SSCC Member's Handbook

Table of Contents

  1. Welcome
  2. Information Resources
  3. The SSCC Networks
  4. Access to the SSCC networks
  5. Computer Services
  6. SSCC policies and guidelines
  7. SSCC Directory

1. Welcome

Welcome to the SSCC! The Social Sciences Computing Cooperative provides research computing services for several departments and research agencies in the social sciences. The SSCC provides hardware, software, and computer help tailored specifically to the needs of social science researchers and those who work with them. The SSCC also provides instructional computing support for the faculty, staff, and students in the Social Science division of the College of Letters and Science including a classroom, drop-in labs, and a mobile lab with a rich variety of statistical software and staff expertise. These research and instructional computing resources give you access to a level of service and support that is unavailable to much of the campus community.

The SSCC can be bewildering, especially if you're used to dealing with just one computer at a time. That's why we have a Help Desk available to help you from 8:00 to noon and 1:00-4:00,Monday - Friday. There are several ways to get in touch with the Help Desk: you can call 262-9917 (2-9917 if you're using a campus phone), you can email helpdesk@ssc.wisc.edu, or you can just stop by their offices in 4226 Sewell Social Sciences. Look for the sign that says SSCC Consultant as you enter the 4226 suite so you know who's "on duty."

The SSCC provides a Windows network domain named PRIMO, including network drives and printers. Any SSCC member's Windows computer in the Sewell Social Sciences building can be connected to this domain. We also provide a Windows Terminal Server farm called Winstat which provides easy access to both the SSCC network and a great deal of software including a large variety of statistical software. These servers allow any SSCC user to log in and use a shared version of Windows, either to run programs they don't have on their own PC or because they are working on a Winterm. The SSCC has a Linux network, including a Condor flock and a High Performance Computing cluster that provides a tremendous amount of computing power. We also have three computer labs in 2470, 3218, and 4218 Sewell Social Sciences (see our Infrastructure web page for more details) which are equipped with PCs that have all the major statistical programs installed.

Software made available by the SSCC, either on Winstat, on our Linux servers, or on our lab PCs includes everything from basic tools like email programs, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Office to statistical programs like Stata and SAS.

Note that all of our servers are available outside the Sewell Social Sciences building, whether you're in another building on campus or on the other side of the world. All you need is a computer with Internet access to log in to any of our servers using very simple tools. Our Knowledge Base article A Remote User's Guide to SSCC Resources will get you started.

The SSCC web site, http://www.ssc.wisc.edu, includes a large Knowledge Base on topics from changing passwords and getting email to making web pages and using statistical software. In addition SSCC staff offer free classes on a variety of topics. And don't forget, SSCC's Help Desk can help you with everything from logging on to the system to writing programs for statistical analysis.

This handbook tells you everything you need to know to get started on the Social Science Computing Cooperative's computers. You can use this handbook a little bit at a time by looking up each topic you need information on and only reading the section on that topic. Or, you can read through the handbook cover-to-cover. Be sure to read the last section of this handbook, called SSCC policies and guidelines. It will tell you the computing guidelines specific to our cooperative.

2. Information Resources

In addition to providing computers and facilities to do your work, SSCC provides many information resources to help you get your work done in as efficient a manner as possible.

Knowledge Base

SSCC Knowledge Base articles, written specifically for SSCC users, are available from SSCC's web pages. A search engine is available to assist you in finding the Knowledge Base articles you may need. Topics include Knowledge Base articles of particular interest for

  • new users
  • using specific statistical software packages and doing statistical work in general
  • computing from home or anywhere other than the UW campus
  • sending and receiving email, and using email lists
  • using the Linux operating system and basic utilities
  • using the Windows operating system
  • using the Windows terminal servers (Winstat)
  • publishing material on the web
  • using particular applications (other than statistical software)
  • printing.

Software manuals, as well as books on the Linux and Windows operating systems are circulated by the CDE Print/Virtual Library (4471 Sewell Social Sciences). They are shelved as Reserves and may be checked out for up to a week, depending on demand. If you do not find the manual you need, see the lab attendant in 4218 Sewell Social Sciences or the Consultant on duty in 4226 Sewell Social Sciences. They may have a copy you can browse or borrow long enough to copy the pages you need.

Help Desk

A Help Desk provided by SSCC staff members is available to all SSCC users. Support is provided for a large variety of areas including the Linux and Windows operating systems, statistical computing, data transfers, and e-mail. In addition to helping with specific computing tasks, the Help Desk is your primary contact with SSCC staff if you have desktop support (including repairs) or network requests. Visit our Desktop Support page for details about our desktop support policies and procedures.

The SSCC staff person on duty at the Help Desk is called the consultant. A consultant is on duty 8:00-12:00 and 1:00-4:00 each weekday. The Consultant can answer many questions on the spot, but he or she may need to research the problem or forward it to another SSCC staff member. SSCC has staff who are knowledgeable about statistical software acting as consultant in the afternoons from 1:00-4:00. We can also answer general statistical questions, but we do not have a statistician on staff. If you want to see when a particular SSCC staff member has Help Desk duty, see the Help Desk schedule on the web.

For Linux or Windows network failures that arise after hours, notify the SSCC's emergency voice-mailbox at 376-4572. The staff person on call will be paged. This number should only be used to report network or system failures.

