07 Nov / 2018
Last week, Apple held its second keynote in two months. The first press event that was held in September unveiled the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. Last week’s announcement, while not as splashy and exciting as a new iPhone reveal, centered around the new iPad Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini. This article’s intention is to get you up to date on Apple’s latest releases and changes.
iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR
The iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR phones are updates to last year’s iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus. The XS retains the same familiar, cosmetic design of the iPhone X. This includes the 5.8-inch OLED display and stainless-steel sides. Its battery life should last about 20 hours.
The XS Max is a larger version of the XS. The OLED display is 6.5 inches, making it the largest display found on any iPhone. Its battery life is slightly larger than the XS as it should last about 25 hours. Both the XS and XS Max come in silver, space gray, and gold.
While the XS and XS Max are similar in style to last year’s iPhones, the XR is a cosmetic departure. The iPhone XR has a 6.1-inch LCD display and an aluminum and glass body. It comes in white, black, coral, yellow, blue, and red. The XR has a single rear camera whereas the XS and XS Max both have dual rear cameras.
All three phones come with a new A12 Bionic processor that Apple claims is 15 percent faster and uses 40 percent less energy than last year’s A11 chip. They all use wireless charging, are water-resistant, and no longer feature a headphone jack or home button. Lastly, all three are now using Face ID unlock software.
iPad Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini
The new iPad Pro is 5.9 millimeters thinner (about 15 percent) than its predecessor. It no longer features a headphone jack or home button, meaning you will need to swipe certain spots on the screen to get back to previous pages. The iPad Pro also features nearly an edge-to-edge display and rounded corners. It now supports Face ID and USB-C. With USB-C, it can now connect to monitors up to 5K so that you can turn into a workstation. It is also capable of charging your iPhone and comes equipped with an Apple Pencil. The iPad Pro’s Pencil magnetically connects to the side of the device and automatically charges. It is available in two sizes, 11 and 12.9 inches. All of these new features has Apple calling it the biggest change to the iPad since its inception eight years ago.
Apple also made redesigns to the MacBook Air. It is 25% lighter than previous iterations weighing in at 2.75 pounds and 13.3 inches. The cosmetic changes go beyond weight though. The familiar aluminum bezel has been removed making the MacBook Air’s borders sleeker, and for the first time ever, its base is made out of 100 percent recycled aluminum. According to Apple, this helps reduce the computer’s carbon footprint by 50%. Aside from Apple’s efforts to make the MacBook Air more eco-friendly, it now features a more responsive keyboard. The most noticeable absence is the TouchBar feature that was introduced two years to mainly universal criticism.
Updates were also made to the Mac Mini. These are the first updates to it in four years. While still looking strikingly similar to the last model, the Mac Mini comes equipped with a quad-core Intel processor with an option to upgrade to a six-core version. It features four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports and an HDMI port. Apple states it is five times faster than before.
If you wish to learn more about all of Apple’s exciting new products, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
It is no secret that mobile devices are being relied on more and more in both our personal and professional lives. As a result of continued increased usage, the phone’s battery life becomes a key selling point. Look no further than every time Apple has a live video conference announcing their latest phone release as evidence. With that in mind, Apple’s most recent iOS updates have introduced new battery usage information. This article’s intention is to help you better understand your iPhone’s iOS 12 battery health, battery usage, and how you might be able to increase your battery life.
The battery health feature is not new. If your current iDevice is running iOS 11.3 or greater, you already have the battery health feature. That being said, most people are unaware that such a feature exists. In order to see the approximate health of your iPhone battery, go into Settings > Battery > tap Battery Health. This screen provides two crucial pieces of information: maximum capacity and peak performance capability. Maximum capacity is a measure of battery capacity relative to when it was new. Obviously, a brand new battery equals 100 percent. Phone batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they age. This is true of all rechargeable batteries. Peak performance capability tells you if your phone is capable of operating the short bursts of maximum power that demanding apps call for.
