Summer 2015: Sneak Peek from OIT

It’s hard to believe the Spring semester is almost over.  Summertime is always a very busy period for OIT as we strive to complete infrastructure projects or finish up new solutions before the Fall semester begins.  Throughout the summer, we will post updates on a wide range of projects.  However, here’s a sneak peek of a few of the projects scheduled:

  • New Mobile Application:  a new mobile application is being developed to deliver content from my.SMU to your mobile device.  New functionality will be deployed periodically throughout the year.  Look for an announcement later this summer for application details!
  • Wireless Upgrades: The team will be busy upgrading over 600 wireless access points and enhancing some coverage areas that have reported issues.
  • Distributed Antenna System: is in phase 2. By the Fall, the remaining residence halls should have strong cellular signal for all four main carriers.
  • Help Desk Relocation:  Yes, due to the Fondren Library renovations scheduled to begin shortly after graduation, the OIT Help Desk will be relocating.  More details will be announced soon so that you’ll know where to find us when you need us!
  • Voicemail to Inbox:  This project is featured in another post, but soon your SMU voicemail will be delivered right to your email inbox.

There are many other projects underway.  Stay tuned to the blog for more details and updates!

Microsoft Forefront Replacement Coming this Month!

Microsoft is discontinuing support for and replacing Forefront, our licensed anti-virus application for SMU Windows machines, with a solution called Endpoint Protection.  OIT will begin deploying this replacement product via LANDesk over the next several weeks.

About Endpoint Protection

Endpoint Protection provides anti-virus and anti-malware protection, detection and remediation capabilities.  The agent runs in the background and daily scans to ensure your computer is free from malware.  If malware is present, it will attempt to clean it.  Machines that cannot automatically clean will appear on a report monitored by OIT.  A consultant is then dispatched to remediate the malware.  This new solution functions the same way as Forefront.  Other than a different icon, you probably won’t notice a difference!

About the Installation

  1. Microsoft’s System Center (the engine behind the new Microsoft Endpoint Protection) will be deployed to Windows computers running the LANDesk agent.  When this happens, you can ignore a pop-up alert from Forefront indicating that new software is being installed.  After System Center installs in the background, a new folder is created under “All Programs” called “Microsoft System Center 2012 R2” which you can also ignore.
  2. endpointAs soon as Microsoft Systems Center installation is complete, Forefront will be uninstalled and Endpoint Protection will be deployed to the computer.  This process will cause two alerts to pop-up on your computer screen which you can safely ignore.  The first indicates that you need to update Forefront, and the second states that you need to install antivirus software.  Endpoint Protection will complete shortly after the two pop-up messages appear, and you’ll see new system tray icon.

The deployment is under testing within OIT.  We are scheduled to complete the test rollout on May 15.  Following the successful implementation, the deployment task will be approved for all SMU Windows machines.

Former Work-At-Home User Information

If you have previously used a home download of Microsoft Forefront on your home computers, a version of Endpoint Protection will no longer be available for faculty and staff to download for home use. For a free alternative, Microsoft offers Security Essentials, which is a free home version of Forefront for Windows Vista and Windows 7. If your home computer run Windows 8, antivirus and antispyware software is built-in, so no action is required unless you prefer a paid antivirus solution.
If you have any questions, please contact the Help Desk at 214-768-4357.

Internet Browser Troubleshooting Tips

The IT Help Desk receives reports daily from individuals having trouble using different websites. These reports seem to be growing more and more frequent, and functionality within websites seems to be impacted with each browser upgrade. The following are some troubleshooting tips we use which may help you the next time an application isn’t working as expected in your browser! Continue reading Internet Browser Troubleshooting Tips

Discover New Features in Microsoft Word (Part 1)

word_primary-100025314-largeAlthough I use Word on a daily basis, every now and then I uncover a feature or shortcut I didn’t know existed.  With literally thousands of different features, it’s no surprise that the application offers more than you or I typically use!  The following are five powerful features that are easily overlooked.

  1. Quick Parts: Each of us have different blocks of text tquickparthat we use in multiple documents.  For example, if you often arrange meetings or events on campus, you may include a map, driving directions and parking instructions in each event packet.  You may reuse your contact/signature block in documents or a specific logo frequently.  All of these types of data can be stored in your quick parts gallery!  Simply highlight the text—then select InsertQuick PartsSave selection to quick part gallery.  Once you’ve named and saved that component, it will be available from the Insert- Quick Parts menu in any document you create from that same machine!
  2. Create your own template: If you use a certain format or style for specific documents, consider saving that document as a template.  I know many people simply open the existing file, save as a different file name, and then delete the information to reuse the same “style”.  You can make this even easier!  Create the framework of the document as you normally would. Select your fonts, headers, footers, and anything else that should be consistent.  Then click File—Save As.  Save the document as a Word Template.  When you’re ready to use that template, click New—Select the Personal templates and select your saved template!  There are also a ton of online templates available for use which can save you a lot of trouble in creating various types of files.
  3. CaptureScreenshot Tool:  Microsoft has made it so easy now to integrate screenshots or clippings in your document.  Click on Insert—Screenshot and you’ll see the available windows in the gallery.  Simply click on the image and it will automatically be inserted into your document.  From there, you can crop, recolor etc using all of the Microsoft Word picture tools.  If you don’t want the entire window copied but only a small portion, choose the screen clipping tool and simply highlight the area you wish to copy.

To Be Continued…

Introducing IT Connect

Welcome to IT Connect, the official blog of OIT! We hope you’ll take time to follow our blog for the latest information on SMU’s IT services, tech training, and other news in the world of technology.  Keep an eye out for our regular updates including tech tips, such as useful suggestions on how to keep from drowning in your inbox, Excel shortcuts, or InDesign secrets. In a nutshell, our goal is provide you with helpful information that will help you succeed with technology. Check back often and subscribe to our RSS feed.  We promise to make it worth your time.