There are three ways of contacting SSCC's Help Desk:

  • Send your question by electronic mail (helpdesk@ssc.wisc.edu). Never send e-mail to SSCC staff directly. This just slows down the time it takes to solve your problem because all problems are tracked through the Help Desk using special software. Also, questions sent to staff can go unread for days if they happen to be away from the office.
  • Drop by the office of the consultant on duty in the 4226 Sewell Social Sciences office suite.
  • Phone the Help Desk at (26)2-9917.

SSCC training sessions

Each semester, the SSCC presents a series of classes on the use of specific software like SAS, Stata, SPSS, Nvivo, Dreamweaver, etc. These sessions are free and open to all SSCC members (and the UW community when seats are available). Announcements about upcoming classes are posted on-line at SSCC's web pages.

On-line information resources

SSCC staff attempts to keep everyone up-to-date on computing issues via on-line information resources including BROADCAST, a monthly electronic news letter called SSCC NEWS, and SSCC's web pages.

BROADCAST

The first place to look for system information is the BROADCAST which is displayed as you log in to Linux and Winstat or when you connect to the PC network. This is where down times and other up-to-the minute system information is announced. If you are already logged on to Linux and want to read BROADCAST again, just type broad at the prompt. From Winstat or a PC on SSCC's network, the BROADCAST information is also available as an RSS feed. RSS gives you access to the latest information in SSCC's Broadcast message at any time and from any place. See Getting SSCC Announcements via RSS for more information about what RSS is and how to use it.

SSCC NEWS

SSCC NEWS is an electronic newsletter that keeps you informed about changes on the SSCC computer network. SSCC NEWS is sent via email, usually the first Friday of each month. It is vital that you read this, as it is a primary method of communication between SSCC staff and users. All issues of SSCC NEWS are available from SSCC's web pages.

SSCC web pages

The SSCC maintains a web site located at:

http://www.ssc.wisc.edu

This web site provides information to SSCC members, including: timely announcements; the current Help Desk and training schedules; SSCC user documentation; web-based tools; and forms to request new accounts, change passwords, to enroll in courses, or to set up mailing lists. It also contains SSCC policies.

Many agencies associated with the SSCC maintain their own web pages on the SSCC web server. The SSCC web page contains links to those agency web pages.

3. The SSCC Networks

The SSCC's computers are linked together to allow users to share files and programs and to communicate easily with each other. The computers in the SSCC's network run Redhat Linux or Microsoft Windows.

All personal computers belonging to SSCC members running one of the Windows operating systems in the Sewell Social Sciences Building can be part of the SSCC's Windows network domain called PRIMO, which is organized around servers running the Windows 2008 Server operating system. PCs are able to share printers and disk space.

Macs can also run successfully on the building network and are able to share printers and mount Linux and Windows network directories.

The Winstat servers run software called Windows Terminal Server Edition, which allows multiple simultaneous users to log in and share access to the applications installed there. These servers can be accessed from any Winterm on SSCC's network or a PC or Mac anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

Computers on the SSCC network

SSCC Linux and Windows computers are available to all SSCC members.

Interactive Linux Computers

Linstat is the SSCC's cluster of interactive servers running Linux. It consists of three servers with a variety of statistical software installed, including Stata, SAS, SPSS and R. They also have the usual Linux utilities and compilers.

Linux Compute Cluster (Condor)

SSCC has a cluster of Linux servers for running large STATA, SAS, R, Matlab, Fortran, and C/C++ programs. This cluster uses a powerful batch pooling utility called Condor which was developed at UW-Madison's Computer Science Department. Four of the Condor servers also have Stata/MP. For more information on Condor, refer to the SSCC Knowledge Base article, An Introduction to Condor.

High Performance Computing Cluster

The SSCC has a high performance computing cluster called FLASH. Documentation is available at SSCC's web site. If you have parallelized C/C++, Fortran, or R programs you'd like to run on this cluster, please contact Ryan Horrisberger.

Windows Terminal Servers (Winstat)

The Winstat servers provide Windows applications to Winterms, PCs, and Macs using a multi-user version of Windows called Terminal Server Edition. For more information on Winstat, refer to the SSCC Knowledge Base article, Using Winstat.

Lab PCs

There are PCs in the Sewell Social Sciences 2470, 3218, and 4218 public computer labs which are available to any SSCC member and have both general purpose and statistical software installed.

Sensitive Data Facility

There are two small facilities, located in 2403 and 2404 Sewell Social Sciencess, which provide a secure environment for SSCC researchers to access sensitive data. Each facility contains a single stand-alone PC with a removable hard drive for storing restricted data. There are enough removable drives to accommodate up to nine projects at a time in each room. Installed software includes SAS, SPSS, Stata, and Matlab.

There is also a third sensitive data facility in the building for sensitive data sets that require a higher level of security than SSCC's facilities.

The Data and Information Services Center manages all three of these facilities. Please contact Jack Solock for more information.

Deciding Between Linux and Windows

SSCC has a Windows network, a Linux network, and PC computer labs. If you are going to be using your account for administrative purposes like reading e-mail, word processing, etc., then you don't need to worry about Linux at all. On the other hand, if you are a researcher planning to do statistical analysis, then one of the first things you'll need to decide as a new user is which operating system you'll want to use for your statistical work. Stata, SAS and SPSS are all available in both operating systems.

