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Volume 5 Issue 1---Attention: The Geek2Geek newsletter is a quarterly publication for the Geeks by the Geeks. Please submit articles and pictures for publication to Diana Kokoska---February 2012
America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week."
[Evan Esar]

UNIX Goes Global

"Good networking skills involve reaching into new networks, not just the ones that we know." [Emily Driscoll]

William (Will) Backman was at a computer conference this past summer in Canada and met an instructor at the University of Darmstadt, touted as one of the leading universities of technology in Germany. He was invited to teach an advanced course in his "favorite operating system," UNIX, over February break.

This face-to-face semester course will be compressed into five full days, which will require some changes to the format of the course that Mr. Backman teaches for UMA. The course will be taught in English and will provide an opportunity for students to practice their English skills along with learning about the UNIX platform.

To learn more about the University of Darmstadt, visit

If you see Will before he leaves for Germany, wish him a good trip -- Gute Reise! (pronounced Goota Risa)

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CIS100 Class Creates Flyers



Students in CIS100 Introduction to Computing recently completed a three-week module on Microsoft Word® in which they learned to design promotional flyers and format research papers. The instructor, Diana Kokoska, was searching for a hands-on application for the assessment when Dr. Kay Retzlaff, Chair of the Women in Curriculum Committee, called and asked if she knew of a student who might be interested in designing a flyer to advertise a upcoming event.

"Do I know a student?" quipped Kokoska, "I know 50 students." The students enjoyed this unique opportunity to apply their newly acquired word processing skills, as evidenced by the comment from a student when the assignment was uploaded. "I hope all of the assessments in this class are as much fun as this one."

Not only did the designers of selected flyers receive UMA notebooks for their efforts, the flyers promoting Jennifer Armstrong's performance in celebration of International Women's Day were prominently displayed at the University of Maine at Augsuta Bangor campus.

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Summer Semester Courses Skyrocket

Interested in technology and trying to decide what courses to take this summer? The CIS program offerings are the largest in recent memory, with an unprecedented variety of courses at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced level for both CIS and non-CIS students.

Web Design and Development

CIS131 Web Applications and Development

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to create a website for a business, for yourself, or for someone else or if you just want to show off your hobbies, photos or artwork, the online offering in CIS 131 Web Applications and Development is the perfect place to start. Whether you learn by seeing, by hearing, or by doing, the step-by-step videos and PDF instructions will make learning your first scripting language much easier than you thought possible.

You will learn to script with html tags, format with CSS, and insert pictures, music and movies into your Web site. For your final project, you will apply these skills to create an amazing Web site that you will be proud to show to friends and family.


So you have taken, or are currently taking, CIS131 Web Applications and Development and if you are not enrolled in the Computer Information Systems program, you are starting to second guess yourself. Why didn't I sign up for the CIS program? I just love writing code and immediately seeing the result in a browser. Are you serious that people actually get paid to do this??? So now you are thinking, "what's the next class in the Web design and development area?" You can take, one -- two -- three -- or why not all four of the courses listed below this summer:

CIS231 Web Applications 1 (JavaScript)

Since Javascript is embedded directly into the html code on a Web page, some coding in html is an important background skill. And now that you have the prerequisite under your belt, CIS231 Javascript is the obvious choice. All of those elements that allow the user to interact with the Web page--rolling banners, pop-up windows, scrolling messages, image flips, guest books, and counters--my bet is they were all created using JavaScript.

For example, check out the popup window on the Geek2Geek Web site -- Current Internship Opportunities and click on NEW-- Graham Behavioral Services (Spring 12). This popup window is just one example of how JavaScript provides a dynamic experience for the user.

This intermediate-level scripting class is a logical extension of CIS131 and will prepare the Web design enthusiast for a server-side Web programming course, such as CIS333 Web Programming: PHP and CIS438 Electronic Commerce.

CIS250 Web Programming: Flash

Have you ever played Farmville or other Flash-based games? Do you wish you could make something like that? You can! It all starts with simple shapes and colors. Flash‘s animation tools will bring any creation to life! Creating animated images using Adobe Flash is really quite easy as the new Adobe Flash Professional CS5.5 provides a number of ways to create animation effects using both tweening and action scripts. The completed project is a movie file with a .swf extension that you can embed in any Web page.

Some students who have previously taken CIS 250 Adobe Flash Professional CS5.5 remarked that they were having so much fun in the class; they had a hard time pulling themselves away from the computer. They just wanted to sit right there and keep playing. As more than one student commented 'CIS 250 is more like play than work.'

Once you have purchased this proprietary software, you are ready to become both the actor and director of your own movie production.

