Hiring a New Employee?

If you’re hiring a new employee, your work doesn’t end with the offer acceptance. To ensure a smooth transition, please fill out the New Employee Computing Request Form as soon as possible.

  • When a new employee starts, or a Hampshire employee transfers to another department, IT has several tasks to undertake:
  • Set up email access.
  • Set up access to servers as appropriate.
  • Set up a Zimbra account if requested.
  • Set up Datatel access as appropriate.
  • Procure and / or set up a computer.
  • Set up phone lines.
  • Provide training on IT resources.

All of these things take time and planning, so for your new employee’s sake we request that you submit the form as soon as you have a start date. The information you will need to fill out the form includes:

  • The employee’s full name.
  • The start date.
  • Where the employee’s office will be.
  • Whether you already have a computer for the employee, or if you will be needing an additional one; if it’s an additional computer, the preference of type (Mac/PC, desktop/portable).
  • Whether the employee will need access to Datatel, file servers, and Zimbra..

Fill out the New Employee Computing Request Form »

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06. November 2014 by Applications and Web Services
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Spam, Spam, Spam, Egg and Spam in your Mailbox?

Rest assured that you’re not alone in having an influx of spam. Curious about why it’s happening, what we’re doing about it, and what you can do? Read on.

For the past week or two we’ve seen a significant uptick in the amount of spam coming through to Hampshire email addresses. This can happen for different reasons, most likely our email address list has been somehow acquired and sold to phishers and spammers. When this happens we tend to see an increase for a couple of months, and it then starts to subside.

What We Are Doing

There’s no easy, quick fix to this situation. We are tackling it in a few ways:

  • We use several different blacklisting services to make sure that incoming messages do not originate from known spam sites.
  • We require email to conform to certain protocols and behavioral standards. If we receive a message from a server we know nothing about, we do a quick check to try to establish the legitimacy of the server. If a message is rejected for any reason in these categories then the sender will be notified.
  • We look for certain categories of content and take action accordingly. Executable attachments are not delivered. Attachments that have a virus are discarded without notification. All messages are given a spam score based on certain characteristics; depending on the score the message may be delivered to the recipient’s inbox, delivered to the recipient’s Junk folder, or discarded without notification.

What You Can Do

  • Spam that gets identified as such and delivered is by default sent to your Junk folder. You should occasionally delete these items by right-clicking (or control-clicking on a Mac) on the Junk folder and selecting the Empty option. Note that this will permanently delete everything in the folder.
  • If you ever try to send out a message from your Hampshire email account and receive a message in return indicating that your message was not delivered because we are blacklisted, please forward us the message at helpdesk@hampshire.edu.

30. October 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
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A Screenshot is Worth a Thousand Words

Taking a quick picture of your computer or smartphone screen can be a lot easier than describing what it looks like or painstakingly recording the wording of an error message. But what was that magic key combination…

You won’t be able to take a screenshot in every situation–if your computer won’t start up, or if it completely freezes–but it can be helpful in many situations. Unfortunately, every device has a slightly different method.

Windows
Windows has a couple of different ways to take a screenshot.

  • A Windows keyboard will have a “Print Screen” key (often abbreviated to “Prt Scrn” or something similar). Pressing it once will take a picture of the screen and put it on the “clipboard”; you can then use the Paste command to put it into an email or Word document, or anywhere else that accepts a picture. Note that when you take the picture there’s no visual or audio feedback to indicate you’ve been successful.
  • If you’d like the screenshot to go directly into a file instead of on the clipboard, hold down the “Windows” key on the keyboard while you press the “Print Screen” button and Windows will put a file in your Pictures folder named “Screenshot”, with a number after it.
  • To take a picture of only the frontmost window on your screen, hold down the “Alt” key while pressing the “Print Screen” button.
  • In the Start Menu–>All Programs–>Accessories folder you will find a utility program called “Snipping Tool” that will let you drag out a rectangle or other shape on the screen to grab part of the screen and save it to a file. I find this to be a little more complicated than I usually need, but it is certainly flexible.

Macintosh
The key combinations on the Mac are a little less obvious, but it does have the advantage of giving you feedback when you take a picture: you will hear a camera shutter noise when it takes a picture (assuming your volume is turned up). Screen shots are saved in a “Screen Shot” file on your desktop; the filename will include the date and time of the picture. To take a screenshot of a Macintosh screen:

  • Holding down the “Command”, “Shift”, and “3” keys at the same time will take a picture of the entire screen.
  • Holding down Command-Shift-4 will bring up a cursor that will allow you to drag out a rectangle and capture part of the screen.
  • To take a picture of just one window, use Command-Shift-4 and then press the “Space” bar, which will then allow you to click into the window you want to capture.
  • If you want to get a picture of the items in a menu, click on the menu to open it, then use Command-Shift-4 and drag out a rectangle that includes the menu.

iPhone or iPad
You can grab a picture of the screen on your iOS device by holding the sleep/wake button on the top (actually this has been moved to the side on the iPhone 6), and then quickly pressing the “home” button on the front. If the volume is turned on you will hear a camera shutter noise, and the screen also flashes. The picture is put in your “Pictures” collection.

