What are you talking about?
Benjamin Franklin famously stated, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This reference was related to his work establishing fire prevention and insurance in the city of Philadelphia. While he didn’t envision the digital age, the quote is relevant to our digital lives. Often we think about the devices we use, but we often fail to put value on the content we create. It’s easy to buy a new computer, but it’s impossible to recreate pictures from your last family vacation. The value of the data can often be priceless!
An ounce of prevention
It doesn’t matter what your backup strategy is, you just need one! A successful backup strategy needs to follow a few rules; backup strategies need to be convenient, secure, and most importantly you need to be able to restore from it. Convenient backups should allow you to identify the content that’s important, setup an automated schedule, and report any problems. Security in a backup strategy is more than making sure people don’t break in and steal your data. You need to think about having your backups in a separate physically secure location. This will protect you in the event of fires and/or other natural disasters. An effective backup solution should be tested. You should be confident you can retrieve critical data when it matters most.
The Options – Offline vs. Online
Offline backup tools are integrated into both Microsoft’s Windows 7 and Apple’s Lion operating systems. Microsoft has directions for their solution here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Back-up-your-files. Apple has a great howto page for it’s TimeMachine offering here: http://www.apple.com/support/timemachine/. These require you to have an external storage medium such as cd/dvd’s, flash drives, or external usb drives. An offline backup is a little more hands on requiring you to insert or connect the backup storage device.
Online backups are offered by third parties and often are based on monthly or annual subscriptions. Rather than using external storage, your data is sent into the “Cloud”, and is stored remotely with the service provider. For the most part, the only requirement is that you have a high speed internet connection. These backup solutions tend to be far more automated as they don’t require you to swap backup media. The only downside is restoration of large sets of data can take longer, but in most cases having the data is more important than having in immediately. A large number of service providers exist in this arena. Wikipedia has a great chart comparing the various options: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_online_backup_services.
The most important part is to start now and stick with it. My hope is that you find a solution that works for you and doesn’t become a burden. A backup solution should allow you to rest easy at night knowing your documents, pictures, movies, and other valuable content is safe and sound.
Assistant Director for Information Technology Services
With the numerous data breaches we have read about these last few years, the University of Maine System has enacted a new information security policy. Included is a requirement that all laptops that access University resources be encrypted such that if a theft occurs, confidential information that may have been stored on the local disk is inaccessible. We will begin issuing all new machines with this level of protection this coming summer but we are also encouraging users of the most recent Mac operating system, Lion, to enable the built-in feature.
I am including directions but want to point out the security key you will be shown on the screen is EXTREMELY important. If it is lost and your computer fails, your data will not be recoverable. If you are enabling this on a UMF owned computer, please send us this key and we will securely store it for you.
To get started, open your System Preferences app and choose “Security & Privacy”. From there you will select the FileVault tab on the top and should see a screen like this:
You will need to click the little padlock at the bottom and enter your password. From there choose “Turn On FileVault”. You will then be presented with the very important code. It will look something like this:
Write this code down and if this is a UMF computer, copy it to an email to email@example.com so we can hold on to it. If this is not a UMF computer, it may be wise to agree to send the code to Apple and generate some questions only you can answer.
Now just let the computer reboot. It will take quite some time to actually accomplish the process afterwards but you will be able to work while it chugs away. You can always go back to the “Security & Privacy” page to see how far along it is or just to ensure that encryption is on. I’ve already done this and it was straightforward and hasn’t caused slowdowns or other problems.
If you’re like me, you like to use Windows keyboard shortcuts. Here are a few that I use. These work for Windows XP And Windows 7:
ALT ENTER When you have a file selected and hit ALT Enter it will give you the properties of that file.
ALT Tab Will allows you to switch between open programs in Windows.
ALT F4 Typing this combination will quit the current window.
CTRL Esc Brings up the Windows start menu.
CTRL C In most Windows Programs will copy the selected file.
CTRL V Will paste the file into the current location.
CTRL X This will Cut the selected file and allow you to paste it to a different location.
CTRL Z This will undo the last thing you did.
F2 Single click on a file. Hit F2 and it will allow you to rename the file.
F3 If you hit F3 while in it will bring up a window that allows you to search.
Shift Delete Will bring up a dialog to delete the currently selected item permanently and bypass the recycle bin.
Technology Support Specialist/Desktop Services
Social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter are becoming increasingly popular. Here are a few tips you should consider:
When you join a social network, you might be asked to enter your email address (or social networking site log on information) and passwords to find out if your contacts are on that network. This information might be used to send email messages to everyone in your contact list asking them to join. If you have provided this information at any time you may want to change your password.
What happens on the internet stays on the internet. Even if you can delete your account or remove images or content, anyone on the Internet can still find and print photos or text or save images and videos to their computer.
Be careful when you click links that you receive in messages from your friends on your social networking sites. Treat links in messages or posts on these sites as you would links in your email.
Technology Support Specialist/Customer Services
I’d like to alert you that effective Monday morning you will see changes in the University of Maine System login at gmail.maine.edu. For the time being you will only experience this change while on campus. Over the coming weeks it will be rolled out to the rest of the world but for now we are starting with UMF only.
