Welcome to the New Intranet, Campus Calendar, and Daily Digest

Last week on June 1 we launched the new Intranet. The Intranet is a portal-like website that contains information meant for the Hampshire community, which is why it requires a Hampshire username and password to access most Intranet content. The homepage contains a collection of links relevant to the person logged in, and it’s the place to post announcements and events that appear in the Daily Digest and on the campus calendar. If you’re a Hampshire student, faculty or staff member, hopefully you have at least noticed the redesigned version of the Daily Digest in your email inbox this week.

Our main goal with the new Intranet was to provide similar, but better, communication tools in a user-friendly way. We did a lot of user testing and interviews with students, faculty, and staff, which made the direction of our work very clear. Hopefully the new Intranet addresses most of the downfalls of the old Intranet. If you feel like it doesn’t or you have suggestions, we would appreciate it if you would send us your feedback.

New Features and Changes

Redesigned Intranet Homepage

  • The links you see on the Intranet homepage are relevant to your affiliation with the College. If you’re a student you’re going to see slightly different links than faculty or staff because certain items are more relevant to you, such as student employment, for example.
  • A lot of the links on the homepage point to pages on the external Hampshire website. We cross-linked a lot of items with the hope that it makes it easier to find what you’re looking for as a Hampshire community member, no matter which website it lives on.

Redesigned Daily Digest Email and New Submission Features

  • Teaser text for each post was removed from digest emails and only titles are displayed, so the Daily Digest should be quicker to skim through each day.
  • “Today’s Events” were moved to the top, and upcoming events now appear mixed in with announcements in their respective categories, preceded by their start date.
  • The categories were slightly changed and reordered a bit.
  • Daily Digest emails now go out every day (as long as there are posts for that day) instead of just Monday through Friday.
  • Links to the Intranet, the calendar, and to submit your own announcement or event are now easily accessed straight from the digest emails.
  • When submitting an announcement or event you can now specify which date(s), up to three, you want your post to be included in digest emails. You can also edit old announcements and events and change the digest date(s) to have it sent out in future digest emails.
  • You also have the ability to upload a related document or image to an announcement or event, which can be viewed in the post’s details on the Intranet.
  • You can preview your posts by saving them as “Unpublished” before saving them as “Published” (or “Needs Review” for students).
  • It’s responsive! Whether you’re reading a digest email, browsing the calendar, viewing an Intranet page, or posting your own announcement, the site should look good and function properly no matter what screen size or device you’re using.

Read instructions for posting announcements and events

Announcements, Important Announcements, and Featured Announcements

  • The ten most recently posted announcements appear at the top of the Intranet homepage. More announcements can be viewed by clicking on the ellipses icon.
  • Important Announcements function pretty much the same as always. They are sent out in an email as soon as they are posted. They are also displayed at the top of the Intranet homepage.
  • If you had access to submit Important Announcements in the old system then your access should have been carried over to the new system; if for some reason it hasn’t, please let us know.
  • Featured Announcements are new and available for use by the President’s Office and the Communications Office to share highlights and community messaging. These posts contain a thumbnail image and they appear at the top of the Daily Digest and Intranet homepage.

Read instructions for posting Important Announcements

Read instructions for posting Featured Announcements

Campus Calendar

  • The Academic Calendar is now integrated with the campus calendar. Academic Calendar events display with a purple background and they can be filtered by specific categories.
  • There is now an event sponsor field where you can choose one or more offices, departments, or programs as sponsors of the event. Each event sponsor in the list can view a calendar of their own by going to their respective URL: https://intranet.hampshire.edu/calendar/sponsor-name (for example, the SAC calendar is https://intranet.hampshire.edu/calendar/sac)

Take a tour of the new calendar

Student Job Listings

  • Better organized
  • Easily filtered and searchable

Browse student jobs

Intranet Pages

  • If you had access to edit Intranet pages in the old system then your access should have been carried over to the new system. If you don’t have access, let us know by submitting a bug report.

Read instructions for editing Intranet pages

The Search Works!

  • Not only can you easily search the Intranet website from the top of any page, but there’s an advanced search that allows you to choose which types of content you want to search.

Notice a Bug or Want to Send Feedback?

There’s a cute little bug icon Bug iconat the bottom right corner of the screen when you go the Intranet and log in. Click on the bug to bring up a bug report screen. When you submit information here it goes directly to the Applications and Web Services Team in IT.

Planning for the Future

Throughout this process people have already told us about new features they’d like added to the system. We hope to have further conversations about adding features such as:

  • A planning calendar
  • Role switching (so that faculty and staff can view what students see on the homepage)
  • An option to send events to the communications office for public promotion

Do you love to code? Hampshire is looking for a part time web developer

The Hampshire College IT department is looking for an awesome web programmer to join our fun, flexible office. You can read the job requirements (and APPLY!), but we wanted to use some of this space to share what working in IT @ Hampshire is like, and why we love our jobs.

