Thursday, October 29, 2015

Google Apps: Go Beyond the Basics in November 2015!

Join ITS in November for hands-on Google Apps workshops. A different collaboration tool will be featured in each of the 3 weekly hands-on workshops.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Macalester Hosts UMBUG Conference October 22 & 23, 2015

The Upper Midwest Banner Users' Group's  (UMBUG) fall conference will be held on campus Thursday, October 22 and Friday, October 23, 2015. We will welcome approximately 135 conference attendees. They will park in the Leonard Center lot both days, and participate in programming in Olin-Rice and the Campus Center.

UMBUG was founded in 2007 by Macalester, and six other Minnesota private colleges. Membership now includes 15 institutions in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and is open to schools using the Ellucian Banner software and committed to collaboration.  Learn more at umbug.org.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Google Drive Access Problem Resolved

As of 4:10pm 10/9/15, Google reports that Google Drive service has already been restored for some users, and that they expect a resolution for all users in the near future.  This outage appears to have affected users world-wide, but Google has no information yet as to what caused the problem. If you continue to have difficulty accessing your Google drive documents, please try another browser, or contact the Help Desk at 651-696-6525. 

Original report:
As of 2:00 PM 10/9/15, many Macalester people are reporting problems in accessing Google Drive. Google confirms that this is a problem for all Google users worldwide, and that it affects all aspects of Drive - Docs, Sheets and Slides.  ITS staff are monitoring the situation, and we will send more information as it becomes available.

Network Maintenance Day, Saturday, October 24, 2015

ITS staff will conduct a regular system maintenance period on Saturday October 24, 2015, 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 - including Banner, 1600grand, DegreeWorks, Moodle and PaperCut-based printing - will be down, completely or intermittently, during the maintenance period.  However, Internet access and Google Apps will NOT be affected, and should remain available while we perform the maintenance.

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

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Protect Yourself Against Spear Phishing

Here's a real spear phishing example

What is Spear Phishing?

 

Phishing emails are emails that try to fool you into clicking links or sharing confidential information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Spear phishing goes one step further: the scammer contacts you directly by name, often via chat, instant message or over the phone. Spear phishing attacks frequently use icons and faked URLs that appear to be legitimate. Scammers pretend to be customer service reps or technicians, warning you about potential threats to your computer or bank accounts. Their goal is to make you act quickly, before you have a chance to critically evaluate the information you see.

Stop. Take a breath. Think. You have plenty of time, no matter how urgent the scammer makes it seem. And you have experts on your side who can help you: the ITS Help Desk.

Remember the three Cs: 

 

Consider what you're being asked to do. 

No bank or legitimate business will ask you to give confidential information in a chat session, in email or via instant message. No legitimate computer or software vendor will contact you with dire security warnings and then ask for your password - let alone ask you to enable their access to your computer.

Critically evaluate what you read, see and hear. 

Even if the icons and text look OK (say, the font is the same as Apple's, or you see a Microsoft logo), what information are you being given? Technical jargon about 'error codes' and 'UDP ports' is meant to confuse you. Harsh, repeated warnings about 'permanent damage' and 'serious hacking' are intended to scare you and make you act without thinking. Poor grammar, misspellings and vague details should raise red flags. See example above. If someone is speaking to you over the phone or audio, do you hear lots of background noise? Does the speaker's language or phrasing seem odd to you? Does the speaker get angry when you ask for details or confirmation? Chances are good you're being speared.

Call for an expert opinion and assistance. 

That's 651-696-6525, or email helpdesk@macalester.edu. The ITS Help Desk staff stand ready to help you determine the validity (or otherwise) of warnings and confusing messages. If you are victimized by a spear phishing scam, don't hesitate to call us. We can help you contain the potential damage, change your passwords and rid your computer of malware. If you have questions about phishing or spear phishing, please check with us.

Protect Yourself Against Spear Phishing

Here's a real spear phishing example

What is Spear Phishing?

