Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Students: Get Connected!

The Information Technology Services (ITS) Help Desk is here to assist you - email or call 651-696-6525. If you bring a computer, smartphone, tablet or gaming device to campus, it must be registered before connecting to the College network. Registration simply associates your name with your device(s), so that we can contact you quickly if there are problems.  To register, launch a Web browser and go to

Want to get on wireless?  The 'Macalester-Student' wireless network segment is set aside for your use. To get on it, you must enter a wireless 'key' one time. (The 2014-2015 student wireless key remains the same as it was last year, so if you are returning, you should be good.)  The key has been emailed to you via the "ITS-Alerts-Student" list on Wednesday 8/27.

Please do not share this key - if you do, you may compromise the security and confidentiality of your data.  Be assured that guests have their own dedicated network segment ('Macalester-Guest,' which does not require a key.  Have Mom and Dad use this one.)

If you have any difficulty with your computer, stop by the drop-in sessions in Neill Hall 304 on Thursday, August 28th and Friday, August 29th between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. If you are unable to attend a drop-in session, the ITS Help Desk in Neill 314 will also be open 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturday 8/30, Sunday 8/31 and Monday 9/1.  New students, check out the First Year "Techlist" for more information on campus computing:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Communications from Macalester's ITS

Welcome (or welcome back) to Macalester College, from all of us in Information Technology Services! We will tell you whenever there's something important happening with information technologies at Macalester.  We send advance notice of scheduled system downtimes, planned maintenance, new developments and other issues that affect you.  Our primary communication venues are this Notices and Alerts blog (hint: you're reading it now) and the Daily Piper, published by the Communications & Public Relations office.  Check these sources first. 

When unplanned system events or problems arise, we also use 'ITS-Alerts' e-mail lists to reach faculty, staff and students.  We try to notify you of significant technical events. 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-Alerts.  All ITS staff are listed in the online Directory, and all of us include accurate contact information in messages we send.

Don't be fooled by "phishing" scam emails. These fake messages look like official communications from banks, government offices or Macalester ITS. They try to trick you into revealing confidential information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, supposedly "to verify your account" or "confirm your email." If you reply, your information can be used to perpetrate fraud in your name, or even get access to your bank accounts, medical records, etc. You should never reply to a phishing scam or click links in it. If you are suspicious of any email you receive, please call our Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

How can you recognize a phishing scam?  Here are some common clues.

*No legitimate institution will ask you to divulge personal or account information via e-mail.  ITS staff will never do so.  This clue alone is a dead giveaway.

*Phishing scams often ask for information that a legitimate sender should already have.  (Why would your bank ask you for your account number? Why would ITS staff ask for your e-mail username?)

*The message uses generic phrases like "Dear Account Holder" or "Dear Property Owner" rather than your name.  (If you have an account with a firm, wouldn't they use your name in correspondence?)

*The message originates from someone you do not know, with a 'From:' address that seems odd. The signature will be vague, probably not the same as the 'From:' address, possibly a meaningless phrase like "Account Team" or "Financial Services."

*Bad grammar, misspellings, clumsy punctuation, odd capitalization, and broken or badly-written English are nearly ubiquitous in phishing scams.

Remember, ITS staff will NEVER ask for your password via email!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Faculty/Staff Wireless Key Changing Tuesday 8/26/14

Faculty and staff members: the 'Macalester' segment of our wireless network is set aside for your use. Students and guests have their own segments. To access your wireless network, you need to enter a wireless 'key' one time for the entire year. The current key will be replaced with a new key by 8:00 AM on Tuesday August 26. Faculty and staff will receive the new wireless key via ITS-Alerts email on Friday August 22. If you need assistance changing your wireless key, please call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

Please do not share the faculty/staff key with others. Doing so may compromise the security of your data. As noted, both students and guests have their own network segments. 

Google Updates Biweekly Post

Publication Date: August 20, 2014

Google Apps

Updates to core Google Apps and the major services like Google+. Also major updates that may affect the Macalester community.

While many changes were design and user-experience improvements, Google also added some new functions.
There are some basic operators available, but this video takes a look at some Boolean operators, which are pretty impressive.

Add styling to the borders of individual cells or groups of cells within the table.

You can see patterns in your data by adding trendlines to charts in Google Sheets. Trendlines are often helpful for financial or scientific data.

When you create a filter view, it’s like saving a filter that you can use over and over again.

People using Google Sheets will now be able to copy and paste high-fidelity, fully functional charts inside the same spreadsheet and between spreadsheets.

COMING SOON: As easier way to unsubscribe from mailing lists.

Google Technology

News about other Google products and technology.

Google just announced in May that it will start making driverless vehicles soon, but they won’t be designed for highway speeds just yet.

Google is starting to open Classroom to all Google Apps for Education users, helping teachers spend more time teaching and less time shuffling papers.

Google Business

Google Business news, including policies, user privacy, politics and legal issues.

Google keeps tabs on where you've been, but you can manage it

Google’s Safe Browsing service protects you from malicious Websites and warns you about malicious downloads in Chrome.

NomadList uses crowdsourced data to show which cities in the U.S. and the world are the best - and worst - for remote workers

Google wants to ensure that non-Latin characters in Gmail aren’t abused by spammers or scammers trying to send misleading or harmful messages.

Inequality and Web Search Trends

Google Extra

Other Google side projects, including art, science and fun stuff.

Demonstrations in Missouri and the death of Robin Williams had people searching for a greater understanding this week.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Google Updates Biweekly Post

Publication Date: August 6, 2014

Google Apps

Updates to core Google Apps and the major services like Google+. Also major updates that may affect the Macalester community.

Coming soon to Macalester’s domain: People using Google Apps with access to Google Talk or Google Hangouts chat will now have the ability to create and join Hangout video calls for up to 15 participants. Participants will no longer need to ensure Google+ premium services are enabled, nor have a Google+ profile.

Hangouts participants will now have the ability to remove other participants from a Hangouts video call.

Hangouts is now covered under the same Terms of Service that support our other Google Apps for Business products, like Gmail and Google Drive.

Starting now, Gmail (and shortly, Calendar) will recognize email addresses that contain accented or non-Latin characters.

Just like with Gmail on the web, you can now insert files from Google Drive directly into an email on your phone or tablet.

These 13 new languages are joining the Gmail family: Afrikaans, Armenian, Azerbaijani (Azeri), Chinese (Hong Kong), French (Canada), Galician, Georgian, Khmer, Lao, Mongolian, Nepali, Sinhala, and Zulu.

A roundup of all Apps launches from July 2014

The new viewer is faster, cleaner and provides easier ways to connect with third-party Drive apps.

We know that some of you work with people who still use Word, so starting today any tracked changes in a .docx file will be automatically carried over to Docs as Suggested Edits.

A new version of the Gmail iOS app is now available in the App Store.

23 Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed During July

Google Technology

News about other Google products and technology.

Ever wonder who controls the inner workings of the Internet? Like what happens after you type in a URL and hit enter, or who assigns IP addresses? (2 min 40 sec).

From big baseball news to blockbusters, here’s a look at the last seven days in search.

Google Business

Google Business news, including policies, user privacy, politics and legal issues.
Google says that it will match images of child pornography against a digital database of illegal images that the company itself compiles.

After teasing us for months, Google appears to have scrapped its mysterious barge technology showcases.
The objective of this new Google team is to significantly reduce the number of people harmed by targeted attacks.

Google Extra

Other Google side projects, including art, science and fun stuff.

Fortune Magazine reminds us all that with great power comes great responsibility, and sometimes Google leads us astray.
Google Doodle: August 4, 2014