Tech Tip Extra: Mac Users, Stop those High Sierra Offers

If you have been driven crazy by the offers of upgrades to macOS High Sierra, here is my holiday gift to you: hide the upgrade banner, which should turn off the reminders:

  1. Open up the Mac App store.
  2. Click on “Updates.”
  3. Right-click or Control-click (hold down the “Control” key while clicking) on the High Sierra banner image, and select “Hide Update.”

If you eventually decide that you want to install High Sierra, just go to the App Store Featured page and look for it on the right.


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!


Bringing Hampshire Solutions to the HighEdWeb Conference

In October, two members of the Accessible Information Technology Working Group presented at HighEdWeb 2017. Sarah Ryder (Hampshire IT) and Rob Eveleigh (Five Colleges, Inc), in collaboration with Alison West (Mount Holyoke Communications), presented about their work on the open source web tool that we created and used to monitor accessibility on some web sites here at Hampshire. They discussed their successes, challenges, and lessons learned with the broader community of web development for higher education, which sparked a lot of conversation about web accessibility.

Want to know more? View their presentation information on GitHub.


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.


We’re Looking for a Systems Programmer to Join our Team

The Hampshire College IT department is looking for an awesome systems programmer to join our fun, flexible office. We want to share what working in IT @ Hampshire is like, and why we love our jobs.

Who Are We?

Applications and Web Services is one group within the centralized IT department at Hampshire. We have many responsibilities within our group of 6 people, which could be summarized as:

  • College websites (dozens and dozens of them)
  • Enterprise applications (for admissions, course registration, human resources, and more)
  • Reporting services (both ad-hoc as well as longitudinal analytics)

We do many other things, but that highlights most of it. This position we’re seeking to fill is a systems programmer to work on the many different sites and integrations connected with the College’s enterprise resource planning system (ERP), Ellucian Colleague.

This is a full-time, benefited position. Application programming and analysis experience in the design, development, and implementation of administrative application functions such as Finance, Human Resources, Student and Academic records, and Development or equivalent systems is highly desirable. Three years experience with at least one relational database, using a query language, and with several programming languages also required. Previous experience with Ellucian Colleague and a Unix/Linux environment highly desirable, as well as prior web development experience; knowledge of Java, Javascript, PERL or PHP, and MySQL.

What Is Working at Hampshire Like?

First of all, we’re people. We have likes and dislikes. We work hard. We have fun. And we like to eat and talk about food. A lot.  Some of us love to cook, bike, hike, walk, ski, paddle, play games, watch movies, play music, read; the list goes on and on. We have varied interests and skills both in and out of the office. I suppose one way to convey some of the awesomeness of our office is to give you a small glimpse…

Join Us!

We work hard, we play hard, and we respect the creative efforts of everyone to make our office both productive and fun.

Apply Now


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 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 or 413.559.5418.