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.

 

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The Stress-Free Way of Finding a Job

Graduation season is approaching, and for many graduates, while their academic career closes, their professional career is slowly opening its doors. That in itself is extremely stressful – but it doesn’t have to be.

Introducing: LinkedIn.

If you haven’t yet heard of this precious gift, LinkedIn is a professional social-networking site for creating connections (or “links”) between working professionals, including prospective employees with their desired employers, for example. These connections can occur at numerous levels. While we’ll explore its options in a bit, in layman’s term, it’s a Facebook for professionals, with over 187 million unique visitors per month.

To best describe how LinkedIn works, let’s use this scenario:

You log into LinkedIn and created a profile. This profile is extremely intricate, asking for information regarding education, volunteerism, employment history, honors/awards, projects, skills, interests, etc. You can also upload professional works, such as research papers, artwork, etc.

Once you fill this in (it can take a while), you would then upload a profile photo and launch their customized page, available for other LinkedIn users to see, include friends and prospective employers. However, LinkedIn offers many customization settings, one of them being security, so that you would be able to control how his/her profile is viewed.

Your  new profile page essentially serves as a modern, online resume. Deviating from the traditional paper-style resumes, LinkedIn offers you the ability to use this page as a showcase of your abilities and achievements. In fact, many employers will search LinkedIn for candidates, making their profiles the first thing that employers see. As you grow and gain more experience, you’ll start creating “connections,” that is, “friending” working professionals you know on the website. In essence, they serve as your virtual network, being able to endorse you for skills you may have specified, or refer your profile for employment.

How to get started

LinkedIn is such a thorough service that no blog post can truly, comprehensively cover its values and services. Instead, click over to www.linkedin.com and peruse the site, search for profiles, and see if LinkedIn can help you grow in an online, professional setting.

More resources

Thankfully, many online and in-person resources are available for your utilization to make you an efficient LinkedIn user:

The first is a set of eight only tutorials to get started with LinkedIn, available here.

The second, if you are an SMU student, is to visit the Hegi Family Career Development Center during their drop-in hours. There, experts can guide you to creating and maintaining an exemplary profile, as well as offer other quintessential services for starting your professional career.

And lastly, visit with someone who has a profile already, including, perhaps, your professor! See how they use LinkedIn and what the service has offered them.

Try out LinkedIn today – it may just land you your next job.

P.S. For some fast facts about LinkedIn, click here.

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Get it Together: Conquering the To-Do List

As finals quickly approach, it can be a real pain to keep all of your tasks, both personal and school-related, organized and on their way to completion. Sometimes, things fall through the cracks and throw your life into chaos.

Everyone has their own methods of managing their tasks, but if your methods don’t seem to be cutting it for your needs, you may want to switch it up with some digital methods!

A very common way to keep it all together is to have a to-do list. For ages this has been done with pen/pencil and paper. But what happens if you lose your list or it gets destroyed by an eager and hungry canine? All that work is gone! For online storage and syncing of your to-do list, there are loads of awesome tools for you to try.

Wunderlist LogoMy personal favorite has been Wunderlist. Wunderlist is a free to-do list platform (with a premium pay service available) that makes creating your to-do list and syncing it with all of your devices painless. With apps for not only your computer but also your smartphones and tablets, your tasks are only a couple of taps or clicks away! On top of that, it has a satisfying “DING!” when you finally check those tasks off of your list!

Wunderlist is available for iPhone, Android, Kindle Tablets (FireOS), Windows, and Mac.

Some other great services include Remember the Milk, which has apps for most mobile platforms as well as the ability to connect to your Google and Evernote accounts. Speaking of Evernote, it can also be a great way to keep a to do list on top of its stellar note-taking capabilities.

imagesAnother good option for a to-do list across all of your devices is Todoist. Also free with a premium pay option available, Todoist has apps and clients that are available on fifteen different platforms! Todoist would probably work best if you’re more business-oriented, since it also includes a lot of team collaboration features that aren’t found in other services.

Apart from finding the best to-do list service for your needs, another important part of managing your tasks is to get into a routine and stick with it! You’ll be surprised how much more work you can get done.

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Office 2016 for Mac is Coming!

Mac users seem to have been forgotten by Microsoft Office developers since the last version was released in 2010. However, the folks in Redmond have finally announced that a new version of Office is on the way! Office 2016 is rumored to be released sometime this fall, and should also become available in our Office 365 offerings at that time, as well. Check out some of the features and improvements that will be coming in the new version thanks to some early screenshots from Microsoft:

Office-2016-for-Mac-1-1024x588One of the biggest additions to Office is deep integration with Microsoft’s cloud services, including SMU’s OneDrive service! Now your files can be accessible from anywhere without the difficult setup that was required in Office 2011.

Office-2016-for-Mac-5-1024x600If you would like to use Outlook as your e-mail client but never liked the look and feel of the Mac version, the new version of Outlook for Mac mimics the look and feel of the Windows version, so you no longer have to learn how to use multiple interfaces if you use both PC and Mac.

