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Moodle Maintenance on Friday, March 6th, 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

From Remote-Learner:

In order to increase the resilience and reliability of our cloud platform we will be conducting network maintenance on 3/06/2015 between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., EST. During this time sites will be unavailable for extended periods of time.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to improve your experience.

Sincerely,

Remote-Learner Technical Support

Google Analytics for Higher Education Workshop on March 25, 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

I’ll be hosting a workshop to discuss how you can use Google Analytics to get information about and improve the Middlebury website. You can sign up for the workshop on Wednesday March 25 from 1:30-2:50pm in MBH 161. Registration is limited to 10 persons to ensure there will be adequate time to answer your individual questions.

If you want to attend either session and don’t already have access to Google Analytics, please submit a Helpdesk ticket for “Software & Web Tools – Goolge Analytics Question” so that I can make sure you’re set up prior to the session.

Description: We can give you access to our Google Analytics reports so that you can look at traffic patterns for your website, but in order to get the most from this tool, you’ll need to do a bit of set up work and understand the basics of the platform. If you do not yet have a Google Analytics account, please indicate this in your sign-up.

What we’ll cover: Google Analytics tips & tricks, what number you should care about, search engine optimization, and getting your account set up.

What we won’t cover: Goals, conversions, AdWords, and on page events.

Format: The workshop will last an hour with additional time for questions and discussion, as needed.

More information about LIS workshops is available at go/lisworkshops.

Friday links – Feb. 20, 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Google and Mattel pull the View-Master into virtual realityGoogle and Mattel pull the View-Master into virtual reality – Let’s recall the iconic View-Master toy that first launched in 1939 — it used small colored film that brought images to 3D life. Now, it’s getting a massive overhaul with the help of Google and its Cardboard VR (virtual reality) viewer.

Electronics and cold: A dangerous mix

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

As we all endure these cold temperatures, it can be easy to forget that some of the stuff we carry with us is isn’t quite as hearty. Notably, electronics can be damaged quite easily and seriously in this weather. It’s not the cold itself that is always a problem (although it can be), but instead it’s the temperature change from cold to warm which triggers condensation inside the device.

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That fogging of your glasses when you come in from outside is water condensing onto the cold glass surfaces. This same thing takes place unseen inside your phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, and other electronics. Because we all know that water and electronics do not play well together, this puts your data as well as the device itself at risk.

Screen-Shot-2013-07-10-at-8.23.52-PM1

We would never try and use our device after it had fallen into water, but just coming in from the outside can result in enough water inside the device to cause the same damage. To the right you’ll see the result of actual water damage inside a MacBook… an extremely expensive repair (click the photo for a better view).

 

Condensation/water isn’t the only killer here. Cold batteries will die faster, cold hard drives can have trouble spinning and can damage your valuable data, cold LCD displays won’t look or function right, and the sudden change from cold to hot as internal components heat up when powered on can cause permanent damage. While too much heat can hurt electronics, too much cold has plenty of negative effects as well.

So… what to do to keep your device and data safe? Here are the best practices:

  • If at all possible, don’t let your electronic devices get cold in the first place. This means not leaving them outside, or in your car. If you have to carry your electronics for an extended distance from one building to another, bundle them up inside a bag as well as you can to insulate them from the cold. Wrapping them in a towel, shirt or blanket isn’t unreasonable given the bitter cold temperatures lately.
  • If it’s too late and your electronic device has already gotten cold, don’t turn it on. If possible, remove the battery since these days “off” isn’t really powered off. If you’ve gotten lucky and condensation hasn’t damaged it yet, the moment of powering it up and sending electricity through the entire device is the most likely moment of death. The safest thing to do is let it sit in a dry, room-temperature environment as long as you possibly can. Just because it has reached room temperature and is dry outside does not mean there has been time for all the condensation to evaporate inside. This can take hours. Obviously, prevention is more convenient and a much better option.
  • As always: make sure you’re keeping your data on Middfiles instead of storing your files locally on the device. That way if the worst happens and your device fails, at least your data is still safe. Just backing up once a week/month is still living dangerously: make Middfiles your default location for storing and opening your files and you’ll be protected in the event of this and many other things that can go wrong. More information at http://go/middfiles/ or http://go.middlebury.edu/middfiles/

Stay warm and safe computing!

-Scott Remick, ITS Senior Technology Specialist

SIPRI Yearbook (trial through March 13, 2015)

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Students, faculty and staff at Middlebury have free access for 30 days to the

SIPRI SIPRI Yearbook online – full of information on armaments, disarmament, and international security.

Look it over and let us know what you think – email eaccess-admin@middlebury.edu or your liaison.

Elsevier’s Reference Module on Earth Systems & Environmental Sciences (trial ends March 16, 2015)

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Faculty, staff, and students from Middlebury now have access to several encyclopedias and other reference works on the ScienceDirect platform. This information sheet explains the module and its contents which include:

ClimateVuln

 

 

EncyEnvirHealthComprehBiotech

 

and much more. Explore, and let us know what you think – email eaccess-admin@middlebury.edu or your liaison.

Wireless Network Changes

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Greetings!

Over the course of the next several weeks, we will be replacing the wireless networks at Middlebury.

What do I need to do?

