Fall 2008

ID Card Gets New Look

BLUE IDIf your MTSU ID card does not like this, it is time to make a new one. The MTSU BlueID has been designed to use the new MTSU identification number recently assigned to faculty, staff, and students. New BlueID cards were issued to students beginning with the first CUSTOMS session in May.

The MTSU Recreation Center has implemented hand geometry (a hand scanning process) for access to the Recreation Center. The MTSU BlueID Office is collecting hand geometry information when your new BlueID is made.

If you haven't done so yet, please make every effort to come by the MTSU BlueID Office and have your new card made. The office is open 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday, and is located in the Student Services Building (SSAC), Room 112.

If you have any questions, please contact the MTSU BlueID Office at 898-5523.

Gone Phishing

Phishing is a fraudulent attempt, usually via e-mail or instant messaging, to obtain a user's sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers, passwords, and bank account numbers.

Most methods originate from what appears to be a trust-worthy institution that contains some sort of dire warning that you need to immediately click on a link to verify your identity.

Unfortunately, following the instructions may lead to identity theft or worse. Once you have transmitted your sensitive data to the phishing destination, you may no longer have access to those assets and resources that your sensitive information protects.

Bank accounts may be drained of funds, and credit cards may be opened in your name, ruining your credit record.

Recently at MTSU there has been a significant number of phishing attempts to obtain users' e-mail usernames and passwords. One such message also requested a user's birthday. In all instances, the e-mail claimed to be from MTSU's "Support Team"; or something similar to deceive the recipient into believing it had originated From the Information Technology Division (ITD).

These accounts were compromised not for the data they contained but for the ability to use an unsuspecting e-mail account.

Each compromised account was used to send a significant amount of spam to e-mail addresses worldwide. This resulted in overloaded e-mail systems, and in some instances, Internet service providers - including Comcast - blocked all mail from MTSU, regardless if it originated from a compromised account or not.

A new targeted phishing scheme, known as "spear phishing,"; has also been making the rounds. Specifically targeted at administrators at universities and colleges, the messages look official and contain details such as names and phone numbers that attempt to lend credence to the e-mail.

A particular recent spear phish attempt was constructed to look as if it had originated from the IRS, informing the recipient that they owed taxes to the government.

If the user complied with the letter's demands to click on the link to download a waiver, a key logger was instead installed to the user's computer. All subsequent entries by anyone on that computer were then sent automatically and secretly to an unknown site collecting the data.

Reputable organizations will never request passwords or other sensitive information via e-mail. Therefore, it is important that you do not reply to these messages or click on links provided. If you have any doubts if an e-mail message is legitimate, call the originator on the published phone number for their organization.

In the case of e-mails claiming to be from the "ITD Support Team"; or something similar, call the ITD Help Desk at 898-5345.

MTSU'S Wireless Network

MTSU has an extensive wireless network available for use. Coverage zones include several courtyards, most eateries, the Walker University Library, many lounges, all residence hall lounges, and most classroom areas. Additionally, higher speed coverage (54 Mbps 802.11g) is available in some areas. Coverage is constantly expanded and upgraded.

Map of wireless network coverage

To use the MTSU wireless network, you need an "802.11b" or "802.11b/g"; capable wireless network card. These cards will say "WiFi" on them and/or on the package. "WiFi" means that the card adheres to the WiFi standards and should work without problems with the MTSU WiFi compatible network.

For wireless access within the coverage area on campus, simply configure the wireless software to use the wireless network WLANMTSU. Make sure WEP and WPA are turned off (this is usually the default setting). It is important to choose "Infrastructure Mode" in the wireless software. Choosing "Any Available Network" or "Ad Hoc" modes could create an unsecured situation by connecting your computer to another wireless computer. Open a web browser to any page, and it will automatically be redirected to the MTSU Wireless Network login page.

To begin your session, enter your PipelineMT username and password for full access or simply click "Guest Access"; for web access only.

