Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Windows 7 Login Delay

ITS is investigating reports that some Windows 7 PCs are experiencing abnormally slow (3 to 5 minutes) login times. If you are experiencing this issue, please contact the ITS Help Desk ( or 651-696-6525).

Thursday, December 22, 2016

ITS Alert: Telephone Systems Problem

Several Macalester telephone extensions have been experiencing difficulty this afternoon,
both with incoming and outgoing telephone traffic.  This includes FAXes and voicemail. In order to resolve the problems, we must reboot the entire phone system.  We will do so at 3:15 PM CST today, Thursday December 22 2016. The downtime will take approximately 30 minutes. The reboot and repairs should be complete, and all telephone services restored to normal functionality, by 3:45 PM CST today. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Can I upgrade my Mac's operating system to macOS Sierra?

ITS has been testing macOS Sierra since its release in September 2016. Apple has released several maintenance updates since the initial 10.12.0 release. We recommend that you only upgrade if your computer has at least 35GB of storage space available and 8GB of RAM or more. Before upgrading, make sure you have a backup plan and set aside plenty of time. ITS does not recommend this upgrade for Mac models older than 4 years.

Even if your Mac meets all of the minimum requirements, you’ll need a newer model Mac and a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch to use features like Handoff, Auto Unlock, Siri, Apple Pay on the Web, Apple's Continuity tools, and more. Does your Mac meet the requirements to use all of macOS Sierra's new features? If not, you may want to think about whether it is worth the effort to install it.

macSierra Upgrade Checklist

✓ Back up my data to H or Google Drive.

Backing up your data is strongly recommended. Once the update is complete, there's no going back.

✓ Check software compatibility.

What are the most important software programs you use every day? Many programs such as Microsoft Office and Google Drive are known to work great with macOS Sierra, but some specialized software may need patches or paid upgrades before they work. If you aren’t sure, contact the ITS Help Desk at Faculty members may contact their Academic Information Associate.

✓ Make sure I have enough storage space.

You need 35GB of available storage capacity. To find the available storage go to the Apple menu and choose About This Mac then Storage.

✓ Make sure I have enough memory (RAM).

ITS recommends at least 8GB of RAM, otherwise your computer will run very slowly. To find the memory (RAM) go to the Apple menu and choose About This Mac then Overview, look for Memory.

✓ Make sure my hardware is compatible if I want to use Sierra’s new features.

Macs older than 4 years can run some, but not all, of Sierra's new features, including Universal Clipboard. Apple Watch Unlock will only work on Macs with Bluetooth 4.0. So if you want to make the most out of the new software, make sure you have one of the Mac models listed below.
  • Mac Pro (late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac (late 2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (late 2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (mid-2012 or newer)
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (mid 2012 or newer)

✓ Make sure my operating system (OS) is compatible.

Your Mac must be running OS X 10.7.5 or later. To find the version of OS X, go to the Apple menu and choose About This Mac.
  • OS X El Capitan v10.11
  • OS X Yosemite v10.10
  • OS X Mavericks v10.9
  • OS X Mountain Lion v10.8
  • OS X Lion v10.7

✓ Clear my schedule.

Upgrading your device to macOS Sierra may take hours.

More information and resources

Thursday, December 1, 2016

eduroam, new wireless option at Mac and beyond

Connect to eduroam at Mac and other participating institutions

When you are visiting a friend at the U of M, or attending a conference at Carleton, or studying abroad at the University of Madrid, wouldn't it be nice if your phone and laptop were connected to Wifi upon arrival? Connect to eduroam wireless network at Macalester so that you will always be connected to wifi where eduroam is available.

Use your own Macalester credentials

During the fall 2016 semester, Macalester enabled eduroam, a new wireless network that one can sign into on campus with their Macalester username (full email address) and password. Once you set up your mobile device, when you go to other participating eduroam institutions locally or abroad, your device will automatically be connected to wireless internet.

Visitors use their own credentials

The same is true if someone is coming to Macalester from a participating eduroam institution. If they are signed up for eduroam on their home campus and traveling to Macalester, they will automatically be set up with wireless internet access at Mac.

Get connected to eduroam

Read the step-by-step get connected to eduroam guide. Contact the ITS Help Desk at for assistance.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Spear Phishing - NOT from Payroll!

Several Macalester people have received the following spear phishing message in the last day or two. It is NOT legitimate, and does NOT originate from College Payroll staff! This is an attempt to fool you into surrendering confidential information. Don't fall for it.

Here's the text of the scam, followed by some clues to its true nature.


From: Payroll Services <>
Date: Mon, Nov 14, 2016 at 9:28 AM
Subject: Your Record Updated -- IMPORTANT

This email is to confirm That You have successfully updated
your  email address via  1600 Grand  Portal .

This update occurred on 11/14/2016 at 7:13 am

If you did not update this information online, please go
or call the Information Technology Services ( ITS) Help
Desk at 651 -696-9400  for assistance.

