Trouble with VPN?

If you use a PC and get booted off of Hampshire’s VPN after working for a bit, we have a solution for you.

About VPN

As you probably know, VPN (Virtual Private Network) is used when you are off-campus but want to access restricted network resources, especially file servers like newmisserver and patterson. Connecting through VPN makes it look to the network like you are on campus.

VPN vs. VPN2

We aren’t sure why, but our original VPN setup,, kicks PC users off after a while. To get around that we set up a second VPN system, There are some advantages to keeping the original VPN system in place, but we want to make PC users in particular aware of the second choice.

There are a couple of differences between VPN and VPN2:

  • VPN2 does not allow access to printers on campus. It’s pretty unusual for users to send print jobs from off-campus anyway, but if you do need to do that you should connect through the original VPN.
  • The printing restriction is actually part of a larger restriction that blocks direct access to IP addresses on campus. This is not something that IT supports in most cases, so it is not likely you are using it. If you don’t understand what I just wrote, rest assured that it is not going to affect you.
  • You cannot test your VPN2 connection from on campus. This I have learned the hard way, so I am happy to pass it on to you.

New to VPN?

If you are setting up VPN for the first time read the instructions. If you are setting it up on a Windows computer please enter the Internet Address as

Switching to VPN2

There is no sense in switching to VPN2 unless you have had trouble on VPN, but if you have then switching to VPN2 is pretty easy:

  1. Find your VPN connection in the list of network connections that you can bring up from the taskbar on the lower right of your screen (unless you’ve moved your task bar to a different location, in which case you’re on your own).
  2. Right-click on the VPN connection and select “Properties.”
  3. In the window that comes up change the Internet Address to
  4. Close up the window, saving the changes, and you’re all set.

If you have had trouble using a Mac on VPN, you can try to switch to VPN2, but we aren’t aware of issues with Mac connections.

To change on a Mac:

  1. From the Apple Menu select System Preferences.
  2. Choose Network.
  3. Select your VPN setup from the panel on the left.
  4. Change your VPN server name to
  5. Apply the changes and you are all set.

For problems or questions please contact the IT Help Desk at or 413.559.5418.

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Junk Mail Controls in Thunderbird

If too much–or not enough–email is ending up in your Junk mailbox, here’s how you can adjust Thunderbird’s behavior.
Thunderbird has adaptive junk mail settings. That means that it keeps track of messages that you mark as “junk” or “not junk” and uses them as a template for figuring whether incoming messages should be automatically marked as junk.

In order for the adaptive junk mail detection to have enough information to work well Thunderbird needs your help identifying roughly 100 junk mail messages and 100 non-junk messages. Once you’ve gone through this training period Thunerbird should be pretty good at recognizing what is junk and what isn’t.

Turning on Junk Mail Detection in Thunderbird

To have Thunderbird move junk mail into your Junk folder:
From the Thunderbird Tools menu select “Account Settings.”

  1. On the left, select “Junk Settings.”
  2. Check the box that says “Enable adaptive junk mail controls for this account.”
  3. Check “Move new junk messages to…”
  4. Click “OK to close the Account Settings box.

Training Thunderbird

If you’re using Thunderbird for the first time, you can go ahead and train it right away. If you’ve been using Thunderbird for a while and it’s picked up some bad habits regarding junk mail, it’s best to start with a clean slate by resetting it’s training data:

  1. In Thunderbird select Thunderbird–>Preferences from the menu.
  2. Click on “Security.”
  3. Select the “Junk” section.
  4. Click the “Reset Training Data” button on the bottom right.

Now when new messages come in, carefully mark them as Junk or Not Junk. There are several ways you can do this:

  • Select a message and type “Shift+J” (for not Junk) or “J” (for Junk).
  • Right-click on a message and choose “Mark -> As Junk” (or “As Not Junk”).
  • Select a message and from the “Message” menu, choose “Mark -> As Junk” (or “As Not Junk”).
  • Select a message and click on the “Junk” icon on the toolbar.
  • Select a message and click on the “Junk Status” column in the message-list pane (which will show a small “Junk” icon if the message is marked as junk).

