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February 2012 Archives

Spotlight on Trish Crace

It is with great pleasure that we announce the addition of a new staff member to our group. Trish Crace has joined ITSS as the new Faculty and TechCenter Support Specialist.

Trish brings a variety of technical and higher ed experience including four years at the University of Minnesota Morris campus doing both Help Desk support and test scoring until this past June. She has quickly applied the excellent skills she learned at the Morris campus to her work at UMD.

Crace Family Photo

Trish’s Background:
Trish was born in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Trish graduated from Alexandria Technical College with an AAS Degree in Computer and Voice Networking. Trish has worked at Benson Public Schools and Willmar Public Schools in a Technical Support role. She then started with University of Minnesota Morris as the User Support Supervisor. She was at the University of Minnesota Morris from 2007 until 2011. Trish and her family relocated to Duluth in July and she joined ITSS in February of 2012. She is excited to be back with the University.
Trish’s Interests:
Trish enjoys the outdoors. She and her family own a cabin in Canada on Lake of the Woods where they spend several weekends in the summer. Trish also loves baseball and is an avid Twins fan. But she is not so sure about this season with the loss of two of her favorites, Joe Nathan and Michael Cuddyer!
Interesting Facts...
Trish is married to Jim and they have 3 children. Lyla, 2 ½ and twin boys Brody and Carter 9 months old. They owned a Labrador Retriever kennel for the last 8 years where they trained and raised field bred Labradors. They have puppies in almost every state, Canada and even Iran. If you ever need to know anything about field bred labs from training to genetics Trish can tell you.
What Trish Does for ITSS:
Trish has been scoring tests for the last few weeks and has quickly learned our system for scoring and uploading "bubble-sheet" exams into various online grade-book and course management systems. She will be working in our Help Desk and TechCenter areas soon. With her great technical and customer service skills, she will continue to expand her role within ITSS. We are very pleased to heave Trish working with us!

Posted on Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012 | Permalink

Policy Update: Creating, Storing, and Linking Pages to the UMD Web Site

The UMD Policy on Creating, Storing, and Linking Pages to the UMD Web Site has been updated. Most changes were minor, including the refreshing of dead links.

The Campus Web Committee uses this policy to guide our decisions and actions. Here is an excerpt from the policy that comes up frequently:

Only select items are posted on the UMD home page. The addition and placement of home page links is determined by the Campus Web Committee. Home page links rarely change. They are chosen because they have high importance to a majority of the UMD home page audience. Quick links, in particular, are based on importance and heavy usage.

Posted on Monday, Feb 27, 2012 | Permalink

ITSS By The Numbers: Customer Service Team

The ITSS Customer Service Team simplifies and/or combines the multiple inputs, outputs, processes and databases that are part of the way customers interact with ITSS. They work on a systems-thinking approach where all of these are considered a part of the whole. The team continues planning, gathering customer and staff opinion, and generally thinking about ways that we can improve customer service.

From July 1 through December 31, 2011, the team reported:

  • 7,233 service tickets were created in our service system.
  • 7,304 tickets were resolved.
  • 2,070 were problems with accounts.
  • 1,404 were repair tickets with computer maintenance.
  • 1,106 were support issues taken by our desktop support team.

Posted on Monday, Feb 27, 2012 | Permalink

Public Printing Payment Changes

During Spring Semester 2012, we will replace our current Debitek cash-to-card system with new technology. We expect it to be easy to use and to have added security and convenience.

If you look carefully at the back of your current UCard, you will see that there are two magnetic strips. The thicker strip near the top of the card is much like any ID or credit card - it contains some identifying information about you. The thin magnetic strip near the bottom of the card is more like a disk drive - it actually stores re-writeable data. It has been used to track cash value for things like Chemistry equipment, parking, and printing. This technology, supported by a company called Debitek, is at the end of life and will no longer be supported.

The new system will rely on the wider strip and cash value will be tracked in a database separate from the UCard, much more like Dining Dollars are currently tracked. We expect the new system to be easy to use and to have added security and convenience. There will be a transition period for customers to use up or transfer existing Debitek funds. Watch for more details soon.

Posted on Monday, Feb 27, 2012 | Permalink

When You Want to Share Your Work but Copyright Gets in the Way

Creative Commons allows licensing of work to others, while not not relinquishing rights under copyright law.

