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2016 January

January 27, 2016

Apple Safari was crashing, now it appears to be fine.

Apple Safari

Apple Safari

Apple’s Safari browser appears to in working order after experiencing some issues worldwide this morning. Searching from the address bar in both iOS and OS X was causing the browser to crash in some instances.

The issue seemed to be connected with the browser’s search suggestions feature. Disabling the feature seemed to be an effective workaround. However, not everyone was affected. The issue appeared to be connected to “only people whose Safari suggestions data storage updated during early AM hours” according to BuzzFeed News.

Apple Developer Steven Troughton-Smith confirmed over his Twitter account that the bug was fixed.

For more information on Apple software issues, check out the Apple Support Communities page.

For more information on Safari specifically, check out its support community.

January 21, 2016

How Vinyl Records Were Made featuring Duke Ellington

(from Dan Colman of
We’re moving back in time, before the mp3 player and the CD. We’re going back to the analog age, a moment when the vinyl record reigned supreme. The month is June 1937. And the short film you’re watching is “Record Making with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra.”  How the film came into being was described in the July 1937 edition of Melody News:

Last month, a crew of cameramen, electricians and technicians from the Paramount film company set up their paraphernalia in the recording studios of Master Records, Inc. for the purpose of gathering ‘location’ scenes for a movie short, now in production, showing how phonograph records are produced and manufactured. Duke Ellington and his orchestra was employed for the studio scenes, with Ivie Anderson doing the vocals.

Narrated by Alois Havrilla, a pioneer radio announcer, the film shows you how records were actually recorded, plated and pressed. It’s a great relic from the vinyl era, which you will want to couple with this 1956 vinyl tutorial from RCA Victor.

For more on information on more free cultural and educational media, check out Open Culture’s website.

January 14, 2016

Microsoft ends support for Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9, and most of 10

Windows 8 logo

Windows 8 will no longer be supported as announced by Microsoft this week.

In 2014, prior to the advent of Windows 10, Microsoft announced that Internet Explorer will only be supported on each supported version of Windows. It was announced this week that Windows 8 will no longer be supported. This means Internet Explorer versions 7, 8, 9, and 10 will be severed from future updates. Users who would like to continue receiving software security updates will have to upgrade to at least Windows 8.1 (or the free Windows 10 upgrade thereafter; Windows 7 is still receiving technical support as well).

This change in support is not unilateral. Windows Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2–the server equivalents–will continue to have support for Internet Explorer 10 since version 11 was never made available to them. Microsoft states that these operating system will still receive support through their full 10 year life cycle.

Peter Bright from ArsTechnica explains further:

In other words, all the same patching and updating that Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10 need will continue to be performed. Across the full range of supported platforms—including the Windows XP with Internet Explorer 7-based Windows Embedded for Point of Service—Microsoft is stuck continuing to produce patches for Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9, and 10, along with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. The patches just won’t be readily available, so upgrading will be strongly recommended.

Microsoft did issue a notice for this change allowing for upgrade times but it is inevitable that some organizations waited to update things due to compatibility reasons. Internet Explorer 11 does support some legacy features like ActiveX controls if you still want.

For the breakdown from ArsTechnica, check out this article.

January 13, 2016

Canvas How-To: Enabling Conferences for online office hours, recording class sessions, etc.

Continuing our how-to series, this post will cover the topic of Conferences that allow instructors (and students if enabled) to use audio and video web conferencing within a Canvas course. The instance at the University of Oregon uses BigBlueButton.

Conferences are enabled by default whenever a course shell is created in Canvas. If it is not visible in your course shell, it is most likely hidden from the primary course navigation menu: click here for more on that.

Any conferences can be saved and are made available to those in your course for two weeks afterward.

Click on the tutorial video above from Canvas for more information.

For more general information on Canvas and its other features, check out the overview documents from CASIT.

January 11, 2016

Ford’s self-driving car technology at CES 2016

Ford Fusion Hybrid Self-Driving Car components

Mechanisms of the Ford Fusion Hybrid Self-Driving car prototype at CES 2016 in Las Vegas.

(Originally from Jonathan M. Gitlin – Ars Technica)

As we’ve noted elsewhere, CES has now evolved to be part car show. But not just any car show—the focus is on how technology is transforming the car, and nowhere is that more evident than in autonomous driving. The goal is to get to “level four”—the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s highest level of self-driving vehicle, capable of getting from point A to point B without any human driver intervention. We’re not there yet—no one in the industry Ars has spoken to recently thinks the tech challenges are quite solved yet—but research vehicles from companies like Google, Delphi, Audi, and Ford are testing out the hardware and software necessary to get us to that point. With that in mind, we spoke to Wayne Williams, who gave us a quick tour of one of Ford’s fully autonomous hybrid Fusions.

Ford has chosen the Fusion hybrid as its autonomous driving platform in part because as a hybrid, the vehicles have a beefed up electrical system and they’re completely drive-by-wire, which makes computer control of the steering, brakes, and throttle much simpler. From the outside, you can tell something is special about the autonomous car, thanks to the roof rack and its spinning Velodyne lidar sensors, which are the primary way the vehicles are aware of the world around them (there are also optical cameras, and the cars can use information from radar sensors, too).

It’s even more obvious that something special is going on inside the trunk, where there are lots of boxes and cables that take information from the sensors, fuse it together, and then decide what to do in order to get to the planned destination. (For a deeper look at what’s going on in the trunk, check out our report from August, when we visited Ford.)

For more of this article and an Ars Technica video with Ford, click here.

January 5, 2016

CASIT Web Services completed projects Fall 2015

Here is the list of projects completed over Fall:

Sites moved to CAS design toolkit:

Drupal Projects:

Other Projects:

  • We added 2 new features to the CAS Department Theme in the CAS Design Toolkit:
  • We completed the application infrastructure necessary to host Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), that allow secure programmatic access to services provide enterprise data and published 8 initial APIs to our production environment. The availability of enterprise APIs will increase the available functionality while reducing the development time for many of the projects on our work plan. We also initiated a joint project with Information Services to implement a standard API gateway to expose data housed in the new IDR system.

You can see more information about those sites on our portfolio:

Big thank you to everyone in the web team.