Phishing emails are emails that try to fool you into clicking links or sharing confidential information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Spear phishing goes one step further: the scammer contacts you directly by name, often via chat, instant message or over the phone. Spear phishing attacks frequently use icons and faked URLs that appear to be legitimate. Scammers pretend to be customer service reps or technicians, warning you about potential threats to your computer or bank accounts. Their goal is to make you act quickly, before you have a chance to critically evaluate the information you see.

Stop. Take a breath. Think. You have plenty of time, no matter how urgent the scammer makes it seem. And you have experts on your side who can help you: the ITS Help Desk.

Remember the three Cs: 

 

Consider what you're being asked to do.

No bank or legitimate business will ask you to give confidential information in a chat session, in email or via instant message. No legitimate computer or software vendor will contact you with dire security warnings and then ask for your password - let alone ask you to enable their access to your computer.

Critically evaluate what you read, see and hear.

Even if the icons and text look OK (say, the font is the same as Apple's, or you see a Microsoft logo), what information are you being given? Technical jargon about 'error codes' and 'UDP ports' is meant to confuse you. Harsh, repeated warnings about 'permanent damage' and 'serious hacking' are intended to scare you and make you act without thinking. Poor grammar, misspellings and vague details should raise red flags. See example above. If someone is speaking to you over the phone or audio, do you hear lots of background noise? Does the speaker's language or phrasing seem odd to you? Does the speaker get angry when you ask for details or confirmation? Chances are good you're being speared.

Call for an expert opinion and assistance.

That's 651-696-6525, or email helpdesk@macalester.edu. The ITS Help Desk staff stand ready to help you determine the validity (or otherwise) of warnings and confusing messages. If you are victimized by a spear phishing scam, don't hesitate to call us. We can help you contain the potential damage, change your passwords and rid your computer of malware. If you have questions about phishing or spear phishing, please check with us.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Phishing Scams: Don't Be A Sucker


These are suckers. Don't be one. 

P. T. Barnum may not have said "There's a sucker born every minute," but he made bank proving it was true. Phishing scams try to fool you into revealing your passwords, granting access to your computer or giving away personal information such as your credit card number. Such scams may look like legitimate email messages from your bank, from governmental agencies and even from ITS. Here are some ways to spot phishing scams:

Who sent it?


Look at the sender's address. Banks don't send official correspondence from personal gmail accounts. Governments don't send notices from K12 accounts. If the name looks odd or generic (System, Web Team, etc.), be suspicious. Any message from within Macalester will be signed with a name you can find in the Directory.

Who was it sent to?


Sure, you got it in your Inbox, but what's in the To: field? Is it empty, or does it contain many addresses besides yours? Any message sent by a reputable source should have only your name, or go to a large official distribution list you recognize (such as Macalester's mailing lists).

What does the sender want?


No legitimate organization or firm will ask you to divulge personal information (birth dates, account numbers or passwords) in an email message. This is a dead giveaway. The same is true if you see links to follow to 'verify your account' or 'confirm your membership.' Never divulge such information, and don't follow such links!

How is it written?


Extensive misspellings, incorrect punctuation, bad grammar and confusing technobabble are all hallmarks of scams. So is the (empty) threat that you'll lose privileges or have your account closed if you don't comply. Macalester ITS staff take pains to write clearly when we communicate with you.

Don't be a sucker. If you ever get an email that looks suspicious, let ITS know about it and we'll help you determine whether it's legitimate. For assistance, contact the ITS Help Desk at helpdesk@macalester.edu or call 651-696-6525.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Banner Unavailable due to maintenance Saturday, 9/12/2015, 6 AM to noon

Banner will undergo maintenance this coming Saturday September 12, 2105.  Banner and connected systems (e.g. some 1600grand channels) will be inaccessible from  6:00 AM to 12:00 noon.  All services should be fully restored by noon.  If you have questions, please contact Ramón Rentas at 651-696-6633.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Sporadic Slowdowns With Internet Service

We are experiencing intermittent slowdowns in our Internet service. This is an "upstream" problem originating between Macalester's campus and our Internet Service Provider (ISP).  Other businesses and institutions are likewise affected.  Our staff is aware of the slowdowns, and we are working with our ISP to fix the problem. 

