Google Apps for Education at Hampshire

What if you could easily share a document with a co-worker, Five College colleague, committee member, or student?

What if you could both edit the document at the same time, roll-back to previous versions, and never have to worry about what machine that document is stored on?

Welcome to Google Apps for Education.

Hampshire College is joining our Five College partner schools and rolling out Google Apps for Education, joining the over 40 million worldwide users.

Google Apps for Education offers many features that will benefit the Hampshire community:
Unlimited Storage: Google Drive offers unlimited storage for files and folders.

Collaborate: When you share a Google Docs file, all your collaborators can view and edit the file simultaneously. While this is currently possible using personal Google accounts, having a Hampshire-specific account will make it much easier to find the people you want to share with. You will no longer have to collect gmail addresses from Hampshire collaborators and will be able to simply use their Hampshire email addresses.

Share files: You can easily share any file on your Google Drive with anyone else who has a Google account.

Large file transfers: Most email systems (such as the College’s) limit the size of file attachments, but Google Drive lets you share files of any size.
Web Conferencing: Google Hangouts allows for web conferencing with up to 15 participants.

You can now access the following services with your Hampshire login: Google Drive (including Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, etc); Hangouts; Groups; Maps; YouTube, and more.

Some Google services will NOT be available, however. After careful review of both Gmail and Calendar, Hampshire College’s Information Technology department has determined that both Gmail and Calendar at this time are not products that we feel provide the level of performance, support, data privacy, or data retention that the College requires. We will continue to monitor enhancements to these products as well as new offerings in the Google Apps for Education suite for future deployment possibilities.

If you have been using an older Google Drive account with your @hampshire.edu email address or Hampshire alias as your login, you must first create a new Google account with a different email address in order to retain your files. Please visit the Transferring Google Drive page here: https://www.hampshire.edu/it/transferring-google-drive-to-a-new-google-account.

To get started using Hampshire’s Google Apps, please visit: https://www.hampshire.edu/it/google-apps-for-education-at-hampshire

Let us know how it goes! We have a feedback form for these services: http://goo.gl/forms/eBix5dw7ILlX4PzS2

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What’s in a name?

Certain characters in file and folder names can cause problems. Here’s a list of characters to avoid when saving documents, especially when sharing files or storing on a server, such as Patterson:

< (less than)
> (greater than)
: (colon)
” (double quote)
/ (forward slash)
\ (backslash)
| (vertical bar or pipe)
? (question mark)
* (asterisk)

If you do use one of these characters in a file that is stored on a server, Windows users (and some Mac users, depending on how they connect) will see a “mangled” filename instead–yes, that is the technical term for it, and in this instance it really fits. As an example I just named a file “MangleThis?.docx” from my Mac, but when I look at it from a PC it is named MX8WX9~I and has the wrong icon. Not pretty.

Never 10!

Microsoft has been a bit aggressive pushing Windows 10 down on Windows 7 home users. If you have a personal computer running Windows 7 and don’t want to upgrade to Windows 10, a handy little utility will block it.

Hampshire-owned computers are running a version of Windows 7 that is not being targeted for upgrades to Windows 10, but most home computers will be automatically updated sooner or later. If your computer is relatively new and you are not averse to change, Windows 10 could be a nice change–but if you have an older computer or aren’t comfortable re-learning how to do tasks you now do without thinking, Never10 might be just the ticket.

Never10 is a utility that disables settings that allow the install of Windows 10; after you install Never10, other Windows updates will still come through, but your computer will not upgrade to Windows 10 unless you use Never10 to reverse the action.

To use Never10:

  1. Go to https://www.grc.com/never10.htm and click on the green “Download Now” button below the screen shots.
  2. Once it is downloaded, run it.
  3. If you find that Windows 10 upgrade is enabled, click on “Disable Win10 Upgrade.” If there have already been some files installed you can choose “Remove Win10 Files” to reclaim the disk space used. If you get the message “An older Windows Update is installed on this system,” you can install updates and then disable the upgrade.

