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Max’s Minute: Mad Max’s Crazy House of Research Computing

Max Davis-Johnson

NEW! IMPROVED! Mad Max returns to offer a SCREAMING deal for Boise State University researchers: FREE high-performance computing and storage!

Thanks to a recent grant from Dr. Inanc Senocak in the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Boise State now offers more than 200 teraflops of processing power for our research community, and access to some of the largest high-performance computing clusters in the country.

Mad Max explains it all, and offers a deal researchers CAN’T refuse!

Visit the Office of Information Technology’s Research Computing website for details.

New Features for Google Forms

Google Apps

Google has launched a new update for Google Forms, including custom themes and more ways to create and share.

Themes are an excellent way to personalize your Forms for an intended audience. Add custom images or logos – change font details, text alignment, and color  motifs. Other new features include searchable menus, shuffle questions, limits of one response per person, and shortened URLs, making it easier for people to access your form.

Also, Google will soon migrate and auto-upgrade legacy forms to the new version of Google Forms. This new version increases response rates and hosts the advanced features mentioned above. The upgrade for on October 20th and will continue over the next several days.

After the upgrade is complete, a notification will appear if a newly upgraded form is opened. In this case, it is recommended you then choose a newer theme, or create a customized theme for your older form.

These new features will make it easier to create, customize, and share forms for surveys, assessments, and more. For details, see Google ‘s website.

If you have questions about how to use Google Forms, contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at 426-HELP, or email

Support for Windows 8.1 and OS X 10.10 Coming Soon

Windows 8 dot 1 and Mac O S 10 dot 10

The Office of Information Technology is completing testing on Windows 8.1 and Mac OS 10.10 operating systems, and is aiming to make these systems available to Boise State faculty and staff by the end of the Fall semester.

An enormous amount of work goes into testing desktop operating systems with supported software, as well as preparing the “image” for each system which is used to efficiently deploy the software to Boise State computers.

Both operating systems will be free of charge when we announce availability.

If you have questions about Windows or Mac operating systems, contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at

Free Blackboard Conference at Boise State November 11


Blackboard Conference

Plan to attend “Digital Ecosystems for Success” on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 — a free, one-day Blackboard conference presented the Office of Information Technology and Blackboard Learn.

Discover how Blackboard can improve student engagement, save faculty time, and provide a supporting ecosystem of learning and communication.

Topics covered will include the use of essential Blackboard tools, preventing cheating, and building online communities. Presentations will be delivered by Boise State faculty members and staff, as well as professionals from Blackboard.

The conference will take place 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Registration and refreshments will be in the Simplot Ballroom in the Student Union Building.

A box lunch will be provided to those who register by Friday, October 24.

Register details are available on Blackboard’s website.

NCSAM: Cybersecurity for Small & Medium-Sized Businesses and Entrepreneurs

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the Nation’s economy. Aside from the wide range of services they offer, small and medium-sized businesses store significant amounts of sensitive data, from customer information to intellectual property.

While bigger businesses can often dedicate greater resources towards cybersecurity, small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs face the same cybersecurity challenges and threats with limited resources, capacity, and personnel.

Entrepreneurs also face a unique cyber security threat as their data includes not only personnel data and financial spreadsheets, but valuable intellectual property that could be worth much more than even they realize.

Entrepreneurs are recognizing this need and the fact that the cybersecurity field is a burgeoning marketplace. Entrepreneurs start and fail again (or start, succeed, sell and start again), so they should consider cyber security as a marketplace and focus their talents on creating new and affordable cyber solutions.

The Department of Homeland Security and other Federal agencies are dedicated to helping improve the cybersecurity of small and medium-sized businesses. Businesses of all sizes can take steps to ensure they are more secure, including:

  • Use and regularly update anti-virus and anti-spyware software on all computers; automate patch deployments across your organization to protect against vulnerabilities.
  • Secure your Internet connection by using a firewall, encrypting information and hiding your Wi-Fi network.
  • Establish security practices and policies to protect sensitive information; educate employees about cyber threats and how to protect your organization’s data and hold them accountable to the Internet security policies and procedures.
  • Require that employees use strong passwords and regularly change them.
  • Invest in data loss protection software for your network and use encryption technologies to protect data in transit.
  • Protect all pages on your public-facing websites, not just the checkout and sign-up pages.

These and other tips can be found in small business section of the Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit.

Businesses can access the following resources to help improve their cybersecurity:

Because cybersecurity and physical security are increasingly interconnected, the Department of Homeland Security has partnered with the critical infrastructure community to establish a voluntary program to encourage use of the Cybersecurity Framework to strengthen critical infrastructure cybersecurity.

The Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community C³ Voluntary Program is the coordination point within the Federal Government for critical infrastructure owners and operators interested in improving their cyber risk management processes. The Department of Homeland Security is emphasizing participation by small and medium-sized businesses.

For more information about how to practice good cybersecurity with your business, visit the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign web site.

Security, Department of Homeland. Homeland Security. 29 September 2014. Web Site Article. 17 October 2014. <>.

Below is a video from USA Today and McAfee with the Top 5 Tips for Cyber-Security for Small-Medium Businesses

Stop Think Connect

NCSAM: Critical Infrastructure and the “Internet of Things”

national cyber security awareness month

The Internet underlies nearly every facet of our daily lives and is the foundation for much of the critical infrastructure that keeps our nation running. The systems that support electricity, financial services, transportation, and communications are increasingly interconnected.

