Do you use LaTeX to edit your professional documents? Would you like to easily and quickly collaboratively write and publish online? The solution is Overleaf (https://www.overleaf.com/org/lbl/). Overleaf provides a collaborative LaTeX editing environment with real-time interpretation of scripting supporting rapid editing.
Online collaboration in Rich Text or LaTeX editing. Easily switch between either mode.
Real-time collaboration in your browser for sharing and editing projects with authorized users. You can remove collaborators at any time.
Real-time preview of projects to review your document while editing and writing - type on the left and see your finished document on the right.
Integrated, streamlined publishing allows you to publish immediately and directly to the journal of your choice with an integrated submission system to dozens of publishing partners.
A Teaching Toolkit which allows you to quickly and easily create assignments on Overleaf to send out to students; these assignments can then be completed online on Overleaf and submitted back to you with a single click for marking and review.
The IT Division is providing Overleaf for FREE, get your Overleaf account today!
Berkeley Lab Overleaf Portal - https://www.overleaf.com/org/lbl/
Official Overleaf website - https://www.overleaf.com/
Overleaf Video Tutorial - https://www.overleaf.com/tutorial
Free online LaTeX introductory course - https://www.overleaf.com/latex/learn/free-online-introduction-to-latex-part-1
Overleaf Templates - https://www.overleaf.com/org/lbl/#!templates
Overleaf FAQ & Help - https://www.overleaf.com/org/lbl/#!help
As reported back in February on IT Spotlight, Apple is actively warning users that running a 32-bit application will be phased out in the macOS release of 10.14 (see 32-bit Applications Being Phased Out for Next Major Release of macOS). At this time Apple is previewing macOS 10.14 at their developers conference in June 2018, but a release date is unknown at this time.
What is Paperpile?
Can’t keep track of all your papers and reference materials. Compiling bibliographies driving you nuts? Use Paperpile, a citation management tool integrated with the Google apps ecosystem. The IT Division has recently acquired Paperpile and is providing it FREE to all Lab employees. What you can do with Paperpile:
Easily organize your papers, folders, PDFs in Google Drive and automatic insertion of citations within Google Docs
Search your library quickly by keyword, author, journal, publication year and more from any device, at any time, from anywhere
Gather accurate metadata, abstracts and PDFs with one click
Import and export of citations from BibTex, RIS, Zotero, and Mendeley, and Endnote
Search and import across Google Scholar, PubMed, ArXiv from within Paperpile
Easy generation of LaTeX Citations
Save supplementary files in any format
Annotate PDFs with those important ideas and share them with your colleagues
Collaboration citation folders and citation sharing
Citations can be exported for use in Endnote
Where do I get Paperpile?
Paperpile is a web-based application and is licensed for all LBL users.
To get started,
Go to https://paperpile.com/
Click "Sign In"
Click "Sign in with Google"
Sign in with your Berkeley Lab Identity credentials
Note that Paperpile currently only supports Chrome browser.
What is a browser cache?
A browser uses a local cache (pronounced “cash”) to store copies of recently accessed website information to quickly display data to a user at a later time. Having pages and images cached prevents the browser from having to re-download content, which can greatly increase the speed at which pages are loaded.
Why should you periodically clear the cache?
Sometimes browser performance seems sluggish because the cache gets large and bloated. Websites can also behave erratically if the content on the server has changed from that in the cached copy. This can result in page loading errors, performance issues, and in some cases, security issues. For example, a recent change to the login page for the Lab’s FMS was resolved by clearing the cache.
Clearing your cache is like rebooting your computer. This is usually the first step to diagnosing a browser issue with a website. Next time you visit a website, your browser will download and cache the latest data.
How to clear my cache?
For more instructions on how to clear your browser cache, please see FAQ article Clearing Browser Cache.
The IT User Support Group now offers an easy and convenient way to order a computer, new or repurpose (used, hardware at no charge). We provide the lowest-cost, and highest-quality services available, based on standardized hardware and software configurations, automated management systems, and years of expertise. We provide the following services for all new and re-purposed workstation requests:
- Help selecting the ideal computer for your work and budget
- Procurement of hardware and accessories
- Enrolling computers in our management systems
- Pre-configuring computers with Berkeley Lab recommended software and settings
- Delivery, installation, and configuration based on customer needs
Support labor costs are $100/hr. Labor is not charged to Operations staff, as part of the Operations Desktop Support program.
