Information Systems

Tech Talk

  • Holiday Gifts for the Geek in All of Us

    Posted December 10, 2014

    Nibbles, the cable keeping fish ($13)

    Romo, a robot buddy that uses your iPhone for its brain ($129),2817,2462357,00.asp

    An R2D2 lunch bag, complete with noises and lights ($19.99)

    Streaming Sticks for watching Netflix, Hulu, etc
    Roku: ($40)
    Amazon Fire: ($40)

    For those who lose keys ($17.50)

    Online Backup Subscriptions (monthly cost varies)

    If you ski, surf, ride mountain bikes, sky dive, base jump, etc., and want to make beautiful movies while doing so ($500)

  • ESS Access On Campus Only

    Posted December 10, 2014

    The University's Human Resources department recently curtailed online access to ESS, the employee self-service portal, to the campus network. Employees cannot access it from home or other locations, only from computers using the campus network. This change was not announced and no explanation was given. Keep in mind that Workday, the new online HR service that will replace ESS, will be launched in January. It's our understanding that Workday will be accessible from any online location.

  • A Heads Up about "Free" Printing/Copying Services

    Posted December 10, 2014
    As this school year began, a change was made from Xerox to Proven Technologies for our managed print services agreement. All our large multifunction devices were replaced with Canon units and numerous Kyocera printers were installed, too. Since the new MFDs were installed, Proven has been absorbing the cost of all the copying and printing we've been doing while we worked with them to plan the rollout of Uniflow, their print management and accounting software.

    We are not yet ready to begin using Uniflow, but have completed the initial steps in preparing to do so. Because of Uniflow's rich feature set, a fair amount of setup work remains before we will be fully ready to get it going, but thought it best to give you a heads up that the "free" service you've enjoyed thus far will not last forever. After meeting with Proven last week, we are firming up a timeline for the project, but don't yet have an ETA. We do think you will be impressed with Uniflow's capabilities, however, and look forward to bringing this powerful product on board.
  • Before You Leave for Break

    Posted December 10, 2014
    Please secure all school computing equipment assigned to you before departing on Winter Break. Turn off all computers, peripheral devices, and audiovisual systems. Leave large networked printers and MFDs powered up for staff who are working over the holiday break.

    IS staff will come around to collect classroom iPads and mobile A/V gear.

    Please lock up cameras, flash drives, and other tech items in locking storage in your classroom or office. If you have no locking storage, we will be happy to secure items for you. Unsecured tech items we find as we visit classrooms will be picked up as well and returned for the start of Winter Quarter.

    If you are traveling with school-owned equipment, be sure to log out of your user account when not using the computer and be alert in public places. Do not use public wi-fi for business or sensitive transactions. It is also strongly recommended that you save sensitive school data and documents to the file server and not on the hard drive of your computer; you don't want to be in a position where they are available for unauthorized access should your computer be lost or stolen. You should also back up data important to you, especially photographs, which can be burned to a DVD, saved to the file server, or uploaded to a personal photo storage account like Flickr.

    If you are traveling but leaving your school-owned gear at home, be sure it is under lock and key somewhere in your home not readily accessible to an intruder. Home burglaries are the most common way laptops assigned to teachers go missing.

    At least some IS staffers will be available each day the school is open over break, so if you have tech support needs, let us know.

    Best wishes for a joyous, refreshing, safe holiday from all of us in IS!
  • Update on UC Password Change

    Posted November 13, 2014

    We've heard from many of you about the UC mandatory password change as mentioned in the last two Tech Talks. Here are our most common responses to questions we've received about this:

    1) The letter, from Tom Barton, Chief Information Security Officer for the University, is indeed legitimate. The link in the letter is valid, too. 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.

    2) You have three weeks from the day the letter was sent to complete the password change. If you don't, you won't be able to access any services behind the CNet password, including the wireless network and the UC HR portal, ESS.

    3) 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. The IS team has put together a web page detailing those instances you will most likely encounter. You can find it at:

    4) This password change does not affect our students or any employees who've changed their CNet ID in the last year, so there are folks who won't get the message from UC IT Services.

    if you have trouble establishing your new password, don't hesitate to contact the UC help information given in the letter.

    For those of you who have not used your e-mail account in some time and may have the password change letter sitting in that account, our best advice at this time is to call the UC help desk at 773-834-TECH and tell them you need help in gaining access to that account. If you still have questions or need help, please let IS know.

DIT Bits Blog

  • Slice of Life

    11/12/2014 12:22 PM

    Every now and then, I have a day that touches almost all of the different facets of the work I do. I offer this brief recap of just such a day for those who might wonder about what a technology director does besides sit at a computer answering e-mail, or those who may be considering pursuing a tech director position after succeeding in other education technology roles.

    8:30: Convene a meeting of senior IT staff to make sure our message to Lab users about an imminent, first-ever forced password change by the University covers all the right bases while remaining concise. We decide to put a web page together that covers all the gory details that are necessary but don't really fit in the main message going out. 

    9:00: Take part in Executive Team meeting. Updates from Admissions, the construction team, the Communications director, and the Director prompt numerous discussions of how best to navigate upcoming events, school communications, and decisions that need to be made about the Gordon Park Arts Hall. 

    10:30: Complete a handful of help desk tickets involving audiovisual systems; gather and deliver portable speaker sets to support a 5th grade Haunted Hallway project for Halloween. Answer a dozen or so e-mails.

    11:30: Meet with a Middle School teacher to learn more about her plans for participating in the iPad pilot. We go over her instructional goals, apps she has selected to achieve those goals, and how to set a proper level of expectation with students about using the pilot iPads.

    12:00: Meet with a fellow administrator over lunch to discuss personnel issues, how best to manage her time and increased demands for communication she is currently experiencing. 

    1:00: Impromptu discussion with an IT staffer looking toward some major life changes and seeking counsel on how best to navigate them.

    1:30: Do some investigation of a reported possible instance of a Facebook-related social media policy violation. Formulate an appropriate response but hang on to it until I'm sure it's needed (the person involved came in the next day and all was worked out, no violation occurred).

    2:00: Participate in a consultant-requested conference call doing research on the mobile laptop/iPad cart industry. She asks me about market trends, design considerations, experience with various vendors, and more. It goes much longer than I thought it would. I don't normally accept such invitations, but bad cart design has been a pet peeve of mine over the years. 

    3:30: Sit in on a good-sized meeting to work through different points of view on proposed changes to the construction of the Assembly Hall. I get to mostly listen as the the different stakeholders exchange thoughts, ideas, and concerns and decisions are made. Some of the changes may affect the IT side of things, so it's good I'm invited to be there.

    4:45: Complete draft of biweekly newsletter, including the carefully-composed item we went over at the 8:30 meeting. Take five minutes to find an appropriately nerdy carved pumpkin to add to the newsletter.  

    5:20: Head home.