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Apr
14
2015 Summer Computer Upgrades
Posted by Patricia Goodman on 14 April 2015 04:07 PM

Employees,

This summer the ITS department will be upgrading Windows computers in offices and labs across campus. This year's upgrade will introduce a new concept: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Virtual computers will operate just like your current computer. but with several advantages:

  • They're available from anywhere: office, home, SST locations, your hotel room, etc.
  • They're available from any device, office computer, personal computer, iPad, Android, smartphones, etc.
  • They're more secure
  • They're cheaper and easier to manage
  • They're easier and faster to upgrade.
  • They extend the life of existing hardware.
  • They create new pedagogical opportunities for faculty and students.

This new paradigm advances strategic efforts to make the campus more mobile, control costs and make technology services and data ubiquitous.

Overview of important information in this email that pertains to you

  • We will begin switching employee Windows computers to virtual computers on June 1st. Only Windows desktop computers will be switched. Mac OS desktops and laptops, and Windows laptops will not be switched. Computers will be switched one department at a time. You will receive additional information about scheduling via email in the coming weeks. The official start date of the VDI project will be June 1st, with a completion goal of August 21st.
  • Your computer will operate the same that it had before, however there will be a slight change to the way that you log onto your computer, and the amount of space your computer has for saving files will be less. However, if you save your files to Google Drive or GCFile, you won't be affected by the space limit on your virtual computer! We will equip you with complete instructions and support.
  • Any files that you currently have saved on your existing computer's hard drive will not be copied over to your virtual computer. You will need to make a backup of those files no later than May 31 if you want to keep them. Once your computer is switched to virtual the files that you had been saving to the hard drive will be gone forever. See below for a list of those files and what you can do to retain copies of them.
  • If you are not on campus at the time that your computer is switched to virtual, when you return there will be instructions on your desk on how to log onto your computer, etc. See below for more information.
  • If you are not on campus during spring semester or May term and cannot make a backup of files that you have saved to your Windows computer's hard drive, you must contact the Help Desk before May 31 for assistance with a solution. 574-535-7700.
  • If there is special departmental software that you have installed on your computer, you must contact the Help Desk so that we can install the software on your virtual computer. See below for more information.
  • On the day that we switch your computer, we will provide you with a temporary computer so you can continue working. See below for information on what to expect on the day that we switch your computer to a virtual computer.

There is a lot of information in this email that you will need to be aware of, and important action items with concrete deadlines that you will need to take in order to be prepared. All of this is outlined below. It is very important that you take the time to read this entire communication so that you are fully informed and prepared.

What is VDI?

VDI is defined as virtual desktop infrastructure. VDI converts your existing computer into a client that connects to a virtual computer that is running on a secure remote server.

What are the benefits of VDI?

  • the ability to extend the life span of a computer,
  • the ability of IT staff to more efficiently and effectively respond to necessary changes, such as new software requests and software updates,
  • VDI offloads computing processes from the existing computer and places the load onto the server infrastructure,
  • reliable and secure remote access to campus institutional software from off campus,
  • reliable and secure access to GCFile from off-campus. This will replace the very unreliable Aruba VIA for accessing GCFile. Hurray!
  • employees can access institutional software, including Jenzabar EX, and GCFile from off campus using personal computers, iPads, iPhones and Android devices,
  • VDI is less expensive for the institution than replacing aging computers,
  • students will also benefit from VDI in that they will be able to connect to a "virtual lab computer" from their personal computers at any time from anywhere for purposes of using institutional academic software and connecting to GCFile.

What can I expect by using VDI? 
Each Windows user will have their own dedicated virtual computer on the VDI server. Your virtual computer will contain software that is currently on the office and lab templates (think GC provided software that you already have installed on the Windows computer that you currently use), as well as the ability to securely and reliably access GCFile from on or off campus. Your profile on your virtual computer will also contain specific content that is currently located on your existing Windows computer, such as browser bookmarks, application data and settings, etc. A more comprehensive list can be found below.

Employees using GC issued Mac OS desktops, or GC issued laptops running Windows or Mac OS will have a way to connect to a virtual Windows computer if they need to off-campus access any Windows software or GCFile.