If, like most new SSCC members, you are comfortable with Windows but have never used Linux you can probably stick with Windows. Windows has made great strides as a platform for serious computing, and Winstat provides a great deal of computing power. However, you might want to consider running your jobs using Linux if:

  • Your jobs require more memory than Windows can provide
  • You'd like to run multiple jobs at the same time
  • Your jobs are taking a long time to run

Linux servers are happy to run jobs for weeks at a time if necessary. On the other hand, the Winstats disconnect sessions after 24 hours and terminate disconnected session after three hours, and the lab PCs are intended for use while you are present at the PC. We have a Winstat server available for running long jobs. Contact our helpdesk if you have a job suitable for this server.

Linux's command-line interface can be intimidating because it just waits for you to type something without giving you any icons or menus to suggest what you can do. However, once you know what to type it's highly efficient. Also, having to type out everything you do supports reproducibility, record-keeping, and other good practices in research computing.

The SSCC has many resources for learning Linux, including classes and Knowledge Base articles. Our Getting Started in Linux is a good introduction. Alternatively, the Linux file system is available from Windows, so it's possible to write your programs in Windows and switch to Linux just to run them. Using Linstat will teach you what you need to know. Finally, anyone submitting Linux jobs should take a look at Managing Jobs on Linstat. Not only will you learn tricks that will help you work more efficiently, you'll learn how to not slow down the servers for others.

4. Access to the SSCC networks

This section describes how to set up SSCC accounts, how to log in and out of SSCC computers, and how to change your passwords.

Setting up a user account

You can apply for an SSCC user account by filling out an online request via the web. Account requests must be approved by an account sponsor. This is a faculty member who already has an SSCC account, normally your advisor or supervisor. If you are a faculty member you will be your own sponsor.

With your SSCC account comes an electronic mail address. Your email address is: username@ssc.wisc.edu where username is your user name. This is the address the SSCC will use to contact you, and it is very important that you receive these messages. If you already have an email address you'd prefer to keep using, please forward your SSCC email to that address. That way we'll still be able to contact you. You can set a forwarding address for your SSCC email at the Resources for SSCC Members web page.

If you ever need to make any changes to your account, such as adding an affiliation, changing your advisor, or having your account added to a special group, visit our Accounts web page.

Accessing the Computer Labs

The computer labs in 3218 and 4218 Sewell Social Sciences have PCs which any SSCC user can use to run locally installed software or to access the Linux or Winstat servers. The lab PCs have a large number of statistical programs installed. Visit our SSCC Software page for a complete list. In addition, these labs have printers and wireless access for laptops. The PCs each have DVD recordable drives for backing up files and two USB ports. The 4218 lab has a scanner.

The lab in 2470 Sewell Social Sciences is used mostly for instruction with SSCC's mobile lab, but it does have a printer and a few PCs. It also has wireless access and you're welcome to work there with your laptop when the lab isn't being used for instructional purposes.

The 2470 computer lab is locked 24-hours/day and the 3218 and 4218 computer labs are locked when the lab attendant is not on duty. SSCC users may request 24-hour access to these rooms by filling out a Computer Room Access Request which is available either from SSCC's Help Desk or by filling out a Computer Lab Access Form on SSCC's web site. Just drop off the filled out form in SSCC's 4226 office suite. Once your request has been processed (usually within two business days), you will be able to enter these rooms with your University I.D. card and a PIN you designate.

Accessing the SSCC Network from Offices in the Sewell Social Sciences Building

Most offices in the Sewell Social Sciences Building are equipped with PCs, Winterms, or both and are "network ready." There are also a handful of Macs in the building. You can also bring in your own PC or Mac and connect it to the SSCC building wired network or the University's wireless network.

If a privately owned desktop is going to be attached to the building network, then the following requirements apply:

  • Up-to-date antivirus software must be installed on desktops running Windows.
  • The operating system must be properly patched with any critical updates.

Of course, you don't need to be in the Sewell Social Sciences Building in order to access the SSCC network. Remote connections are discussed later in this handbook in the section called "Connecting to the Internet from remote locations."

Using the Campus Wireless Network

The campus wireless network is available in the Sewell Social Sciences Building as well. You need to use your DoIT netid and password to connect. Instructions are at:

http://www.doit.wisc.edu/network/wireless/

All problems with the wireless network should be reported to DoIT's helpdesk (264-HELP (4357).

SSCC members wishing to connect to SSCC's PRIMO domain from the campus wireless network need to do so through VPN or using Winstat. Visit our Knowledge Base web page for instructions on setting up VPN. Click on the Winstat link at the top of most SSCC web pages to connect via Windows terminal servers.

Logging in to an SSCC computer

You were probably given your user name and password when your account was created. If not please talk to the person who got you your account or SSCC's Help Desk.

Note that Linux and Windows passwords are maintained separately. When you first receive your account, both passwords are set the same, but if you change your password on just one system, it does not change it on the other.

Logging in to a PC

Assuming your PC has been configured to connect to our network, you'll be asked to log in when you start it up. Just make sure the box that says Log on to: shows PRIMO (the name of SSCC's Windows network domain), not the particular machine you are using. In the future also check that it's still your name in the user name box--if someone else used your computer last it will have their name there.