Android Devices
Most recent Android devices will take a screenshot by pressing the power button and the volume down button at the same time. You will get a notification that the screenshot was successful. If your device has a home button you might be able to take a screenshot by holding down the power button and the home button. Finally, on certain devices you may have the option to take a screenshot on the “Power Off” menu that appears when you hold down the power button.

16. October 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
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Setting up Emergency Notification Preferences

Did you show up at 8:30 during the emergency closing only to find an empty parking lot? Or maybe every device in your house starting buzzing and beeping and blaring as the messages came pouring in. If you don’t seem to be receiving the text messages or phone calls that your colleagues do about emergency closings–or if you receive one too many–settings on TheHub can help you out.

About the Hampshire Emergency Notification System
All students, faculty, and staff are automatically enrolled to receive email messages from the emergency notification system via their Hampshire email address. To ensure that the system is functional even if our mail system is down, they are sent by a third party, and show up as being from “Hampshire College Alert” or “Hampshire@getrave.com”.

We do have backup power sources for our mail servers, but it is possible that email messages will be undeliverable in the midst of an emergency. Even if the email message makes its way through, do you always check your email before heading out the door?

There are settings to add a landline and/or cell phone to your emergency notification contact methods. If you add a landline you will receive a phone call with a computerized voice message. A cellphone will receive that same message and a text version of it as well.

There are currently no settings to request only a text message on a cell phone, or to send an email to a different email address.

Setting up Your Preferences
To set up your preferences, go to https://thehub.hampshire.edu and sign in. Select the appropriate page (“Employee” or “Student”) and look under the “Personal Information” section for the “Emergency Notification” link.

09. October 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
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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.

02. October 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
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A Triplet of Thunderbird Tiplets

A lot of Thunderbird’s settings can be tweaked to suit your preferences. Here are a few quick tips to get you started.

Put your reply above the text you’re replying to.
If you reply to a message and include the text, Thunderbird’s default setting is to put your reply below the message you’re replying to. Most of us want our words on top, and it’s pretty easy to do:

  1. In Thunderbird, select “Tools→Account Settings.”
  2. Click on “Composition & Addressing.”
  3. Switch the “Then” option to “start my reply above the quote.”

Automatically add “@hampshire.edu” to email addresses
It can get old typing “@hampshire.edu” over and over again. To have Thunderbird add it automatically if you don’t put an “@” in the address:

  1. Select Thunderbird→Preferences (Mac) or Thunderbird→Options (PC).
  2. Click on the “Advanced” icon.
  3. On the ribbon below, select “General” (note that there’s a General icon above as well, which is a little confusing).
  4. Click on “Config Editor…”
  5. Promise to be careful.
  6. In the search box type “autocompleteTo”, which should select only one item, “mail.identity.default.autocompleteToMyDomain”.
  7. Note that the Value is set to “false” by default. Double-click on it to change it to “true”. This will tell Thunderbird to autocomplete addresses with “@hampshire.edu” by default.
  8. Close up the windows, agreeing to save changes if prompted.

Have Thunderbird always display your mail quota
By default Thunderbird will display the percentage of your email quota that you’ve used only when it gets above a critical threshold. If you’d like to be able to keep an eye on your quota all the time you can have it displayed in Thunderbird’s bottom status bar:

  1. Select Thunderbird→Preferences (Mac) or Thunderbird→Options (PC).
  2. Click on the “Advanced” icon.
  3. On the ribbon below, select “General” (note that there’s a General icon above as well, which is a little confusing).
  4. Click on “Config Editor…”
  5. Promise to be careful.
  6. In the search bar type “threshold.show”. This should list just one item, “mail.quota.mainwindow_threshold.show”.
  7. Double-click on the listed item, and change the number displayed to zero.
  8. Click “OK” to save the changes, and close up windows, agreeing to save changes if prompted.
  9. Quit Thunderbird and then start it up. Click on your Inbox (it sometimes takes a few seconds or a couple of tries) and you will see your quota displayed in the bottom right corner. Note: if you don’t see the status bar on the bottom of your window, turn it on using the View→Toolbars→Status Bar menu item.

25. September 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
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Update Info for iOS 8

ios8Apple released iOS 8 yesterday for iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch. Here’s what we know so far about the update process…

  • Backup your device to iCloud or iTunes before beginning.
  • The update process takes about an hour and a half. There’s a download and preparation process, then a verification process, then the installation.
  • It requires a button press in between the download/prep and verification/installation process, so you can’t just start the download and come back to a completed install.
  • It may require as much as 4.6 GB of free space on your device to install (this is for the install process, it won’t use that much when it’s finished installing). I found that it didn’t warn me about insufficient space, instead it just failed the install. To check your space use Settings->General->Usage.
  • If the installation fails you will need to use iTunes on a computer to restore the device. Don’t start the update if you don’t have access to iTunes on a computer.

As of this writing I have updated five devices: two iPad 3’s, two iPhone 5S’s, and an iPad 2. The first 4 installed with no problems but the iPad 2 had to use iTunes Restore to install iOS 8, and iCloud to restore the iPad. Your mileage may vary.

For a more comprehensive look at iOS 8, check out http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/ios-8-download.

18. September 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
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