Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students
A new version of Mulberry is available for download. Read on about its new features and also about a few tweaks you'll need to make to your settings to use it.
What's new in Mulberry 3
- Spellchecking highlights misspellings as you type.
- Now has a single, 3-pane window view option as well as separate window mode.
- View multiple mailboxes in a single tabbed window (3-pane view).
- Redesigned address book window.
- Save commonly used text and insert it into a message with a single keystroke.
- Added smart URL paste option that will automatically add < > around any text pasted into a draft that is recognized as being a URL.
- Integrated support for Mac OS X address book.
UMD faculty and department heads are particularly encouraged to upgrade to the new version of Mulberry, which handles the display of some types of documents better. Supplemental grading confirmation and approval forms do not display well in older versions of Mulberry, which has resulted in some of these being lost or ignored in the past. This problem has been resolved with this new version of Mulberry.
Installing and configuring Mulberry 3
You can download Mulberry from our web page. See: Mulberry download.
IMPORTANT: If you're currently using an older version of Mulberry then in order to double-click to view a message in Mulberry 3 you'll need to configure one simple setting (or, better yet, switch to Mulberry's new "3-pane view"). If you have never used Mulberry (or we reset your preferences) you'll see this new 3-pane view automatically. For information on enabling double-click and further customizing and improving Mulberry's 3-pane view, see: Customizing the Mulberry 3 window.
You may want to use Mulberry 2 on computers that will be used by multiple people who might not be aware of how to adjust the double-click setting.
More information: Mulberry /itss/software/mulberry/
The campus has adopted a plan to expand wireless networking at UMD over the next three years. This plan includes a goal of 200 wireless access points to be deployed during the current fiscal year, with an expansion to 336 wireless access point for fiscal year 2006.
This ambitious plan is supported by Chancellor Martin, who has committed to funding half of the access points for the next three years. The plan is also supported by the collegiate units, ITSS, and Athletics.
ITSS will install access points for any unit that wishes to order them. The current cost is $16 per month for a wireless access point.
Wireless networking is a convenient technology that supports mobile computing. It does not, however, take the place of wired networking. Wired networking is faster and more secure and should be used for most fixed computers, especially those in faculty and staff offices.
Wireless networking will be provided in some common areas in the residence halls. Because residence halls already provide a wired connection for each resident, the campus will not expand wireless to all areas in residence halls.
Please direct questions or concerns to Linda Deneen at 7588 or ldeneen.
More information: Wireless computing at UMD /itss/computing/wireless/
To increase security, a number of changes have been made University-wide regarding the password requirements for University Internet (aka X.500) accounts. These are the accounts students, faculty and staff use to access email, register for classes, authenticate in the labs, access Samba services, update their web sites, and more.
Internet passwords are strength tested
Many who've changed their Internet password recently learned that new passwords are being strength tested when their first attempt to select a password resulted in an error (because they used a dictionary word followed by a number or another unacceptable choice). Pick a safe password. See Tips for Choosing a Password.
Internet passwords can be longer
Internet passwords can now be from 6 to 125 characters long; they still must include numbers and letters and are case sensitive. Sometimes longer passwords will not work when you use them. OIT has been testing and documenting acceptable password lengths for some servers and client software. See their results so far at: Server/Clients and Their Supported Password Lengths.
Temporary passwords are now automatically generated
Secure, secret passwords are vital to computing safety. To help keep passwords secret, the Help Desk and ITSS staff can no longer set Internet passwords for customers. Instead, when someone calls the Help Desk they will received an automatically generated password that is good only for 24 hours. They must use that temporary password to set up a different password within that time frame.
More information: Your University Passwords /itss/sescurity/passwords/
ITSS is pleased to announce that a new version of the Webdrop Folder (version 2.0) is in final (beta) testing and is available for use during Spring term 2005.
The new version of the Webdrop Folder is a complete re-write of the original service. While it retains the functionality of the first version, it has a number of enhancements such as:
- Single web address (URL) for all classes.
