OIT News – February 2010

OIT News

Monthly news briefs, information and announcements
Office of Information Technology, NC State University
Issue 28, February 2010

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01: OIT to launch student e-mail beta over spring break

02: Angel.com is new voice for the NC State Help Desk

03: NC State joins Apple iPhone Developer Program
04: ComTech to release new version of MySoft
05: Parental MyPack Portal access now available

06: OIT Lunch & Learn: “Presentations 101″ and “Presentation Tools” in February
07: OIT Lunch & Learn: “Facebook,” “Mobile Devices & Apps” and “eBook Readers” in March 

08: SAR training scheduled for March 10
09: Gertrude Cox Award Ceremony will be held Feb. 22
10: Know the real hype about Skype!


01: OIT to launch student e-mail beta over spring break

In just a month, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) will launch a student e-mail beta service for Google Apps Education Edition. The new service, Google Apps @ NC State, will provide students with e-mail and other popular Google hosted services designed to improve collaboration, communication and education.
Since the announcement, more than 2,900 people have signed up to become early adopters of the service. Those who signed up and are eligible will receive an invitation during spring break (March 15-19) to move from the Unity mail system to Gmail and Google Apps. Students can still request an invitation to become an early adopter by visiting the Google Apps @ NC State Web site. The production Google Apps @ NC State service will be rolled out over the remainder of the year, when all students will transition to Google Apps. The next phase after that will pave the way for faculty and staff to be able to transition to Google Apps if they choose.

NC State announced Jan. 20 that it would partner with Google Inc. to host student e-mail services. This action, recommended by the Student Email Task Force in its March 2009 report, enables the university to improve technology services for students while reducing costs. With the Google Apps Education Edition suite of applications, students will also get Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Calendar and Google Talk and more than 7 gigabytes of e-mail storage space per account. Students will keep their official @ncsu.edu address. For more information, visit the Google Apps @ NC State Web site.


02: Angel.com is new voice for the NC State Help Desk
If you’ve recently called the NC State Help Desk, then you’ve noticed that it has a new voice, or call handling system! The NC State Help Desk transitioned in December to Angel.com, a provider of industry-leading interactive voice response and call center solutions software. The new service provides additional help desk support features and flexibility, including improved off-campus support to facilitate more mobile, after-hours and emergency situation support. It provides automatic menu bypasses that allow a professor or student in a ClassTech room to contact the help desk staff directly for immediate assistance with IT equipment. It also allows the help desk staff to monitor voice mail remotely. For more information about this service, contact the NC State Help Desk at 515-4357 or via email at help@ncsu.edu.

03: NC State joins Apple iPhone Developer Program
NC State is now officially part of the Apple iPhone Developer Program, which allows the university the ability to develop, test and distribute applications for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch from within Apple’s App Store. A campus committee is currently being formed to manage NC State’s mobile presence. In the meantime, OIT Outreach Technology will be managing the review of applications and the management of the NC State iPhone Developer Program. For more information, contact the NC State Help Desk at 515-4357 or via email at help@ncsu.edu.

04: ComTech to release new version of MySoft
Communication Technologies (ComTech) will roll out in March a new version of MySoft, a self-service Web application to request campus phone services. MySoft will feature a new intuitive visual shopping cart interface that is similar to interfaces used online. MySoft is available to on-campus personnel who request telecommunication services for their unit, college or department. For more information about MySoft, contact Todd Gunderson at 513-2394; Mariela Montero at 513-2387; or Taylor Lundy at 515-5417. If you’re interested in learning more about MySoft training opportunities, contact Jeff Boone at 515-6011.

05: Parental MyPack Portal access now available
Are you a parent or guardian of a NC State student? If so, you’ll be glad to learn that students can now grant their parents or guardians access to view their NC State financial and academic information via the MyPack Portal.

Students must initiate the process to grant all parental access to view billing, payment and academic information in the portal. Once the student completes the online authorization in the MyPack Portal, a confirmation e-mail is sent to the parent or guardian to enable them to complete their account set-up and to create a password. Students must authorize this new access if they currently have their parents or guardians set up for eBILLing.

To check a student’s Parent/Guardian Access within the MyPack Portal, go to Student Information Systems > Admin Services > Parent/Guardian Access. Tutorials for both students and parents are available on the Student MyPack Portal Tutorials Web page.

06: OIT Lunch & Learn: “Presentations 101″ and “Presentation Tools” in February
If you’re interested in learning how to give effective presentations using the latest technology, then attend OIT’s Brown Bag Lunch and Learns, “Presentations 101” and “Presentation Tools: Beyond PowerPoint.”

Stephanie Kelber of HR-Training and Organizational Development will present “Presentations 101” from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16 in 216 Scott Hall. Kelber will talk about 10 effective presentation techniques, including visual aids, the rule of three, telling stories and other tips to help you plan and deliver your presentation. To register, visit Classmate.

