Today, the Help Center student consultants would like to suggest a time-saving tip for the next time you install, re-install, or begin using your Linux or Windows operating system: Ninite by installing and updating all your applications at once.
Configuring Email clients can be a frustrating task due to the sheer number of different server settings that need to be properly entered in order for it to work properly and the variety of choices in desktop mail clients. Fortunately, this guide is written specifically for configuring UMass Amherst Exchange mail and calendaring for Thunderbird, an open source desktop mail client that is compatible with most Windows, OS X, and Linux distributions. For your convenience, the instructions and screenshots in this guide should exactly match what you see on your screen.
Installing an operating system is a complex endeavor, and requires a fair amount of computer expertise in order to accomplish. This guide is written with the goal of making this process as easy as possible, but it is important to understand that it is still a generalized guide. Installing an operating system can have drastically different results depending on the exact hardware installed in your computer. This guide should work for the majority of computer setups, but may require some troubleshooting and tweaking in certain circumstances.
Virtual machines are programs that allow you to run programs (or an entire operating system) on your computer that weren’t originally designed for it. Most commonly this is done by Mac users who want to run Windows programs which don’t have versions for Mac OSX, but can be done with almost any operating system (like Linux). If you want to run Mac OSX you have to be on a Mac computer (unless you have some tech skill), but otherwise you’re free to experiment. All you have to do is download the operating system .iso or .dmg file or buy an installation DVD and you can use that to start up your virtual copy of that Operating System (OS).
Some members of the UMass Community have had activation problems with Microsoft Office 2013. Upon opening Office files or attempt activations, the user is shown “Sorry, we are having some temporary server issues”. The problem is related to Internet Explorer, and resetting the program seems to fix the problem. First, activate your Office product offline. Next, reset Internet Explorer settings to default.
What is it?
Google’s Chromecast is currently the best-selling Electronic product on Amazon, and there’s a good reason why. People have been looking for the quickest and cheapest way to get content from the services they subscribe to their TV’s. Although there are gaming consoles, and set-top boxes that achieve this, Chromecast’s a little different. It’s a simple HDMI dongle, in a shape similar to a USB Drive. All it needs to operate is some USB power, which most TV’s can already provide via their USB servicing port and a connection to a wireless network, which in the age of everything wireless, many people are apt to have.
Have you ever had that awkward moment when you forgot the password to your bank account and missed your rent payment? Maybe not, but I’m sure you’ve forgotten a password at least once in your life, which is easy to do considering the average person uses about 10 passwords a day. So how can one avoid the inconvenience of forgetting important passwords in today’s fast-paced world? Simple, Keychain Access and Keepass.
Creating a budget is a great way to efficiently manage your money. Excel and other spreadsheet software can be useful tools when it comes to budgeting. To start, gather any paperwork or information that you may have regarding monthly income and expenses.
EDIT: The pricing information in this article is out of date. Please see the article here for up to date information on how UMass students can obtain Office 365 for free.
What is Office 365?
Everyone knows about Microsoft Office 2013, Microsoft’s latest version of their popular productivity suite, yet few people have heard of Office 2013’s cousin in the cloud: Office 365.
Office 365 is the latest addition to Microsoft’s Office product line. It offers the same Office software packages as Office 2013 Professional, but with two primary differences. The first being that Office 365 includes complementary cloud storage space as well as a number of additional features, and the second difference is that Office 365 is sold as a yearly subscription rather than as a flat rate, one-time purchase.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for Vim. Vim, which stands for “Vi Improved,” is a text editor that is based on Vi, an older editor that was used with the original Unix operating system. Vim is free, open source software that comes with most modern Linux distributions. It is mostly for writing programs and scripts, but can be used to edit any sort of basic text file. It is designed so that the user never has to take their hands off of the keyboard or touch a mouse. If you use Vim properly, your palms can stay in the same position while only your fingers move. For this reason, Vim users are occasionally referred to as keyboard cowboys.
With the release of Windows 8.1 I finally decided that it was worth replacing the trusted Windows 7 with Microsoft’s latest and greatest. Windows 8 is awesome; it provides many behind the scenes system improvements that will make your PC run more fluidly, and with Windows 8.1 Microsoft has fixed many of the user interface flaws that users and critics have been complaining about. I highly recommend upgrading to Windows 8.1 if you are a UMass student, faculty or staff because it is FREE through Microsoft Dreamspark!