Note that Windows has a security feature that locks access to your account if you mistype your password more than three times. If this happens to you, contact SSCC's Help Desk so we can unlock your account or wait 20 minutes for it to unlock automatically.

Logging in to Winstat

If you are using a WinTerm, double-click on the Winstat icon and then log in just as if you were using a PC.

If you are using a PC or another kind of computer and want to log in to Winstat to run the programs available there, open a browser and go to the SSCC Terminal Server web page. You'll first be asked to give your SSCC user name and password. Once you're logged in, you'll see an icon on the left under Applications called Winstat. When you're ready to connect you'll simply click on the icon.

Logging in to Linux

To log in to Linux you'll use a client program like X-Win32 for PCs or XQuartz for OS X. Our Knowledge Base article, Using Linstat, has all the details.

Creating a secure password

When you set up a new user account with the SSCC, you are given a generic password which must be changed immediately after you log in for the first time.

IMPORTANT: SHARING PASSWORDS IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN
Sharing passwords endangers the security of the entire SSCC network.
DON'T DO IT!

Passwords are stored in encrypted form. No human-readable record of your password is kept. SSCC system staff do not know what your password is and cannot find out.

Linux and Windows passwords are stored separately. Though some people prefer to have different passwords on Linux and Windows, it may be convenient for you to keep your passwords consistent.

Passwords at SSCC are our first line of defense against potential computer break-ins. Remember that someone skilled can use your account to get into other areas of the network. So your password is not just protecting your files; it's protecting the whole network as well.

All passwords must comply with the University's Baseline Password Standard, which includes the following:

Passwords chosen must

  • be a minimum of eight (8) characters in length
  • be memorized; if a password is written down, it must be secure
  • contain at least one (1) character from three (3) of the following categories:
    • Uppercase letter (A-Z)
    • Lowercase letter (a-z)
    • Digit (0-9)
    • Special character (~`!@#$%^&*()+=_-{}[]\|:;”’?/<>,.)
  • be private.

Passwords chosen must not

  • contain a common proper name, login ID, email address, initials, first, middle or last name
  • be the same as your previous three passwords.

SSCC requires that people keep passwords that are difficult to break. Periodically SSCC staff run programs to check to see if passwords can be broken. The program we run is available to the general public and so if we are able to break your password, that means that any computer hacker can easily gain access to your account and to SSCC computing systems.

To guard against this, SSCC locks any account with a breakable password. If you try to log in some day and discover that you cannot gain access to your account, it may be that your account has been locked. Go to the SSCC Help Desk with some form of ID and the consultant on duty will unlock your account and assist you in resetting your password.

Changing your password

To change your password, visit our Changing Your SSCC Password web page.

Resetting your password when it's forgotten

In order to assist you with resetting your password when you've forgotten it, we have set up a secure web page where you provide answers to three questions. Then, in the future, when you need to reset a forgotten password, you can do so after answering the three security questions.

If you have forgotten your password and have set your security questions, go to our secure web page to reset your password.

Logging out

When you are finished with a computing session, you must exit out of the computer. If you forget to log out, you put the entire SSCC computer network at a security risk.

Logging out on Linux

To log out on Linux, type:

> exit

Logging out on Windows Terminal Server (Winstat)

To log out of a terminal server, go to the Start menu and then choose Logoff...

Logging out of a PC

If you have your own PC, you should restart or shut it down when you are finished with it. In addition to ensuring unauthorized access to your PC, security updates and patches automatically distributed to networked PCs don't get installed until the PC is restarted.

5. Computer Services

In this section you will learn about the services provided by SSCC computers: software, printing, document scanning, disk space and file storage, and Internet services including e-mail.

Software

To determine which computers run a software package, or which software packages run on a computer, use SSCC's web-based Software page. You can either choose a server to see what software is installed on it, or choose software to see what servers it is installed on.

Detailed information about SSCC software support levels for Linux and Windows including a list of all supported software is available on SSCC's policy web pages.

Printing

The SSCC public printers are located in the three computer labs (2470, 3218, and 4218 Soc. Sci.). They are available 24-hours/day for those who have requested after-hours access. Printout not picked up within 10 days is recycled.

Please report public printer problems to the lab monitor (phone 263-4814).

SSCC uses special software to track printing usage for each SSCC user. Each user's printing usage is reported monthly to their sponsoring agency(s) and is included with other usage information used to allocate agency costs at the end of each fiscal year. Please help keep the cost of printing down by following these guidelines:

  • Always print double-sided.
  • Print four pages per sheet of paper (2-up) when possible. Instructions for Linux are available at http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/sscc/pubs/7-28.htm. Windows users can specify "2 up" after clicking Properties from the Print dialog box.
  • Never print more than one copy of a file. This includes theses and dissertations.
  • Do not use SSCC printers for personal, political, or commercial use.
  • Avoid printing email. It's backed up on the server, which is a sufficient record for most purposes.
  • Keep instructional printing to a minimum. If you will be using a handout or article in a class or seminar, consider distributing photocopies of the article rather than having all the participants print their own copies.
  • Consider non-printing options for journal articles. Store your articles in PDF format either online or on CDs. Increasing printing costs over recent years are mostly due to the printing of journal articles.

