Ag IT Matters is an electronic newsletter from the Ag Information Technologies unit. The purpose of this newsletter is to communicate relevant IT issues and projects, keeping our customers engaged and informed.

Office 365 Access after Separation

September 20, 2019

An old country music classic by Jim Stafford includes the phrase, “All good things gotta come to an end…” It is good to have personal and professional use of Microsoft Office 365, but remember that this ‘good thing’ comes to an end when you are no longer a Penn State employee – and it comes to an end startlingly fast!

Remote My Documents to OneDrive

September 20, 2019

Moving up is usually a good thing – moving up in the organizational chart, moving up in housing, moving up in the tax brackets (well, not that one). Now your My Documents Folder is moving up – moving up to the cloud – and it’s a good thing!

Windows 7 Operating System Set to Retire

June 4, 2019

Microsoft introduced the Windows 7 operating system in 2009. After ten years of dedicated service, Microsoft has announced its retirement date of December 31, 2019. Those of us who toil for Penn State usually need more than ten years before retirement – it must be nice to be a part of Microsoft!

Fair Season Ahead

June 4, 2019

Most Pennsylvanians think that fairs are fun places to enjoy the kinds of food that can make a cardiologist weep – unless they are seeking new patients. The people of our communities look forward to the fun and relaxation time with friends, exhibits, shows and sales. We in Ag IT know that for many extension professionals it is one of the most stressful times of the year.

Documents on the Move!

June 4, 2019

My documents are on the move…or rather, your documents are on the move….no…make that your My Documents are on the move!

Go Fishing, But Don’t get Caught in the Net!

June 4, 2019

Pennsylvania is a great state for fishing! There is fishing for steelhead in Erie, and fishing for compliments and votes in Harrisburg. Muskie are found in Raystown Lake, and tuna can be found even in small communities. The other activity – phishing – is also prevalent in Pennsylvania, especially at Penn State – and it has hazards all its own!

Cloud Computing

March 7, 2019

If you’re feeling a little constrained by earthly computing, cloud computing might be right for you!

Projects with Significant Impact Underway

March 7, 2019

As spring arrives and moves into summer, two projects with big impacts will be shifting from the planning and preparation stages into implementation – and the implementation phase of one or both will impact you!

Office 365 – Not your Father’s Microsoft Office 2016!

December 7, 2018

Over the past many months you’ve been upgraded to the newest version of Microsoft Office – Office 365 and also to a university-wide mail system, Exchange 365. Learning to do what you’ve always done is pretty straightforward between your older versions and the new one….but that is the boring and safe place on the sidelines. The big kids jump into the fray, give things a shot and learn how much more the newest Office Suite can be!

Preserve Your Self Esteem!

December 7, 2018

The holidays are here, and your brand new smart-phone is on the mantle while you struggle to read email on a spiderwebbed-cracked phone screen. Why? Because Ag IT is closed for the week and you don’t know the steps to configure the new one to your email!

So Long Windows 7; Hello Windows 10!

December 7, 2018

Ag IT, just like all of you, has routine work to do every day, every week, and every year. And, just like you, we also tackle bigger projects. Some are year-long, and others are multi-year. We just finished the Office 365 migration project, and we’ve been casting about for our next big project since we know that idle hands are the Devil’s playground, and we don’t want to draw the Devil’s attention to us!

University Park HelpDesk Support During the Holidays

December 7, 2018

While Ag IT enjoys the December Break just like most other offices at UP, we also understand that you have important responsibilities that do not necessarily follow a calendar. For that reason, we have put measures in place to respond to significant IT service interruptions during the holiday break.

HelpDesk Support for County Offices During the Holidays

December 7, 2018

“Hey Siri! How long do I cook a 25 lb. turkey in the microwave?” “Seriously? You’re trying that one on me?” “Alexa: How much rum do I need to keep a kettle of Hot Buttered Rum throughout the holiday? Is it different if the in-laws are visiting?” “Have you seen the barrels of rum in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? Yeah, more than that.” “Google! What do I do if the whole office network fails during the holiday break?” “You call your friends and colleagues at Ag IT, just like always!”

Click Ye Not!

December 7, 2018

I need advice! I have this email that wants me to ‘Click here to…..’ and it says it is URGENT!! “Ix-nay!” - Curly Howard, 1936 “Just Say No.” – Nancy Reagan, 1986 "No, no, no. Just....No." - Ag IT Staff, 2018

College Email Migration Announcement

September 6, 2018

The College of Ag Sciences will be migrating mail and calendaring service to the Office 365 service hosted by the University in October!