Wasteful Printing Wipeout! Mythbuster Edition!

Printing Impact words with tree and squirrel saying thanks!


New Program Balances Wasteful Printing Reduction and the Need to Print


Students report every year that they wish they could cut down on the amount they print. It is also true that students must print what is required for their courses. This year the Sustainability Office, in collaboration with MCSG, the library, Student Affairs, and ITS, is implementing a program to help balance those two realities.

Printing Fewer than 500 Sheets is Target


The average Macalester student prints about 500 sheets per semester. This fall, our goal is for each student to print less than that. You'll know when you've printed more than the target 500 sheets when a negative balance appears on the PaperCut pop-up. Just log into any lab computer and the pop-up appears.

On September 24, 2015, ITS updated PaperCut's settings to correct a page counting issue. Prior to this update, double-sided print jobs were incorrectly reducing print balances by two pages per sheet of paper used. Now, one sheet of paper printed will reduce your balance by one sheet whether the print job is single or double-sided.

This counting error resulted in an average balance loss of 70 extra pages per student. To offset this loss, all users' print balances have been credited an additional 100 pages.

Zero Balance Still Allows Students to Print

Once your 500 sheets balance is used,  the PaperCut pop-up a negative balance will appear. Macalester has no plans to charge students to print.

Environmental Impact Info Graphic


Want to see your individual print summary and environmental impact info graphic? Go to macalester.edu/print and log in.

More info


Questions?

Sustainability Office
www.macalester.edu/sustainability
sustainability@macalester.edu

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Students: Get Connected!

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Register your device

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 any web browser and go to:http://www.macalester.edu/register.

Student Wi-Fi - Macalester student

Want to get on wireless?  The 'Macalester-Student' wireless network segment is set aside solely for your use. To get on it, you must enter a wireless 'key' one time. The 2015-2016 student wireless key remains the same as it was last year, so if you are returning, you should be good. The student key can be obtained from the ITS Help Desk, from any ITS staff member and from returning students. Please do not share the key - if you do, you may compromise the security and confidentiality of your data.

Guest Wi-Fi - Macalester-Guest

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.


Get Connected Drop-In Sessions!

Friday, August 28, 2015
Neill Hall 302 & 304
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Saturday, August 29, 2015
Neill Hall 302 & 304
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Extended ITS Help Desk Hours

Sunday, August 30, 2015
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Need assistance?

ITS Help Desk

helpdesk@macalester.edu

651-696-6525.

First-Year Technology Checklist

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Faculty/Staff Wireless Key Changing Tuesday 8/25/15

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 at 7:45 AM on Tuesday August 25. Faculty and staff were sent the new wireless key via ITS-Alerts email on Friday August 21.  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. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Communications from Macalester's ITS

Welcome (or welcome back) to Macalester College, from all of us in Information Technology Services!  Whenever there's something important happening with information technologies at Macalester, we will tell you.  We send advance notice of scheduled system downtimes, planned maintenance, new developments and other issues that affect you. Our primary communication venues are this blog, the one you're reading now (also linked from the ITS Web pages, http://www.macalester.edu/its/), 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 for faculty, staff and students.  We try to notify you of significant technical events. We know 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 commit 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.

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 official 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.

If you are suspicious of any email you receive, please call our Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

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

Login to any Google email account at mail.google.com.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Google Updates Biweekly Post



Publication Date: August 12, 2015

Google Apps

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


When files are transferred to new owners, the new document, spreadsheet, and presentation owners will receive all notifications for any comments added to their files, and previous owners, like any other collaborators, will only receive notifications if their names are explicitly added to a comment.


Easily increase or decrease the relative font size of text in Google Docs and Slides.


