Archives—November 2013

Campus Card Reader Replacement

New contactless card readers are now beginning to appear across campus.  The old system, which used magnetic stripe cards, is being decommissioned.  It has been a long, complex process to engineer the replacement system, which included the selection of a contactless secure credential and working with multiple vendors.  Information Technology and the Van Pelt and Opie Library worked together to distribute over 8,000 new Michigan Tech HuskyCards to students, faculty and staff this September.

In addition to providing building and room access, the new cards are being used for meals in the residence halls, membership verification at the SDC, Experience Tech hockey game entry, and in other creative ways.  Now that the new ID cards have been issued, we have begun replacing existing readers.  If you encounter a new card reader, just tap and go.  In the meantime, the older readers that are being phased out will read the gold magnetic stripe on new HuskyCards.

ITSS already has numerous requests for new locations to be added, and we are working diligently to complete those requests.  There are approximately 400 existing card readers that need to be replaced, many of which need immediate attention due to equipment failure.  Please contact Information Technology by calling 906-487-1111 or emailing it-help@mtu.edu to report any problems, request new locations, or inquire about a card reader application for a special or unique purpose.


Adobe Connect Downtime

Due to a large online event being hosted by the Center for Technology and Training, we asked the campus community to postpone their use of the Adobe Connect web conferencing service on the following dates and times:

  • Thursday, December 17th – 12:30pm to 3:00pm
  • Wednesday, January 8th – 8:30am to 11:00am

During the dates listed, all campus Adobe Connect licenses will be in use. Should this impact currently scheduled web conferencing sessions, please contact it-help@mtu.edu.


IT User Services Thanksgiving Break Hours

For the week of Monday, November 25, 2013, IT User Services hours at the Library and IT Service Center will be from 8:00AM – 5:00PM, Monday through Wednesday. We will be closed on Thursday, November 28 (Thanksgiving Day) and Friday, November 29, 2013.

Normal IT hours will resume on Saturday, November 30. Check out our web site (www.it.mtu.edu) for regular business hours.

Matt, Sam and Darrin
The IT User Services Management Team


Microsoft Security Essentials/System Center Endpoint Protection as new University anti-virus solution

In recent years McAfee, the current anti-virus solution for campus, has been falling behind its competitors. Starting in 2012, IT began looking at alternative solutions for both University-owned computers and for home users. After comparing the available products, we have decided to implement Microsoft’s security solution for both groups of machines. The existing agreement with McAfee will end on December 13th, at which point current installations will cease to update.

For University-managed machines – those that use MTU ISO logins – IT will be making the transition in the near future. We will also be posting instructions for users of University-owned equipment that is not managed by IT so that they can transition their system.

For home users, whether they are students, faculty, or staff, Microsoft Security Essentials is free and readily available for download on Windows computers. A link for downloading the software is listed at the end of this post. If you currently have an alternative anti-virus solution installed such as McAfee, you will need to uninstall it prior to installing Security Essentials. IT will be posting more detailed instructions for this in the near future.

Download Microsoft Security Essentials for home users:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security-essentials-download


Find a computer on campus

Need a computer to finish your homework?

Michigan Tech Information and Technology Services is responsible for maintaining the open computing labs on campus.  We maintain over 750 computers in labs across campus available for students use.  IT maintains Windows, Linux, and Apple Macintosh computers with many specialized applications.  Available software is listed on our website here (https://www.it.mtu.edu/software/labsoft.php).

We are often asked “Where can I find a computer to use?”  To assist students in locating an available computer, we use an application called Labstats to provide real-time usage information. You can view the available computer labs along with their available seats on our website at https://www.it.mtu.edu/computer-labs/index.php.

If you’re looking for a seat in the library, check out the new digital sign/map with real-time computer usage in the entrance to the Van Pelt and Opie Library. Floors refresh every 20 seconds.

Looking for an open computer from your phone?  Michigan Tech’s Mobile app available for both Android and iOS devices provides access to Lab-Stats.

If you ever have questions on available computer resources, please contact Michigan Tech Information Technology at 906-487-1111 or by email at it-help@mtu.edu.


Campus Home Directory Upgrade Scheduled over Thanksgiving Holiday

UPDATE

November 29, 2013, 3:00PM – The campus home directories upgrade is now complete. Computers are now available for use. If you have any questions or problems, please contact IT at it-help@mtu.edu or 906-487-1111. Thank you for your cooperation and patience.

*****

Michigan Tech IT will be upgrading campus home directories over the Thanksgiving Holiday break. The outage period for these upgrades is scheduled for Thursday November 28th , 7:00PM through Sunday December 1st, 11:00PM.

This upgrade will enhance the performance of campus home directories and increase the flexibility of research data storage. During the upgrade, any computer that requires a Michigan Tech ISO username and password will not be available for use. This includes, but is not limited to: campus labs, Library computers, office computers, and classroom podium computers. In addition to campus home directories, the Multidrive (or M drive) will also be unavailable during the upgrade.

