wtf*Brown: free Adobe Creative Suite coming for Brown students

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According to a UCS update on wtf*Brown, Brown has begun a contract with Adobe to provide free Adobe Creative Cloud to all Brown students. The acquisition was announced by Ravi Pendse, Vice President for Computing and Information Services and Chief Information Officer, at Wednesday’s UCS General Body Meeting.

Adobe Creative Cloud includes a range of graphic design, video editing, photography, and web development software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, After Effects, and Dreamweaver. Adobe’s subscription-based service, Creative Cloud, costs $19/mo for students, and the full, non-subscription Adobe CS6 suite costs upwards of $999 (for the ~master collection~).

Just imagine. For free, you will soon be able to Photoshop yourself riding a giraffe wearing a top hat, animate that work of art in Flash, make a life-size poster in InDesign, and then make a Dreamweaver site dedicated to your friendship with said giraffe! Fonts! Brushes! Effects! The possibilities are endless!

Details about the service are pending, but CIS hopes to make the full creative suite available to students in a couple weeks.

Image via Timmy Jeng ’18.


BlogDH investigates: Cybersecurity and your Brown email

Sitting in a political science lecture with Professor Wendy Schiller, one blogger learned that Brown had legal and functional access to our Brown email accounts. It wasn’t exactly surprising; what was more surprising was that, when he shared this information with a fellow blogger, neither of them had ever given this any thought.

So, they set off to talk to Dr. Ravi Pendse, Brown’s Chief Information Officer, to gain some clarity on Brown’s email privacy policy. Watch this interview for an an inside look into Brown’s cybersecurity:

After talking to Dr. Pendse, we went to David Sherry, Chief Information Security Officer, to find out what “30,000 daily attacks on the Brown server” really means.

Before gaining an understanding of the magnitude of the attacks, we first had to understand what phishing attacks are. Phishing comes in the form of spam emails aiming to extract private data and information from accounts on a server. More specifically, they might say your “email account is about to be deleted because your inbox is full. To reset the account, please enter your password here.” Some phishing scams purport themselves to be representing the IRS and even ask for your social security number.

Most phishing attacks are automated; a vast majority are “digital door rattling,” meaning people scanning looking for open ports to exploit. In other words, if they gain access to a Brown account and begin spamming other Brown accounts from this initial compromised account, they gain legitimacy, as one is more likely to open an email from another Brown address.

While some phishing emails aim to directly attack and redirect funds, like faculty’s HR benefits or student’s social security numbers in hopes of opening a credit card under their name and even stealing their identities, many times, exploiting Brown’s network is not the end goal.

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PSA: Download Microsoft Office through Brown for FREE

Office 365

Brown CIS has been making moves lately. This past semester, they hooked us up with an online subscription to The New York Times, listened to our movement to improve Brown Secure, and took steps to make our demands dreams a reality. Now, they’re at it again, offering all Brown undergrad and graduate students free access to Microsoft Office 365. This set includes the usual suspects (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) as well as a few ancillary programs (Outlook, Publisher, Access). Gone are the days of using third party programs and bootleg substitutes (or just paying a lot of money). To download the programs, go to this link and follow the instructions. You’ll have to use your Brown username and password to log in, and then you’re good to download any of the programs. So have at it, Brunonia. A new era awaits us — one of equal access to programing and equal opportunity to make snazzy PowerPoints.

Image via. 


Yet another reply-all fiasco: Apparently, we need to take down the pool in Phi Delt…

Before Tuesday afternoon, we current Brown students felt little compassion for those suffering from any sort of reply-all fiasco. Only rising seniors—who were merely freshmen at the time—remember Brown’s own reply-all incident back in 2011, during which enraged students used every type of font and color to encourage those on the same ListServ to stop hitting reply all. Last fall, we laughed at poor NYU student Max Wiseltier as he, hoping to forward an email about paperless tuition to his mother, accidentally hit reply all to an e-mail that promptly went out to every single student at the university. These two instances seemed too far-removed to ever infiltrate our Gmail inboxes, but it seems that the reply-all chaos has hit home yet again.

Here’s how it started: At 2:19 p.m. on Tuesday, the University Scheduling Office sent out an email explaining that the Resource 25 Scheduling request was back online. Cool. We didn’t even know the University had a Scheduling Office. But what did this email even mean?

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We really didn’t have any idea, and it didn’t seem like anyone else did either. The Brown University Scheduling Office thanked us for our patience, but it definitely spoke too soon. Continue Reading


New IPTV channels!

The CIS and campus life added 6 brand new channels to the totally high quality and easy to use (ha!) IPTV.  The new channels are FX, National Geographic Channel, ESPN-U, Al Jazeera TV, Deutsche Welle TV, and TV5 Monde.  While these are pretty cool, we’re still waiting on MTV Jams and MSNBC.


Limewire officially shut down

Remember Napster? Well the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has done it again. It looks like after its loss in court against the RIAA, Limewire will indeed be shut down after all. We’re sure it’s not hard to guess why… Limewire was charged with copyright infringement and illegal P2P sharing. Even Limewire Pro users, who cranked out about 35 dollars a year for the free music service, will feel the loss of their file sharing service. Bummer. Continue Reading