CIS251 Web Programming: Web Authoring Tools - GIMP

picture of Wilber, the GIMP mascot

Just think how boring it would be if all the Web sites on the Internet were just plain text. Yes, you could make the text larger, select a unique font face, change the case, use bold or italic formatting, or even try a different color, but no matter what you do to disguise it, text is always going to be TEXT.

Think back to your final project in CIS131 Web Applications and Development again. What was your biggest challenge? I venture to say it was finding and editing the graphic elements (images, logos, buttons), etc. to make your Web site interesting. What would you say if I told you that you (yes, YOU) can design and edit your own graphics using an open-source program called GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program).

Remember when you were a child and you loved to create graphics with the Etch a Sketch and the fascination the baby boomer generation had for this artistic toy? Think of GIMP as a 3-D, colored version of this popular graphics tool, and just like the original "L'Ecran Magiue" (the Magic Screen), GIMP is limited only by individual creativity, skill, and imagination.

So what are you waiting for? Wouldn't you like to play with that Etch A Sketch again without getting those disapproving glances.

CIS389 Topics in CIS: Content Management Systems

When you were creating your final project for CIS131 Web Applications and Development, how many times did you ask your friends and family to look at your Web site and critique it? OH REALLY!!! Admit it -- you actually showed it to them so many times that they starting running the other way when they saw you coming.

But now those same friends and family are asking you to make them a Web site. You might actually enjoy creating another Web site, but you know that being friends and family, you will be expected to keep the Web site updated as well. What if you could design a Web site for a friend, family (or even for a non-profit organization) that they could maintain without knowing a single html tag?

Have you ever heard the term "Web Content Management System?" A Web Content Management Systems (WCMS)

  • is an easy-to-use Web authoring tool designed to help non-technical designers create and manage Web content
  • allows non-technical users, with little or no training, to update or maintain the Web site after it has been published


There are a number of popular WCMSs. Perhaps you have heard of Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress (how did they ever come up with those names?). Whichever system you select, you will be amazed how easy Web sites can be to create and maintain with a WYSIWYG Web authoring tool. Plans for the summer are to create an I Love NY Travel Guide as a hands-on learning activity.

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CIS210 Introduction to Programming

So you want to be a programmer? You've had your introduction to computer science. You took CIS101, and you are now ready to stop talking and start doing.

I just went on line and googled "Programming for Dummies," and I got 30 results, so it seems that you are not alone. There is even a book in the "For Dummies" series called "Beginning Programming for Dummies" that sells for under $2.00. But ask yourself " is this the best way to learn programming?" Not according to the authors of How to Design Programs Second Edition who sum up a crash course with "Bad programming is easy; Idiots can learn it in 21 days, even if they are Dummies."

You want to learn "good" programming techniques that you can transfer to any language. This summer semester course has been specifically designed to facilitate student-instructor communication for the purpose of easier, faster, and more thorough mastery of the core programming concepts. Once you have mastered the basics, you will be ready to take classes in a variety of programming languages -- introductory courses in Visual Basic and Java will be offered in the fall semester.

CIS389 Programming Mobile Applications

Android is the most popular operating system for mobile phones and tablets. Unless you are living on another planet, I trust you have heard the Apple slogan,, "There's an app for that!" And believe me -- there is an app for almost anything, making Android the leading platform for mobile device developers.

  • Unhappy -- There's an app for that...
  • Bedtime Stories -- There's an app for that...
  • Emergency Medicine -- There's an app for that...
  • Damn You Auto Correct -- There's an app for that...
  • Girl Scout Cookies -- There's an app for that...
  • Selfishness-- There's an app for that...
  • Tracking Santa -- There's an app for that...
  • How to Drink Your Coffee -- There's an app for that...

These Java-powered apps run on cell phones, ipads, and other mobile devices. Did you ever think that it could actually be your program running on one of these devices? If you have taken CIS214 Java and CIS314 Advanced Java or CIS214, CIS243 and have the permission of the instructor, you can enroll in this first-ever summer course offering and learn to program you first mobile app. Students who successfully develop a commercially viable mobile application can publish it to an application marketplace, such as the Android Market.

So you are a bit nervous about creating your own application? Don't worry! If you have anxiety? There's an app for that...


CIS341 Topics: Network Administration

You've completed CIS240 Networking Concepts, and you feel pretty confident about the networking basics. But you also know you still have a lot to learn and that connecting thousands of users to a network is not just a matter of clicking the ON switch.

There are lots of behind-the-scenes activities that must be implemented, and there is a growing need for persons who can maintain the network infrastructure and diagnose network problems or problems with end user computers connected to the network. According to Wikipedia, "The role of the network administrator will vary from company to company, but will commonly include activities and tasks such as network address assignment, assignment of routing protocols and routing table configuration, as well as authentication and authorization - directory services."