HelpDesk Support during the Holidays

December 11, 2017

Butterball offers a turkey emergency hotline for the holidays, and if you look a little on Google you’re likely to find a hotline for fruitcake or eggnog emergencies as well. No need to use Google to find help for network and server issues in the College of Ag though...your IT colleagues will be on recliner-chair standby for just that sort of emergency.

How the Grinch Stole…..

December 11, 2017

…Every Who down in Whoville liked email and credit cards a lot . . . but the Grinch, who lived just north did NOT! Or, at least, he liked using YOUR credit cards and accounts more than his own. (with deepest apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) Over Winter Break

December 11, 2017

If you use your personal cell phone for two-factor authentication to Penn State services, we’ve found a few reminders that may be helpful to you for the upcoming winter break. There are 2FA considerations if you get a new phone, and suggestions for success if you travel over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house – or especially if your destinations are more exotic or remote.

Beloved WebAccess Page Design to be Retired

December 11, 2017

If you wander around the halls of Ag IT, you will often hear our staff talking on the phone referring to the Thumbprint Page. “Use this password anytime the thumbprint page pops up,” or “Use the same password that you would for the thumbprint page!” Next month, Penn State will launch a redesign of the Thumbprint page, more correctly known as the WebAccess page.

Configure a New Smartphone or Tablet for Ag Exchange Email

December 11, 2017

It is a season of gifts, and if you receive a new smartphone or tablet, we just know that your highest priority will be college/work email. “No!” you will shout to friends and family, “None of those cool apps and no music yet…first I must check my College of Ag Email!” We have you covered, even while we’re closed!

Messages Popping Up!

December 11, 2017

Everybody likes “Pop” things … PopTarts; pop (a beverage found in western PA only); popcorn; Pop-Pop (the Grandfather); Snap, Crackle, Pop, and, as we approach New Year’s Eve, some might enjoy the pop of the Champagne bottle. We hope that you will also like the new way we’ll be sending some important messages….a ‘pop up’ window, front and center on your screen.

HelpDesk Support during the Holidays

December 11, 2017

Butterball offers a turkey emergency hotline for the holidays, and if you look a little on Google you’re likely to find a hotline for fruitcake or eggnog emergencies as well. No need to use Google to find help for network and server issues in the College of Ag though...your IT colleagues will be on recliner-chair standby for just that sort of emergency.

One Hundred Thousand!

October 23, 2017

100,000 is a lot of somethings. 100,000 days ago it was 1744 and the USA was still a colony. 100,000 calories is 14 gallons of PSU Creamery Death By Chocolate ice cream, or 177 Big Mac sandwiches. If you bought 100,000 Agronomy Guides and laid them end to end you could make an 8.5 inch wide path from Independence Hall to the King of Prussia Mall (and would have to spend 3.5 million dollars…). 100,000 miles is nearly half-way to the moon.

Why Buy Dell?

October 23, 2017

Why should I buy your recommended Dell laptop when I found this 9” laptop for only $9.99?!?! Because the $9.99 unit is a Lite Brite Magic Screen. And, the $99.99 laptop deal sounds like a bargain until you actually explore the value instead of just the cost.

Directory Lookup in Outlook Disappears

October 23, 2017

There are things we take for granted – they are just always there and they just always work…and it isn’t until they disappear that we even notice them. Such is the situation with the one-click to open Penn State’s Directory Services inside Outlook. It just disappeared – disappeared faster than a plate of Tollhouse Cookies at a team meeting!

Help Wanted: Pilot Test Volunteers

October 23, 2017

We’re looking for a few people who are willing to do extra work, offer candid opinions, and be a pioneer of software testing….all for no increase in pay, no increase of time off, and no snacks. You will gain the respect and admiration of the whole Ag IT Team, though….and that is worth a lot!

Best Practices: Restarting your Computer

June 15, 2017

You work hard all week. We see it, we know it. We read about how hard you work on Facebook. You catch a rest and a recharge overnight, and a better recovery period over the weekend. We see that on Facebook, too. And then, after the rest and recharge, you are back at it… Your computer would benefit from this same routine that works for you!

Outlook Calendar Sharing

June 15, 2017

As teams grow - criss-crossing the state - and daily schedules become more complex, calendar sharing becomes more and more valuable.

Fair Season II: The Sequel

June 15, 2017

We’re not even going to hide it. We’ll admit it right up front. This article is an almost identical copy/paste from the March issue of IT Matters. Why? Because it is that important!

Zoom…..into the Future!

June 15, 2017

In July 2016, Penn state invited all of us to test and critique two desktop video conferencing solutions, with the intent to adopt one as our preferred and sponsored platform. Votes are in and tallied, write-ins tabulated and included, then certified and adopted. Who won?

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