TheHub Tuesday Maintenance Window Ending

Since its inception, TheHub has had a weekly maintenance window on Tuesday evenings from 7-9pm. Effective April, 2015 this will be ending – students, faculty and staff can use TheHub every weekday evening (including Tuesdays) without interruption.  Please note that the maintenance window from 3am-6am each day will remain in effect. Also note that periodic maintenance windows may be announced on an as-needed basis.


As with any web application, in order to properly operate TheHub we have to periodically install software updates which cannot be accomplished while users are logged in. Additionally, database tuning and maintenance must be performed regularly – something that previously could not be accomplished with users actively using TheHub. However, improvements in software and database architecture over the last 10 years now allow us to side step some of these hurdles.

We hope you receive this message and are overjoyed at the possibility of using TheHub on Tuesday evenings.

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01. April 2015 by Jeff Butera
Categories: Software, TheHub | Tags: | Comments Off on TheHub Tuesday Maintenance Window Ending

Hampshire College IT Seeks Web Programmer

Hampshire College, an independent, innovative liberal arts institution and member of the Five College consortium, is accepting applications for a web programmer in its Information Technology Department.

The web programmer will work as part of a team to develop, implement, and maintain various websites and services for the College. These responsibilities include recommending, installing, maintaining and administering content management software and supporting users in a decentralized content model; and recommending, installing, maintaining and administering learning management software and working with the technology for teaching and learning staff to support instructional technology needs. This position is also responsible for designing and developing new database-driven web applications in addition to maintaining and enhancing existing ones; performing quality assurance testing to ensure cross-platform and cross-browser compatibility; resolving structural problems; and providing technical support for various web sites and services. The successful candidate will work with other IT staff to plan for and resolve issues related to server hardware/software, network security, bandwidth, and overall technical performance of web services.

A bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field is required; or equivalent training and experience. Qualified candidate must have a minimum of three years’ experience in web programming and knowledge of object-oriented web programming languages, query languages, responsive web design, web server software, version control, content management systems, and working on open source software projects; such as HTML5, CSS/Sass, PHP, XML, Javascript/AJAX/JQuery, Python, Java/jsp/servlets, Apache/Tomcat, Git, Drupal, WordPress, and Moodle. A commitment to working with people from diverse backgrounds is essential.

This is a full time, 12-month benefited position. We offer a competitive salary and excellent benefit program. Please submit your cover letter, resume and names/phone numbers of three professional references via our website at

Hampshire College is an equal opportunity institution, committed to diversity in education and employment.

Apply for this position »

27. March 2015 by Applications and Web Services
Categories: Employment | Comments Off on Hampshire College IT Seeks Web Programmer

Updates vs Upgrades

What’s the difference? What should you install and what should you wait on? The general rule of thumb is to install updates promptly but wait for more information on upgrades.

Updates are relatively minor changes to software, usually addressing security flaws as well as feature enhancements. Upgrades are major revisions–perhaps complete rewrites–of software.

Mac System Updates
On a Mac, updates come through regularly and are often listed as separate items: printer updates, iTunes updates, security updates, etc. These are all minor enhancements to the components of the system. When the core part of the operating system is updated it is given a number in the third place, such as 10.6.8 or 10.8.2. These updates generally require user acceptance, and we recommend that you accept them as they appear.

Windows System Updates
On Windows, updates are also distributed regularly–often weekly. Most Windows computers are set up to automatically install system updates. The numbers associated with the Windows updates aren’t as clear as they are on the Mac. Occasionally one will come through as a “Service Pack” with a number after it (Windows XP Service Pack 2, for instance); these are in between routine updates and upgrades in terms of content, but you should install them.

Mac System Upgrades
An example of an upgrade on the Mac is the Yosemite OS, system 10.10. It’s available for free and is front and center when you look at pending updates. This is a major operating system upgrade and we don’t recommend it for most users. It is bigger and slower than previous systems and unless your computer is new or high end you will notice the decrease in performance. We have also noticed some issues connecting to our servers that we haven’t yet found a work-around for.

Windows System Upgrades
On Windows, Windows 8 is a major upgrade. It’s a completely new interface design that is cumbersome for non-tablet computers. Installing it on an existing computer (going from Windows 7 to Windows 8) is a significant undertaking and we don’t recommend it. There will be some devices that come with Windows 8 installed as the only option, and that’s currently the only situation in which we endorse it.

Other Updates
Finally, there are third party updates to software that you should install, but always pay attention because they may sneak in extra software.