If that definition of a network administrator was totally greek to you -- you just might be in the wrong area of IT. On the other hand, if it brought out your inner geek, this semester-long summer course is a great opportunity for you to develop more advanced networking skills while learning the ins and outs of networking administration.

CIS389 Topics: Introduction to Digital Security

Scammers, phishers, hackers, and insiders are all lurking in cyber space, waiting for an opportunity to commit digital crimes. Close your eyes and try to picture a cyber criminal. What does he or she look like? There was a time when cyber criminals were just teenage technophiles with a PC in their parent's basement (we've all seen this profile on TV), but it's just become a whole lot more sophisticated. The cyber criminal can be almost anybody --the scammer, who pretends to be a legitimate company (such as a discount book company), the phisher, who sends an e-mail telling you your business account is about to expire unless update your password -- the hacker, who develops tools to perpetrate cyber crime, and the insider who launches attacks from within an organization. Did you know that cyber crime is running rampant on the Internet and that there is actually a Web site called Cyber Criminals Most Wanted Website?

But businesses are posting a different type of Help Wanted Ad for Security Professionals who can use their technical skills and problem-solving ability to thwart these cyber threats and annihilate those cyber gremlins. Do you want to be one of the "good guys" and increase your marketability into the digital security arena? CIS389 Topics of Digital Security is the first of several courses that will enable the CIS student to enter a challenging career in digital security.

CIS389 Topics: Network Design and Implementation

Interested in networking? Have you have built a home network for yourself and many friends? Want to move on to something bigger that involves more than one router?

Networking is very important in today’s society as we move to being a more connected network. Learn how to apply the concepts learned in CIS240 and design a network with multiple routers. Learn how to make all the networking hardware you learned about communicate with each other. Learn how to make a business communicate with others by extending its boundaries.

There is a need for qualified technicians that design networks for small to medium-size businesses and to implement that design into a working business. This course can be your next step into a challenging world of networking.

A Win-Win Learning Experience

"After two weeks of working on a project, you know whether it will work or not." [Bill Budge]

Andrew Reinhardt and Jody Crowe have recently completed internship projects for two of our corporate partners, Oxford Networks and Eastern Maine Development Corporation, respectively.


Andrew Reinhardt recently presented a report on his experiences while performing an internship at Oxford Networks in Lewiston, Maine, to the UMA CIS faculty and those CIS students who are doing spring and summer internships. Andrew's internship ran through the Fall 2011 semester. Oxford Networks is a telecommunications company that provides internet, telephone, and data storage services to residential and business customers throughout Central, Southern, and Southwestern Maine via a network that stretches from Bangor to Boston.

While performing his internship Mr. Reinhardt engaged in a variety of activities. He researched wiki software in preparation for an upcoming intranet project, and had the opportunity to ride along with field technicians and participate in POTS, DSL, and fiber optic installations for both residential and business customers. He also spent time working with DSLAMs (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexers). His work in this area involved verifying that each DSL customer's settings were correctly set to an default baseline configuration. If they were not, or if the line showed signs of not operating at an optimal level, he changed them. These duties involved accessing and cross-referencing data elements from different internal systems. Mr. Reinhardt also had the opportunity to meet with Todd DeWitt, the Director of Technology, Engineering, and Construction, and discuss how Oxford Networks has been handling the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.

After Mr. Reinhardt's presentation, Mark Van Loan, Oxford Networks' Director of Network Operations, in a discussion with the UMA CIS faculty made several very positive comments about Mr. Reinhardt's work at Oxford Networks and expressed the hope that the UMA CIS program would continue to encourage interested students to consider internships with Oxford Networks.

Web Design and Development

picture of Web site

Jody (Raven) Crowe applied her skills developing a Web presence for a client of Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC), EnviroTech, Inc. in Falmouth, Maine. When Jody began her internship, she had taken Web Applications and Development, Flash, and GIMP, but had no professional or academic training in JavaScript or PHP. But that did not stop Jody from creating a dynamic, interactive Web site, complete with PHP-driven dynamic content, accordion menus, and slideshows powered by JavaScript and Ajax.

Given Jody's artistic flair, the first half of her internship project (designing the banner and determining the color scheme) for this environmental, geotechnical and field staffing business was the "easy" part. This is not to suggest that she and the client agreed on the "look and feel" of the site from the beginning. Actually, it took a total of 11 attempts before the final project design was approved. What Jody gained is a real-life experience in Web and graphic design, coupled with an opportunity to interact with a client.

