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Plan Ahead to Keep Your Data Safe

With summer in full swing, it’s time to think about the potential dangers summer storms can bring to your computer systems. While data loss can occur at any time, thunderstorms can bring a multitude of issues, including power outages, power surges, building fires, floods and even the occasional tornado that can strike at a moment’s notice. If one of these happens to you, do you have a plan in place to keep your data secure?

For most people, the answer is to simply back up your data to a secondary storage location. This storage can be a server drive, a portable hard drive, a USB thumb drive or even a CD/DVD. The important thing is that you have a second copy of your files somewhere other than your computer.

Once your backup location is established, determine how often you want to back up. A good rule of thumb is to decide how much work you are willing to lose and then back up accordingly. A starting point might be one-week intervals.

For servers and critical lab equipment, consider having them connected to uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units. These units are essentially a battery backup to continue providing power during brownouts and power outages. Make sure the UPS is powerful enough to do what you need as most units are intended to only provide power long enough to survive short-term power outages (less than 10 minutes) or safely power down equipment.

For critical data, it's a good idea to plan for the unimaginable. A backup drive next to your server works great if you need immediate data after the server stops working. But what happens if your office is hit by a natural disaster like a flood, fire or tornado?  If you have data that you cannot afford to lose under any circumstances, plan for off-site backups in addition to your regular backup method. An off-site backup can be as simple as a recent backup on SkyDrive or a portable hard drive that is taken home (or some other area away from the office). It also can be as involved as having a second copy of your data stored on another server located in a different building or town. The idea is to have a copy of the data in two different locations in case something happens.

While not all of these suggestions may apply to your situation, we hope that they will provide some food for thought and give you a starting point in evaluating your data backup needs.

Jerry Ranum, Desktop Support Specialist; ITS Help Desk, (701) 231-8685

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Use New USDA NIFA Logo

USDA is strengthening its brand by eliminating agency-level branding. This "One USDA Speaking with One Voice" branding initiative requires that only the USDA logo be used to identify all 17 agencies. Also, the new regulation prohibits program/theme logos.NIFA logo

The National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) communications staff ask that partners, grantees and other collaborators adopt the "One USDA" branding initiative when acknowledging NIFA in any and all of your materials--printed or digital.

The Official Identifier for National Institute of Food and Agriculture website includes guidelines, many format options for download and FAQs.

NIFA communications staff said, "As USDA is actively monitoring the acknowledgment of the department and its agencies, both in print and online, it is important we comply with the One USDA initiative."

This is similar to NDSU's branding efforts for logos. See the NDSU guidelines and examples and the N.D. Agricultural Experiment Station and NDSU Extension Service logos that follow the NDSU guidelines.

Becky Koch, Ag Communication Director, (701) 231-7875

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Forms/Surveys in Ag CMS

Do you know that you can create forms or surveys in Ag CMS? Having online forms makes it easy for respondents to fill out, and easy for the recipent to manage the data submitted. See how to use forms in Ag CMS

- Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Write the Right Word: Web and Other Terms

Modern technology had spawned a whole new set of terms. It also has led to questions such as whether the first letter of these words should be capitalized and whether some should be one word, hyphenated or two words.

Here are a few of the common terms:

* email - It is short for electronic mail. Capitalize the “e” if it is the first word in a sentence. “You can reach me by email.” “Email me with your suggestions.”

* Internet - It is a global system of interconnected computer networks. The first letter is capitalized in all cases because it is a proper name. The Net is OK on second and future references in the same article.

* Web - That’s short for the World Wide Web, a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. When referring to this system, the first letter is capitalized in all cases because it is a proper name. “The Web was developed between March 1989 and December 1990.”

* Web page and Web feed - Notice they are two words and Web always is capitalized.

* website, webcam, webcast, webmaster - These are one word. The “w” is lowercase unless the word is at the beginning of a sentence. “John Smith is our new webmaster.” “Websites are easy to develop.”

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

 

 

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Add a Portlet to the Left Side of Your Ag CMS Site

There's a little trick you need to do when adding a portlet to the left side of your website in Ag CMS. It's a best practice to make sure the navigation is at the top of your site. To do this, you need to hide the existing navigation portlet and re-add it, along with your new portlet. Then you can go in and move the position of each portlet. See this video to learn how (4:39):

 

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Beware! Facebook Page Verification Scam

If you are a Facebook Page owner or admin, you might receive a message about the "Facebook Page Verification Program." It is touted as a new security feature, but it is NOT real. This hoax is designed to phish for your personal information.

The message will read something like:

"Dear Facebook User,

You are receiving this message to notify you about the new security feature from Facebook called "Fan Page Verification Program".

After many Fan Pages have been stolen lately leaving us no choice but Deleting them forever, we had to come up with an original solution about the Fan Page's Security..."

If you receive a message like this one, don't open any links or attachments.

Sophos has more information about this hoax in the article, Phishers try flattery with Facebook Page owners.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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Write the Right Word: Plurals of Single Letters

When you are referring to more than one of a single letter, you need to insert an apostrophe between the letter and the “s.” This rule applies whether you are using lowercase or uppercase single letters.

For example: “Mind your p’s and q’s.” Or this: “My favorite team is the Oakland A’s.”

However, do not use an apostrophe when referring to the plural of multiple letters. For example: “He learned his ABCs.” Or this: “A number of VIPs attended the company picnic.”

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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Bb Collaborate v12.5 is Here

Blackboard Collaborate has released version 12.5 for Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing.

This new version has the phone conferencing features we’ve been anticipating plus support for Android!

Click here to learn more about Collaborate's mobile options.

The new phone feature is a good option for someone who might be having audio issues or for someone who can't be at their computer but wants to call in to participate. With the new phone features, only new sessions will be automatically at v12.5. To switch an old session to v12.5 and make the phone option work, please contact me.

To learn more about Bb Collaborate, please click here and watch the three "Featured Demos".

To get a Bb Collaborate session setup for yourself or your unit, please contact me.

Scott Swanson, Electronic Media Specialist, (701) 231-7086

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Some Ag CMS Portlets To Be Removed

Portlets are pre-programmed, templated tools that allow you to dynamically or creatively display content in the left and right side columns, as well as above and below content in Ag CMS desktop view. In mobile Ag CMS, portlets appear below the content.

There are currently 19 portlets available on the Ag Content Management System (Ag CMS), but some of those portlets offer little or no value or are not being used. In an effort to simplify the management of portlets, our Ag CMS team will be making some portlets unavailable beginning on May 24, 2013.

Read our post, "Ag CMS Portlets To Be Made Unavailable," for a full list of the portlets being removed and more information on the process.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Add Multiple Photos to a Facebook Page

There's a different way to upload multiple photos to a Facebook Page (for businesses or organizations) vs. an individual Facebook profile. This 3:20 video shows you how. Upload multiple photos to your Facebook Page

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 241-6403

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