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With the Data for Decision Making project, LITS is helping the college's business offices operate more efficiently and effectively!
Campus wireless networks are being consolidated. All regular campus wireless users should connect to LyonNet-Encrypt as their regular wireless starting 10 AM on Tuesday January 17th.Faculty and staff who have previously used the MHC or MHC-Encrypt and students who have previously used LyonNet should select LyonNet-Encrypt. If prompted, users should enter the standard wireless network password: marylyon.
MHC Faculty/Staff & Students should now use the WirelessNetwork named: LyonNet-Encrypt. If your phone, laptop, tablet was previously registered on any campus wireless network there should be no need to re-register the device. Campus guests should continue to use MHC-Guest, which will provide more limited
internet access without requiring device registration.
Please call the LITS Helpdesk with any questions, x2600 or email: email@example.com or view notes at http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/tech/internet_access.html
What is metadata?
The short answer is that it's data about data.
Still confused? Me too.
To get a clearer explanation, earlier this week I sat down to talk with
MHC alum, Erin Fahy. She recently returned to Mount Holyoke College as
our Metadata & Systems Librarian and works within the Digital Assets
and Preservation Services (DAPS) department. DAPS supports the
creation, access and preservation of our unique and scholarly digital
collections. DAPS works closely with, among others, Archives and Special
Collections to support their digitization efforts, especially
pertaining to classes that frequently use materials from the
The short answer to why we request frequent password changes
is security. It provides security not only for your assets (email, class work
in Ella, course registration, etc.) but also to the college’s network assets. A
compromised password can (and has) been used by hackers off campus to spread
viruses and attack servers on and off campus. By regularly changing passwords
and using good password creation rules, you can make it harder for hackers to
use automated programs to gain access to your accounts.[Read More]
Welcome to another Academic Year! This has been a busy summer for the Mount Holyoke College Networking Department and we thought it might be nice to highlight some of the changes.
Bandwidth: Due to demand we have nearly doubled our Internet Bandwidth! Our Internet links are now at 300mbit/s for normal commodity Internet and an additional 100mbit/s to Internet2. We started last year at 166mbit/s Commodity Internet and 45mbit/s to Internet2. Internet traffic was definitely slower than we would have liked last year. During peak 7-11pm hours streaming video performance was less than ideal. As students arrive, and their Internet needs increase as they do every year, we will continue to monitor the situation. Hopefully this will be enough to get us through the year without any major slowdowns.
Email: Last year we saw some major slowdowns in our email system during peak times (like Monday mornings). A new faster mail server with faster mail processing software should be in place before the start of the semester. We also have new version of Horde/IMP web-mail which includes a Dynamic Email option.
Online Discussion: Online discussions and communication are important and our WebNews/USENET setup was really showing its age. It lacked a lot of the features we wanted and had a bug which stopped some users for being able to log in. We are phasing out that system and replacing it with web based forum software. Hopefully this will re-energize the ride board, for sale, tech talk and general online community conversations. Go check it out at: https://forum.mtholyoke.edu/
Identity Management: We have re-worked a lot of the technical, behind the scenes, stuff that makes accounts and logins work. This includes things such as LDAP, SOAP, and a lot of other services that are complicated in nature. If you want to know more, feel free to contact us and we'll bore you with the details. We did this to support a lot of different authentication methods including a somewhat exciting one called Shibboleth. This will allow you to use your MHC Account to access resources all around the five colleges and beyond. Right now you can login to Hampshire's Moodle Learning Management System with your MHC account. Hopefully you'll see a lot more Shibboleth enabled services in the future. We are also using it for the pilot a Virtual Computer Lab (VLC) project which allows students to remotely access windows desktops with course required software from anywhere! The VLC is still in early testing phases however, more on that later...
VPN: Our new VPN service is now web based, and much easier to use. It supports Macs, Windows, Linux, iOS (iPad/iPod/iPhone), and Android Phones! It also has some neat features like virtual meeting/desktop sharing software and a website proxy service. All employees will be able to use the VPN without sign-up or registrations (students still need to register for access). We are just finishing the beta testing period and will be fully rolling it out soon. Please stay tuned for more information!
More Wireless: We are definitely hearing the demands for more wireless coverage on campus. We have added a few more wireless zones here and there over the summer. Our plan is to take a more comprehensive look at areas not currently covered this semester. If you aren't already we highly recommend you only use the encrypted networks (SSIDs) LyonNet-Encrypt and MHC-Encrypt (password "marylyon").
SAGE: In co-operation with the Math Department we are piloting a new open source web based math software called Sage. Our hope is this tool might replace much more expensive and less flexible desktop only tools like Mathematica, Maple, and Matlab. You can try it here: https://slab.mtholyoke.edu:8000
Many of the services Networking provides are behind the scenes computing foundations and are only noticed by others when they break. We made some big changes here too you might be interested in!
Virtualization 2.0: Several years ago MHC began piloting a product called VMWare for server virtualization and consolidation. We grew slowly, upgrading departmental level servers away from physical machines and into our virtual environment. This summer we took a big leap and purchased a Cisco Unified Computing System containing 104 Intel Cores and over 800 Gigabytes of RAM to run VMWare on. Along with this we purchased a 40 Terabyte Dell Compellent Storage Array to increase our disk capacity. These systems are interconnected by 10gbit/s Ethernet and 8gbit/s fiber channel. This new configuration should allow us to very quickly expand to meet server and disk needs without a lot of reconfiguration. The other cool thing is it should make our failure downtime even less then it is now. The systems are fully redundant and automatically fail over hardware to another server whenever an issue occurs or we need to upgrade something. Beyond the easier expandability and redundancy they are also the fastest and most energy efficient systems we have.
Datatel Server Upgrade: The operating system underneath the Datatel Student Information System has been completely upgraded to improve security and keep up with vendor support requirements.
Last sessions for this academic year, don’t miss out! Sorry, due to limited seating, classes are reserved for staff and faculty. Each class is a 2 hour,
hands-on workshop led by Pioneer Training. Registration is necessary.
Cancellations if any, should be made 24 hours prior to class to avoid a
departmental charge-back fee. Click on link for on-line registration page and course summaries.[Read More]
Don’t let hours of work go to waste; compose original work in text-editing software such as Word documents, Google docs, or notepad. Writing in a web browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, etc.) risks deleting your text since many browsers use a timed logout system to ensure user privacy (this includes ella!). This safety precaution may prevent your credit card information from getting stolen, but it also erases the paper you just spent six hours drafting.
When working on your own computer, be sure to select “SAVE AS,” then fill in your title and select a storage location (such as “Desktop” or “My Docs”). Remember, if you’re using a public computer (all campus lab computers and LITS computers), you cannot save it to the desktop, except when downloading documents for printing only. All public computers on campus will delete any saved documents on the computer when they are restarted (which happens every morning). Use the “Save As” option frequently and not only will your work be safe, you’ll know where to find it.
Don’t forget to regularly back up all work and personal files – like those photos you took at the beach last summer, your sister’s poem from fifth grade, grad school application essays, etc. LITS recommends any of the following:
- Network space or individual classwork space. Visit Network Space and Webspace to learn how to access and save work to your network space or classwork space;
- External hard drives;
- Flash drives (remember to remove it after working at public computers and check that you have enough space on the device to save your work);
- ella “my workspace”(personal space for private work);
- CDs or DVDs;
- Email it to yourself (small files only!)
Computers or other network devices connecting to the MHC network need to be registered in order to gain access to the Internet. Off-campus web pages will be redirected to our Network Registration page. Off-campus access is not available until the registration process is completed.