Employees will be able to connect their personal computers to a virtual Windows computer to have off-campus access to GC software and GCFile. iPads, iPhones, and Android devices will also be able to connect. 

What are the files and data that are on my existing Windows computer's hard drive that will be copied onto my virtual computer?

  • web browser bookmarks, history, settings, etc.
  • application data and settings (think specific settings that you have established within an application. eg. any modifications you would have made to the Microsoft Word ribbon, or macros you've created.)
  • application shortcuts located on your existing computer's desktop.

What are the files and data that are on my existing Windows computer that will not be copied onto my virtual computer?

Currently we are only able to grant each user a limited space allotment of 10 GB on their virtual computer. Because of this, there are certain files that will not be copied over from your existing computer to your virtual computer. AND, these files will be permanently deleted from your existing computer's hard drive once we switch your computer over to virtual. Following are the files that will not be copied over that you will need to create your own backup of: 

  • any files that you have saved on the Desktop.
  • any music, etc that is in your computer hard drive My Music folder. Think iTunes music, etc. (location: C:\Users\username\Music )
  • any files that are in your computer hard drive My Documents folder. Note, this is NOT referring to the My Documents folder GCFile. It is referring to the My Documents folder on the computer. (location: C:\Users\username\Documents )
  • any pictures that are in your computer hard drive My Pictures folder. (location: C:\Users\username\Pictures )
  • any videos that are in your computer hard drive My Videos folder. (location: C:\Users\username\Videos )
  • any downloads that are in your computer hard drive Downloads folder. (location: C:\Users\username\Downloads )
  • If you use Google Drive, Dropbox, or any other cloud based storage solution, and sync those files to the hard drive of your existing office computer using their syncing software, we will not copy those synced files from your computer's hard drive over to your virtual computer, nor re-install the service's syncing application on your virtual computer. The reason being is because those services are cloud based and you can get to your files by accessing your account for that service through your web browser, and also because your virtual computer is limited to only 10 GB of space.

What is the deadline that I have to deal with the files that will not be copied onto my virtual computer?

The VDI project will consume much of the summer, and we are still in the planing phase of when each employee's computer will be switched over. We will begin our work on June 1st, therefore we are requiring that you make a backup of the files that will not be copied over no later than May 31st.

Of the files that will not be copied to my virtual computer, will I be able to put them on my virtual computer once it is switched to virtual?

This will be at your discretion, but remember that you will only have a space allotment of 10 GB in your virtual computer for such files.

What do I need to do to prepare?

  • refer to the above 2 lists of files that will, and files that will not, be copied over to your virtual computer.
  • if there are any files in the locations listed above that will not be copied over, you will need to create a backup of those files. ITS will not do this for you. Following are options for creating a backup. If you are unsure of how to create a backup of these files, contact the Help Desk at ext. 7700 for direction.
  • copy institutional work related files to GCFile or your GC Google Drive. Note, you won't need copy any Google files that are syncing to your computer since those files are also located online in your GC Google Drive account.
  • copy non-work related files, pictures, music, etc. to an external hard drive (ITS will not provide external hard drives), or
  • copy non-work related files, pictures, music, etc. to a USB drive (ITS will not provide USB drives), or
  • burn non-work related files, pictures, music, etc. to a CD or DVD (ITS will not provide CDs or DVDs).
  • If you use the Google Chrome browser, before we switch your computer you will need to sign in to the Chrome browser so that your Chrome browser settings and bookmarks will sync to your online Google Chrome account. See the instructions at https://service.goshen.edu/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/846/218/signing-into-chrome-sync-for-first-time

What if I'm not on campus during the switchover?

The switch will take place regardless of whether or not you are on campus this summer. When you return there will be instructions on your desk on how to log in to your computer. Make sure you take care of the above mentioned files that will not be copied over BEFORE you leave campus, and no later than May 31st.

What if I'm not on campus during spring semester or May term and and cannot make a backup of the files that I saved to my hard drive?

If you are off campus during spring semester or May term and are unable to make a backup of the files that you have saved to your office Windows computer hard drive, please contact the Help Desk right away so we can assist you with a solution. Phone us at 574-535-7700.