SSCC members not adhering to these guidelines may lose their printing privileges. Keep in mind that SSCC sponsoring agencies and departments may impose further restrictions on printing.

You can check your printing balance on our View your Printing Totals web page. The page displays each of your Windows print jobs for a given month.

Printing from Linux

You can submit jobs to be printed using the enscript command. This replaces the lpr command which often does not work with the newer printers. The basic syntax is:

enscript options file

Here file should be replaced with the name of the file you want to print. It is possible to use wildcards, but do not do so unless you are certain you will only print the files you need.

Printing queues

Each printer has two queues (one for double sided printing and one for single), and you select the one you want to use with the -P option followed by the queue name. Always use the double-sided queues if at all possible. If you do not specify a printer it will go to the default, which is user4double. The following table lists the available print queues:

Output Location Queue Name Notes
Computer Lab (4218) user4double Prints on both sides of the paper. This is the default printer if no queue is specified.
user4single Prints on one side of the paper only.
Computer Lab (3218) user3double Prints on both sides of the paper.
user3single Prints on one side of the paper only.
Computer Lab (2470) user2double Prints on both sides of the paper.
user2single Prints on one side of the paper only.

enscript -P user2double file

will print your file in the 2470 computer lab using both sides of the paper.

Note that the printers in the 3218 and 4218 computer labs are the newest, fastest, and least likely to have problems with large or complex files (like articles in PDF format).

See SSCC Knowledge Base article, Printing from Linux, for more detailed information.

Printing from Windows

In order to print from Windows applications, you need to make a connection to a network printer. Winstat will automatically connect the following network public printers:

Printer Location Network Path
Computer Lab (4218) \\sscwinnt2\ts4218 from Terminal Server
\\sscwinnt2\sscc4218 from other PCs
Computer Lab (3218) \\sscwinnt2\sscc3218
Computer Lab (2470) \\sscwinnt2\sscc2470

Note: Instructions for connecting to printers from PCs on the network may be found in SSCC Knowledge Base article, Setting Up Network Printers in Windows.

The printers in the 3218 and 4218 computer labs are the newest, fastest, and least likely to have problems with large or complex files (like articles in PDF format).

Document Scanning Service

SSCC offers a scanning service for SSCC members. SSCC student lab attendants are available for small scanning jobs using the scanner in the 4218 computer lab. They can scan photos, slides, negatives, and documents and write them to CD or network disk space. To make a request, bring your materials to the 4218 computer lab and fill out a Scanning Request Form. This form is also available from the SSCC Help Desk in 4226. This service is for smaller jobs, so please limit your document requests to 150 pages and no more than 20 photos, slides, or negatives per order.

SSCC's scanner in the 4218 computer labs are also available on a first-come first-serve basis.

File storage and disk space

SSCC staff provide approximately twenty terabytes of disk space for home directories, project directories, temporary space, and data distribution. Please help keep costs down by using disk space wisely:

  • Compress large files.
  • Remove duplicate or unneeded files.
  • Do not make copies of standard data files archived by CDE or other agencies or individuals.
  • Archive files which you want to save but are no longer being used.
  • Do not store any files which are not related to research.
  • When you no longer need your project space, please contact SSCC's Help Desk and we will archive the project on CD or DVD for you before removing the files.

Backups

Files on the Linux and Windows systems, including your own files in permanent storage space on network disks (not your local disk drives), are regularly backed up onto tape by SSCC staff so that they can be available in case of disastrous disk failures. For detailed information see SSCC's backup policy. Please do not rely solely on SSCC for this service for your critical files. Back these up yourself onto CD or DVD.

Back up your important files onto CD or DVD!

Data from the Linux and Windows systems can be backed up onto CD or DVD using PCs available in the 3218 and 4218 computer labs. Send a request to our Help Desk if you would like us to do this for you.

Data on individual PC's local drives are not backed up by SSCC at all. However, space is provided for storing files on SSCC's Windows network and this space is backed up daily. We encourage all SSCC users to use this network space rather than saving files to their local drives. More information is available later in this section.

Winstat users: It is very important that you save the files you create on network drives, like U: and X:. These locations are secure and backed up nightly. Never save files on your Windows desktop, in My Documents or on the C: drive. The C: drive is the local hard drive of the Winstat server you happen to be using. When you log into Winstat you're automatically assigned to the least busy server, so the next time you log in the odds are you'll be on a different server and unable to access anything you previously saved on C:. The Windows Desktop and My Documents are part of your Windows profile. Files saved there will probably continue to be accessible, however, they are not backed up and can be lost if your session crashes. (It's okay to put shortcuts to files on your desktop for quick access to them, since shortcuts can be recreated easily.) We hate to see anyone lose data, so please save your files on network drives where they are backed up.

If you do store files on your local drive, you might want to look into an inexpensive backup service offered by DoIT called "Bucky Backup Service". For more information on this service, call 254-SHOW or visit DoIT's web page.

File recovery

If you inadvertently delete a file on a Windows or Linux network disk drive and you do not have your own backup copy, it may be possible to have it restored. Send your restore request to SSCC's Help Desk providing as much of the following information as possible:

  • Operating system where file was located (Linux or Windows)
  • Location of the file including directory path and name of file
  • Date and time the file was last known to be on disk.

