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

NUMBER 93

March, 2008

Click here to see an Adobe Acrobat PDF version of this newsletter, suitable for printing.

Archives of CATPrints are available at http://www.oneonta.edu/technology/comptech/newsletter/
 

Voicemail Tricks

We bet you didn't know about these two voicemail features:

  • While you are playing a message from someone, you can press 71 and then 5 to make a quick recording - then press # 70 to shoot the message back to the person who originally called you.
  • While you are playing a message, you can press 9 to immediately call back the extension that the message came from!

There are lots of other voicemail functions and features besides the two or three that everybody uses - check out the complete documentation at:

http://www.oneonta.edu/admin/telecomm/department_vmi.asp.

 

Home Computer Security

This space is often devoted to reminding you to keep your home computers up to date for such things as antivirus software, operating system patches and applications.  Now there is a tool that can help you determine when a program needs to be updated!  It is called Personal Software Inspector and is offered by Secunia.  It is free for personal use and can be downloaded at https://psi.secunia.com/.  Secunia is a computer security company with lots of experience in tracking viruses, vulnerabilities and exploits.  They’ve turned that experience into a well designed application that is geared to the home user.

The Software Inspector will check your computer for insecure software, such as certain versions of RealPlayer or Adobe Acrobat, as well as missing Windows patches.  It will also list “end of life” software that is no longer supported by the vendor and should be replaced or removed, if possible.  It even lists patched software, which is a great way to audit what is installed on your computer.  The tool also gives information about how to patch, update or remove the insecure items.  Some software does not remove the old version when you install a newer version. This means that even though you have installed a more secure program, your computer may still be at risk because the insecure one is still present.

The website has clear directions for downloading, installing and using the PSI and an FAQ page that should answer most questions about the product.

Keep in mind that you may not always be able to update software as recommended by the PSI due to limitations of your computer or other installed software.  However, the PSI is a great tool and can really help you keep your home computer secure.  As always, use it with care and carefully read any information it displays. 

Try it at home and see if your computer is up-to-date!
 

Local Websites

We all use the web for finding information and services with a global reach.  There are lots of local business and organizations that have a presence on the web, too.  Here are some sites that index this information for you:

http://www.oneontany.com/ - Maintains a list of local businesses, organizations and clubs with sites.
http://www.oneonta.ny.us/ - The City of Oneonta's website
http://www.city-data.com/city/Oneonta-New-York.html - An enormous and sometimes perplexing mound of demographic information about Oneonta
http://www.odbrmls.com  - An online Multiple Listing Service site for real estate

 

Scams, hoaxes and urban legends

We get a fair amount of unsolicited email that isn't just normal garbage but which tries to scam us in some way or other.  Then there's the random message from Uncle Fred warning us about how our Glade Air Fresheners are going to burn down our houses or about how entering our PIN numbers at an ATM will automatically summon the police.  Neither of which are true, by the way.

There are two good resources to learn about what scams are out there or whether forwarded emails are providing bogus information.

The Ouch! newsletter from the SANS Institute (SysAdmins, Audit, Network, Security) is available at http://www.sans.org/newsletters/ouch/.  This has an archive and a search function that will let you find out what the recent email scams, chain letters and hoaxes are. 

The Snopes website (www.snopes.com) provides lots of interesting and downright hilarious urban lengends that circulate around the internet.  When you get these myths forwarded to you, it's nice to be able to rapidly find out what, if any, truth lies behind them.  You can then disregard them or let your friends or family members know that they should, too.

 

Eight years of CATPrints

This issue of our newsletter marks eight years of providing useful and interesting information to the College community about computing technology and phone service.  A look back in the archives of CATPrints at http://www.oneonta.edu/technology/comptech/newsletter/ shows that much has changed in the technological landscape since March of 2000.  If there are additional topics you are interested in or if you would like more information about something we have covered, please send an email to editor Phil Bidwell at bidwelps@oneonta.edu and we will be glad to help you out!

 

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