April 27, 2009

Norton Anti-Virus

My computer came with Norton Anti-virus installed but the subscription expired. Instead of paying to renew, I found that it's available free from the U of M. Current faculty, staff, and students can download Norton Anti-Virus free of charge for one computer for personal use.

I suggest printing all instructions related to the process so you have them available during installation, which requires you to disconnect from the internet. Also, be sure to read all the notes related to your version. There are several notes marked with asterisks that seem to be steps that should not be ignored. The ***note about LiveUpdate sounds like it's something you deal with after installation if you have a problem, but it turns out to be something you should do before installation.

Here are the issues I encountered. (1) During un-installation, several questions came up on the screen that I didn't know the answer to (one had to do with Windows firewall). I went with the pre-selected option and hoped for the best. (2) There are two versions of the software, a 32-bit and a 64-bit, and I couldn't find any information about which I should select so I downloaded the 32-bit because that sounded simpler. I got to a certain point in the process and the computer screen said that I needed the 64-bit version. So I had to re-connect to the internet and download the other version. Not sure if this violates the U's "one per customer" rule and whether I'll be charged $6 for the second download. (3) The message that an unknown application is trying to access your system is kind of unnerving. (4) At the very end of the installation process a message briefly flashed in the lower right of my screen indicating that there was a problem but I am unable to find any information and I can't get the message to reappear. The control panel indicates that the 64-bit version was installed on 5/2. (5) I didn't run the Norton Removal Tool but LiveUpdate also seems to be properly installed.

December 19, 2008

Computer

Today I went to Best Buy and bought a new computer. I was shopping for a desktop rather than a laptop because (1) I do better with a full size keyboard (2) I only intend to use it at home--no travel, not needed at the office and (3) cheaper. I took my son along because I didn't want a salesperson talking me into something I didn't want/need. I ended up with an HP "Pavillion" desktop with Intel Premium dual-core processor; an HP 17" flatscreen monitor and a HP deskjet printer which I really didn't need but it only added $20 to the total package of $641.37 including tax. I did not go for the extended warranty. I almost purchased the MicroSoft Office package, until my son-in-law (a U of M student) reminded me that as a U staff member I can get a better price at work.

November 7, 2008

Background

The TEL team is looking into what it takes for employees from the University of Minnesota to telecommute for a day each week. What better way to find out what it’s really like than to actually try it? So, today I begin my adventure of working from home, just for four hours.

Before work
Kids hogging the bathroom? No problem. No bus to catch today.
Utility company making a visit during that ever-popular 8 to noon window? I’m home!
No time for breakfast? Yes, there is.
How’s the coffee? Much better than at the office.

Commute
30 seconds from the kitchen vs. the usual 30 minutes

The “office��?
I don’t have a separate office at home. What I have is a corner of my bedroom with a small computer desk. I don’t have an office chair—I use an old piano bench that happens to be the right height. I have no physical file space, no flat surface to spread things out on, and limited writing space. I have natural light (and a great view) from a nearby window but no overhead lighting or desk lamp.

The equipment
My computer is a Compaq Presario that I bought in 2000. I recently acquired a second hand but relatively new printer, HP. My son-in-law and I spent an entire Saturday morning trying to make it work (and he’s somewhat of a computer geek, having worked at Best Buy for several years) before figuring out that it’s not compatible even though all the literature with it mentions the ME version, which is what I have. The speakers no longer work. I have DSL from Quest that costs me $39 per month. I don’t have a cell phone and the computer line is using the phone jack in this room.

Today’s workplan
--Sort through a 2��? thick file from the launch of Portal II and save papers that might be helpful as we begin working on Portal III.
--Review a revised training script.
--Answer email
--Update some cells on the myU portal

Getting down to work
There are three known issues: (1) It takes my computer 140 seconds to boot up. Once it’s up it’s not that slow; (2) I’m not able to open Excel documents on this computer (3) My version of Word is older and has some features I don’t like (the way comments are inserted, for example) Let’s see how everything else goes.

Logged in to myU and checked my email.
At 8 a.m. myU indicated that I had new email and that it was last updated at 5:32 a.m. I checked several more times and it wasn’t until 9:20 a.m. that it indicated another update at 9:05 a.m. It continued to say there were no new messages although emails continued to arrive.

I use Eudora at the office so using Webmail at home I have no access to the emails and saved folders from that system. The incoming emails I open through Webmail today will automatically transfer to Eudora the next time I log in there but the sent messages will not transfer. So if I want to make sure I have a record of those all in one place, I have to remember to copy myself whenever I send a message from Webmail. I remember about 50% of the time.

I had an email about online evaluations that I was able to respond to. This involved accessing a password-protected report at eval@umn.edu. I was able to do this with no slowdowns or other problems. I composed a lengthy response but was not able to attach a supporting document because that is stored on my computer at the office and I’m not able to access from home. I forgot to cc myself on the reply.

I had another email with a screenshot attached as a “png��? file. Not able to open.

Review of training video. I had planned to read this while playing the current presentation. No problem accessing the presentation, stored on the myU Help page as a Breeze presentation. It opened right up and started playing. A big problem, however, with the non-functional speakers.

Jabber
I know the folks in ADCS use Jabber a lot so I thought I’d try contacting one of them that way. I am not a regular user. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I used it. I went to the site (jabber@umn.edu) and tried my usual password which didn’t work so I tried resetting the password and receive confirmation that had been done. But when I tried logging in, the “log in��? box was kind of grayed out, not clickable. I sent an email to help@umn.edu at 10:16 a.m. but have not yet received a reply.

File
Able to do, lots of recycling. Will return what’s left to office.

Portal cells
Did not get around to updating any. I did look at the faculty/staff view and thought I’d listen to Gail Dubrow’s podcast again, then I remembered—OOPS, no speakers.

UMart
What I did do was poke around on UMart a little (there’s that handy link on the webmail page) to see what kind of money I’d be looking at to update my computer. It’s overwhelming. I wish there were recommendations. When you click through to the pictures I found a JET standard 755 optiflex that looked very affordable. But there isn’t enough information to tell if it will work with the printer I already have. And I wonder—how can I get my files transferred?

Adobe Flash
The new U of M home page gives me a message about updating Adobe flash player but I can’t seem to get it to work. There is a note about not working with ME but there was also a little pop up window that announced an Easy Update, requires no restart. Still no go.

Computer glasses
I have a pair of prescription glasses specifically for computer work that I keep at the office. I really don’t want to carry them back and forth so they are staying at the office. I hope I do okay without them.

Noon
I would have spent the whole day working at home except there was a Communicators Forum program this afternoon that I wanted to attend. They usually are presented via Breeze. Even if I had working speakers, I would be out of luck today because today’s program, per the Forum “… will not be live Webcast via UMConnect due to room issues. Our apologies for this inconvenience. We will record it and post a link for later viewing on the Forum Web site.��? So I’m off to the office for the rest of the day.