What if I use special software for my work at GC?

If you have installed special departmental software to enable you to perform functions and business processes for your work at GC, you will need to send us a list of those software applications, the names of which employees in your department use it, and also provide us with the installation files, and serial numbers or activation codes so that we can install that software onto your virtual computer. Any other software, gadgets, utilities, drivers, etc. that you have installed that are not required for the work that you do at GC will not be re-installed onto your virtual computer by ITS.

What else do I need to know about the changes that will take affect on my computer once it is switched to a virtual computer?

  • if your existing computer has a CD/DVD drive, that drive will no longer work. If you need an external CD/DVD drive for purposes of institutional work once your computer is switched to virtual, ITS is willing to provide an external drive. However our funding is limited so if your usage is minimal, consider asking for just one external CD/DVD drive that you can share with others in your department.
  • if you use a printer other than an institutionally provided one (eg. an inkjet or laser printer that you or our department acquired) it should still work when you reconnect it to your computer. However, keep in mind that ITS does not support non-institutionally provided printers and will not be able to assist you with getting it connected to your virtual computer.
  • all peripherals with a USB connection or headphone jack should work when plugged in to your virtual computer.
  • if you are using two monitors, you will be able to continue using them on your virtual computer. 

What computers will not be switched to VDI?

We have identified specific computers that will not be switched to VDI due to the nature of the use of the computer, or the operating system that is installed. They are as follows:

  • GC provided desktop and laptop computers running Mac OS,
  • GC provided laptops running Windows,
  • computers running Linux,
  • Science lab computers (physics, biology, and chemistry labs),
  • instructor stations in multi-media classrooms.

I'm using a GC provided laptop. What can I expect?

Those who are using GC provided laptops that run either Windows or Mac operating system will not have the laptop switched to virtul, but instead will have a VMWare Horizon Client installed to allow connection to a virtual Windows computer for purposes of accessing GCFile while off-campus, as well as Windows software and Jenzabar EX.

Implementation process

When your time to have your computer switched to virtual arrives, here is what you can expect. A member of the ITS staff will come to your office and give you a temporary computer so your work will not be impeded by this process. The temporary computer you will receive will have GC institutional software installed on it. Note: If you're using the Google Chrome browser and have established syncing of your bookmarks through Chrome Sync, you will be able to log into your Chrome Sync account on your temporary computer so that you can still have access your Chrome bookmarks. We will bring your Windows desktop computer back to ITS where we will access the hard drive and copy onto your virtual computer the files and data that are in the above list of files and data that will be copied. Once the copy process has completed, we will return your virtual computer to you, instruct you on how to log onto your virtual computer, answer any questions you may have, and leave you with a set of printed instructions. We will also take away the temporary computer that we gave you. If you use a GC laptop running Windows, we can either install the VMWare Horizon Client for you or give you instructions to install it yourself. If you use a GC laptop or Desktop running Mac OS, the VMWare Horizon Client will be installed automatically from the Managed Software Center.

Training and support

When we give your your virtual computer, an ITS staff member will walk you through the process of how to log log onto your computer, answer any questions you may have, and give you a set of printed instructions. And, of course you can also contact the Help Desk at ext. 7700 or send an email to helpdesk@goshen.edu for ongoing support and questions.

We fully recognize that virtual computing is a new technology for most of you, and it may seem a little confusing at first. If you would like to experience what it is like to use a virtual computer before your computer is switched, feel free to come to ITS (basement of the Union building) during the month of May and try it out on one of the computers in the UN 002 computer lab.


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Jul
25
Zimbra migration to Gmail and Calendar
Posted by Patricia Goodman on 25 July 2014 09:33 AM

Goshen College is changing their mail and calendar system from Zimbra to Gmail and Google Calendar. 

The switchover date is July 28. At 7 a.m. on Monday, July 28 we will throw the switch and Zimbra will no longer be available and you will begin using your GC Gmail and Google Calendar.  On July 28th you will be able to access your GC Gmail and Google calendar by going to http://www.google.com See below for more details on how to log in. Note: Users with a lot of email may see older email slowly appearing over the course of a week following the switch over date. And, because the daily synchronization process for new email is time-consuming for our nearly 2,000 accounts, any email that comes in between Sunday, July 27 and 7 a.m. Monday, July 28 may take up to a day to appear in your new GMail account.