Who Are We?

Applications and Web Services is one group within the centralized IT department at Hampshire. We have many responsibilities within our group of 8 people, which could be summarized as:

  • College websites (dozens and dozens of them)
  • Enterprise applications (for admissions, course registration, human resources, and more)
  • OneCard (access to buildings, meal plans, bookstore, etc)
  • Reporting services (both ad-hoc as well as longitudinal analytics)

We do many other things, but that highlights most of it. This position we’re seeking to fill is a web developer to help out with the many different College websites.

What Is Working at Hampshire Like?

First of all, we’re people. We have likes and dislikes. We work hard. We have fun. And we like to eat and talk about food. A lot.  Some of us love to cook, bike, hike, walk, ski, paddle, play games, watch movies, play music, read; the list goes on and on. We have varied interests and skills both in and out of the office. I suppose one way to convey some of the awesomeness of our office is “show, don’t tell”.

Join Us!

Don’t be misled by the awesomeness above; we work hard, but we play hard, and we respect the creative efforts of everyone to make our office both productive and fun.

Apply Now


Got Backup?

Hard disks fail. If you don’t back up your data on a regular basis, we can help you get a system set up.

If you’ve experienced a data loss due to hard drive failure, chances are that you’ve got a backup system in place. If you haven’t experienced a data loss, don’t worry, you’ll be a member of the club some day–unless you’re backing up your data on a regular basis.

These days a backup system is pretty painless–you can either back up to an external drive on an automatic basis, or sign up for an online backup system such as Carbonite.

If you need to put a backup plan in place, we have backup drives available for purchase through a departmental charge. A 1 Terabyte backup drive (sufficient for the vast majority of users) is $60 and a 2 Terabyte backup drive is $100. To buy one of these drives contact the IT Helpdesk, give us a departmental charge number, and you can stop by and pick up your drive. If you’d like assistance setting up the drive and starting the backup, make an appointment with an IT technician through the IT help desk.


Using a Password Manager

Whether you’re reusing passwords (a definite security risk) or trying to keep track of a multitude of passwords (a definite sanity risk), a password manager is a great help.

I finally reached the tipping point with passwords a few months ago. I had been using an encrypted file to keep track of passwords, but it just became untenable with multiple devices. I also wasn’t happy with the lack of complexity of the passwords I was using.

After some research I settled on LastPass, a free utility that is web based with apps available for iOS and Android OS. Once I came up with one super-strong password (the “last pass” I’ll have to remember), I set it up to generate random passwords for some sites, and left other (less important) sites as they were.

Things I love about LastPass

  • It’s really easy to have it remember and retrieve passwords when I’m using a computer browser.
  • My passwords are (securely) accessible from any device I use.
  • The security level is highly customizable.
  • I can designate certain passwords to be shared with other LastPass users–my family for instance, can use their own LastPass account to access my Verizon password, so they can log into our shared family plan. This feature requires one person (me, in this case) to buy the premium service, which costs me $12 per year.

Things that I don’t love about LastPass

  • It’s a bit cumbersome on my phone. While the new version provides its own browser that will automatically invoke LastPass when needed, that doesn’t help with apps that require passwords. Getting to my LastPass passwords from an app on my phone requires launching the LastPass app, copying the password, pasting it into the password field, and then going back and clearing out the clipboard so the password can’t be pasted in again.
  • The base settings for LastPass aren’t as secure as I’d like (it stays logged in too long, for instance), so I spent some time tweaking them to my liking.

Choosing a Password Manager
When you’re choosing a password manager you should consider several factors:

  • It should use at least AES 256 encryption.
  • It should be able to generate random, secure passwords for you.
  • It should work on all the devices you use to access secure sites–your smart phone, tablet, and computer–and any browser.
  • Two-step authentication is a security feature that makes it more difficult for someone to break into your password vault.
  • If you need to share passwords with friends or family, can it do that without compromising passwords that are just for you?
  • A helpful rundown of password managers can be found at http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2407168,00.asp.

Congress Approves Rollback of Internet Privacy Protections

Amidst all of the other chaos surrounding the new administration, you could be forgiven for not being aware of an alarming reversal in internet privacy policy. Here’s what you should know.

In October 2016 the FCC voted in new regulations to require broadband internet providers to receive permission from consumers before collecting and selling individual subscriber usage information. Protected information included web browsing, location information, financial information, personal information, and more. The regulations were slated to go into effect later this year.

