Newsletter

Newsletter (7)

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 14:47

UCU a proud member of the eduroam community

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eduroam (education roaming) is the secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community.

eduroam allows faculty, staff, and students to use their home institution's wireless credentials to access wireless networks when visiting other eduroam participating institutions. eduroam eliminates the need for a guest account. This is one of the services offered by RENU and UCU was one of the first institutions on the RENUnet to benefit/use the service in Uganda and this was in 2013.

Once UCU joined the eduroam community, stuff, researchers and students access to services via the wireless network was made possible and easy accessible.

Joining the eduroam community was not easy, University ICT Services (UIS) had to make sure that some basic requirements were already in place. These included the possession of the following; a user database, an authentication server, and of-course a properly structured wireless network that supports authentication services.

 These requirements were gradually achieved after which RENU accepted UCU to configure and use eduroam. 

UCU has benefited from the eduroam service in the following ways;

  1. It’s able to provide a secure wireless connection to faculty students, staff/researchers and other wireless users.
  2. It’s been able to reduce the burden of wireless administration on support staff for example when most students from the United States under the USP program or any other institution with eduroam visit UCU, they are able to use their laptops, phones or any other mobile device to connect to the internet or their home network automatically through eduroam in less than 5 seconds. 

The same eduroam service has been extended to UCU Kampala Campus, Bishop Barham University College (BBUC), UCU Arua Campus and UCU School of Medicine. This service will soon be rolled out to UCU Mbale Constituent College

Unfortunately, in Uganda there are only a handful of institutions that have deployed eduroam however in developed countries especially the Research and Education community it has been running since 2002.

There are now over 6,000 institutions that use eduroam in over 60 countries world-wide. For more details, where you can use/access eduroam simply visit the link below: -

 https://www.eduroam.org/where/

Thursday, 01 November 2018 20:22

UIS Password Guidelines

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This works for eduroam, UCU-wireless, webmail, eLearning and cloud. A proper password should have;

  • At least one capital letter -A
  • At least one small letter -a
  • At least one number -1
  • At least one special character -!@#%
  • Minimum password length is 6 characters for example Jc4L!fe
  • Do not share your password
Thursday, 01 November 2018 19:35

UCU Cloud Services

Did you know you can access cloud services at https://cloud.ucu.ac.ug/ .

These are some of the things to know about cloud;

  • Easily share business(documents) with colleagues without use of flash drives, eliminating the risks associated with flash drives.
  • You only need a UCU email address and password to login to your cloud account.
Thursday, 01 November 2018 19:22

3 tips on avoiding and dealing with spam

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All of us get that email that we do not expect from unknown sources, also known as spam. However, most of us wonder how this gets into our mailboxes.

Here are some pointers on avoiding spam;

  1. All email addresses are prone to spam, however, we have a tool called a spam-filter that is always looking out for suspicious emails and blocking them. Unfortunately, some spam look like legitimate emails and pass through the filter, making it to your in box. It is your duty to train your filter. When you receive spam mail, do not delete it immediately and do not open it either. The first step is to mark it as SPAM. Also if you have legitimate emails in your spam folder, you can mark it as Not SPAM. This way, your filter tool will always mark emails from that very source as you have chosen to label them.

  2. Mind the websites you visit and subscribe to. Whenever you are subscribing on various websites for a free service or to download a free software, your email is being collected for use in ways you may not agree with. Free services online are not always free.

  3. Do not use UCU's official email addresses for social media platforms like facebook and twitter.
Thursday, 01 November 2018 10:21

Ransomware ‑ What you need to know

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Users receive quite a number of phishing emails containing ransomware (this occurrence has increased in recent times), both at home and at work. A user can accidentally activate the virus and as a consequence, their colleagues at work might be seriously impacted. This short post will teach you what Ransomware is and how to defend yourself.

Ransomware is a type of computer virus, generally delivered as an email attachment or downloaded from malicious and/or social websites. It could be masked as a document (e.g. a late invoice) or as a useful program. Once it is executed, ransomware encrypts all user documents, both on the computer and on network drives. A ransom is then asked in exchange for decrypting the files and if the user does not have a recent backup the files are lost forever.

 To defend against ransomware, IT support should setup a wide array of technical measures and procedures, including regular backups (and you may also want to back up the files on your home computer). Unfortunately, these measures are not enough when done alone. The most effective defense against ransomware is safe user behaviour and awareness.

Thursday, 06 September 2018 13:49

10 browser tips everyone should know

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So I think we can all agree that we spend a lot of time working through a web browser, either doing research or just going about our daily work. Work would get easier if we knew a few handy tricks to get around our modern browsers and the internet in general. Please Note that a modern browser has to be one that is updated to the latest version or the latest stable release. Check out the list below for 10  tips that you ought to be using.

  1. How to search a Page That Links to Another Page

Let's say you want to search for every website that cites a UCU article on their website. To do this, use the link: command, immediately followed by the name of a page. Google will give you all pages that link to UCU's official website. The more specific the URL is, the fewer, more pointed results you'll get. Example Search: link:ucu.ac.ug

  1. How to search Word Definitions?

If you need to quickly look up the definition of a word or phrase, simply use the define: command. You can listen to the word's pronunciation by pressing the megaphone icon. Search Example: define:Christ

  1. How to Search Within a Website

Often, you want to search a specific website for content that matches a certain phrase. Even if the site doesn’t support a built-in search feature, you can use Google to search the site for your term. Simply use the site:somesite.com modifier. Example Search: site:www.ucu.ac.ug application

In this case, google will search the UCU website for the word “application”

  1. The browser task manager

Just like your operating system, Chrome has a built-in task manager. The Chrome task manager lets you see know how much of your computer's memory the site is using, its CPU usage and network activity. To open the Task Manager, Click More Tools-> Task Manager



If you feel that your computer has slowed down after opening multiple tabs, it is recommended that you peek into the task manager and identify processes or tabs that are slowing it down and take the necessary action. For e.g. I can select a browser task that is taking up too much memory and end it by clicking "End Process".