To order your computer now, see the Request a Computer FAQ.
Microsoft has entirely changed their approach to updating Windows 10. Now they are releasing major builds twice a year which are much larger downloads that require longer install times with a REBOOT.
Each build will have an end of lifecycle and will cease to be supported as defined by their End of Service date, see IT Spotlight article, Windows 10 Lifecycle and the Need To Update Regularly (https://commons.lbl.gov/display/itfaq/2018/03/01/Windows+10+Lifecycle+and+the+Need+to+Update+Your+System+Regularly).
Users should know that they must regularly commit to updating their Windows 10 operating system or risk cyber threat and/or block, not to mention further increased time to update your system. Falling behind on updates could take several hours to upgrade your system resulting in loss of productivity. The more frequent the update and REBOOT, the less downtime.
To update your Windows 10 system:
Select Start button
Select Update & Security
Select Windows Update
Select Check Updates and update your system if there are updates
Note: There are optional settings in the Advanced Settings section where you can set download and reboot options to meet your workload.
Don’t forget that you should always backup your system before updating. Berkeley Lab IT provides Druva inSync for this purpose (https://software.lbl.gov/swSoftwareDetails.php?applicationID=184).
Friendly reminder it is always wise to reboot your computer at least once a week to ensure the health of your computer.
Microsoft has taken a different approach to updating Windows 10, as they release major builds twice a year. Each build will have an end of lifecycle and will cease to be supported as defined by their End of Service date. Users should know that they must regularly commit to updating their Windows 10 operating system or risk cyber threat and/or block.
Microsoft has published the Windows 10 lifecycle fact sheet (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13853/windows-lifecycle-fact-sheet), see the table below.
Windows 10 version history
Date of availability
End of service
Windows 10, version 1709
October 17, 2017
April 9, 2019**
Windows 10, version 1703
April 5, 2017
October 9, 2018**
Windows 10, version 1607
August 2, 2016
April 10, 2018**
Windows 10, version 1511
November 10, 2015
October 10, 2017**
Windows 10, released July 2015 (version 1507)
July 29, 2015
May 9, 2017
Thanks to Berkeley Lab BigFix and support from our LBL Active Directory and our Windows Server Update Service (WSUS), we have discovered 43 Windows computers that have not updated their Windows 10, version 1511 operating system. These systems must update immediately. IT User Support will be reaching out to these users in the next week to provide any support needed with their Windows 10 update.
To find out about the your Windows 10 version, see Which Windows operating system am I running? (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13443/windows-which-operating-system)
Users should be mindful regarding Windows Updates:
Backup your system before doing your Windows Update, you can use Druva inSync from our software download page, https://software.lbl.gov/swSoftwareDetails.php?applicationID=184
Update files can be big and may take some time to download
Once the Update starts to download you can minimize it and continue working
When the download is complete it will ask for a reboot, you can pause or reschedule for the end of the day (Note: update will not finish without a reboot)
Application of system settings after a Windows Update may require another 15-30 minutes after you reboot and login
Users can request help with updating their Windows 10 system by clicking on the link below.
Remember do not push off updating your computer, update regularly!
This project was possible because IT identified affected systems with Berkeley Lab BigFix. To get Berkeley Lab BigFix for your computer, please visit software.lbl.gov.
Microsoft ceased mainstream updates for Windows 7 on January 13, 2015. Since then, Windows 7 continues to receive extended security updates; however Microsoft will cease all updates to WIndows 7 on January 14, 2020. This is detailed in the Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13853/windows-lifecycle-fact-sheet).
IT User Support typically deploys workstations with a planned three-year service life. Because security updates to Windows 7 will stop in less that two years, Windows 7 systems are no longer being deployed. In particular, IT User Support will only deploy new and repurposed systems running Windows 10. All repurposed systems that originated with a Windows 7 license will be required to upgrade to Windows 10. Windows 10 licenses can be purchased from our software download site, https://software.lbl.gov, for $138.62.
All users should begin to plan for replacing all WIndows 7 installations by February, 2020.
