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Macintosh group helps users connect to campuswide systems

by George Spain
Information Services
With its shiny new and innovative gadgets and a rapidly rising share of the computer market, Apple Inc. is enjoying a banner year—which is especially noticeable on campus. But while the computer company touts its ease of use, total digital integration, and application compati-bility, the gizmos can be notoriously difficult to connect to MUSC campuswide servers and systems.
New help has arrived in the form of a Macintosh Shared Interest Group (Mac-Sig).
In a recent one-hour session in the library’s fourth floor computer lab, Curtis Wise, Ph.D., and Dieter Haemmerich, Ph.D., D.Sc., assisted as a roomful of brand new iPhone 3G users connected to the university’s Exchange servers where they could synchronize e-mail, voicemail, calendars, an other applications to desktop and laptop computers.
Wise and Haemmerich are the new co-chairs of Mac-Sig, a group of Apple computer users and technicians from various colleges and departments who meet once a month to discuss problems and share solutions.
Some of the topics for future meetings include setting up virtual machines (i.e., running Windows on Macintosh Intel computers using Parallels, VMware, Bootcamp, and Crossover); ipod/iphone connectivity and synchronization; Wi-Fi wireless connectivity (e.g., configuring Airport and muscsecure); VPN (virtual private network, a way to make secure connections from off campus so that you can view sensitive data and financial applications); Microsoft Office compatibility issues with Endnote bibliography software; Exchange setup with other e-mail applications (such as Apple Mail); and Time Machine, an automatic backup utility built in to the latest Macintosh operating system release (10.5, also known as Leopard) that has had its share of compatibility problems in initial offerings.
The group also sponsors a e-mail listserv where you can ask questions, seek help with a specific application, or share information. To join, send an e-mail to, leave the subject blank, in the body of the e-mail type subscribe, and send it.
While iPods and iPhones are ubiquitous around campus, Macintosh computers are still the minority computing platform at MUSC. Microsoft Windows is virtually the exclusive computer operating system for the hospital and its clinical, financial and centrally managed (LYNX) systems.
Macs, which make up between one-quarter and one-third of campus computers, are found mainly in the university. The MUSC Library features both Windows and Macintosh labs, while the library staff uses Macs in its workflow. The College of Dental Medicine is predominately Mac-centric and Mac clusters can be found in the departments of Psychiatry and Medicine.
Wise, professor emeritus with the College of Dental Medicine, is a long-time and well-known Mac enthusiast who has been associated with the Mac-Sig group from its inception.
Haemmerich, associate professor with the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, has a background in computer engineering and software development, and currently is doing computer modeling as part of his research in the Darby Children’s Research Institute. Comfortable with many different computer platforms, Haemmerich began using Macs when OS 10 was released.
Haemmerich said the group would also work closely with the Office of the CIO to reduce the “support issues compared to Windows users,” and said one way to do that would be to have better attendance at the Mac-Sig group meetings.
To join the group, show up at the meeting or for more information, contact Haemmerich at or Wise at


Friday, July 25, 2008
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