If you find yourself browsing the internet all over the place like I do, you may be looking for a more streamlined approach to browsing on multiple devices. I have found that the easiest way to do this is with a browser called Google Chrome. It can be run on any popular operating system such as Windows, Mac and Ubuntu and can even be run off of a flash drive without installing it first. It even syncs from your computer to your Android phone running the Chrome Browser app.
Users can create a google account or use a pre-existing one to sign into their browser. From there you can change your sync settings and manage any content saved with your account. All of this information and usernames and passwords and such are migrated to any browser on any computer that you sign into from there. This can be managed from your Google account dashboard. In addition to usernames and passwords, the synced content includes things like browser history, bookmarks, theme, your Voice history, saved Youtube videos, your Wallet profiles and purchases and much more. Give it a try by downloading it from the Google page!
For more information check out this: tutorial
Software Giants vs. the Open Source Initiative:
In the last decade and a half, an unknown number of tech companies have sprung up and established themselves as booming enterprises overnight. Its pretty safe to say that there has never been growth like that in such little time, ever. Unfortunately, buying that software is the only option when you want a high quality product. Even though the latest Adobe Software Creative Suite might be some of the best editing software out there, it’s priced at $2,600, or about the cost of a Umass Unlimited Meal Plan. Do you want to pay for high end software; or eat? For software that your job depends on it, maybe, but not for the average user. In the end, software has hit a dilemma: either have expensive, professional software, or don’t have any at all.
According to a recent study conducted by the networking company Juniper, mobile malware is on the rise, and malware found in the wild is targeted almost exclusively toward Android devices.
“Theoretical exploits for [Apple] iOS have been demonstrated, as well as methods for sneaking malicious applications onto the [Apple] iOS App Store,” the report says, but criminals have tended to favor Android as their target, because there is less oversight on the process of releasing applications into the wild” .
Running older versions of Android with a lack of consistent update support can significantly increase the risk of a device becoming infected. Users are encouraged to update to a newer version of Android if possible (through each device’s update utility).
If you’ve recently switched to Linux or are just looking for some new native Linux games to play, you may find yourself at a loss. Luckily, there are some excellent sources for native Linux game reviews. Websites such as linuxgamecast.com or thelinuxgamer’s Tumblr are excellent sources of great reviews for Linux games which you might not know exist and some that you do, but didn’t know you could play on Linux.
There are thousands of addons available for use with a wide range of web browsers. We have compiled a list of the top four addons that we think are most worthwhile. From blocking ads to protecting users’ online privacy, these addons are useful and important. We think they will make your browsing experience more enjoyable and more secure.
Diskpart is a very useful tool, not only for diagnosing problems, but also fixing them. Diskpart is an application that can be started via command prompt or by starting the app separately. If starting diskpart via Command Prompt, open a command prompt window and type “diskpart” and then hit enter. Diskpart grants access to a different set of commands which can be used to manipulate the hard disks in a windows-based computer. The capabilities of diskpart are very extensive and will require not a small amount of personal investigation in order to fully understand and utilize the program.
Is your computer running slow? Well, at least that makes it easier to catch. Often a computer can be overloaded with unnecessary system files that can make your computer run slowly. This can cause hours of unnecessary frustration. Users can benefit from running various programs and applications that are designed to get your computer back running like new.
When the Fall 2013 semester begins, students will be surprised to find the new gem that is located on the third floor of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library. The newly constructed Digital Media Lab has landed a home in the library in hopes of being a destination where students can spend countless hours working on and obtaining knowledge pertaining to 21st century technology.As a way to keep UMass students up to speed with the ever changing technological world, the Digital Media Lab will be offering workshops, training, and opportunities for students to use top of the line equipment and software. From cameras to video cameras, MacBooks, GarageBand and more, the Digital Media Lab will provide the resources that students need.
As a general rule of thumb, there are some things that are good to do to keep your computer running its best.
- Keep everything up to date!
- Don’t click links you’re unsure about.
- Don’t visit questionable websites.
- Run an anti-virus program.
- Scan with an anti-virus program and an anti-spyware program at least once a month.
Keeping programs up to date is one of the easiest ways to prevent a Virus or Spyware infection. Windows XP, Vista, and Mac OS X will all prompt you to install updates if you have it configured to do so. It is configured as such by default.
As for updating all the other programs installed, we use a program called Secunia PSI. It scans your computer for all the programs installed that it has in its database. It then checks it against the current versions of those programs and provides you with links to where to download updates. You can download it here. It’s an amazing tool to know what to update.
