Friday, November 30, 2007
FreeRice.com is a vocabulary test with a difference. Every time you get an answer right, 20 grains of rice will be donated to programs to help end hunger around the world. That may no seem like much, but the website is donating over 300 million grains each day -- and the number is increasing.
Rice is donated by various advertisers. You will see an ad after you answer each question, but that's not a big price to pay.
It's easy and a good way to improve your vocabulary while helping others.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
That's an important question. More and more things are on the Internet and depend on passwords to prevent identity theft. But if you have sensitive data online, an easily crackable password means that anyone with time and interest can get into your data.
There are many general rules:
- Use upper and lower case, numbers, and punctuation.
- Don't use words in the dictionary.
- Change your password frequently, especially if it protects financial information.
- Use a sentence for a long password. The first letters in "How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics!" (for you math majors*) can be changed to "h!nada1nathl1qm" and be very hard to break.
Microsoft has a nice Password Checker web page that lets you test the strength of passwords. Try yours out. For instance the default Siena password is only medium strength, and "Swordfish" or "Password" are easy to crack.
The better the password, the safer you are.
* A famous mnemonic for the digits of pi -- count the number of letters in each word.
Friday, November 16, 2007
One way to avoid some of the issues is to designate websites as trusted sites. If they're trusted, you can go to them and avoid some of the issues -- once a site is trusted, then IE won't check on some of the security issues. You're telling it in advance the site is OK, and that's good enough for IE.
It's simple to make a site trusted.
- Click on "Tools"
- Click on "Internet Options."
- Click on "Security."
- Click on "Trusted Sites" (see picture)
- Click on "Sites."
- Enter the web address of the site you want to make trusted.
- Click on "Add."
- Generally, leave "Require server verification" unchecked.
- Click "Close."
Now that site is trusted.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Each class has its own mailing list. The simplest way to access yours (through Outlook Web Access) is this:
- Open up a new mail message.
- Type your instructor's last name in the To: box.
- Click on the "Check Names" Button
- The names of your instructor's class sections are listed. Find the one you're in and select it.
You can now send e-mail to the group (including the instructor).
Blackboard also has methods for sending a group e-mail. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Friday, November 9, 2007
The CDs currently available are:
- Anchor Bible Dictionary. A searchable full-text CD of the bible, both the King James and New Revised Standard editions.
- Civil War. All official Army documents (both Confederate and Union). Battle reports, marching orders, and much more.
- Civil War Naval. Official reports on Civil War Naval Battles.
- Encyclopedia of Religion. Reference work on religions and religious figures from around the world.
- Old Testament Abstracts. A listing of abstracts of articles in Old Testament studies.
- Past Masters. Works of philosophy, including the complete works of Aristotle, Plato, and various political philosophers.
Obviously, these are not designed for casual browsing; it's quite technical. But if you are doing research in these areas, it's a good way to find information you need from anywhere.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Macintosh users need to take further steps to get things to work, of course. See our web page for details.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Back in July, we bought a site license for some software. And to deploy it, we wanted to be able to push it out -- not going from computer to computer. The problem is that it's more than just running the software; we needed to put in the license key and everything, plus make sure it installed without any intervention. I tried using some packaging software, but it never worked right.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got a demo version of Macrovision's AdminStudio. What a difference.
But it's not easy. Packaging is complicated, and the software assumes a much greater technical knowledge than I have. However, after a lot of trial and error and messing around, I managed to get a package created, and to test an installation.
Of course, the first thing was a notice that there had been an upgrade. :(
More practice, but now I think we're set. Next will be a real bear: iTunes.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Today, however, I got a strange one: someone couldn't use Internet Explorer on our network. I poked around a discovered that it was set up to use a Proxy serverm "itgproxy." OK -- normally not a problem. You just change the setting. But the setting kept resetting itself. You'd turn it of, and check a second later and it was back again.
A Google search showed where it might have come from (a mistake by Microsoft), but no one mentioned that it would come back, and the talk about it referenced IE6, not IE7. So I'm stuck.
It certainly behaves like spyware -- you can't get rid of it -- but I can't find why it reinstalls. Deleting BHOs doesn't help. Also, it's specific to a user's profile, not to the computer.
So it's research time. Sigh. Always fun.