  1. Did you know Chrome Is a Simple Multimedia Browser?

Have you ever been organizing your computer and come across some multimedia file and you have no idea what file it is? Drag it directly into your chrome window and open it.

  1. Use Google Chrome as Media Player

You can use Chrome to view several of the most common video, audio, and photo formats to save you the trouble of having to install or launch a separate media player application. Chrome keeps on-screen interface elements down to a minimum, so you might prefer to open up a podcast or a movie in a browser tab, for example. Just drag and drop the file into an open tab.

  1. TAB to search

For any site that has its own search box, you can program Chrome to go directly to that search in one click
Type the web address in address box, ucu.ac.ug and then hit TAB. Now enter your search term. This helps to save a lot of time and effort while browsing. You can do this for sites like youtube, quora, LinkedIn, etc

  1. Use Google Chrome For Quick Note:

We can open a text editor in our browser. We can take notes in it easily . For that, just type or copy data:text/html,<html contenteditable> in the address bar and press enter. Then click on the screen to see the cursor. You can take notes on this screen now.

  1. Browse Through Tabs Using Key Commands

Hold down the Control key and a number 1 through 9. Each number associated with a different tab starting with 1 and incrementally through 9 tabs as you move to the right. ie., Ctrl + 1 for opening first tab, Ctrl + 3 for opening third tab, etc.

  1. Drag Links Directly to Your Desktop

There are numerous ways to store and organize links you want to click on later. But this one is cool. Create a link icon directly on your desktop- Make it look like a software or a file and click it to open the website. Highlight the URL from the omnibox and drag and drop it on the desktop.

 

By Norbert Afya

UIS Systems

Thursday, 06 September 2018 13:45

Why UCU Loves Open Source

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Have you heard of the term “open source”? It basically refers to something people can edit and share because its design is accessible to the public

 Wikipedia states that Open-source software (OSS) is a type of computer software whose source code is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose

 Based on the advice of University ICT Services(UIS), Uganda Christian University(UCU) has decided to opt for an open source path as their default choice when looking for software. Over the course of time, it will be necessary for UIS to talk a little more about open source software but for now here are six reasons how UCU benefits from open source technology.

 

Almost No viruses.

While anti-virus software does exist for Linux, you probably won’t need to use it. Viruses that affect Linux are still very rare. Some argue that this is because Linux is not as widely used as other operating systems, so no one writes viruses for it. Others argue that Linux is intrinsically more secure, and security problems that viruses could make use of are fixed very quickly. An improved security on our computer systems eliminates an unlimited number of risks.

Easy to use

When it comes to ease of use, there is no difference between a computer with Windows, MacOS and a computer with Linux, assuming both systems are installed properly. There is a common misconception perpetuated by windows fans that Linux is hard to use. You will realise that this is a myth once you look at the latest version of Ubuntu operating system.

This comparison is similar to comparing ease of use of a Nokia Phone and a Samsung. Every user finds it easy with the brand they are used to. However, when a need to change arises, it takes a short time (a few days) to get used to the new phone, after which they feel as comfortable with the new garget. This is an inherent issue of personal change management.

 

No licenses, no expiry (Freedom)

If you are used to windows, then you must have seen a message requesting you to activate it or alerting you that your Windows is not genuine. And if you have not seen it, then you must know how the license affected your cash flow. This brings us to the next major advantage of going opensource. If you don’t like your system expiring, then opensource is for you.

 

Value for money (or no money)

Opensource products are often distributed under licenses that will let you download, re-distribute, use or even modify for free. If you are not IT savvy, you may only pay someone to install for you (a service fee). All in all, you get the same value in a product as you would in a commercial product, but at no cost or a small cost. As an academic institution, the ability to view the source code of an operating system and even modify it is invaluable for young brains that wish to learn.

Quality of software

Just imagine you were to choose between a software created by a handful of developers, and a software package created by thousands of developers. Due to a large population of developers on open source projects, such software get closest to what users want because users have a hand in the development. Just as there are countless developers and users working to improve the security of open source software, so are there just as many innovating new features and enhancements to those products.

 I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the major open source implementations at UCU;

 

  1. The University website is based on an open source engine. This enables the university to run various updates and upgrades on the website for free. The university website is http://ucu.ac.ug with various subdomains for various departments, such as http://fost.ucu.ac.ug for Faculty of Science and Technology, http://library.ucu.ac.ug for the University library and http://uis.ucu.ac.ug for the University ICT Services.

 

  1. A new open source-based conference system. UCU has a conference system used to indicate upcoming conferences, call for papers, public lecture and all such events. It is at the moment being used by the school of research due to the nature of their work but is available for use by all faculties/departments within the university. It can be accessed at https://conferences.ucu.ac.ug

 

  1. The Helpdesk System is also open source. UCU has a helpdesk system that can be accessed at https://helpdesk.ucu.ac.ug The major use of this system is to help users log issues to UIS for support. For example, if my email is bouncing or my monitor/screen has a crack, I login to the helpdesk link and enter this detail. The UIS team receives notification of this and attends to it. They in turn record details of how the issue has been resolved, keeping a record of issues i.e. accumulation of knowledge.

 

  1. The UCU eLearning Platform is run by the eLearning Section, under Academics Department. This platform can be accessed at https://elearning.ucu.ac.ug by both lecturers and students.

 

By Norbert Afya and Rebecca Kangabe

UIS Systems