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?