Read more about Junk mail filtering in Thunderbird.

Update your Browser’s Extensions

Extensions are added to web browsers to allow them to present more content or enhance features. You may not realize that you’ve added any, but chances are you have some installed. Keep them updated to keep your computer safe.

Out of date extensions are a security risk, and unfortunately it’s not always obvious how to update them. You should check at least a couple of times a year to see if your extensions are updated. Here’s what to do in Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.


  1. Start up Firefox and choose Tools→Add-ons.
  2. Click on “Plugins” on the left.
  3. At the top of the list of plugins, click on the link that says “Check to see if your plugins are up to date.”
  4. Firefox will go to a page with links to click on if you need updates. Click on each one that is marked as out of date, and install the new ones.
  5. Close the tab to finish.


Chrome actually automatically checks for updates to extensions, but on its own schedule. If you want to update manually it’s a little bit hidden:

  1. Start up Chrome and choose Window→Extensions.
  2. Click on “Extensions” on the left.
  3. At the top-right of the list of plugins, check the box that says “Developer Mode.”
  4. Right under that button, click on “Update extensions now.”
  5. Close the tab and you’re done.


Safari can also automatically check for updates to extensions, but that option has to be turned on.

  1. Start up Safari and choose Safari →Preferences.
  2. Select “Extensions” from the top of the window.
  3. At the bottom of the list of extensions, click on “Updates.” Any extensions having updates available will be listed on the panel on the right.
  4. To force updates manually, click on the “Updates” button for each extension you want to update. If you are given a choice about updating from the Extensions Gallery or the website, choose the Gallery for an automatic update.
  5. To enable automatic extension updates, check the box that says, “Automatically update extensions from the Safari Extension Gallery.
  6. Close the Preferences window and you’re all set.

View Intranet Calendars in your Personal Calendar

You can view the Academic Calendar or Hampshire Public Events Calendar–or any other of our public calendars–in your own calendar app.

Public Calendars on the Intranet

If you haven’t discovered the public calendars on the Intranet, log in and check them out. Go to  and log in. Choose the “View Public Calendars” link under the mini calendar in the top left.

Once you’re in the Public Calendar view you can choose a calendar from the drop down list on the top left. Make a note of the name of any calendar you want to view in your own calendar.

Adding Public Calendars to Zimbra

  • In your Calendar tab in Zimbra, click the gear icon next to the word Calendars in the left side window and select “Add External Calendar” from the drop down menu.
  • Choose “Add External Calendar (Other)” and click “Next.”
  • Change the “Type” to “ICAL Subscription” and a URL box will become visible. Copy and paste one of these URLs into that box, then click “Next”:

Academic Calendar:

Hampshire Public Events Calendar:

  • In the name field, enter something like “Academic” or “Hampshire Events”, choose a color for this calendar and check the “Exclude this calendar when reporting free/busy times” box.
  • Click OK

Note that the calendar will initially take a few minutes to load completely. Once it is ready you will have the Intranet calendar you chose available to you to view in Zimbra. You can check and uncheck the calendar when ever you’d like.

Adding Public Calendars to Google Calendar

  • On your Google Calendar page, click the menu button to the right of “Other calendars.”
  • Choose “Add by URL.”
  • Copy and paste one of these URLs into the “URL” box, then click “Add Calendar”:

Academic Calendar:

Hampshire Public Events Calendar:

Adding Public Calendars to Apple’s Mac Calendar (formerly “iCal”)

  • In the Calendar app, select File–>New Calendar Subscription.
  • Copy and paste one of these URLs into the “URL” box, then click “Add Calendar”:

Academic Calendar:

Hampshire Public Events Calendar:

  • Set the options in the window however you’d like and click “OK.”

Good Things in Small Packages

If you have a link to share with people you can use Hampshire’s URL Shortening Service to make it short & sweet. Check it out.

The URL Shortening Service is easy to use. You provide the long URL and specify a name for the short link, and it becomes followed by the short name you provided.

For instance, if you want to send anonymous feedback to sac, you could either use, or the short link that’s been created, That’s a little easier on the eyes, right?

