Macintosh Specialist for Information Technology Services, says e-mail-related questions are the ones he gets asked most frequently.
"Mac" Expert on Call for Wesleyan Computer Problems
|Q: Todd, when did
you come to Wesleyan?
A: I came to Wesleyan in the summer of 1997 as the Macintosh Specialist for
the Information Technology Serviceís Desktop Support Team. While different
responsibilities have come and gone, Iíve always been in our Desktop Support
group. I also manage a couple of Mac servers such as our license server and
file servers for a few departments.
Q: Each academic and administrative department is assigned a Desktop Support
Specialist. What departments do you oversee?
A: I am responsible for Athletics, Office of Public Affairs, Wesleyan
University Press and Classics as well as the Macintosh computers in other
areas, such as English, Philosophy, the Office of the President and the
College of Letters.
Q: When someone has a problem with a computer, what is the process to
A: It certainly depends on the problem, but the basic process is starting to
resolve it from general to specific. Is it hardware or software? Is it a
problem with the program or operating system? Using different methods, I can
narrow down the cause until I can identify it and replicate it Ė then figure
out how to resolve it.
Q: What are the most common problems Wesleyan employees have with their
A: Many of the questions people have are about e-mail. I donít believe itís
because e-mail programs are a problem, but because that is one thing
everyone is doing every day Ė in many different ways. Home access is another
popular question these days. People want to check email and work from home.
Q: And what are some of the oddball cases?
A: Oddball cases are almost always about rare programs or programs being
used in non-standard ways. I recently had a question about why Eudora
wouldnít e-mail a giant video file to another user. Other times Microsoft
Word randomly removes all toolbars. But having been doing this work for 15
years, there are not too many questions I havenít come across before.
Q: Are you mostly in, or out of the office on calls?
A: In the past couple of years, Iíve been able to do more remote support
thanks to the software included with Mac OS X. Working only over the phone
is almost always too difficult. However, with remote control software, the
user and I can both see the screen at the same time.
Q: How did you acquire your computer knowledge? And what interests you about
A: I began working in this field because it was a natural move for me. Iíve
been fortunate enough to have computers around my whole life and
understanding how they work was easy for me. As I went through college,
people frequently turned to me for help with whatever problem they were
working on. I started working officially in computer support during my
sophomore year in college. Over the years, Iíve worked hard to expand my
knowledge by reading and trying new things so that I could remain a resource
for other people.
Q: Where did you go to college and what was your major?
A: I went to the University of Connecticut, majoring in philosophy.
Q: How does philosophy relate to computer technology?
A: Philosophy is more closely related to computers than people think Ė in
one class we wrote simple programs as we discussed symbolic logic. Both
computers and philosophy require logical, analytical thinking.
Q: Who else is a member of the Desktop Support Team, and you interact with
each other often?
A: The Desktop Support staff is made up of myself, Phil Dean, Harriett
Epstein, John Hammond, Sean Gomez, Shawn Hill and Ben Jackson. As the issues
we tackle are very similar, we work very closely to share knowledge about
problems weíve researched.
Q: In 2006, you taught a Continuing Studies course on film editing using
Appleís iMovie. Do you enjoy teaching too?
A: I really enjoy teaching classes and hope to do it often in the future.
While the iMovie class was my first time with the CRST program, Iíve taught
iMovie and others many times within the ITS Training program. Iíve also been
able to present at many conferences, such as NERCOMP Ė the NorthEast
Regional Computing Program, so that I could teach my peers about different
tools and techniques Iíve found.
Q: You are considered a ďMacĒ expert. How did you acquire PC knowledge? How
many people at Wesleyan use one or the other? Is it half and half?
A: Anyone working in computers will at some point work on a Windows PC. As
many of the things computers do are similar, the procedure for repairing
them is similar. Different departments are dependent more on one platform or
the other Ė the sciences and humanities use more Macs, while the economics
and government departments tend to use more Windows computers.
Administrative departments use almost all Windows computers, as the move to
PeopleSoft a few years ago required it. Now that PeopleSoft is Web-based, we
are beginning to see more Macintosh computers in administrative computing.
Overall, faculty are about 50/50 split. Administrative computing is about 90
percent Windows and 10 percent Mac- with the number for Macs quickly
Q: Aside from computers, what are your hobbies?
A: I have a great family at home who I love to spend time with. My kids are
very involved in sports and music Ė my wife and I try to join them in those
activities. My son is a great soccer player. Now heís much better than me so
Iím not much of a challenge for him but itís still fun. I also coach my
daughterís soccer and softball teams and am involved in Boy Scouts with my
Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection