Power Down Over Break

The IT Department would like to remind you that we live in New England where winter storms can cause power outages. These outages can sometime create problems in electronic equipment. Please take steps to minimize any problems, and as an added bonus they will help us conserve energy!

Please remember to do the following before you leave for break. Need help to remember? Put a sticky note on your door, coat, bag or another place you will see it as you go to leave.

We would like you to turn OFF and UNPLUG power on all computers, monitors, printers, copiers, external drives and other large electronic equipment prior to leaving. This is to protect them from electrical damage during any outages, power surges, or when power is restored. To simplify the process, if several devices (e.g. monitor, computer, printer) are connected to a power strip, just unplug the power strip, not each device.

We would like you to do this even if you have power strips on all of your major equipment. The reasoning is because not all power strips are surge protectors, or they may not offer enough protection for all the equipment plugged into them. We understand that not everyone will be able to physically unplug all of the equipment for one reason or another. In those cases, devices should be powered off completely and not left in a sleep or low power mode.

A special note about refrigerators. Do not unplug them, but remember that if you have ice built up in the freezer portion, it may melt and leak out on the floor during an extended outage. Please make sure there are no electronics or other items nearby that may get damaged. You may want to consider placing a towel or something under the door to absorb any leaking.

We have generators and back up power to keep the servers and some network equipment running so off campus access to most systems are not effected by outages unless the outage is significant or extensive.

Thank you for your assistance. If you have questions concerning the protection of your computers and other equipment, please contact the IT helpdesk at helpdesk@hampshire.edu.

When Windows 10 Does Not Play Nice with our Networks

We were stumped this week by a Windows 10 computer that had to re-register with our wireless network every day. Turns out it’s a “feature” that was turned on in Windows 10.

Our Wallace network for faculty & staff and Gromit network for students both require that computers using them go through a registration process once a year. To register a computer you enter your Hampshire username and password, and once it is verified your computer is granted access to the network for the rest of the academic year. To accomplish this, behind the scenes we record a unique identifier for the computer so that the computer will be recognized the next time it connects to the network. The unique identifier is called the “Media Access Control” or “MAC” address for short.

Every device that connects to the internet has a MAC address that doesn’t change over the lifetime of the computer; Windows 10 adds a feature that allows the computer to make up a new (fake) MAC address every day. I won’t bore you with the details of why this might be desirable, but if you’re on the run from the FBI or hiding from the NSA you might want to consider it. On the other hand, if you’re on campus and want to use wireless, you definitely should make sure it’s off.

The consequence of this being turned on at Hampshire is that every day you will have to re-register your computer with the Hampshire network. Painful.

If you have a Windows 10 computer and have trouble connecting to our network, you might want to check the MAC address settings:

  1. Open up your Start menu and choose “Settings.”
  2. Select “Network and Internet.”
  3. In the panel on the left click on “Wi-Fi.”
  4. In the panel on the right select “Manage Wi-Fi settings.”
  5. In the “Random hardware address” section and under “Use random addresses for this network,” select either “On” (for a randomized MAC address that will stay the same) or “Off” (to use the computer’s actual MAC address).

Deleting Old iTunes Backups

If you’re concerned about storage space on your computer, consider removing old iTunes backups.

If you’ve ever looked at the Apple–>About this Mac/”Storage” section on your computer, you may have noticed that there is a chunk of storage space being used by “Other” files. One thing that is grouped in this category is old iTunes backups. On a Windows computer it’s not so easy to see exactly how your files are using up disk space, but it’s easy to check in iTunes to see if there are any backups you are ready to get rid of.

Seeing Exactly how Much Space iTunes Backups are Using (totally optional, for the curious)

If you want to see how much space is being used by iTunes backups on your computer:

On a Mac:

  1. Click on the desktop to make sure you’re in the Finder, hold down the Option key, and choose “Go–>Library”.
  2. Find and select (single click) the folder “MobileSync”.
  3. Select File–>Get Info and look at the “Size” figure.

On a PC the backups are stored in “Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup”. To navigate to that folder:

  1. Find the Search bar:
    • In Windows 7, click “Start”.
    • In Windows 8, click the magnifying glass in the upper-right corner.
    • In Windows 10, click the Search bar next to the “Start” button.
  2. In the Search bar, enter “%appdata%”
  3. Press “Return”.
  4. Open up the “Apple Computer” folder
  5. Right-click on the “MobileSync” folder and select “Properties” and look for the folder size.

