Thursday, December 18, 2014

Server Installation and Downtime 1/9 - 1/10

ITS Infrastructure staff will be replacing several major servers beginning at 5:00 PM on Friday January 9.  Our crew will work through the night, and the new equipment is expected to be up and running by 12:00 noon on Saturday January 10.  The current servers are five years old, and we risk unscheduled service interruptions if we do not replace them soon.

Some networked services will not be touched, and should continue functioning normally. These include Internet access, email, portions of the Macalester Web site, Slate and CBORD card services.

Please expect that all other networked services will be inaccessible while this project is going on. Services that definitely will be impacted include Banner, network storage space (your G: and H: drives), 1600grand, and Moodle. Portions of the Macalester Website will remain available including the home page, top-level sections pages, and admissions/financial aid pages. Most department and office Websites, as well as personal Web pages, will not be accessible during the system maintenance.

We realize there is never a good time to interrupt critical network services.  That said, we have chosen a time when disruption should be minimal.  The payoff will be newer, reliable equipment to meet your needs.  If you have questions, please call the ITS Help Desk at (651) 696-6525.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Google Updates Biweekly Post

Publication Date: December 10, 2014

Google Apps

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

The SPARKLINE function in Google Sheets creates a miniature chart contained within a single cell.

New versions of the Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps for iOS are now available in the App Store.

With the improved experience provided by the instant results search feature, Google has decided to remove Apps Search. Too bad. It is one of my faves. :-(

December 9, 2014: The web version of Google Calendar will see some minor terminology changes today when 'Reminders' become 'Notifications,' 'Privacy becomes Visibility,' and Privacy level ‘Default’ becomes ‘Calendar Default’.

Google knows that some of you work with Office files regularly, so they are adding conversion support in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for 15 new Office file formats.

In Gmail, with a single click on the pencil icon in the attachment card, you can now convert any Office files sent as attachments to Docs, Sheets, or Slides. 
Add slide numbers to presentations, providing a reference guide for both presenters and audiences.

Adjust the color, transparency, brightness, and contrast of images in Google Docs on the Web.

Merge the cells of a table in Google Docs. Merged table cells can span more than one row and/or column.

Turn Chrome’s omnibox into a search engine for Drive, email, and more!

Google Technology

News about other Google products and technology.

Google’s new partner program is simple in design, having just three tracks, each designed to address specific customer needs (partners can join multiple tracks).

Google Business

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

reCAPTCHA protects the Websites you love from spam and abuse.

Google has developed an internal Web application security scanning tool, codenamed Inquisition (as no bug expects it!).

European privacy regulators gathered to discuss the growing public outcry over how governments and tech giants gather and use people’s data.

George Osborne, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, proposed a new 25 percent tax on the local profits of some international companies, including tech giants like Google.

Google Extra

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

Matt Chaban’s Appraisal column explained how photos of the normally restricted Gramercy Park in New York City ended up on Google Street View. Added bonus: Chaban’s from Pittsburgh!

In celebration of the people, memes and moments that made up an epic year, more than 100 YouTube creators gathered together for our annual Rewind video: a giant, global mashup looking back at the best of 2014 on YouTube.

Starting today on, girls can use the introductory programming language Blockly to animate the lights of the state and territory trees that will decorate President’s Park, one of America’s 401 national parks and home to the White House, through the holiday season.

December may mean snow days in Denver, Colo. or beach days in Sydney, Australia, but in Santa’s Village, it means the countdown to Santa’s big night.

Google asked these Minnesotans to share how their work together--and how their own teachers--inspired their love of learning and teaching.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

DegreeWorks Upgrade 12/12 - 12/13

The DegreeWorks system will be up and down intermittently starting at 4:30 PM Friday December 12, so that we may conduct a scheduled upgrade.  The upgrade should be complete, and DegreeWorks fully accessible, by 12:00 noon Saturday December 13.  If you have questions, please email Addy Free at

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Students, Are Your Files Backed Up? They Should Be!

Fall semester ends soon, and you're working on capstone projects, term papers, presentations, your résumé and other critical data.  Is it all stored in one place? Along with your pictures, movies and music? What will you do if that computer gets stolen, dropped, lost or destroyed by a spilled drink (besides curse and cry?).

Back up your data. You'll be glad you did. There are multiple ways to do this:
  • Macalester's Google Drive has unlimited storage space! Go to Create > Upload folder to easily back up your files.
  • External hard drives are not expensive. Buy one. Use it.   
  • Flash drives are even cheaper. Buy two. Use both.
  • Use CrashPlan (for Windows and Mac OS) or Time Machine (for Mac OS only) to automatically back up your data to an external hard drive.
  • Check out cloud storage solutions, like CrashPlan+.   
For tips and assistance in backing up your data, check out the Back Up Information. Contact the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525 or for assistance. Play it safe, and you won't be sorry.