What’s new in iOS 12 is a more detailed iPhone battery usage that explains more than simply its health. This information is located in the same area as what was mentioned above, directly below battery health. iOS defaults to show the last 24 hours of your phone’s battery usage in two separate graphs; battery level and activity. Underneath the graphs, displays the total usage time for “Screen On” (actually using the phone will looking at it) and “Screen Off” (applications running while the screen is not on such as podcasts, music, etc.). Beneath battery usage graphs displays a list of all installed apps that ran during the last 24 hours. You can toggle this information between activity, which will display a percentage next to each app, and battery usage, which will show the amount of time spent on each app. All of this information helps you determine the efficiency of your apps. Obviously, certain apps like games and video players will more than likely account for more battery usage than podcasts, phone calls, or music. However, this information will allow you to make decisions about which apps to prioritize when battery life is an issue.
How to Potentially Increase your Battery Life
There are many ways to potentially increase your battery life. Listed below are some tips and suggestions.
- Force quit apps when you are not using them. Many apps will run in the background when not being used which consumes battery usage. To do this, double-tap the home button and swipe the application you wish to close upwards.
- Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when they are not in use. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi/Bluetooth > Turn off (toggle bar will not be green)
- Turn off Automatic Downloads and Updates. Having your apps automatically download and update is a nice feature, but it can consume battery usage at inopportune times. It is definitely more work to manually download and update your apps, but helpful in saving your battery’s shelf life. To turn off automatic downloads and updates, open Settings > iTunes & App Stores > turn off Music, Apps, Books & Audiobooks, and Updates under the Automatic Downloads section.
- Keep Display & Brightness under control. There are a few ways to do this.
- Keep brightness at a medium level. Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > make sure the toggle bar is either directly in the middle of the two sun icons or closer to the left sun icon.
- Set Auto-Lock as short as possible. Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock > set to 30 seconds or 1 minute.
- Turn off Raise to Wake. This will keep your iPhone from turning on every time you lift the phone. To turn off Raise to Wake, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Toggle Raise to Wake off.
- Make sure Display Zoom View is set to Standard. Check this by going to Settings > Display & Brightness > make sure Standard is listed next to View under Display Zoom.
- Allow Notifications from selected apps only. Notifications are helpful and keep you up to date in your world but also drain your battery. To monitor your notifications, go to Settings > Notifications and look under Notification Style. A list of your apps will display. Simply click on each app and turn off the switch next to Allow Notifications.
- Disable Background App Refresh. Background app refresh plays a large role in keeps apps running smoothly but it is known to be one of the biggest battery usage consumers. iOS 12 allows you to either completely turn this feature off or let only a few apps refresh in the background. To do so, open Settings > General > Background App Refresh > either select off or Wi-Fi based. You can also individually select which apps will and will not receive a background refresh.
- Disable Location Services. Location services helps improves certain apps but it can be set to allow only while using the app. To do this, open Settings > Privacy > Location Services > select the desired app and choose while using the app.
- Disable Auto-Fetching of New Data. Go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Fetch New Data > turn off the switch next to push and select manually.
- Keep your apps updated. Go to App Store > select the Updates tab > tap Update All.
- Keep your iOS updated on your iPhone. To do this, open Settings > General > Software Update > Download & Install
- Enable Low Power Mode. Low power mode is extremely helpful in maximizing the battery life of your iPhone but there are some downsides. The main downside is if you need to receive email. Enabling low power mode will stop your email from coming through. However, it really does reduce battery consumption. To enable low power mode, open Settings > Battery > turn on Low Power Mode.
If you have any questions or wish to learn more about your iPhone’s battery health, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
18 Oct / 2018
The PantherExpress Travel & Expense Management website is a University-wide resource for managing business travel and business-related expenses.
The PantherExpress Travel & Expense Management Program is designed to provide service and savings for University travelers.
The program comprises a suite of products and services aimed at delivering exceptional travel-related services, streamlining the expense reporting process, and reducing travel costs. Products and services include Concur, Anthony Travel, and the University Travel Card.
18 Oct / 2018
The Panther Card Self Service Photo Upload application provides students, faculty and staff the convenience of uploading a photo from any device to Panther Central to be used for their Pitt ID. The tool guides the user in cropping their photo appropriately.
