16 Aug / 2019
We are pleased to announce that Barry Limppo has accepted a full time Senior Systems Administrator position in FIS Technical Services effective July 29th. His primary responsibilities include systems administration of our desktop, client virtualization, cloud-based, and mobility technologies.
Over the past year, Barry has worked as a temporary contractor for FIS. The experience and knowledge gained during his tenure as a contractor has already made him a valuable asset to the Operations group. Barry will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Anthony Digregorio.
Barry is another Pittsburgh transplant. He was born in Hollywood, Florida but moved to the Harrisburg area when he was two years old. He moved to Pittsburgh after meeting his wife, Jennifer, about six years ago. The two of them have a five year old son named Mason.
Barry really enjoys spending time with his family, attending concerts, travelling, and working on various projects around his house such as woodworking. Another one of his many life enjoyments is reading to his son before bedtime. If he could work anywhere other than FIS, he would love to be the owner/operator of a brew pub.
Please join me in welcoming Barry to FIS!
09 Jul / 2019
We are pleased to announce that Martin Brule has accepted the Operations Engineer position in FIS Technical Services, effective June 24th, 2019. His primary responsibilities include but are not limited to systems administration of our client virtualization, cloud-based, and mobility technologies.
Martin graduated from Pennsylvania College of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Data Communications and Networking. For the past several months, Martin has worked for FIS as a temporary contractor. His experience and knowledge will make him a valuable asset to the Operations group. Martin will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Anthony Digregorio.
Martin recently moved from the home of the Little League World Series, Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He is currently living in Beechview, PA with his significant other, Janelle, their daughter, Emma, and their four cats (Ninja, Pause, Matu, and Fau). In his spare time, Martin enjoys playing music such as guitar, bass and some drums. He also enjoys outdoor activities like fishing, camping, biking, and inline skating.
Please join me in welcoming Martin to FIS and the Technical Services team!
17 Jun / 2019
With Internet Explorer quickly approaching it’s end of life as a browser option for FIS customers (tentatively scheduled for the end of 2019), it’s worth exploring Microsoft’s latest web browser, Edge.
Edge is not new. It was introduced in 2015 when Microsoft launched Windows 10. While many people’s initial reviews were not positive, it has since grown into an accomplished internet tool that is worth consideration to be used as your default browser. This is not to say that you have to use it over other excellent internet browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla FireFox. This article’s mere intention is to better inform you of the various notable features of Microsoft Edge, and to help you make an informed decision about potentially changing your default browser.
The first and probably the most important feature to the majority of people that we are going to cover is speed. Performance tests indicated that Edge is more or less just as fast as its competitors, Chrome and FireFox. It is significantly faster than it’s predecessor, Internet Explorer.
The second notable feature is that Edge is designed to work as a companion to Windows 10. If a web search is run from the taskbar, the results will appear in Edge even if your default browser is something different. Also, websites can be easily pinned to the taskbar and Start Menu from within Edge. This integration is associated with other Microsoft products as well.
Edge offers some unusual and appealing features as well. One of these is built-in sharing. Share makes it easy to transfer contents from your browser to nearby devices. The share icon is located in the top right-hand corner of Edge and is an arrow pointing to the right.
Another unique feature is the ability to scribble or annotate on the websites you visit. This feature can be accessed by clicking the icon that looks like a pen in the top right-hand corner. Once accessed, you can highlight text, and draw and write content on the page. You also have the ability to save and share the notes you made.
If you open a lot of tabs during the course of your day, Edge’s tab preview feature will benefit you quite a bit. Tab preview is accessed by clicking the chevron icon which is located next to the new tab icon. Edge will display a preview of the open tabs through a panel that is docked at the top.
The last feature we will mention is the ability to sync Edge across multiple devices. Microsoft have versions of Edge for both iOS and Android. This allows you to sync your bookmarks, passwords, browsing history, reading list, and tab layout to your phone or tablet.
The features listed in this article are but a small portion of what makes up Edge. To learn more about Edge and it’s myriad of features, please submit a help ticket through the FIS portal.
