macOS Big Sur

After extensive testing the CATS group (and ITS) has determined that it is now okay for end-users to update to latest version of Apple’s macOS Big Sur (v11.6). So feel free to update if you’d like. Always remember to back up important files on your computer before applying updates.

Before upgrading though please note the following: One reason for postponing this update is that Big Sur will NOT run older 32-bit software titles (e.g., KaleidaGraph). So you’ll want to check compatibility of any your older custom installed applications but otherwise you should be fine. You’ll also likely need to upgrade printer drivers and such but those are available through the Smith College Self If you have any specific questions before upgrading please contact us to review.

Classrooms in the Sciences and other spaces across campus are being upgraded to Big Sur this summer in preparation for Fall 21.

Fall 2021 Technology Announcements

Below we are highlighting some of the updated services, from the CATS group, for your use this fall:

AppStream 2.0 (AWS)
AppStream is a cloud-hosted application virtualization platform that allows end-users to run Windows-based applications through a web browser. The software currently available through AppStream include: AutoCAD, Solidworks, ArcGIS, Matlab, SPSS, Stata, Chemdraw, and Kaleidagraph.  If you have software that you would like to be made available to your students remotely or you would just like to try it out and see how AppStream works please contact CATS.

Code42 – Client Backup
We have seats available if you would like to backup your office and research computers. If interested, instructions can be found at: 

Git Services

  1. Github Classroom — contact CATS if you would like a course repo created. 
  2. Gitlab — our on premise Gitlab Enterprise Edition server is ready to store and sync your course and research project(s) git repositories. Log in with you Smith credentials. 

An Overleaf Professional subscription (collaborative, online LaTeX editor) is available to all Smith students, faculty and staff. Signup through the Smith College Overleaf Portal 

Periodic Scheduling System
Use to reserve time on various research equipment throughout the sciences. Additionally, the system has been updated with new 5-min availability windows — meaning we can now set reservation slots to match Smith course blocks.

Faculty can also now create, share, and use a personal “bookable,” (connected to your google calendar) allowing students to schedule advising appointments, office hour and research meetings during the availability windows you set. Schedule a meeting for a demo. 

Replit (Teams for Education)
Replit is a simple yet powerful online IDE, Editor, Compiler, Interpreter, and REPL. Code, compile, run, and host in 50+ programming languages. Replit Teams for Education offers real-time code collaboration with Google-docs like editing for faculty and students. Email CATS if you would like a Team setup. Follow this link for more info: Smith College REPL.

RStudio Server — now RStudio Workbench
We are currently running Rstudio Workbench 4.1.0 at If you wish to use the server for your classes, email a list of students that need accounts to CATS. We only need their Smith email addresses; if you have Five College students they will receive a Smith username (but not an email) from the registrar, and when they have that, we can also create an account for them.

A list of currently installed packages is kept here. If you need additional packages, let us know and we will install them for you.

Since we are back to in-person learning this fall, and the computer classrooms/labs will be open, we are discontinuing the use of Splashtop for course-related work. If remote access to software for your fall course(s) is a concern we recommend using AppStream instead (see above). Email CATS to learn more. 

We will continue to use Splashtop to access research workstations. If you have a research machine that you or your students would like to access remotely please fill out the Remote Access Request Form  and we will add you to the system. 

WebWorK (an open-source online homework system for math courses)
The new webwork2 server is integrated with Moodle. Request the addition of the Moodle-to-WeBWorK LTI for your Moodle course using the Digital Support Intake Form.


Other Useful Links: 
How to use the Wacom Tablet 
Zoom Tips and Tricks

If you do not already have VPN, here are the current links on how to get started: