Information Systems

Tech Talk

  • CNet Password Change Update: Please Read Carefully

    Posted October 31, 2014

    If you are a school employee and have not changed your CNet password in the last year, you can expect to receive an e-mail on November 3rd from University IT Services asking you to change your CNet password. This letter will be signed by Tom Barton, Chief Information Security Officer for the University. The letter will include a link. Following the link should take you to a web page with a URL that explains the University of Chicago Password Refresh Campaign, with directions on what to do and how to do it.

    This email will be sent to your email address, which many of you have chosen to forward to your Lab School ( email address. We know that at least some of you either don't know or have forgotten you have a e-mail account, or have chosen not to forward that account to one you use more frequently. IS is working with UC IT Services to figure out the best way to determine who is in this situation and how best to assist you in dealing with the password change.

    There will be a window of three weeks in which you can make the change. For more information about this change, visit this IT Services link:

    Two options are available for increasing the strength of your password. Choosing the passphrase option means entering more characters, but does not require different kinds of characters (upper case letter, lower case letter, symbol, number). That makes it easier to type in on smartphones and iPads. The other option uses the same rules as your current password about including different kinds of characters, but increases the minimum length of the password.

    Some users may need to enter the new password in certain settings on laptops, smartphones, or tablet computers. These include syncing your uchicago e-mail on these devices, managing your uchicago-secure wireless profile, and those who use the University's outgoing mail server ( in their Mail settings. IS is working up a web page with information on these items which should be posted early next week. You'll be advised when that web page goes live. If you need help with these items in the meantime, come on down to the Judd lower level and we'll be happy to help.

  • Happy Halloween!

    Posted October 31, 2014

    Here's a nerdy jack-o'-lantern for you.

  • Google Drive Status

    Posted October 31, 2014

    We often don’t think about the amount of time we wait for websites to load until they slow down, lock up or crash. Google Drive users experienced two such incidents in the last couple of weeks. Here is a handy link to Google's Apps Status Dashboard that you may want to bookmark: It provides up-to-date information on service availability for Google Apps anywhere in the world. As our use of Google Drive continues to grow, the link might help dispel the occasional confusion that service interruptions create.

  • Speaking of Google Drive

    Posted October 31, 2014

    Some of you may have noticed that Google has made some changes in the way your Drive content is displayed. Google does this sort of thing sometimes with little or no prior announcement, and we in IS don't know any more about these than you do when it happens. Another link worth bookmarking is this one,, in which Google documents changes it makes in detail.

  • iPad Play Date a Hit

    Posted October 31, 2014

    Hats off to Amy Landry, Lisa Harrison Piane, Kathy Iatarola, and Louis Coronel for a great Play Date in Blaine Tuesday afternoon! About 20 teachers and administrators showed up to learn more about how to connect pedagogical, content, and technological knowledge in a way that transforms curricular projects. After a brief demonstration of how the presenters developed instructional goals and selected tech tools to help achieve them, iPads loaded with some of the featured apps were shared with attendees. A time of exploration and good old-fashoned play ensued, with many questions, ideas and insights exchanged among the group.

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