Doug Anderson

Tip Tuesday: Leave Internet Explorer 11 Behind

In 2021, Microsoft will end support for its legacy browser, Internet Explorer 11. If you still use Internet Explorer, it’s time to switch.

LITS recommends the use of Google Chrome for desktop computers. Chrome works well with Google Enterprise for Education, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Drive, Meet, and other apps widely used by Allegheny College. Chrome is already installed on all college-owned computers.

Other browser options to consider are Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox. Both are available free for Windows and Mac computers. Mac computers also come equipped with the Safari browser.

If you have questions, please reach out to the InfoDesk via email (infodesk@allegheny.edu) or by phone (814-332-3768).

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Tip Tuesday: Print to “Release Printers”

Allegheny College students and employees on campus can print to a number of printers found around campus. LITS recommends sending print jobs to the Release Printer whenever possible.

Students on campus can print from their personal devices to Release Printers at various locations on campus during each building’s open hours by setting up Mobility Print–available for WindowsMac OSiOSAndroid, or ChromeOS. (You must be on campus to install or use Mobility Print.)

Employee computers on campus already have Release Printers installed, and should not need Mobility Print.

When printing to a Release Printer, your print job will be held by the print server for 24 hours. If the print job is not released within 24 hours, the print job will be deleted. Deleted print jobs will not use a student’s Print Points.

Read more about Printing on Campus.

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Canvas Outage

At about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, LITS was alerted of a Canvas outage affecting multiple institutions, including Allegheny College. We are investigating and will provide more information as it becomes available.

UPDATE:

As of 5:07 p.m., Instructure reported:

A fix has been implemented and we are monitoring the results.

Please contact the InfoDesk at 814-332-3768 or by email at infodesk@allegheny.edu if you continue to experience issues.

Tip Tuesday: Managing Voicemail for Forwarded Calls

Last week we posted instructions for forwarding your calls to another extension or phone number.

If the forwarded call goes unanswered, it will roll back to the voicemail of the original extension.

Those who choose to have their calls forwarded can change their outgoing voicemail greeting to indicate that they are out. LITS strongly recommends this solution. The voicemail greeting can include a suggested alternative number for those callers needing an immediate response.

An additional measure could be to provide the voicemail PIN to someone else in the department, so that someone can check the voicemail inbox. This can be done remotely, or at the phone whose voicemail you are checking. When you return to the office, remember to change the PIN.

LITS has other tips for managing phones during vacations and furlough.

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Forward All Incoming Calls to Another Extension or Phone Number

With furlough and vacations, it is often useful for employees to have their incoming calls forwarded to another extension in their department, or to a different number altogether.

  1. Press the Settings button (the “gear” icon on the lower left side of your phone keypad).
    Mitel 6920 desk phone with the "Settings" key highlighted
  2. Use the silver wheel on the phone to navigate left to Call Forward.
    Mitel 6920 desk phone with the "Call Forward" option showing in the screen
  3. Press Select.
    (If necessary, use the backspace button to erase any number in the box labeled Always.)
    Mitel 6920 desk phone showing the dialog screen for entering forwarding numbers
  4. Enter the 4-digit extension, or 10-digit number off campus, that you want to have your calls forwarded to in the Always box. Be sure to prefix an “8” before the number if it is not an on-campus extension.
  5. Before you save, use the wheel to navigate to the checkbox in the upper right corner of the display.
    Mitel 6920 phone showing the checkbox by the "Always" option
  6. Press the center button of the wheel to put a check in the box.
  7. Press Save.
  8. Press Close.

LITS has other tips for managing phones during vacations and furlough as well.

Tip Tuesday: Vacation Reply in Gmail

When you’re planning to be out of office, you can set an automatic vacation reply in Gmail. Here’s how:

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. In the top right, click Settings Settings and then See all settings.
  3. Scroll down to the “Vacation responder” section.
  4. Select Vacation responder on.
  5. Fill in the date range, subject, and message.
  6. Under your message, check the box if you only want your contacts to see your vacation reply.
  7. At the bottom of the page, click Save Changes.
Note: If you have a Gmail signature, it will be shown at the bottom of your vacation response.
On a related note, LITS also offers tips for managing phones during vacations and furloughs.
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Tip Tuesday: “Out of Office” in Google Calendar

In Google Calendar, you can define a stretch of time when you will be out of office. This can be a few hours, a particular day, or a range of days. When you indicate you’re out of office, your calendar will automatically decline all meetings during that time, using a custom decline message if you choose.

  1. On your computer, open Google Calendar.
  2. At the top of your calendar, click the date you’ll be out of the office (or the first date, if you’re planning on multiple days).
  3. Click Out of office.
  4. Select the dates that you’ll be out of the office.
  5. Optional: Update the time range and edit your decline message.
  6. Click Save.

"Out of office" dialog box in Google Calendar

During the time when your status is set to Out of office, others who contact you through Google Chat messages or Gmail will see a notification alerting them to that fact. So will users who mention or tag you in comments in a Google Doc.

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Tip Tuesday: Laptop Care

With so many of the college community working from laptop computers, it’s useful to keep some basic guidelines in mind for taking good physical care of your laptop. Here are some tips:

  • Wash your hands. In addition to helping protect against illness, washing your hands can help prevent dirt and oils from your skin from staining your laptop’s keys, touchpad, and other surfaces.
  • Keep food and drink away. Liquids, sugar, and food crumbs can interfere with keyboard function and damage electronics. It’s always best practice to keep liquids away from electronics.
  • Close carefully. It’s easy to forget a pen or paper clip is on the keyboard when you close the lid in a hurry. But such items can dent, scratch or even crack the screen. Be sure to close the laptop gently and carefully–don’t just snap it shut and go.
  • Don’t pick up by the monitor. This puts undue strain on the delicate electronics of the screen, and can result in damage to the hinges as well. Lift your laptop by the base, preferably with two hands, to prevent any twisting of the laptop frame.
  • Watch what you put on top. Heavy items and items with sharp edges can damage your laptop surprisingly easily. Even resting your hands or an elbow on top without thinking can damage delicate LCD screens. Cold or heat, such as from a can of soda or a mug of coffee, can likewise risk damage to your laptop.
  • Keep an even temperature. Rapid temperature changes can cause condensation inside your laptop, and glass and plastic components can crack from extreme cold. Try never to leave your laptop in a cold or hot car. If your laptop has become colder or warmer than room temperature, give it time to return to room temperature before turning it on.
  • Bag it. Bags made for a laptop are the safest way to transport a laptop from one place to another. If possible, use one sized specifically for your model of laptop. If that’s not an option, consider using a cushioned laptop sleeve to carry your laptop inside another bag, to keep other items in the bag from scratching or bending your laptop frame. If you’re using a sleeve, don’t put other items inside–even a mouse or the laptop’s own power supply can risk damage if they are pressed against the laptop cover.
  • Keep it clean. Check your laptop manufacturer’s website for their recommended methods. Properly used, compressed air and isopropyl alcohol wipes designed for electronics can be important tools for keeping your keyboard, monitor, and ports clean.

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Scheduled Weekly Maintenance

Starting at 6 a.m. on Sunday, January 31, those who are on campus may experience some intermittent downtime on our wireless networks. This is a result of routine weekly maintenance and is expected to be completed within two hours.

If you are still experiencing wireless connectivity issues after 9 a.m. on Sunday, January 31, please open a Web Help Desk ticket.

As always, in case of emergency, contact Public Safety at (814) 332-3357.