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

VOLUME 7, ISSUE 7

February, 2007

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Vista Operating System, Office 2007
and Internet Explorer 7

Vista

Microsoft Corporation recently released Vista, their new version of the Windows operating system. Campus computer users have been asking about its availability under the Microsoft Campus Agreement, and how Campus Information Technology Services will be supporting it. We have been testing it for some time now, and although we feel that the product is a good one, we have identified four broad issues that will affect the pace of its adoption:

  1. Your computer may not be able to run it. This largely depends on whether your machine has sufficient memory and if its video and sound cards are compatible with Vista.
  2. Some of your peripheral devices may not work with Vista. Manufacturers of printers, PDAs, scanners, cameras and the like are gradually releasing drivers for Vista, but it may take some time before all these devices function properly with the new operating system.
  3. Some of your applications may not run under Vista. Publishers of software packages may need to release revisions specifically updated to run in Vista, so you should check their websites to see what they have to say about it.
  4. User familiarity. There have been enough changes to the look and feel of Windows that many users may need to get some training to become comfortable with Vista. It will also take some time before support staff are fully ready to help users with problems they experience.

The result of all this is that IT Services will not begin distributing Vista to computer labs or supported user machines any time in the near future. Computer labs will continue to run Windows XP for the 2007-2008 academic year. Microsoft itself will be supporting Windows XP (the version most commonly used on campus) until at least April of 2009, and so we expect to also continue our support through that date.

Office 2007

Microsoft has also released the newest version of Office, containing Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint, Outlook and Publisher. It also offers new products, including One Note, Groove and InfoPath (See http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/getstarted/FX101055081033.aspx) for overviews of all Office products.

Users transitioning to Office 2007 will see some significant differences in the look and feel of the applications. The most obvious change is in how menu items are grouped together and presented to the user. There are also many cosmetic changes to the applications that will be somewhat unfamiliar to even the experienced user. It is expected that some retraining will be necessary to make users comfortable with the new version of Office. The Teaching, Learning and Technology Center will be scheduling Office 2007 training for Faculty and Staff this summer. IT Services plans to distribute Office 2007 to computer labs in time for the fall 2007 semester. Faculty and staff that wish to begin using Office 2007 should call the Help Desk for more information on how and when it will be made available to them.

 

Internet Explorer 7

Finally, a new version of Microsoft's Internet browser has been out for some time, and is an integral part of Vista but is optional for users of Windows XP.  IE7 is not yet certified for use with BANNER, and there may be other services that have problems with this new browser.  We will not distribute IE7 as part of our Secure Desktop or ASCI programs for the time being. 

 

Shredding Sensitive Data

We’re all aware that any paper documents containing personal information must be shredded before being disposed of. Certainly all of us can appreciate why it’s important to do so – no one wants information about themselves falling into the hands of anyone who happens by a garbage pail or recycling bin.

You do shred all those credit card offers you receive at home, don’t you?

 

Although we all understand and abide by the shredding policy, the way it’s carried out is often extending the risk of data theft.  Many offices on campus have a “Shred” box and a “Recycle” box under someone’s desk to gather that material until it is shredded or recycled. A data thief knows we only shred information that we need to protect, so that “Shred” box might as well be wrapped up with a bow on top.

Even a simple mistake could result in sensitive information being compromised. Someone could easily mistake the “Shred” box and the “Recycle” box making all that data available to whomever notices it and recognizes its value.

A recent event at Nassau Community College reminds us that data theft isn’t always a high tech operation or the result of a lost hard drive:

A shredder.

See http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-licoll1206,0,7617300.story?coll=ny-top-headlines. A printout containing information on all registered students was stolen from an office. The person working with the data had stepped away from her desk for ten minutes. This event will cost NCC both in dollars and in credibility.
 

Put yourself in the position of a student or a parent finding out that you might be the victim of identity theft. Or put yourself in the position of a college official needing to notify those potential victims. You will quickly realize why this is such a serious loss. Sensitive information should never be left where an unauthorized person might get access to it – even for a few minutes. It must always be secured when unattended.

Even if it’s headed for the shredder.

 

Not a shredder.

You can view SUNY Oneonta’s Security Program at http://www.oneonta.edu/technology/security/ITSP.asp or contact Lesley Bidwell (x2628 or bidwella@oneonta.edu) if you have any questions, or would like schedule the IT Security Essentials seminar for your department.

 

Changes to Daylight Savings Time affecting Outlook Calendar

In August of 2005, the United States Congress passed the Energy Policy Act. The Energy Policy Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Policy_Act_of_2005), among other things, changes the start dates and the end dates of daylight saving time (DST). When this law goes into effect in 2007, DST will start three weeks earlier on March 11, 2007 and end one week later on November 4, 2007.

Microsoft has released both a Windows update to fix your computer's built-in daylight savings time clock and an Office tool to fix any calendar appointments you have scheduled during these daylight saving time changed dates.

Administrative computers in the Secure Desktop program and Academic computers in the ASCI program have already automatically received the Windows update, but may still need the Office tool run for calendar items.  You may see appointments now in your Outlook calendar that are 1 hour ahead beginning March 11. 

Computer services will be running a tool on our E-Mail servers next week to update your calendars and fix this, but if you wish you may run the tool yourself right now by downloading it from

http://www.oneonta.edu/its/downloads/TimeZoneUpdateToolForOutlook.
 

Editing email attachments - save them first!

One of the useful things about Outlook Mail is that is someone sends you an attachment, you can double-click it and open it directly in the relevant application.  Attached documents open in Word, spreadsheets open in Excel, and so on.  Some people are configured to open the attachment in Internet Explorer, where the file is embedded in a browser window (that is, Internet Explorer) that has most of the functionality of Word, or Excel, or whatever.

A problem arises, though, when you save a file opened in this way.  If embedded in a browser window, saving changes you may have made to the file simply saves a copy in the browser's cache file.  After a period of time, that cache file is automatically cleared and you lose all your changes!  If in a regular application, saving it only saves it as an attachment to the original message - if you then delete that message, the changes are gone, too.

So if you intend to modify an attached file, save it to your computer first, then open the saved copy before editing it.

 

Anyone for a PB&J?

The recent recall of peanut butter due to salmonella contamination (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070215/ap_on_he_me/peanut_butter_salmonella) got us wondering; how do we find out what other products are being recalled?  Well, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration maintains a site at http://www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html.  The alerts encompass drugs, allergy alerts in various products, food recalls and the like.  Bon apétite!

 

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