Author Archives: Petar Mitrevski

Projection issues with Macs – Apple releases an update

If you are having trouble connecting your Mac to a TV or projector and you’ve tried everything to no avail, try a software update. Apple just released updates for OS X Lion and OS X Mountain Lion. To obtain these updates, run Apple Software Update.

Note that we also have a short document (go/projection) that shows how to connect a Mac or a PC to a projector and provides tips for resolving the most common issues.

Top Tech Tips for a Successful Event

Middlebury College hosts hundreds of events each year. A successful event is the result of careful and timely planning. To assist you with planning your event, LIS has outlined these tips for a successful event:

  • Plan ahead: For all events that require tech support, we ask that you give us at least 5 business days notice. This deadline ensures that we have enough time to coordinate support with other departments (that have similar deadlines) and ensures that we can support more events and produce higher quality events.
  • Give the Master Location Schedule a spin: This tool can help you get a list of spaces that have the features you need: visit go/mls, open the Locations tab, click More Search Options and under Features select the feature you are looking for (e.g. Computer installed at the podium). This can be very helpful in the early planning stages.
  • The right room for the job: Keep in mind that some spaces are better suited for specific purposes. The event location is especially important if:
    • you are planning a videoconference,
    • you would like to have the event recorded
    • you plan to use microphones

Not all spaces are well suited for the above purposes (due to acoustics, lighting, capacity, etc.) Thus, to ensure a successful event, LIS has selected specific locations (see list below) that are best designed for these types of events. The Scheduling Office will work with you and LIS to find the best location for your event.

  • Tech options: Consider whether you will need additional equipment or tech support (projector, microphones, show a DVD, record the event, etc.):

    • Many event venues already have the most popular equipment (projection, speakers, etc.), as well as an easy to use control panel and a set of printed instructions. With a brief orientation session, you’ll operate the equipment with ease. Contact the Helpdesk if you would like to schedule an orientation session.
    • If the location you are hoping to use does not have the equipment you need, LIS offers several options for getting equipment on loan.
    • If you’re sure you’ll need tech support, make sure to indicate that when filling out your event reservation request.
  • The Scheduling Office is your ally. Submit your reservation request to the scheduling office as soon as possible, keeping in mind that LIS and other service departments require a 5-7 day notice. If you do require equipment or tech support, please ensure you select the appropriate option on the form. If the correct option is selected, the Scheduling Office will notify the Helpdesk of your event in a timely manner and we will contact you if more information is needed. Again, it is imperative that you respond to our requests for information at least 5 business days in advance of the event.
  • Useful forms: To help you prepare for some types of events, and to ensure we get all the information necessary to give you our best service, we may ask you to complete a simple form. See the list of useful forms below.
  • Guest speakers: If you are bringing a guest speaker on-campus, send them our Technology Checklist for Visiting Speakers.
  • Use a podium computer or bring your own: A lot of classrooms have a built-in computer at the podium, reducing the need to bring your own computer. Again, the Master Location Schedule can help you get a list of these locations. If you prefer to use your own laptop for the presentation, make sure to test your computer and your presentation in the event location. Please feel free to contact the Helpdesk if you would like us to help out with the test!
  • PowerPoint Tips: Using PowerPoint to enhance a talk, Tips for including media – pictures, videos, audio (& ensuring it all works!)
  • Microphone Tips: Effective Microphone Techniques

Supported Locations

Due to acoustics, lighting, capacity and other factors, not all spaces are well suited for special events such as recordings, videoconferencing, etc. Thus, to ensure a successful event, LIS has selected specific locations that are best designed for these types of events. The Scheduling Office will work with you and LIS to find the best location for your event but you can plan ahead and review the potential venue options:

Every year we renovate selected spaces, so the options will continue to grow. You can always check the above links for the most up-to-date information.

Useful Forms

To help you prepare for some types of events, and to ensure we get all the information necessary to give you our best service, we’ve prepared a few forms:

  • For recordings:

    • You will need to have the speaker(s) fill out the recording consent form (go/consent). We need to receive this form 2 business days (48 hours) before the event or we will not be able to record. This is a legal document that ensures the speaker is aware of your intent and, at the same time, protects you and the College in the case of a lawsuit. For more information, visit go/consent.
    • Complete the recording request form (go/recording). We need to receive this form 5 business days before the event or we will not be able to record. This form collects information that we need to prepare for the recording, create a high quality recording that is accessible and reliable, and properly catalog the recording so that you or the College may reuse it in the future. For more information visit go/recording.
  • For film screenings:
    • Complete the screening request form (go/screening). We need to receive this form 5 business days before the event or we cannot guarantee that we can staff the screening. Screening any media requires sufficient time to purchase (or confirm) that we have the screening rights and that we have the working physical media. Even if you plan to bring your own media, screening rights need to be confirmed and the media itself needs to be tested. For more information, visit go/screening.