To create your own short URL’s, first check out the policy at (see what I did there?) and then set up your own by going to

Create your own short URL

Computer + Liquid = Trouble

Take precautions to keep your computer from getting watered, but if an accident happens be prepared to act quickly.

Prevention is the best strategy. To minimize your risk:

  • Place beverages on a separate surface from your computer and/or elevate your computer above a surface subject to spills.
  • Avoid eating over your keyboard.
  • Never store your computer in a compartment with liquids.
  • Keep an absorbent cloth in your laptop bag or work area, just in case.
  • Recognize that accidents do happen, and back up your data regularly.

If you do spill something on your computer, quick action may save your computer and data from ruin:

  1. Safety first! Beware of the potential for electrical shock.
  2. Shut down the computer immediately. If normal shutdown procedures will not work, press and hold the power button until the computer shuts down.
  3. Unplug the power, external devices and cables and remove the battery if it is easily accessible. Remove any easily removable parts.
  4. Blot up any visible liquid on the surface of the computer.
  5. If the spill is on a laptop, turn the computer upside down with the lid open, to allow the liquid to drain and dry out.  Keyboards should also be turned upside down.
  6. Wipe up the spill.
  7. Do not attempt to disassemble a laptop body to remove internal parts or remove key caps.
  8. Allow your computer to dry undisturbed for at least 24 hours. A nearby fan or hairdryer on low or no heat may be used.
  9. Bring your computer to the Student Diagnostic Center or call the IT Help Desk (413.559.5418). Your computer may benefit from further disassembly and cleaning. Do not attempt disassembly yourself.
  10. Do not attempt to start the computer until you are sure the liquid has had sufficient time to dry.

Keep your Web Browser Updated

Security features are regularly updated in browsers, and it’s important that they be installed. Web browsers pass confidential information entered by you to the websites you visit, and their ability to keep that information secure may be their most critical feature. Given that, it’s important to keep your browser updated with the latest security releases.

We are particularly interested in getting the Hampshire community to upgrade to browsers that support a security feature called TLS v1.2. It’s a protocol working behind the scenes to keep your data secure as it is passed from browser to website.

Keeping Firefox Updated
Despite the importance of keeping security features up to date, there is a downside to updating browsers too frequently: websites may not be able to keep up with the changing features. We have seen issues like this with Mozilla Firefox, which rolls out new release every couple of months. Mozilla realizes this is an issue, and they have a slower release schedule that you can follow if you use the Extended Support Release (ESR) version; the ESR gives you security updates on a regular basis, but feature releases only come once a year. We recommend Hampshire computers stay current with the ESR version. Firefox has had TLS v1.2 support enabled since version 27; ESR is currently on version 38, and the general release is up to 44.

To check what version of Firefox you have installed use the FirefoxAbout Firefox menu on a Mac, and HelpAbout Firefox menu on Windows. There is an automatic update option in the About Firefox window, and if it works it’s very handy; in our experience it sometimes fails, in which case you can go to for the latest ESR release. (A note to Mac users: if you are unable to copy the new version of Firefox into your Applications folder because you don’t have permission, throw the old version in the trash before copying the new one over.)

Google Chrome
If you use Google Chrome, the default settings are to have it automatically update itself, and we recommend that you keep it that way. Learn more about keeping Chrome up to date.

Apple Safari
If you use Apple’s built in web browser, Safari, it will be updated through the Software Update mechanism–these days this is handled through the App Store application. Note that if you are using a version of OS X earlier than 10.9 then there is no version of Safari available that supports TLS v1.2. If you are concerned, you can switch to a different browser or upgrade your system to the current OS–but the latter option comes with its own caveats and may not be possible on older computers anyway.

Microsoft Internet Explorer
If you’re using Internet Explorer, don’t. Internet Explorer 11 does support TLS v1.2, but Firefox and Chrome are both better browsers.

Microsoft Edge
If you’re using Edge you’re pretty much on your own. Literally. Well, Edge does support TLS v1.2 but we–apparently like most of the world–don’t have experience with it or any compelling reason to switch.