05 Mar / 2019
The heart of winter has arrived and as usual temperatures across the Northeast and Midwest have plummeted. Just a few weeks ago, wind chills in the greater Pittsburgh went below zero degrees F. It can be excruciating to stay outside for more than five minutes when temperatures dip that low, but many of us at the University of Pittsburgh have to brave the weather in order to make it to work due to a lack of parking spots in Oakland. Of course, this is nothing new. What is new, relatively speaking, is the technology that makes our morning commute in the harshness of winter more tolerable. Unfortunately, technology loses functionality when temperatures drop below freezing. This article’s intention is to inform you of what to expect from the various components of your devices and how to better manage them in the extreme cold. After all, there isn’t anything that makes a commute to or from work much worse than having your devices fail while waiting for public transportation.
What to Expect
Batteries are by far and away the most likely part of your device to fail in the cold. This is problematic because almost every device we use is powered by lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are the industry standard for personal electronics because they have high energy density and have the ability to handle both low and high currents. These are good properties to have in a battery. However, those same properties run into problems when temperatures dip below 32 degrees F. The reason is because lithium-ion batteries have very little internal resistance. Less resistance means these batteries generate less waste energy heat. In general, this is a positive attribute to have in a battery. However, the absence of waste energy heat means the battery is more vulnerable to cold temperatures. In other words, the colder it becomes, the chemical reaction that occurs inside the battery gets slower. This means the battery drains faster. Smartphones, in particular, are vulnerable to this problem because they are designed to sit mostly inactive for long periods of time throughout the day. What this means is that their batteries do not draw enough current to heat themselves.
The performance of individual products will vary based on the manufacturer, battery model, and wear and tear on the device. According to Apple, you should use iOS devices where the ambient temperature is between 32 and 95 degrees F. The Amazon Kindle Oasis user guide states the same temperature range for its operating temperature. The FitBit Charge 3 manual lists an operating temperature range of 14 to 113 degrees F. Samsung’s Galaxy S9/S9+ user guide does not give an operating temperature range.
While batteries are the main component most likely to have issues in cold weather, LCD (liquid crystal display) screens also run into problems. These screens are in most of the devices we use. LCDs consist of a layer of millions of multicolored pixels. Each one of these pixels is controlled by a separate transistor. The pixels are switched on or off electronically using liquid crystals to rotate polarized light. While this sounds complex, the main thing to take away from this is that the technology gets sluggish when it gets too cold. Just like batteries, the colder it gets the slower the response is from the signal to pixel transition. This will lead to the image on your screen becoming blurry.
The last component that is affected by extreme cold are the sensors within the devices we use. The sensors are designed to collect a wide variety of information from where we’re going to how many calories we burned in a day. Basically, sensors track the orientation of the device you are using and how fast it’s moving through space. This is crucial for navigation applications, telling time, and logging activity goals. Like the previous two components, sensors’ performance decline when temperatures fall. The main issue with degrades in a sensors’s performance is accuracy. If you were to take off a digital watch and wave it around in the cold, you could very well lose seconds if not minutes of your day. The reason for this is because the sensor, which is located on the backside of most digital watches, is calibrated to 98.6 degrees F.
How to Manage
Quite simply the easiest way to manage your device in the cold is to not use it. That being said, there are times when you have to use a smartphone in the cold. If that is the case try and store your device as close to your body as possible. Simply putting it in a backpack or purse does not suffice. Also, try and keep your time outside using the device to under 5 minutes. Carrying a smartphone in temperatures colder than -35 degrees F will kill it completely in five minutes. If your device does freeze, do not try and charge it will it is still cold. Make sure it is at room temperature before recharging it. Ignoring this advice can potentially do permanent damage to the battery.
18 Jan / 2019
After months of waiting, Samsung has just started rolling out its latest Android 9.0 Pie-based OS update for the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ and the Galaxy Note 9. This update, which Samsung calls One UI, brings a large variety of new features and an updated look to their most popular devices.
One UI is bringing a more minimal design to their Samsung Galaxy phones interface with a focus on reducing clutter on the screen. It does this by effectively splitting the display in half and paring down the amount of information shown. The top half of the screen will be used for viewing content while the lower half of the screen is for interacting with the device. This means all the key tabs, action buttons, and pop-ups will all be placed in the bottom half of the screen. Also, when a user opens apps on their phone, it will only show the content and functions that are needed rather than displaying all of the information at once. Samsung is also making changes to Night Mode. Night mode will now allow the user to make adjustments to the screen’s tone, brightness, and contrast.Samsung claims all of this is being done to make it easier to navigate larger screen phones.
