Information services addresses student concerns about technological updates

BY HANNAH NALLO ’15
Contributing Writer

Students and faculty have approached Information and Technology Services (ITS) with concerns regarding the increased log-in time on public computers, WiFi connectivity problems, and trouble with the Google Mail System.

“When I’m in a rush the log-in time is not conducive to my busy schedule,” said Emily Song ’13.

Jon Enos, associate vice president for ITS and chief information officer, explained the increased log-in time for the College’s public computers is due to a new system on the Mac computers.

However, Enos believes the time it takes to log-in to students’ accounts is beneficial for the College community because it increases the level of protection. When the operating system was recently upgraded, the Administration decided it wanted to further protect the work of other students by limiting what students see in their accounts to their own work.

By doing this, the Mac computers require a lot more time to determine what a certain account is allowed to see. With numerous servers and privacy blocks on the system, the Macs use the time between the student entering their password and the home screen to protect the privacy of other students.

“We wanted a way to control and provide access to only F&M people,” Enos said.

Enos attributed the WiFi connectivity problems to interference with the wireless transmitter.

“The reason for this interference is that the microwave ovens [in the students’ rooms] raise havoc with the wireless signal,” Enos said.

ITS workers have tried to move the placement of the units while still having them in the dorm rooms, but Enos encourages students to report any performance issues the system might be having. Also, with cellphones, tablets, and laptops, more than 7,000 devices on campus try to gain access to the system in one day. Out of the 90 percent of students who connect to the Internet every day, two out of three use a wireless connection. Enos also stressed if students can plug into the Ethernet, they should.

In addition, according to Enos, the WiFi coverage throughout the campus has expanded, even to the College Row and College Hill apartments. With over 700 wireless access points, the campus is well equipped to handle the demand for wireless Internet, although they are covering more area than ever before.

Some students and faculty have also reported they are losing emails in the new Google Mail System. Enos explained in the six weeks the majority of students have been back on campus, over 20,000 Google docs have been saved in the F&M domain under Google Mail.

Also, only 50 percent of the 5,800 accounts are students’, while 30 percent are alumni, seven percent are faculty, and 12 percent are professional staff members. Enos clarifies if students ever lose their mail or Google docs, (which is a very rare occurrence) they should go to the search box and search for any piece of information connected to that document. Because Google changes the way it sorts its mail, the answer for finding lost emails could be as simple as searching for them in Google’s highly optimized search engine.

However, if the mail cannot be found or students have any technical problems, Enos encourages students to come to the help desk in ITS located in the basement of Harris to have their problems resolved.

Questions? Email Hannah at hnallo@fandm.edu.

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