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File sharing and torrent downloads

Technology Services is aware of recent issues with the 'Cairn-Internet' wireless connection.The issue seems to be related to heavy torrent traffic. The use peer-to-peer software (including torrents) is not permitted on the university network. Such software, not only causes problems for the rest of the community, but also poses a security risk for your computeralong with legal ramifications for sharing copyrighted material. 

What Computer Should I Buy?

A lot of times, I am asked what computer to buy if one is starting as a student. The answer depends on what the user prefers. All of the student resources are accessible from any web browser. So pretty much any computer with a web browser will do, provided it has sufficient memory and CPU power for browsing.

Below are the minimum recommended specifications if you are considering buying a new computer:

Other than these specs, it depends on what type of computer one prefers (Windows vs. Mac). Macs are highly desired by students and are nice. However, they tend to be more expensive.

If choosing a PC, Dell or Toshiba laptops are a good choice.  When choosing Toshiba, the Tecra or Portege line is the best. They are more reliable and a good value for the money. I personally prefer the lighter laptops (Toshiba Portege R8xx models) and if I had to buy one today, I would get the Portege R83x series. It weighs only 3.2 lbs. and has a DVD-RW and 13.3" LCD screen.

If you have any questions on a laptop you are considering to purchase, feel free to contact ts@cairn.edu or the TS Helpdesk.

Should You Shut Down Your Computer Every Night?

Every now and then, I get a question whether you should shut down the computer every night. It is a good question that everyone should consider. I Not shutting it down has its advantatages such as instant availability and convenience. However, because of the following reasons, I recommend that you either use the sleep/hibernation mode or better shut down the computer completely when you are done for the day.

  • When left on all the time, they use more power and therefore it is a waste for the institution (It is estimated that they waste $25-$75 per computer per year).
  • The fans can wear out and may clog, thus causing overheating and component damage. Also, if there is a power outage, there is a greater chance of damaging the hard drive and computer components. It is best to also turn off the power strip after the computer is off. In that way, if there is aan electrical power spike, the computer is not damaged.
  • If the computers are not locked (Windows Key +L), then it also poses a system security risk (in an office environment).
  • By leaving them on for long periods of time, the memory in Windows machines gets corrupted and the systems either slow down or crash more often. So basically, you get less problems and better performance if you start the computer daily.

There are options to activate power management on your computer (put the computer into sleep mode after a certain length of time), but be cautious that some networked workstations and database applications do not play well with it particalarly when the application is left open.

More info. on this topic is  available from this article: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/fresh-greens/2009/03/25/simple-green....