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In This Issue

+ UMD Techfest 2008

+ Passwords will now expire yearly

+ Gradebook 2 is live!

+ New trojan targets OSX

+ Managing Disk Storage

+ Clickers: Spring 2008 Update

+ Spring 2008 workshops and seminars

+ End of Support for Netscape

+ Spotlight on: Wendy Caveny

ITSS home : infotech.NEWS : February 2008

infotech.NEWS

Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students

February 2008

ITSS by the Numbers

From January 1 through June 30, 2007:

  • The AV Desk checked out digital cameras 238 times, digital video cameras 522 times, laptops 598 times, and projectors 613 times.
  • ITSS hosted 148 ITV events for a total of 354 hours.
  • ITSS expanded the Multimedia Hub and moved it to the Library.
  • The ITSS Classroom Team evaluated and chose enhanced control systems for UMD classrooms.
  • The ITSS Classroom Team planned AV equipment for the new LSBE Building.

Ten Years Ago in ITSS - February 1998

Year 2000 Initiative at the University

The Year 2000 Initiative at the University of Minnesota is being led by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at the Twin Cities Campus. ITSS is coordinating Year 2000 efforts here at UMD. OIT has developed an excellent web site to assist us in ensuring that our computer systems are ready for the year 2000.

The ITSS desktop team is studying the Year 2000 problems for desktop computers and will be making recommendations to our customers about strategies. They are also evaluating some software tools that we can use to evaluate desktop computers for Year 2000 compliance.

UMD Techfest 2008

You are invited to come and be a part of "A Decade of Technology" at UMD Techfest 2008.

Friday, March 28, 2008
9:00-3:00
Kirby Student Center Ballroom

Techfest started in 1998, and is a place where faculty, staff, students and the community have an opportunity to see how technology is being utilized to enrich the educational experience on the UMD campus.

Techfest 2008 is a special year! A decade of technology has come and gone. At Techfest 2008 you will not only have the opportunity to see new and innovative booths but some of the participants from Techfest 1998 will also be on hand. Previous Techfest participants will demonstrate either a new use of technology or a "then and now" presentation comparing a method or process they used back in 1998 to its present day equivalent. Last but not least, we will see a display of equipment or processes in place ten years ago that would now be considered "vintage."

A call for proposals will be going out the second week of February. Please visit http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/etrg/techfest/ to view the past presentations and to fill out a Techfest 2008 Call for Proposals!

 

University Internet Passwords will now Expire Yearly

As part of an ongoing University-wide effort to increase online security, passwords for University Internet (email) accounts will now be set to expire after one year. Internet passwords are used for most common online applications such as e-mail, wireless access, course registration, UMCal, and pay statements.

Beginning February 18, email notices will be sent in stages to UMD students, faculty or staff who have an Internet password older than one year. The email will include the expiration date for the password, as well as instructions on how to change it. Customers will have two weeks from the date of the email to change their password. For uninterrupted access, you must set a new password before the current one expires.

If you would like to reset your Internet password now:

  1. Go to https://www.umn.edu/myaccount
  2. Click on the link labeled "Change your Internet Password".
  3. Review the current password rules displayed on the page.
  4. Enter your new password in both boxes (to prevent typing errors).
  5. Press the 'Submit' button.

You should see the message: "Password changed to " for confirmation.

For reference, a copy of the email that will be sent is posted at: Internet passwords expire yearly

If you have any questions, need assistance, or cannot remember your current Internet password, please call the ITSS Help Desk at 726-8847.

 

Gradebook 2 is live!

Gradebook version 2 is live and in production for Spring semester. Many have already created gradebooks in the new version, and you can too by going to http://www.d.umn.edu/egradebook/

This new version addresses many of the bugs from version 1 as well as adding some new features based on faculty feedback. Version 2 was beta tested last semester by teacher volunteers. Thanks to all who helped us out with testing.