The nature of wireless activity makes the network occasionally weaker in some areas and stronger in others. Most wireless network software includes a small graph that can be utilized to determine the strength of the wireless signal in a particular area. Machines with internal wireless cards may notice slightly less coverage, as the internal antennas may not capture the wireless signals as well as external type adapters. The coverage area map is a general schematic; actual coverage varies based on numerous factors that include but not limited to: type of network adapter, PC battery power, number of people in the area, and season.

Wireless technology is less secure than connections used on a home computer. It is recommended that for any transactions that involve sensitive data that SSL or SSH encryption is used. Many web pages are SSL-enabled. Look at the web address to determine if the site is SSL-enabled. If the URL begins with "https"; instead of "http"; and has a small padlock icon appearing at the bottom of browser window, then it is SSL-enabled and any data sent and received is encrypted.

If you have any questions or problems, please call the Information Technology Help Desk at 898-5345, or you can stop by the Help Desk in the basement of the Cope Administration Building. ITD assistants will be available answer your laptop questions:

Monday - 8 a.m. - Noon
Tuesday - 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday - 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Thursday - 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Friday - Noon - 4:30 p.m.

Lending a Helping Hand

In a perfect world, everything works like clockwork.

Unfortunately, the world is not always perfect.

We've all been at the mercy of error messages, flashing lights, blank screens, anomalous beeping sounds, or malfunctioning passwords.

Technical problems also have an annoying tendency to strike during the most inopportune times and induce nasty headaches and endless hours of hair-pulling frustration.

But all is not lost.

The Information Technology Division Help Desk is standing by to assist users with all of their technical problems 24 hours a day and seven days a week, when classes are in session.

Technician Brian Ratliff, who mans the Help Desk along with Jeremy Stanley, likens his job to that of a captain at the helm of a ship.

"The intensity is high because many of the users are on edge when they call us for help,"; Ratliff said. "I'm more of a people person, so I like to get them calmed down to let them know I'm here to help them.";

The goal of the ITD Help Desk is to resolve user problems by phone, or when an office visit is required, individual work orders are entered into the Help Desk database to ensure the quickest service for faculty and staff.

For Stanley, each ringing phone heralds a new adventure.

"You get a sense of satisfaction when a person's problem is resolved,"; he said. "You give them hope for a solution. I feel like I'm making a difference in people's lives.";

The Help Desk duo is tasked with desktop computing (hardware and software); peripherals; mainframe systems and applications; networking and data communications; Web and Internet tools; and e-mail packages.

Ratliff and Stanley provide real-time support via telephone, e-mail, and in person to help ensure a user's work productivity and efficiency.

After serving in the U.S. Navy from 1986 to 1990, Ratliff worked as an electrician before returning to college to earn a bachelor's degree in business administration and computer information systems from MTSU in 2005.

Stanley first stepped on MTSU's campus back in 1994 as a freshman and served as a student worker in the Mass Communications department.

After graduating with degrees in psychology and journalism in 1998, Stanley worked in the newspaper industry for several years before returning to his first love - computers.

Stanley's return to MTSU in 2006 was punctuated with relief.

"What I found amazing about coming back to MTSU was the sense of community had not left,"; he reflected. "Many of the same people were there and welcomed me back. It was almost as if I had never left.";

Serving the campus at the Help Desk keeps Ratliff and Stanley on their proverbial toes.

The Help Desk received 72,000 phone calls last year alone and more than 35,000 e-mails.

In addition to remedying technology-related problems, the Help Desk administers the ITD equipment check-out program and handles workshop cancellations and special workshop requests.

Ratliff said no technical problem is too big or small.

"It's never the end of the world,"; he said. "We try to calm people down and reassure them that we're here to help them. We do everything within our power to get people back to work.";

The Help Desk is open 24/7 when classes are in session. To contact the Help Desk, call 898-5345 or e-mail help@mtsu.edu.

