sscc

SSCC News for December 1999

Inside this issue...
Liaisons for Improving Communications with SSCC Agencies
Be Y2K Ready!
VMS (EAGLE) Retiring December 30
Quick Refresher UNIX Sessions
Printing JSTOR Files
SSCC's Anonymous FTP Address to Change
SSCC Steering Committee Members
Web Application for Scheduling Appointments for Office Hours
SPSS Version 10.0 Now Available for PC Users

Liaisons for Improving Communications with SSCC Agencies

To improve communications between SSCC's sponsoring agencies and the SSCC staff, an SSCC staff member has been designated as a liaison for each agency. The agency liaison's primary duties will be to:
  1. Represent the agency's interests in discussions of the deployment of resources and the provision of services.
  2. Provide information about and represent the Co-op's interests and priorities in discussions within the agency.
  3. Communicate with whatever groups exist in the agency that oversee computing issues.
  4. Review problems sent to Consultant that are associated with the liaison's agency.
The agency liaison is not the agency's special consultant. The SSCC "Consultant" (a generic name for the Co-op's help desk service) will continue to be the person to whom problem reports ought to be made.

Agency liaisons include:

Tom Flory - Center for Demography and Ecology
Scott Risberg - Department of Economics
Deb Brauer - Department of Political Science
Ralph Rodriguez - Department of Rural Sociology and Institute on Aging
Nancy McDermott - Department of Sociology
Andy Arnold - Institute for Research on Poverty

Be Y2K Ready!

Most people know about the problems that computers may have making the date change from 1999 to 2000. Software may think that next year is 1900 or 1980. The same may be true of operating systems (DOS, Windows 3.11, Windows 95/98, or Windows NT). Another part of the computer that can be affected is the motherboard, specifically the system clock and the BIOS (the Basic Input/Output System).

Many older computers (pre-1995) have a BIOS which will have difficulty making the transition from 1999 to 2000. Most of these are manually compliant. This means that the system clock will not change correctly on its own, but once it is reset, it will retain the new date. In general, it is a good precaution to turn your computer off for the transition, and check the clock when you turn it on after 2000 has begun. Just in case this doesn't seem like enough to worry about, you should do the same thing on February 28, as the leap-year rules are different for century-years and millennium-years.

This seems like a lot to worry about, but there are ways to minimize the concern. First, if your computer is connected to the SSCC network, and you are logging into the Primo domain, you will get a lot of help. We are sending out an Advertised Program that will bring all the updates to you, and run them. There is information on our web page to help you choose the right order.

These updates will make sure your operating system and the software that we support is Y2K-compliant, if this is possible. There may be software on your computer that is not Y2K-compliant, and can not be fixed. Click here for a list of this software. These updates and patches have also been burned onto a CD. You can check out the CD overnight from Consultant to do these updates on your home PC.

Another major area of concern with the advent of the year 2000, which has not been getting nearly as much attention in the media, is the risk of new viruses. The new year is often a time when there are more viruses around. Many of you may recall the Happy99 virus, which first showed up at the beginning of this year, masquerading as a New Year's greeting. This year is expected to be particularly active, in part because of the recent increase in viruses that can spread themselves via email (for example, the Melissa and bubbleboy viruses), and in part because people are expecting computer problems on January 1, and so may not notice the virus right away.

You will probably want to take some precautions to be sure you won't be hit by any viruses, or help spread any. The University has a site license for Command Antivirus, and it has been installed on most PCs on our network. It is also available free for home PCs as well. If you have this program on your networked PC (you can tell by looking in the lower right corner of the taskbar, right next to the clock. If there's a little yellow C, you have the program installed), you are getting automatic updates when you log in to the Primo domain. Click here for home or building network installation information.

The other thing you can do to minimize your chances of problems with computer viruses is to manage your email attachments wisely. Download attachments and scan them for viruses before opening them, and in general don't open attachments from within the email program. You will get warnings when you try to open many kinds of files, which will remind you to check for viruses. Most important, be extremely cautious with any attachments that are not mentioned in the message itself, or where the message does not seem right for some reason; e.g., it may seem mass-produced or may just not sound right for the person who supposedly sent it. These are often viruses. In general, if you don't execute (double-click) the attachment, it will not activate and infect your computer.

There may be a lot of worries, but they can be minimized if you take advantage of the updates and programs that are available. Most computers should come into the new year without a problem.