Office-2016-for-Mac-3-1024x600Excel is greatly improved as well, not only looking more like the Windows version but also providing better compatibility with functions from the Windows version. There will also be more analytical functions available, as well.

Office-2016-for-Mac-4-1024x600

As for PowerPoint, it also sports a whole new look and the addition of a “control center” for your presentation that can display your notes, upcoming slides, and the current slide on your laptop’s screen while only the current slide is projected to your audience.

And the best part about the new Office for Mac, the feature we’ve all been craving…OneNote for Mac! The beloved note-taking software that has graced Office for Windows for years finally makes its Mac debut. This is an excellent addition for any digital note-taking addicts.

 

Office 2016 for Mac has been released to a select few so far for testing purposes, but should be released to the public, along with Office 365 users, later this year.

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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.

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Adios Internet Explorer

Windows-10-Spartan-Browser-to-Integrate-Cortana-Feature-for-More-User-Friendly-ExperienceBy: Shayan Gaziani

In August of 1995 Microsoft released their first version of Internet Explorer (IE). A revolutionary feat at the time, eleven generations later IE has fallen behind rivals (such as Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox) in terms of speed, ingenuity, and modernism.

A solemn farewell.

Twenty years later, Microsoft is pulling the plug.  As noted by The Verge, the company revealed IE’s fate this past January. While the browser will still exist, function, and be available for download, maintenance will soon cease. Earlier this month at Microsoft Convergence, the company’s marketing chief Chris Capossela revealed plans for the future.

“We’re right now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be in Windows 10,” said Capossela. “We’ll continue to have Internet Explorer, but we’ll also have a new browser called Project Spartan, which is codenamed Project Spartan. We have to name the thing.”

Moving on.

Project Spartan is set to be officially released along with Windows 10 later this year. According to a blog post by the IE team, “Spartan provides a more interoperable, reliable, and discoverable experience with advanced features including the ability to annotate on web pages, a distraction-free reading experience, and integration of Cortana for finding and doing things online faster.”

Information for this post was provided by The Verge here and here.
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How to Report SPAM and Phishing at SMU

Email-client-applicationBy George Finney

The University receives over 300 million SPAM and Phishing messages ever year. Although majority are stopped, some messages will slip through our filters and arrive in your inbox. If you would like to report spam which has reached your SMU inbox, please forward a copy of the message as an attachment to spam@smu.edu. Please note that only messages which are sent as an attachment can be analyzed, as this method keeps the email header intact. This allows OIT to send pertinent data on to our anti-spam vendor, who will use it to influence the sender’s reputation score. To forward a message as an attachment, please use one of the following methods:

  • In Webmail, right-click the message and select Send As Attachment.
  • In Microsoft Outlook, select the message (single-click) and press the combination Ctrl-Alt-f on your keyboard.
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Save Your Voice for the Presentation

By: Shayan Gaziani

PPT Blog Post Image 2

Imagine this Scenario:

You walk into class prepared to deliver a paramount presentation. You’ve spent hours rehearsing every aspect from timing to delivery. You’ve spent days, if not weeks, preparing the file, compiling countless amounts of slides, graphics, links, and embedded objects.

Approaching the classroom computer, you plug in your thumb drive and open the presentation file. You steady yourself, take a gulp of air, start the presenter view and – notice that every single piece of image, audio, and video is gone. Blank. Nada.

Arguably one of the most venerated of presentation software, Microsoft’s PowerPoint provides a robust, feature-rich, and professional aid to presenters across a variety of disciplines and environments. From the boardroom to the classroom, PowerPoint has proven its usefulness and importance as a de facto method to revolutionizing the way we deliver speeches, presentations, assignments, etc.

But what if it doesn’t Work?

One common, yet egregious, issue with PowerPoint, especially in versions pre-dating 2013, is media and custom fonts not displaying correctly when a presentation file is transferred to another computer. The seemingly logical approach is to download images, sounds, and videos to your computer and simply insert them into a presentation. When you save and transfer the file, everything should clone and transfer as is, right?

Not exactly.

PowerPoint is big on trying to keep file sizes small and compressed, and one of the ways it does that is by linking media objects in a presentation. Remember that video you inserted into PowerPoint? It’s not really in the presentation file – rather a link to it is that PowerPoint then pulls when presenting.

Fortunately, there is an easy fix to this. Most PowerPoint versions include an option called Package for CD (On Mac, the issue can be circumvented by simply saving as a PowerPoint Show [.ppsx] format – you won’t get the viewer mentioned below, though). The feature allows the creator to compile all of the resources that PowerPoint has used to create the presentation (including your media), and create a packaged folder, including a mobile version of PowerPoint, called PowerPoint viewer, to ensure your presentation can run on a computer that does not have PowerPoint Installed. The Package for CD option allows you to create a presentation CD, or simply save the packaged files on a drive.

The Fix.

The steps to accomplish this are fairly simple, as provided by Microsoft. Go ahead and give it a try – it may just save your grade.

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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.
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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

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