Jody had a steep learning curve when it came to coding the Web site, given that she had never taken any scripting classes other than CIS131 Web Applications and Development. She immersed herself in the project and with a lot of research and "just plain determination," was able to integrate a number of dynamic elements into the site. Helena Hallauer, president of Envirotech Associates, Inc., summed up Jody's internship experience with the following comment: "I feel Jody has a natural creative ability complemented with a technical expertise that she is cultivating as a student."

After final edits, Jody will publish the Web site to the client's server account and it will be the 196,854,202 ( commercial Web site on the Internet. Jody is a good example of the successful partnership between EMDC and the Computer Information Systems program at the University of Maine at Augusta and evidence of the potential for our students to provide high-quality computer services to the local community.

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CIS Alumnus Accepts Software Engineering Position
with Prominent Military Subcontractor

James (Jim) Edward Morrill who graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems in May 2011 has accepted a position as a Software Engineer at Northrop Grumman located in Chantilly, Virginia.

picture of James Morrill and his wife, Mary

Northrop Grumman (NG) as a whole is primarily a military subcontractor with roughly 75,000 employees and is considered a $25 billion company. They do work from the US Air Force "Space wars" project & fighter jet displays/controls to network integrity/security for several military installations globally. Other companies similar to NG are Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

The specific division he will be working for is the Public Safety Information Systems that is responsible for projects such as the 2004 update to LA Counties Public Safety Infrastructure and a unique Broadband Network within New York City which is independent of any service provider (Fairpoint, Time Warner, etc). Most recently they are busy in Great Britain with Public Safety applications. In his position as a Software Engineer, he will be working on NG's CommandPoint Computer Aided Dispatch system. CommandPoint is a Public Safety unit tracking and reporting program used primarily by civilian Public Safety entities. As one of the Software Engineers, his role will be to work with customers to make sure the customized CommandPoint structure meets their business rules, both before initial application and throughout their tenure with NG. Part of this role is as the liaison with between NG Sales, customers and the programming division of this product. Jim says "having a heavy programming education and an education based on group projects and team work (coupled with six years as a dispatcher using a CAD system and three year's patrol) has prepared me for this role."

Jim enrolled in the CIS Program at the University of Maine at Augusta Bangor Campus in 2001 and 10 years later was honored as the Outstanding Bangor CIS Graduate in 2011. He is a success story of how hard work, motivation, and determination prepared him to embark on a career path that many graduating CIS students may have felt was out of reach. This career is where Jim hoped to be in five or more years. To start in this position right after graduation is better than even Jim could have imagined. Jim partially credits the CIS program and its faculty for this exciting, professional opportunity in the excerpt from a recent e-mail:

"I wanted to personally thank you for your commitment to my education. With the knowledge I was able to learn and the assistance with talking about future options beyond school, I have been able to be successful. I want to say thank you for your time and motivation."

The faculty and staff at UMA wish Jim and his family the best as he relocates to Virginia. He has worked hard and has earned this exciting opportunity.

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Building a Professional Portfolio

table of contents picture

portfolio picture

As a component of its recently redesigned CIS280/CIS380/CIS480 Internship Experience course, the students participate in two job search seminars -- one which helps them prepare a portfolio, letter of application, and résumé and another which provides mock interviews with potential employers.

On Friday, January 27, Haley Labbe, Coordinator of Career Connections at UMA presented a seminar on Preparing for the Job Search and helped individual students with their job search documents.

CIS Coordinator, Diana Kokoska, developed a Professional Portfolio Guide that provides step-by-step instructions on how to prepare a professional portfolio. This guide includes instructions on how to create a portfolio cover, section dividers, letter of application, cover letter, a form to fill in your references, and even a sample of how to ask for letters of recommendation.

Did you know that there were actually five phases in the résumé-writing process?

  • Planning
  • Preparing
  • Proofreading
  • Printing
  • Presenting

Creating your résumé has never been easier. Abracadabra! .......It might not be as easy as waving the magic wand, but Microsoft Word® 2010 has paired up with to offer some powerful new résumé templates. I know that the last thing you want to do is have a "cookie cutter" résumé, but with a little ingenuity and a quick nudge in the right direction, you will be on your way to crafting a very professionally, tailored job-search document that will receive OOH's and AAH's from internship interviewers and prospective employers.

By the way, did you know that the first phase, planning comprises about 50 percent of the entire résumé-writing process? So what are you waiting for? Review the Professional Portfolio Guide and start planning your portfolio today!

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Return CIS Home Page

--Your online source for up-to-date information about your geek community--

Professor Diana Kokoska, Program Coordinator
Telephone: 207-262-7864
Professor Mark Goodridge, Computer Science
Telephone: 207-621-3181
Professor Henry Felch, Computer Science
Telephone: 207-621-3371