What You Need to Know When You Need It

We’re now communicating project news when you need it. Starting this week, we’ve begun posting articles in our blog IT Connect instead of the bi-monthly Technology News. Our weekly down-to-earth blog has details on upcoming projects, tech tips, training, and more.

SMUoit-Twitter-IconFollow us on Twitter @smuoit for updates when new posts are available.

Updating Emergency Contacts in my.SMU

If you haven’t recently, it’s a good time to update your emergency contacts in my.SMU.

Faculty & Staff Instructions

  1. From the landing page, select Personal Information located under Employee Self – Service.employee self service
  2. Click on Emergency Contacts.
  3. Click Add Emergency Contact.
  4. Enter the Contact Name.
  5. Indicate the Relationship to Employee. If the employee has the same address or telephone select one of the following options:relationship to employeeIf you indicated that the emergency contact address or phone is the same as yours it will display on the screen and can be edited if needed.
  6. If the contact has a different address select Edit Address to provide address information.
  7. If the contact has a different phone select Add Phone Number and indicate the Phone Type and Phone Number.
  8. Click Save. To view a contact list select the Return to Emergency Contacts link.
  9. For multiple contacts check one to be the Primary Contact.primary contact
  10. Edit or Delete contacts by selecting the appropriate icons.edit or delete
  11. Click Save.

Student Instructions

Visit the Update/Verify Personal Info section of the Student Self-Service tutorial: sites.smu.edu/oit/training/story/studentselfservice/story.html.

Excel for Windows Tips and Shortcuts Webinar

Boosting Your Efficiency and Productivity

Offered by Lynda.com

lynda webinar

Explore Microsoft Excel tips and shortcuts you can use every day on a Windows operating system. Join Dennis Taylor, spreadsheets expert and lynda.com author, to unlock techniques for navigating, copying and pasting, writing formulas, entering data, creating charts, and formatting.

This webinar will discuss:

  • Keystroke combinations
  • Toolbar and menu options
  • Cells, columns, rows
  • And more
  • Q&A session to follow.

All registrants are provided with a recording of the webinar and the slide deck after the event.

Register Now 

Webinar details:

  • Thursday, May 21, 2015
  • 11 a.m. to noon PT 
  • 2 to 3 p.m. ET
  • FREE

 

Speaker: Dennis TaylorDennis Taylor

Dennis Taylor has more than 25 years of experience working with spreadsheet programs as a book and tutorial author, speaker, seminar leader, and facilitator. Since the mid-1990s, he has been the author or instructor of numerous Excel video and online courses, and has traveled throughout the US and Canada presenting more than 300 seminars and classes.

Dennis has written and co-authored multiple books on spreadsheet software, and has presented more than 500 Excel webinars. He has worked with hundreds of corporations, government agencies, colleges, and universities. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Voicemail Replacement Project

The Voicemail Replacement Project is approaching the pilot phase. When the new service comes online, some exciting new features will be available. In addition to being able to check voicemail with your phone, staff and faculty will also be able to receive voicemail via email. This will provide a text voicemail transcription in your inbox. The new voicemail will integrate with the existing desktop phones, and users will have ability to manage email and calendar items via voice commands.

Unified MessagingWe anticipate that the pilot phase will begin after the end of the spring semester. If you are a faculty or staff member interested in being a part of the pilot group, please contact the IT Help Desk. The Voicemail Replacement Project is a part of the larger Unified Communications Project which seeks to enhance telecommunication services for the campus.

Distributed Antenna Service (DAS): Cell Phone Coverage Update

By Amber Clark

The DAS Initiative to improve cell phone coverage across campus completed phase one of five on March 4th. All carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon) are present in the Residential Commons.  Phase two is estimated to be complete this August and includes Residence Halls:

  • Shuttles
  • Mary Hay
  • Peyton
  • Virginia Snyder
  • Boaz
  • Morrison McGinnis
  • McElvaney
  • Cockrell McIntosh
  • Hawk
  • Martin

 

Spam Filter Changes

In response to the ever-present threat of unsolicited email sent to campus, the following changes were made to the SMU email security service on Mospam-countnday, April 20:

  • Messages identified as “definite” spam will be dropped, instead of quarantined. These messages meet or exceed a threshold of 90 on a spam detection scale of 1 to 100. Users will have the option to opt-out of this policy and continue to quarantine “definite” spam by submitting a request to help@smu.edu.
  • A weekly digest email will be sent to users when spam messages are quarantined. This will include a summary of messages inbound to the user which have been quarantined as spam.
  • Quarantined spam will be deleted after 60 days. Previously, spam retention was set to 1 year.
  • Users will have an option to quarantine Marketing Messages. These emails typically advertise goods and services, and may have been directly or indirectly requested by the recipient. Users must send authorization to help@smu.edu to opt-in to this service.
  • Users can also opt-in to spam prevention policies which are more or less aggressive than default. These policies will change the thresholds of messages sent to the inbox vs. those retained by quarantine. Opt-in for these policies will also be handled by requests to help@smu.edu.

Please contact the OIT Help Desk with any questions about spam prevention at SMU, or visit our service page at http://www.smu.edu/BusinessFinance/OIT/Services/Email/SpamFiltering.aspx.

 

The New Apple Watch

By: Kristina Harris

With the launch of Apple Watch pre-sales, we decided to put together a table to compare and contrast the new technology and two of its biggest competitors, Google’s Android Wear Gear Live and Samsung’s Gear S.

Click below to see an enlarged image:

smart watch chartThings to consider

  • Apple Watches have music playback, but without a headphone jack, Bluetooth headphones must be used.
  • There are 38 different ways to customize the Apple Watch while for Samsung’s Gear S, you can only choose between white and black.
  • “Digital Touch”, which includes features such as sending your heartbeat and hand-drawn sketches to other smartwatch users, is exclusive to the Apple Watch.
  • The Apple Watch has 8GB of storage compared to the Gear S and Gear Live’s 4GB, but only 2GB and 75MB of storage is able to be used.
  • While the Apple Watch has great reviews so far, the biggest complaint is the battery life, with 18 hours being the least amount of time of life amongst all smartwatches.
  • If you noticed the $17,000 price tag on the Apple Watch, don’t fret. This is only for the version that comes with the 18-Karat Yellow Gold Case and a Gold Buckle.

After hours of research, here is my advice. Apple gives its products well-needed improvements as the months go on. If you do not want to be stuck in the early adopter phase, wait for them to fix the kinks that new technology inevitably has, or even wait until the next version. Many critics said the interface is comparatively difficult to use, so if you are newly interested in giving smartwatches a go, you might start off with a more established product like the Pebble to see if a smartwatch meets your lifestyle needs. If you’re absolutely loving it, consider the admittedly charming Apple Watch or one of its competitors. One thing is for sure: this is one device that does not deserve to be abandoned in the back of your junk drawer.

Using RSS Readers to Keep Track of Your Favorite Blogs

SplitShire_IMG_9970By Amber Clark

Back in the dark ages, before Twitter and Tumblr, there were blogs. Individuals tired of going from one blog to another to read all their news, jokes and view cute pictures of cats, created a centralized place where one could read all their blogs while only going to one website, or RSS Reader. Blog engines such as Blogger, and later WordPress, provided authors with a way to distribute their blogs in Rich Site Summary (RSS) to be integrated into an RSS Reader

The gold standard of RSS readers (and my personal favorite) was Google Reader. There I could add blogs’ RSS feeds as I found them and categorize them for later when I was looking for specific information.

As with all things on the Internet, good things don’t last. After the advent of Twitter and the growing popularity of microblogging, Google announced it was decommissioning Google Reader. Many devoted users were upset and signed petitions, others saw an opening in the marketplace and started building their own, many with the ability to integrate not just RSS feeds but also Twitter and Tumblr.

There are now numerous RSS or Blog Readers. Here are a few you might want to give a try:

Bloglovin- Is a place where you can read all your blogs in one place. You can categorize the blogs you add and integrate social media including Facebook. Bloglovin will also make suggestions for other sites based off websites you have added. In addition to integrated apps for phones and tablets, there is also a Bloglovin button you can add to your browser toolbar to make it that much easier to add sites to Bloglovin.

Newsblur- is another news and rss reader with its own social media components. It also has apps for iOS and Android.

Google Chrome RSS Feed Reader plugin- Google Chrome has an RSS Feed Reader broswer plugin that allows you to access and manage your RSS feeds from Google Chrome. It also has a feature to alert you when a website you are visiting has RSS feeds.

Photo © SplitShire | www.splitshire.com. Used with permission.

Take Advantage of Free Technology Training at SMU

IT Training here at SMU has a number of resources available for Faculty, Staff and Students, and it’s all for free! The place to begin is on the OIT webpage, SMU.edu/OIT. You can navigate to the IT Training homepage through the blue navigation bar at the top of the screen. Once you arrive, you’ll see a number of different tabs.training tabs

my.SMU: this tab has links to dozens of tutorials for the SMU community for both administrative and self-service purposes. But remember, if you need security access to a page, your manager will need to request it. For more detailed instructions, click here.

Other Systems: This tab contains links to online trainings for SMU Financials. These are available anytime for a refresher; however, if you need job related security, your Financial Officer will need to open a Help Desk ticket. Instructions can be found on this tab.

IT Workshops: Each semester IT Training offers a variety of webinar and in-person workshops. On this tab, we keep all of our past training guides, as well as recordings of past webinars. Make sure to check this page out if you’re looking for help with Adobe, Microsoft Office, or Sitecore.IT Workshops tab

Additional Resources: This tab contains a link to a number of online training resources outside of the University, including: Blackboard/Courses.SMU; Inside.SMU; Lynda.com; Mactopia; Microsoft; and statistical training.

IT Training MenuFinally, under the IT Training dropdown, you can find links to information about the Fondren Library West computer classrooms and semester workshops. All IT Training workshops are reserved on a first-come-first-served basis. They usually send out a newsletter announcement at the beginning of each semester. So, keep an eye out for emails coming from ittraining@smu.edu!

These spring webinars still have room for you!

Outlook Productivity Webinar, Wednesday, Feb 4, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Register

Up and Running with Microsoft OneDrive Webinar, Thursday, April 9, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm, Register

MediaArchive.SMU Webinar, Thursday, April 16, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Register

Adobe Makes Lightroom Available for Android

lr-mobile-marquee

“This is not just a way to get photos from place to place. It lets you maintain your workflow on the mobile device. It can be a tremendous time saver and productivity tool for making edits on the go.”

-Shared Mangalick, senior product manager for photography at Adobe

According to TechNewsWorld, Adobe is expanding their market by now offering a mobile version of Lightroom for Android devices. Last year they released the app for iOS mobile devices. It does not provide the full functionality of the desktop version; however, it allows users to save changes to their photos and sync them back to their desktop.

For more information Lightroom for mobile devices, visit Adobe’s website.