Visit the Panther Card Self Service Photo Upload website for more details.
17 Oct / 2018
We are pleased to announce that Jacob Preston has accepted the Senior Application
Developer position in FIS Technical Services, effective October 15th, 2018. His responsibilities will include custom application development, code reviews, and third-party system support.
Jacob graduated from CCAC. He has 10 years of experience as a Software Developer and has previously worked for Fi360 as a Senior Programmer Analyst/Team Lead. His knowledge and experience will make him a valuable asset to the Application Development team. Jacob will be located in B44 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Rich Welsh.
Jacob was born in Grove City, Pennsylvania. He is married and has two boys, Rand (3) and Remy (16 months). His wife’s name is Renata. They also have two cats, Loki and Leona. Jacob enjoys various forms of gaming such as board, computers, puzzles, and pinball. He also enjoys outdoor activities like fishing and hiking. His favorite cartoon character is Fry from the animated comedy Futurama. If Jacob wasn’t working at FIS and could have any job, he would like to be running a small shop on an island in the tropics.
Please join us in welcoming Jacob to the Technical Services team!
11 Oct / 2018
Microsoft Teams will be rolling out to FIS customers in the near future. Before the program is installed, we thought it was worth revisiting the articles that were posted on the website this summer about Teams. The information listed in this article goes over what Teams is, how to access it, how to create a team, the various channel spaces within a team, managing your team, and the apps within Teams.
What is Teams
Microsoft’s training demonstrations describe Teams as “A hub for teamwork that provides people with a single place to communicate and collaborate with others.” It was created and designed with the express purpose of having everything customers need to perform their job function from a single application. Listed below are many of the features of Teams:
- Seamlessly integrates with Outlook
- Access OneDrive without opening a new window
- Access all of your OneNote folders
- Collaborate in real time with Office Suite files (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
- Communicate in real time with colleagues
- Streamline workflow by using a staff notebook
- Links to other cloud storage
We will be getting into more detail of Teams features, but that list gives you a pretty basic idea of all its capable of doing. As a result of all those functions, it can be overwhelming when viewing and using it for the first time. Let’s start with possibly the most important and easiest part. How to access it.
How to Access Teams
It can be accessed by going to portal.office.com, logging in with your Pitt credentials, and clicking on the Teams icon. This will open up Teams in a browser tab. A desktop version is also available. It can be installed on the machine once the browser-based version of Teams is open by clicking on the “Get app” icon located in the bottom left-hand corner. Once it is installed, the next step towards effectively using it is creating a team.
How to Create a Team
To create a team, select the “Teams” icon located on the left-hand side and click “Join or create a team” at the bottom. Click “Create a team” and choose between Classes, PLCs, Staff Members, and Anyone. The teams you are more than likely going to want to choose are either PLCs or Staff Members. PLCs should be chosen when colleagues need to work with other colleagues. Staff Members should be created by an admin or supervisor for employees that work for them. Enter the name of your team, an optional description, and choose whether the team is public or private. Private means only team owners can add members whereas public means anyone in your organization can join. The last step is to add people to your team and make them either members or owners. At this point, the team you created will appear within the Teams section with a channel titled “General” appearing underneath the name of the team you created. Channels are a way to organize the team you just created. For example, if you are working on a project that involves multiple tasks, you can create various channels associated with the specific tasks of the project. To add a channel to a team, click the ellipses icon directly to the right of the team you created and select “Add Channel.” Enter the channel name and an optional description.
There are three different channel spaces contained within the team you created. The spaces are conversations, files, and notebook. They are accessed by clicking on the team you created and selecting a channel (for example, General). Once on the channel, the spaces are at the top of the screen. The channel space we are going to start with is conversations because it is more than likely what you will use the most.