Not only will this give you greater control over the spreadsheets you create within Google Sheets, it will prevent Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that contain hidden data and that are imported into Sheets from being inaccurately displayed.




YouTube comments will now appear only on YouTube and not shared on Google+; Google Apps domain will no longer have the ability to restrict comments made on YouTube to be viewable only in their domain.

Google Mobile

News about other Google products and technology.
The latest version of the Slides app for Android allows you to share your work even more widely, by presenting to Google Hangouts.


A new version of the Hangouts Android app is coming to Google Play this week with new features.


A consistent experience across the Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides viewers on the web on mobile, created with a simpler, more uniform interface for each.


People using Office for Windows can now open their Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents stored in Drive and then save any changes back to Drive once they’re done.


This launch will provide employees with more information on how their files are being shared.


Google Business

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


Clearly separating Google from other ventures could give the CEO of each company the ability to focus on their unique areas of expertise.


The choice of abc.xyz as the web domain for Alphabet may seem like a clever one, but it could have been chosen out of necessity.


Find out how Google Apps and Office 365 affect workplace productivity and collaboration

Google Extra

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



Google Doodle: Aug 5, 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Google Updates Biweekly Post



Publication Date: July 15, 2015

Google Apps

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


July 7, 2015: New Drive UI full launch: Removal of the option to return to the old Drive UI


It is now possible for Google Apps customers to customize the App Launcher by moving icons between rows and screens.


Previously a popular feature in Gmail Labs, and recently added to Inbox by Gmail, 'Undo Send' is a formal setting in Gmail on the web.


This update to Google Sheets on the web allows even more ways to visualize and analyze data.


This launch allows people to publish spreadsheets in five additional formats—as comma-separated values (.csv), tab-separated values (.tsv), a PDF document (.pdf), a Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet (.xlsx), or an OpenDocument spreadsheet (.ods).


The Office Compatibility Mode extension in Chrome allows people to view and edit Microsoft® Office files in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.


Previously a Calendar Labs feature, event attachments are now fully launching in Google Calendar web by default with this rollout.


Coming 7/28/2015: With Information Rights Management (IRM), people using Google Drive can now disable downloading, printing, and copying from the advanced sharing menu―perfect for when the file you're sharing contains sensitive information that you don't want shared broadly or leaked.


Google shares some of the new ways they support the senders of wanted mail, and using the latest Google smarts to filter out spam.


That’s why we offer lots of ways to customize your experience—from inbox categories, to email formatting, to shareable selfies—and why today we’re expanding your options with additional themes, and emoji.




Google Mobile, etc.

News about other Google products and technology.


Google is adding lots of improvements based users’ feedback―with more on the horizon.


A new version of the Google Drive app for Android is available on Google Play.


This functionality is coming soon to the Hangouts Android app.


Now integrated with Google Drive, My Maps allows anyone to easily create maps with custom lines, shapes, and placemarks, to import geographic data (like addresses, places, and coordinates) into maps, and to share maps as they do other Drive files.


The latest versions of the Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps for Android make it easier to work on both Google and non-Google files on mobile.


Google Business

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


In the coming weeks Google will put up a web form people can use to submit these requests.


Google Extra

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





Art of Google Books @artofgb

Monday, June 22, 2015

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Google Updates Biweekly Post



Publication Date: June 17, 2016

Google Apps

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



Starts appearing in Macalester’s domain 6/15/2015


UI Tweaks to Google navigation bar arrives in Macalester’s domain


  • The separate link to one’s Google+ Home page (‘+Name’) will be removed. People can continue to access their Google+ Home pages from the App launcher.
  • The sharing button will be removed. People can continue to share from their Google+ Home pages.
  • In the identity menu (under one’s profile image), the ‘View profile’ button will become a link where the ‘Account’ link currently lives and the button will now point to the new ‘My Account’ page.


With this launch, people can now insert images into Sheets even when they’re not online, provided they’re working in Chrome and have turned on offline access.


