UCSF

Technology Requirements Fall 2014

All School of Pharmacy students entering in fall 2014 must meet the following technology requirements:


Literacy

Computer literacy is an entry requirement for the PharmD program. You will not be able to complete the coursework in the PharmD curriculum without a solid foundation in basic computer skills, which we define as confidence in using:

  1. Microsoft Excel
  2. Microsoft Word, including the Equation Editor
  3. Microsoft PowerPoint
  4. The Web
  5. Adobe Reader
  6. Anti-virus software
  7. E-mail

To meet these requirements, you must be confidently able to perform the following tasks without assistance:

Microsoft Excel

  1. Create a new Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, and enter data into it.
  2. Create graphs and charts in Microsoft Excel using the spreadsheet data.
  3. Insert tables from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet into a Microsoft Word document.
  4. Insert graphs and charts from Microsoft Excel into a Microsoft Word document.

Learn more about Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Word

  1. Create a new document in Microsoft Word, and enter text into it.
  2. Cut and paste text.
  3. Format text using bold, underline, italics, superscript, subscript.

Learn more about Microsoft Word

Microsoft Equation Editor

Equation Editor is included as part of Microsoft Word.

  1. Set up an equation with the Equation Editor in Word and insert an equation into the document.
  2. Use Greek symbols using the Equation Editor.

Learn more about Microsoft Equation Editor

Microsoft PowerPoint

  1. Create a presentation with at least 3 slides.
  2. Begin the slide show.
  3. Stop the slide show.

Learn more about Microsoft PowerPoint

The web

  1. Connect to a web site with a web browser and print a web page to a printer.
  2. Open a PDF document on a web site to view and print it using Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader.

Learn more about Adobe Reader

Anti-virus software

  1. Install anti-virus software.
  2. Check that anti-virus software is working properly with current virus definitions.

Learn more about computer viruses

E-mail

  1. Create and send an e-mail message to a given e-mail address.
  2. Open and read an e-mail message that someone has sent you.
  3. File received e-mails in folders according to topic.

Having trouble meeting this requirement?

If you are not yet able to complete these tasks with confidence, you are responsible for obtaining the required training before the first day of classes. Unfortunately, UCSF cannot provide support to help you meet this requirement. We suggest that you consider free tutorials on the web as well as courses available at community colleges and adult education centers.


Hardware

All students entering in fall 2014 must own a computer that meets either Configuration A or Configuration B below.

How do I choose between configurations A & B?

Configuration A

Configuration B

lists the specifications we require if you have purchased a new computer within the past 2 years and do not plan on buying a new computer. This configuration will likely not provide adequate performance through the end of your program.

lists the specifications we require if you need to purchase a new computer. This configuration will likely provide adequate performance for 3 to 4 years.

Regardless of when you purchase your computer, plan on upgrading or purchasing a new computer 3 to 4 years later.

Computer requirements

If something is not listed as required, we offer no specific recommendations and suggest that you make purchase decisions based on your budget or your desire for particular features or convenience.

A Mac or Windows laptop is required

Many courses will require a laptop for in-class assignments and exams.

Three-hour minimum battery runtime

Regarding ExamSoft SofTest exams, since we cannot guarantee in every case that your seat or setting will provide you with access to power, your laptop must be able to operate on battery for a minimum of three hours under normal activity (e.g., web browsing, word processing, wireless).

Specifications

 

Configuration A
required if not buying a new computer

Configuration B
required if buying a new computer

How To Check

memory (RAM)

4 GB or more

8 GB or more

graphics hardware

No specific requirement

Select a graphics hardware option upgrade if available

 

printer

Yes

Yes

 

privacy screen

Yes (see below)

Yes (see below)

 

surge protector

UL 1449 listed

UL 1449 listed

UL 1449 certification is typically indicated by a stamp or a label on the device.

security cable

Required only for portable computers that include a locking mechanism (e.g., Kensington security slot)

 

warranty

Not required

3 years parts and labor with on-site or in-store support

 

If something is not listed as required, we offer no specific recommendations and suggest that you make purchase decisions based on your budget or your desire for particular features or convenience.