  • Microsoft Office updates are installed automatically with system updates on Windows. On the Mac you it will usually check for updates weekly and bring them to your attention when you start up Word or Excel. You should always install these, though it’s ok to delay it a bit if you’re in a hurry.
  • Java updates are important to install, but Oracle is the worst offender in trying to slip in extra software. As you go through the installation process watch for checkboxes and uncheck any that will install software (you do not want the Ask Toolbar or Ask search engine.
  • It’s fine to update Adobe suite products whenever updates are available, but they are sometimes a little slow to install so pick your time wisely. Adobe Flash should be updated when the updates are offered, but if you have to go to the Adobe website to download the update, PC users should watch for check boxes offering to install extra software. Always uncheck them.
  • It’s good to update Firefox and Thunderbird, but people often find that the updates get stuck and never actually install. If that happens to you, go to and find the latest download under the Mozilla/Products tab.

As always, if you run into problems or have further questions please contact the IT help desk at or 413.559.5418.

26. March 2015 by Kate, School Support Specialist
Categories: TechTips | Comments Off on Updates vs Upgrades

Interested in Attending TEDx Amherst on April 25, 2015?

TEDx Amherst is being hosted at UMass on April 25, 2015. Registration is limited, so anyone interested in attending should apply for a ticket by going to The first 70 Hampshire students to apply will receive a free ticket, thanks to the Hampshire College Dean of Students. Students should choose the Student Ticket ($10) option, faculty and staff should choose the Standard Ticket ($60) option.

24. March 2015 by Applications and Web Services
Categories: Events | Comments Off on Interested in Attending TEDx Amherst on April 25, 2015?

Enhancing Student Learning and Engagement Through Moodle

The Five College Blended Learning Program is hosting a workshop on enhancing student learning and engagement through Moodle.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

4:30-6 p.m.

Main location:
Amherst College, Webster 102

Satellite locations with video conferencing:
Hampshire College, FPH Faculty Lounge
Smith College, Seelye Hall B4

Register Now »

17. March 2015 by Applications and Web Services
Categories: Events, Moodle Tips, Professional Development, Workshops | Comments Off on Enhancing Student Learning and Engagement Through Moodle

Text Formatting Changes on TheHub

For the last 8 years or so, TheHub has allowed formatted text on evaluations.  This includes BOLD, italics, underlining and many others.  We realize the need for formatting to properly cite works as well as the ability for superscripts or subscripts to be used in math, chemistry or other sciences.

However, one of the problems we have with evaluations on TheHub is lack of consistency in fonts, colors, line spacing, etc.  This is exacerbated considering that many like to write their evaluations offline using Word or other editor, and then cut/paste the formatted text into TheHub.  By doing so, this introduces a lot of variability in fonts, line spacing and more – which TheHub has been preserving.

Starting March 30, 2015, TheHub will begin to strip this formatting out.  Some examples of why this is important:

A course description with incredibly small font from MS Word:

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 2.38.15 PM

A self-evaluation with large vertical line spacing:

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 3.13.16 PM


In summary, by eliminating all formatting except for:

  • bold
  • italic
  • underline
  • superscripts/subscripts

we will improve the consistency of evaluations for students, faculty and staff who need to read these on a regular basis.

13. March 2015 by Jeff Butera
Categories: TheHub, Uncategorized | Tags: | Comments Off on Text Formatting Changes on TheHub

Getting Rid of Adware on Your Mac

We’ve seen a few instances this week of Mac’s with annoying ads and rogue search engines overtaking browsers. If your Mac is running 10.7 or later, we’ve got a tool to help you out.

Mac users haven’t had to think a whole lot about protecting their computers from malware, and we don’t generally recommend installing antivirus software. That’s because the threats are few and far between, they’re generally addressed by Apple within a brief timeframe, and the downside of antivirus software is that it slows down your computer. This approach does mean that you may occasionally have to run manual scans on your computer–any time you notice unusual computer behavior that could be due to malware.

The issues we’ve been seeing lately are confined to browsers: excessive ads or warning messages may pop up, or the default search engine may have been switched and now returns only ads. There is no indication that these infections do anything beyond the obvious: no key logging or opening up your computer for more sinister uses.

If you think that your browser might have been infected and you are running OS X 10.7 or later, download AdwareMedic and then have it scan your computer. If you’re using an older version of the system and think you might be affected, contact the help desk or submit an IT Ticket. (To find out what version of the system you’re running select “About This Mac” from the Apple menu.)

For a little extra security, we also recommend occasionally running a full malware scan on your computer. Our recommend scanner, ClamXav, runs on 10.6 and later. One note about using it: before scanning, use ClamXav/Preferences/Quarantine to set up a quarantine folder–otherwise you will have to run the scan a second time to actually remove any infection.

11. March 2015 by Kate, School Support Specialist
Categories: TechTips | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Getting Rid of Adware on Your Mac

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