Today’s update to Google Sheets on the Web offers even more ways to visualize and analyze data.


For a richer experience when presenting screen-shared content, today we’re launching full-view screen sharing for Google Hangouts.


Today’s update to the Google Slides app makes it even easier to share presentations on big screens.


Documents written in non-Latin scripts will remain readable when exported from Google Docs on desktop to Microsoft Word.


Take the Privacy Checkup and Security Checkup, two simple, step-by-step guides for reviewing and editing one’s personal privacy and security settings.


Google Mobile
A new Chrome feature—search from any Web page with just a tap.


A new version of the Google Drive app for iOS is now available in the App Store.


Google’s program now includes researchers that will find, fix, and prevent vulnerabilities on Android, specifically.

Google Technology

News about other Google products and technology.



Google Photos is available now on Android (https://goo.gl/BajWpo), iOS (https://goo.gl/toCWvw) and the Web (http://photos.google.com).


Today we’re launching Oauth support for all Yahoo and Microsoft accounts in the Gmail app for Android.




Google has been working with Adobe to ensure that your experience on the Web can be power-efficient as well as rich and interactive—and today, we’re introducing an update to Chrome that does just that.

Google Business

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



Infographic: Research led authors to conclude that secret questions are neither secure nor reliable enough to be used as a standalone account recovery mechanism. Spoiler alert: Easy answers aren’t secure.


Google Engineers: LTE over unlicensed coexists poorly with Wi-Fi.


The U.S. shouldn’t settle for less than ubiquitous, abundant broadband access.


Google is wielding a new weapon against Amazon and Microsoft for cloud computing customers: itself.

Google Extra

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



June 15, 2015: Google Doodle


June 10, 2015: Google Doodle


June 17, 2015: Google Doodle


Through the Google lens: Search trends May 29 - June 5, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Network Maintenance June 12-13, 2015

ITS staff will replace the college's SAN (Storage Area Network) starting at 1:00 PM on Friday June 12 and ending at 1:00 PM on Saturday June 13, 2015.

During this period of time all servers (e.g. Banner, 1600grand, DegreeWorks) and network drives (e.g. G:, H:, M:) will be inaccessible. If you need to use files stored in the network drives during that time, please move them to your local device (e.g. tablet, laptop, desktop).

Access to the Internet, Slate, and email will not be affected during this period.  If you have questions, please contact Ramón Rentas, rentas@macalester.edu or 651-696-6633.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Google Updates Biweekly Post


Publication Date: May 6, 2016

Google Apps

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



Every collection is a focused set of posts on a particular topic, providing an easy way for people using Google+ to organize their interests and focus areas.


Improve your Slides presentations with two new animations: Appear and Disappear.


Modern students do everything online and it is time their syllabi followed suit.

Google Technology

News about other Google products and technology.



The Timeful team has built an impressive system that helps you organize your life by understanding your schedule, habits and needs.


Absalon’s fave!


April 24, 2015: On the anniversary of Isaac Newton’s knighthood, we imagine his research in a Google Apps universe.


Google Business

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



There’s good news for Netflix lovers.


Google has summarized the key findings from a study performed with the University of California, Berkeley and Santa Barbara, that examines the ad injector ecosystem, as well as Google’s broader efforts to protect users from unwanted software.


Google supports this measure as introduced, the USA Freedom Act of 2015, and we urge Congress to move expeditiously to enact it into law.


A search engine called Vurb, meant for mobile phones, aims to take several common queries and group them for users.


Google has spent the last few years tweaking its search engine for mobile screens. Now it is trying to get advertisers to join in.


Read what Google is doing make its workforce, and the tech industry, more diverse.

Google Extra

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



May 5, 2015: Google Doodle honors the 151st birthday of Nellie Bly, a woman who proved that stunt journalism isn’t always a bad thing.


May 4, 2015: Google Doodle


Here’s a roundup of all Apps launches from April 2015


Through the Google lens: Search trends April 17-23, 2015