It’s 2 AM and my computer died!

Its 2 AM you’re working on homework due the next day and all of a sudden the unthinkable happens. Your computer decides to freeze up. Even worse, you can’t seem to get it back up and running. We’ve all been there, and we all know the sinking feeling in your gut when this happens. Fortunately, there is help, even at 2 am!

If you live anywhere close to campus, you’re probably not too far away from of the two 24 hour computer labs located in the Information Technology Center (ITC) and Coe Library. The University has a variety of computer labs on campus (see computer lab website for the hours of each lab).

Labs 1

The ITC computer labs have all the software that you could possibly need to finish your homework, whether it is Adobe Photoshop, ArcGIS, or Microsoft Office. With 169 software programs installed on lab computers throughout campus, the computer labs are always a great resource.

The next day, you need your computer fixed so between 9 and 4 swing by the lab3ITC again and bring your computer.   The Service Center is located right next to the computer lab that you remember so fondly from the night before. The trained staff at the Service Center are more than happy to take a look at your computer and see what the problem is. Now the best news of all… IT’S FREE. No you heard me right, no charge!

Whether it’s a computer that you need for homework at 2 am, or you have a computer problem, the ITC is an excellent place to come. The labs are open 24 hours a day and the support team is top notch!

Tucker Hawkinson
Information Technology Front Desk

Throw Back Thursday – Old School Computing

old computer1UW owned this computer in the 1970s called a Xerox Sigma 7. It had 0.5 megabytes of memory and ran at a little less than 0.5 MIPS. Just for comparison, the average file size now for a picture is 3.3 megabytes.  If you have a 10 GB smartphone, that has more than 20,000 times the storage, and you can fit it in your pocket.

Awareness of Your Social Networking Presence

We spend more time out of the day on our phones socializing in our virtual lives than we do in the real world. It is easy to get caught up in these cybernetic realities that we have created, but it is important to remember that just as we have a presence or image in the real life, we also have a virtual profile of ourselves.  One that everyone can access and that stays around a long time.

Social media is great keeping in touch with friends and family from a distance, but it can also be a great tool for gaining success in your professional life. Therefore it is important to maintain a professional profile. When Social media 2you go in for an interview the first thing that your employer will see is your appearance. If you really want the job, you hopefully dressed appropriately for the occasion. If that same employer were to look you up on your Facebook page would it be consistent with the person that was just in their office?  Keep in mind that employer may very well have looked you up on Facebook before you came in for the interview.  Facebook may be your first impression.

Pictures say a thousand words, and the world is one click away from viewing how you spend your free time. Keep your pictures tidy. Maintain a professional profile picture which doesn’t mean that it has to be a boring photo of you pretending to be professional. Put a picture up that you would be proud of, one Satisfied senior woman with eyeglassesthat says something about your personality. As for the rest of your pictures, a good rule to follow is don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your grandma to see. Don’t post your wild escapades, or that one time you failed a test. And while we are on that same note, don’t tag your friends in those photos either. Sometimes your friends catch you off guard or think it’s funny to snap a photo of you at your worst. Keep those friends in check and be aware of what photos you are tagged in and be mindful of what you tag them in as well.

Besides photos, what you say on your social networking sites says a lot about you. Always be respectful and professional when posting anything to yours or anyone else’s feed. If you had a bad day at work, it is probably not the wisest decision to post it online where your boss or coworkers might be able to see. Be Social Media 1mindful of your language and content. Don’t use offensive language or be blatantly disrespectful when voicing your opinion. Social networking sites are great tools to speak freely about your judgments and beliefs but being respectfully aware of others in cyberspace is the only way you will be respected. There are lots of opportunities to comment on others too. Another rule to follow is if someone posts something that you’re not particularly fond of it is easier to not say anything at all or address the situation somewhere other than the internet.

The internet is permanent. Everything that you post will exist forever in the cyber world. Take the time to clean up your social networking sites and consider how you want the world to see you through the eyes of the computer screen. Social networking sites are meant to get you ahead, don’t fall behind because your profile is an inaccurate or inappropriate representation of yourself.

Hannah Jones
ITC Front Desk

Death Comes For Windows XP

Most of us can remember when Windows XP came out (maybe). Cleaner looking, faster and more stable than Windows 98 or 2000, which made it perfect for AIM or Oregon Trail 4th edition. Well that was 13 years ago and the death of XP 4Windows XP is approaching. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will stop supporting XP.

So why should you care? You can still check Facebook and run Word so why upgrade something that is working fine for you?  With end of support comes increased risks of viruses or getting hacked.  There are reports of malicious code being stockpiled, ready to move in as soon as Microsoft stops support.

Here’s the details. When Microsoft stops supporting XP, there will no longer be patches released to keep hackers out. The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report published data saying that the security mitigation methods that were built into XP will no longer be able to stop modern day attacks since they are so much more advanced than they were 13 years ago. Windows has already seen more security problems that are just in XP (not Windows 7 or 8) in the last couple years, but up to this point Microsoft has been sending out fixes to those problems.  After April 8th, Microsoft will no longer fix security holes in XP, so they will increase dramatically. The infection rate of XP is also significantly higher based on Microsoft’s malware infection rates data.

What does this mean for the UW community? XP computers have a greater chance of being infected or hacked which could let a virus or hacker get to other computers in the UW network.  For this reason, starting in April, Information Technology may take steps to secure and restrict network activity for Windows XP computers.

XP 3Letting go of XP is like losing a close friend that you have spent countless hours with on AOL or MSN chat but it is time. IT is here to help you through this difficult time whether that is being a shoulder to cry on or helping you upgrade to Windows 7, we are here for you! Please contact the IT Help Desk at 766-HELP (4357), option 1, or, to schedule a time to upgrade.  Rest in peace XP.