Note: We will continue to update this list, as our services and event venues change. Please check the page Top Tech Tips for a Successful Event for the latest version. In addition, visit the Media Services homepage for more information on our services.

New Smart Classrooms & Renovations – AXT 305, CHT 110, MBH 305 plus Carr 005 and LIB140

In June and July (and in time for the Language Schools!), LIS installed new audio/video projection systems in four classrooms that were lacking technology:

  • Twilight Hall 305 (AXT 305)
  • Chateau 110 (CHT 110)
  • McCardell Bicentennial Hall 305 (MBH 305)
  • Sunderland 123 (SDL 123)

Thanks to all the hard work from Facilities Services, Sherwin Electric and BTS, we were able to get the equipment installed and operational very quickly. The classrooms are HD-ready and provide both analog and digital computer connections, as well as Blu-ray and DVD/VHS players.

The technology in all the classrooms is virtually the same, with AXT 305 being slightly different. The AXT 305 classroom features a 60″ energy efficient LED TV instead of the more traditional drop-down projection screen. This is our first LED TV classroom, a pilot project to examine the feasibility of using TVs instead of projection screens in smaller classrooms. Using a TV instead of a drop down projection screen saves time and money, while providing a brighter display. Moreover, LED TVs use less electricity than projectors.

In addition to the new smart classrooms above, the technology system in Carr Hall 005 received an upgrade in July, as well. We completed this project in collaboration with UVM and thanks to the efforts of Bob Cluss.

Carr 005 is one of our videoconferencing spaces. It now features a new high definition videoconferencing unit and the ability to share a computer screen or other content during a videoconference. The space can also be used as a regular classroom – the equipment supports computer projection as well as DVD and VHS playback.

Last, but not least, Library 140 received a major renovation – it now has seating capacity for 36 people and features a dual projection system! The new audio/video system features two high definition projectors and provides full digital connectivity, as well as support for older analog formats.

Instructions for using the technology in these space are available here:

Here are some photos from a few of the classrooms (hover your mouse over each photo for a description):
Twilight 305
Sunderland 123
Davis Family Library 140

Outlook Calendar Best Practices (or How to Avoid Scheduling Mishaps with Outlook)

To help resolve issues with scheduling meetings using Outlook, LIS has created a document called Outlook Calendar Best Practices. The document is available on our Helpdesk Documentation website. Please contact the Helpdesk if you have any further questions.

Use Dropbox? Consider middfiles instead

We advise our community to use Middfiles for all file storage needs. In fact, sensitive information should always be stored on Middfiles.

Dropbox, one of the most popular cloud storage providers, has had several security flaws and breaches over the past year:
– In June, for four hours, anyone could access anyone else’s Dropbox files.
Three other separate security flaws (or holes) were found this summer.
– Furthermore, FTC found that Dropbox was misrepresenting their security measures and protocols.
– In addition, Dropbox had changed then clarified its Terms of Service within a matter of days.

That’s why we promote Middfiles for “cloud” storage needs. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions around Dropbox, cloud storage or security. If you have questions specific to Middfiles, please visit our documentation page.

Blu-ray Playback in Smart Classrooms

blu-ray-logo

Blu-ray projection (the ability to play Blu-ray discs) is being added to all new projection spaces or as we upgrade existing projection spaces (several each year). Currently, the following spaces can be used to play Blu-ray discs:

  • Dana Auditorium
  • Axinn 232
  • MBH 216, 219, 220
  • A viewing station at the Davis Family Library. The station is easy to spot as it sports the Blu-ray logo
  • You can find a complete list of spaces in the Master Location Schedule: visit go/mls, open the Locations tab, click More Search Options, under Features select DVD Blu-ray Player and click Go.

We are working on a page that will provide more details around supported projection formats (what kind of media can be projected, and where). We will post an announcement when this page is ready. If you have any questions, please leave a comment here or contact the LIS Helpdesk.