Users may want to consider switching to Chromebooks for office and remote work. These lightweight and inexpensive systems work with all Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 applications, and provide remote access capabilities to Windows systems. Chromebooks are very easy to use, and provide excellent security, and cost much less than a comparable Windows laptop.
Users can contact IT User Support for more information by clicking the link below.
This project was possible because IT identified affected systems with BigFix. To get BigFix for your computer, please visit software.lbl.gov.
Lenovo has issued a recall on ThinkPad X1 Carbon 5th Generation laptops (Machine Types: 20HQ, 20HR, 20K3, 20K4) sold before Nov 1, 2017.
Lenovo has determined that a limited number of such laptops may have an unfastened screw that could damage the laptop’s battery causing overheating, potentially posing a fire hazard.
Lenovo has provided a support page where you can check to see if your model has been recalled, see https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/ht504453.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact IT at email@example.com or click on the link below to submit a help ticket.
Apple announced last year that they are beginning to phase out support for 32-bit applications for macOS. Beginning in January 2018, the Mac app store will no longer accept any 32-bit apps. Starting with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, Apple will begin warning users about installed applications that are 32-bit, but will continue to run them without problems.
Apple has not yet announced the release date of macOS 10.14, or when Mac users will no longer be able to run 32-bit applications.
It is recommended that all users review their current software, and begin working with vendors to determine whether 64-bit support will be added, and whether you should budget now for an upgrade.
To check if an application is 32-bit or 64-bit do the following:
Type “Command ⌘ + Space bar”, or click the magnifying glass in the menu bar, to launch Spotlight
Type in System Information and hit Enter when it shows up
Scroll down to the Software section in System Information
Click Applications and wait for your applications to load
The column to the far right in the Applications table will give you a simple, "Yes" or "No" answer as to whether or not your app is 64-bit
As for Windows users, Microsoft has not announced any plans to deprecate 32-bit support for Windows, but users should begin to review Windows applications also.
We’ve all heard the stories about major data breaches at some of the largest online businesses. 3 billion Yahoo customers had their usernames and passwords compromised leaving those users vulnerable to hackers. Target was breached in 2013, exposing the information of 41 million customers.
A strong password is no longer enough to protect you and your data. Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) provides a second layer of security beyond your username and password. Think of it this way: your username and password are “something you know.” MFA requires both “something you know” and “something you have.” At Berkeley Lab, the “something you have” is a physical token that will generate a unique one-time password (OTP). Under MFA, a hacker who has your credentials still can’t access your account, because they lack “the something you have.”
Berkeley Lab has implemented MFA protection for your Berkeley Lab Identity. As a computing best practice and to help protect you against credential theft, you can choose to add MFA protection for your Single-Sign-On (SSO) logins, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Team Drive, LETS, HRIS, etc.
To adopt MFA for your account, follow these simple steps:
Update your Notification Information at https://password.lbl.gov
Set up Google Authenticator
Get a YubiKey token by either
submitting a ticket to firstname.lastname@example.org
attending an IT workshop in your area
Enable MFA by checking “Opt-in to MFA” at https://identity.lbl.gov/mfa/
Detailed instructions are available in the Multi Factor Authentication Instructions page.
For additional help, create a ticket by emailing email@example.com.
The IT User Support Group has had several calls from customers this morning regarding the endless reboot loop of their system after installing the latest High Sierra macOS update. Error message is,
“The path /System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg appears to be missing or damaged. Quit the installer to restart your computer and try again.”
The system then enters an endless reboot and does not let you log into the computer.
- Ensure you have a backup of your computer
- Turn off your computer
- Holding down the "Option" key, reboot your computer
- From the boot menu provided, select your hard drive, i.e. Macintosh HD or the name of your hard drive
- Log into your computer
- Open a browser and download the 10.13.2 Combo Update via https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1944?locale=en_US
- Install the update
- Reboot your computer
If you have any questions. please feel free to contact IT at firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the link below.
Go to the software download page and request a Druva inSync backup account. For more information see, Backups.