Mainly, conversations allows you to live chat with other members of your teams. If you want to address someone specifically with the teams conversations channel, type the @ symbol and a list of the various members of your team will appear. Simply select their name and type in your message. Everyone will be able to see the message but the person you specifically addressed it to will get a notification. If you wanted to address your team members in a more formal way, you can use the formatting option. The formatting option lets you add a subject to your message, change font options like color and size, and mark the message as important. This would be useful for creating an announcement to your team. You can also create announcements and mark them as important. A few other less important but fun options conversations provides is the ability to add stickers, add GIFs, and create memes. Lastly, conversations contains a “Meet Now” icon. Meet now works like a skype meeting. You can record the meetings and save transcripts.
The second channel space we are going to discuss is files. Files is pretty self-explanatory. It lets you create or upload documents. If you are creating a document, it will open in the online version of the program you are using which doesn’t have all of the features of the locally installed versions. However, the online versions are more than suitable to use when creating basic word documents, excel spreadsheets, and powerpoint presentations. Once the document is created or uploaded, it is stored in the files channel space. At this point, you can open it in SharePoint and a site will be created.
Notebook usage varies based on the team you created. Since part one of this series advised that the team you are most likely going to want to choose is PLCs, the notebook usage example will be PLCs. The PLC Notebook is essentially a digital three-ring binder that works in conjunction with OneNote. OneNote within Teams functions as if the program was installed locally on your computer. You are able to create sections which look like tabs in a binder and pages within those sections. This feature could be very helpful when dealing with large projects that involve multiple meetings. Each meeting could have its own section and the various things discussed can have their own pages.
Meetings is a clickable icon that is located in the sidebar on the left-hand side of Teams. It allows you to schedule, edit, join, accept, decline and cancel meetings as well as view your Outlook calendar on a day to day basis. The meeting invites you send will come into an invitee’s Outlook inbox. So it works in conjunction with Outlook. To create a meeting, click the “Schedule a meeting” icon at the bottom of the page. At this point, you will be able to enter the title, location, start time, end time, and details of the meetings. To invite someone to the meeting, start typing their name in the “Invite Someone” field and they will appear in the drop-down below. Once the meeting starts the interface is very similar to Skype for Business. In fact, Teams Meetings will eventually be taking the place for Skype for Business. Also, you are able to record your meetings in Teams.
Managing your team
Managing your team provides you with a wide variety of options such as: adding members, changing members role permissions, adding channels, adding a team picture, changing guest role permissions, etc. To manage your team, click on the ellipses icon next to the team you created and select “Manage team” from the available drop-down options. This is where you can add members and change their permissions. To add a member, click the “Add member” icon on the top right-hand side of the page, type in their name and click “Add”. The other options manage teams provides is channels, settings, and apps. Channels allows you to add channels and settings provides you with multiple options mainly involving permissions. Apps will be discussed below.
Apps displays a list of programs that you have integrated with Teams. A default set of applications is listed that is entirely organization based but you are able to add apps. To add apps, click the “Go to store” icon located in the top right-hand corner of the page and select from a very large list of programs. Apps can also be added as tabs to your team channels. To add an app as a tab, go to the team channel you created (in previous parts of this series the channel is General) and click the “+” icon at the top of the page. A list of apps will appear. Select the app you want to add. At this point, it will let you name the tab and add any appropriate content.
Polly is a bot that allows you to create polls. It can be downloaded through apps and integrated into Teams as its own tab. You can view the various polls you created, view poll results, and see who created polls once Polly is its own tab on the team channel you created. To create a poll, go to the conversations tab on the team channel you created. Once there, click in the “Start a new conversation. Type @ to mention someone” field. Enter @Polly and type in your question and poll options. For example, “Do you like Microsoft Teams? Yes, No” and hit enter. Polly will then create the poll for you. Keep in mind Polly cannot have more than five options as of right now.
Chat functions in much the same way as Skype for Business. It allows you to directly chat with members of your team. The member of your team who you are chatting with is the only person who is able to see what is being discussed. Chat also gives you the option to audio and video call. This option is located in the top right-hand corner of the chat you are within.
Activity keeps track of what’s going on within Teams. Each new or unchecked activity will be highlighted in bold. When you click on an activity, you will be directly taken to the section of Teams that it occurred in. Activity also contains a filter option. Filter allows you to sort by unread, mentions, replies, following, likes, missed call, voicemail, and apps.