By working together, we can rest assured knowing our homes and businesses will have power, our transportation systems will get us where we need to go, and our communication systems will help us connect at work and at home.

Just as critical infrastructure is essential to helping Americans live their everyday lives, a growing “Internet of Things”—the ability of objects and devices to transfer data—is changing the way we use technology and helping people live more efficiently.  The Internet of Things encompasses the devices that are embedded with computers and, through a combination of sensors, connectivity to the Internet, and human activity, work to connect our lives to the digital world.

Simply put, we are connected and online 24/7 even when we’re not at a computer.

Consumers play an important role in securing critical infrastructure not only by practicing good cyber hygiene themselves, but also by encouraging the many companies and organizations they do business with to adhere to high cybersecurity standards. On an individual basis, consumers can:

  • Make a plan to help keep your employees and community safe during an emergency and enhance your ability to recover operations quickly if you run a business. If you are an employee, ask your management whether there are plans in place and request a copy.
  • Report suspicious activity.
  • Make informed decisions about connecting devices to your networks. Visit US-CERT Tips.
  • If you manufacture devices, check out the Small Business Association’s cyber course.

By working together, we can protect the critical infrastructure on which we all we rely, keeping ourselves, our families, and our communities safer and more secure.

Security, Homeland. National Cyber-Security Awareness Month Week 3. 1 October 2014. Web Site. 10 October 2014. <>.

A short video by Intel gives an explanation of the “Internet of Things” and what it means to our Infrastructure and daily life. Even though it is a type of sales ad, it gives very good information the “Internet of Things” operates and how everything is connected:

By 2020, there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet. Jonathan Strickland takes us on a tour through a living room of the future to see how this “Internet of Things” (IOT) will impact our daily lives:

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2014 Archive

If you would like more information about National Cyber Security Awareness Month, or have cyber security questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at or (208) 426-4357.

The Data Doctor is In!

Reporting Services

Business Intelligence and Reporting Services (BIRS), along with Institutional Analysis, Assessment and Reporting (IAAR), are presenting “Data Doctor” drop-in labs for myInsights and Pyramid reporting services this fall:

  • Wednesday, October 15, 8:30 am – 10:00 am (Employee Learning & Development Classroom, PAAW Building)
  • Thursday, November 6, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm (Room 208, Riverfront Hall)
  • Wednesday, November 19, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm (Room 208, Riverfront Hall)
  • Thursday, December 4, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm (Room 208, Riverfront Hall)

Please bring your reporting questions and issues to the drop-in labs, describe your symptoms, and a Data Doctor will prescribe the cure!

More information about using Pyramid Analytics and myInsights reporting services can be found on the Reporting Services website.

NCSAM: Secure Development of IT Products


This week’s theme for National Cyber Security Awareness Month is the secure development of IT products.

According to

“Building security into information technology products is key to enhanced cybersecurity. Security is an essential element of software design, development, testing and maintenance. The software we use everyday on our phones, tablets, and computers may have vulnerabilities that can compromise our personal information and privacy.”

Boise State’s Information Security Services team is always involved in the design, development, testing and maintenance of software here at the University. This helps keep our programs safe from cyber attacks.

However, no matter how much you test software, vulnerabilities can still be present. This is why it is so important to install updates anytime you receive a notification to do so.

You can find more information about the importance of installing updates and other ways to stay safe online by reading this article on the Information Security Services webpage. It also includes a short video to watch.

If you would like more information about NCSAM or have any cyber security questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at or (208) 426-4357.

NCSAM: Stop.Think.Connect.


As we mentioned yesterday, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM).  Our first theme to celebrate is Stop.Think.Connect.

Stop.Think.Connect is a national campaign to raise awareness for cyber security education. This program began four years ago and, although we highlight it during NCSAM, it goes on all year.

The main ideas behind Stop.Think.Connect (courtesy of are:

STOP: Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.

THINK: Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your safety, or your family’s.

CONNECT: Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.

You can read more by visiting the Boise State Information Security Services webpage. They’ve included a 30-second video that explains the Stop.Think.Connect campaign.

There’s also a great tip sheet on If you like, download the PDF version of the tip sheet, print it out and post it near your computer as a good reminder of ways to stay safe online.

If you would like more information about NCSAM or have any cyber security questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at or (208) 426-4357.

Network Maintenance October 12

The Office of Information Technology will perform network maintenance on Sunday, October 12 between 6:00 am – 8:00 am. Voice and data services will be unavailable in the following locations:

  • Micron Engineering Center
  • Engineering
  • Extended Studies
  • Taco Bell Arena
  • Football Complex (entire complex)
  • Lincoln Parking Garage
  • REC Center
  • Norco School of Nursing
  • Small Business DevelopmentCenter
  • Euclid Mods
  • Manitou Mods
  • Technical Service Building
  • Yanke facility
  • University of Idaho Water Center
  • Donna Larson Park
  • HML Building
  • Environmental Research Building
  • Architects & Engineering Services
  • Facilities, Operations and Maintenance
  • OIT Business, Network Services, and System Engineers
  • Electrical Shop
  • Lock Shop
  • Mechanical Technology Building
  • Tech Help
  • Gage Street
  • Risk Management & Internal Audit

For more information, please contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at