 

New Trojan Targets OSX Computers

This fall, the first Trojan to target computers running Apple OS X was released, and infected a number of computers on the UMD campus. This Trojan also affects Windows computers.

The OSX.RSPlug.A Trojan is passed off as a video-decoding (codec) plug-in. When trying to view movies on an infected site, visitors are told they must first download and install an updated codec plug-in. During the installation, the user is prompted for the administrator password.

With this password, the Trojan is able to alter the computer to redirect web traffic to sites that the attacker controls, allowing them to make money from online purchases or harvest login and password or personal financial information.

While the OSX.RSPlug.A Trojan doesn't exploit a hole in the OSX software, some security experts predict that attacks on OS vulnerabilities will soon follow. They believe that as the Mac OS customer base grows, professional hackers will step up attacks.

There is a removal tool for this trojan that is free and takes less than a minute to run:
/http://www.dnschanger.com/

For additional details on securing your Macintosh computer, see:
http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/security/security-check.html

 

Managing Disk Storage Wisely

Since the ITSS funding model changed to central funding, the use of disk storage has more than tripled. ITSS is beginning to look at how users are managing their storage.  We will be developing strategies for controlling excessive use of this resource.

Beginning shortly, we will send reminder emails to the top users of Novell Office Server storage.  We hope this will help users recognize that their storage use is high and prompt them to review their use.  Where possible, we would like users to delete files that they no longer need, especially very large ones.  Following this, we may adopt the same strategy for email, home file systems, and web systems.

ITSS will also be looking at methods for archiving older files to cheaper storage devices that may not be backed up as frequently.

We want users to have enough storage to do their jobs well, but we also want everyone to recognize that this service comes with a cost.  We should all be good stewards of this resource and not use it carelessly.

 

Clickers: Spring 2008 Update for TurningPoint Student Response Systems

TurningPoint Student Response Systems (SRS) are small handheld devices coupled with receiving hardware and presentation software. The system allows an instructor to present questions, usually via a computer projector, and collect student answers immediately during the lecture. For more information on how clickers are used at UMD, please see our website: http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/classroom/srs/

WebVista Powerlink is Live!

At long last the powerlink has been added to allow us to integrate clickers into WebVista. In addition to being an alternative way to get your students' clicker IDs into a class list on your laptop, WebVista will allow you to upload session files and give more immediate feedback to your students. The powerlink just went "live" a few days ago and documentation is still being developed. Look for a separate email soon with more information. In the mean time, if you think you may want to use this, it would be a good idea to request a WebVista account for your course right away. Please follow this link to http://webct.umn.edu/instructors/request-site/index.shtml to request a WebVista site. Note that we will continue to support use of WebDrop to obtain clicker student lists,for faculty not interested in using WebVista, as well.

Version Confusion Prevention

Over 2,500 Clickers in use this Spring

A total of 2,551 students will be using clickers during Spring 2008. Of those students, only 1,016 will need to purchase a clicker - the rest have clickers from previous semesters. As we begin our 6th semester supporting TurningPoint clickers as a standard solution, nearly 9,000 unique UMD students have used clickers.

Training and Documentation

Please find our updated documentation here: http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/classroom/srs/
Feel free to use our vendor's extensive online documentation and 1-800 number for immediate help: http://www.turningtechnologies.com/

 

Spring 2008 Workshops and Seminars

Each semester ITSS offers workshops and seminars to faculty and staff on a variety of topics. During spring 2008 two separate courses in Dreamweaver will be offered to the campus community. The first course, Dreamweaver 101 - The Basics, will be held on Tuesday, February 12, and Thursday, February 14, from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm each day. The Tuesday class of the two session course will be located in Library 115 and the Thursday session will be located in Library 116.

The second course, Dreamweaver 103 - Forms and Form Data Processing, is also a two session course and will be offered on Tuesday and Thursday, March 25 and March 27. Both of the class sessions will be located in Library 116 and will be held from 9:00 am - 11:00 am.

