Tip: Adding A Signature To Your Email

Many of you have asked from time to time, “How can I add a signature on the bottom of my email messages?”. I thought I would take the time to demonstrate one of the ways you can do this easily.

If you access your email through Web Outlook, select the “options” menu on the bottom of the left side toobar.

Then browse down and open “edit signature”.

Finally, enter what you would like your signature to look like and save. That’s it. You now have a signature that will appear on all of your email messages.

Is Cloud Computing in West Chester’s Future?

Is the Borough of West Chester headed into “cloud computing”? Well this is not an easy answer. But the answer is “kind of” and “possibly”. As the world economy continues to struggle and find it’s 21st century legs I believe step by step we could be headed there.

What is cloud computing you ask? Simply think of remote back services such as “Mozy” and “Carbonite”. This is very basic, but if you use these services as an example know that these tech companies simply back-up your files remotely. It you use email services such as Microsoft’s “Hotmail” or Google’s “gmail” your mail is stored off site. Basicly these are already in the cloud. So you can see, there is nothing out of the ordinary going on here. As opposed to having to pay for servers, software, licensing and yes, even energy some of your services are maintained by another vendor. That’s it. That’s cloud computing. The biggest question for every organization is what do you place in “the cloud” and what is maintained locally? The Borough of West Chester just like every other organization if starting to look at these issues.

Keep in touch because exciting things are just around the corner.

Syncing Your Android & Network Passwords

I have found one of the biggest challenges for users of Android devices is keeping the email password synced with the network password. For anyone who has used a Blackberry device in the past this is a new issue you should be aware of.

Be aware Android users! Android devices are checking in on your Microsoft Exchange account and the password on your device must match the password on the network. If you forget to change the password on the device after changing it on the network, you will be “locked out” of the network within an hour. This results in phone calls to my office so I am hoping to educate everyone here and save all involved some time.

First, when you know you are going to change your network password, make sure you have your Android device with you.

After changing the network password on the computer select the menu button on your device, then select settings. Browse down and select Accounts. Then select your West Chester (corporate account). Enter your new password in the password field and select OK. Thats it.

Here is a video with step by step directions for syncing your network and Android passwords.

Gadget of the Month: Roku HD Player

Other than its ability to stream Netflix movies, I knew nothing about Roku when I received my first HD Roku almost 2 years ago. But you ask yourself if I have had a HD Roku player for almost 2 years why make it my gadget of the month. Well you see when I purchased one of these beauties they were new on the market and somewhat unproven. Anyway their popularity has continued to grow and a new improved lineup of Roku players hes been recently introduced. I still own one of the original models so my review is based on mine.

The thing is tiny! At less than 5 inches wide and only 1 inch tall, Roku is the size of my hand!

It’s so simple to set up. Just plug in the included red/white/yellow A/V cable from Roku to the TV. If you have an HDMI cable, that’s a better choice, but it has to be purchased separately. Then you follow the on-screen directions to add it to your home network. Don’t have wi-fi? No problem. You can plug an ethernet cable into it. And that was it! You control Roku with the included remote. It’s tiny and very basic, but that’s all you need. I was watching high definition content on Netflix in about 5 minutes

While Roku is best known for its partnership with Netflix, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it does so much MORE! Watch Amazon Video On Demand, listen to Pandora Internet Radio and stream your mp3s, watch MLB TV, NBA TV, NHL GameCenter, browse your Flickr photo albums, and even Facebook photos, too! Explore internet only channels such as Revision 3, MediaFly as well. Hulu Plus has been added this past month as well as NASA TV.So you can see there is plenty of great content on this little box.

Since it’s so tiny, Roku doesn’t consume much energy at all and always stays on (unless you unplug it, of course). In fact, it doesn’t even have an off button. No waiting for a device to start up. Just turn on the TV, click over to the Roku Channel you want, and you’re good to go! It’s an awespme device!

A couple of big differences between the original model I have and the new ones are an increase in HD video quality from 720p to 1080i and the inclusion of a USB port so local video can be viewed through the Roku player. I of course need to upgrade mine at some point soon and perhaps donate my old one to my son (Kevin) in college. It may be a hand-me-down but the kid will certainly accept such a cool gift!

