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

NUMBER 82

April, 2007

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Attending a conference this Spring?
Don’t forget your VPN!

Do you often (or even occasionally) travel for your job at SUNY Oneonta?  If you carry a laptop to conferences or work from remote locations, you should use Oneonta’s VPN service.  VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it is an important security tool available to Oneonta employees when working from remote locations.  The VPN creates an "encrypted tunnel" through which your computer traffic travels over the Internet to the Oneonta network.  Most hotels and conference centers offer wireless, broadband Internet service to guests, and this is a convenient way to keep in touch with your office/department/students when you’re out of town.

What’s not great is that since most of these connections are not secure, they pose a security risk.  Although many of our services (such as Webmail) are secure, the VPN adds another layer of protection against your traffic being captured and deciphered while traversing the Internet.  Another benefit of the VPN is that while it is connected, your computer will have an IP address on the Oneonta network.  This will give you access to some services that are not available from the Internet, such as the ability to map to your P drive (Admin users), use keyserved software or use Banner.  If you are just checking the weather or getting driving directions from your hotel room, there is no need to use the VPN.  However, if you need to use Banner or access documents stored on y our P drive, you will need to connect the VPN first.

If you need VPN access, call the Information Technology Helpdesk at extension 4567 to make the request. If you have questions about the VPN, contact Lesley Bidwell at x2628 or bidwella@oneonta.edu.
 

Using the Search Engine's Advanced Features

The College website uses Google's technology in a locally-hosted device in one of our server rooms to provide you with excellent search capabilities.  There are some very useful options available in the Advanced Search screen - when you do a search and realize that you need to refine the search somewhat, just click on the Advanced Search link.

Many of the options on the Advanced Search screen are self-explanatory - you can search on multiple words, an exact phrase, for pages without certain words, or a combination of all those.

Another very useful feature is the ability to filter out responses that get in the way of what you are looking for.  Suppose, for example, that you are looking for a specific page from the History Department having to do with baseball, but that dozens of pages are returned that all reside on the Athletics site.   In the Advanced Search form you can opt for Google not to return results from a certain site - in this case, www.oneonta.edu/academics/athletics.  This comes in handy when results from very large subsites overwhelm searches.

You can also do a Page-Specific search, finding out what pages on our site link to any given page.

 

Keeping comfortable and healthy at the workstation

Many of us spend a lot of hours in front of a computer, both at work and recreationally.  This can be tough on the body, even though the work and play isn't strenuous. 

There are many things you can do to ease the strain, from altering desk height, changes to peripheral devices and lighting to exercise, periodic stretching and posture changes.

To help keep you in good shape, take a look at these resources:

Image courtesy of rfidtoys.net.  Used with permission.

http://www.cdc.gov/od/ohs/Ergonomics/compergo.htm - the Center for Disease Control's recommendations for a healthy workspace.

http://www.pc.ibm.com/ww/healthycomputing/we-intro.html - IBM's collection of suggestions along the same lines.

 

A reminder about Sophos Antivirus

Sophos, the antivirus application offered to SUNY Oneonta employees for home use, requires that you enter your Oneonta username and password to install and configure it. When you change your password, you will need to reconfigure Sophos’ update feature on your home computer. (This is not necessary on your college assigned computer.) You will notice that there is a red “x” on the Sophos shield in you system tray when Sophos is unable to update.

That red “x” is a sign that your computer could be at risk because it doesn’t have the latest virus definition files. If you see that Sophos hasn’t updated and you know that your computer’s Internet connection is working properly, the most likely cause is that the configuration no longer contains your correct username and password. To remedy this problem, right click on the shield in your system tray and choose “Configure Updating.”  Of course, it's also possible that your internet connection isn't working properly.  So check to make sure that you have a live connection through broadband or a dialup connection by using your browser to view a random website.

If the username and password fields are blank or if you have changed your password recently, enter the information in the appropriate places, click apply and OK. Then, right click the shield again and select “Update now.” The update should complete and the red “x” will be removed from the shield. If these steps do not result in a successful update, please contact the Information Technology Helpdesk at x4567 to report the problem.
 

Changes in Computer Services

Welcome to Pete Solano, who is now providing desktop support for administrative users.  Pete is a 2006 graduate of SUNY Oneonta, and is sharing an office with Walter Romero at B17 Netzer. 

Also we'd like to extend our best wishes to Tere Jarvis, who will be leaving the Computer Center to pursue a career opportunity in Boston.  Good luck, Tere!

 

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