Please note that if you have multiple email accounts with
the university, you may receive this message at each email
address. If you Performed multiple updates, you may also
receive separate email Confirmations.

Thank you,
Payroll Services.

email is to confirm That You have successfully updated


The scammer put some effort into this message, tailoring it to make you react without thinking. (Those Macalester details are what makes it 'spear' phishing.) You might have been temporarily deceived by the From address, by the apparent Web link on Macalester's site, and by the reference to the ITS Help Desk. But look again.

*Who is the message sent TO? Our Payroll colleagues will use your specific Macalester address when emailing you, not leave the To: field blank.

*The telephone number for the Help Desk is wrong, as the online Directory shows. 

*Look at the phrasing, spacing and punctuation. Macalester is not a university. Our portal is 1600grand (one word). The Web link appears to be a Macalester page but isn't. The writing is stilted and oddly capitalized. Official Macalester communications will be better written and clearer than this.

ITS can, and does, protect your data with firewalls, a segmented network and vigilant Infrastructure staff. Scammers know this, recognizing that the quickest way into your account is to fool you into surrendering your credentials. When you receive an email message that looks odd to you or just seems "iffy," stop and think. Take your time to read it carefully. Don't click on any links. Get a second opinion from an ITS staff member, such as your AIA or the ITS Help Desk (the REAL phone number is 651-696-6525). Don't let surface details like an apparent Macalester address fool you: there are wolves in sheep's clothing out there.  Don't let them into your account!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Increase Data Security with Google 2-Step Verification

ITS is pleased to announce that Google’s 2-step verification is now available. 2-step verification is an optional, added layer of security for your Macalester Google Apps account. To learn more about how this feature protects your Macalester account (and how to enable it), review the Google 2-Step Verification instructions (gdoc).  For your personal accounts, go to to find out how to enable 2-step verification.

If you have any questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525 or email  Other ways to improve your data security can be found at

Friday, October 21, 2016

Run Software Updates

When you see Software Updates pop up on your device, do you ignore them? Do you tell yourself, “I’ll do it later” but later never comes? Don’t wait: run software updates now and you’ll increase your security. Better yet, enable auto-update features on your devices to install the newest ones automatically. Your devices are more secure when they are up to date, reducing the chances of being hacked.  

Most software vendors are constantly working to improve their products. Operating System (OS) updates patch holes and fix problems. Anti-virus updates add new definitions and help your computer recognize, then deter, computer viruses. Regularly running updates significantly improves your computer's security and lowers your chances of having your system hacked. You can easily set your computer's default to automatically check for and run updates, so that you need not remember to do so manually.

Check out the post on macOS Sierra before updating your Apple operating system.

For more information on software updates and securing your computer, visit ITS Safe Computing.

Argos 5.1: Macalester Reports

Argos, Macalester's reporting utility, will be updated to version 5.1 on October 22, 2016. This update will include a new look and feel.

The Argos client and Argos Web Viewer have been updated to have a more modern-looking user interface that is easy to navigate, with certain areas now scaling better on different screen sizes. Icons and styling have been updated throughout the application, along with many other usability improvements to the user interface.

The Search feature in the Argos client has been moved from the Search tab into a search bar at the top of the screen.

If you have any questions about these changes or Argos in general, please contact the ITS helpdesk at

Monday, October 10, 2016

uPortal error when accessing 1600grand

Recently, several users have reported receiving a uPortal error when logging in to 1600grand. ITS is working with our software vendor to resolve the problem. If you experience this error, please use a different Web browser.  We will follow up via the Daily Piper when a permanent solution is in place. Contact the ITS Help Desk at or 651-696-6525 if you have any questions or concerns. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Passwords: Longer Is Stronger

Longer passwords are stronger and more effective in protecting your account. Try for at least 15 characters.  Other strategies for creating strong passwords include these:
  • Mix upper- and lowercase letters, rAndoMly.  
  • Replace 1 or 2 letters with numeric digits.  
  • Use a passphrase.
A passphrase is often easier to remember than a password.  You can combine ordinary words, provided they're random enough to foil simple guessing: dog + jib + nectarine = dogjibnectarine, 15 characters long.  Or take the first sentence of your favorite novel.  Once you mix the case and add a digit, your passphrase is very strong.  

Your password is like your toothbrush: change it periodically, and never share it.  See the ITS Safe Computing page for more information.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Network Maintenance Day, Saturday October 22, 2016

ITS staff will conduct a scheduled system maintenance period on Saturday October 22, 2016, from 6:00 AM until 12:00 noon. We will perform upgrades, test connections, apply patches and do other tasks to keep our critical campus information systems running efficiently.

Services affected:
Banner, 1600grand, DegreeWorks, Slate, Advance, Argos, Moodlegroups. We'll work on Slate first, and it should be complete by 8:00 AM. Internet access and Google Apps will NOT be affected, and should remain available during this maintenance.

