MURAnews - Computer/Technology









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  • October 11, 2020 10:17 PM | Anonymous

    Why have a MacID? 

    The MacID is a UTS-assigned identifier that is not the same as your student or employee number. Your MacID is the part of your current or former McMaster email address that precedes, for example smithjp.

    Retirees are entitled to have a MacID for life. It provides access to free services including a McMaster email account, on-campus wireless access, some library e-resources and the McMaster Virtual Private Network (VPN).

    If you do not have a MacID, you may request one by contacting the UTS Service Desk.

    Change MacID Password / Reset a Forgotten MacID Password / Recover Forgotten MacID

    Go to the UTS Account Management page for information about changing your MacID password, resetting a forgotten  password or recovering a forgotten MacID.

    There is excellent information on password safe practices, including examples of weak and strong passwords, and ideas on how to construct a strong password that will be easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess. This is available at the Information Security password security web page.

    Authentication Questions

    Authentication questions are used to help you reset a forgotten password. To set up or update your questions, go to, sign in with your MacID and password, click on your name in the upper right hand corner of the screen, choose Preferences from the drop-down menu, and on the next screen, click Edit Authentication Questions.

    Technical Support and Help

    • if you require assistance please contact the UTS Service Desk.
    • The UTS Service Desk is located on the McMaster Campus in Burke Science Building Room 245.

    McMaster email account

    Retiring employees may choose to keep their McMaster email account. Retirees without an email account can request one by filling in a request at the UTS Client Services - Service Desk portal.

    [Ed. note: this page was updated June 2024]
  • January 30, 2017 9:59 AM | Anonymous

    Retirees often ask what services the University Technology Services (UTS) Help Desk supports for retirees.

    The UTS Service Centre recently confirmed their current mandate for providing service to retirees. UTS is able to provide support for:

    If the source of the computer issue is beyond the services listed above, such as hardware or other types of software problems, the Service Desk may also suggest that the retiree seek alternative assistance from a certified retail outlet.

    Contact the UTS Service Desk

    More info:

    [Ed. note: updated June 2024]
  • October 14, 2016 3:42 PM | Deleted user

    MURA hosted a workshop about the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal at 1 o’clock on Thursday, November 10th at the McMaster Health Forum on the 4th floor of Mills Library on campus.

    Attendees learned how to use the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal, a web site that gives access to high-quality information that can help you remain healthy, active and engaged as long as possible, and to manage your health conditions. The Portal aims to be a trusted voice on healthy aging for the public. There are many other online resources that deal with health and aging, but what sets the Portal apart from the crowd is its emphasis on providing only the best evidence, and telling you why it’s considered the best. The Portal filters out the noise and makes it easy to understand how scientific evidence and other types of information can help you.

    This excellent resource was developed here at McMaster as part of the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative.

    Below is an excerpt from the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal blog.

    Exercise plays an active role in treating depression. One of the important benefits of exercise is how it can enhance mood and sense of well-being. Chalk it up to endorphins and other “feel good “chemicals in the brain that are released when we’re physically active. But can it help with depression?

    Depression is a widespread, chronic and often debilitating condition that is particularly common among older adults. To make matters worse, depression is difficult condition to treat. Many people are reluctant to admit to a mental illness or don’t respond well to treatment with medication.

    A recent blog post on the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal highlights a review of 18 research studies including over 1000 older adults with depression. The review found that exercise does have a ‘moderate’ effect in helping to combat depression. The results are encouraging and support making exercise part of the treatment plans for older adults diagnosed with depression, or who are at risk of depression.

    According to the evidence, all types of exercise are beneficial but “alternative” programs, such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong, were found to be most effective.

    Depression can have severe consequences for older adults and better ways to diagnose and treat the disorder are urgently needed. Though it may not provide a cure, exercise can be recommended as uneasy and safe addition to depression treatment — with few negative side effects and many additional benefits— to help reduce depression symptoms and promote healthier outlook.

    To read the full blog post (including more details on the supporting research evidence for this topic), visit The McMaster Optimal Aging Portal -- information about healthy aging you can trust.

  • January 30, 2016 10:34 PM | Anonymous

    by Marianne Van der Wel

    PRESTO is an electronic fare card system now in place across 10 provincial and municipal transit agencies in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) and Ottawa. They are: Brampton Transit; Burlington Transit; Durham Region Transit (DRT); Hamilton Street Railway (HSR); Miway; Oakville Transit; OC Transpo; the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC, all streetcars and 26 subway stations); UP Express; York Region Transit/Viva (YRT/Viva) and GO Transit.

    Each transit system has its own fares, rules and regulations, which means there is no easy description to cover all situations. You may need to check with the individual transit agency for details.

    Using PRESTO on the city bus

    In general, when using a municipal transit system with only one fare zone — as for those in the cities of Burlington, Oakville and Hamilton — you tap your card on the device nearest the entry when you get on the bus and that's it.

    Using PRESTO on GO transit

    When using GO transit, the rules for using PRESTO are more complicated and if these rules are not followed, mistakes can be quite costly.