Note that files created and deleted on the same day cannot be restored. This is because restores are done using system backups that are created nightly.

Linux storage space

Every user has a Linux directory of their own that is called their home directory. When you first log in, Linux makes your home directory your present working directory. Your home directory (and subdirectories) is where you put your files. You can control access permissions for files in your home directory, allowing others to see files, or to change files, or denying them these privileges.

Each user has a 5 GB disk quota on their Linux home directory. When you use up the available quota, you will not be able to add any more data until space is cleared off. Users with additional disk space needs will be granted an additional 15 GB disk quota upon request. Users requiring even more space should request a project directory. You can request additional space by filling out a form on the web.

Users with very large short term disk space needs can use /temp30days.  To use this space, go to that directory and create a directory for yourself. You can then use up to 25 GB of disk space, or as much of it as is available. However, this is short term storage. Every night any file more than thirty days old is removed automatically. No files are backed up.

/home is considered permanent storage space and is backed up by SSCC. /temp30days is considered temporary storage space and is not backed up by SSCC.

To determine how much disk space you are using, use the quota command. For example

> quota  
Disk quotas for user rdimond (uid 1931):
     Filesystem  blocks   quota   limit   grace   files   quota   limit   grace
griffon:/home/t  936904  1024000 1024000            8119       0       0

In the column labeled "blocks" is the amount of disk space you are using, in kilobytes. The quota column tells what your current disk quota is. The other columns can be ignored.

Windows storage space

Like with Linux, every user has a Windows directory of their own for storing files that is called their home directory. When you log in to the SSCC's Windows network or Terminal Servers (Winstat), the U: drive is automatically mapped to your Windows home directory.

You can treat the U: drive just like a local drive on your system. One advantage of using this drive rather than your local drives for storing files is that the U: drive is backed up nightly.

Each user has a 5 GB disk quota on their Windows home directory. When you use up the available quota, you will not be able to add any more data until space is cleared off. Users with additional disk space needs will be granted an additional 15 GB disk quota upon request. Users requiring even more space should request a project directory. You can request additional space by filling out a form on the web.

To determine how much disk space you are using, go to "My Computer", navigate to your home directory, right click on your home directory icon, and select Properties from the menu. The dialog that gets displayed tells you how much space in bytes you are using. If you need assistance displaying this information, just contact SSCC's Help Desk.

Users with very large short term disk space needs can use a mapped drive called Temp30days (Y:).  To use this space, go to that directory and create a directory for yourself. You can then use up as much of the space that as is available. Please do not store important files on this drive as it is completely public: any SSCC user can read, change, or delete any file on the Y: drive. In addition it is not backed up. Files on Y: are deleted automatically after 30 days.

Project storage space

If you are working on a research project with a group of people, we can provide you with separate storage space on Windows or Linux that you can all share. If you'd like project space you may fill out the online form. If you need your account added to a research project space, ask the person who set up the project (usually a faculty member) to contact SSCC's Help Desk on your behalf.

Project disk space usage has escalated at an astronomical rate over the past few years requiring SSCC to purchase much more disk space than anticipated. Please help us keep costs down by following the suggestions at the beginning of this section to manage your project space efficiently.

SSCC staff sends out a project space report every six months to assist you in managing your project space.

Accessing Network shares from Windows

Windows servers give access to certain directories on their hard drives known as "shares" because they are shared with users. Normally each share has a specific purpose; for example a share called project contains shared files related to particular projects. In addition, special software called Samba allows Linux directories to be accessed as shares. A PC in a Windows network accesses network storage by using one or more of these shares. SSCC Knowledge Base article, Accessing Network Storage from Windows, contains detailed instructions on accessing shares.

Privacy of electronic data

The SSCC staff is committed to protecting the privacy of electronic data for its users and sign and abide by a privacy standards agreement written by the SSCC Steering Committee. SSCC members should be active participants in protecting their own privacy by using the computers' access permissions to protect data appropriately, because SSCC cannot be responsible for dissemination, modification, or destruction of data that has not been properly access protected.

By default, SSCC users are not able to read others' files unless the owner has explicitly given consent by changing the files' permissions to make them readable. A detailed explanation of file permissions and how to change them on Linux is provided in Getting Started in Linux. Contact SSCC's Help Desk if you need to modify default permissions on Windows directories and/or files.

Any user is authorized to access publicly-available data sets and other files which are held in a public place.

You should be aware that under Wisconsin's open records law, electronic data, including electronic mail messages exchanged among University employees, may be considered public records. It is possible that SSCC may be required to release people's email or other data in response to an open records request. At the SSCC, electronic mail messages are kept on backups if they remain on disk for more than one day.

Internet Services

All SSCC computers are connected to the building network, which is connected to the rest of campus by a high speed network connection. Computers at SSCC provide a variety of networking software to communicate within SSCC and to the rest of the campus and the rest of the world.

SSCC's Internet address is ssc.wisc.edu. All our web services include this root (http://www.ssc.wisc.edu, linstat.ssc.wisc.edu, etc.).

