The SSCC's spring training schedule is now available. If you're new to SSCC or need a refresher, we'll be offering our orientation session this Friday, January 20th, 1:00-2:30. Other offerings include standards like Stata and Creating a Web Page, the special Introduction to R Programming workshop, and individual appointments to discuss switching from Eudora to more reliable email programs like Thunderbird and Outlook Express. For details and to register please visit our training web page.
For those of you just arriving back from the holidays -- January 11th the SSCC replaced our email server with a cluster of new servers. These new servers are much more powerful than the old email server, and the cluster arrangement means email service will not be interrupted even if one of the servers experiences a hardware failure.
If you cannot view your email folders, you need to make some changes in the settings of your email program. Visit our instructions page for full details. Please contact the consultant if you have any questions or to report problems.
The new mail servers have a newly installed version of SpamAssassin running and users have no doubt noticed that it is doing a very poor job of filtering out spam. This is because the "Bayesian Filter" which Spamassassin uses to analyze your email and determine which words are most likely to appear in legitimate mail and which words are most likely to appear in spam is not yet active for most users.
Before SpamAssassin can start using this filter, it must analyze 200 legitimate messages and 200 spam messages to create a starting database. SpamAssassin will do this on its own by analyzing incoming mail using other filters and then putting them in its database accordingly, but until it reaches 200 of each kind, its performance will be very poor.
We've created a web page where you can have SpamAssassin analyze all the messages in your Inbox and Spam folder for its database. For many users this will be enough to activate the Bayesian filter immediately. Also continue to put spam SpamAssassin does not filter in the "not legit" folder. This will keep your spam database current.
Keep in mind that spam filtering is an ongoing conflict: spammers work hard to understand how programs like SpamAssassin work and come up with ways to fool them, and others then work to improve the filters. Rest assured that SSCC staff are every bit as frustrated by spam as you are, but there's no perfect solution at this point. Until there is, spam will continue to frustrate all of us.
SSCC members who forward their SSCC mail to their Wiscmail account have reported that spam sent to their SSCC account was not being filtered by Wiscmail. DoIT fixed this problem late yesterday afternoon. By default, DoIT's mail server does not filter messages from other wisc.edu addresses. They needed to update their configuration with our new mail servers IP address.
CDE's Statistical Core will be offering an Introduction to R Programming workshop on January 23, 25, 30, and February 1 from 9:30-11:30. Mark Wilkinson from the UW Statistics Department will be teaching the workshop. R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It is available for a wide variety of UNIX platforms, Windows and MacOS. SSCC has R installed on both our Winstat servers and Linux servers (including Condor). Visit R's web site for more information.
This workshop will be tailored to applications in demographical research, but should be useful to anyone interested in R. If you would like to attend, send e-mail to Nancy McDermott to register. Only a few seats remain. If the class fills up CDE members will receive priority.