Reaching the Help Desk

The MTSU Help Desk is here to assist on all technological needs throughout the University. In-person Help Desk service is available from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the basement of the Cope Administration Building. At all other times, the Help Desk can be found in the University Computer Lab at BAS. The Help Desk is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week except on University holidays and when classes are not in session. You can reach the Help Desk by dialing 898-5345 or by emailing help@mtsu.edu.

If your laptop is giving you problems, the ITD Help Desk may be able to assist you. The Help Desk can help with wireless and virus issues. Bring your laptop to the basement of the Cope Administration Building when hands-on help is available during the following hours:

Monday - 8 a.m. - Noon
Tuesday - 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday - 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Thursday - 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Friday - Noon - 4:30 p.m.

Computer Labs

MTSU has a plethora of computer labs available for student use.

Seven "University Computer Labs" are available for all students, faculty, and staff with a current MTSU ID. These labs are:

University Computer Lab at BAS

Business and Aerospace Bldg., S137
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for university holidays and when classes are not in session
898-5515

University Computer Lab at KOM

Kirksey Old Main 350/351/360
Monday through Thursday - 7:30 a.m. - 9:15 p.m.
Friday - 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday
898-2144

University Computer Lab at LRC

McWherter Learning Resources Center Pentium Lab 101A
Monday through Thursday - 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday - 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday - 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday - 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
898-5191

University Computer Lab at AMG

Alumni Memorial Gym, Room 204
Monday through Friday - 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday
904-8042

University Computer Lab at James Walker Library

James Walker Library, second and third floors
Monday through Thursday - 7:30 a.m. - 12 a.m.
Friday - 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday - 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday - 1 p.m. - 12 a.m.
898-2772

University Computer Lab at Adaptive Technology Center

James Walker Library Room 174
Monday through Thursday - 7:30 a.m. - 12 a.m.
Friday - 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday - 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday - 1 p.m. - 12 a.m.
904-8550

Residents of Corlew, Lyon, Smith, Womack Lane, and WoodFelder residence halls have access to computer labs in their buildings.

In addition to the University Computer Labs, many departments have labs for classes, research, and general use.

Protecting Your Data The Easy Way

Hard drive failures are an unfortunate part of a computing life.

Although hard drives used in PCs have improved considerably over the years, they are still critical components of your computer that are subject to failure.

Besides mechanical failures, users have to cope with lost or stolen machines, physical damage from dropping a laptop, electrical surges, and numerous other potential disasters.

The bottom line is that saving your data to your C: drive without making frequent backups is like playing Russian roulette with your machine.

It is only a matter of time until you lose.

USB Flash drives are miniature hard drives that you connect to your computer using a USB port. The capacity for a flash drive or portable hard drive has significantly increased over the years. The world's largest capacity USB flash drive on the market today has a capacity of 64GB. The larger external drives should provide enough storage capacity for you to back up a great deal of data (even more than a flash drive).

The instructions outlined here are based on a Windows XP computer. If you have a different version of the Windows operating system, these instructions may not work exactly as they are outlined here.

How to Back Up Data to a USB Flash Drive/External Hard Drive

  1. Insert the flash drive/external hard drive into a USB port on your computer.
  2. Click Start in the lower-left corner of the computer's desktop.
  3. Click My Computer.
  4. You should see an icon for the flash drive in the My Computer window.
  5. Resize the My Computer window so when you open the location (window) where the files/folders are located, the windows do not overlap one another on the desktop.
  6. Open the location of the files/folders you want to back up. (There are many ways to locate your files—use the procedure you normally use.)
  7. Move the mouse cursor over the file/folder you want to copy and hold down the left-side button on your mouse to select the file or folder icon.
  8. Drag the icon over to the flash drive icon.
  9. When a small plus sign (+) appears over the flash drive icon, release the mouse button. A copy of the file or folder will now be located on the flash drive.
  10. To verify that the file or folder has been copied to the drive, double-click the flash drive icon to open it. The file or folder that you copied should be listed.
  11. Repeat steps 6-9 until you have copied all the files or folders you wish to back up.

Alternatively, you could use the backup utility that comes with external hard drives. For example, the Maxtor 4 One Touch has a button on the front of the drive that can set up the software to perform convenient automatic backups with just the push of a button.

All data stored on portable drives should be encrypted. If they contain personally identifiable information (PII) or other sensitive information, and there is a business reason for doing so, that information must be encrypted.

Information Technology Resources Policy

The Information Technology Resources Policy covers appropriate use of IT resources on campus to support the university's goals and objectives and is written for all users ranging from students to system administrators. Users of MTSU's IT Resources have a responsibility to follow policies, procedures, standards, and laws; these may be internal to MTSU or external to the university. The user's responsibility includes protecting the resources from misuse and attack and also not using resources in connection with for-profit or unauthorized not-for-profit purposes. In addition, illegal file sharing is a violation of the policy since it violates copyright law, consumes campus bandwidth, and can allow malicious software to access the systems. Users are encouraged to read the entire policy.

iTunes University Goes Public

MTSU iTunes University has been launched for campus podcasting. Instructors are taking advantage of this newly developed service that provides online distribution of audio and video content such as class lectures and weekly announcements.

As of April, MTSU iTunes U has expanded from MTSU faculty and student access via campus login to public access not requiring any login. This new access will allow departments, student organizations, student services, etc., to target media to potential MTSU students.

Campus Payphone Locations

There are several payphones located on campus for your use. Locations are as follows:

  • James E Walker Library - first floor, lobby
  • Business and Aerospace Building - first floor, across from Room S130
  • Peck Hall - first floor, outside corridor
  • Keathley University Center - second floor, across from the Grill
  • Cope Administration Building - first floor, across from Room 106
  • Kirksey Old Main - first floor, outside of Room 121A

Star1 - Long Distance

Telecommunication Services is proud to offer you the MTSU long distance service, Star1. This service allows you to make low-cost, long distance calls from any campus residence telephone. Star1 offers low rates that can save you money over alternative long distance services.

Long distance calls are made through Star1 using an authorization code assigned to you by Telecommunication Services. If you are interested in Star1, please contact Telecommunication Services at 898-2991. Information on rates is also available by calling 898-2991.

Notable Changes in Office 2007

Microsoft recently unleashed Office 2007, and it is now making its way to campus computers here at Middle Tennessee State University.

The efforts are under way for all campus computers to receive Office 2007. Classroom systems were the first to receive the program in August, and the rest of the campus will be covered soon. There are operating differences users must acknowledge.

The most recognizable difference between Office 2007 and the currently used Office 2003 is what is being referred to as the "ribbon,"; which is a replacement of the traditional menu system. The ribbon that runs across the top of some of Office's more notable applications is designed to make it easier for users to discover features that are already present in the office suite.

In the some of the most popular Office 2007 programs (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), a series of tabs appear across the top of each program. These tabs encompass all of the program's functions. For example, Word 2007's tabs are as follows: Home, Insert, Page Layout, References, Mailings, Review, and View. Clicking on each tab will display a new ribbon of utilities across the top of the document. By dragging the mouse across each function displayed on the ribbon, a visually enhanced pop-up window will appear with a detailed description.

While the tabs possess different names than the options listed at the top of Office 2003, the functions in Office 2007 are grouped nearly identically to that of the previous edition.

With this notable exception in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel (the layouts of Access, Publisher, Outlook, et al, remain virtually identical), there really isn't a huge difference between the two systems for the average user. If you just type away, then the difference between the two is negligible. More advanced users will notice some slight tweaks and differences. Here are some highlights:

Word

  • Many of the Wizard formats (Envelope, Fax, Resume, etc.) have been moved to templates that are available on Microsoft Office online;
  • Mergeable address lists have been removed, but are still available from Word 2003 at Microsoft Office Online;
  • WordPerfect navigation has been removed; and
  • Word saves with a new file extension (.docx). This file extension cannot be opened on a computer without Office 2007. You can still save Word 2007 documents in the old format (.doc) by selecting "Word 97-03 Document"; under "Save as Type.";
  • PowerPoint
  • The removal of the Broadcast feature is the lone operating difference between the two systems.

