as most users prefer mobile Calendar apps.
If you have any questions about this change or any other Google feature, contact the ITS Help Desk at helpdesk@macalester.edu.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Macalester Google Apps Things to Start Using 12/12/12


  1. Macalester's Favorite Email extra: Undo Send
    When you click
    Send and realize that you forgot to attach the file you promised, why not give yourself 5 to 30 seconds to click undo? Undo works when setting up Calendar invites, too!
  2. Send & Archive an Email Simultaneously
    Add a button to your reply window that allows you to send a reply and archive the email with one click.
  3. Search Calendar, too Can't recall when or where your meeting with Bob is? No worries. Just open up your calendar and go to the search box at the top, type bob, and hit Enter.
  4. Hide Morning and Night Hours in Calendar
    Whoever schedules meetings at 3:00 AM?! Turn on this lab to show only your working hours.
  5. Enable Priority Inbox
    When you’re overwhelmed with email, set up Priority Inbox. Click the gear button -> Settings -> Inbox -> Inbox type: Priority Inbox and automatically sort your inbox by unread, labeled, or anything else!
  6. Apply Email Labels
    Labels do all the work that folders do, but with an added bonus: you can add multiple labels to any message.
  7. Create an Email Filter
    You can easily create a filter for messages similar to one you're currently reading.
  8. Try out Comments in your Google Docs
    Comments let you have a conversation about something you're working on directly within your doc, spreadsheet, or presentation.
  9. Collaborate with Google Drive Folders
    Create and share Google Drive Folders and use them to organize your Google Docs and keep the real-time collaboration going!
  10. Start with Google Apps First The next time you find yourself attaching a Word doc (or Excel spreadsheet) and sending it as an attachment, ask yourself this question: Would sharing a Google Doc (or Spreadsheet) work better? It's hard to pass up the benefits real-time collaboration.
  11. Read the ITS Notices & Alerts blog
    ITS keeps you up to date with the latest and greatest Google Apps changes. Check out the blog for updates to stay in the loop.
  12. Find out what the World searched for in 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Alert: Sporadic GMail Problems

We are experiencing sporadic problems accessing Google Mail and Chat.  These problems are affecting many Google customers, not just Macalester. Other Google services, including Calendar and Drive, do not seem to be affected.  We will post updates as more detailed information becomes available.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

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, capstone project 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. Consider burning backups to CD or copying critical documents into your Google Drive.

For tips and assistance in backing up your data, please call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525. There are two types of computer users: those who have lost data, and those who will. Are you prepared?

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Macalester Email Logo

Tuesday December 4, 2012, Macalester Email will receive a new streamlined logo in the upper left corner of the Inbox.

Current Macalester Email logo (zoomed in):


New Macalester Email logo:



The new logo will appear in the upper left corner of Email, Calendar, Drive, Sites, and Google +. If you have any questions, please contact ITS at helpdesk@macalester.edu.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Phishing Warning: Collaborative Cloud Domain

Phishing attempts have become substantially more sophisticated and enticing.  One has been making the rounds of higher education lately that appears quite harmless.  This particular scam invites you to join the Collaborative Cloud Domain at Cloudworlds.org! (A collaborative domain allows members to share common resources and to collaborate based on common interests.)

This is another email phishing scam designed to gather your personal information when you click on the link and sign up.

Remember - NEVER provide personal or sensitive information in response to any unsolicited email. Don’t open unsolicited email attachments. If it’s unsolicited and you’re not sure about it, either delete it or contact the ITS Help Desk helpdesk@macalester.edu.

