macOS Catalina Released

Hold off on upgrading – Apple’s latest macOS raises concerns.

Apple’s latest release, macOS Catalina (10.15), has what Apple admits are “major issues” and we have a variety of concerns. As with most OS releases, we strongly recommend that you wait and not upgrade your University-owned Mac. Information Technology Services cannot yet support Catalina on University-owned Macs until several issues have been resolved, followed by further testing. (As a general rule, waiting until the first set of OS updates are released allows Apple to fix initial stability problems and bugs before the OS even makes it to your machine.)

While there are some interesting new features in this OS, like SideCar, Catalyst, increased security, and Apple Arcade, there are a number of things that either just won’t work or will present problems.  Here are the big ones we know so far:

Music Apps and the Death of iTunes

In macOS Catalina, Apple has done away with the iTunes app, splitting its features into three separate apps: Music, Podcasts, and TV (coming later this fall). If you do any kind of audio mixing or heavy music work using iTunes and third-party software, you will likely run into problems. The underlying XML database and associated XML file no longer exist to index a local music collection. This has “broken” a number of music tools, such as Traktor and Rekordbox.

Other Affected Software and Services

It’s not just music applications that are having issues.  A number of creative tools—including Apple Aperture, Microsoft Office 2011 and Adobe CS6—are experiencing issues. Network printing, along with local printing, may also stop working in the new environment.

VLab (Citrix) may not work in the new Catalina OS. Students could experience issues accessing VLab if they upgrade their personal laptops.

ExamSoft’s Examplify requires a specific update. ExamSoft support reported that “Examplify 2.0.6 is being released via silent and prompted update. Please note that the automatic update will not work for any exam takers who have already upgraded to macOS Catalina. These users will need to download the new version and manually install it.” If you already updated to macOS Catalina (10.15) and are experiencing issues, please verify you are using Examplify version 2.0.6.

SPSS Statistics will be affected by several changes in the new OS, some of which could cause it to stop working completely. Version 23 (and all versions prior) will not run at all. Increased data protection will block all versions of SPSS from accessing the following data sources: Documents, Downloads, Desktop, and any connected external disks (this includes USB drives). Mandatory notarized applications and the end of support for 32-bit applications (like the SPSS License Authorization Wizard) are other factors that need to be addressed.

Apple’s own ‘Reminders’ app can behave strangely if you have multiple devices. If you want reminders synced across your devices, they all need to be running the latest versions of their respective operating systems—for some reason there’s no mix and match of platforms. And it’s not just syncing that’s the issue, user data is being lost as well.

It’s a 64-bit Only World

Catalina also drops support for 32-bit applications. They just won’t run on this version of macOS. Most people can’t tell which apps are 32-bit and which are 64-bit. Even some 64-bit software may not be compatible with Catalina.

We recommend that you take note of any mission-critical software so you will have a list ready when the time comes to upgrade. Prior to upgrading in the future, if you are unsure your software will run in Catalina, you can submit a quick ticket with your software details so we can give you compatibility feedback.

Undoing a Hasty macOS Upgrade

There’s no easy way to undo the upgrade or simply roll it back. Reverting from Catalina to a previous version of macOS is an inconvenient process.  At best this would require we take your computer, erase your hard drive, reimage it, reinstall software, and restore your data and/or reconnect your OneDrive. Alternatively, it could require restoring your computer to its original factory settings. Of course, this means you won’t be able to use your computer while this is being done.

Once we are confident that Catalina will work well in our environment, ITS staff will be happy to assist with a safe and coherent upgrade process for our faculty and staff.

Say Hello to LinkedIn Learning!

On December 18th, Lynda.com will become LinkedIn Learning

We’re excited to let you know that we’ll be upgrading one of your learning and development benefits, Lynda.com, to LinkedIn Learning. LinkedIn Learning has the same great content as Lynda.com, and it will provide a more personalized experience.

