Monday, July 21, 2008

Network services up and running

We've gotten network services up and running. 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Network Outage

Due to a power outage, the Siena network went down on Sunday night around 9:00 pm. Power has been restored, but it will take time for the servers to be up and running.

We are hoping to have everything fixed by midday Monday.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


It's orientation here at Siena, with a couple of hundred students showing up to learn about what they need to learn to start learning.

It's a busy two weeks for I&TS. We give training sessions to each group -- three a day for a half hour each.  Now, a half hour is hardly enough time to learn how everything works, and, coupled with all the other information that students are absorbing these two days, we don't really expect people to remember everything. It really only boils down to three pieces of information:  their username, their password, and our website (

And even that may be too much.  I got an email -- originally sent to another department of the college -- that a student couldn't log on to the system.  He had gotten his password wrong (this despite having to use it at least twice during the class), and evidently forgot the way it is created (despite the fact that it's mentioned many times). He didn't even go to the website ( to see if the answer is there, nor did he evidently check the handout that explains how the password was created.


Luckily, most students do better than this.

Monday, July 14, 2008


The days of the floppy disk are over. The flash drive (or thumb drive or memory stick or memory key -- everyone calls it by a different name) is by far a better and more efficient way of saving files. They hold far more data (you can get a Gig of memory -- the equivalent of nearly 600 floppies -- for under $15), they're safer and, they work like a hard drive in that software can run from them*.

That leads to a great little website: The site has users package applications that will run on a flash drive. What's the advantage? Well, if your web browser is on your flash drive, your bookmarks travel with you. You can run Instant Messaging from any computer, even if it's not installed. You can work on your files or view PDFs.

Some of the applications available on Portableapps include OpenOffice, Firefox, GIMP graphics editor, CLAM-AV antivirus and quite a few others. I wish there were more options available, but it's enough to get you started, and more are added each month.

You just download and install the Portableapps software onto your flash drive. Once that's set up, download the apps you want to use from the Portableapps website. Then, when you plug it in, you will be given the option of starting Portableapps. It puts an icon on your system tray that allows you to access whatever apps you have installed.

It's a nice idea, and as more software becomes available, will be even better.

*An iPod is basically just a big flash drive with audio output and special software.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Here's another nice little utility that can make for much safer web browsing. Sandboxie runs programs in a sandbox. This means that the program you're running doesn't interact with your computer. Everything remains in the sandbox.

This is a nice add-on for your web browser. If you run it sandboxed, then any spyware or viruses that infect you via the browser will remain in the sandbox. They will not affect your computer and can be deleted along with the sandbox when you're done.

There are many potential uses. You won't have to fear Active-X controls, for instance: they can't do any damage to anything but the sandboxed program (and which is easily deleted if there is a problem).

If you do want to keep a file, Sandboxie lets you do this, but it always requires a confirmation on your part. Nothing will be put onto your computer without your knowledge.

An impressive little program.