Technology Helpdesk for Dummies
by Audrey Tolbert ’13
NOTE: Working for the Helpdesk this summer has certainly been … an experience. But in all honesty, I’ve learned a lot about technology and the way things work in cyber Middlebury. Therefore, to assist you (it is the helpdesk after all), and make my life easier during Freshmen Orientation, I present you a guide to navigating the technical world of Middlebury:
Technology feels a little exhausting doesn’t it? But things really aren’t as complicated as they seem. And the Helpdesk is here to answer any and all of your questions. Even if you think they’re dumb (those are actually the best, cause I can usually answer them). In short, stop by Lib 202 (on the right by the stairs when you walk into the Library), give us a call at 802.443.2200, or shoot us an email at email@example.com. You can also check out the Helpdesk Bible, er Wiki, at go/hex. It knows more than I do.
BannerWeb will be your worst enemy and best ally. You will use it to choose classes (quite the fiasco, but you don’t have to worry about it until the end of the fall), as well as a whole slew of other administrative things (student employment, financial aid, grades, mailbox combo, housing info). To access BannerWeb, you will use your ID number and PIN number (not the same as username and password). Your ID number will be on your key card, and your PIN number starts out as your birthday (mm/dd/yy), and then you will be prompted to change it. Chances are you’ve probably already logged into BannerWeb not only to receive notification you got in to this prestigious institution but also to find out housing information.
The Active Directory (single sign on)
The AD is your friend. It allows you to have one username, and one password, to access most everything at Middlebury. Email, public computers, printing stations, electronic resources, and more will be accesible through your username and password. Your username is typically the first letter of your first name followed by your last name. Your password is something you choose yourself. Midd makes you have a military-grade password with a ton of specifics (i.e. it has to be a mix of uppercase characters, numbers, special characters, etc.). However, you (and only you) can change it at anytime by going to go/activate (more on go links later).
Middlebury is just about 100% wireless. However, that doesn’t mean that wireless is always the best way to connect to the internet. Chances are, that when you’re in your dorm room, you will want to connect via ethernet. An ethernet cord is plugged into the jack in your room (the red one) on one end, and then into the ethernet port on your laptop. Even if you think you won’t use it, buy one. They can be found at the bookstore in various lengths (make sure you get the right length, it’s possible your desk will be far from the port), and they’re not that expensive.
In fact, in order to access the good wireless networks on campus (called midd_secure and midd_standard), you will first have to connect your computer via ethernet and register to our network. Simply put, plug in your computer, open up the internet, and follow the instructions on the screen. Accessing midd_secure is done with your username and password (like everything else), and midd_standard has a generic campus wide password that you can get by contacting the Helpdesk (once you know it, you know it).
One catch though: if your computer has Windows 7, we’ll have to manually register your computer. This is super easy, just give us a call or come in to the Helpdesk.
You already know that Midd has its own lingo, and go links should not be excluded from this. While on campus, a go link is a shortcut to a specific website. Want to quickly access mail: go/mail. How about the menu for dinner tonight: go/food. Even a picture of Bill McKibben’s face: go/rgeous. There’s typically a go link for everything, and if you don’t find one, you can make it yourself at go/admin. By the time you go home for Winter Break, you’ll be addicted. But don’t worry, all go links can be accessed by typing in go.middlebury.edu/(whatever). Takes a little longer to type but does the trick.
The first concept you have to come to terms with is the “print-release-station,” when printing to Middlebury communal printers. You can send something to print, but it won’t come out of the printer unless you “release” it from a nearby marked computer by logging in with your user/pass and clicking “print” again. The second thing is that you CAN print from your laptop/non-Midd computer. It’s easy. Go to go/papercut. Log in. Click “web print” on the left sidebar. Follow the steps to identify where you’re printing, how many copies, and upload your docs. You can only print word docs, pdfs, and the like. Color printing exists on campus in very select spots, 9 times out of 10 you don’t need it. Every year you get a set number of printing “dollars.” Once you’re out of money, you’re out. But if you have extra, it rolls over.
- It’s not just as simple as remembering to save-as-you-go in Microsoft Word.
- The “rule of 3-2-1″ should do you much good: 3 Backup copies of anything you want to keep. 2 different storage media. 1 offsite storage site.
- Recommended: an external hard drive. The smaller ones are usually good for portability and throwing in your bag. Costco usually has a few good options. Don’t be too choosy here.
- Recommended: Dropbox for online storage (free up to 2GB), accessible anywhere with internet.
- Looking to post that huge video file you made for class? Use MiddMedia (go/middmedia) to host all your audio, video, etc. files that are awkward and too large to email. We here at MiddBlog use it to host the Middkid Rap mp3. Simply log-in. Upload media. Then click “embed” to grab the link to where it lives on the Middlebury server.
- Middfiles (formerly known as Tigercat) – Middlebury gives all students a starting quota of 2GB on the college’s server system. This then allows you to save all those essays and research papers and access them from any computer that is connected to the network. To get to Middfiles from a PC, go to Start-> Run, type in \\middlebury.edu\middfiles, then enter MIDD\username and your password. Your personal folder will be found under Home, then in the alphabetical folders, click the one that your username starts with. The process is similar on a Mac, but you will first go to Go ->Connect to Server, and type smb://middfiles.middlebury.edu/middfiles/. Middfiles also holds shared folders for certain organizations, classes, groups, etc. You will only be able to access these if you have been given permission. Middfiles can also be accessed through the internet at go/files. Complicated? Yea, we know.
Mac or PC?
- This debate is dead. It really doesn’t matter at Middlebury but many students prefer Mac these days. Go with what you’re comfortable with and have used before either in school or at home.
- You probably should get a laptop for convenience. Desktops are cheaper, though.
- All major wireless carriers are now supported in the Middlebury area. BUT, Verizon is still the safest in Vermont because it has the largest rural coverage here. Some parts of campus (basements, bihall) don’t get signal no matter what carrier you are on.
- Smartphones are increasingly common at Middlebury. Blackberry? Android? iPhone? Ask around but all are great ways to stay close to your email (lifeblood of Middlebury). Some students also extensively use the iPod Touch because this is a wireless-heavy campus.
- Anyone want to develop an iPhone or Android app for MiddBlog?
- Texting – you’ll be texting a lot. Get a texting plan or block texting on your phone and tell friends to stop.