Tech : University secretly offers free web space for SU community
Did you know that Syracuse University has 50 megabytes of website server space for every single SU student, faculty and staff member? Yeah, me neither. This little gem of information accidentally exposed itself during one of my classes, and all I could think was an odd combination of ‘eureka’ and ‘what a waste.’
The ‘eureka’ was prompted by the sheer brilliance of providing site space to those affiliated with the university, and ‘what a waste’ was because it is the single most under-advertised tidbit of SU’s technology perks I have ever stumbled upon.
Well, this information shall be cloaked in mystery no longer. This is how the university’s dime is benefiting you through technological avenues (and by ‘university’s dime,’ I mean your dime that has been reallocated by the university, of course).
Following the painfully obvious Syracuse tech website trend, this feature has been creatively dubbed ‘MySite’ and can be found by visiting mysite.syr.edu, where a streamlined sign-up/login page can be found. When I say ‘streamlined,’ I’m really implying that it’s so easy my 3-year-old cousin could do it. Just enter your Syracuse username and password, click the ‘CreateMySite’ button and voila! You’ve just earned yourself 50 megabytes of storage space with a personal URL (SU got creative on this, too — the site’s name is ‘your username here’.mysite.syr.edu. Has a nice ring to it, no?)
But before you go ahead and set up your own opinionated site — because we all know college students these days aren’t detrimentally apathetic or anything like that — there are a few things you should know regarding your usage guidelines and scope as specified by the university.
To aid you in determining what’s acceptable Web content for your new site, Syracuse has provided this curt comment: ‘All content posted here is publicly accessible by any computer with a Web browser.’ This cautionary tidbit goes on to inform users that they should refrain from posting information they would like to keep personal. This includes anything deemed offensive or harmful by the Information Technology and Services’ policy on computing and electronic communications or any copyrighted material you do not have the rights to. That is to say no over-sharing, no bullying and no thievery.
Want to set up a site used solely to host and remark on the glorious wonder of double rainbows? As long as you have the rights to the videos you post, you’re in the clear. How about a site divulging what a sadist your professor is? Hit the road, Jack — MySite isn’t for you.
And aside from basic human courtesy, there are functional aspects to MySite that users should be familiar with. In a nut shell, your MySite usage and functionality will vary based on what operating system you employ, so you may need to follow different steps in site creation and maintenance. This part gets a little detailed, so for complete information on this, visit answers.syr.edu (again with the creativity).
Since you’ve been armed with proper MySite etiquette and know how to find the answers to your functionality issues, all that’s left is the method of design. Because MySite is a hosting service separate from the design and development process, a number of avenues can be used in the creation process. Like basic coding? HTML/CSS will do just fine. Would you rather ‘code’ by design? Link your iWeb creations to your new URL. Like to use the two in tandem? Dreamweaver is the software for you.
Now that you’re a MySite pro, all you need to do is learn how to create a website. Well, you could always hire me (this so isn’t any form of self-promotion), but if you’d opt to learn some basic Web design or development skills yourself, you could try enrolling in one of the many Web-oriented classes offered by the university (may I recommend IST 263: ‘Design and Management of Internet Services’ or TRF 400: ‘New Media Content Lab’). You can also invest in a user-friendly HTML/CSS manual or a software like Dreamweaver. Now go forth and multiply! In the website sense, that is.
Jessica Smith is a dual information management and technology and television, radio and film major. Her column appears every Tuesday, and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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