Checking & Removing Backups in iTunes

When you are ready to remove iTunes backups:

  1. Open up iTunes.
  2. On a Mac choose iTunes–>Preferences, and on Windows choose Edit–>Preferences.
  3. Click Devices.
  4. Choose the backup that you want to delete. If you have several devices or backups, hover the mouse pointer over the backup to see more details.
  5. Choose “Delete Backup”, then confirm.

Cleaning out your Thunderbird Address Book

If you’ve been using Thunderbird for a while it has probably built up a good-sized address book for you. Cleaning it out every now and then is a good practice to avoid making addressing mistakes.

Auto-fill of known addresses is a handy feature, but if you’ve got lots of old addresses hanging around it can cause headaches and mistakes if you’re not paying attention. For instance, usernames at Hampshire should always be unique, but email aliases, which are composed from the person’s first initial and last name, may be re-used. It’s also easier to type the first few letters of someone’s name and home in on the right correspondent if your address book is in good shape.

When you open up your address book in Thunderbird, you will notice there are at least 2: Collected Addresses and Personal Address Book. There may be more, including Mac OS X Address Book, depending on what type of system you’re working on and whether you’ve imported any address books in the past.

Open up each address book, and just scan the list quickly, looking for people who have moved on & with whom you no longer correspond. You can select a name and press the Delete key (Mac) or Backspace key (PC) to remove it. This can be a tedious project, but you can break it into different sessions if need be.

The Hampshire Intranet, Daily Digest, and Campus Calendar Overhaul Project

Many students, faculty, and staff are already aware that some of us in IT and the communications office have been working on a major redesign of the Hampshire Intranet, which includes the announcement and event system that runs the campus calendar and daily digest emails you receive each morning during the week. We want to provide the campus community with some details about the project along the way, so here goes…

What is the Intranet?

The Intranet is a portal-like website that contains some password-protected content meant for the Hampshire community. The main page has a bunch of links, and it’s the place to post announcements and events that appear in the daily digest emails and on the campus calendar.

Why are we overhauling it?

The Intranet has existed in a similar state for well over 10 years. As a community we still have a need for communication tools like announcements, a central campus calendar, and a place to put information that requires a Hampshire login. We’ve received a LOT of feedback over the years about different aspects of this system. We’ve done user testing and interviews with some students, faculty, and staff, which made the direction of our work very clear. The same feature requests and bugs came up over and over again. We want to provide similar and better functionality in a user-friendly way.

What kinds of changes are we talking about?

There will be a lot of changes, but here are highlights of the big ticket items we’re addressing:

  • Redesigned daily digest email, including new features when submitting announcements and events.
  • Redesigned Intranet homepage with helpful links targeted specifically for students, faculty, and staff respectively based on who is logged in.
  • Centralized campus calendar and academic calendar.
  • Student job postings (both work study and non-work study) that can be easily searched and filtered.
  • Search functionality that indexes all Intranet content, including announcements and events.

Timeline

We plan to launch the new Intranet/Digest/Calendar in January 2017.

We’ll be posting more details about the project as we progress and we’ll be looking for feedback. In the meantime, questions, comments, or concerns can be sent to webmaster@hampshire.edu.

Hampshire Wireless Network Security

iOS 10 gives hints about how to make Hampshire wireless networks more secure. What’s that about?

If you have a device that runs iOS 10 you may have noticed that it offers hints for improving the security of wireless networks, in particular Hampguest, Wallace, and Gromit, but not for Eduroam. There’s nothing you need to do to improve the security, but all of us should understand the basics of the security issue so we can make the best choice.

Limiting Access to Wireless Networks
There are ways to limit who is allowed to connect using wireless networks. At Hampshire we limit access to the Wallace (faculty and staff) and Gromit (student) networks by requiring a Hampshire account be entered to register each device used on those networks; Hampguest is open for the public to use while on campus. This helps us keep our IT infrastructure somewhat protected, as well as helping to keep wireless traffic within our capacity.