Roku players start at just $59.99. The price is one of the most reasonbly price points in the technology world today. There’s a 30-day money back guarantee and a one-year warranty on the device. You just have to decide which Roku to get! The useful comparison chart on roku.com should help you choose which model is the best for you.

The End of the Internet?

Today, IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Agency) announced that it had handed out two more /8 IPv4 assignments to APNIC (Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre). As a result, IANA is down to 5 /8s, triggering its special policy to hand out one address to each regional registrar (RIR). The 5 RIRs are AFRNIC (Africa), APNIC (Asia Pacific), ARIN (North America), LACNIC (Latin America) and RIPE (Europe).

IANA hands IP address space to the RIRs in chunks of /8s, who then pass it on to ISPs, who then pass it on to end users. Some large end users may approach their RIR directly, and some “legacy assignments” are managed by IANA directly.

But in the end, what does this all mean?

1 – Will the Internet stop working?

No. As a matter of fact, it is unlikely that the IPv4 internet will stop any time soon. It will likely happily exist next to the IPv6 internet. There are some transition mechanisms set up. While not pretty, the two “internets” can talk to each other via proxies and tunnels.

2 – Why do we run out of addresses?

IPv4 allows for about 4 billion addresses. There are about 6 billion people on the world… how many addresses do you need (phone, home, work…)? Its a simple math issue compounded by the fact that for efficient routing sake, we can’t assign all addresses.

3 – A lot of IPv4 space is still unused. Why don’t we use it more effectively?

The problem is not just that we are running out of addresses, even though that is the killer issue here. Assigning addresses more effectively would mean that assignments would become smaller and routing tables would become more complex. In order to make this work, we would have to essentially “renumber” the internet, and still be out of addresses at some point.

4 – What about legacy space? Does Apple really need a /8?

In the beginning of the Internet, IPv4 address space was handed out very liberally. Remember it was just an experiment? Some of the original participants still have large IPv4 assignments which they don’t use efficiently. However, even if all of them are handed back, it would delay the problem only by 1-2 years at great expense to the effected companies (and they have contracts giving them the rights to use the address space). Some “legacy allocations” have been returned in the past

5 – What do I need to do today?

Relax. Nothing is going to happen fast. the RIRs still have space left, depending on the region a few month to a year. After that, it will get tricky. You may already find it harder to get IP address space. Eventually, your ISP may ask for some space back as they can’t get new addresses from the RIR. Over time, IPv4 will get more expensive then IPv6.

6 – So I can just wait and do nothing?

No. What you should do tomorrow (maybe today?) is setup a test lab to familiarize yourself with IPv6. It is easy to get going. Ask your ISP if they support it (or when), or setup a tunnel with a free tunnel provider like Hurricane Electric [2] or Sixxs [3] (there are others). You need a plan on how to deal with it. Even if you don’t need IPv6, maybe your business partners start using it and you need to connect to them via IPv6.

7 – Can’t I just ignore it?

Remember why you are using IP in the first place? It allows you to connect to everything on the internet. In short: It keeps you in connected. Once these people expect IPv6 connectivity, you will likely have to move along with it. It is like any technology in that it ultimately has to support the business (and well… it is fun too!).

8 – What will change from a security point of view?

Everything and nothing. The most important change is probably the fact that NAT will become less important. Endpoint protection and carefully configured firewalls will become more important. Passive asset detection will become more important compared to active scanning. There is a lot of security gear you own that probably does a lousy job dealing with IPv6. Did I mention it requires a plan and testing?

Monthly Track-It Report

I thank everyone for continuing to use Track-It for submitting work order requests. Please continue to submit work orders through Track-It for the following technical services.

1. Information Technology Services (networking, websense)
2. Help Desk Services (computers and software issues)
3. Police Radio Servcies
4. Police Video & Audio Evidence Requests
5. Telecommunication Issues
6. Wireless Account Issues

If the “Track-It” shortcut is deleted or otherwise not available on your dekstop, you can always find it here, at the West Chester Employee’s Technology Blog on the right side panel, under WORK ORDERS.

Be aware that service will almost always be delayed if Track-It is not utilized as it can be challenging to juggle all of these services for all departments.