CAT Prints - the online newsletter of the Department of Computers and Telecommunication Services


May, 2006

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Changes in Computing, Networking and Telecommunications Services

Everyone in CATS will greatly miss secretary Shelly LaPolt, but we wish her the greatest of good fortune as she leaves Oneonta to take a job at Empire State College. 


TLTC Technology Training Survey

The TLTC has developed a Technology Training Survey to gain a better understanding of what our faculty and staff feels their training needs are. We hope to utilize the survey to help us develop a more comprehensive and effective training program.   Please take a few minutes to give us your responses by going to and click on the link “Take our Training Survey”.


New Webservers go into production

On May 21st the College's new webservers started hosting the live website.  We have asked web authors to check out their pages in test mode over the last few weeks, and we have been able to clear up a few minor glitches for them. 

Besides being newer, faster hardware, the new servers will be supported by a greatly increased amount of disk space.  This in turn will permit us to save web logs for up to one year - if you would like traffic reports on your site (number of visits and so on) contact the Web Development Office at 3031.

If you find anything amiss, be sure to let your support team know about it - for faculty and academic departmental websites this would be Jim Greenberg of the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center at 2701.  For administrative sites it would be Jennifer Knapp of the Web Development Office at 3031.


Building a better password

We have run into lots of people here on campus who have not changed their computer passwords in years, or for that matter, ever.  Other people are okay with the fact that just about everybody in the office knows their password, or else they obligingly write their password down on a post-it note stuck to their monitor.  The passwords themselves are often not very strong - a child's name, or their nickname, or some common word. 

What users need to understand is that our network of desktop computers is under constant attack from people who want to compromise the security of our machines.  The reasons for doing this are subjects for other articles - if you are curious just go out and Google terms like "bot armies", "distributed denial-of-service attacks", "key logger" or "identity theft". 

The best passwords have certain well-understood attributes.  They are:

  • At least eight characters, and the longer the better
  • Made up of upper-case and lower-case letters, numerals and special characters
  • Changed as often as possible

So, for example, a bad password is "dog" or "password", or maybe "oneonta".  A good, strong password is "[Sally]is29!" or "Qh*v$hg&{lkP+".  The problem facing the user is to come up with a password that is:

  • Strong
  • Easy to remember
  • Quick to type

Since you should be changing your password frequently (twice a year at least) don't make it so clever that you get attached to it.

There are many websites out there with good suggestions on how to build a strong password - take a look at:


How Cell Phones Work - among other things...

it seems like everybody has one, but how many of us really know how they work?  A truly outstanding (informative, yet easy to comprehend) explanation can be found at  Full of diagrams, photos and links, it tells you absolutely everything you'd ever want to know about the cell phone network.  HowStuffWorks has equally exhaustive articles on just about any subject you can think of - an excellent resource for the congenitally curious.

Student employees at Admin Desktop Support

This summer many of you will encounter our students who work with Walter Romero in desktop support. 

Stefan Shirley

R.J. Kruger

These students will be taking care of help desk calls, routine maintenance and various projects over the summer.  If you have any questions about their work, don't hesitate to call Walter at 2750 or Phil Bidwell at 2710.

If you have a question for Computer and Telecommunication Services about:

Computer Problems or Related Issues - Call the Information Technology Help Desk at 436-4567

Telephone Service or Problems - Call the Office of Telecommunications at 436-2577

Directory Assistance - call 436-3500

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