Wireless Network Data Security
What simply controlling access to a wireless network does not do is to encrypt the information that you send over the wireless network. Data that is not encrypted is vulnerable to being intercepted by a nearby hacker. Keep in mind, though, that information you send to secure http sites (web addresses that start with “https”), as well as our email system (and hopefully any current email system), are encrypted by protocols enforced by those systems.

Wireless networks that are encrypted protect the information you send from your computer so that an eavesdropping computer cannot decipher them. There are different methods of encrypting, with a WPA2 encryption method being the current standard.

Eduroam is the Encrypted Wireless Network on Campus
Of the Hampshire wireless networks, only Eduroam provides this encryption protection. We strongly recommend that the Hampshire community use Eduroam whenever possible. Eduroam does provide access to file servers and printing for faculty and staff, but there are Hampshire web services that are not currently available on Eduroam; if you run into problems accessing a service, try switching to Wallace to see if it works.

We are planning to eventually discontinue Wallace and Gromit, and switch entirely to Eduroam. It is a good idea to set up Eduroam sooner rather than later, not only to take advantage of its security features, but also because it is available at many other educational institutions.

Learn more about Eduroam

WebUI 5 for Colleague

WebUI, the web user interface you may use to access Colleague will be upgraded to a new version in the next few months.  This new version will no longer require the use of Microsoft Silverlight plugin, which means you can use any of your favorite browsers such as Firefox, Chrome or Safari.

Please note that WebUI  is not TheHub.

Why a New Version?

The current version relies on Microsoft Silverlight plugin which is problematic for several reasons.  Foremost, Silverlight is begin decommissioned by Microsoft and will no longer be supported in the near future.  Secondly, changes by Chrome make Silverlight mostly non-functional.  Lastly, WebUI 5 will now use HTML5, the latest standard for web development.

When Will I See the New Version?

Over November we will have the new version of WebUI installed in our test environments and users will be notified to try it out.  We anticipate installing it in production around Thanksgiving, but that is speculation at this point.

You can view highlights and a demonstration at HampTV .

What Forms Have Changed?

You may notice slight cosmetic changes to a handful of forms now, before we install the new version, to make them work better under WebUI 5.  In particular:

CA:
Contribution Entry Defaults (CNED)
Solicitation Track (MDSO)
Matching Gift Entry (MGE)
Proposal (PRSL)
Recognition Program (RGPM)

CF:
GL Account History Inquiry (AHST)
Approval GL Class Maintenance (APGL)
Fixed Asset Maintenance (ASST)
Base Budget Projection (BCBP)
Reporting Units Budgets (BCRU)
GL Class Definition (GLCD)
Other Fixed Asset Information (OFXM)
Purchase Order Summary List (POIL)
Tax Codes (TXCM)
Vendor Register (part of VENR)
Work Order Labor Entry (WOLU)
Work Order Materials (WOMU)

CORE:
Buildings (BLDG)
Contact History (CON)
Employment Detail (EMPD)
Fixed File Fields (ELFF)
Resolve Relation Addr Dupls (ERRA)
High Schools Attended (HSA)
Person Privacy Warnings (PID5)
Rooms (RMSM)

HR:
Benefit/Deduction Cost Update (BCDU)
Employee Taxes (ETAX)
Person’s Leave Plan (PLEV)
Pay Funding Information (PPFI)
Person’s Wage/Salary (PWAG)

ST:
Award Detail Entry (AIDE)
Academic Program Requirements (APRS)
AR Summary Inquiry (ARSI)
AR Term Summary Inquiry (ARTI)
Award History (AWHT)
Books (BOOK)
Direct Loan Application (DLAN)
Department of Ed Import (DOEI)
Financial Aid Status Info (FASI)
FA Update Parameters (FAUP)
Invoice Due Date Formula (IDDF)
Parent FA Demographic Data (PI16)
Parent FA Demographic Data (PI17)
Payment Plans (PPLN)
Academic Programs (PROG)
Calculate Return of Funds (ROFC)
Sections (SECT)-Note that SECT has had its detail fields moved, but the field sequence is still the same.
Immediate Payment Control Parameters (SFIP)
Section Offering Info (SOFF)
Student Profile (SPRO)
FA Student Comments (STCM)
Student Term Detail (STDT)
Transcript Requests (TRRQ)

I’m Not Sure What All This Means

If you have questions, send them to colleague@hampshire.edu and we’ll be happy to help you.