LUC Self-Service Password Management

Great news! Loyola University Chicago now offers a self-service password management system. LUC faculty/staff/students and alumni with active University accounts can visit luc.edu/password in order to register for the site and self-manage their password 24/7.

Submitted By: Ariana Lewis

Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?
- Author Unknown

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Loyola University Chicago’s Exciting News! A New Password Self-Service System Arriving Soon!!!

In the coming weeks, we are launching Password Self-Service, a new system that will allow students, faculty, and staff on the University network to reset their own network passwords quickly and independently.

The tool will replace our existing Personal Account Manager (PAM) and eliminate the need to contact the ITS Help Desk when passwords are forgotten or accounts are locked. With Password Self-Service, users can set up a series of personalized challenge questions to be answered if a password or account issue arises. The text and alternate email address are other means to unlock or reset an account. You can choose to either use challenge questions, use text messaging, or use an alternate email account to proceed.

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Google Chrome Enhancement

Lately, there’s been an increase in the number of spam messages appearing in mailboxes and viruses spreading through the virtual world. To help keep your machine safe and personal information “personal” as you surf the web, Chrome browser users have additional security features thanks to Google. The company recently released a browser update warning people about potentially unsafe download prompts on a webpage. For more information, checkout:

http://mashable.com/2015/02/24/google-software-warning/

All virtue is summed up in dealing justly – Aristotle

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The Language of the Future

Everyone knows majoring in Computer Science is no easy task. Not only do you have to learn about the actual art of programming, but also new technology yet discovered and developed by programmers. Many people tend to overlook the idea that programmers, in some sense, are bilingual.

Now this may raise some questions. The fact is there are multiple programming languages. It is not often people realize the differences between them. Like different languages of the world, there are a variety of programming languages developers use. Of course there are the popular ones, Java, C/C++, Ruby and Python. Yet as years progress, more and more new languages will continue to come into existence, including the D programming language created by Walter Bright.

The D programming language is relatively unknown in the programming world, but when people like Andrei Alexandrescu started using it for apps like Facebook, we begin to see much promise. No one truly knows where the world is heading, but with continuing advancements, the learning curve for future Computer Science majors will continue to grow.

For more information, checkout Wired.com.

Submitted By:

Jesse Morales

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Technology in the Modern Market

As a marketing major at Loyola University, I have studied a decent amount about consumers and suppliers. With constant new inventions and ideas, the technology market is flooded with content. It then becomes the marketers job to ask themselves questions such as “What is our target market? Or “How do we advertise to bring in new consumers?”

When advertising for technology, you are trying to sell high-end products that require a deep thought process before buying. In order to succeed when marketing for technology, the marketer must correctly interpret data from many different spreadsheets to then determine their target audience. It only takes one wrong advertisement or sponsor, to tarnish a brands image permanently.

As shown throughout recent years, new technology advancements also make it easier for us marketers to do our job. It allows for more creativity with ads, such as billboards that show a screened image or a TV advertisement where you are entered to win a prize by downloading an app on your smartphone. These new forms of marketing allow for a bunch of new jobs in the marketing field since they need younger marketers who know how to target the younger generations better while also having a good understanding of the technology used to market.

Finally, marketing requires people to study the consumers and place them into certain groups which requires a bunch of data. Since there has been a huge breakthrough with storage devices and computers, marketers are now allowed to store massive amounts of data conveniently. For example, the creation of the 1st terabyte flash drive in 2012. The device allowed for a marketer to keep over a thousand of pages of data for their job on a drive smaller than your phone.

Ultimately, if things plan out as I see them in the future, I will hopefully work as a marketer for some sort of company involved with creating computer technology. Working for the Loyola Helpdesk is a huge benefit for this planned future since I now learn something new about technology every day. Learning about how to fix computer issues gives me the extra edge I will need when applying for a position with a technology company. As technology continues advancing so does marketing, which is why I am excited to combine my two passions into one field after graduation.