Next Steps for employees: Gmail and Calendar training

The Help Desk will be offering in depth GMail and Calendar training July 21, 23, 25, and August 11 and 20. Prior to these training sessions, we are asking that everyone begin learning GMail and Google Calendar now by taking a short online training course and quiz. The course contains a series of training videos for you to watch. Upon completion of watching the videos, there will be a short quiz at the bottom of the course that you will need to take. Upon successfully passing the quiz (which you can repeat until getting at least 80% correct), you will be given a link to a Google spreadsheet where you can sign up for one of eight in depth training sessions that will be offered.  You can access this Moodle course now by logging in at https://moodle.goshen.edu and then clicking on the “Google Mail/Calendar Training” course.

Migration details you should know

  • all email messages in Zimbra will be migrated into your GC GMail account
  • all calendar entries in Zimbra will be migrated into your GC Google Calendar
  • repeating calendar events will appear in your Google Calendar, however they will no longer be linked together. If you need to modify all instances of the repeating event, you will need to modify each instance separately.
  • ***Special Note About Future Zimbra Calendar Entries***
    ITS has discovered that when Zimbra calendar appointments that have invited attendees and invited rooms are imported into Google Calendar, if the owner of the appointment needs to make a change, Google Calendar WON'T update that change on the attendee's or room's calendars in Google. Because of this problem, we are asking that you not place any calendar appointments in Zimbra beyond July 27th where you need to invite attendees or rooms. Please wait until we migrate everyone over to Google on July 28th, and then you can enter in future calendar reservations with invited attendees and rooms into Google Calendar. If you already have future appointments in Zimbra that have invited attendees or rooms, please delete them in Zimbra and wait to recreate them in Google Calendar until after the migration.
  • all address book entries in Zimbra will be migrated into Google Contacts
  • all tasks in Zimbra will be migrated into Google Tasks. But it is recommended that you check these for accuracy once they are migrated over.
  • any items in Zimbra Briefcase WILL NOT be migrated over. If you have content in Zimbra Briefcase you will need to save those files to your M:\MyDocuments folder for future reference. You will need to do this BEFORE July 28th.  Instructions can be found at https://service.goshen.edu/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/890/132/export-briefcase-files
  • any email filters that you have WILL NOT be migrated over. You will need to recreate your mail filters in Gmail.
  • mail and calendar on devices - On Monday, July 28th you will need to connect your devices up to your new Gmail and Calendar account.  We will send out an email and Communicator announcement about this on the 28th.

Logging into your Goshen Google account

On July 28th you will be able to access your GC Gmail and Google calendar by going to http://www.google.com (You can also get to this login page by using the "Google Apps at GC" link on the MyGC page.)
To log in:

  • Click on the Login button, and then signing in with your GC email address (including the @goshen.edu)
  • The Mail link in the upper right corner will take you to Gmail.
  • To get to Calendar, or any other Google application (Drive, etc.) click on the App Picker grid (the small grey grid) that is located in the upper right corner.

*Note that if you have a personal Gmail account (or a Google account through your Internet service provider), you will need to sign out of that Google account before signing in to your GC account.  For more information on how to do this, click here to see the support article.

Google Drive:  You already have it!

Later in the year we will be migrating from GCFile to Google Drive. However, you can begin using Google Drive now to "test the waters" and get familiar with its features, even before we migrate! We only ask that you not import any files from GCFile to your Google Drive account because later in the year when we migrate everyone's files from GCFile to Google you would end up with duplicate files. But, you can create new files, and also share them with others who need to work collaboratively with you.

Additional Training Resources

There are a number of ways to learn more about Google Apps.

A special note about Google Apps vs. Microsoft apps. We will not be abandoning our Microsoft apps.  You can continue to use the Microsoft products that are installed on an office computer or lab computer. In the employee training sessions we will address Microsoft applications vs. Google apps, and talk about best practices for saving and editing Microsoft files in your Google Drive.