To re-enable the Win10 upgrade, just rerun the Never10 utility.

If by chance Windows 10 gets installed on your computer automatically and you want to revert to Windows 7, Microsoft does give you 31 days to change your mind and un-install it–just use the Settings app and choose Update & Security > Recovery.

TheHub Maintenance Window Changing

Greetings!

With the inception of TheHub in 2002, we established two maintenance windows when TheHub was unavailable:

  • Every Tuesday evening from 7-9 p.m.
  • Every evening from 3-6 a.m.

The purpose of these windows is to perform necessary maintenance such as installing software and security updates, perform backups on servers, and occasionally upgrade servers.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

With all respect to David Bowie, “I still don’t know what I was waiting for…” Over the course of the last 14 years, many things have changed.  Our servers have been replaced and are faster. Our databases are more robust and allow some maintenance operations while they are in use. Our web servers can handle loads that weren’t possible in 2002.

In short, we don’t need the same amount of downtime to maintain TheHub that we did back in 2002.

New Maintenance Windows

In April 2015 we ended the weekly Tuesday maintenance window completely. We can accomplish much of what we need to do with users logged in and using TheHub. On occasion we may need to have a short maintenance period, but we’ll announce it in advance and we don’t need it every week.

New this month (June 2016), we are shortening the evening maintenance window to 3am-5 am. We hope that this offers more support to those who like to work earlier in the morning. Likewise we will continue to re-evaluate our processes and look to further shorten or eliminate this window in the future.

Comings and Goings

Saying goodbye to a team member who is moving on to other opportunities? Welcoming a new staff member into your department? Here’s what IT needs to make things proceed smoothly.

Staff Members Leaving

When a staff member leaves there are a few things to consider:

  • Computer Equipment: Staff computer equipment at Hampshire generally stays with the position, so equipment does not follow the employee to another position. If the position will not be filled right away, consider whether it would be more secure if IT holds the computer; just put in an IT ticket if you would like equipment stored until the new employee arrives. If the position is not being filled at all, please put in a work order to that effect so that we can pick up the equipment.
  • Data Transfer: It is easiest to figure out before an employee leaves what information should be saved off of the computer for a new employee or others in the department. The simplest method is to have the employee who is leaving transfer important documents to a server share. If that doesn’t happen before the employee leaves, put in a work order to have IT assist in recovering data.
  • Email for Staff Moving to a New Position at Hampshire: When an employee transfers to a new position at Hampshire their email transfers with them. If there are messages that should be forwarded so that they can be handled by the appropriate department, the exiting employee can forward messages as appropriate. IT can help transfer folders of email messages to a different user, just put in an IT work order.
  • Email for Staff Leaving Hampshire: When staff leave Hampshire their email accounts are locked and no longer available to them, unless they are retiring. It is usually appropriate to post an automatic reply indicating that the individual is no longer at Hampshire College and providing alternate departmental contact information. Email can also be forwarded to another account at the supervisor’s request. Read details of IT’s account policy. Best practices for departments include having a general department email address (for instance, admissions@hampshire.edu) to ensure that changes in personnel do not affect communication to the department.

Faculty Members Leaving Hampshire

Faculty computers are treated slightly differently than staff computers, and faculty email accounts are generally not a concern for departments in the same way that staff email accounts are, nor are there normally any issues about transfer of data.

  • Computer Equipment: Faculty computer equipment at Hampshire is provided for the individual for the length of their tenure. Tenure track faculty receive a new computer when they arrive, and then every four years a replacement. Non-tenure track faculty receive a redeployed computer if requested, with swaps as needed over the years. When a faculty member leaves Hampshire their computer should be returned to IT by the last day on their contract; if more time is needed to complete evaluations or other requirements, arrangements should be made by contacting IT. School Administrators are requested to contact IT as much in advance as possible before the end of semester with a list of faculty who will be leaving.
  • Email Accounts: Email accounts for faculty who are retiring will be available for continued se if desired. Other faculty email accounts will generally be unavailable after 30 days. An automatic reply message may be used to provide updated contact information. Read details about the policy for email accounts.