All of us create copyrighted works every day in the course of our jobs and our personal lives. When an expression of an idea is captured in a tangible form, a copyright had been created. This brief article is an example of this concept. This article is copyrighted.

Many of us do not realize how many copyrighted works we create daily. When we do realize we have created a copyrighted work, often this is because the work seems "major." In other words, we put more effort into creating it than just writing an email. For some, the next issue is how to share this work with others without having to manage each and every request (think class related work either as a teacher or a student).

This is where the Creative Commons can be a help. The Creative Commons vision "is nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet - universal access to research and education, full participation in culture - to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity."

Currently the Creative Commons has 6 options for licensing your work. They have a short, online questionnaire that helps step you through the decision process.

When using the Creative Commons to license your work to others, you are not giving up your copyright. You are exercising your rights under copyright law!

Posted on Saturday, Feb 25, 2012 | Permalink

Support Dropped for Older Versions of Firefox and Reader

Between now and April, the University Active Directory/Computer Management community is planning to drop support for deploying and patching older versions of two popular applications: Mozilla Firefox 3.6 and Adobe Reader 9. Newer versions of the products have been out for some time, and there is declining development on the older versions. Additionally, it is not cost-effective to maintain multiple versions of the products.

Firefox 3.6: The Computer Management committee already has plans to support a new initiative by the Mozilla community to support Firefox 10 ESR (Extended Support Release). The ESR version of Firefox is for use by enterprises, public institutions, universities and other organizations that centrally manage their Firefox deployments. (For more information see: Delivering a Mozilla Firefox Extended Support Release.)

Adobe Reader 9: The Computer Management community has heard no negative feedback about dropping Reader 9 support, and is planning to stop patching and deploying it for Active Directory machines. Adobe Reader X (10) will be the supported release.

If you have applications that are dependent on either of these particular product versions or have concerns that either of these changes will degrade or break a critical business process for the University, please let us know. ITSS will share any feedback you may have with the Computer Management committee. Please report any concerns to the ITSS HelpDesk by emailing or calling x8847.

Posted on Thursday, Feb 23, 2012 | Permalink

Email SpamAssassin

No one enjoys getting junk email. In addition to using the "Report Spam" option within Gmail, UMD email customers may turn on SpamAssassin to reduce the number of junk messages they receive.

SpamAssassin Logo

To activate SpamAssassin:

  1. Login to
  2. Under "Manage Your Email" select "Incoming Email Controls"
  3. Select "Scan email with SpamAssassin"
  4. Select the "Submit" button at the bottom of the page

For further information consult Email SpamAssassin.

Posted on Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012 | Permalink

Lyris, Enterprise ListManager

During the past year, ITSS has been consulting and training on a method of sending mass email to the campus using an Enterprise tool called Lyris. Lyris ListManager, as it is formally called, is the University's mass email system used to send messages to large audiences.

Lyris offers control over HTML and text and is currently being used for both internal campus and alumni communications. It provides the opportunity to have branding, opt-out options, and attachments within the messages that are being sent out. For information about sending mass email within the University community please visit Mass Email.

The first step to using Lyris begins with determining the electronic communication needs of your unit. Once you have determined how Lyris may be utilized in a productive manner by your unit, ITSS will assist you with:

  • The process of gaining proper access for the users in your unit that will be responsible for sending out mass email
  • Training users in the unit to send your own mass email
  • The definition or generation of selected group email lists, which are the recipients of the mass email from the unit

If you would like a demonstration or more information you may contact the ITSS Help Desk at extension 8847, you may complete an-online service request for help, or you may call Debbie Wing at 726-8784.

Posted on Wednesday, Feb 15, 2012 | Permalink

Ten Years Ago: Advanced Tech Camp 2

The dates and application information for a second Advanced Tech Camp were finalized in March 2002.

Posted on Wednesday, Feb 15, 2012 | Permalink

Lab Software to be Updated

ITSS will be updating our computer lab build for fall 2012 to accurately reflect actual software that you use in coursework. We ask your help in identifying what those programs are.

If you use lab software, please visit ITSS Student Computer Labs for a list of what is currently offered. And then complete and submit the lab software request form to inform us which programs you need. Software that is not identified will be removed from the build in order to provide a cost effective and efficient service.

Posted on Thursday, Feb 2, 2012 | Permalink