Accounts will be upgraded on Tuesday, December 18th, at which time you will no longer be able to access Lynda.com.  But don’t worry, all your learning activity and history will be seamlessly transferred to LinkedIn Learning.  After the upgrade is completed (we expect it to take up to ~18 hours), you’ll receive an email to activate your LinkedIn Learning account.

More information on the upgraded LinkedIn Learning environment is available here.  Answers to questions like “What if I don’t have a LinkedIn account?”, “Do I need to connect my LinkedIn profile?”, and “Will my administrator have access to view my LinkedIn activity on my personal account?” can be found in the LinkedIn Learning FAQs.

We look forward to the upgrade and seeing how LinkedIn Learning helps you continue your growth and success!

Microsoft Office 365 Resources

Some helpful resources for getting started or learning more
about Office 365!

Office 365 is the Microsoft collection of productivity applications that you’re already familiar with, like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. It also includes Outlook (email and calendars), OneNote, and OneDrive (cloud-based file storage).
Click on any of the Office 365 applications below for more info, including Quicksheets you can download for getting started, helpful tips, Microsoft info sites, links to mobile downloads, and videos!

The Office suite is available for all Widener faculty, staff, and students to download on up to five devices as a part of our campus Microsoft agreement. If you want to install Office on your personal computer, we have Office 2016 download instructions.

Need training? Client Success has you covered…

Client Success provides training sessions on a variety of topics, including the Office 365 suite of applications.

Upcoming OneDrive Training Sessions

Upcoming OneDrive training sessions are scheduled for October 30th, and November 5th and are open to all Widener employees. You can register for any of those sessions using the Open OneDrive Training – Registration form.

Recent Examples Illustrate How We Can Help

Our initial training sessions began with a handful of targeted groups.  These initial sessions have helped us build a successful training program that we’re excited to share with everyone!

Microsoft Forms training provided one group with the tools and knowledge necessary to completely revamp a cumbersome registration process. Microsoft Groups training provided another with the ability to establish a new electronic records handling process – just in time for the “Printer Right-Sizing” campaign. Lynda.com from LinkedIn training helped yet another team create and share meaningful playlists for their target audience. And most recently, our OneDrive for Faculty sessions supplemented TLT Canvas training, providing extra help for building course content.

Training Requests

If you’re interested in attending training on a different topic, at a different time, or you want to schedule training for your department/group, please use the Training Request form.  Future training sessions will be offered based on your feedback from this form.

Moving forward

Microsoft is always updating versions, changing features, or adding functions. And sometimes Widener makes changes that can affect existing processes or bring new tools to the table. Keep an eye out for anything new that we can help you learn and master.

If you haven’t already, subscribing to this blog is a great way to stay informed on new initiatives and upcoming changes. Visit our previous post for instructions on subscribing to the RSS Feed to get blog posts sent right to your Inbox.

We always value your input and feedback. Please contact Client Success if you would like to share your thoughts and ideas about how our training process can continue to improve. We’re here to help you be successful in your part of making Widener great!

Highlights of Asset Management 2018

ITS replaced hundreds of computers across the three Widener campuses during our annual asset refresh project.

ITS staff are happy to close the books on a successful asset management cycle.  (Asset management is the fancy term we use for “computer equipment replacement.”) We’re even happier to note that we improved your satisfaction rating while replacing more than twice as many computers as last year.

In May and June, we installed 458 new systems, compared with 197 last year.  Despite the greater volume of work, recipients of new computers gave us higher average satisfaction scores on post-installation surveys (4.73 vs. 4.34 out of 5).

New computers in room 102 of the Quick Center on the Widener University Chester Campus.
Quick 102 was upgraded during asset management this year.

Over the past year, we spent a lot of time thinking about how we could streamline and improve the process this year. We’re pleased that the changes we made could enable us to improve our efficiency while improving the experience for our clientele.

While ITS monitors this project year-round, the most visible component of the process involves the replacement of computers at the end of the Spring semester.

