TechTips

Setting up a New VPN Connection (County Laptop)

Have you been granted VPN rights, but now you don’t know the first thing to do? Here is your next course of action.

(Note: This presumes you’ll be using a county laptop to connect to the network, but won’t need to connect to a desktop in your office from that laptop.)

Set up Pulse Secure

  • Find and double-click MCG Software Center on your desktop. (This is only on county computers and you will not find this on your home computer.)
    Software Center Icon

 

 

  • Find and click to install Pulse Secure Client from the list. Go through the installation.
    Pulse Secure SW Center Icon

 

 

 

 

 

  • Run Pulse Secure. We now need to establish a connection (something you’ll do only once, as you will just use that saved connection after this point). The screen should show an empty list of connections and we’ll add one.
  • Click the plus (+) button in the Pulse Secure window to add a connection.
    Pulse Select Connections Header

 

  • Add the necessary info:
    • Type: (use the default Policy Secure or Pulse Secure).
    • Name: Call this whatever you would like. I recommend MCG or VPN.
    • Server URL: https://secure.montgomerycountymd.gov (unless DTS told you your server is secure2, in which case it would be secure2.montgomerycountymd.gov)
  • Click the Add button.

Connect to the VPN

  • Launch Pulse Secure (if you have not already).
  • Find the saved item for the county VPN and click the Connect button.
    County VPN Connection

 

 

  • Input your county single sign-on username and password (i.e., what you use to log into Windows in the office) when prompted and click the Connect button.
  • Wait for the connection to be made successfully. You will know it was successful if you see the green check mark next to the name of the saved connection.VPN Connection Successful

 

 

 

Disconnect from the VPN

  • Click the Disconnect button in the Pulse window when you are finished with county servers and want to disconnect.

 

Taking a Substitute Holiday

If a county holiday falls on your regular day off, you need to take another day off (using holiday lave, not your annual/sick/comp leave) within the same pay period.

Scenario: Christmas Day (12/25) falls on a Friday and the employee works every other Friday in his normal schedule. 12/25 happens to coincide with that regular day off. The total number of hours in the preloaded MCtime timecard shows zero (0.0) hours on 12/25.

MCtime Date Showing Zero Hours for the Holiday

  • Add a row.
  • Change the Pay Code from Hours Worked to Hol – Holiday Leave.
  • Put in the number of hours for a full work day in the date of your choice (again, it must be in the same pay period). This applies whether you work 8, 9 or 10 hours on your regular schedule.
  • Delete the preloaded number of hours worked for the date you have chosen.
  • Save your timecard.

MCtime Holiday Hours Swapped to Another Day

Do you want to see more? Here is a link for the official documentation on this topic from the county MCtime office.

Resetting Your FireApp Password

Users may use the Change Password button from the login screen to reset your FireApp password.

  • Input your FDID in the Officer ID field.
  • Click the Change Password button.

FireApp Change Password Button

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will then receive a temporary PIN (sent to the e-mail address on file with FireApp). Input the code along with your new password (and confirmation second entry of that password).

FireApp Change Password Screen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click the Submit New Password button and you’re ready to log into FireApp.

Saving Data in a PDF Form

Have you filled out a PDF, only to find that it wasn’t there when you tried to save the form? Did you save a form of data and believe it to be fine, but then e-mail it and the recipient(s) said that no data was there?

Next time, don’t choose Save when you are finished. Instead, choose to print and then name the PDF writer as the printer.

Print Dialog Box in a Browser

 

 

 

The user will be prompted for a filename and location. The data will be saved with the form and then viewable by the people who need to see the form after you send it.

Reducing the File Size of a PDF Using Adobe Acrobat

Do you need to drop the file size on your PDF? Do you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat? If so, this post is for you.

Open your PDF in Acrobat.

Click the Tools menu and select Optimize.

Acrobat Optimize Button

 

 

 

 

Note the new toolbar that appears, which includes the following two buttons:

Acrobat Optimize Buttons

 

 

Click the Reduce File Size button.

Identify a saving location and go through the save process as it appears on-screen.

Note: The Advanced Optimization button (as seen above) features six screens of options. Try to use the basic Reduce File Size button, to see if it meets your file size needs, before diving into these options.

Adding Your Own Custom Background to Teams

Would you like to use your own custom background in Teams, instead of one of the default images?

Create an image (1920×1080 is the recommended size) and save it to the following location:
%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads

Click the Background Settings button when you are about to enter a meeting and scroll toward the bottom of the Background Settings pane.

Click on the image of your choice and then click the Join Now button to enter the meeting.

Changing Your Background in a Teams Video

Are you using Teams for video meetings? Here is how to change your background to one of the available built-in images.

Click the Join button to enter your meeting pre-stage screen.

Find and click the Background Settings button, located beneath the Join Now button in the video preview screen.

Teams BG Image Button

 

 

Note the Background Options pane that opens on the right side of the screen.

Click the background of your choice. The first in the list (circle with a slash) will cancel the background image and show your actual environment. The second item will show only a blurred background. All other options are images you may choose. After selecting an image, click the Join Now button to enter your meeting.

Disabling the Tools Pane Permanently in Adobe Reader

Are you trying to open a pre-plan PDF on your MDC and Adobe Reader insists on taking up the right side of the screen with an extra pane? Here’s a tip to turn it off permanently so you have more space for your PDF.

  • Hide the Tools pane, as you normally would.
  • Access the Edit menu and select Preferences.
  • Click the Documents side-tab, and then check the box for Remember Current State of Tools Pane.
  • Click the OK button.

 

Setting up Rules in Outlook Desktop

Getting flooded with messages that you don’t want and all have a common theme (from the same person, the same subject, etc.)? Outlook enables you to set up a rule to clean it all up in one fell swoop.

  • Right-click one of the messages.
  • Select Rules and then Create Rules.
  • Click Advanced Options in the dialog box that pops up. The advanced options will give you more control with your rule than just the few options first presented.
  • Choose a condition, such as the subject containing certain text. (Since you right-clicked a specific message, the sender and subject should appear in the options from which you’ll choose.)
  • Click the Next button.
  • Choose what you want to do with the message, such as delete it. (If you just want to file the messages away and read them at a later time, choose to move the message into a folder.) Click the Next button to continue.
  • Add any exceptions (although this is rare).
  • Specify a name for the rule. This takes the theory that you may have several rules as time goes by and naming a rule with something obvious means you won’t need to go into the rule details to determine why you created it in the first place.
  • Click the Run this rule now on messages already in the inbox checkbox. This is crucial for cleanup when you have been plagued by a lot of messages for which you are writing a rule.