What is being done:
multiple upgrades, patches and fixes.

When is this taking place:
Saturday morning, October 22 2016 between 6:00 AM and 12:00 noon.

What you need to do: expect that most other networked services - potentially including Moodle and PaperCut-based printing - will be down, completely or intermittently, during the maintenance period.

Further communications: no additional communications are planned.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Ramón Rentas at 651-696-6633 or

Friday, September 30, 2016

Encrypt Your Laptop

Imagine walling up every window and all but one door into your home.  As long as you have the key, you're the only one who can get in. Encrypting your laptop does this, leaving only one door into your system—and your password is the key. Encryption protects your data even if your laptop is stolen and its hard drive removed. Apple, Windows and Android devices come with both encryption and backup functionality. 

Of course, if you forget your password, you've got a serious problem. Start by making a complete backup of your data, then turn on encryption. If yours is a College-owned laptop, consult ITS before you encrypt!

For more tips on securing your devices and protecting your data, visit Safe Computing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Should you update your device to macOS Sierra?


Don’t update your Mac OS—yet!

ITS recommends that you wait to upgrade your device to MacOS version 10.12, macOS Sierra, which is scheduled to be released by Apple on September 20, 2016.

macOS Sierra update checklist

✓ Will my existing software still work?

Maybe not. Third-party software vendors need additional time to make their software compatible with the latest Mac operating system. Here's a growing list of software titles that are not ready for the update:

  • Adobe CS5
  • Canon multi-function devices—provided by Loffler
  • MATLAB, At this time, MATLAB is not completely compatible with macOS;  this is only a problem if your computer is set to "non-United States regions and locales. Is MATLAB compatible with macOS 10.12 "Sierra"?
✓ Will it run on my computer?

The latest and greatest may negatively affect the performance of older computers.

✓ Back up my device.

Backing up your device is strongly recommended. Once the update is complete, there's no going back.

✓ Clear my schedule.

Upgrading your device to macOS Sierra may take hours.

Bottom line: When in doubt, you probably shouldn't.

Here's now to hide the UPDATE button to avoid accidentally updating to macOS Sierra.

  1. From the Apple menu, select App Store…
  2. Click Updates.
  3. From the Update Available list, locate MacOS Sierra (it will appear when available).
  4. Right-click (or Control+Click) on the macOS Sierra update title.
  5. Select Hide Update.
  6. Close the window to exit the App Store.

Additional Information

Friday, September 9, 2016

Print from your laptop to Library and DRC Printers

Web Print is a PaperCut feature that allows you to print PDF and MS Office documents from your own device instead of a lab or classroom computer. Web Print access is restricted to Macalester’s on-campus network and off-campus connections are not supported. Releasing the print job at a PaperCut Release Station is required.

Here’s how Web Print works

  1. Go to; connecting from off campus is not supported.
  2. Upload a PDF, Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file—no more than 30 MB.
  3. Select a printer in the DRC or the Library. 
  4. Use the PaperCut release station to finish your print job. 

Web Print file types and size limitations

  • 30 MB file size limit
  • PDF
  • MS Office: Word, Excel, PowerPoint

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

ITS January Thaw 2016 Sessions Deconstructed

Thanks to those who attended our technology sessions during the an actual thaw during January! Here's your chance to revisit any of ITS' January Thaw 2016 sessions. First-time viewers can follow along the course notes and see how to write formulas, format spreadsheets and compare two lists with Google Spreadsheets, find and an organize Google Drive files. Find out how to protect your computer and phone. Learn some useful tips about taking pictures with smartphones.

Find and Organize Google Drive Files

Learn at least 6-1/2 ways to find and organize Google Drive files. Topics covered in this workshop include: advance search, document ownership, folders, tags, and more! 

6-1/2 Ways to Find and Organize Google Drive Files

Formulas and then Sum

We explore spreadsheet formulas you can use to crunch data large and small. Find out the difference between count, countif, and counta. Append to a list of usernames. Merge data from two columns or separate data from one column into two. All formulas can be used in either Excel or Google Sheets; taught using Google Sheets. 

Compare Two Lists in Google Sheets

There are times when sorting and filtering spreadsheet columns isn’t enough. In this session, learn how to use the Vlookup function to search two sets of data and find out where they overlap and where they differ. Some use cases: compare guest list to RSVPs; find a name when you only know the username, compare who has ordered to who has paid. Use Vlookup in Excel or Google Sheets; taught using Google Sheets.

Top 10 Actions you can do to Protect your Computers and Phones

Make an Excel-like spreadsheet using Google Apps, Part 2 of 2. Learn how to use advanced features like absolute references, multiple sheets, charts and pivot tables.

Protect your Computers and Phones presentation

Top 5 Things iPhone or Android Users Should Know about Photos

In this session, find out the best practices for taking, sharing, storing, and printing your photos. Find out the what questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing a mobile device. This session is for current and future iPhone and Android users.

Mobile Photography Sides