What is a privacy screen? Why do you require it?

A laptop privacy screen is a filter that attaches over your laptop's display to make information visible to only you, and we require it when you take certain exams. You'll need to select one that fits your laptop. Because there are many kinds of laptops and privacy screens we cannot provide recommendations or guidance on purchasing, but here are two examples:

  • 3M™ PFMA13 Laptop Privacy Filter Apple® MacBook Air® 13-in
  • 3M™ PF14.1 Privacy Filter for Standard Formatted Notebooks

You can usually find privacy screens at most stores that carry computer accessories. When not taking an exam that requires it, we do not require you to use the privacy screen. Most privacy filters detach easily, enabling you to use them only when needed.

Why do you require a security cable for computers that have a locking mechanism?

The UCSF Police Department regularly receives reports of laptop thefts, especially those left unattended and unlocked in the library. (See Tip: The 5 most common ways laptops are stolen (and how to avoid them).)

What about netbooks and tablets? (e.g., Apple iPad, Google Chromebook)

Netbooks and tablets are small, lightweight, and relatively inexpensive computing devices that can be a wonderful alternative to a laptop computer. However, because these devices typically have less processing power and lack certain capabilities of a laptop, you should not use a netbook or iPad in place of a laptop. However, it's fine as a companion to your laptop.

If you plan to buy a tablet, we recommend iPad because you will have the option to take some of your exams from an iPad, and currently one class—Anatomy 116—uses an iBook. If you do not have an iPad you can use an iPad in our lab or you can view the PDF version of the anatomy book on any device. If you do not already have a tablet, we do not require one. If you take elective courses in the School of Medicine, they may also use iBooks in their curriculum.

What about smartphones?

A smartphone is not required. If you plan to buy a smartphone, we recommend iPhone because it is easier for our support teams to support. If you do not already have an iPhone or smartphone, we do not require one.

Storing and transferring files

On occasion you will need to store files or copy files from one computer to another. USB drives are a common solution. If you have one, great. If not, we do not require one. Below we discuss two options in which you might be interested.

About Box

As a member of the UCSF community, you'll have access to Box, a web-based file storage and file sharing service. If you're familiar with the popular service called Dropbox, Box works similarly, enabling you to store files and share files or folders with individuals or groups. You'll have 60 GB of storage space in Box. Details: UCSF Box.

Currently Box may not be used for legally protected or policy-protected confidential information such as patient records, social security numbers, or credit card numbers. For data requiring a higher level of security, we recommend IronKey.

About IronKey

IronKey is a special kind of USB drive. Like any other USB drive it stores files, but unlike most USB drives IronKey is automatically encrypted. You set a password for it the first time you plug it in, and it asks for your password every time you use it. IronKey works with Windows, Mac, and Linux, providing strong security for all your data no matter what kind of computers you encounter.

As a healthcare professional, you will encounter confidential patient information and other confidential information. Federal law, California law, and University policy require you to keep this information secure. Encryption is one way to do that, and IronKey is one of the easiest ways we have found.

Although an IronKey is not required, we strongly recommend it.

More details:

Where do I buy computer and technology stuff?

You may purchase from any vendor. (UCSF does not have a campus computer store.)

What if I have a Mac?

The curriculum does not require any software that is available only on Windows. There are some compatibility issues with exchanging Microsoft Office documents between Windows and Mac and among newer and older versions, but in essentially all cases these issues have workarounds or solutions. Also, you'll have 24/7 access to computer labs that have both Mac and Windows computers.

Need financial help?

If you need financial assistance to pay for a computer and internet service, UCSF Student Financial Aid may be able to help. The funding source is an additional student loan, usually a Federal Stafford Loan. The loan will not be disbursed in a single check but will be divided equally by the number of quarters enrolled during the academic year.

To receive a loan to cover computer costs, you must:

  1. Purchase the computer and/or related equipment on or after Friday, August 1, 2014.
  2. Make the purchases in your own name.
  3. Charge the purchases to a credit card, or if you cannot or prefer not to charge, obtain an itemized estimate, including taxes.
  4. You'll need to provide electronic copies of your paid receipts or written estimates. If you have more than one document, combine them into a single PDF file or ZIP file.