Generating, remembering and maintaining unique passwords is challenging and nearly impossible today. As the number of mandatory passwords, password length, and password complexity increases, it becomes harder to remember them without relying on risky alternatives such as writing passwords down or reusing passwords for more than one application. Reuse of a password is one of the biggest security vulnerabilities today. Given the recent high profile breaches of company’s user data, if you reuse a password on more than one site you are at risk for all your other sites. Do you know where you reuse your password?
The solution to address this problem is a password manager. Berkeley Lab has now adopted LastPass as an enterprise password manager and you can download it for free from our software download page, https://software.lbl.gov/swSoftwareDetails.php?applicationID=191.
LastPass resides in your browser and helps you store, manage, and automatically provide account name/password information to web-based applications. As you enter your credentials, LastPass automatically stores it in your safe, encrypted vault. When you are prompted to provide your credentials, LastPass will automatically identify the correct username and password to enter. Access to your vault is through your “master” password. Your master password is the only password you need to remember.
LastPass has additional features:
The ability to sync your vault across any device on any platform at any time
The ability to utilize multi-factor authentication
The ability to share logins and passwords safely across an organization
The ability to run a security check against your password vault to determine where there are duplicates and weaknesses
Don’t wait to get compromised, get your copy of LastPass today.
- Berkeley Lab IT LastPass website, https://commons.lbl.gov/display/itfaq/LastPass
- Official LastPass Blog - What LastPass users Need to Know about Meltdown and Spectre
Do you want to:
Increase your computer security, and reduce the effort needed to keep it that way?
Inventory and report potential computer software and hardware issues?
Help find and track your computer assets?
BigFix can help! In fact, Berkeley Lab IT has BigFix deployed on over 4000 Windows, Mac and Linux systems across the Lab. We recommend that all employees install BigFix on all desktop and laptop systems at the Lab. To get started now, install BigFix from software.lbl.gov.
The single most important thing you can do to protect your system is to keep the operating system and all applications up to date with the latest patches. Hackers target computer running obsolete operating systems and applications, which have well-known and easily-attacked vulnerabilities. For example, if you are running an older web browser, email program, image viewer, instant messaging, or even media player, your system is susceptible to infection with no action on your part other than viewing a malicious site. By installing BigFix, you can be sure that your system will always be running the latest version of the operating system and the most commonly compromised applications. For more information, see https://commons.lbl.gov/display/itfaq/Patch+Management+Services.
BigFix is also used to detect and report on common issues with your system, including low disk space, vulnerable programs, and even failing hard drives. IT User Support can then proactively help you address these problems before disaster strikes! For example,
In October 2017, the popular system utility CCleaner was hacked, and malware was embedded into the newest updates. We were able to identify who had CCleaner installed, notify users of the vulnerability, and help them clean up their systems. For details, see https://commons.lbl.gov/display/itfaq/2017/10/12/CCleaner+Hacked.
In October 2017 Microsoft released a Windows patch that could cause a computer to fail boot. IT User Support was able to identify these systems, and worked with the users to ensure that reboots were done in a way that wouldn’t impact their work.
BigFix is also being used in the Lab’s current Wall-to-Wall inventory campaign! Any DOE-barcoded system running BigFix and on the LBL network can be automatically checked in to SunFlower, saving your property rep from having to manually scan the barcode. This pilot program is currently under development by the IT and CFO divisions.
For these and many other reasons, we encourage you to install BigFix on your computer systems. BigFix is available from software.lbl.gov.
If you want further information regarding BigFix or need help installing BigFix, enter a help ticket by clicking on the Request Help link below.
Some CCleaner installers were found to have third party malware embedded. Though CCleaner fixed their installers quickly, some of users downloaded and unknowingly installed malware. A project in IT User Support was initiated to identify these systems and notify users that their computers could be compromised. We requested removal of the software and a complete Sophos scan to be run to confirm removal of the infected software. We are continuing to monitor systems for potential threat using BigFix.
IT User Support advised staff to do the following:
Please note as a part of this investigation, we discovered that the free version of CCleaner cannot legally be installed on Laboratory computers. The IT User Support will be issuing a BigFix offer to remove this software at user convenience. If you don't have BigFix installed on your system please see our IT Software Download Page at https://software.lbl.gov/.
This project was possible because IT identified affected systems with BigFix. To get BigFix for your computer, please visit software.lbl.gov.