iPads, GPS, and one Bad Elf

This semester Myrna Breitbart’s class “Creative Interventions: Locating the Spatial Practice of Social Change” is experimenting with a mapping project, with support from Caro Pinto, our CSI and Emerging Technology Librarian. They’ll be using mobile devices and an app called Fulcrum to collect location-specific data about our campus.   An amazing amount of her students had personal smartphones with GPS already, but we needed to get something on hand for the rest to use. iPads seemed the obvious choice, but there were a couple things to sort out.
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We’re starting the semester with a bang- we got a batch of clickers in today to try out! Megan Dobro, new NS faculty, used them with good results in her previous position at Cal Tech. This semester she’s teaching a course on HIV/AIDS and plans to use them in class.

Clickers are small hand-held devices that you hand out to each student in class. They use it to answer questions posed by the instructor, or enter data, and those responses are instantly tabulated and displayed on the projector.
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Welcome Back

I would like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to the newest members of our community and say welcome back to our returning students and faculty.

This summer was a particular busy one as we saw multiple office relocations taking place on and off campus.  The Information Technology Department worked closely with facilities and grounds to schedule and complete the work needed to make this all happen before the start of school.

We were able this summer to replace our aging core phone switch  (PBX) with a modern Voice over IP core.  This switch to a VoIP core allowed us to quickly deploy all the new phones needed at both on campus and off campus locations.  The upgrade of the infrastructure is tied to life span of the original Mitel PBX’s.   Mitel had designated those switches as End Of Life and will discontinue support of that hardware and software. We have also learned that the equipment, which provides dial tone to the student rooms, will be EOL within two years.   We will of course start a discussion to map the best route forward.  It appears that student usage of room phones is very minimal, so we may want turn off dial tone and only turn it on if requested.  This will allow us to replace the EOL equipment with a much smaller deployment of hardware.    We will form an advisory group and develop a survey to determine how best to move forward. So please participate in that survey when you see it.


Our networking group was also hard at work enhancing wireless coverage in the dorms.  We believe we are very close to complete coverage at 802.11n speeds.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11.   If you notice that your coverage is less than complete in the dorm area you live in please send and email to helpdesk@hampshire.edu  to give us a heads up.  We did site surveys to determine coverage and we think we are close but please let us know if we missed and area and we will make sure it gets covered properly.


That’s all for now.  As always drop me an email with any questions or concerns.

Bob Crowley






How to Enable Java in a Web Browser

Type about:plugins in the address bar.
Look for “Java” and click on the Enable button (if the button says “Disable,” Java is already enabled).
Start Mozilla Firefox browser or restart it if it is already running.
At the top of the browser, select the Firefox button (or Tools menu if you have it), then Add-ons. The Add-ons Manager tab will open.
In the Add-ons Manager tab, select Plugins.
Click Java plugin to select it.
Click on the Enable button (if the button says “Disable,” Java is already enabled).
Launch Safari browser.
Click on Safari and select Preferences.
Click on the Security tab.
Check (select) Enable Java check box.
Close Safari Preferences window.
Internet Explorer
Click Tools and then Internet Options.
Select the Security tab, and select the Custom Level button.
Scroll down to Scripting of Java applets.
Make sure the Enable radio button is checked.
Click OK to save your preference.