Electronic Mail

With your SSCC account comes an electronic mail address. Your email address is: username@ssc.wisc.edu where username is your user name. The SSCC will contact you by email periodically with news and announcements related to your SSCC account, including when the time comes to renew it. It is very important that you receive these messages. If you already have an email address you'd prefer to keep using, please forward your SSCC email to that address. That way we'll still be able to contact you. You can set a forwarding address for your SSCC email at SSCC's email forwarding page. Some advantages to SSCC email:

  • Unlimited space in email folders (your Inbox has a 40MB limit, but going over it will not stop you from receiving mail)
  • Mail is backed up every night and the backups retained for a full year in case you lose something
  • Your SSCC email is completely private (short of a court order)
  • SSCC Staff can assist you with it
  • It's available from anywhere using any standard email program, or using web mail

Incoming messages (the Inbox) get stored on SSCC's mail server. If an Inbox exceeds 40 MB for over a week, the messages in the Inbox will be moved to the user's home directory into a new mail folder called Inbox_[date]. A message informing you of this transfer will be sent. This folder will be accessible using an e-mail program just like any other folder once the mailbox list is "refreshed". The mail only gets moved -- no incoming mail is bounced and no mail gets deleted. Details about SSCC policies and procedures on storage space for e-mail, as established by the SSCC Steering Committee, are available on-line.

You can check the size of your Inbox and other folders at our Check the Size of Your E-mail web page.

Note that mail messages in "spam" and "Trash" folders that are over 14 and 30 days old respectively are purged automatically at SSCC. Reducing message volume in spam folders not only saves disk space but also speeds up mail delivery because the larger the folder, the longer it takes to deliver mail to that folder.

E-mail viruses

SSCC has set up a filter to check all incoming mail that passes through our mail server. This filter checks all attachments for certain features, and removes any attachments that could contain a virus. The filter checks for certain files and file extensions that contain viruses that have circulated so far, and we add to it as necessary.

A good way to keep email moving smoothly, and minimize the chances of activating a virus, is to be careful with attachments. Don't open them automatically; make sure they're referred to in the text of the mail, and look at the icon to see what sort of file it is. You can also improve matters by reducing the number of attachments you send in email. SSCC Knowledge Base article, Sharing Files, provides several alternatives to sending attachments that provide better ways to share files. If there are fewer email attachments, we are all more likely to think about them before opening them, and will be less likely to release a virus unintentionally.

To learn more about how the SSCC protects our systems from viruses as well as what you can do to protect yourself, see Virus Protection at the SSCC.

Spam

The problem of unsolicited commercial email, commonly known as spam, needs no introduction to any regular email user. Unfortunately there is no perfect solution, but you will find SpamAssassin quite helpful. SpamAssassin is a filter that attempts to identify spam based on fixed rules. Any messages it identifies as spam are placed in a folder called spam rather than your inbox. Like any system based on fixed rules, SpamAssassin will occasionally make mistakes. You will see false negatives (undetected spam) as well as false positives (legitimate email placed in the spam folder). You can help Spamassassin learn by putting undetected spam in the "not legit" folder.

SpamAssassin is activated on all SSCC accounts when they are set up. Any e-mail messages in your "spam" folder over 14 days old are purged. SSCC Knowledge Base article, Spam Filtering at the SSCC, provides detailed information on SpamAssassin.

Phishing

Phishing is the process of trying to trick you into revealing your password or other credentials by pretending to be the entity that gave out those credentials. We've seen a significant increase in phishing emails, and unfortunately that's because they do work. You should be immediately suspicious of any email that asks you to reply with your password or go to a web site (linked in the email) and enter your password.

On the other hand, in SSCC's annual account renewal process, we send email asking you to go to the SSCC web site and renew your SSCC account. But here's a list of things we will do to make sure you know those emails are legitimate:

  1. The message will contain the personal name of an actual SSCC staff member (Director Nancy McDermott) rather than coming from some generic "team."
  2. The message will be digitally signed. Most email programs will be able to use that signature to verify that the message actually came from Nancy McDermott.
  3. The SSCC home page will also contain information about account renewal and link to the same web page.
  4. The web page where you will renew your account will be part of the SSCC web site (ssc.wisc.edu) and will use the https protocol to encrypt all the information you send it.

Any request for a password that does not take similar steps can almost certainly be dismissed out of hand.

Unfortunately there's nothing that can be done to stop people from sending phishing emails. Thus there's no need to report such messages to SSCC staff (we normally get copies of the message addressed to us anyway). There is an Anti-Phishing Working Group that collects phishing emails for analysis. Visit www.antiphishing.org for details and instructions. For more information about phishing and how to avoid it, see DoIT's Phishing/Email Scams web page.

Webmail program for travelers

The SSCC supports a web client for the use of members who are traveling and require access to their everyday email folders. The program is available to you from any computer in the world that is connected to the Internet and runs a web browser. Webmail could also be used in the office or at home, but it, inevitably, lacks a few of the features that power users expect.

Webmail is an IMAP client and its web address is https://webmail.ssc.wisc.edu. Enter your Linux username and password; i.e., the ones you normally use for email on our systems, to use SquirrelMail. SSCC knowledge Base article Using the SSCC's New Webmail provides more information.

Forwarding your mail and setting up a vacation message

To forward your SSCC e-mail to a different address or to start up the vacation program (that sends an e-mail message to anyone who sends you mail informing them that you are away), go to Resources for SSCC Members and click the link for the appropriate form.