T-bot is located within the chat location. It provides answers to questions about using Teams.
Search is just like it sounds. It will allow you to search for anything that was mentioned within Teams. It is located at the top of the application at all times.
For more information or to schedule an in-person consultation about Teams, please submit a help ticket through the FIS portal.
FIS has just introduced new Dell laptops to the loaner equipment pool. The new laptops that are available are the following: Dell Latitude 7370, Dell Latitude 7390, Dell Latitude 7480, and Dell Latitude 7490. These laptops have a new and improved form factor, meaning they are smaller and lighter but the screen size is the same or larger than our previous models. Each laptop model comes equipped with Windows 10 and standard software but provides a slightly different user experience depending on the model you reserve. Keep reading to learn a little about each model and the standard software that is installed on all of them.
Dell Latitude 7370
This laptop should be primarily used as a teleworker laptop but it can also be used as a standalone computer.
Dell Latitude 7390
13″ business-class laptop built for business professionals who want power while staying mobile. Featuring Intel 7th and 8th Gen Core i processors.
Dell Latitude 7480
This 14” business-class laptop is incredibly mobile without compromise. Featuring industry-leading security, manageability, and reliability.
Dell Latitude 7490
14” business-class laptop built with premium materials. Featuring optional Intel 7th Gen or new 8th Gen processors.
Adobe Acrobat Reader: PDF viewer
Core FTP: Secure file transfer protocol client
Google Chrome: Internet browser
KeePass 2: Password manager
Microsoft Access: Database management system
Microsoft Edge: Internet browser
Microsoft Excel: Program used to create spreadsheets
Microsoft Internet Explorer: Internet browser
Microsoft OneDrive: File hosting and synchronization service
Microsoft OneNote: Application used to gather notes, drawings, screen captures, and audio commentary and store them in a tab-based system
Microsoft Outlook: Email system
Microsoft PowerPoint: Program used to create visual presentations
Microsoft Project: Project management software
Microsoft Publisher: Desktop publishing application that places an emphasis on page layout and design
Microsoft Visio: Diagramming and vector graphics program
Microsoft Word: Program used to create documents
Mozilla Firefox: Internet browser
Pulse Secure: Program that allows users to connect to a specific network (i.e. Pitt’s) when working remotely
Remote Desktop Connection: Application which enables users to connect to their remote (office) desktop; must be connected to Pulse Secure to work
SendBlaster 2: Bulk email software used to manage mailing lists
SnagIt 2018: Screen capture software
Skype for Business: Instant messaging client
VMWare Horizon Client: Application that provides virtual desktop capabilities
If you have any questions about the new Dell Latitude laptops or would like to reserve one, please contact FIS via the support portal.
13 Sep / 2018
Scammers pretending to be the Chinese Consulate office have recently started contacting people in the hopes of obtaining your bank account or credit card information. This social engineering attack has been recognized by the Federal Trade Commision (FTC). An attack like this reminds us that scammers are always trying new tactics to rob people by simply tricking them into making a mistake. This article intends to help you learn how these attacks work and how to identify them.
What is Social Engineering
According to SANS.org, social engineering is a psychological attack where an attacker tricks you into doing something that you shouldn’t do. This concept is not new. Con artists have been attempting to steal money from unknowing people for thousands of years. Scammers are essentially con artists using today’s technology to aid them in stealing. What makes this tactic so effective is that today’s technology allows them to not be physically seen and contact millions of people around the world either by phone call or email.
Take for example the recent attack from scammers pretending to be the Chinese Consulate. According to the FTC’s website, people across the country have reported getting a call or message saying they have to pick up a package at the Chinese Consulate office, or they need you to give them information to avoid being in trouble with the Chinese Consulate. We actually had multiple people at FIS receive this phone this week! This type of phone call is a perfect example of what social engineering is and what it is trying to accomplish.
Another example is a CEO fraud, which is an email attack that most often occurs at work. The way this attack work is a scammer researches your company and identifies the name of your boss or coworker. This is especially easy to obtain here at the University of Pittsburgh as most information like this is public knowledge. The attacker then creates an email pretending to be that person which asks you to take some sort of action such as wiring them money or emailing sensitive company/employee information.