New Faculty & Staff Members

When new faculty or staff are hired, supervisors or deans should submit the Employee Computing Request Form. This form will automatically generate appropriate tickets to arrange for accounts and equipment to be ready when the new employee starts. It is important to put in the form as soon as possible to avoid delays

Time to Get Your Inbox Back in Shape

If you tend to go over quota with your Hampshire email, or if your email feels too disorganized, now might be a good time to make some quick adjustments.

In Thunderbird, the “Local Folders” section contains folders that are stored on your computer, rather than on the server. This is a good place to archive messages that you aren’t quite ready to throw out. If you don’t regularly clean out your Inbox, a quick once a year archive might be just the ticket. If an academic year schedule makes the most sense for you, now’s the time.

  1. To create a new folder, in Thunderbird select “File–>New–>Folder”; if you prefer, you can right-click on “Local Folders” instead.”
  2. From the dropdown list, choose to make it a sub-folder of “Local Folders.”
  3. Give the folder a name, such as “Inbox 2014 – 2015”. We don’t recommend using a “/” character in the name, even if you’re allowed to.
  4. Now you can drag messages into the folder. Click on the first message in your inbox that you want to move.
  5. Now shift-click (that is, hold down the shift key while you click) on the last message that you want to move. This will select all of the messages in between.
  6. Drag the block of messages into the new folder. Or, you can right-click on the block of messages and choose “Move To>” and then select the folder you created above.

If you use Webmail you can organize in folders, but the messages will still contribute to your quota, so if you’re close to quota it doesn’t help. However, if you are interested solely in organizing and don’t care about saving space:

  1. Look to the bottom of the “Folders” pane in WebMail and click on the gear icon.
  2. Select “Manage Folders.”
  3. Use the “+” sign at the bottom of the list to create a new folder.
  4. Give the folder a name, such as “Inbox 2014 – 2015”. We don’t recommend using a “/” character in the name, even if you’re allowed to.
  5. Either leave “Parent folder” as is, or select a folder to make it a subfolder of that.
  6. Select “Save.”
  7. It’s easiest to move many messages at once in Webmail if you can see many of them at once. Click on the “Preferences” tab.
  8. Click on “Mailbox View” on the left panel.
  9. For “Rows per page” enter “200”–the maximum allowed–and click “Save.”
  10. Click on “Mail” in the upper right to go back to looking at your messages.
  11. Click on the first message in your inbox that you want to move.
  12. Now shift-click (that is, hold down the shift key while you click) on the last message that you want to move. This will select all of the messages in between.
  13. Drag the block of messages into the new folder. Or, you can right-click on the block of messages and choose “Move To>” and then select the folder you created above.

That’s all there is to it. Plan to do this once a year–if you put it on your schedule now, you won’t forget to do it next year.

If you’d like other tips on organizing email, check out some of these Tech Tips:

Thunderbird’s Extra Spacing

If you have updated to the latest version of Thunderbird and notice that it is putting in an extra line every time you press the Return or Enter key, you can change it back pretty easily.

The folks at Mozilla probably thought they were doing a good thing when they made this change, since we often hit the Return key twice to create a new paragraph, and now we only have to do it once. I don’t know about you, but this old dog is having trouble with that new trick. Here’s what you can do to go back to the simple days of yesteryear; or yesterweek, I suppose:

  1. Choose “Thunderbird–>Preferences.”
  2. Click on the “Composition” icon along the top of the window that comes up.
  3. Uncheck “When using paragraph format, the enter key creates a new paragraph”, down near the bottom of the window.
  4. Close up the window and you’re all set.