Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More on XP Antivirus 2008

I've talked about this nasty bit of spyware before. But just as an example of how aggressive it can be, I just came across a case where someone got the warning on a thin client.

A thin client is a very stripped down and locked down computer. The only thing it has is an operating system, a web browser, and a link to Citrix to access some software. It also doesn't use administrator rights.  It's about as likely to get a virus as a pocket calculator.

Someone here got the XP Antivirus warning that they were badly infected.  Of course, it couldn't happen; you have to jump through a lot of very complicated hoops to change software on a thin client.  But the spyware insisted the computer was infected and kept sending popups and warning when you tried to leave the page.

They even recurred when the user logged off.

After a shutdown, they were gone.  Evidently there was something that remained in memory even if you were logged off, but when a shutdown cleared the memory, it fixed it.

Just one more example of how nasty this spyware is.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Print Management in the labs

We have installed PaperCut software in labs as a reminder to be green. For now, the system is being used as a way to track printing usage and to make students aware of how much they are printing.

Printing is an expense. While students do need to print out documents, there is still a lot of paper wasted on things like sending the same document to the printer multiple times, printing pages you really don’t need, printing color when black ink will do, or printing out things that you can read online. Take a look in the labs and you’ll often see the scrap paper just thrown into recycling.

imageHere's a scene from another college lab (click to enlarge).  We're probably not this bad.  Probably.

So, for now, I&TS has installed software called “PaperCut” on lab computers in Hines and the Library. When you log in, you will see a tally of the number of pages you’ve sent to the printer. Accounts start out with 300 pages; you’ll see the number get smaller when you print. The each sheet of paper is counted (one double sided sheet only counts as one), with color printing counting couting five sheets to reflect the extra cost. After each print job, your account will reflect the number of pages you have printed.

We are not actually charging money to students to print. The entire purpose is to make people aware of how much paper they are using and to think about being more environmentally conscious. Details on the systems, and on ways on how to save paper, can be found on the I&TS PaperCut Website.