Learn more about email safety at: www.macalester.edu/its/safecomputing/email-safety/

Monday, November 26, 2012

Google Docs Drop-In Session



Drop in to the ITS Google Docs Session, Tuesday November 27, 2012 10:00-11:00am, Humanities 302 (updated location)

Sign up Now

Presentation
  • The Create Button: Overview of Google Documents, Presentations, Spreadsheets, Forms 
    • Google vs Microsoft Office
  • Why do people use Google Docs? 
    • Sharing and Collaborative Editing, Creating Forms and Presentations
  • Why don't people use Google Docs?
    • Macalester Sensitive Information
    • Department and legacy practices
  • Using Comments and Revision History and other neat features
  • Check out the Employment Services example
    • Master to-do list, Registration and Sign Up forms
    • Marketing, Promotion and Email
    • Program Information and Evaluations 
Conversation
Several ITS folks will be available for personal or group Q and A about Google Docs or any other Google related topic

Check out Docs
Finish up the session by taking time to try out some of the newly learned Google Docs tips and tricks

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Google Email Drop-In Session


Drop-In to the ITS Google Email Session, Wednesday November 21, 2012 2:00-3:00pm, Humanities 302 (updated location)

Sign up Now
Reserve a seat. Check out information on upcoming Drop-In sessions.



Presentation
  • Do I have to enter each email address every time I send an email to my committee? Creating Contact Lists
  • My Inbox is always so overwhelming: Customizing my Settings and Using Labels
  • Who uses Chat anyways? Video vs Text? Using Google Chat at Work
  • What's that fancy Email feature that Kelly has? Adding Email Labs
  • Does Google have a way to organize a To-Do list: Check out Tasks
Conversation
Several ITS folks will be available for personal or group Q and A about Google Email or any other Google related topic

Check out Email
Finish up the session by taking time to try out some of the newly learned Google Email tips and tricks

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Google Calendar Drop-In Session


Drop-In to the ITS Google Calendar Session, Wednesday November 14, 2012 10:30-11:30am, Humanities 302 (updated location)

Sign up Now
Reserve a seat. Check out information on upcoming Drop-In sessions.






Presentation
  • I wish my department had its own calendar: How to create a new calendar
  • Shoot, I have to change that meeting: How to Change and Modify Meetings 
  • I know I scheduled a meeting with Bob but I can't remember when: Searching Calendar
  • What's that fancy Calendar feature that Kelly has? Adding Calendar Labs
  • I want to use Google Calendar but I don't want anyone to see it: Calendar Privacy and Share Settings
Conversation
Several ITS folks will be available for personal or group Q and A about Google Calendar or any other Google related topic

Check out Calendar
Finish up the session by taking time to try out some of the newly learned Google Calendar tips and tricks

Monday, November 5, 2012

Google Drive from your Desk

Drop-in to today's Google Drive Session from your desk, November 5th 1:30-2:30pm. Learn more about Google Drive at Macalester from the comfort of your desk or by reserving a seat in Olin Rice.

View from you Desk or visit Olin Rice 287

Presentation, Conversation, and Check out Drive
  • My drive and the navigating the new interface 
  • Creating and locating shared docs on Google drive
  • Moving all docs into My Drive
  • Creating folders and organizing Docs
  • Searching and sorting documents for easier access
  • What the heck is the Google Drive App?

Sign up Now for more Google Sessions on Calendar, Email, and Docs

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Google Drive Drop-In Session


Drop-in to the ITS Google Drive Session, Monday November 5, 2012 1:30-2:30 Olin Rice 287

Sign up Now
Reserve a seat or view from your desk. Check out information on upcoming Drop In sessions.

Presentation
  • My drive and the navigating the new interface 
  • Creating and locating shared docs on Google drive
  • Moving all docs into My Drive
  • Creating folders and organizing Docs
  • Searching and sorting documents for easier access
  • What the heck is the Google Drive App?
Conversation
Several ITS folks will be available for personal or group Q and A about Google Drive or any other Google related topic

Check out Drive
Finish up the session by taking time to try out some of the newly learned Google Drive tips and tricks


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

November is Google Awareness Month 2012


November is Macalester's Google Awareness Month! Join ITS all month long for drop-in sessions and find out how the innovative collaboration features of Google Apps for Education can help you get the job done! 


New Compose Window in Email

Today, October 31, 2012 Google introduced a new compose window in our Macalester email. Visit the Official Gmail Blog for more information on this new feature.

New Compose Window

Fast: Compose messages from your inbox.
SimpleRedesigned with a clean, streamlined look.
Powerful: Check emails as you're typing, and even compose two messages at once.