If you would like to register for one or both of these courses or to find out more information about a course please visit our web site located at http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/workshop/.

Continuing this semester is the "Technology Seminar Series" http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/ttt/. This series spotlights a variety of technology topics of interest to the university community. It is an opportunity to become aware of what's new and to get supportive ideas and suggestions from your colleagues. The format will be an overview or demonstration followed by informal discussion.

Our spring 2008 schedule includes:

These Tuesday presentations will begin at 2:00 pm in the Visualization and Digital Imaging Lab, 154 Marshall Performing Arts Center. No registration is required and UMD faculty, staff, and students are encouraged and welcome to attend.

ITSS will also offer four eClasses this spring. Two of the courses will focus on Copyright Issues and will be available on-line a number of times during the semester.

Our other two eClass offerings are slated to be held during specific two week periods of time. The first of these two courses discusses accessibility issues in web design and will be hosted March 24 through April 4 while the other course will provide training on using cascading style sheets and it will be available April 21 through May 2.

Please visit http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/eclasses/ to learn more about eClasses or to register for an eClass of your interest. This is a convenient way to expand your web design knowledge and skills.

Finally, be sure to check out our training web site located at http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/ which includes more information about our entire training support.

 

End of Support for Netscape Web Browser

The Netscape web browser has been around a long time and hasn't been updated for a number of years. AOL, the owner of Netscape has announced that there will be no further development, upgrades, or security patches for the browser. Most folk are now using browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. If you're still using Netscape you should consider switching to one of those browsers. Your Netscape bookmarks can easily be imported into the newer browser.

 

Spotlight on: Wendy Caveny

Each month ITSS highlights a different member of the staff to let you get to know some of the great people who are working "behind the scenes" to make technology work for our campus. This month the spotlight is on Wendy Caveny, Technology Support Professional

What Wendy does for ITSS:
Wendy provides project management, programming and consulting support for Facilities Management, Continuing Education and other campus departments and staff who request application software support, desktop support, and data reporting from campus administrative systems and enterprise systems.

Wendy's Background:

Wendy was born in Pierre, South Dakota, but moved to Madison, SD at the age of five.

Wendy graduated from University of South Dakota in December 2001 with a degree in Bachelor of Science in English with minors in Chemistry and Biology. She graduated from Dakota State University in May 2004 with a Master of Science in Information Systems with emphasis in Database Administration.

As a grad student, Wendy worked at Dakota State University as a student data analyst and also taught three sections of Visual Basic .Net programming.

Wendy joined ITSS in July 2004.

Wendy's Interests:

Wendy enjoy being outdoors - especially when she gets the chance to go camping, hiking, backpacking, canoeing, or fishing (as long as she doesn’t have to touch the fish).

Interesting Facts...

Wendy recently got married (September 2007) and just got back from her honeymoon vacation to the Caribbean. She and her husband Aron have a German shorthaired pointer named Bagley and two cats named Spook and Boo.

Wendy spent many summers on her grandparents’ ranch in central South Dakota where she developed a love for the rolling prairie and John Deere tractors. She has a small collection of John Deere tractors in her office.

An example of Wendy's work for ITSS:

Wendy is extremely knowledgeable about technology, her customers' needs, and how to mesh both through mentoring with sensitivity and caring. Her innovativeness goes hand in hand with her initiative.

Wendy's dedication to her job, to UMD and to her customers is inspiring, infectious and heart-warming. She is always willing to assist with a question, help another staff member with a project, collaborate with a peer to work on a problem, and serve the greater UMD area as a community volunteer.

Examples of Wendy's work

Wendy is extremely knowledgeable about technology, her customers' needs, and how to mesh both through mentoring with sensitivity and caring. Her innovativeness goes hand in hand with her initiative.

Examples of her effort have resulted in the successful replacement or implementation of business application software and technology solutions for several campus departments, including Facilities Management, University for Seniors, and the Recreational Sports Outdoor Program.