Shawn Beattie, editor
This is the first edition of Augie Techknowledge from ITS, a once-a-term e-newsletter to share "what's new" in ITS and provide useful tips and articles on Information Technology and Educational Technology at Augustana. We hope you like it and find it useful. The newsletter will be archived on the ITS web site at http://its.augustana.edu/techknowledge. Enjoy!
In this issue:
Keeping Your PC Running Smoothly
E-mail to a Public Folder
Got Spam? Why Spammers Spam….
New "Live On-line" Closed Course List
Conserving Augustana's Bandwidth
Keeping Your PC Running Smoothly
Does your PC purr along like a BMW fresh off of the showroom floor? Or does it drag along like a rusty old pickup in need of a tune-up and a couple of new tires? Here are a few suggestions for keeping your PC running well.
Try these things and see if your PC doesn't run just a little bit faster and better!!
They’re known by quite a few names -- Pen, Thumb and USB drives are just
some of the names given to the latest and greatest data saving devices on
the market now. So many of you might be wondering what exactly a “pen” drive
is? Well for all intents and purposes, it is a micro-mini hard drive,
capable of storing massive amounts of data for its size and without many of
the worries of the almost forgotten 3.5-inch floppy disk. Floppies are
notorious for getting corrupted upon saving the most important documents of
a person’s college experience. “Pen” drives are around the size of a stick
of Chapstick, most easily fit on to any key ring and can save the equivalent
of hundreds of floppy disks, on average. These little gems are becoming
cheaper and cheaper in the stores with all the crazy deals and such that
happens around Christmas time. Basically the bottom line is everyone should
get one of these, faculty and student alike. The portability and safety of
the drive as well as the sheer storage capacity for documents, pictures,
music - you name it - make this a convenient solution for all.
E-mail to a Public Folder
You may not be aware that every Public Folder
has its own e-mail address. The e-mail address is usually the name of the folder,
with any spaces or punctuation removed. For
example, the Theater public Folder "Call Board" has the email address of
firstname.lastname@example.org. If the folder name is a common name (such as
"Comments") you may need to contact ITS to find out what the unique address for
your folder is -- a number may be appended to the address. In the folder's
permissions, the "anonymous" user must have the ability to post items.
Then, e-mail sent to this address will automatically show up as a posting
in the Public Folder. You could use this feature in a number of ways -- you could
sign up to a listserv you wanted your students to read using the Public Folder
as the e-mail address. The listserv postings would show up in the Public Folder
and the students could read them without all of them having to sign up
individually and fill up their own e-mail boxes. You could also use
it as a repository for submitted documents from students or any group.
Contact us in ITS if you need any help setting up such a folder.
Astra schedule is the new campus room scheduling software package. It was implemented in October 2004 with the purpose of maintaining the scheduling of Augustana’s facilities in one central location. Since implementing the system, we have scheduled over 7,000 events. There is also a web version that allows any campus user to view activities that are happening across campus, as well as see what spaces are available for future use. The Astra system also gives immediate access to the employees in our security, custodial and facility services departments. As long as the room reservation is entered into Astra, they are able to see when rooms may need to be cleaned, heated/cooled, and secured due to scheduled events.
In addition to campus events, the Astra system also flags rooms that are used for academic purposes. All of our courses and rooms are loaded into the system with the corresponding room being reserved. This helps to eliminate the possibility of scheduling an event in a room that might be scheduled for a class. Since everyone is looking at the same reservation file it’s immediately apparent what rooms are available and which ones are not.
The Astra system has proven to serve its purpose and we look forward to implementing other facets of the system such as online room reservation requests and resource management.
Why Spammers Spam….
Scott Dean (and the Associated Press)
Junk email, otherwise knows as spam is a tremendous problem for email users and network administrators. Recent statistics reveal that 85% of all email world wide is spam. These numbers are nearly identical to what we experience at Augustana.
Spam can be annoying, offensive and a hassle. In many cases, users receive so much spam on a given day that it can have an impact on employee productivity. So why do these spammers do what they do? One word: MONEY!