You should know that social engineering attacks are not limited to emails and phone calls. They can occur in any form. The best thing you can do is be as informed as possible on the subject and never, ever send money or sensitive data over the phone or via email if someone is asking for it.
How to Detect a Social Engineering Attack
While social engineering attacks are dangerous and tricky, stopping such an attack is simpler then it seems. Often times, common sense is your best defense. Listed below are some of the more common clues of a social engineering attack.
- Someone creating a sense of urgency that requires immediate action. For example, you may receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from a computer support company that tells you your computer is infected and you need to purchase their security software or risk losing all of your computer data.
- Someone asking for information they should not have access to such as bank account numbers or social security numbers.
- Someone asking for a password. Legitimate companies will not ask you for your password.
- Something that seems too good to be true. For example, being notified you won an iPad or the lottery.
- Receiving an email from a friend or coworker that contains verbiage that does not sound like it’s from them.
If any of those scenarios occur, you should take appropriate action such as hang up the phone or delete the email. In the instance of receiving an odd email from a friend or coworker, it is recommended to reach out to them through some other means of communication. For more information, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal or review your security awareness training.
06 Sep / 2018
We all know the role that social media now plays in the world. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, and LinkedIn, social media has become nearly inescapable. While these sites are amazing resources for connecting people across the globe, they all come with risks. These risks not only could affect you but also your friends, family, and employer. This article is going to cover some key steps for securely using social media.
Perhaps the most important and obvious step towards securely using social media is to be careful of what you post. Even if you enable privacy features and think your posts are not viewable to everyone, you should still post with the mindset that it can be viewed by everyone. If it could negatively impact your reputation and future, it should not be posted on any social media platform.
Even though privacy features should not be viewed as a filter that blocks your posts from being viewed by anyone, they should still be enabled. Almost all social media sites have strong privacy features. However, with strong privacy features comes change and confusion. You should make it a habit to check for any changes and to confirm they are working the way they are intended.
Another seemingly obvious security step is to create a strong, unique password. This has been drilled into all computer users head’s but it is still avoided by many people. The reason for its avoidance is simple. People have a hard time remembering complex passwords and do not want to have to remember passwords for multiple systems. While we recognize the annoyance in having multiple complex passwords, it is still a key step in securely using not only social media sites but computers in general.
Unfortunately, creating a strong password for all of your accounts is no longer enough. You should still have a strong password but you should also enable two-factor authentication on all of your social media accounts. Pitt has already enabled two-factor authentication when logging into my.pitt.edu in order to protect you from people who could potentially obtain your password. While this may seem like more work, your personal information will be substantially more secure. To look at it another way, you would not want simply having your ATM card as a way to withdraw money. Banks knew this and decided a pin was also necessary to access the features of an ATM card.
You should also be careful of what you click on when using social media sites. There is a good chance you can be tricked into providing personal information by clicking on a fraudulent post or link. If a friend’s post seems suspicious you should avoid accessing it.
Being careful of what you post, creating a strong password, enabling two-factor authentication, and being careful of what you click on when using social media sites are all effective ways to securely use social media. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
30 Aug / 2018
We are pleased to announce that Amani Hill has accepted the Support Analyst position in FIS Technical Services, effective August 27, 2018. Her responsibilities include analyzing and troubleshooting technical support requests, user documentation creation, customer training, and ITIL process management.
Amani recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Science while simultaneously working. Additionally, she has an extensive background in customer service. Her experience and knowledge will make her a valuable asset to Customer Support. Amani will be located in B44 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Carrie Armstrong.
Amani was born in the capital of Missouri, Jefferson City, but she currently lives east of Pittsburgh with her fiance, Brennan, and Chihuahua, Aladdin. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and watching anime. Her favorite restaurant is Smoke BBQ Taqueria in Lawrenceville. If she could meeting anyone, Amani would like to meet Rob Zombie.
Please join me in welcoming Amani to FIS and the Technical Services team!