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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Molly Birch
Molly Birch

My name is Molly, and I am in my second year at NMU. I come from Midland, MI, probably one of the most boring places on earth. However, we do have the only Tridge in the world, so that’s pretty nifty...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Student’s laptop woes preventable

Sara Allison, a senior math education major, has taken her Lenovo ThinkPad to the Help Desk several times in the last two years. Her hard drive needed to be replaced twice; three keys fell off her keyboard; and she stepped on her CD drive, causing it to stop working.

“I’m computer illiterate. technology isn’t my number one interest in life, so [when] worst comes to worst, I always just use other people’s computers. I use my laptop to show off my sticker collection,” Allison said.

Physical neglect and not backing up computer files are the top two reasons students bring their laptops in to the Help Desk, said Chris Wagner, Help Desk manager.

“Don’t leave [your computer] on the floor under a pile of clothes.just take care of it,” Wagner said.

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Files can be backed up by storing them on a flash drive. Files may also be burned onto a CD-ROM. A third method Wagner suggests is e-mailing files from an NMU account to a personal e-mail.

E-mails carry their own dangers if opened from an unknown sender, Wagner said. Malicious programs, such as viruses, can harm computers.

The ILOVEYOU virus, sent out via e-mail, was so destructive that it forced Microsoft and other large computer companies to turn their e-mail systems off in 2001, according to an article posted by electrical-engineer Marshall Brain on the web site,

Depending on what the virus was programmed to do, it can erase files, crash the computer or steal information. Viruses sent by e-mail, once they infect a computer, can also automatically mail themselves to every person listed in the virus-infected address book, according to Brain’s article.

“Anything you download can potentially be malicious software, so be wary of the source which you’re getting your software from,” Wagner warned.

However, viruses aren’t the only possible e-mail hazards.

Phishing, an attempt to gather the computer user’s account information, can take the guise of an official e-mail from a bank or an online store.

Phishing attempts to gain information such as credit card numbers, passwords and bank account information, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG).

“Hijacking brand names of banks, e-retailers and credit card companies, phishers often convince recipients to respond,” according to the APWG’s Web site.

Wagner advised that students never follow links within e-mails to an official-looking organization. Go directly to their main web page to be certain the user’s information is not sent to a phisher, he said.

Wagner also shared a few housekeeping tips to keep computers running smoothly. Run anti-virus checks once a week, and defragment once a month to removes file fragments that build up and slow the computer down.

For assistance with running these maintenance programs, or for general computer aid, students can visit the Help Desk, across from Starbucks in the LRC.

For their hours and more information, visit their Web site at

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