Excel

  • There are changes in the function results for the Analysis ToolPak. To find these, go to http://technet2.microsoft.com/Office/en-us/library/a9189734-e303-4d7d-93eb-3584c358d1c91033.mspx?mfr=true
  • The Paste Special dialog box no longer performs its former special behavior for charts. There are now direct commands for this option. Instead of the Formats option in the dialog box, use the Format Painter features. Instead of the Formulas option in this dialog box, use the Formulas choice on the Paste drop-down menu;
  • Another innovation is the introduction of a default XML format. This change improves data interoperability, document assembly interrogation, accessing data in documents, robustness, file size, transparency, and security features. Old Excel documents can still be opened, and the program will ask if an upgrade to XML is desired;
  • Excel has new templates for users to choose from. Users can still download old templates from Office Online; and
  • Pivot Table Styles have been updated so users can create their own styles. The Pivot Table Styles are consistent with the Table Styles feature in Word and PowerPoint.

Outlook

  • Attachments can now be previewed before they are sent;
  • Security settings from the Tools and Options menu have been moved into the Trust Center; and
  • When a message is sent to a full inbox, both the sender and the recipient receive a non- delivery receipt.

Access

  • Access can no longer design or open Data Access Pages. Only Internet Explorer can open DAPs;
  • The snapshot viewer is no longer included; and
  • Anonymous users can no longer view the site in Live Mode.
  • The following are some of the changes that affect all the programs in the Office 2007 suite:
  • File search has been removed. The native operating search system functionality in Office 2007 and the MSN Desktop Search provide quicker functionality;
  • The Detect and Repair option of the Help menu has been replaced by a more robust Repair option; and
  • The OWC11 and DataFinder functionality in OWC11 has been removed. If users have documents or solutions from previous editions that depend on OWC, these solutions will not function properly without following these steps: 1) Install the correct version of OWC from the Microsoft Download Center; 2) Migrate OWC-based documents to a comparable technology, such as Excel Services; 3) Lastly, discontinue the use of OWC documents or solutions that are no longer needed.

For more information on the changes in Office 2007, please visit http://technet2.microsoft.com/Office/en-us/library/a9189734-e303-4d7d-93eb-3584c358d1c91033.mspx?mfr=true

Campus Payphone Locations

There are several payphones located on campus for your use. Locations are as follows:

  • James E Walker Library - first floor, lobby
  • Business and Aerospace Building - first floor, across from Room S130
  • Peck Hall - first floor, outside corridor
  • Keathley University Center - second floor, across from the Grill
  • Cope Administration Building - first floor, across from Room 106
  • Kirksey Old Main - first floor, outside of Room 121A

Star1 - Long Distance

Telecommunication Services is proud to offer you the MTSU long distance service, Star1. This service allows you to make low-cost, long distance calls from any campus residence telephone. Star1 offers low rates that can save you money over alternative long distance services.

Long distance calls are made through Star1 using an authorization code assigned to you by Telecommunication Services. If you are interested in Star1, please contact Telecommunication Services at 898-2991. Information on rates is also available by calling 898-2991.

Services for Students

MTSU residence halls rooms have one, touch-tone telephone line with two jacks for which students provide their own telephone sets for telecommunication services. Residence hall telephone lines include the following features:

  • Call waiting
  • Three-party call conference
  • Call transfer
  • Last number redial
  • Data privacy on demand
  • In addition to the features above, students may also subscribe to voice mail, caller ID,
  • and private telephone lines.