- Much improved security.
- Easier to manage folders and student files.
- More control over level of TA access to files.
- Easier to use program interface.
Because of its much better security level, we ask you to consider using version 2.0 during its beta testing phase. However, version 1.0 remains fully operational and available during Spring 2005.
Except for specialized needs, we expect to discontinue using version 1.0 at the end of this Spring semester.
If you have questions about the new program or would like more information on how to access it, please contact Barbara Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org or extension 6862).
More information: Webdrop Folders /itss/support/Training/Online/webservices/webdrop2.htm
ITSS is excited to annouce the launching of a new pilot help center for students, "Student Technology Assistance Center" (STAC) in February. The goal of STAC is to meet the academic and personal technology learning needs and goals of UMD students.
ITSS student employees will staff the STAC and provide one-on-one assistance to students seeking help with software, hardware, password problems, digital cameras, video productions and other technology assistance. Students can get help with computer maintenance issues as well.
The STAC is located in Kirby Plaza 146, hours of operation are from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. ITSS offers this pilot program to all students attending UMD. There is no charge for the help provided to students. It is our hope that all students take advantage of this new Student Technology Assistance Center whenever they have questions or problems with technology.
Over the years, many Macintosh users on campus have used AUFS (Apple Unix File Services) to mount a unix directory on their desktop to store files or to mount their personal web storage area on the desktop for adding and editing web files. They did this by connecting to the "AUFS" server in the UMD_MWAH zone or the "www" server in the UMD_WWW zone.
ITSS is upgrading the operating systems on many of our central system computers to be compatible with the newer UofM password system which allows passwords much longer than 8 characters (for added security). AUFS is quite old and will not be compatible with the newer passwords. The next time you change your password (whether to a short or long password) the nature of the new system would prevent you from connecting to the AUFS servers.
So, rather than have individuals find out they can't use the AUFS system at various times in the future, we feel it's better to remove the service now and have disabled the AUFS and "www" servers.
If you've been accessing your web files through the "www" AUFS server you can use an FTP program such as Fetch or CyberDuck to work with your web files. You can also access the .aufs0 directory on your unix account via FTP, but we have a temporary alterative method that will be easier if you still have files in your AUFS volume that you need to access - contact Joel Ness (jness, x8841) for details.
OSX Users Should Use SAMBA
AUFS didn't work well with Apple's OSX operating system. Most Macs on campus are now running OSX, and our logs indicate there weren't many regular OS9 users accessing AUFS volumes this Fall.
OSX (and Windows) users can connect to a similar AUFS-like volume called "myfiles" via our Samba server. We also have a Samba "myweb" server for connecting to your personal web area.
If you have questions or problems or need to access files on an AUFS volume contact Joel Ness (x8841, jness).
More information: Samba File and Print Services /itss/computing/samba/
The user environment in Microsoft Windows is constantly changing. Years ago, people had little worries about viruses, worms, or other malicious applications. They did exist, but were not as common. Today we still have viruses and worms, but now we also have spyware and adware.
Merely visiting a website, or clicking on a link in an email can initiate a silent installation of an application that sits in the background and can monitor your web behavior, install back doors to other applications, steal personal information, and cause other problems that can degrade the performance of your operating system.
To protect yourself and your computer, in addition to current antivirus software you should also run an anti-spyware utility. There are many anti-spyware tools available, but ITSS is currently recommending the following:
- Adaware http://www.lavasoft.com
- A freeware version is available for personal use. Currently ITSS is looking at purchasing a site license for the UMD campus and we will send a notice out when this happens. In the mean time it can be installed on any computer you personally own.
- Spybot http://www.safer-networking.org/en/
- Spybot is another excellent application. Using both Adware and Spybot seems to cover the majority of spyware removal.
- Microsoft Anti-spyware http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/
- Microsoft is also jumping into the anti-spyware market. They have released a beta of their spyware removal utility. ITSS is currently reviewing this beta tool and will make a recommendation when the final product is released.
