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The Technology Newsletter for the University of Hawaii Community


Spring 1997 Volume 4, Number 1

In This Issue:


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What Will Happen in the Year 2000?

Surely nobody has escaped the hype regarding the Year 2000. What was once considered to be an obscure technical headache has now emerged onto the Sunday feature page and TV News. In propagating such grossly inaccurate names as the "Millennium Virus" the media have almost breathed life into the problem.

Is the problem real? Absolutely. Industry pundits have estimated the global cost to fix Year 2000 problems at between $300 billion and $600 billion by the end of the decade. Not surprisingly, nearly every major con-sulting firm has established a Year 2000 practice or division. In brief, the problem is that many systems were developed using only two digits to encode the year. In such systems 1995 is encoded as "95" and 1976 is stored as just "76." In this scenario 2001 would be stored as "01," but might then be incorrectly interpreted as 1901.

The Year 2000 problem is particularly insidious because there may be no bells and whistles to warn that an error has occurred. The system might appear to be functioning and just provide incorrect information. And we don't necessarily have two more years to fix this as problems can occur long before the calendar turns over from 1999 to 2000. One example involved a firm which had problems with its 7-year depreciation schedule when it turned out 2000 was interpreted as depreciation since 1900. (In this case a programmer modified the business rules in 1993 to depreciate over 6 years, then over 5 years in 1994, and so forth until management discovered the tactic.) A more human example is the case of an elderly woman who received prescription medication with an expiration date of "00." She interpreted this as invalid and decided not to take the drug.

The Year 2000 at UH

Within Information Technology Services (ITS) we have inventoried the central systems we manage for the institution and are now engaged in corrective measures. Many of our systems (FMIS, PeopleSoft, DARS) are already Year 2000 compliant. Some systems need only a few relatively simple changes. Some are already slated for full replacement before 2000 (HRIS). A few of our systems will require up to hundreds of hours of modification. And we will need to make sure that our central operating system and utility software is all up-to-date with Year 2000-compliant versions installed.

It would be a huge mistake to believe that the Year 2000 is just an ITS problem. Departments have full responsibility for the hardware, software and embedded systems under their management. Several articles in this Newsletter talk about the Year 2000 considerations for desktop computers, with recommended actions. Fortunately, nearly all new computers sold today are Year 2000 compliant so these measures need to be considered primarily for systems that will not be replaced within the next two years.

Many departments manage their own information systems. These departments need to check directly with their vendors or programmers to learn whether the systems are already Year 2000-compliant or determine what steps must be taken to modify or replace the system. Finally, devices with embedded computer circuitry must be considered. For example, it turns out that certain credit card verification devices cannot handle credit cards with an expiration date in the year 2000; as a result some credit card companies have stopped issuing cards with expiration dates beyond 1999. Any university departments that utilize or manage this type of equipment should check with their vendors to assess their Year 2000 status.

While not necessarily catastrophic for everyone, the Year 2000 poses a challenge that must be taken seriously by anyone who manages any information technology. In hindsight, it's easy to wonder why so many programmers decided to "save" resources by using only two digits to store the year. Few people expected many of the older systems to still be in use in the next millennium.

For more information check out http://www.year2000.com

It's not just about computers

The wife of a frail and elderly man passed away some decades ago.
They had both been born in the same year and planned to be buried
together in a double cememtery plot. So when she died, he had
the single headstone engraved in stone with both names and the
dates: 1901 - 1961 and 1901 - 19


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The Director's Corner

Internet Connectivity, Next Generation Internet, Internet 2 and UH

The Internet is transforming every aspect of how a University performs research, teaches its students and reaches out to the public. In Hawai`i, the importance of the Internet is multiplied even more by our distance from colleagues on the Mainland as well as the unique geography of our state.