Please make sure you have saved your work and are logged out of your Michigan Tech ISO account prior to the upgrade start time (November, 28, 2013 at 7:00PM).

Throughout the upgrade process, IT will post updates here on the blog and on the IT status page at: http://status.it.mtu.edu.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please call the User Services help desk at (906) 487-1111 or email it-help@mtu.edu for assistance.


Husky-bw printer upgrade coming on November 25

Michigan Tech IT will be upgrading the current Kyocera (husky-bw) printers with high capacity/high efficiency Xerox WorkCentre 7855 printers to better meet the increased printing load on campus.

This upgrade will take place on November 25, 2013 from 7:00AM – 11:00AM. This upgrade does not affect the color printers, which will still be available for use during this time.

After the upgrade is complete, the following locations will only have a color printer but have the functionality to print from both husky-color and husky-bw queues:

  • AOB G004
  • Dow 7th floor
  • EERC Lobby
  • Fisher 232
  • M&M U203

When printing to the husky-bw queue on these dual-queue machines, students will not be charged. Any job sent to the husky-color queue will incur the standard color printing charge.

Check out http://www.it.mtu.edu/printing/updates for additional updates and information, as well as instructions and drivers (available soon). If you have any questions or concerns about the scheduled outage, please call the IT Help at 487-1111 or email it-help@mtu.edu.


IT Standardized Equipment

One of the issues IT faces while helping departments order technology is an understanding gap involving the cost and why we, as an institution, select and purchase specific technology. Questions arise such as “Why am I required to purchase the standardized equipment selected by IT when I can purchase similar equipment more cheaply from another store?” or “Why can I not purchase this machine with [specific] features?”

Ads for retailers such as Best Buy, Tiger Direct, etc. advertise consumer level electronics with corresponding components and support. When Michigan Tech IT specifies equipment for the university, we are choosing hardware that is suited for business use, which generally results in higher prices. We also take the following into consideration:

Compatibility

When IT chooses laptops and desktops for the university, it looks for products that have a good longevity and interoperable parts, e.g., a docking station or power cord ordered with one laptop that is compatible with an entire series of products.  ”Families” of machines often share common drivers and software.  This allows IT to prepare machines and install software without having to custom-build a lot of equipment. While special scenarios always exist, this applies to the bulk of campus computing.

Warranty

We choose professional/enterprise level technology which includes a minimum three-year warranty and a manufacturer’s support agreement for quick resolution and parts delivery. This allows IT to return repairs to users in the shortest time possible.

Lifecycle

Michigan Tech’s practice is to use, reuse and repurpose our technology well past its warranty period whenever possible.  We strive to responsibly recycle equipment until every possible use has been utilized from the machine.  Choosing machines which have that potential level of lifespan is another reason why we recommend and buy specific equipment.

IT’s aim is to recommend technology that is fast, well supported, has good longevity, and in the end, when you figure in the support cost and lifespan of the equipment, has an excellent total cost of ownership.


Internet Explorer updates and Google Apps browser support

Google no longer supporting IE9

Google has announced that it will no longer be supporting Internet Explorer 9 in terms of Google Apps compatibility. All testing and engineering work related to IE9 has ceased as of October 17, 2013.

Google supports the latest version of Google Chrome (which automatically updates whenever it detects that a new version of the browser is available) as well as the current and prior major release of Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari on a rolling basis. Each time a new version of one of these browsers is released, Google begins supporting the update and stops supporting the third-oldest version.

What does this mean for you if you’re an IE9 user? When using Google Apps in an unsupported browser, you may find that some features do not function, or the application doesn’t load. For example:

  • Calendar: Calendars display in read-only mode.
  • Gmail: Gmail users are redirected to the basic HTML interface of Gmail.
  • DriveDrawings and presentations don’t display properly.

If you have questions or would like to ensure you’re using a browser that supports all current Google functionality, please contact User Services at it-help@mtu.edu or call 487-1111.

More information is here: https://support.google.com/a/answer/33864.

Internet Explorer Compatibility View

IT is also fully rolling out Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) as a part of normal computer updates. Most websites will continue working as before, but some sites using older technology might require you to turn on Compatibility View. You can do this by clicking the broken page icon in the address bar.

Click again to turn off Compatibility View. More information is available from Microsoft.


New Digital Signage Software Training

Information Technology Services is implementing a new digital sign content manager by Four Winds Interactive (FWi), a versatile and full-featured system for creating, deploying and managing digital signage content across networks. The system is currently being used on the new screens in the Library and will soon be available across campus.

IT will be coordinating a remote training session on November 15, from 11am-1pm. If your department is interested in setting up a new sign/kiosk or a potential sign in the future and would like to participate in the session, please contact IT at it-help@mtu.edu or 487-1111.