Lab and classroom updates

In addition to faculty and staff computers, we also upgrade lab and classroom equipment at this time each year. Lab spaces in the following rooms were updated during this cycle:

  • Quick Center  102
  • Founders  107
  • Bruce Hall  8
  • Kirkbride  346
  • Freedom  303 & 322

We also upgraded instructor stations in four Academic Center North (ACN) classrooms, plus Kapelski 225A, Kirkbride 447, and Bruce 10.

Going forward

We will schedule remaining deployments over the summer for clients that were not available during the deployment window.

Please contact Client Success if you would like to share your thoughts and ideas about how our asset management process can continue to improve.

Adobe Changes Creative Cloud Licensing Again

Shared device licensing replaces device licensing, while named-user licensing remains unchanged

Adobe has updated its Creative Cloud (CC) licensing model again, this time moving from device licensing to shared device licensing (SDL). This change requires that we migrate all existing university device licenses to the new SDL model in order to access the newest versions of Image result for adobe creative cloud app icon picturesthe Adobe CC apps. Converting from device licenses to SDL is free and automatically available to all device licensed accounts. Named-user licenses remain unchanged and are not affected by this update.

But Why?

You may be wondering what the difference is between the two license models and why we need to do this. Adobe’s response to this question was provided in their presentation “Shared Device License: Why the change to this new licensing type?” In summary, it tells us that SDL provides the following, which is not available with device licenses:

  • The most current version of the Adobe CC apps (device licenses cannot be used to install any apps newer than the 2018 version)
  • Access to Cloud connected Services/Connections like Adobe Sensei, shared libraries, and cloud storage
  • New Cloud First apps: XD, Spark Premium, and Premiere Rush.
  • Complete functionality in Apps like Photoshop and Premiere Pro
  • The ability to sign in to the Creative Cloud desktop on a shared device. (This is a huge benefit to the students that are using these apps in the lab environment; the students are frequently moving back and forth between using the lab computers and their own personal computers.)
  • Resolution for license conflicts when named-users attempt to use computers with a device-based license

Furthermore, all current device licenses will cease functioning by December 31, 2019.

And How?

Signing in to the Adobe CC desktop was discouraged under the old device license model, but will now be required in order to use the Adobe CC apps on a shared device. When you launch an Adobe CC app on a device with SDL, you will be prompted to sign in with your individual Adobe ID (this is not your Widener login ID). The apps can only launch after a successful sign-in. The SDL does not directly entitle you to access any services such as storage, libraries, fonts, stock, etc. However, if you already have these entitlements under your Adobe ID account, these services are now accessible from a shared device.

Another benefit of the SDL model is the protection of students’ work product. Students often forget to sign out after the class or lab session is complete. To protect them and their work/assets, users are periodically prompted with an account confirmation dialog box. This ensures that a subsequent user on a lab computer does not have access to assets that the previous user was working on.

With this periodic license checking and mandatory sign-in process, you may be wondering how you can access the Adobe CC products without an active internet connection. The short answer is that you can’t. The computer must be online so that you can sign in and use the Adobe Cloud services. While you only have to sign in once per session, Adobe continues to check for the license every 90 minutes after the initial sign-in. So, if the machine goes offline, it can only stay offline for 90 minutes before Adobe checks the license again. This is something that Adobe is working to fix.

Named-user licenses

If you have a device license and frequently need to use the Adobe CC apps offline, you may want to consider changing to a named-user license. You should probably consider changing to a named-user license anyway. SDL is ideal for computers in labs or classrooms, but not designed for individual machines with dedicated users. For dedicated users, we recommend named-user licenses. Please contact Linda Peifer (ext. 1037) to request a quote and obtain the current pricing for a named-user license.

If you have any questions or concerns about your Adobe CC device license migration to the SDL, please contact Client Success at ITSClientSuccess@widener.edu or call the HelpDesk for your campus.