Digitalk: Where IT's At


Kudos for MIT from PC Magazine

MIT has been recognized as one of PC Magazine's Top 10 Wired Colleges for 2007. MIT, which placed second, was the only Massachusetts school to make the list. The magazine cites MIT's extensive wireless network, OpenCourseWare, Athena, creative student projects and free IT support in naming MIT to its top 10 list.

MIT's campus now has about 3,000 wireless access points, making it one of the largest geographic entities--about 11 million square feet--served by a single wireless network. All this connectivity serves student academic collaboration, as well as the not-so-academic. Projects like the First East Disco Dance Floor and emergency pizza button make even student downtime high-tech.

The complete rankings are available in the January issue of PC Magazine, on newsstands Dec. 26 and online at go.pcmag.com/wiredcolleges.

Vista--wait until summer

To prepare the MIT community for Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system, IS&T has worked with IT colleagues across campus to outline a phased release process and support strategy. At this time, IS&T strongly recommends that community members wait to upgrade to Vista until their department, lab or center (DLC) is ready to make the transition. IS&T anticipates that most software vendors will have Vista-compatible versions available by summer 2007, but some will lag.

IS&T plans to make Vista available as soon as possible to the DLC software liaisons for testing and will continue to work with its IT colleagues to evaluate Vista in MIT's various computing environments. The current estimate from Microsoft is that IS&T could have media in hand by February.

Transitioning to Vista is complex--there are new hardware requirements; some critical software does not work with Vista (e.g., TSM, FileMaker, SAPgui); and it has a new user interface and many new features. For more information, including the planned phases of the release, see the Windows Vista Release Notebook at web.mit.edu/swrt/releases/vista/. If you have questions or comments, contact the Vista Release Team at vista-release@mit.edu.

Don't fall for holiday scams

Be on the alert for holiday phishing scams. E-mails coming to your inbox to confirm your online gift purchases or shipments may not be from Amazon or eBay or other online vendors. They may be "scam spam" intended to trick you into giving out personal information.

To keep from being victimized, err on the side of caution. Don't click the links in these e-mails. Instead, open your web browser and type in the vendor's legitimate web address. Log in from there to access your account information. You can call the company's customer service number to discuss any issues with your account. Report suspicious activity to your Internet service provider and to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.

For a discussion of the perils of spam and how to protect yourself, listen to the "On Point with Tom Ashbrook" show on spam and organized crime, aired on National Public Radio stations on Dec. 13. IS&T's network manager, Jeff Schiller, was among the panelists. You can listen to the podcast by going to www.wbur.org/listen/podcasts/.

IAP with an IT flavor

IS&T will spotlight information technology trends and computing tips in its IAP 2007 offerings. Sessions cover a range of topics, including image tools for teaching and learning; an overview of MITnet services with a data center tour; Linux training; a FileMaker migration workshop; a multisession series on MATLAB; and an open house in the Adaptive Technology for Information and Computing Lab. For a complete listing of IS&T offerings, visit student.mit.edu/iap/nsis.html.

Test drive Libraries' new search tools

The MIT Libraries are testing a new tool that lets you quickly search multiple resources. Using a Firefox toolbar called LibX, you can search the Barton catalog, Vera, Google Scholar, SFX FullText Finder and more. LibX also embeds links on search results in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Scholar and New York Times book reviews that will lead you to MIT-licensed resources. Another LibX feature lets you highlight text on a web page or PDF and right-click (Windows) or control-click (Macintosh) to go directly to search options for that text, word or phrase. To test the tool you'll need a Firefox browser (version 1.5 or higher). Go to libraries.mit.edu/libx to install LibX and learn more about its features. To try out other Libraries' tools in beta testing, see libraries.mit.edu/help/betas/.

Digitalk is compiled by Information Services and Technology.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 20, 2006 (download PDF).


Topics: Campus services

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