Details: See Computer Purchases on Student Budget Increases.

If you have questions about financial assistance, contact Student Financial Aid at [email protected] or 415/476-4181 before you purchase the computer.

Related services

Borrow a laptop in the library

If your laptop is temporarily unavailable (e.g., in the repair shop), use a computer in one of our computer labs. Or, Kalmanovitz Library offers a Loaner Laptop Service, which enables you to borrow a laptop for use within the library.

Access to internet and power

Location

Wireless Access
using 802.11a, b, g, or n

Wired Access
using an Ethernet cable

Power Access

Classrooms

All

Some

Many

UCSF Library

Yes

No

Yes

Student Lounge (Medical Sciences S-964)

Yes

Yes, 1 connection available

Yes

IRC Computer Lab (Medical Sciences S-918)

No

Yes, 1 at nearly every workstation

Yes

Housing Services

Some student housing apartments have wired and wireless connections to the UCSF network, but others do not. To determine which ones do and do not, contact Housing Services. For student housing that does not include wired or wireless internet, use DSL, cable, or other internet service.

Yes

About wireless

In all locations where wireless is available, access points support the following protocols:

  • 802.11a (54 Mbit/s)
  • 802.11b (11 Mbit/s)
  • 802.11g (54 Mbit/s)
  • 802.11n (600 Mbit/s)

These access points have separate band coverage for each of the four protocols. However, some access points are connected to the network through older network hardware that is limited to 100 Mbit/s. Consequently, in some locations wireless is restricted to slower speeds even if your device supports a faster speed. UCSF is addressing these limitations, but it is not yet known when all locations will have 802.11n speeds. UCSF does not yet support the 802.11ac protocol.

How to connect to the internet

For wired connections, simply connect using an Ethernet cable. For wireless connections, connect to campus wifi.


Operating system

 

Configuration A
required if not buying a new computer

Configuration B
required if buying a new computer

Windows

Any one of the following:

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Pro
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

Any one of the following:

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Pro
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

Mac

Mac OS 10.7 Lion or later

Whatever Apple gives you by default

Windows 8.1 Pro for Students

As of September 29, 2014, Microsoft is offering Windows 8.1 Pro for Students for $69.99.

Service pack & critical updates required

We require that your computer has the most recent service pack and all critical updates installed.

Update automatically

We also require that you configure your computer to install operating system updates automatically.


Microsoft Office

Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are required.

 

Configuration A
required if not buying a new computer

Configuration B
required if buying a new computer

Windows

Office 2010 (any edition except Starter and Web Apps)

Office 2013 (any edition)

Mac

Office for Mac 2011 (any edition)

Office for Mac 2011 (any edition)

Microsoft Office 365 is currently unsupported

Microsoft Office 365 is the latest version of Office. We do not require this version of Office, and we want you to be aware that as of April 2014 UCSF has not yet committed to supporting Office 365 for faculty and staff. This doesn't affect you directly, but you might need to implement workarounds as a result. UCSF might be unable to support your use of Office 365 should you require help.

About buying Office 365

If you plan to purchase Microsoft Office 365, you'll likely choose between Office 365 Home Premium and Office 365 University. The table below outlines the differences to help you choose. This information is current as of April 2014 and is subject to change.

 

Office 365 Home Premium

Office 365 University

Price

$99.99

$79.99

# of years

1

4

# of devices

5

2

Eligibility requirements?

no

yes, see Terms and Conditions

About Office 2010 Starter and Web Apps editions

These editions do not meet our requirements.

  1. Microsoft Office 2010 Starter edition does not include an authoring version of Microsoft PowerPoint, which is required.
  2. Microsoft Office Web Apps does not have the same feature set as the other editions of Office.

Details: Office 2010 Edition Comparison.

Service pack & critical updates required

  • Windows 8: In Settings > Change PC Settings > Windows Update, ensure that Windows will install updates automatically.
  • Windows 7: Install Microsoft Update, which is different than Windows Update. Details: Install and Configure Microsoft Update Properly in Windows 7.
  • Mac: Mac users: open any Office application, then select Check for Updates from the Help menu.

