Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

In Brief

StaffFest 07 reservations still available for Operating Staff

StaffFest 07 (Thursday, Aug. 2) is quickly approaching. Operating Staff employees who have not responded to the request for reservations or have lost their original flyers still have time to reserve meal tickets. Print the flyer, fill in the blanks and send it in. StaffFest is a good time to meet fellow employees across campus or even in your building, visit with retirees and talk with the administrators of NIU. This year has more door prizes than ever. HSC Food Service does a fantastic job in preparing the food and running the event smoothly. Send in your reservation soon: The deadline is Wednesday, July 11.

Alumni Association hosts private viewing of "Darwin"

NIU's Alumni Association is offering a private viewing Friday, July 27, of "Darwin" at the Field Museum in Chicago. The privately funded $3 million exhibition sheds light on Charles Darwin, the British naturalist who revolutionized the science of biology. The ticket price of $150 includes a reception and dinner, an exclusive viewing for NIU guests, and complimentary valet parking.

Viewers will embark on a voyage of discovery as they explore an exhibition boasting more Darwinia in one location than ever before, and also unique in that it will be the first exhibit in the history of The Field Museum to include live animals. Galapagos tortoises, iguanas and ornate horned frogs will enhance the exhibition which also features a collection of orchids and carnivorous plant specimens. Darwins notebooks, sketches, manuscripts, photographs, and other personal effects, as well as original fossils and specimens collected during his historic five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle, shed light on the life and experiences of the author of The Origin of Species.

Registration is available online.

Free Web accessiblity training course for Web developers

The Illinois Department of Human Services is offering a free Web accessiblity training course for staff who develop Web applications. "Accessible HTML for Developers" is a three-day introductory class designed to acquaint new and existing Web developers with the fundamentals of creating an accessible Web application. For more information, contact Elizabeth Leake at (815) 753-9512 or

Oktoberfest in Germany

The NIU Alumni Association is accepting reservations for its travel program to Germany. The trip takes place from Sept. 27 to Oct. 6. This travel program encompasses the historical beauty of Berlin, the magical medieval towns of Bamberg and Rothenburg, the fun of an exuberant Oktoberfest celebration, and the charm and warmth of the German people. For more information, call Pat Anderson at (815) 753-1512 or visit the Alumni Association website.

Changes coming to NIU cable systems

Over the next few weeks, Media Services and Housing and Dining will implement channel changes to NIU’s campus cable systems.

Channels 23 through 29 will be changed to digital ATSC broadcast services. Digital high definition eventually will replace the analog system in use since the 1950s. NIU will maintain both digital and analog TV services for the foreseeable future.

If you attempt to tune in channels 23 through 29 with an analog TV or VCR you will only see “snow.” To view the new service, you will need an “HD Built In” TV, VCR or an external digital ATSC tuner. This service is included free of charge with campus cable if you are connected in an academic building or in the residence halls.

Almost all TV receivers and most VCRs with tuners are now required to have a built-in digital tuner. Some displays sold as monitors have no tuner. Monitors and existing sets with analog tuners will need an external digital tuner or converter. The price on external digital tuners and/or converters has fallen to less than $200 and should continue to drop.

NIU is keeping the broadcast digital TV signals in their native 8VSB format. This will allow multicast digital channels to be included, but could present reception problems with older tuners that expect cable channels to be QAM format.

This is a test to see how well digital will work on the system. Feel free to forward any operational concerns to