Starting March 2nd, please connect to the new secure wireless network named MiddleburyCollege (like midd_secure but better). Middlebury Faculty, Staff and Students will login with your standard Middlebury username and password. Guests will need to create a Middlebury guest account and use it to connect to MiddleburyCollege. This is not a change for change’s sake – we are confident that the end result will be a wireless network that is more convenient and more secure for everyone.

Why are we doing this? What are we trying to achieve?

Some devices have trouble with the current configuration of midd_secure. Midd_secure was created many years ago and wireless standards have since evolved. Additionally, guests have traditionally connected to midd_unplugged, a non-secure network.

It is important that all wireless devices, including those of faculty, staff and students as well as guests, have a way to connect to our network securely, quickly, and easily. Also, as part of our improved security posture, and to comply with all regulations and generally accepted guidelines, devices on our network need to be identified and associated with an individual, for everyone’s benefit.

What will the new configuration look like?

  • Anyone with a Middlebury College username, including faculty, staff, students, etc., will connect to the new wireless network called MiddleburyCollege using their username and password. Guests will also connect to MiddleburyCollege with their guest account name and password, where they will have access to the Internet, but not our internal servers.
  • Guests from other institutions that are also part of the eduroam project will continue to connect to the eduroam network (for Internet access only).
  • Guests and others who do not have a username and password, either because they haven’t created an account or they have forgotten their password, will connect to a new open wireless network created for this purpose, called GuestAccountCreation. No password is required, but connections are limited to intervals of 15 minutes. When they connect, they will be offered links to create a new guest account, reset their guest password, or activate/reset their Middlebury account password.
  • Certain older or residential devices, for technical or procedural reasons, do not support standard security protocols (username and password), and require what’s called a “pre-shared key” instead (a shared password, like Midd-standard has now). For these devices, we are creating a limited-access pre-shared key network called MCPSK. This is only for devices that cannot use MiddleburyCollege. If you suspect this applies to you, please contact us (see “What if I have more questions?” below).

How will we get there? What is the transition schedule?

To reduce the impact of this change, we are planning on a phased implementation that gives people time to transition from one network to another. For performance and capacity reasons, we cannot have more than four different wireless networks at once, so we will introduce new networks on the following schedule:

Now to 3/2 3/2 to 3/09 3/09 to 3/16 3/16 forward
midd_unplugged (transition to midd_secure)
MiddleburyCollege MiddleburyCollege MiddleburyCollege
midd_secure midd_secure (transition to MiddleburyCollege)
MCPSK MCPSK
Midd-standard Midd-standard Midd-standard (transition to MCPSK)
GuestAccountCreation
eduroam eduroam eduroam eduroam (unchanged – for guest access from other institutions)
  1. Anyone currently connecting to midd_unplugged should take a moment now to transition to midd_secure. If you have trouble connecting to midd_secure, please contact the Helpdesk for the password to Midd-standard.
  2. On Monday, March 2nd, midd_unplugged will be removed and we will introduce the new MiddleburyCollege network. From then on, all faculty, staff, and students should connect to MiddleburyCollege, though midd_secure and Midd-standard will continue to work for enough time to allow a smooth transition. We will prepare offices that frequently bring guests to campus to help them get connected to Midd-standard if necessary during this transitional period. In short, midd-unplugged will cease operating on 03/02/2015 – use midd_secure before then, and MiddleburyCollege after.
  3. On Monday, March 9th, all College personnel should be connected to MiddleburyCollege, and we will remove midd_secure to allow for the introduction of the MCPSK network. Starting on this day, anyone who hasn’t been using midd_secure due to incompatibility should first see if they can connect to MiddleburyCollege. If your device doesn’t support it, please contact the Helpdesk so we can connect you to MCPSK. For most devices, switch to MiddleburyCollege before midd_secure goes away on 03/09/2015.
  4. By Monday, March 16th, all individuals who have been using Midd-standard should have moved to another network, so we can remove Midd-standard and add GuestAccountCreation. To recap, switch to either MiddleburyCollege or MCPSK before Midd-standard goes away on 03/16/2015.

Other Frequently Asked Questions:

Are you saying guests will connect to the MiddleburyCollege network? Isn’t that a little weird from a security perspective?

There’s some behind-the-scenes magic there – people with Middlebury Guest accounts will be isolated from the regular Middlebury network and be provided with Internet access only.

Why start by removing midd_unplugged instead of another network?

For starters, it’s slow and insecure, but a good chunk of people keep using it, unaware that that’s the primary reason for their bad experiences. As much as possible during this transition, we want to make life easier for the people who are currently depending on the faster secure networks. We did consider temporarily disabling eduroam instead, since not as many people use it, but it’s part of an agreement with other universities and we want to honor that.

If I’m bringing a guest to campus after March 2nd, how can I make their experience easier?

The best thing to do is direct them to Middguests so they can create an account before they get here. Then, once they arrive on campus, they can immediately connect to MiddleburyCollege with their guest username and password. If they’ve forgotten their account info, once the GuestAccountCreation network is in place, it’ll provide links to help them reset their password or create a new account.

What about College faculty, staff, or students who’ve forgotten their password or don’t have one yet?

The GuestAccountCreation welcome page will also have a link to the password activation/reset page, and the Helpdesk phone number should anyone get stuck.

What if I have more questions?

If you have a technical issue, now or at any time, or if you need access to the limited MCPSK network, please make a ticket or call us at 802.443.2200 so we can assist you. If you have general questions about the plan, please post them here so everyone can see the answers.

Peace and change,

~Zach Schuetz for the Helpdesk