Microsoft Office not provided

Unfortunately, we do not provide Microsoft Office for you, so you are responsible for purchasing it. Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are required.


Additional software

The following software is required for all students entering in 2011. Use the links below to download and install the additional software we require. All these downloads are free.

Software application

What does it do?

Notes

Windows users must have the latest versions of both of the following browsers:

  • Firefox
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer

Mac users must have the latest versions of both of the following browsers:

  • Firefox
  • Apple Safari

Enables you to view and print web pages.

Download Firefox Download Internet Explorer Download Apple Safari

Some of our required software or web sites may be incompatible with your preferred web browser or operating system. When this happens, you'll need to install a compatible browser and use it only when you need to use that particular software or web site.

We encourage you to become comfortable using more than one web browser.

The latest version of any one of the following:

  • Adobe Reader
  • Adobe Acrobat

Enables you to view and print PDF files, which are files that let you view and print a file exactly as the author designed it, without needing to have the same application or fonts used to create the file. Learn more: Adobe Reader.

Download Adobe Reader

Do not include any optional software with your download or installation. e.g., do not install McAfee Security Scan Plus.

The latest versions of both of the following:

  • Adobe Flash
  • Adobe Shockwave

Enables you to view and interact with multimedia creations.

Download Flash Download Shockwave

  • Do not include any optional software with your download or installation. e.g., do not install McAfee Security Scan Plus.
  • Windows users only: Since Flash has separate installers for Firefox and Internet Explorer, you need to visit Download Flash in each browser to complete both installations. (You don't need to do this for Shockwave; just install Shockwave once from either browser.)

About the security of Adobe Flash

In terms of computer security, Adobe Flash has become riskier to use than in the past. (See Flash client security.)

As an example, in February 2013 Flash exploits tricked Mac and Windows users into clicking links or opening documents which led to malware being secretly installed. (Apple blacklists older versions of Flash plugin due to security risk.)

Since it's not possible for us to instantly switch the Flash portions of our curriculum to alternate solutions that don't use Flash, you will still need to have Flash installed. We want you to be aware of the increased risk. We strongly encourage you to reduce your risk by:

  1. Ensuring that you are using the latest version. Details: Check for Flash.
  2. Setting a recurring calendar reminder (e.g., every six months) to confirm that the latest version is correctly installed.
  3. Installing updates for Flash whenever an update notice appears for it.
  4. Not clicking links or opening files from suspicious, unconfirmed, or unsolicited sources.
  5. Installing a browser plug-in or add-on that blocks Flash by default. For example:

  6. Downloading things like music or video from only legitimate sources. (Illegitimate sources can be harder to trace to find the person responsible.)
  7. Disabling or uninstalling Flash for your default browser and enabling or installing Flash for only your non-default browser. When you need to do something that requires Flash, use your non-default browser. This is more cumbersome but safer since clicking a link to malicious Flash content would attempt to open in a browser that doesn't have Flash enabled. (But if you copy and paste this link into your non-default browser that has Flash enabled, your computer could still be compromised.)
  8. Ensuring that Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) is installed and working properly.

With Adobe Shockwave there are no similar security concerns.

Having trouble? Call 415/514-4100 (available 24/7).

Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP)
(UCSF site license version)

Protects your computer from computer viruses, spyware, malware, and other threats. It also provides a robust firewall.

  • UCSF provides this software to you at no charge while you are a student.
  • SEP updates automatically in the background, and you don't need to renew the license for it each year (which also saves you money).
  • If you already have anti-virus, anti-spyware, or firewall software on your computer, uninstall it and restart your computer before installing SEP. SEP handles all three of these functions, and having more than one application doing these things can cause conflicts.

To download SEP:

  1. Set up your MyAccess account using the information provided in your welcome letter from the Office of the Registrar.
  2. Confirm that your MyAccess credentials work correctly by logging in to MyAccess.
  3. Log in to UCSF VPN using your MyAccess credentials.
  4. On the page that appears after you log in, select the link to download antivirus software.

Having trouble? Call 415/514-4100 (available 24/7).