Jennifer Riehle of OIT Design, Education and Outreach will show you how to enhance your presentation by adding the right tools in “Presentation Tools: Beyond PowerPoint.” This session will be held from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18 in 216 Scott Hall. Riehle will discuss the use of PDFs, Google Docs and other applications to complement or enhance your message. You’ll learn some great tips on how to engage your audience to keep their attention. To register, visit Classmate.

07: OIT Lunch & Learn: “Facebook,” “Mobile Devices & Apps” and “eBook Readers” in March

The OIT Brown Bag Lunch and Learn series will present three sessions during the month of March.

·         “Quickstart Guide to Facebook for New Users” from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9 in 216 Scott Hall. Facebook is a free social networking Web site that allows people to interact and share information. During this session, Twanda Baker of OIT Design, Education and Outreach will show you how to set up your Facebook profile, connect with co-workers and friends, protect your privacy, navigate around pages, and how to communicate using the Facebook Wall and Inbox. To register, visit Classmate.

·         “Mobile Devices and Applications” from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 11 in 216 Scott Hall. Harry Nicholos of OIT Infrastructure, Systems and Operations and Everette Allen of OIT Outreach, Communications and Consulting will host a discussion about applications for your favorite mobile devices. Users of iPhone, Android, Blackberry and other devices are welcome. Join the conversation! To register, visit Classmate.

·         “eBook Readers @ NCSU Libraries: Past, Present & Future” from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16 in 216 Scott Hall. Orion Pozo and David Woodbury of NCSU Libraries will talk about the history of their eBook readers programs, the current program and future projects involving eBook readers at NCSU Libraries. They will have several models of eBook readers on-hand, including the iPod touch, Kindle2, Kindle DX, Sony Touch, Nook, and for nostalgia, first generation Rocket and Softbook readers. To register, visit Classmate.

08: SAR training scheduled for March 10
Security Access Request (SAR) training for campus requestors and approvers of access to secured university data will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, March 10 in the ITTC Lab 2 of D.H. Hill Library. Please visit Classmate to view available classes and to sign up for training.

09: Gertrude Cox Award Ceremony will be held Feb. 22
The Ninth Annual Gertrude Cox Award Ceremony is just a week away! The ceremony will be held from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22 in the Walnut Room of the Talley Student Center. The Gertrude Cox Award recognizes “the creative pedagogy of NC State’s faculty and technical staff and their work in integrating new technologies into effective teaching strategies.” The award is sponsored by the Teaching, Learning and Technology Roundtable; Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (DELTA); and the Office of Faculty Development. Refreshments will be served. For more information, visit the Gertrude Cox Web site.

10: Know the real hype about Skype!
Skype software provides voice and video connections over the Internet as an alternative to regular phone calls as well as file-transfer and instant messaging services. Skype is widely used at the university, particularly as a video conference solution for international collaboration. And while it is inexpensive and easy to use, there are some significant privacy and security issues concerning its use. The Office of Information Technology does not officially support Skype for university use, but wants to inform you of these issues.

The personal (free) version of Skype has serious privacy issues. Skype’s privacy policy gives Skype the rights to use your personally identifiable information (PII) including specifically your Skype user name, full name, address, telephone numbers, gender, date of birth, language, contact list, Internet IP addresses, cookies, banking and payment information and information about your interaction with Skype. Be careful what options you allow in your Skype profile to avoid giving other Skype users unintentional access to your PII. The privacy policy specifically allows for Skype’s marketing, promotional and legal use of your PII. The Skype business license (available for a fee) does not reference the privacy policy and may provide better protection for your PII.

The use of Skype also creates some technical security concerns. Skype does encrypt all transmitted communications data, which is a plus. However, it encrypts the data using a proprietary algorithm, which means that university security personnel can’t see the data being transferred into or out of computers by the Skype programs in those cases when they are allowed to under the university’s Computer Use Regulation and Computer Use Policy. An example of that would be for data leakage protection (such as when sensitive data like a social security number is suspected of being transmitted), or in response to an eDiscovery request by the university’s legal department. Other technical security concerns could include programs downloaded to Skype on your computer with an undisclosed purpose and personal or sensitive information being uploaded to Skype or other destinations on the Internet. As well, Skype ads are transmitted without encryption and can be hijacked and replaced with malicious data, which may infect the receiver’s computer.

If Skype is left running in the background, it can automatically be elevated to a “Supernode” and mediate communications between other Skype users. Several universities have banned the use of Skype on the grounds that Supernodes use excessive network and computing resources. To prevent background Supernodes from running on your computer, fully exit Skype after active use by right clicking the Skype icon by the clock in the bottom right of the screen and clicking “exit.”

The university “unified communications” project is investigating alternatives for personal communications across the Internet and at the university. This will hopefully enable very inexpensive international phone calls, videoconferencing and file transfers that will be fully tailored to the university requirements, including privacy and security.



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