As a general rule, you should keep your Operating System (XP, Vista, OSX) as well as Java and Adobe Flash Player up to date. Those are the most common ways viruses and spyware can gain access to your computer.
As a rule of thumb, don’t click on links to suspicious websites. In many programs, you can mouse over the link to see the HTTP address. Just remember to air on the side of caution.
Don’t go to suspicious sites. If you’re not sure about the site, try searching Google for it. If a lot of hits come up like “Spyware, removal of spyware, virus related” etc, don’t go to that site. Also, if you had gotten a virus in the past from a questionable website, don’t go to that website again.
Run an anti-virus program. This should be really easy for people affiliated with UMass. UMass has a site license for McAfee Enterprise Virus Scan. You can get it on the OIT website here. If you have an older version of McAfee Enterprise Virus Scan installed, uninstall it first. It might cause weird errors to occur if installing just over the older version. Also, if you have any other anti-virus programs installed, you should only have one installed. You shouldn’t have more that one anti-virus program installed, as they tend to fight each other and slow everything down. Uninstall all but one anti-virus program.
The last way to protect yourself is to run full scans with your anti-virus and anti-spyware software once per month, whether you think you need it or not. Think of it like an oil change for your car. It cleans out all the sludge that may build up, whether you see it or not. If you have the version of McAfee Enterprise Virus Scan distributed from the OIT site mentioned above, McAfee will update itself every day, and run a full scan in the background once a week. You should also run a full scan once a month with your anti-spyware software of your choice. We use Spybot Search and Destroy, which can be found here.
According to a recent Tech-news-media-blits, Adobe has pushed out a highly critical security update to its Adobe Reader and Acrobat software. The update fixes a highly critical flaw in which code imbedded into a PDF file will be automatically executed.
I have never been a huge fan of Adobe Reader’s excessively long load times and browser instabilities. I have been a longtime user of Foxit Software’s Foxit Reader. Foxit Reader is a much smaller and lighter PDF reader but it does not support all of the latest functionality that is implemented in the newest versions by Adobe. Furthermore, it was also vulnerable to the same recent threats, although Foxit Software was much faster to respond to the threat.
Disclaimer: Foxit Reader is 3rd party software and although it is recommended by this consultant, it is not supported by OIT.
However, this is not the first time that Adobe has needed to fix it’s code, which is another reason to use Foxit Reader.
We recommend to all our users to upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Reader and/or Foxit Reader immediately.
But as of now there is no evidence that any malicious code or trojan has been written to take advantage of the security hole.
Details about the vulnerability and proof-of-concept videos can be found here for the inquiring minds.
I saw this article on Slashdot today and wanted to warn everyone out there. Nine million infected computers running Microsoft systems is an incredible amount of machines compromised.
As the article states, the worm propagates through un-patched Windows systems and through USB thumb-drives. This means that having a secure system or up-to-date virus protection is NOT ENOUGH! You need a combination of both. This is good computer usage in practice anyway, but we see an incredible amount of un-patched XP and Vista systems come in with virus infections.
The above image shows what happens when you plug-in an infected USB-stick into a machine. Notice the “Publisher not Specified,” text in gray under the open option? That should be your first clue right there. Do NOT click on this, as this will launch the virus and infect your computer.
It’s just that little yellow icon in your system tray, that little place with icons by the time in the bottom left. Click – Express Install – Done. It’s really that simple.
For those that are interested, the Microsoft Security Bulletin can be read here.
People come into Software Support frequently with complaints about MS Word being slow or unresponsive. I have noticed that MS Word add-ins are often to blame for these performance issues, especially by introducing a delay before starting Word or switching from one document to another. Most of these users have multiple Word add-ins (whether they are aware of the fact or not) and so here is a very quick guide to check to see if add-ins are your issue.
The general idea is to disable add-ins and check to see if disabling a certain add-in made word significantly more responsive. If it did, then either look into updating it or keeping it disabled if you don’t use it. The steps for disabling an Add-in are follow:
1) Go to the Office menu, then select Word Options
2) Go to Add-Ins and take a look at the Active Application Add-ins. Often an Adobe product will be in this list and it is often this entry that is the issue. Select the Add-in you want to disable and press Go…
3) Deselect an Add-in (uncheck the box next to it) and hit OK. Sometimes you’ll get the following error:
If you get this error and are running Windows Vista, close Word, navigate to C:/Program Files/Microsoft Office/Office12/ and right click on WINWORD.EXE. Select Run as Administrator and follow the above steps again.