The latest version of:

Oracle Java

Enables you to run applications created for the Java software platform. Also enables you to use the Network Connect feature of our VPN system.

Check if you have the latest version: Check Java. If not:

About the security of Oracle Java

In terms of computer security, Oracle Java (formerly Sun Java) has become riskier to use than in the past. (See Java (software platform) - Security and Criticism of Java - Security.)

As an example, in January 2013 Java exploits for Mac, Windows, and Linux tricked users into clicking links or opening documents which led to malware being secretly installed. (Java 7 fails to restrict access to privileged code.)

Since it's not possible for us to instantly switch the portions of our curriculum that require Java to alternate solutions that don't use Java, you will still need to have Java installed. We want you to be aware of the increased risk. We strongly encourage you to reduce your risk by:

  1. Ensuring that you are using the latest version. Details: How do I test whether Java is working on my computer?, What Version of Java Are You Using?.
  2. Installing the latest version then disabling Java in the browser and enabling it only when you need to do something that requires it.
  3. Uninstalling older versions of Java.
  4. Setting a recurring calendar reminder (e.g., every six months) to confirm that the latest version is correctly installed.
  5. Installing updates for Java whenever an update notice appears for it.
  6. Not clicking links or opening files from suspicious, unconfirmed, or unsolicited sources.
  7. Installing a browser plug-in or add-on that blocks Java by default. For example:

    • For Firefox for Mac and Windows: NoScript
  8. Downloading things like music or video from only legitimate sources. (Illegitimate sources can be harder to trace to find the person responsible.)
  9. Disabling Java for your default browser and enabling Java for only your non-default browser. When you need to do something that requires Java, use your non-default browser. This is more cumbersome but safer since clicking a link to malicious Java content would attempt to open in a browser that doesn't have Java enabled. (But if you copy and paste this link into your non-default browser that has Java enabled, your computer could still be compromised.)
  10. Ensuring that Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) is installed and working properly.

Java in the browser is different than Java on the desktop, Java on the server, or Javascript. The increased risk is currently related to only Java in the browser.

Having trouble? Call 415/514-4100 (available 24/7).

The latest versions of both of the following:

  • QuickTime
  • Windows Media Player (Windows) or Flip4Mac (Mac)

Enables you to play music, video, and other media files.

QuickTime

Windows Media Player

  • Windows 8 and Windows 7: You already have Windows Media Player 12—no further action is required.
  • Windows Vista: You already have Windows Media Player 11—no further action is required.
  • Windows XP: Download Windows Media Player

Flip4Mac


Internet

We require that you have a home internet connection.

Need financial help?

For students using financial aid, the student budget allows US$40 per month to contribute to the cost of internet service. If you expect that your monthly cost will be greater than this and/or if you need assistance in funding installation or setup costs, contact the Financial Aid office once you receive your award letter to see if your budget can be increased to cover this expense.

Internet service choices

If you have applied for and received student housing at Mission Bay or at 145 Irving, your apartment includes a direct connection to the UCSF network, and this automatically meets your internet requirement. All other students are responsible for selecting an internet service provider and purchasing service.

DSL and cable are the most common internet service technologies available in San Francisco. You are responsible for the cost of this service, which averages about US$50 per month. The availability of these services can depend on where you live. Speed and pricing can vary. The service you choose determines what kind of device (DSL, cable modem, or other hardware) is used -- a DSL modem from a previous provider might not be compatible with the provider you choose in San Francisco. Consequently, it is unwise to buy a DSL modem or cable modem or other such device without knowing that it is compatible with your chosen service provider.

Secure your home wireless network

If you set up a wireless network at home, we require that you secure it with WPA2 encryption. (Personal wireless networks are not permitted in campus housing, so if you're in campus housing this doesn't apply to you.) For help with setting up WPA2 encryption, contact your internet service provider or your wireless access point manufacturer. UCSF cannot set up your home wireless network for you.

More resources

To obtain advice on selecting an internet option, use resources such as: newspapers, computer magazines, friends, co-workers, search engines on the web, your local library, your local business directory.


Questions?

Send e-mail to Web & Data Services Manager Frank Farm at [email protected].