Sunday, September 7, 2008

Getting settled in with technology on campus

Most colleges have opened at this point. Classes have started and although its a busy time with lots of change going, students need focus on a few tech related things.

Physical security first. If you have not purchased a laptop lock down cable, do so. These cables are easy to install and can be purchased online, in local retail stores, or in the campus bookstore. Laptops are often stolen when they are sitting in a dorm room and the owner goes to class or to take a shower. Set a password on the laptop so no one can get to your files if it is stolen. When you go home for the weekend, take the laptop. With your cell phone, consider setting a password or whatever locking feature your phone provides. Although this can be a bit inconvenient, a stolen or lost cell phone can lead to some pretty large phone bills. When not in use, lock things like your iPod or gaming system in a drawer. Dorm rooms are often left with the door open "just for a minute" and this can lead to a theft.

Virus protection and spam filters. At our campus we provide virus protection software for free, just visit the Helpdesk site for more information . You should scan your computer for spam and malware at least once a week. These programs can really slow down your computers performance. Free tools like Adaware and SpyBot Search and Destroy, can be found on the web.

Look for wireless - most laptops are wireless ready and most campus provide free "hot spot" access. Look for a map of the "hot spots" at the campus Helpdesk or Telecommunications sites. In a short time almost every space on campus will be wireless, so get the protocol for getting connected and jump on. Note that wireless networks are generally slower that wired connections and can be effected by the number users in a location. This will effect things like streaming video and audio.

Get registered for the campus alert system. Most campuses have emergency response systems which will notify you via email or text message in the event of a campus emergency. Look in the lower right hand corner of the campus home page to sign up, .

Last, find the phone number for the Helpdesk and their email address on the web. Keep these on a "sticky note" or note board in your room. This can provide quick support. Also, when you see email bulletins for down times or other network alerts take notice.

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