Information Systems

Tech Talk

  • A Few E-mail Tricks and Tips

    Posted October 16, 2014

    1) If you don't really need a reply to the message you send, say so. Some people like to put NRN (no reply necessary) in the subject line.

    2) Make new Mailboxes (Apple Mail) or Folders (Webmail) to organize your Inbox. Then you can either drag a message to it from your Inbox, or set up a Rule or Smart Folder to direct incoming messages directly to that mailbox. We see lots of folks out there with several thousand messages in the Inbox who then have trouble finding what they need. If you need help with this, let the Help Desk know.

    3) You might want to use the blind copy field for sending a copy of outgoing messages to yourself. Then they show up in your Inbox, where you can more easily direct them to folders you've created instead of scrolling through the hundreds of Sent Mail messages to find the one you want (or using the search bar to locate them). You can also empty your Sent Mail folder now and then to keep things nice and tidy.

    4) Manage your time by scheduling blocks for reading and returning email. Yes, it's nice for you to be accessible and seen as responsive, but how many e-mails in a given day are truly urgent enough to displace more important work you'd hoped to accomplish? We all know what a time drain e-mail can be, and the constant arrival of messages in our Inboxes can be a real distraction. Take control of your e-mail habits and you'll be in a better position to focus on your high priority tasks.

  • What We Are Up To

    Posted October 16, 2014

    A frightfully busy couple of weeks found us involved in pretty much every area under our umbrella: preparing for next week's 6th and 8th grade ERB testing in Middle School far, completed about 85 data migrations from old to new teacher laptops...completed setup of all new a/v systems in Blaine, coordinating a/v installs and repairs in BL, MS and HS...slogging through the intricacies of Apple's new Device Enrollment Plan and how to make it work with Casper's moblie device management toolkit for the MS iPad pilot set to launch in the next couple of days...getting closer to beginning the laptop pilot in a few HIgh School classes...working with UC to get contracts for online services vetted...working with the CS department on a different way of managing the CS dept. server...assisting in implementing communication recommendations from the Tech Advisory committee ...participating on ISACS self-study committees...completed replacement of all new printers acquired for this year...working with the English Department on using a set of Chromebooks for student work...working with Dave Stafford on Gordon Parks Arts Hall audiovisual system specs and costs...participating in Emergency Management Plan review and training...working with Alumni Relations and Development office on some strategic changes to their computing environment...completed upgrades to FileMaker 13 for the Admissions Office...configuring 25 new laptops for the Blaine Library computer lab...and of course, the usual iCart deliveries, support tickets, and so on.

  • That CNet Thing From the Summer Is Actually Happening

    Posted October 16, 2014

    You may recall that the University had planned a summer campaign to get all UC staff members who had not changed their CNet password in the last year to do so before the end of August. That campaign was delayed somewhat after feedback from campus tech directors, but now is back on the front burner.

    If you fall into both those categories -- considered "staff" by the University, and have not changed your CNet password in the last year -- you can expect a message from IT Services either October 27 or November 3 directing you to change that password during the three week window they'll provide. They will also include instructions on how to do this and new standards for password length and complexity.

    They are doing this to increase the security of your data and the data systems they provide to us all. Universities everywhere have seen serious increases in the frequency and sophistication of attacks on their data systems, so it is hardly unreasonable for them to take these steps.

    The University is rightly concerned that some will see their message about the password change as a "phishing" attempt, and so are communicating actively with subunits like Lab to make sure we know what is coming and when.

    As more specific information becomes available, you'll be made aware.

  • ESH Technology Blog is Live

    Posted October 16, 2014

    Louis Coronel, the Technology Coordinator at Earl Shapiro Hall, has started a blog to keep people abreast of technology developments at ESH. We hope you will find this blog useful in maintaining connections between the two campuses and keeping the conversation going about how technology is used in the curriculum.

    You can find Louis' initial post to "tESHnologically speakng" here.

  • Ticketing System Update

    Posted October 2, 2014

    Your response to our request to submit help desk tickets directly to the online system has been fantastic. Many of you have changed a years-long behavior almost overnight, and we greatly appreciate this. Thank you! If you need a reminder on how to do this, visit the IS website and scroll through this Tech Talk to find the one before it.

DIT Bits Blog

  • A Whirlwind Start to a New School Year

    09/20/2014 11:31 AM

    Whew! This is the first day I’ve had a chance to catch my breath between the end of my vacation and the opening of school. 

    In addition to the usual challenges of opening school, the IT team has had its share (as have so many others in our school community) of extra challenges to meet:
    • The record number of new employees tested our “onboarding” process (more about this awful word later), so we have some work to do to tighten that up to serve 30+ folks a year. With the lower numbers of past years, we could get done what was needed in person in the time available, but we are clear now that it needs its own dedicated web presence that includes as much as possible in a "one-stop shopping" experience. The trick is to get that done now while it is still fresh in our minds. 
    • Ongoing renovation also meant lots of interaction with UC IT Services, the construction team, principals, and our Facilities team. As the west side of Blaine and the other work in Middle School near full completion, keeping track of the current status of networking, hardware, and audiovisual projects has consumed a fair amount of time and attention. A number of items are on backorder, which hasn’t helped. The good news is that nearly all the projectors should be installed within the next couple of days. 
    • We also chose to seize an opportunity we didn’t anticipate to change our managed print services vendor earlier than scheduled, which meant replacing all the large print/copy/scan machines with a new make and model, doing user training, pushing out drivers, and so on, just as teachers were returning to school and office staff and administrators were putting the finishing touches on new year preparations. It was hectic, but the two project leaders on the IT team did a great job of getting this done in spite of a few bumps along the way. Making this move will remove a big thorn from our side and free up a lot of IT staff time we had been spending managing our former vendor. That’s always a win despite a little extra short-term pain. 
    So, following up on “onboarding” and its evil twin “off boarding:” these are not real words, and even if they are, they should not be. The jargonistas invented these for reasons unknown, and as educators, we should shun such abuses of the language. “Welcoming” and “departing,” “moving on,” or some more appropriate real words seem much more dignified and do not have the connotations depicted below. Can't we do better? 

                Onboarding                                                                   Offboarding