Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Contacting IT

"How do I contact IT?" is a question I am frequently asked. EWG's IT department recently deployed a new help desk and trouble ticket system called Zendesk. Recently, I discovered a feature of Zendesk that makes submitting a trouble ticket super easy. Simply send an email to help@ewg.k12.ri.us. Include a descriptive subject and concise message. Sending email to help@ewg.k12.ri.us ensures it will be seen by Jeff, Chris, and Max, and your request will enter Zendesk's queue. Conveniently, the entire trouble ticket conversation can take place through your email, not in a system whose name and address you've forgotten. Additionally, if you CC people when you send the email - perhaps a colleague for whom the tech issue is also relevant - Zendesk will automatically include them in the IT ticket conversation. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

New Appreciation For Cloud Printing

When Google introduced cloud printing for Chrome OS in 2010, I loudly scoffed at the idea asking, "Why send a document all the way to Google so it can be printed to a local printer?" The entire process seemed ludicrous.
Label printer networked via Cloud Print

Since the 'early days' of cloud printing and my initial disdain, I've watched it seamlessly fill some important roles. As a matter of convenience, a few teachers shared personal printers with students for critical projects, obviating a long trek to a library or other distant network printer. And, EWG's Tech Crew enabled cloud printing on the district's Sharp copiers so any authorized user can print from any device. That bears repeating; anybody that has rights to the school's printers can print from any device. To print from a Chromebook, iPad, iPhone, Android, or Windows machine and enjoy real platform neutral printing is pretty remarkable.

What really changed my perception of cloud printing, though, was the request to network a label printer. It turns out that several people in the administration building print a number of 'one off' labels for a variety of mailings and other labeling chores. They had been told that the label printer could not be networked, and they lacked the basic ability to share a printer through their managed desktops, so they physically moved the label maker from computer to computer to print. The absurdity of disconnecting, relocating, and reconnecting a printer just to print a single label grew old quickly. In what must have been an office space moment of desperation, the people using the label printer reached out, and also threw me the 'can't be done' challenge. I really like can't be done challenges.

In short order, the printer was networked, shared, the users were smiling and labeling, and I gave a rejuvenated nod to Google's cloud printing service. Sharing a printer through cloud print is easier and more useful than I ever imagined. Let me know if networking your oddball/legacy/spare printer is something you need to do. I would be happy to help.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Locating the RTI Metcalf folder

There has been some confusion about how to find the RTI Metcalf folder. I hope this video can help bring some clarity. If it doesn't, feel free to contact me. I'd be happy to help you find the RTI Metcalf folder.