Unplug Before Leaving

You may have seen the viral Facebook posting from a fire department in Oregon which showed the possible effects of plugging a space heater into a power strip. The space heater caused the power strip to overheat and melt. The original posting has been taken down, but you can find lots of references to it online. The moral of that story is that space heaters should always be plugged directly into a wall outlet.

With the College closing for break, we ask that you unplug any space heaters you have in your office area. When you return, if your space heater is plugged into a power strip–even one with a surge protector–find a way to plug it directly into a wall outlet.

It’s also a good idea, though for different reasons, to unplug your computer and associated electronics over break. If there is a power outage during the break it may result in a power surge when the power goes back on, potentially damaging anything that is plugged in.

With all that said, have a wonderful and safe holiday break!


Avoiding an Identity Crisis

If your Hampshire email gets hacked the first step is to change your password; if the hacker changed your password that won’t work, but you can contact the IT Help Desk at 413.559.5418 for help in that case.

Once you have changed your password, check your email identities on Webmail. Your identity specifies the name that email recipients will see on messages sent from your account, as well as other information including the reply-to address. This is important because your account may have been used to send out messages designed to look like they came from someone else, and if the reply-to address has been changed then you may not receive responses to email that you have sent out.

To check your identity on Webmail:

  1. Log into webmail.
  2. Click on the Settings gear icon.
  3. From the “Settings” panel on the left choose “Identities.”
  4. If there is more than one identity listed, and you didn’t create them, select the bogus one and click on the “Delete” button at the bottom.
  5. Carefully check your main identity (which can’t be deleted), to make sure that the information is correct. If the Reply-To field is blank it will default to use the “Email” field, which is fine.

Keep in mind that even if you use Thunderbird or some other email client to access your email that your Webmail is still accessible to hackers when your password is stolen.


Keeping an Eye on Folder Sizes in Thunderbird

It can be handy to be able to look at your email folders and quickly see which ones are using up a lot of your email quota. If you use Thunderbird to access your email it’s really easy to add folder sizes to your folder pane:

  1. In Thunderbird, check the option View->Layout->Folder Pane Columns. If you don’t have the menu interface on top, instead use the menu stack icon (three stacked lines) over on the right to check Preferences/Layout/Folder Pane Columns.
  2. There are options to show the total number of messages, the number of unread messages, and the size of the folder. To access them, click on the tiny icon at the top of the folder pane, to the right of the “Name” column and any others that might be showing—it looks like a little table with a downward pointing triangle. Set it so that only the size of the folder is checked.

The sizes that you’ll see are marked as being in KB, MB, or GB, so it’s helpful to understand what those mean:

  • A “byte” is the amount of space used to store a single character.
  • “KB” stands for “kilobytes,” which means approximately 1,000 characters.
  • “MB” stands for “megabytes,” which means 1,000 Kilobytes, or approximately 1,000,000 characters.
  • “GB” stands for “gigabytes,” and means 1,000 megabytes, or approximately a billion characters.

The default quota size for Hampshire email accounts is 2.5 GB, which would be 2,500 MB or 2,5000,000 KB. Keeping this in mind, when you scan folder sizes trying to bring down your quota you can skip over folders expressed in KB and focus on those measured in MB and GB.


Expired Password? Don’t Worry

If you’re like me, you like to wait until the last possible moment to change your HampNet password. I always dread the week or two when my fingers don’t just fly automatically over the keys as I log into Hampshire services.

If you’ve procrastinated a little too long and your password expired, don’t worry, you can still change it on your own: just go to https://password.hampshire.edu and use your expired password to log in. This is the only place an expired HampNet password will still work.

If you still have trouble changing your password you can contact the Help Desk at helpdesk@hampshire.edu or 413.559.5418.


A Big Update is Coming to Windows 10

We were greeted this morning by a Windows 10 computer that cheerfully1 reported an update ready to install: Windows 10 v1709.2

On a computer with a solid state drive (or SSD, the snappier, non-mechanical successor to the slower, spinning-platter hard disk drive), this update takes at least 30 minutes to download and install; on a computer with a traditional hard drive it takes much longer–hours.

One of the frustrations of Windows 10 is that it doesn’t let you decline updates, even huge updates like this one. It does, however, let you schedule when to install it. We suggest that if you have a computer running Windows 10 and it tells you about the update ready to install, that you schedule it to install overnight, or during some other lengthy time period when you won’t be needing it. Then just make sure that you keep the computer turned on, and hopefully it will all be completed by the time you return to use it.

We haven’t had much of a chance to test out this new version, but we did notice that on some computers it turns off the ESET antivirus protection each time the computer restarts. If this happens to you, choose it from the tray at the bottom right of the screen and choose to enable full protection. We are investigating solutions to this issue.