Opt In and Switch Back

We are now in the opt-in phase of Gmail's new compose and reply experience, which means that you can give it a try temporarily, and then switch back to old compose. To opt in, follow the instructions that appear on your screen. To switch back, click on the More options drop-down button in the lower right corner of the new compose window and select Switch back to old compose.


After switching back to old compose, you may try out the new compose experience—just click the new compose experience link located at the top right of a compose window.



If you have additional questions about the new compose and reply feature, contact the ITS Help Desk at helpdesk@macalester.edu.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sharing songs, movies, games, and software is a crime: Don’t do it!

Many people are still confused about the issue of illegal downloading of copyrighted material such as music, videos, and movies. They believe that if they just share files with others, and don't charge for the files or otherwise make any money from file sharing, there is no problem. As a recent case in Brainerd, MN has demonstrated, however, two federal laws are clear: THIS IS WRONG.

The No Electronic Theft (NET) Act makes it a crime to reproduce, distribute, or share, electronically or otherwise, copyrighted works such as songs, movies, games, or software programs, even if done without any commercial purpose. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) demands an effective response by the College when notified of potential copyright violations. Both acts are capable of imposing very serious penalties.

Protect yourself (and Macalester College). Use legal sources. Music can be found at Music United and movies/TV shows at Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

These tips are offered as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, one event coordinated by the National Cyber Security Alliance, a non-profit public-private partnership focused on cyber security awareness and education for all digital citizens.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Alert: Network Maintenance Day, Saturday 10/27/12

After consulting with key stakeholders in campus offices, ITS has scheduled a regular system maintenance period for Saturday, October 27 2012 during Fall Break.  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.

Internet access should remain unaffected.  All other networked services will be unavailable, completely or intermittently, during the maintenance period. A very brief listing of services that will be down for maintenance include (but are not limited to) email, networked printing, file servers (G: and H: drives), Banner, Argos and Macalester's Web server. You may wonder "will [service X] be down too?" Almost certainly, the answer is "Yes, it will be down."

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Internet Service Fully Restored and Stabilized


As of 12:40 PM today, Wednesday October 17, Macalester's Internet service has been fully restored and stabilized.  We have identified the cause of the problem and are working to prevent a recurrence.  Please note, this morning's unplanned outage is completely unrelated to the planned maintenance our Internet Service Provider will be performing overnight.  (As a reminder, tonight's maintenance should take down Internet access for approximately fifteen minutes, sometime between 11:00 PM 10/17 and 5:00 AM 10/18.)  If you have questions, please call the ITS Help Desk at 696-6525.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Alert: Brief Internet Outage, Overnight 10/17 - 10/18

Tonight, Wednesday October 17, Macalester's primary Internet Service Provider will perform maintenance on our Internet connection.  This maintenance will cause a 15-minute interruption to our
Internet service sometime between 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM.  The outage is likely to happen early during that window.

The outage will affect all of this ISP's customers, not just Macalester College.  No on-campus IT services (such as Moodle, Banner and file storage) should be affected.  We apologize for the short notice on this outage. If you have any questions please contact the Help Desk at 651-696-6525 or helpdesk@macalester.edu.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Alert: File Server Upgrade Saturday 10/13

Macalester's file server - your G:, H: and M: drives, plus Webfile - will be upgraded this Saturday morning, October 13 beginning at 8:00 AM. This upgrade should take approximately two hours, and the file server should be available again after 10:00 AM. All other campus IT resources, including Internet access, Google Apps, Moodle and Banner, should remain up and running normally.  Please plan to log out of the server before 8:00 AM Saturday morning.  If you experience problems after this upgrade, please try logging in again or call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Use a passphrase (instead of a password) for better security

 

Current research suggests that password length far outweighs other factors, including complexity and rate of change, in terms of providing security. Using a passphrase instead of a single password has been found to more secure and is easy to remember. This is because it is okay to use ordinary words, provided they are random enough to foil simple guessing. This is also what provides its length. A passphrase such as “battery-staple-Burma-correct” would be easy to remember and with 28 characters, plenty long.

Spaces are not allowed because of technical limitations. Passphrases should be between 15 and 30 characters long. Any of the following special characters could be used: % * + - : ? _

See the ITS Safe Computing website for more information: www.macalester.edu/its/safecomputing.