March 29, 2007
ISU Extension is looking for Developers.

Extension IT has two open positions for developers. The ideal candidates will have experience in web page design and development, database integration with the web, and object oriented programming. Most of the work will be done in ASP.NET using C#, Microsoft SQL database server, and will use web standards and CSS. For more information, go to and click on "System Analyst – Campus"

Posted by bwebster at 03:58 PM
March 13, 2007
New Thing Seven for Vista: Aero

Aero stands for Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, and open (I don't know if it's always stood for those thing or if, as I suspect, someone thoguht it ought to stand for something(. Aero is the new graphical user interface for Windows Vista. Aero makes possible translucent windows (Aero Glass), Windows Flip, Windows Flip 3D, live thumbnails and other elements of Windows Vista's new look and feel. Aero requires a certain level of graphics capability to run, but if you're running Windows Vista on a machine that doesn't have the capability to show Aero (or projecting on a projector), Windows Vista will fall back to a 'basic' interface that will still allow you to operate in Windows Vista, but will be missing some of the new, 'cool' look and feel characteristics.


Figure 1: Live Thumbnails


Figure 2: Windows Flip (Alt + Tab). This is also an example of Aero Glass--translucent windows.


Figure 3: Windows Flip 3D (Windows + Tab)

Posted by dcoates at 09:41 AM
March 12, 2007
New Thing Six for Vista: Windows Defender

Windows Defender provides protection from spyware and other malware. Spyware can make your computer susceptible to pop-ups, slow performance and other security threats. Defender finds and removes known spyware. Its database of known problem programs is updated automatically on a regular basis.

Windows Defender is not a replacement for McAfee's VirusScan. You will need both programs installed on your Windows Vista computer.


Posted by dcoates at 09:30 AM
March 09, 2007
New Thing Five for Vista: User Account Control

One of the ways that we enhance security for ISUE computers is to have all computers be part of the IASTATE domain so that users have to log in (using Net-IDs). In addition, user accounts are set so that we are generally running as users rather than as administrators. This means that it's more difficult for malware to infect your computer or for your computer to be compromised by hackers.

It also means that it's somewhat more difficult for you to install software and perform neccessary administrator-level tasks. On Windows 2000 and Windows XP, you have to close out of everything you're working on, log off, and log back in as 'Administrator.'

Windows Vista has significantly improved this aspect with User Account Control. With User Account Control, you can do your regular tasks with limited privilege (meaning you don't have administrative privileges when you're doing your regular work), but you can elevate your privileges when needed to install software, etc. In general, when something requires administrator-level privileges, the system will ask you to provide administrative credentials (username and password for your administrator account) and then proceed with the administrative task without requiring you to log out and in again.

In addition, Windows Vista grants more privileges to regular (non-administrator) accounts in some cases than Windows 2000 or XP. First and foremost (the one I think people will notice first) is the ability to add printers without having to either log in as administrator or provide an administrator password. You can also now change power management settings, create and configure VPN connections, and install critical Windows updates from your regular account without invoking administrator privileges.


Many of the instances where elevated privileges are required will appear with a shield.

Logged in as yourself, you can start the process and the system will request your administrator password when required:


Type in your password and continue.

Sometimes a program running in the background (an update program, for example) will put up a similar window, which says 'An unidentified program needs your permission to continue.' At that point you can either type in your password or cancel (if, for example, the program that wants to run is malware that you don't want on your computer).

Posted by dcoates at 04:28 PM
March 06, 2007
New Thing Four for Vista: Printer Installs

The best new thing about printer installs is that you don't have to be logged in as adminsitrator to install printers in Windows Vista.

To install a printer in Vista:

  1. Go to Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, Printers, Add a Printer.
  2. You'll need to know the IP number of the printer you want to install
  3. Select 'Add a network, wireless, or Bluetooth printer'
  4. Vista will search for available printers, but most likely you'll need to select 'The printer that I want isn't listed.'
  5. Select 'Add a printer using TCP/IP address or hostname'
  6. Allow Vista to autodetect the printer (go out on the network nad determine the type of printer and driver needed). Enter the IP address. Leave 'Query the printer and automatically select the driver to use' checked.
  7. Vista will contact the printer. If you've previously installed this printer or another printer of the same make and model, you will be asked if you want to use the driver that's installed or replace it. Click Next.
  8. You should see your printer name (which you can change) and have the chance to set this printer as your default. If you don't want this to be your default printer, uncheck this box.
  9. Your printer is installed. You can print a test page. Click Finish.
  10. And you're finished.
Posted by dcoates at 02:38 PM
New Thing Three for Vista: Control Panels

The Control Panel has a new look (click on the image for a larger view):


Recent tasks are tracked in the left sidebar. You can change to the 'Classic' view. However, things are easier to find than in XP's control panel (so you may not need to revert to Classic view). some items, like Windows Sidebar Properties and Internet Options, appear in more than one category. New control panels, like Windows Defender (more details in a later post), Windows Experience Index, and Windows Sidebar Properties are now included. Instant search is available in the upper right corner and will search in the context of the Control Panels when you're in this specific window.

Posted by dcoates at 11:25 AM