Jackie Alexander

Freemium Games – Paying for an obsession

How many times have you gotten so close to beating a level on Candy Crush that you cave in and buy those 5 extra moves? It has happened. You get caught up in the fact that you just want to beat the level so what is .99 cents if it means you finally get to move on. Well you have fallen victim to a freemium gaming strategy.


Freemium games are a pricing strategy that is easy to get roped into. The game itself is free but in order to get those premium features, functions, or goods you have to pay money. While normally players don’t buy anything those times when they splurge on something extra really add up. The companies that have come up with these games  make billions off an obsession with the game!

The maker of Candy Crush is King Digital Entertainment; Freemium 2just this month they priced their shares from $21 to $24 which makes the value of the company $7.6 billion according to the New York Times. Each day 97 million Candy Crush users sign in to pay the simple but obsessive game. While companies pay for the development of the game, the goods that they sell in the game cost them nothing extra to produce, making the profit margin huge for successful games.

The freemium game idea have been around for years with origins in the 1980s when gaming companies would use free time or trial versions in order to get customers hooked so they would buy the full game. Now, when games can be downloaded in a matter of minutes and carried with you everywhere so you can play at any time, there is more potential  for profit than ever. But it is not just games, other apps also use this method, such as LinkedIn, Spotify, and any app that is a lite version.

There is no doubt that freemium companies have been thoughtful about how to get your money; make sure you are just as thoughtful.

Jacqueline Alexander
University of Wyoming Information Technology

Workouts, Smartphone Style

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to workout more, but by March have already found yourself bored with your workout routine?  Do you want to get more out of each workout?  There’s an app for that!  I recently found the app “Fitness Buddy” on the Apple App Store which changed the way I workout.  There is also an Android version.

Fitness Buddy 1There are more than 1700 different exercises in the app that can help you target specific muscles, each with tutorials for good form.  This app is more than just a way to find new exercises; it contains almost 75 different workouts, as well as the ability to mix and match exercises to create your own personal workouts.

Once you complete a workout, you can load the weight and number of reps used Fitness Buddy 2for each exercise to track your fitness progress.  You also have the ability to enter your weight and body measurements into the system, and Fitness Buddy will draw you a graph to show your improvement.

When I go work out, I like to listen to a playlist of my favorite music to pump me up.  Fitness Buddy will allow music from both your iPhone/iPod as well as Pandora to play in the background.

Fitness Buddy is the best workout app I have seen thus far.  Fitness Buddy costs around $4.99, but is frequently on sale for as low as $1.99.   Whether you are an experienced gym-goer or just starting out, the app is an excellent way to learn new exercises and mix things up a bit.

Tucker Hawkinson
IT Front Desk

Summer Films….or Video Streaming?

As we get more in to summer, many of you may be wondering how to spend some of your newfound freedom for the next few weeks. One way I enjoy spending my downtime is watching videos online. Now while videos of cats playing the piano are fun, I like to watch shows with a little more to them. When you look online for legitimate places to watch video online, you might feel like your choices are limited. Fret not however, as we at the UW IT Help Desk, have some suggestions for where to go to watch video online when you’ve got some downtime. While these options sometimes cost a few bucks, the abundance of video makes it worth it.

Netflix (Free 1 month trial, $7.99 for unlimited streaming a month)

Netflix is the top dog in the game when it comes to streaming video.  Netflix has been around since 1997 and they took over the industry pretty quickly. Netflix only costs $7.99 and nets you unlimited streaming. The biggest attraction to Netflix is the large library of video they have. Name a television show or movie that has come out in the last 30 years and more often than not, Netflix has the video you are looking for. Netflix is also expanding its content base by expanding its line of original content. The biggest hit to come out of this is the return of Arrested Development and more is expected to come!

If you are looking primarily for movies or older television show episodes, Netflix is the best option for you.

Hulu (Free, Hulu Plus – $7.99 for unlimited streaming a month)

Hulu is a joint venture of NBC, FOX, and ABC. The biggest draw to Hulu is that they offer episodes of television shows the day after they air. These shows are free to watch up to a certain time that varies video to video. You might be wondering though, why would I want to pay for Hulu Plus? Paying for Hulu Plus nets you access to the back episodes of television shows both in the current season but also in previous seasons. For some television shows, the difference between Hulu Plus and Netflix is non-existent – for instance, both have ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and NBC’s The Office, some shows however aren’t so lucky. If you want to watch an episode from season two of FOX’s House, M.D., you’ll need to have a subscription to Hulu Plus as the show isn’t available for streaming on Netflix. One of my favorite functions on Hulu is the ability to create a queue of video so that you watch shows, they can advance to a video you have in your queue instead of some random video.

Amazon Instant Video (Students – $39, everyone else – $79 for unlimited streaming for one year)

Amazon Instant Video is a service rolled out several months ago for use with their Amazon Prime subscription service. While Amazon Prime’s biggest draw is its unlimited free two-day shipping, they continually added perks to this service and Amazon Instant Video is one of the best ones they’ve released yet. By having a Prime subscription, you have access to over 100,000 television shows and movies. The content is a little more varied but they do have several popular movies you’ll be pressed to find on other services like Forrest Gump and Mrs. Doubtfire.

Pedro Rampolla Freshman at UW – Political Science from Cheyenne, WY

Hopefully, with the services we discussed today, you’ll be able to find something to kick back, relax, and watch and enjoy that downtime you’ve got before we see you back in the Fall!