Cloud Storage Options

Cloud storage options have become integrated with applications, and sometimes it’s confusing to keep all the options straight. Here’s some information that might be helpful as you consider options.

iCloud

iCloud is a cloud storage solution from Apple. The first 5GB are free. It’s a great solution for storing photos and backing up your iPhone, if you’re Apple-centric, although you may find that you end up having to pay for storage pretty quickly if you have a lot of storage.

Apple tries to sneak in iCloud storage use on the Mac sometimes. With system upgrades it may ask if you want to store your Desktop and Documents to iCloud, and we recommend you not do it. Saving to iCloud does mean that your documents are securely backed up, but we have seen very slow performance on computers with this option set.

OneDrive

Microsoft’s OneDrive also gives you 5GB of free storage. Besides being available as a storage option on PC’s, Microsoft apps on macOS also offer to save to OneDrive. Newer versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint even default to saving to OneDrive.

OneDrive is a basic cloud solution, and with all the other options out there we don’t find ourselves recommending it very often.

Google Drive

Google Drive has unlimited storage for educational accounts, and 15GB storage for personal accounts. It’s easy to use, and integrates with all of the Google services. It’s a great storage solution especially in an educational setting.

Dropbox

Dropbox was great as an early cloud solution, but these days it seems pretty stingy with only 2GB of free space. It’s helpful for offloading files if you don’t have enough storage space on your computer–but only if you pay for enough storage to make a dent, and also choose to only selectively sync folders (otherwise everything is still stored on your computer).

Adobe Cloud Storage

Adobe gives educational accounts 20GB of free storage per user. It’s great for storing work from Adobe products, but it’s not integrated well with other products or operating systems.

General Considerations

  • Make sure you know where you are storing files. On a Mac, to see all storage options you may have to click a button for “Details.” Look at the folder hierarchy to make sure it’s going where you expect it to.
  • Unless you’re really organized, keep your cloud storage down to one or two services. Once you start adding on services it can be difficult to remember what is stored where. Also, if you’re paying for storage, once you get past the initial free space you get more bang for the buck with bigger plans.
  • Hampshire College sensitive information never be stored in a cloud storage system. For details, see our Data Security Policy.

Thumbs Up on macOS Mojave

Way back in September we asked faculty and staff to hold off on installing the latest Mac OS, Mojave. We’ve been using it for a few months now (as have some of you), and we are ready to endorse it as a stable operating system. If you’re tired of being nagged by Apple to install it–or if you just want to try something new–you can find it in the App Store in the Featured section.

As with any new OS install:

  • Please back up your computer before you install Mojave.
  • Make sure you have at least an hour to allow the install to complete.

And if you don’t have a backup system set up, we can help you with a plan. As always, contact the IT Help Desk or your School Support Specialist with any related questions or problems. The Help Desk can be reached at helpdesk@hampshire.edu or 413.559.5418.

Looking back at web accessibility trainings in 2018

The IT accessibility working group started offering trainings for web content creators this past spring.  This fall, we were able to continue that work by holding three additional training sessions between September and November.

Here’s a summary of what the training sessions have accomplished so far:

  • Total sessions in 2018: 10
  • Total attendees: 83, or 50% of our content authors
  • In the group:
    • 10 Directors
    • 11 Associate or Assistant Directors
    • 40+ campus programs represented

If you haven’t come yet, but you want to learn more about web accessibility, fill out the registration form to sign up. We have sessions planned for the spring monthly between January and April, and hope to see you there!

Want to get a better idea of what’s involved? You can preview the training session agenda (Hampshire login required), or read through our web accessibility standards and resources.

Want to share your accessibility story or ask a question? Let us know by emailing itaccessibility@hampshire.edu.

Thunderbird Really, Really Slow?

We’ve seen a few instances lately where Thunderbird has gotten really, really slow on a Mac. We’re not sure if this is a Mac-only problem, so we offer this solution up to anyone who experiences unbearably slow performance in Thunderbird:

  1. In Thunderbird, select Help–>Restart with Add-ons Disabled.
  2. Click “Restart” when prompted.
  3. When it restarts you will have some options presented to you. Check the “Disable all Add-ons” box, and then click on “Make Changes and Restart.”

That should fix it, but if not please feel free to reach out to us at helpdesk@hampshire.edu or 413.559.5418.

Web Accessibility at ENGAGE 2018

We hope you enjoyed the second annual ENGAGE! conference on campus this past Tuesday!  Members of the IT accessibility working group gave two presentations, adding to the day’s impressive mix of sessions.

I started off the morning with “Inclusivity Online: Web accessibility skills that anyone can use”.  If you missed it, but still want to develop your skills, you can access the slides here: “Inclusivity Online” Presentation Slides

All told, about 8 members of the community (students and staff) attended all or part of the presentation.  The audience raised some great questions about the limitations of screen readers, and the challenges of learning to use them. We also talked about the effects of anxiety and other mental health conditions online – issues that I hadn’t planned to cover! Although we weren’t able to explore them in depth in the session, I recommend checking out this article on Designing for Cognitive Differences, which covers similar topics.

Later in the morning, Aaron Ferguson, along with a whole group of people (David Paquette, Milo Bezark, the CoSAA signers, and the CORAL Accessibility Squad Members), also gave a presentation on Universal Design. This presentation, “Making “Universal Design” Accessible”, covered accessibility concerns on campus more broadly.  It focused on giving participants “an understanding of how they can advance their own positive impact on accessibility at Hampshire, no matter how large or small.”

Want to learn more?  You can access their materials below!

AccEssentials handout

Conceptology handout

Holistic Learning Toolbox

Make HDMI your First Choice for Projecting

We’ve outfitted classrooms with projectors that can connect to your computer in several ways: HDMI, Apple TV, and VGA. Sometimes it’s trial and error to get things working, but your best bet for clarity is HDMI. We suggest you start with HDMI and then try the other options if that doesn’t work well for you.

If you don’t have an HDMI port on your computer, check to see if there is an adapter that you can use: we tether them to the HDMI cables. If that doesn’t work out for you, go ahead and try Apple TV or VGA, but don’t expect the same quality of picture.

If you are having trouble with all of the adapters, check the printed instructions in the classroom—sometimes a specific order of connections is important to get things working correctly.

If all else fails, contact information for the Help Desk is posted in each classroom.