Recently one of the world's most prolific spammers, 30 year old Jeremy Jaynes was found guilty of sending spam. Jaynes' business was remarkably lucrative; prosecutors say he grossed up to $750,000 per month. If you have an e-mail account, chances are Jaynes tried to get your attention, pitching software, pornography and work-at-home schemes.
Relatively few people actually responded to Jaynes' pitches. In a typical month, prosecutors said during the trial, Jaynes might receive 10,000 to 17,000 credit card orders, thus making money on perhaps only one of every 30,000 e-mails he sent out.
But he earned $40 a pop, and the undertaking was so vast that Jaynes could still pull in $400,000 to $750,000 a month, while spending perhaps $50,000 on bandwidth and other overhead. Prosecutors believe Jaynes had a net worth of up to $24 million, and they described one of his homes as a mansion, though the e-mail came from a house described as average.
Not a bad living, until you get caught. A state jury has recommended a nine-year prison term. Sentencing is set for February 2005.
"Live On-line" Closed Course List
While students may not
always want to see the closed course list, it is one of the most sought
after reports during registration. Students, as well as advisors, can
use the closed course list to determine which classes have closed because of
enrollment limits. Although it's not enjoyable to find a course you
were hoping to take on this list, it is helpful in planning student
Many of you may have noticed
our internet connection occasionally is not as fast as it has been in the past,
and some have asked why. In order to allow you to be a more "informed consumer"
of our internet connection, here's some information about our connection and how
Augustana is connected to the Illinois Century Network, or ICN, (http://www.illinois.net) a state-funded network for education created by the Illinois legislature in 1999. Over 6100 institutions are connected to the ICN, serving over 2 million users (mostly students) in Illinois. Our connection on campus is via five T1 circuits (a special type of digital phone line) to the ICN connection point in Moline. Each of these circuits provides approximately 1.5 megabits per second of connectivity. In total, we have roughly 7.5 megabits per second of connectivity.
As of today, we have a total of 2,832 computers registered on our network.. This includes labs, student machines, and employee computers as well as any Ethernet device (such as a router or wireless access point) brought on campus by students. Each of those computers or devices is vying for the same 7.5 MB connection. Our Internet connection has not increased in capacity in several years; however the number of computers on campus has increased steadily. In addition, the number of different applications for Internet use has also grown steadily. Examples include streaming audio, streaming video, more graphics-intensive web sites, and online games as well as exponential growth in unsolicited e-mail. With a majority of home Internet Users (51% according to Neilsen's August 2004 report) now connecting to the internet via Cable or DSL, web site designers are now increasingly assuming a high-speed connection rather than a dialup connection.
Last year, Augustana employed a device called a "packet shaper" that allows our network administrators to prioritize traffic. Currently we prioritize web traffic and have placed bandwidth limits on file transfer and peer-to-peer music sharing. While this has helped, and was necessary to prevent our connection from being overrun by on and off campus traffic, increased utilization has still outpaced our ability to prioritize traffic.
The solution? In the same way we are asked to be responsible in our use of other shared resources, ITS encourages all users to think about their use of network resources and to realize that we are all sharing the same limited connection. In the mean time, ITS will continue to look at ways to maximize our resources and provide the best possible experience to the campus.
You can monitor Augustana's network connection and its usage in real time at http://its.augustana.edu/network.html.
January 4th @ 7PM - 8PM in Olin Room 109
Tuesday, January 6th@ 7PM - 8PM in Olin Room 305 Knowing your AntiVirus and Adware
Monday, January 10th @ 7PM - 8PM in Olin Room 109 Excel - Crunching Numbers and Making Graphs
Tuesday, January 18th @ 7PM - 8PM in Olin Room 109 Excel - Crunching Numbers and Making Graphs
Tuesday, January 11th @ 7PM - 8PM in Olin Room 109 Photoshop II
Monday, January 17th @ 7PM - 8PM in Olin Room 109 PowerPoint II
Thursday, February 10th @ 7PM - 8PM in Olin Room 106 Video Editing with iMovie
Happy Holidays from ITS!