To turn split screen on click the Recents button in the bottom left-hand corner. Next, click the Ellipses icon in the top-right and select Settings. In Settings, make sure use Recents and Allow Pop-ups are toggled to on.
Some other new features are:
- Improvements to the front-facing camera such as brightness of faces in backlit conditions
- Overall better device security
- Overall stability of functions
- Improvements for the front-facing sensor. Samsung did not go into great detail about the improvements.
If you own a S9, S9+, or Note 9, there is a way to check and see if your device is ready for the update. Go to Settings and tap the Software Update button. Your phone will check to see if an upgrade is available. If it is available, you should see the option to install 9 Pie (Android’s name for the update). The update requires having over 1 GB of free space on your phone.
30 Nov / 2018
Apple has allowed its customers to set up two-factor authentication for their Apple ID. Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security for your accounts that is designed to ensure that someone else simply knowing your password is not enough to gain access to your account. Pitt employees should be very familiar with this as the login process for my.pitt.edu uses dual authentication. This article’s intention is to explain how Apple’s two-factor authentication works, how to set it up, and how to manage your account it’s set up.
How it works
Your Apple ID can only be accessed on devices you trust and trusted phone numbers. A trusted device is an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 9 and later, as well as a Mac with OS X El Capitan and later that you’ve already signed in to using two-factor authentication. This will make the device known and can be used to verify your identity by displaying a verification code from Apple when you sign in from a different device or browser. A trusted phone number is a number that can be used to receive verification codes by text message or automated phone call. You must verify at least one trusted phone number to enroll in two-factor authentication.
When you sign into a new, trusted device for the first time, you will need to provide two pieces of information. The two pieces of information are your password and the six-digit verification code that’s automatically displayed on your trusted devices. The verification code is a temporary code sent to the trusted device when you sign in to a new device or browser with your Apple ID. Entering the code verifies that you trust the new device.
For example, if you already have an iPhone and are signing in to your Apple ID for the first time on a newly purchased Mac, you will be prompted to enter your password as well as the verification code that’s automatically displayed on your iPhone. This means that if someone was trying to access your Apple ID, they would need to know your password and physically obtain the device you registered as trusted.
A few things to note from the example provided above. Once you signed into your newly purchased Mac, you will not be asked for a verification code on the device again unless you sign out completely, erase the device, or need to change your password for security reasons. If you sign in on the web, you have the ability to choose to trust your browser, so you will not be asked for a verification code the next time you sign in from that computer.
How to set up two-factor authentication for your Apple ID
An important thing to note before we get into setting up two-factor authentication, once it is on, it can only be turned off within the first two weeks of enrollment. To turn on two-factor authentication on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, follow the steps below.
Turn on two-factor authentication
If you are using iOS 10.3 or later:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap <your name>.
- Tap Password & Security.
- Tap Turn On Two-Factor Authentication.
- Tap Continue.
If you are using iOS 10.2 or earlier:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap iCloud.
- Tap <your Apple ID>.
- Tap Password & Security.
- Tap Turn On Two-Factor Authentication.
- Tap Continue.
Enter and verify your trusted phone number
- Enter the phone number where you want to receive verification codes when you sign in.
- Choose to receive the codes via text message or automated phone call.
- Tap Next.
- A verification code will be sent to the phone number you provided.
- Enter the verification code to verify your phone number and turn on two-factor authentication.
How to manage your two-factor authentication account
You are able to manage your trusted phone numbers, trusted devices, and other related account information from your Apple ID account page. To view and manage your trusted devices follow the steps below.
- Go to your Apple ID account page.
- Sign in with your Apple ID.
- Go to the Devices section.
The device list that will appear shows the devices that you are currently signed in to with your Apple ID. On this screen, you can view the model, serial number, and other useful information such as whether or not the device is trusted. You are also able to remove a trusted device from this page.
For more information about Apple ID Two-Factor Authentication, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
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.