In this fast moving world of computer security, make sure you are running the tools needed to stay safe, and keep current. You can request help by calling the ITSS HelpDesk at 726-8847, or schedule a Desktop Assessment with ITSS and we will install these tools for you.
More information: Spyware/Adware tools /itss/security/spyware.html
The ITSS Recommended Solutions document has been recently updated and is available for review. Recommended Solutions provides advice to the campus regarding acquisition of hardware and software.
It is not the intention of Information Technology Systems and Services (ITSS) to stifle innovation and creativity by rigid application of standards, but rather to provide guidance for purchase decisions and clarification of support available from ITSS. This document is our attempt to:
- Provide advice to the campus community regarding technology acquisitions.
- Improve the compatibility of information and staff training throughout the campus.
- Increase productivity of ITSS staff by limiting the number of hardware and software platforms we support.
- Help ITSS staff establish priorities for customer support.
More information: Recommended solutions /itss/policies/solutions/
Next January, ITSS will be changing how the Macintosh AppleTalk protocol works on campus. Most Macintosh users may not even notice the changes, but departments with Apple LaserWriters will need to start planning for a replacement.
What is AppleTalk?
AppleTalk is the protocol that Macintosh computers use to connect to printers and file servers. There are two types of AppleTalk - we'll call these "Zone-based AppleTalk" and "AppleTalk IP". "Zone-based AppleTalk" is the only type that will be affected by our changes next January.
You use "Zone-based AppleTalk" when you connect to printers or servers by clicking on an AppleTalk zone name (which correspond to UMD buildings). You might do this in the OS9 Chooser, the OSX 10.3 "Network" icon, or the "Go:Connect to Server" menu option in OSX 10.2.
You use "AppleTalk IP" when you click on the "Server IP Address" button in the OS9 Chooser, type in a server name in OSX's "Go:Connect to Server" menu option, or add an LPR printer using OS9's Desktop Printer Utility or OSX's Print Setup Utility.
What will change?
Zone-based AppleTalk is a very "busy" and inefficient protocol and newer network hardware works better if it doesn't have to deal with this. Because of this, ITSS will stop routing Zone-based AppleTalk on our network beginning January, 2006. (The Twin Cities campus stopped routing it on their network last year.)
If you use Zone-based AppleTalk to connect to printers or servers in your own building, you'll continue to be able to do so after the change. However, beginning next January you will no longer see the rest of the campus AppleTalk zones; you will only see the printers and servers in your own building. To connect to printers and servers outside of your building, you'll need to use AppleTalk IP.
Newer printers (HP LaserJets, for example) can be printed to using both Zone-base AppleTalk and AppleTalk IP. Some older printers, mostly Apple LaserWriters, can only be printed to with Zone-based AppleTalk and will no longer be able to be used except from Macintoshes in the same building. Windows users will not be able to print to Apple LaserWriters even if they're in the same building.
If your department is using an Apple LaserWriter for Windows users or to receive print jobs from Twin Cities administrative systems you'll need to plan on replacing it before the end of the 2005. Many departments have queues set up on our central system print server Our print server, however, has to use Zone-based AppleTalk to send the print job to Apple LaserWriters, and that will no longer work after next January.
Beyond needing to replace any remaining Apple LaserWriters on campus, most people will be unaffected by these changes. Macintosh users will still be able to print to most printers on campus and connect to AppleShare servers. The main change will be that you'll need to know the name of the printer or server instead of "discovering" the name in the AppleTalk zone list.
In case you're wondering, the Novell Office Server currently uses Zone-base AppleTalk for Macintosh connections. During the next six months ITSS will be upgrading the Office Server and Macintoshes connecting to the new server will use AppleTalk IP.
More information about this change will be available next fall, but since this change may require replacing some (now very old) Apple printers we wanted to give departments as much lead time as possible for budget planning.
If you have any questions relating to these changes, contact Joel Ness (x8841, email:jness).
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