What you will see at gmail.maine.edu is a login window that looks like the attached picture. Once logged in, you will find that when going to myCampus you are already logged in. And, if you start in myCampus, the gmail link no longer requires you to login again. I have had this for a few days now and find it to be most convenient.
At the same time that we create ways to make logins easier, we also need to ask that you all be more mindful of security. These single-sign-on logins vary and when logging out of one system, you may discover you are not automatically logged out of another. Your best bet if you have logged into any system that contains private information is to close your browser when you are done.
Please let us know if you have any questions or troubles.
In the past, some of you may have experienced a delay as you entered text in Google’s search engine. This was a problem that existed with something Google called, “Predicted Searching”. Where text is searched as you type it in, rather than waiting for you to finish.
Well, there is a new search technology that Google has presented that some have felt yields poor search results, known as “Personal results”. Personal results attempts to take advantage of social sites, web history, and items searched by your friends in an attempt to predict things you might be interested in. Great for finding things like restaurants, but not so great for research. Google also took the liberty of resetting the “Predicted Search”, so you may want to turn it off again. Turning these items off is simple. Just follow these instructions.
- Go to www.google.com
- Click on the settings icon in the top right hand corner of your browser window
- Choose the Radio Button for ‘never show instant results’
- Click on the Save button at the bottom of the page
Technology Support Specialist/Desktop Services
You can access a contact’s phone number in Gmail by hovering over their name in the chat list, then clicking the ‘More’ ( or ‘Video & more’ ) button in the popup box, then select ‘Contact Details’.
This also works from inside an email when you hover over their name, or in the list of emails in a folder or label.
Web Services Manager
While most students were away for Winter Break, ITS was busy improving UMF’s wireless internet coverage.
First, we increased the number of wireless access points in Merrill Hall and Stone Hall and upgraded them to models that support the newer 802.11a/n standard as well as the older 802.11b/g. What that means is wireless internet in those buildings can be as much as 5-10 times faster than before, while also improving coverage throughout the building.
Then we reused the older (but still very effective) access points that we removed from Merrill and Stone, and we added them to the existing wireless network in Mallett and Purington Halls. This provides stronger signal in more parts of the building, and because there are more internet access points, there will be more bandwidth to share.
Senior Manager of Network and Server Systems
Printing PDFs from a Mac to Oce printers
The following is a work-around for trouble printing PDFs from a Mac to Oce printers (some Oces have this problem, others may not)…
Assuming the account tracking information has been entered correctly and saved as a preset, printing PDFs from Acrobat might still be troublesome.
Printing from Preview may not work at all.
The solution in several cases has been simple, but will require a couple extra mouse clicks. Oce is aware of the issue and is troubleshooting.
Refer to the screen shot and numbered steps to print PDFs successfully from your Mac, to the Oce printer.
- From Reader/Pro click File, Print.
- Choose the printer if necessary.
- Then select the “Printer” button at the bottom of the pop up window (highlighted here in blue).
- The “Print Setup dialog box….” window may pop up. Choose Yes (after selecting do not show this message again if appropriate).
- In the next Print window that pops up, simply click the “Print” button. This window will go away, and you can select the “Print” button at the main Print window. The job should print without trouble. If it does not print, review the job log at the printer for any errors (if possible) and report your findings to the ITS Help Desk.
Gmail includes Google Talk, a built-in chat gadget that you can use to send and receive instant messages with your colleagues. You can also chat with anyone outside of your domain who uses Google chat or AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).
Want to hear and see the person you’re chatting with? Just install the voice and video chat plugin to start having real conversations right in your Gmail window (see instructions below).
Recommended: You can also install Google Talk—a standalone instant messaging client—which you can use outside of Gmail. With Google Talk, you can set up email alerts that pop up in the lower-right corner of your desktop whenever you receive a new message—even if Gmail isn’t open (see instructions below).
To open the Chat gadget:
Click Chat in the left pane of your Gmail window:
To find a coworker with the Chat gadget:
The Google Talk gadget shows a list of people you’ve recently communicated with. You can also find a coworker by starting to type his or her name or email address in the Search, add, or invite field. For example:
To start a chat:
Simply point to a user in the list or search results, and then click Chat (or, if you haven’t yet chatted with the user, click Invite to Chat):
Note: A green dot appears to the left of a contact who is online and available.
To chat outside of your Mail window:
If you’re chatting with someone, you can click the Pop-out arrow to use the Chat gadget outside of your Gmail window:
To set up chat options:
If you’ll be using voice and video chat…
In your Gmail window, click Settings in the upper right, and then click the Chat tab. You’ll see options for saving your chat history, voice and video chat, sounds, emoticons, and more.
If you won’t be using voice and video chat…
In your Gmail window, click Settings in the upper right, and then click the Chat tab. You’ll see options for saving your chat history, sounds, emoticons, and more.
To install the voice and video chat plug-in:
1. In Gmail, click Settings > Chat.
2. Under Voice and video chat, click Learn more to go to the page on which you can download the voice and video chat plugin:
To install the standalone Google Talk client:
Just visit the Google Talk page and click Download Google Talk: