WordPress Comment Spam
We received no reports of issues and did not notice an increase in spam comments this week during our test removal of one of the several comment spam measures we use in WordPress, so we’ve decided to leave the one we removed on Monday turned off.
WordPress Plugin and Theme Removals
We have removed the OnSwipe plugin, which was no longer getting updated. This plugin created a tablet view of a blog for non-responsive themes. If you still need this functionality, you can switch to one of our responsive themes, like any of the “Twenty” series or enable the WPtouch plugin.
We have also removed the JournalCrunch theme, which was no longer getting updated and was not being used by any sites.
Additionally, the Magazeen, colorpaper, Blogtheme, Bueno, Monotone, and Mystique themes were disabled, but not removed. Sites using one of these themes will still be using it, but the themes cannot be enabled on any new sites. Sites using these themes are encouraged to switch.
In each of these cases, the theme or plugin is using an old, common program to generate thumbnail images that has had issues in the past. Moving away from this script will help improve the availability and responsiveness of our WordPress service.
Fixes and Tweaks
- The Course Hub will now check to see if you have Panopto content before allowing you to delete a Panopto Resource from your course. You will need to delete the videos in Panopto before removing the resource.
- Fixed various widths and margins in the CCI WordPress theme sidebar. [From our colleagues in College Communications].
The migration of Middlebury’s email services to Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud environment is well underway. As of Friday, August 26th, we have moved 87% of all mailboxes to the cloud. Thank you so much for the help and feedback to date, it wouldn’t be possible without your support. The migration schedule can be found at http://go.middlebury.edu/cloud, updated daily.
For those of you that use Exchange Public Folders for departmental calendars, etc., we have an update. Public Folders will be unavailable for access from Tuesday, August 30th through Noon EST on Wednesday, August 31st. Public Folders are handled differently from mailboxes in Microsoft Exchange, and because of that difference they will be unavailable during their migration to the cloud.
When they are available again on August 31st, some users may need to re-open the Public Folders they normally access. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Here are the instructions for Outlook 2016 for Windows:
In Outlook, press Ctrl-6 to open the Folder View. You should see something like this:
To add a public folder to your Favorites, right-click the folder, then select Add to Favorites…. You should now be able to access it whenever you need it, including in the Calendar screen under “Other Calendars.”
Thanks again for your support and understanding. Please contact the Helpdesk with concerns or issues.
Please join me in welcoming Mike Schuster back to Information Technology Services. Mike will be returning to ITS effective Monday August 29th, 2016. Mike will continue in his current role as the Salesforce Administrator/Developer in support of the college’s Saleforce related initiatives.
WordPress Comment Spam
We are testing a change to our filtering this week that may result in an increase in the number of spam comments posted to your site. If you notice an increase, please let us know. This test will run though Friday, August 26 at the latest.
Drupal Permissions Changes
Since September 2015, there has been an issue where applying permissions to sub-pages in our Drupal sites would occasionally remove custom permissions at lower levels. We’ve corrected this so that changing page permissions now works as intended and have reviewed our Helpdesk tickets since last September to ensure that the permissions of everyone who reported a problem are back in place.
- Native fonts: The WordPress dashboard now takes advantage of the fonts you already have, making it load faster and letting you feel more at home on whatever device you use.
- Inline link checker: Ever accidentally made a link to https://wordpress.org/example.org? Now WordPress automatically checks to make sure you didn’t.
- Content recovery: As you type, WordPress saves your content to the browser. Recovering saved content is even easier with WordPress 4.6.
Course Hub “Panopto” Resource
In preparation for Middlebury’s pilot of the Panopto video recording and streaming service, we have built a Panopto integration into the Course Hub which allows instructors to provision course folders and appropriate groups with just a few clicks.
Fixes and Tweaks
- The link to WebMail in the MIIS site header was changed to go/newmail as all MIIS faculty, staff and student mailboxes have been moved to the new cloud-based email system.
- Reverted a code style change that caused the input fields in the WordPress MailChimp widget to disappear.
- The “download” attribute is now supported for link elements in the Middlebury Drupal site. This can only be added using the HTML button in the editor at this time. The attribute means that the image or document file linked to will be downloaded rather than opened in the browser window. This only works in Firefox, Chrome, Opera and the Android browser at this time.
- Fixed an issue with Panopto SAML2 authentication to ADFS caused by the roll-over of ADFS’s “signing cert”. Updating this cert configuration will be an annual task in the future.
Middlebury is approaching the start of the undergraduate academic year, this is the time where faculty are thinking about course web sites. The college has also started the transition from Moodle to Canvas, a new Learning Management System (LMS) that is developed and hosted by Instructure. Like Moodle, faculty can create their Canvas course sites...
As you may have heard, Middlebury is in the process of moving our e-mail infrastructure to the cloud in stages – see http://go.middlebury.edu/cloud for details. While this has generally gone smoothly so far, there can be issues if people who have been migrated try to access other mailboxes that have not, or vice versa, especially on Macs. (Outlook for Windows generally works well, possibly after some adjustments as explained at http://go.middlebury.edu.mailmove.) In most cases we can move mailboxes together with the people who access them, but due to the nature of Public Folders they all need to be moved at once (currently scheduled for 8/30).
Bottom line: Mac users may find themselves unable to access Public Folders between the time that their own account is moved and August 30th. (Middfiles and other file servers will be unaffected; this is only for shared folders in Outlook e.g. department calendars.)
If this is an issue for your work, please comment here or e-mail email@example.com to discuss so we can find a solution.
We appreciate your patience as we strive to keep our systems functioning optimally.
Middlebury College ITS
We have removed the PRiNZ themes from being available on our WordPress sites. Sites already using these these should not notice any change, but you will no longer see them in the list on the Appearance -> Themes page in the site dashboard. The themes are no longer supported by the vendor and cause issues with the WYSIWYG editor in recent versions of WordPress.
Fixes and Tweaks
- Fixed an issue where, when fetching the content of gallery captions in our Drupal sites, the results weren’t properly filtered and content from the pages images were embedded in was being displayed instead of the caption field of the image itself.
- Enabled multi-file uploads for the Museum website.
- Removed the image tags field from File Uploads on the MIIS website.