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