MURAnews - Computer/Technology








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  • October 11, 2020 10:17 PM | Anonymous

    New Requirement to Change Passwords Annually

    You may have noticed announcements from University Technology Services (UTS) that MacID passwords will expire annually, so must be changed every year.

    That said, UTS has informed MURA that retirees are not required to change their passwords at this time. The exception is retirees who have returned to McMaster in an employment capacity. These retirees need to meet the same annual password change requirements as other active employees. 

    If UTS requires retirees to change their passwords In the future, they will give plenty of advance notice, but they recommend all users change their passwords annually.

    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, 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 at 905-525-9140 ext. 24357 or by email at

    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 at (905 525-9140 ext. 24357 and press #6 for retiree assistance, or email
    • 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 e-mail account. Retirees without an email account can request one using the UTS online form.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    A VPN allows you to connect to the McMaster University network from any off-campus computer and appear as though your computer is on campus. It also provides extra security by encrypting data to and from your computer. More information is available at the UTS VPN web page

    [Ed. note: this page was updated October 2020]

  • May 01, 2017 5:03 PM | Anonymous

    GREEN BYTE, located in downtown Hamilton in the old Right House building at 35 King St. East, Unit 49, Hamilton, needs your discarded computer equipment. As part of the St. Leonard Society, they refurbish and rebuild the used equipment and recycle the parts they cannot use. They then donate the computers to people who cannot afford one otherwise, with most of the recipients being children. They also sell used computers to the public.

    Drop-offs can be made any time between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday. They are located near the King William Street entrance, which has no ramp. You can wheel equipment in through the front door on King. If the load is large enough, someone will come to your home and pick it up.

    For more information, please call 905 387-8389 or check their web site.

  • 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 phone and walk-in 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

    • phone:  905-525- 9140, ext. 24357, Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
    • in person:  the UTS Service Desk is located on the McMaster Campus in Burke Science Building Room 245
    • suggested hours for walk-in support are Monday -  Friday, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

    More info:

    [Ed. note: updated June 2018]
  • October 14, 2016 3:42 PM | Heather Grigg (Administrator)

    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.

  • July 07, 2016 4:06 PM | Anonymous

    Retirees may choose to be included in the online McMaster Faculty & Staff Directory. Here’s how to add yourself to the directory, or to update your record as needed:

    Getting to the update screen

    • Click here to enter the update screen of the directory.
    • Log in using your MAC ID and password.
    • On the “Faculty and Staff Directory” tab, search to find out if a record already exists for you.
    • Use the “Update Directory Listing” tab to add yourself to the directory or change your record.

    NOTE: It is acceptable for retirees to use their personal phone number or email address in this directory. As a personal security measure, do not use your home address as the online directory is available publicly.

    • Fill out the form - mandatory fields are identified by a red asterisk (*).

    Filling out the form

      • For an Add, the ‘Record ID’ box fills in automatically. Don’t try to change it.
      • For a Change, enter your ‘Record ID’, found on the detail screen of your existing record.
      • For ‘Department’, choose “McMaster University Retirees Association (MURA)” from the drop-down list; leaving ‘Sub Dept.’ blank. Or select your pre-retirement department if you are still actively associated with it. 
      • Enter “Retired” or another suitable phrase in the ‘Job "Title’ box.
      • Building’ must be provided. Enter “OC349” if you are off campus.
      • For ‘Extension/Phone Number’ use either your home phone number or a McMaster phone extension. This field cannot be left blank.
      • Enter your email address, whether it’s an “” one or from another service provider.
      • For ‘Departmental Coordinator’, if you are using MURA as your department, choose “Terri Jones – Human Resources Services” from the drop-down list. (Terri is an executive assistant in Human Resources Services, which acts as MURA’s Coordinator for the directory.) If you are still actively associated with your pre-retirement department, choose the Coordinator for that department.
      • For ‘Coordinator’s Email’, enter if you have chosen MURA as your department; otherwise enter your active department coordinator’s email address.
      • Click the ‘Submit’ button. You will see a screen confirming the details of your submission, and the system will send an email to your selected Coordinator.
      • Your new or updated directory listing will take effect within 7 – 10 business days.

    If you would like to be included in the Online Directory but do not have an email address or access to the internet, please contact Terri Jones by phone at 905-525-9140, ext. 23275

    If you need help with using the online form, please contact the UTS Service Desk at 905-525-9140, ext. 24357

    [Ed. note: updated June 2018]

  • April 30, 2016 7:52 PM | Anonymous

    Our new McMaster mail server, MacMail, offers a webbased interface Outlook Web Application (OWA). If you aren’t using an email client like Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, etc., or if you sometimes want to access your email from a computer other than your own, this article will help you have the best experience when accessing MacMail through a web browser.

    Light vs. Full Versions of OWA

    The light version of the Outlook Web App is supported in all browsers. However, the full version, which includes additional features, is not. The following table shows some of the features that are available in the light and full versions of OWA. For a full list, please see this Microsoft Support Article

    OWA-Supported Browsers

    If you decide that you would prefer to have access to the features provided by the full version of OWA, you will need to use a particular browser or browsers, depending on your operating system. The following table indicates the preferred browser(s) for each operating system. Note that Chrome is no longer a preferred browser in any operating system.

    *Internet Explorer 8 may default to the Light version of OWA. To correct this, log into OWA, select "Options", go toAccessibility and uncheck the box. Save, exit OWA and sign in again.

    Browser Settings for OWA

    For optimal functioning, verify the following settings in your browser:

    • Session cookies are enabled
    • JavaScript is enabled
    • Allow pop-ups for OWA

    If you require technical assistance with MacMail, please contact the UTS Service Desk at 905-525-9140, ext. 24357 and press #6 for retiree assistance, or email UTS The UTS Desk is located on the McMaster Campus in Burke Science Building, Room 245.

  • 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. 

  • September 30, 2015 5:19 PM | Anonymous

    In the summer issue of MURAnews, we reported that  McMaster’s existing ‘Univmail’ email service was being  replaced with ‘MacMail’, a Microsoft Exchange service,  and that all retirees using an email address sending  with would be moved to the new  MacMail server. By the time you read this, the  migration of retirees will be almost complete, with all  retirees moved to the MacMail server by midNovember. 

    Retirees affected were sent an email notice from two weeks  before their personal migration date with the subject  line: Notice of Migration from UnivMail to Exchange. 

    Help documentation tailored for retirees, prepared  jointly by MURA and UTS, is available here.

    If you require technical assistance, please contact the  UTS Service Desk at (905) 525-9140 extension 24357  and press #6 for retiree assistance. The UTS Service  Desk is located on the McMaster Campus in Burke  Science Building Room 245. 

    Email inquiries should be directed  to

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