If you have any questions, please direct all inquires to the Help Desk by:

  1. visiting our Google page at http://www.goshen.edu/its/home/googleapps/
  2. calling 574-535-7700
  3. or sending an email to helpdesk@goshen.edu

 


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Jul
10
GC ends support of Windows XP and MS Office 2003
Posted by Pamela Kistler-Osborne on 10 July 2014 11:46 AM

Windows XP Retirement

Win XP Goshen College requires that any computing device connecting to its network be up-to-date with security patches. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft discontinued support for Windows XP. As XP falls out-of-date, it will no longer meet security requirements and will cease to function properly.  Over time, the security and performance of a PC using Win XP will continue to degrade. Please note that as of July 1 2014,  ITS is no longer supporing Win XP computers on its network.

If you are currently using a personal computer that is running Win XP,  please refer to the Microsoft page about the retirement of Win XP and your options: 
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/end-support-help

 

Please note that we are also no longer supporting MS Office 2003.


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Mar
25
PDF attachment icon not visible when viewing email on iPad
Posted by Patricia Goodman on 25 March 2014 03:00 PM

With the lates iOS update for iPads came a change in how PDF attachments are handled in the Mail application.  If you receive a PDF attachment that is a 1 page PDF, you will no longer have an attachment icon in the body of the email to select.  Instead you will see an image of the PDF's contents present in the body of the email message.  If you want to perform a Quick View of that PDF, or view it in another app such as GoodReader, you will need to tap and hold on that image to get the app picker to appear, and then choose the app that you wish to view it with.   Multi-page PDFs still come through as an attachment icon in the email message that you can tap to view, or tap and hold to get the app picker. This issue doesn't seem to affect iPhones.

If you have any questions about this, contact the Help Desk at 574-535-7700 or send an email to helpdesk@goshen.edu

 


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Nov
20
Google Apps for Education at GC
Posted by Patricia Goodman on 20 November 2013 02:01 PM

At the beginning of fall semester, 2013, the ITS Department rolled out Google Apps for Education to all GC students and employees.  Google Apps for Education (aka GAE) gives everyone access to a new set of technology services.

You can log into your GAE account at  http://google.goshen.edu by using your Goshen College username and password. Once logged in, you can access the following services:

  • 30 GB of cloud storage via Google Drive--access your data from any device, anywhere.
  • Document collaboration via Google Apps (Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation)--share and edit documents with anyone, anywhere
  • Blogging space via Blogger--publish to the world
  • YouTube video storage and channel--share your video globally
  • Google Hangouts--ad hoc video conferencing with up to 10 people
  • 10 GB of Personal Webspace via Google Sites
  • Google+ --Google's social media site

We will continue to use Zimbra for email and calendar services so that we can take advantage of local integration possibilities (i.e. automatically populating calendars with class schedules, and reserving campus rooms).

Note: Google Calendar is enabled because Google+ and Hangouts require it, but is NOT supported and should not be used for Goshen College business. We will also continue to provide local storage (GC File) for sensitive data. While you can save all types of files in Google Drive, since the data is on Google's servers rather than GC's, you should never save sensitive information such as SSNs, health, financial or academic records in Google Drive.

Our decision to make these services available to the campus grew out of multiple observations from diverse areas, including:

  • Existing faculty/student use of Google Apps in the classroom
  • General observations that Google Apps facilitate collaboration and mobile computing
  • Executive-level interest in Google Apps
  • Interest in collaborative technologies from other colleges as we discussed collaborative programs

Along with the iPad, there's a lot here to absorb and it won't happen overnight. That said, making effective use of these technologies in higher education is important work because mobile, social, cloud and consumer technologies are reshaping how the world uses computers and technology. We're doing our best to put you in the driver's seat, not get in the way, yet providing helpful direction and assistance when asked (to use a transportation metaphor!)

If you have further questions about Google Apps at GC, check out our Support and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages at

http://www.goshen.edu/its/home/googleapps/

Thank you,

Michael Sherer
Director of Information Technology
Goshen College


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