    Taking the GO bus with PRESTO

    • Tap on when boarding the bus. The PRESTO fare payment device is located on the bus, near the driver.
    • Tap off when leaving the bus. You should do this even when using the bus to connect to a GO train.
    • If you fail to tap off when exiting the bus, you will be charged the fare for the farthest distance on that bus route. The amount you owe will be deducted the next time you use your PRESTO card.

    Taking the GO train with PRESTO

    • Tap on using one of the GREEN PRESTO fare payment devices located in the train station. Be sure to check the screen on the device to confirm that a fare has been deducted from your card. A beep and a green or yellow light indicates a successful transaction. If you see a red light, talk to a station attendant prior to taking your trip. If you forget to tap on, you will not be able to pay on the train, will be considered to be travelling without valid payment, and may be fined.
    • Tap off on a GREEN PRESTO fare payment device in the station when you reach your destination. If you forget to tap off, you will be charged the fare plus an additional amount. There is no senior’s discount on these “missed tap off adjustments”, which may range from $2 to $11.30.

    Setting a default trip for the GO train

    One way to avoid potential problems resulting from failure to tap off after a train journey is to set a default journey. For example, if your usual train journey is from Aldershot to Union Station, set this as your default. You will no longer need to tap off at the end of any train journey to Union Station where you have tapped on at Aldershot. To take a trip from your default station to a destination other than your default, you will need to use the “override” button before you tap your card at the beginning of the journey and tap off at the end.

    Get to know your tapping devices

    • Be aware that there are PRESTO devices in the train stations other than green fare payment devices. Similar devices with a YELLOW background are for activating or checking the balance on your PRESTO card.
    • If you accidentally check your balance at a device with a GREEN background, instead of a YELLOW one, push the CORRECT button on the device or ask a GO agent to help you. Otherwise, the PRESTO system will assume that you are starting a train journey.

    For more information on PRESTO

    For information about fares and discounts, transit schedules, transfers, customer service outlet locations and PRESTO device locations, call GO Transit (1-888-438-6646), Hamilton Street Railway (905-527-4441) or Burlington Transit (905-639-0550).

    If, however, you are an infrequent user of public transit or find using PRESTO not to your liking, you can continue to use cash and paper tickets in accordance to the rules of the transit system in question.

  • January 30, 2016 8:46 AM | Anonymous

    Many MURA members continue to use their McMaster email accounts after retiring. If you use an email address ending in “”, you are now using the new MacMail system, a Microsoft Exchange service.

    Some of you have asked how you can limit spam or junk email (i.e. irrelevant or inappropriate email messages sent to a large number of recipients) coming to your address on the new MacMail email service. To do this, you need to set up email filtering using Outlook Web App (OWA), the web application that allows you to access your McMaster email account.

    Start by going to OWA and signing in to your account. Be sure to select the standard version, not the “light” version.

    Set your account to automatically direct spam to your ‘Junk E-Mail’ folder. Here’s how: From the ‘Options’ dropdown box at the top right of the page, select ‘See all Options’, and then choose ‘Block or Allow’ from the left menu bar. Select the ‘Automatically filter junk e-mail’ button, then scroll down and click ‘Save’.

    It also can help to add what is called an ‘X-Spam-Flag’ which will filter many spam messages based on criteria that are frequently updated and tweaked by the University to capture messages that are likely to be spam. To do this, sign in to OWA, then add an X-Spam-Flag following these instructions

    If you still receive messages in your Inbox that you consider to be spam, you can add the sender’s address to a filter so that future messages from that address automatically go into your Junk folder. Using OWA, select the message, right-click on it and choose ‘Junk E-Mail > Add Sender to Blocked Senders List’. (Those who use the Outlook mail program will find similar options available.)

    It’s important to check your Junk folder frequently, as it’s possible for messages to end up there that are not considered junk by you. When you find one, again using OWA, right-click on the message, choose ‘Junk E-Mail’, and click to add the sender’s address to your ‘Safe Sender’ list. Always check the contents of your Junk folder before emptying it to prevent losing legitimate messages.  

  • September 30, 2015 7:04 PM | Anonymous

    Although we no longer use discs to transfer information from computer to computer, it is still important to protect our computers from viruses. Phishing scams and other types of internet fraud have been much in the news lately, but computer viruses and other types of malware are still around and can cause significant damage to your computer.

    There are many antivirus programs available, at a range of prices. One economical option to consider is Trend Micro, which is available to McMaster retirees from the McMaster Campus Store's Computer Centre for $13.50 per year. Please note that, unlike staff, faculty and students, retirees cannot download Trend Micro from the Campus Store web site. Retirees need to visit the store to get a copy of the software.

    More info:

    Other types of antivirus protection may be available through your email provider (e.g. Cogeco) or by online purchase (e.g. Bitdefender).

    Phishing is an email fraud method in which the perpetrator sends out legitimate-looking email in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from recipients. Typically, the messages appear to come from well-known and trustworthy web sites.

    A computer virus is a piece of code that is capable of copying itself. A virus might corrupt or delete data on your computer, use your email program to spread itself to other computers, or even erase everything on your hard disk. Computer viruses are often spread by attachments in email messages.

    Malware is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software, including computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs. 

