• Throwback Thursday: The Family Inn

    by  • April 17, 2014 • 0 Comments

    The Olde Bryan InnFrom my parents:
    Our trip to Albany and Saratoga Springs yielded yet another family connection. William Billinghurst married Julia Bryan. Julia’s father came from Massachusetts and settled in the Mendon/Pittsford area (we’re talking late 1700s early 1800s). His brother Alexander went to Saratoga Springs and settled, opening an inn for travelers. The Olde Bryan Inn still stands and we had dinner there (great food if you ever find yourself in Saratoga Springs). In 1832 a stone building was built around the original log cabin inn by son John Bryan and it remained a family home until the early 1900s. Alexander was a hero of the Revolution, credited with spying on the British and warning the Americans of the attack at Saratoga, leading to the American victory there. Alexander is your 1st cousin 8 times removed.

    On the next Tech Talk: Liz Lawley on Playful Pedagogy

    by  • April 15, 2014 • 0 Comments

    Liz LawleyResearch on games and learning have shown us that games can be powerful tools for learning–providing players with the opportunity to learn from and even celebrate failures as part of the natural learning process in a challenging environment. How can universities take advantage of the power of games and game mechanics? It’s not as simple as dropping in badges and leaderboards. Professor Liz Lawley, who teaches in the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Interactive Games & Media as well as directing RIT’s Lab for Social Computing, will talk about Just Press Play, a “game layer for undergraduate engagement” that she and her colleagues have designed to enrich the learning environment for undergraduate students. After three years of iterative development and testing, her group will be releasing the software underlying Just Press Play under an open source license at the end of this academic year.


    This episode will be broadcast live on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 10am CT. Register @ http://nlc.nebraska.gov/scripts/calendar/eventshow.asp?ProgID=13024.

    Margaret Atwood

    by  • April 14, 2014 • 0 Comments

    Here are my photos and videos from the amazing Margaret Atwood event put on yesterday by the Omaha Public Library. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this event a reality.

    RIP Ubuntu One

    by  • April 12, 2014 • 1 Comment

    Hi, We are writing to you to notify you that we will be shutting down the Ubuntu One file services, effective 1 June 2014. This email gives information about the closure and what you should expect during the shutdown process. As of today, it will no longer be possible to purchase storage or music from the Ubuntu One...

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    All about Tech Support Scams

    by  • April 11, 2014 • 0 Comments

    unpacked-logoYou hear those stories about someone calling claiming they’re from Microsoft and that they’ve “found a problem on your computer” and are here to help. To be honest, I didn’t put much faith into those stories. I mean, really? Do people actually get those calls? Well, earlier this year I was sitting in a colleague’s office, someone on our tech staff, when her cell rang and she answered it. She quickly put it on speaker so I could hear the caller. It was someone claiming to be from Microsoft wanting to help her with a problem on her computer. She let him go on for about five minutes, not actually doing anything he said to do, before hanging up. Yes folks, these calls are real. And no, they are not calling to help you.

    Last week I was pointed to a great page from Mallwarebytes titled “Tech Support Scams – Help & Resource Page“. This is a great recourse you can use to familiarize yourself with these sorts of scams and to point others to in order to educate them to spot and ignore these scams.

    For example:

    Cold Call

    Usually from India and operating out of boiler rooms, these scammers call people in the U.S, Canada, the UK, and Australia whom they find in the phone directory.

    The scam is straightforward: pretend to be calling from Microsoft, gain remote control of the machine, trick the victim with fake error reports and collect the money.

    If you ever get a call from a Microsoft or Windows tech support agent out of the blue, the best thing to do is simply hang up. Scammers like to use VoIP technology so their actual number and location are hidden. Their calls are almost free which is why they can do this 24/7.

    …and the specific techniques they use:

    The Task Manager (CPU ‘spikes’)


    falseThese spikes are dangerous for your PC’s health. Just like your heart rate, they should not go up. Your PC could suffer some irreparable damage.

    trueWhen your PC is active, you will see the CPU usage go up and down constantly. What would not be good is if the CPU was pegged at 100% utilization all of the time. This is not the case here.

    Even if you know what you’re doing, this is a wonderful page to read and share.