Caller ID service is available for purchase by resident students. Caller ID is billed through the Star1 long distance system for $5.00 per month. Resident students can also combine this service with voice mail for $7.00 per month for both, also billed through the Star1 long distance system. MTSU Telecommunication Services provides the caller ID feature only. It is the responsibility of the user to provide a telephone that will display caller ID information.

Voice mail service is available for purchase by all students. Voice mail is a service that provides your own personal voice mailbox to answer incoming calls when you are on another line or away. This mailbox makes it easy to store and record messages with technology that is superior to that of an ordinary answering machine.

Voice mail is billed through the Star1 long distance system for $3.50 per month. Resident students can also combine this service with caller ID for $7.00 per month for both, also billed through the Star1 long distance system.

A private telephone line may be provided to a resident student room if telephone cable is available. There are three payment options for a private telephone line:

  • Monthly - $30.00 per month plus an installation charge of $30.00. The student must prepay the installation charge and the first month of service, or a total of $60.00, before service will be established. Subsequent months of service will be billed at $30.00 per month through the Star1 long distance billing system.
  • Semester - $150.00 per semester, which includes the installation charge. If choosing to pay on a semester basis, the student must prepay for the entire semester, $150.00.
  • Yearly - $300.00 per year, which includes the installation charge. If choosing to pay on a yearly basis, the student must prepay for the entire year, $300.00.

Payment for a private line also includes caller ID and voice mail at no additional charge. The student is responsible for any long distance charges incurred on the line. If a Star1 authorization code is used to place long distance calls, the long distance charges will be billed monthly through the Star1 long distance billing system.

Moving the private telephone line to another room will result in a service charge of $30.00.

To establish any of the above services, please visit the Telecommunication Services office, located in the Telecommunication Building room 200, to complete an application.

If you are a student who has applied for voice mail, caller ID, or a private telephone line through Telecommunication Services, please remember to cancel service if you are not residing on campus. You will continue to be billed for these services, unless you call Telecommunication Services at 898-2991 to cancel services.

National Do Not Call Registry Available

The National Do Not Call Registry allows consumers to restrict their personal telephone numbers, including cell phone numbers, from telemarketers. The registry has been accepting requests to restrict telephone numbers since June 2003.

For residential subscribers, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) prohibits those attempting to sell consumer goods and services by telephone from calling telephone numbers that appear on the National Do Not Call Registry. However, there are some exemptions, which are as follows:

  1. Telephone solicitors may still call in response to an express invitation or permission by the person being called.
  2. Solicitors may call on behalf of a not-for-profit organization if a member of the specific not-for-profit organization makes the call.
  3. Soliciting is allowed if the person or entity making the telephone call has had a business relationship with the person being called within the previous 12 months
  4. Solicitation is permitted if the business calling does not sell or engage in telephone solicitation and does not make more than three calls in any one calendar week.

During its inception in 2003, the National Do Not Call Registry placed an expiration period of five years on registered telephone numbers. Numbers exceeding this five-year period were to be automatically dropped from the registry, necessitating the need for consumers to re-register their personal telephone numbers. However, because of pending amendments to the five-year expiration clause, the Federal Trade Commission will not be removing telephone numbers from the National Do Not Call Registry upon expiration. If passed, telephone registrations will never expire, unless the consumer removes his or her telephone number from the registry, or the National Do Not Call Registry database administrator removes the telephone number because it was disconnected or reassigned.

A consumer who has registered on the National Do Not Call Registry, but continues to get telemarketing calls outside of the exceptions mentioned above, may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. To file a complaint, visit www.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx. Information needed in order to file a complaint includes:

  1. Date of the call
  2. Name or telephone number of the company that called

Filing a complaint is a simple and quick process, and helps with enforcement, as violators of the National Do Not Call Registry could face fines up to $11,000 per incident. For more information about the National Do Not Call Registry, including the status of the proposed amendment, or to include your personal telephone number on the list, visit www.donotcall.gov/.

Please note: business numbers may not be included on the list. Therefore, telephone numbers belonging to MTSU cannot be included on the registry.