Electronic mailing lists

SSCC supports the Listar electronic mailing list program that helps manage mailing lists and distributes email. SSCC members can request that a mailing list be created. The member making the request then becomes the list owner and can manage the list, as appropriate. The Listar program then distributes email. Others can subscribe or unsubscribe to the list automatically. See the Mailing List Request web page if you wish to start a mailing list. SSCC Knowledge Base articles Belonging to a Listar Mailing List and Administering a Listar Mailing List provide more information.

Web pages

SSCC members can create their own web pages on SSCC's web server. Place your web pages in the PUBLIC_web directory in your Linux home directory. The web address of your home page will be:

http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~username

again, substituting your user name for username, above.

SSCC staff have written several Knowledge Base articles on creating web pages. We also offer a workshop each semester on this topic.

University of Wisconsin-Madison policy requires that all web pages hosted on University servers (anything with wisc.edu in the URL) must be accessible to the disabled. See the Policy Governing World Wide Web Accessibility UW-Madison.

Transferring files between machines

sftp (secure file transfer protocol) allows you to securely transfer files to and from SSCC computers. SecureFTP, or SFTP, encrypts all traffic between you and the server. We maintain an sftp site for both our Linux computers (ftp.ssc.wisc.edu) and Winstat (ntftp.ssc.wisc.edu).

Our Knowledge Base article , Using SFTP, gives instructions for using sftp on Linux. Our Knowledge Base article, Transferring Files Using SecureFX, gives instructions on installing and using sftp with Windows.

Connecting to the Internet from remote locations

People are often surprised to discover that they can conveniently use many SSCC resources from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. On the other hand, once you leave campus, the computing environment becomes far more diverse. Sometimes things that generally work well simply refuse to work with certain combinations of hardware, operating system, Internet Service Provider, and other factors. SSCC's Help Desk can help with these issues, but we have far less control than if you are on campus using our network.

Using Windows Terminal Servers (Winstat)

You can connect to Winstat easily and reliably from your PC or Mac simply by clicking the Winstat link at the top of most SSCC web pages. This interface has the advantage of sending you to the least busy server automatically. For more details about Winstat and the web interface, see Using Winstat.

Logging in to a Linux Computer

Linux is designed for remote logins and can be used very successfully from anywhere in the world. Because it is text based, connection speed is much less of an issue. To connect to a Linux server you will need a client program capable of using a secure protocol. X-Win32 is the best choice for PC's. For more information and other options see Using Linstat.

Email

You can continue to use SSCC email while you are away from campus. The easiest option is to use our web-based email program, Webmail. It is similar to Gmail and other web-based email services. Another option is to configure whatever PC mailer is available to you to connect to the SSCC's IMAP server.

You also have the option of forwarding your mail to a different account while you are gone, or of having the mail server automatically inform people who send you email that you are away.

The following Knowledge Base articles address email issues relevant to remote users:

More Information

The SSCC web site is, of course, available anywhere. Under Knowledge Base there is a specific section for Remote Users. You may want to take a few moments to see what is available, and if you have questions it should be your first place to look for answers.

6. SSCC policies and guidelines

Policy guidance and oversight of the Coop is provided by a Steering Committee made up of faculty representatives of the sustaining member organizations. The SSCC prefers to keep rules to a minimum, preferring to work cooperatively to keep everyone's productivity as high as possible. However, policies have evolved over time in response to particular issues that have arisen. SSCC policies are posted on SSCC's web pages and include policies on:

To maintain the highest level of collegiality among Co-op members, please follow these policies. Remember, some policies are so important that violation may threaten the integrity of other users' data. Violation may result in termination of a user's account, either temporarily or permanently.

The University of Wisconsin also has a set of guidelines for appropriate use of University information technology resources. These guidelines apply to the use of SSCC resources, as well as other campus computer resources. Violation of University rules governing appropriate use of IT resources may result in loss of access privileges, University disciplinary action, and/or criminal prosecution.

And, last but certainly not least, the University has a Policy on Electronic Devices Connected to the UW-Madison Network. Devices connected to the University of Wisconsin-Madison network must:

  • run up-to-date anti-virus software, when available, and
  • keep all operating system software, device firmware, application software and other software current with the latest security-related patches from the vendor.
  • In cases where it is not possible to update software or firmware, the device must be protected by other means, such as, but not limited to, a dedicated firewall or limited network access.

The University is very serious about enforcing this policy and immediately suspends network access to any infected devices it detects.

7. SSCC Directory

After-hours Emergencies
376-4572
(System or network failures only)

Computer Labs
2470 Sewell Social Sciences: 262-9830
3218 Sewell Social Sciences: 262-4388
4218 Sewell Social Sciences: 262-4388

SSCC Help Desk
4226 Sewell Social Sciences
Mail: helpdesk@ssc.wisc.edu
Telephone: 262-9917
Hours: 8-12, 1-4 weekdays

DoIT dial-in modem pool
661-0326

DoIT Help Desk
264-HELP

Student Lab Attendant
4218 Sewell Social Sciences
Mail: labmonitor@ssc.wisc.edu
Telephone: 263-4814
Hours: 8-8 weekdays Fall and Spring semesters

If you have any suggestions on how to make this handbook better, contact Nancy McDermott in room 4226 Sewell Social Sciences.

Last Revised: 10/26/2011