Submitted By:
Colin Doyle

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Cryptolocker Virus

Throughout the past nine months, a new type of ransomware virus has infected hundreds of thousands of computers. This malware virus is usually referred to as cryptolocker and it prevents you from accessing any of your computer files until you pay a certain amount of money to the criminals (usually $300).

The name the virus is Cryptolocker and has proven multiple times that it is extremely difficult to terminate. Altogether, this virus is online robbery and people need to be informed about it in order to take precautionary measures and to avoid funding those behind the ransomware virus. This ransomware was thought to be ended by the FBI this past May, but it now appears that it was only an obstacle for cryptolocker which has kidnapped the files of approximately 400,000 people. The cryptolocker hackers decided to initiate the virus though a botnet, which is a huge network of hacked computers.

In order for the FBI to stop the spread of the virus they partnered with foreign law enforcement and private security to destroy communication between the specific botnet and the victims’ computers. After a few months they seized Cryptolocker’s servers. However, all this accomplished was stopping the current virus delivery method and shortly after they changed the virus code and found a new botnet. Even after the victims pay the money demanded by Cryptolocker they cannot receive the keys to unlock their files since there is no way to communicate with Cryptolocker’s network. Therefore, the files are permanently deleted and the victim loses three hundred dollars for nothing. There are also many copycats that are appearing all around the world, but their infection numbers are much lower than Cryptolocker. In conclusion, this new type of malware is proving to a worldwide issue and is very difficult to trace. It is important that people affiliate themselves with the term ransomware since it appears that it is not going away anytime soon.

Submitted By:

Colin Doyle

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Supercomputer Simulates Dual Liquid State of Water

Technology has amazing potential for its utility in the scientific fields. Advancements in computing have saved physicists hours of work calculating basic arithmetic while working with complex formulae. With the advancements in technology long hours compiling and plotting data from experiments are reduced to minutes and even seconds through graphing programs. Recently, technology has been used in the field of chemistry for virtual experiments and modeling.

At Princeton University, a research group used computer modeling to map water’s two sided behavior below its equilibrium freezing point. When frozen into a solid as ice, water is less dense that its liquid state. This is normally through the hydrogen bonds between water molecules that form them into a ring-based structure. The empty space of the rings adds to the ice’s volume, making it less dense and able to float on water. However, the research team discovered that at high pressure and very low temperature, water can coexist as two different states of liquid. The two liquid states have separate densities, so they separate and behave like vinegar and oil separating in a bottle.

The research project acts as evidence for what is called the “liquid-liquid transition” hypothesis. The hypothesis suggests two forms of water could offer the explanation of water’s high heat absorbance capacity and ability to be more compressible as it gets colder. As suggested by one of the researchers, Pablo Debenedetti, the dual nature of water can help to understand water behavior in a supercooled state in high-altitude clouds. He suggests the better understanding could improve weather and climate models in predicting meteorological patterns. The main issue with the research was trying to perform the experiment. The extreme pressure and temperature conditions made it very difficult without the necessary resources. Instead, the research group used supercomputers to simulate the behavior of water as they dropped the temperature. An infinite number of boxes each holding several hundred water molecules were created for the simulation. The computer tracked the virtual water’s behavior as the temperature dropped in the experiment. At about -45 degrees C and 2,400-times atmospheric pressure, the water molecules separated into two different densities and liquids, providing strong evidence for the liquid-liquid transition hypothesis.

The total work for the supercomputer took the equivalent of several human lifetimes had the experiment been processed using a common desktop computer. The greater understanding of supercooled water present in clouds could lead to better prevention of ice forming on airplane wings and create safer travel through cold climate cloud levels. The dual density characteristic is fascinating in itself, and the technology available saved the research team from expensive costs and thousands of processing hours.

Submitted By:
Dariush Forouzesh

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Sugar-based computer RAM for Environment Friendly Disposal

Technology has been important to the advancing of society and ease of life. The advent of the computer brought with it the information age; the automated transfer of information has allowed news and opinions to travel across the world in a matter of minutes. The internet has created a global community through the exchange of information and recent advances have allowed for new ways to improve society. Today, new improvements are pioneered in chemical research for the improvement of green electronics.

