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


June, 2007

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Wireless Network Access Expanding Across Campus

This summer the staff of Networking and Telecommunications is updating and expanding the distribution of wireless network access points around the campus.  Over four hundred of these devices are being installed in residence halls, academic and administrative buildings.  The goal is to provide wireless access in every building, and a byproduct of this work is that network access is also available in a lot of outside areas on campus.  We have already seen students using laptops at picnic tables in front of Mills hall and outside various residence halls. 

A new Wireless Access Point

The access points look like a smoke detector and are usually mounted on a ceiling or near the top of a wall.  The access provided by these devices is usually quite good, although the connection speed may be somewhat slower than with a wired connection.  Most users don't see any difference, though.  
The replacement of existing wireless access points will result in short-term wireless service interruptions for individual buildings - we will let building occupants know ahead of time and if you feel that this creates a serious problem for you please call the Help Desk at 4567 and Network Operations will make accommodations for you.

Network Technology for Laundry and Sandwiches

Another pair of projects we're supporting this summer are Webfood and LaundryView.  Initiatives of OAS, these take advantage of the information network to provide additional services to our resident students. 

LaundryView is a system that will allow students to visit a webpage to see the status of washers and dryers in their residence hall - which ones are in use and how many minutes are left on them.  Students can also receive messages about the state of their own laundry via email or text messages to their cellphones!  You can see an example of this system in action at

Webfood is a system that will allow students to order deli food at Mills Marketplace through a website.  The student will then be notified when the order will be ready for pickup.  This will reduce the lines at the store and even out the workload for the sandwich-makers.  See for a demo of how the process works.


Air Quality Online

Those of us who suffer from seasonal allergies and other kinds of environmental sensitivities can benefit from information available online: - as the name implies, the pollen index for today plus four-day forecasts. - a lot more details plus information on ozone, particulates and smog.

These sites can help you plan daily activities as well as travel to other places (especially urban areas).


Securing your information: Protecting your electronics during thunderstorms

Summer is thunderstorm season in Oneonta.  It's fairly common for us to hear about people who find that their phones are ruined or that their computer modem no longer works after close lightning strikes.  A really bad hit can completely wreck a computer system.  Unplugging equipment before a storm is an option but not usually practical or even possible if you're not home.  There are, however, surge protectors available commercially that will not only protect your power supply from lightning-induced surges, but also provide connections for your phone lines to give them the same protection.  Communications equipment is usually more sensitive to the sudden bursts of current that can race through the phone lines after nearby strikes. 

See for more information on surge protectors and for current information on thunderstorms in the area.


Voicemail Shortcuts

Too busy to talk at length?

In our rush-rush daily work lives we occasionally don't have the time to call someone back and speak to them in person.  Rather than putting it off, you can use a handy shortcut to reply to a voicemail with a voicemail:

While you are playing the message, 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. 


Need directory information quick?

When you dial 436-3500 to get our Name Connect service, you can skip the preamble by pressing * (the star button).  The system will then say "Name, please?" and you can go from there.


Getting the word out via email

Email is a great tool for communicating with people - we all know that - but as the number of people you are trying to reach increases, the reliability of straightforward email messaging can become somewhat poor.  For example, if you decide that you want to email a hundred people about something, you may find that many of the recipients' email systems will reject the message because it believes it to be spam or junk email.  This is purely due to the number of people in the To: field, and you never know what threshold has been set by the receiving mail servers. 

It is generally much better to set up a listserv that can be populated with the audience you want to reach.  Then the message is being sent from just one address and you can also manage whether and how recipients can reply to those messages.

The site is the home for listserv, and contains good documentation to help you get started in the creation, use and management of lists.  If you have any questions or need more help, don't hesitate to contact the IT Helpdesk at 436-4567.


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