VMS (EAGLE) Retiring December 30

We've been preparing you for a year now through monthly SSCC News articles, training sessions, and flyers. Now the time has arrived (almost). The VMS Operating System (EAGLE) at SSCC will no longer be available after December 30. Make sure all the VMS files you want to keep are transferred to your UNIX account, your home directory on SSCC's Microsoft network (U: drive), or a local drive on your PC. SAS (pre-version 7) and SPSS system files must be transferred in portable format or files will no longer be readable. It's still not too late to schedule an appointment with Consultant if you need assistance with this transfer.

Quick Refresher UNIX Sessions

SSCC staff is offering a one-hour refresher course in UNIX for VMS users about to go "cold turkey" on UNIX. This hands-on session will review basic UNIX commands, accessing the TPU text editor, and running SAS and SPSS on UNIX. There will be plenty of opportunity for questions and lots of hand-outs available. Please send mail to mcdermot to register for one of the following times:
Thursday, December 9, 1:00-2:00
Wednesday, December 22, 11:00-12:00
Tuesday, January 4, 11:00-12:00
Monday, January 10, 1:00-2:00
All sessions will be held in the 2470 User Room.

If there are other topics you would like addressed, please include them in your e-mail.


Printing JSTOR Files

JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization which is dedicated to helping the scholarly community take advantage of advances in information technologies. JSTOR maintains a web site that contains a comprehensive archive of important scholarly journal literature. This site is increasingly popular with SSCC users as it provides quick and easy access to many journal articles. Unfortunately, the printing of these articles has put heavy demands on SSCC printers sometimes causing long delays in getting print outs.

SSCC staff are investigating ways of coping with the increased demands being placed on our printers. In January, we plan to add memory to each of our printers (where possible) and move like printers to the same location allowing us to establish "printer pools" where better load balancing will take place. We are also considering purchasing more printers and/or buying software that manages print queues (and allows for long and short queues, for example) with next year's Capital Exercise money. We will provide more details on these plans in an upcoming issue of SSCC News.

Until now, there have been two methods available for printing JSTOR files at SSCC: Adobe Acrobat printing and printing downloaded PostScript files from UNIX. Adobe Acrobat printing is extremely slow because each JSTOR article is stored in a PDF file as an image, not text. Printing downloaded PostScript files from UNIX is faster but not as popular because it is not as convenient.

We have now implemented a third method of printing JSTOR files on WinCenter and the three PCs in the 7413 User Room which we encourage everyone to use. This method, called JPRINT, uses a special application provided by JSTOR. Using JPRINT, your articles will take significantly less time to print. To print articles using this method, just choose the JPRINT option (option 1) from page displayed after you click "Print" from the menu displayed on the left side of the article you are reading.

Users with office PCs can also use JPRINT to print JSTOR articles from their PCs. Click here for a more information from JSTOR's web site. Contact Consultant if you would like assistance installing this software.

And, please, print only one copy of anything you print. Use a copy machine for additional copies. This will be also be a big help.


SSCC Steering Committee Members

John Logan has been named director of the SSCC Steering Committee. He also represents the Center for Demography for the committee. Other members include:
Judy Bartfeld - Institute for Research on Poverty
Phil Haile - Social Systems Research Institute (Economics)
Nadine Marks - Institute on Aging
Andy Michener - Department of Sociology
Pete Nowak, Department of Rural Sociology
Contact your department or agency representative if you have issues you would like addressed at the Steering Committee's monthly meeting.

SSCC's Anonymous FTP Address to Change

Effective Wednesday, December 8, SSCC's anonymous FTP address will change to ftp.ssc.wisc.edu. Anyone using the old address, ssc.wisc.edu, after Wednesday, will receive an error message redirecting them to the new address.

Web Application for Scheduling Appointments for Office Hours

SSCC staff have developed a web-based system to automate student appointments for office hours. This system can help to alleviate or eliminate lines of students waiting to speak with a professor or TA. Using this application, students can see if office hours are going to be busy ahead of time, and professors can change or cancel office hours and automatically notify any affected students. Click here to activate your account.

The page for students to sign up is: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/offhours/signup.html . They will get a alphabetized listing of all SSCC users who have office hours, and can select the relevant professor's name from the list. This might be a good page to provide a link to from Department and Agency home pages.

The system is mostly self-explanatory. You should feel free to try it out. It is a work in progress, and as such, if you have any questions or features you would like to see added, contact Dan Bongert.


SPSS Version 10.0 Now Available for PC Users

SPSS has been updated to version 10.0 on WinCenter and three PCs in the 7413 User Room. If you have SPSS licensed on your office PC and would like us to update it for you, contact Consultant. Go to SPSS's web site for detailed information on new features in version 10.

Go to previous editions of SSCC News .
Go to the SSCC Home Page.

© 1999 University of Wisconsin Social Science Computing Cooperative