News from SENS
The Spring 2013 Semester is Already Here!
January 21, 2013 — Sorry we're a week late with a "welcome back" message, but we hope your Spring 2013 semester is a good one! As we mentioned at the start of the Fall semester, SENS is here to help those in the Engineering School and the Natural Sciences & Mathematics with their computing needs, so if you need help please send email to SENShelp@buffalo.edu and we will assist you as soon as we can.
New Firefox and Thunderbird Available for Linux
January 21, 2013 — The default versions of the Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird email client for Red Hat Enterprise Linux have been upgraded to versions 18.0.1 and 17.0.2, respectively To use them, type:
Older versions are available if necessary, but we encourage the use of the latest releases.
Welcome to the Fall 2012 Semester!
August 27, 2012 — Welcome to all of our incoming students, faculty, and staff, and welcome back to those who are returning! As always, SENS is here to help those in the Engineering School and the Natural Sciences & Mathematics with their computing needs, so if you need help please send email to SENShelp@buffalo.edu and we will assist you as soon as we can.
Here's to another successful year!
Requesting Software for UB-Owned Computers
August 2, 2012 — If you would like to obtain software for your UB-owned system, including software covered under University license agreements (such as the Microsoft Campus Agreement) as well as supported free software, please refer to UBit's Software for Departments page.
Did You Know...
The Best Way to Close Linux Desktop Apps?
Closing an application on a Linux desktop by clicking on the "X" widget in the window bar is not the safest way to do this. It is much better to go to the "File" menu and select the "Exit" or "Quit" option. This will make sure any work in progress and settings are saved, or at least prompt you that they need to be saved.
Bell 101 is Open 24 Hours During Peak Periods?
During peak usage periods, such as the three weeks before semesters end, the Bell Hall 101 public computing site is open 24 hours, complete with consultants on duty at all times and public printing support.
Some Emails from "Us" are Hoaxes?
If you receive an email from the "eng.buffalo.edu user support team", the "nsm.buffalo.edu team", or something similar, warning you that your computer has been compromised and you need to open the attached document, don't do it! This is a hoax, and will lead to your computer being infected with a virus. We always identify ourselves as "SENS", and we almost never send attachments. The best thing to do with such emails is to erase them immediately.
Backups Aren't "Forever"?
The tapes we use for backups are recycled on a regular basis, currently six months. Therefore, you should not consider our backup system as an archive, it's primarily for disaster recovery. You should consider implementing a schedule for saving files you wish to preserve to CDs, DVDs, or flash drives, if possible.
That Help is Only an Email Away?
While you can contact us by phone or by walking down to our offices on the first floor of Bell Hall, the most efficient way to contact us for assistance is to send an email. We will respond as quickly as we can, and because multiple people monitor our ticket tracking system you won't be waiting for someone to return from vacation.
About the Microsoft Campus Agreement?
UB has an agreement with Microsoft to make various software packages available to students, faculty, and staff for both personal and institutional use? SENS can distribute it to faculty and staff for University use, but for personal use please stop by UB Micro.
All SENS Users Can Have Personal Web Pages?
If you wish to create a personal web page, just follow the instructions. A little bit of Unix knowledge is required, but once the directory is set up you can edit and maintain your site from any kind of computer, as long as it can access your SENS home directory. Here is more information on our web hosting services.
You Shouldn't Use Backups as a "Safety Net"?
We back up our servers to tape on a regular basis. These backups are highly reliable, but on rare occasions they don't get everything. The fact we do backups should not make users reckless with editing and deleting files, because there's a small but possible chance that we might not be able to recover them in the desired condition.
How to Pick Colors for Your Web Site?
Cygwin Gives Windows Users a Unix-Like Environment?
There is a software suite known as Cygwin that provides a Unix/Linux-like environment on Microsoft Windows-based computers. It is not an emulator but a way to compile and run software written for *nix systems natively in Windows. It includes all the "goodies" you'd find on a Linux system, such as compilers, an X Window server, and a variety of tools and utilities.
UBIT Alerts Are Available?
There is a UBIT Alert! page that shows any current campus-wide computing service problems, as well as upcoming, scheduled outages. So, for example, if you think there is a problem with the University's Internet connection, this is the first place to check.
About the UB2020 Standard Config PCs?
SENS advocates that our community considers purchasing the UB2020 Standard Configuration PCs in all areas where they are appropriate. We are happy to work with the faculty and staff we support to make these systems meet their needs, or to help configure alternative systems where they are not appropriate.
Wireless Registration is Not Usually Necessary?
You don't have to register your laptop for an IP address or a DHCP address if you're using a wireless connection, such as OpenPort. You only need to register it if you are going to plug it into a wall jack with a patch cable. However, when using wireless please use VPN for improved security.
Science & Engineering Node Services (SENS) is a full-service, customer-oriented support organization at the University at Buffalo that provides computer and technical support and assistance for six of the seven departments of UB Engineering (SEAS) and the five departments of the College of Arts and Sciences who comprise the Natural Sciences & Mathematics (NSM) disciplines. For CSE support, please visit their IT staff page.
SENS maintains a diverse set of facilities and provides a variety of services including local account creation, timeshare services, email hosting, official and personal web site hosting, consulting, and many other functions for a community of about 7,000 users. For more about SENS, please read our "About SENS" page.
Now that we've introduced ourselves, we welcome you to SENS and encourage you to read how to get started working in our environment.
University at Buffalo - State University of New York