Earlier this month the Senate passed a repeal of the rule on a strict party-line vote, and the House did likewise this week. There is little mystery about the next step, as the White House has stated that the President will sign the bill. Once that happens the FCC will be powerless to recreate the rule.

What this means is that your internet provider will be able to sell the data it collects on you without your permission. And this isn’t just your web browsing data, it includes any information you enter online, including personally identifying and health-related information. Since there is really no competition in local broadband providers, consumers have few options for direct action.

If you’re as outraged as we are, consider some of the following ideas:

  • Get informed about the issue. Good starting points include op-eds from March 29 in the New York Times and Washington Post, as well as https://www.fightforthefuture.org .
  • Let your cable company know that you do not want your information collected or sold. Although though they are under no obligation to heed your wishes we can hope that many voices will make a difference.
  • A petition for the President is available to sign at http://savebroadbandprivacy.org .
  • Helpful information about protecting your digital information is available at https://www.letsgetsafe.org/ . Please note that if you desire to encrypt your Hampshire-owned computer that IT should initiate the encryption to minimize the potential for data loss.
  • Watch for future erosions of your online rights. Negation of net neutrality rules promise to be the next digital battleground.

Guarding Against Theft of Electronics

We have seen several computer thefts this year, from public places as well as offices. What can you do limit the chance of theft, and how can you prepare in case the worst happens? Read on.

Don’t Leave Valuables Unattended
It only takes a moment for a computer to be stolen. When you’re working in a public place like the Library or a cafe, never leave your computer unattended and unlocked, even for a few minutes. If you have a trusted friend you can leave it with them, otherwise bring it with you or leave it locked. If your office is open and unattended, always use a lock. IT is happy to provide cable locks for Hampshire-owned computers.

Turn on Tracking
On a Mac, System Preferences/iCloud allows you to turn on Find my Mac, which will track your device and allow you to wipe it remotely or play an alarm if it is detected on line. Windows 10 has a “Find My Device” option in Settings/Update & Security, which will show you where your device is. There are other 3rd-party options for different platforms–Prey is one option for Android, Linux, as well as Mac, iOS and Windows.

Know your Serial Number
Your serial number will be helpful for law enforcement if your computer is recovered. Many computers have the serial number printed on the computer or a sticker attached to it; if you don’t have a sticker or can’t read it, search online for how to find it on your computer–or for a Mac just use AppleAbout this Mac. IT maintains a record of all Hampshire-owned computer serial numbers.

Know your MAC Address(es)
Your computer has a “Media Access Control” (MAC) address which uniquely identifies it on each network connection it has. For example, there is a MAC address associated with the wireless connection, and a different one associated with its Ethernet connection (if it has one). The MAC address can be used to track the computer if it’s connected to the internet. You can find instructions for determining the MAC address of many different types of devices at http://www.wikihow.com/Find-the-MAC-Address-of-Your-Computer.

If you need help finding your personal computer’s MAC addresses, the Student Diagnostic Center on the 3rd floor of the Library can help.

IT maintains a record of all Hampshire-owned computer MAC addresses.

Keep your Files Backed Up
Losing your computer can be devastating, but losing your files can be irrecoverable. Keep your files backed up either on an external drive or on a cloud service. If you use an external drive to backup, always store it separately from your computer–you don’t want it to be stolen with your computer.

What to do if your Computer is Stolen
If your Hampshire-owned computer is stolen from campus, notify Campus Police immediately; if it is stolen from off campus, call the local police. In either case it is helpful for IT to be immediately notified as well, at 413.559.5418 or helpdesk@hampshire.edu. We can provide the MAC address and serial number if needed.

If your personal computer is stolen from campus, notify campus police as soon as you realize it. If you have a record of your serial number and MAC addresses, provide them to the police. If you have taken our advice and set up a device tracker, check to see if you can locate your device, and consider other options as allowed by the tracker–for instance, to play an alarm or erase the drive.


Conference Phones

We have been adding conference calling capabilities to some conference rooms around campus, and have put together a table to help you determine which room and what type of conference phone will meet your needs. Read on.

There are two types of conference phones, “analog”–a traditional phone line–and “Voice over IP” (or “VoIP”). We have been adding VoIP ports to various conference rooms when we are able (there are sometimes technical limitations that don’t allow us to add a VoIP port), and surveying the availability of analog ports as well.

Media services loans both analog and VoIP conference phones, but the first step is to figure out which type you will need. We have put together a list of all of the conference rooms with conference call capabilities and the type of phone that you need for each. Some conference rooms have multiple ports, so there may be a choice of phone types. Check out the list before you make your next conference call.

We may be adding more VoIP ports in the future and will update the list as that happens.