  • January 30, 2015 9:58 PM | Anonymous

    Want a better PASSWORD?   from McMaster Daily News

    Follow these eight tips:

    Create long passwords

     A longer password is always harder to crack. For example, a six-character password can take as little as 11 hours for a computer to guess, while a nine-character password could take up to 10 years for a computer to hack. Try to use a password that is 8-12 characters long.

    Create strong passwords

    Use all the character types that are supported by the system. Increasing the password complexity is another great way to lengthen the time it would take a computer to guess your combination. Also, never use common letter or number combinations, words or phrases — for example, do not use your birthday or username in your password.

    Never share your passwords

    Seriously, do we even have to explain this one? Your passwords allow you to access private, sensitive information. Nobody should ever know your passwords.

    Never reuse your passwords

    If you inadvertently share the password to access your email, would that put your banking information asterisk? Be safe, and don’t reuse your passwords. Choose a new password for every account you create, and use a password manager to keep track of them. Which brings us to the next point ...

    Use a password manager

    You have a lot of passwords to remember — from email to banking to your MacID, and other sites in between. Password managers are applications that keep track of your passwords for you, making it easier to keep your information protected by long, strong and unique passwords. McMaster IT suggests LastPass as a great example of a password manager.

    Use two-factor authentication

    Two-factor authentication (also known as 2FA) requires users to provide more than just a password to access their information. An individual's identity can be authenticated using any of these factors: 

    • Something they know (i.e., a password)
    • Something they have (i.e., a phone)
    • Something they are (i.e., a fingerprint)

    Two-factor authentication requires the individual to provide two of these unique identifiers in order to access their information.

    Manage your password recovery process

    Most internet services offer a self-service password recovery process. This usually involves some combination of an email, an Short Message Service or a secret ques tion. Make sure you understand and properly configure the password recovery process for the web sites that are important to you. We recommend using the recovery option that sends a reset code to your phone, if it is available. Avoid using the secret questions if other options are available.

    Change your password if you suspect it has been compromised

    Whether someone peered over your shoulder or your favourite online forum was hacked, it's a good idea to change a password if you think it has been compromised. You can change your MacID password anytime using the resources and information at the UTS Account Management page.

  • April 30, 2014 10:28 PM | Anonymous

    In the Summer 2013 issue of MURAnews, we told you about the new rules for MacID* passwords instituted by University Technology Services (UTS). These rules aim to raise MacID passwords to a more secure standard.  

    According to the new standard, MacID passwords will now expire after 12 months from the last password change. This means that you will need to choose and enter a new password every year. You likely received a notice from UTS recently saying that passwords upgraded during last springʼs campaign will expire soon and need to be changed as soon as possible. You will be unable to use your MacID if you do not change your password.  

    Any new password needs to fit the new standard instituted in February 2013.  

    The UTS Account Management page has information about how to change your password, password requirements, etc. UTS recommends clearing all saved instances of a MacID password before changing it. Saved passwords are often found in, for example, email programs on computers and Wi-Fi logins on smartphones.

    Please contact the UTS Service Desk if you have questions or encounter difficulties.

    * A MacID provides authentication to applications such as McMaster email accounts, the campus Wi-Fi network and the McMaster Virtual Private Network (VPN). Your MAC ID is not your 7-digit employee number. It is an identifier that usually includes part or your entire surname. For retirees using a McMaster email account, itʼs the portion of your email address preceding "", e.g.

  • September 30, 2013 10:41 PM | Anonymous

    McMaster photo identification cards have replaced the old blue employee cards, which are no longer valid.

    Retirees are encouraged to replace their current blue ID cards with new retiree Photo ID cards that allow the following services:

    • Photo ID
    • Borrowing books from the Library
    • Use of the athletic facilities such as the Pulse (Gym)
    • Entry into controlled-access staff lounges on campus
    • Access Control (controlled access to various buildings, labs, stairwells)
    • Meal Plan (Activated in Commons Building 128)
    • Verification of status

    Effective October 11, 2013, the Photo Identification Office will be located in the Campus Store (known to most retirees as “The Bookstore”) in Gilmour Hall. Cards are produced Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. – 12 Noon and from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. on a first-come, firstserved basis. No appointment is required. Please bring the following documents with you:

    • Your old blue card (if you have one)
    • Your employee number
    • One piece of government issued photo ID (e.g. health card, driver's license)

    Additional information is on the McMaster Parking Services retiree web page.

  • September 30, 2013 5:51 PM | Anonymous

    McMaster’s new safety app - a must have!

    The university has launched a safety app for smart phones. The app was formerly called McMaster University Safety Security & Transit (MUSST), and is now called the McMaster SafetyApp


    • Safety alerts, including campus closures and emergency instructions.
    • A list of contact information for emergency and non-emergency security concerns.
    • Multiple ways to report a concern directly to the McMaster security department.
    • A “Friend Walk” option that allows someone to watch your travel route home, which enhances the existing Student Walk Home Attendant Team.
    • A map that shows where crimes have happened on and close to campus
    • Support resources and emergency plans.

    The app is free and available for both Android and iPhone platforms. Visit your app store or go to to download, or contact McMaster Security for more information.  

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