OpenScholar

Posted by jasonrw on July 2nd

SAS Computing has been working toward a new initiative in personal web services. The vast majority of web-sites on the Internet have evolved into a dynamic format. Modern web-sites are now interactive and offer services alongside traditional information. OpenScholar is a content management system (CMS) in the same manner of druapl and wordpress. An interactive webpage presents the user with a simple interface for creating and customizing content. FTP tools and web authoring software are no longer necessary to work with OpenScholar. The user also does not need to be proficient with web design and implementation. A novice can have an OpenScholar site up and running in as little as thirty minutes.

I have created an OpenScholar site to evaluate the platform and I love it. All future information will be placed there instead of this webpage. Maintenance and corrections will be the only new information posted here in the future. Any SAS faculty, staff member, or graduate student can request an OpenScholar site by sending a request to sasc-webmaster(at)sas.upenn.edu. More information can be found at: https://sites.sas.upenn.edu/openscholar




Jacob Ryan Watkins

Posted by jasonrw on January 18th

On December 4, 2011 at 9:56 a.m., my wife and I welcomed our son Jacob into our family. Jacob came in at eight punds, ten ounces and was born at Pennsylvania Hospital. Marnie labored for only a few hours and came through without any injury. Jacob is our second child, after our daughter, Mackenze, who was born on September 10, 2007. Ironically both Jacob and Mackenzie were born in the same room, L15. Mackenzie has taken very well to her little brother and often helps in his care. Jacob sleeps through most of the night, getting up only to eat, then graciously going back to sleep after. Thanks you to everyone for their congrats and warm regards.




Scanning via Photocopier

Posted by jasonrw on January 18th

The photocopiers in the Cohen Hall Copy Center as well as in room 235 have been modified to allow anyone to scan documents and send them out via e-mail in PDF format. The big draw-back is that the scans are monochrome only (black & white, no color). Despite the lack of color, the scanning component of the photocopier is more than adequate for scanning books and documents into PDF for use on Blackboard or elsewhere. I would be very interested to see a scanner on campus that could do the same job faster. Please contact me for instructions on how to use the copier for this purpose. The process is very easy and takes only a few moments.




Read FacStaff e-mail on an iOS device

Posted by jasonrw on Dec 19th

I receive many requests for connecting an iPhone or an iPad to a user's FacStaff e-mail account. The process is simple and painless, unlike doing so on an Android device or Blackberry. The big string is using facstaff with a mobile device. IMAP e-mail servers are not the best at load-balancing multiple connections for an incoming mailbox. This can result in the various connections becoming out-of-sync and the mailbox being corrupt. To fix this SASC created an alias address for FacStaff that allows users to access their mailbox, concurrently, with multiple devices. The catch is that each device the users uses to access FacStaff has to set their incoming server to the alias address of "mobile.sas.upenn.edu". It is not enough to just set the mobile device's incoming server to mobile.sas.upenn.edu, all devices must have the setting. Mobile.SAS can only work when all of a user's e-mail programs have it for their incoming server.




Connect MS Outlook 2010 to FacStaff

Posted by jasonrw on Nov 20th

Recently, Mozilla, the makers of Firefox and Thunderbird, have been on an updating spree. Every month, or sooner, a new version of each program is released to the world. The quick developments have had some unintended consequences for users of Thunderbird. Tabs, introduced in version 3, did not have the welcomed reception they did with Firefox. The cases of address book contents simply disappering after an automatic update left those affected confused and concerned. A fresh look at Microsoft's offering in the e-mail client category is not a bad idea, if not for a backup program. Outlook 2010 still does not integrate with the Penn Directory and the program's performance with FacStaff is not as streamlined as Thunderbird, but there have been some improvements made. The linked tutorial is ten easy steps that can have any FacStaff user up and running with Outlook quickly. As with any computer program, especially those from Microsoft, user mileage may vary.




6 steps to a more secure Mac

Posted by jasonrw on Oct 23th

I have started to compile a list of security best practices for the Mac platform. As Apple computers gain wider adoption, they will become greater targets for mal-ware and the like. Apple users will have to take advanced steps in being vigilant toward these new threats. WThe web-page in the title link can bring any Mac user much closer to a secure system with very little existing computer security experience./a>




Cohen 237 Lab Closure

Posted by jasonrw on May 25th

SAS has decided to reclaim the space occupied by the lab in room 237. Usage and the critical lack of availibility for space in Cohen Hall were the deciding factors in closing the lab. Computing and printing resources will be moved to locations in the participating department's spaces. The printer and release-station have been moved to room 235. The key-code for entering the room is the same as it was for entering room 237. Printing from grad student laptops is possible through the use of the same type of software installed on the lab desktop computers. The software is freely available for download (Windows XP-7, Mac OS X 10.5-10.6) from the Cohen Hall Printing web-site.




AirPennNet tutorial for OS X 10.6

Posted by jasonrw on October 12th

Given the amount of time and frequency spent on this particular subject, I thought it may be helpful to post a tutorial online. Online connectivity being the targeted end-result, a printed version of this information can be found on my office door. Enjoy!




College Office Support

Posted by jasonrw on August 16th

As of July 1, 2010, I will take over IT support for the College of Arts & Sciences in 120 Cohen Hall. I look forward to working with the faculty and staff of the College and learning more about how things work in that part of SAS.




Thunderbird 3 Tutorial

Posted by jasonrw on June 13th

Finally, without further adieu, an updated how-to for configuring Mozilla Thunderbird for use with FacStaff is available. The specifics cover Mozilla Thinderbird version 3, running on Windows 7. Windows 7 is just starting to be deployed in Cohen Hall and is not in widespread use. This tutorial will work just as exact on Windows XP and Windows Vista. Thunderbird is the recommended e-mail client for faculty and staff, using Windows in the School of Arts and Sciences. I make sure the latest version of Thunderbird is installed on all new allocation and supported computers. For home users, Thunderbird is freely available from Mozilla's homepage for all supported versions of Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. See the tutorial here for more information.




SASC VPN Portal

Folks, using an SASC Active Directory account, have a server share for their own use, aka 'U-Drive'. The U-Drive is easily accessed from computers on campus, but was not always available from off-campus locations. This made the use of a U-Drive limited to those who work in different locations often. SAS Computing has installed and configured a device which allows secure access to U-Drives and other parts of PennNet through a VPN connection. See the tutorial here for more information.




Windows 7

SAS Computing is now using Windows 7 as the standard Windows image on all new allocation PC's and laptops. Existing allocations computers, running Windows XP or Windows Vista will not be upgraded to Windows 7 unless a significant reason for doing so can be justifiably demonstrated. The version of Windows 7 being utilized is "Windows 7 Professional 64-bit". New allocation computer specifications can be found here.