Scientists at the Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois created computer memory from a sugar cube. The sugar cube is composed of a sugar-based metal-organic framework and infused with rubidium hydroxide. This composition allows the sugar cube to switch between high and low resistance states. The binary resistance settings make the sugar cube comparable to resistive random-access memory (RRAM) used in computers. RRAM is based on the binary state of the material. A component in the system is left in the “off” state represented as “0,” and the component enters the “on” state represented as “1” through electricity, which changes the chemical structure.

Normally RRAM components are made of silicon dioxide. The sugar cube component in contrast is simply sugar. The sugar RRAM contains a type of sugar called Y-cyclodextrin and rubidium ions as the makeup of the metal-organic framework. The framework itself is infused with rubidium hydroxide to enhance the conductivity and is placed between silver electrodes. Researchers then apply a large negative voltage across the system which oxidizes the right electrode. This leaves the system in the “1” state. The system is electronically read through applying a small positive voltage which generates current from left to right and oxidizes the left electrode. The system then gradually reverts to the “0” reading as the left electrode oxidizes. The sugar RRAM can be used at a cheaper and assuredly greener rate than commercial RRAMs although they naturally do not run as fast as commercial grade RRAM. The sugar-based computer memory still has its applications as Bartosz Grzybowski, one of the researchers of the project, suggests. As an example of unconventional applications for it he said, “We’re thinking along the lines of a biodegradable memory.” The opportunities this research could bring are certainly viable for the future of green electronics.

Submitted By: Dariush Forouzesh

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Google Cardboard

Google I/O, Google’s answer to WWDC, was packed to the brim with interesting announcements as to Google’s plans for the year. The most interesting part of it though, by far, was the piece of Cardboard handed out to all attendees. This unassuming square of Cardboard came with instructions on how to fold it into a Virtual Reality Headset to be used with Android Smartphones.

With this low cost setup, Google is aiming to create a cheap Virtual Reality headset for consumers. All Virtual Reality headsets currently in development run on expensive hardware, which is why Google released theirs as a cardboard set alongside an open software kit. They are trying to allow people to start creating Virtual Reality software as simply as possible. By removing the barrier to entry that is usually associated with attempting to work on virtual reality headsets, Google is going to open up the field to as many people as possible, encouraging innovation and hopefully leading to interesting results.

For those of you interested in Coding for the Cardboard Project, full documentation can be found here. Google even gives instructions on how to build your own using a combination of parts you can find around the house and cheap pieces at a hardware store, which is more than likely how I will be spending my weekend.

Submitted By: Thomas Hatzopoulos

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Swift

For those of you who don’t follow WWDC, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference,  you missed the announcement of Swift, the new Programming Language being developed by Apple. Swift is Apple’s latest attempt to replace Objective C as the main language used to write their OSX and iOS apps. While Apple is pushing for Swift to replace Objective C in the code used to create their applications, Swift code can actually run alongside Objective C code. This should make the transition to Swift easier for current Apple developers.

Swift was built to operate as a more modern and accessible version of Objective C. The biggest upgrade from Objective C is the new automatic memory management system used by Swift. This new memory system replaces the garbage collection system of Objective C with an improved memory manager that uses reference counting. Reference counting for garbage collection means that all objects that are removed are done so in increments, which removes the long pauses needed for the large amounts of object removal done at once by Objective C’s garbage collection.  The feature I am most excited about is the new Playground. The Playground is a new window that will be available in the next version of Xcode, where the code that you write is instantly compiled. For those programming apps, you can watch your code run and change in real time as you alter the code itself. You can run both sections of the code as well as the entirety of the code for your program within Playground. Playground is going to make troubleshooting, tweaking, and testing your code a whole lot easier once it becomes available.

Swift is going to ship with the next version of Xcode that is coming this fall, alongside Apple’s new operating system and iOS 8. If you are interested in learning more about Swift, Apple has released an iBook that is currently the only complete guide to the Swift Programming Language, which can be downloaded for free.

Submitted By: Thomas Hatzopouloz

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