If you’re having problems with your computer after the update, please contact the IT Help Desk at helpdesk@hampshire.edu or 413.559.5418, or put in an IT Ticket on TheHub.

1Windows 10 is always so very cheerful. Even on our best days, we are never quite as cheerful as those Windows 10 messages are—frankly, they make us downright cranky, especially in a pre-caffeinated state of mind.

2For those of you who care, that number is derived from the year and month of the version release.


Mac Users, Please do not Install High Sierra Yet

Apple is about to release macOS 10.13, known as “High Sierra.” This is a relatively minor feature upgrade from 10.12 (“Sierra”), but has major under-the-hood upgrades. Here’s what you need to know.

The Bottom Line

(Well, yes, actually this is almost-the-top-line, but I want to catch you before you nod off mid-Tech Tip. And anyway, don’t you like to read the last page of a book first?)

Don’t upgrade to High Sierra right away.

We will sound the all-clear in a few months (well, hopefully), but if somehow you miss it, you can always check in with the IT Help Desk at helpdesk@hampshire.edu for our current recommendation.

Hampshire Computers

If you have a Hampshire-owned computer, we are not prepared at this time to support High Sierra for several reasons:

  • High Sierra requires updates to the tools we use to recover files and re-install software on your computer and we do not have these in place—they are not even available yet.
  • We are concerned about stability of the system. There are often bugs in new software, and we have seen some crashes in prerelease versions of the system.
  • Some applications that are in use on campus reportedly no longer work in High Sierra:
    • Final Cut Studio 7 components DVD Studio Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Color, and Cinema Tools.
    • Microsoft Office 2011 (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
    • Adobe CS5 products

    This is not a complete or final list.

Personal Computers

If you have a personally owned computer and decide to ignore this recommendation, please, please, please, make a complete backup of your computer before you do! This version of macOS makes significant changes to the way that files are stored, which increases the risk of file corruption during install.


New to Hampshire? IT Tips

If you’re new to the Hampshire campus there are a few things we know might trip you up. Here are some of the issues that we typically see problems with at this time of year.

Having Trouble Printing?

As you may have noticed, Hampshire has several wireless networks ; knowing which is appropriate to connect to can help avoid problems accessing services. In order to print or access file servers you must be using either Wallace or Eduroam, or be plugged into the Ethernet. For details on the Eduroam network see https://www.hampshire.edu/it/connecting-to-eduroam-at-hampshire .

Smart Phone Not Accessing the Internet on Campus?

If your smart phone seems to lose internet access as soon as you set foot on campus, it may be that it is trying to connect to the Wallace network but hasn’t yet registered with it. You have a choice: choose the Hampguest network instead, or register your phone with Wallace by using its browser to go to https://netreg.hampshire.edu . Note that if you choose Hampguest instead of netreg’ing, you may find that it switches back to Wallace on occasion all on its own.

Can’t Log into TheHub?

If you are having trouble logging into TheHub and you’re new to Hampshire, it might be because you haven’t completed the short FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) training video and quiz. To take the quiz go to https://hamp.it/FERPA . If you’re not new to Hampshire we encourage you to take it anyway–and we promise it is quick and painless.

New Email Account not Working?

If you have a new email account but you can’t seem to get your email, did you accept the AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) at https://password.hampshire.edu? While you’re there, change your password to something you will remember, and then set up your security questions.

Want to Forward your Hampshire Email to Another Email Account?

Faculty and students sometimes prefer to receive personal and Hampshire email in one place. If that sounds like you, you can set up forwarding by going to https://password.hampshire.edu and selecting “Email Settings.” Just make sure that you pay attention to messages telling you that it’s time to change your password–you have to do that once a year–and at that time go back to https://password.hampshire.edu.

Not Sure if an Email Message is a Scam?

When critical announcements are made to the entire campus, they are both posted on the Intranet and emailed to faculty, staff, and/or students directly from the announcement system. You can verify authenticity of these messages by checking https://intranet.hampshire.edu. You should also know that to change your password or check your email quota we would only ever send you to https://password.hampshire.edu. Just remember that web address and type it into your browser if you ever want to check the status of your account–anywhere else is a scam.

Have a Scam Email You Think You’d Better Share with IT?

Scam emails can be sent to phishbowl@hampshire.edu , which will bring them to the attention of the system administrators.

Need IT Help?

The IT Help Desk is staffed M-F from 8:30 a.m.-noon, and 1-4 p.m. If you need immediate assistance give a call to 413.559.5418. For non-emergencies you can email helpdesk@hampshire.edu or enter an IT ticket by going to TheHub.

Looking for Amazing Tech Tips on a Weekly Basis?

Or just need some help falling asleep at night? Watch this space.