Late last year, we increased the speed of our thoroughly congested institutional Internet connection from a single T1 connection of 1.5 million bits per second (Mbps) to 6 Mbps. By most reasonable measures this link is not yet saturated but we would like to keep ahead of the growth curve if at all possible. Unfortunately, very high speed links are extraordinarily expensive for us relative to most Mainland locations. For example, quoted prices for a 45Mbps link comparable to what many major research universities use are well over $2 million per year for University of Hawai`i (UH). Higher speed links to the Mainland are not even commercially available at present. Two major national initiatives have recently been announced which may impact our capabilities.

Last fall a group of 34 research universities announced the Internet 2 project (http://www.internet2.edu). Internet 2 is intended to bring focus, energy and resources to the development of a new family of advanced applications to meet emerging academic requirements in research, teaching and learning, Internet 2 hopes to address major challenges facing the next generation of university networks by:

Within weeks of the announcement of Internet 2, the Clinton-Gore administration unveiled its Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative while pointing out that the Internet is the biggest change in human communication since the printing press. NGI proposes a $100M / year federal program to create the foundation for the networks of the 21st century through three goals:

A recent draft concept paper on the NGI is available at: http://www.hpcc.gov/ngi-concept-08Apr97/ The overlap between these two projects is striking and the principals of each are working together to ensure that the academic and federal government initiatives remain aligned.

Given the overwhelming financial implications of continually increasing the capacity of our link to stay ahead of requirements, and the still troublesome financial condition of the State, we are not confident that an adequate level of general funds will be forthcoming soon. Therefore the need to provide adequate Internet connectivity for Hawai`i has been identified by the University administration as a major priority for potential federal assistance. UH quickly signed up as a charter member of Internet 2 and we are monitoring the NGI initiative as well. We are hopeful that a stable mechanism for meeting the connectivity needs of Hawai`i can be identified.

David Lassner
david@hawaii.edu


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The Year 2000 for IBM/Compatibles

The University of Hawai`i had a microcomputer contract with International Business Machine (IBM) for a long time. The question is how will the IBM computers handle the year 2000. According to the IBM web page for the year 2000, all IBM computers made after the IBM AT computer have the capability to handle the year 2000. The problem is that most of these computers have the capability but cannot automatically change the date from 1999 to 2000.

There are ways to remedy the problem of changing the date from 1999 to 2000.

PDC Contract Computers:

All PDC systems will not have a problem with the year 2000.

Other vendors:

Users should check directly with the vendor for advice and guidance.


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Macs and the Year 2000

Apple Macintosh computers and the Macintosh operating system (MacOS) will not have a problem with the year 2000. All MacOS date and time utilities since the introduction of the Macintosh can represent dates between January 1, 1904 and February 6, 2040. The current versions of the MacOS date and time utilities can represent dates between 30,081 B.C. and 29,940 A.D.

This assurance is only for Macintosh computers and the Macintosh operating system that is provided by Apple Computer. If you have written Macintosh applications that do not use Apple's date and time programming cells, you should check your application carefully to make sure it will work with the year 2000.

Please note that the current Date & Time control panel constrains the year to the range 1920 to 2019. This is because the original Macintosh System 6 General control panel only displayed a two-digit year. Apple is expected to release a revised Date & Time control panel as part of MacOS 8.

The information in this article is pulled from an Apple Tech Info Library article. The Apple Tech Info Library on the World Wide Web at: http://til.info.apple.com/


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New PPP-only Modem Pool

Have you heard the news? Last Fall, Information Technology Services (ITS) installed a new modem pool consisting of 100 28.8 baud modems. This increased the number of modem lines for dial-up connections from 160 to 260. The modems are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to the University community. The telephone number is 979-2400. The new modem pool is dedicated to PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) connections. This type of connection allows your home computer to run Internet client applications such as Netscape or Eudora over a dial-up line.

The new modem pool has several advantages over the older modem pool known as Pearl. One of the advantages is that the modems operate at 28,800 bps (bits per second), versus 14,400 bps on the older lines. This means that you can achieve up to twice the performance of the older lines if you have a 28,800 bps or faster modem. Depending on the quality of the phone connection from your home to the University of Hawai`i, your connection speed will vary. Most people will find that their performance increases to between 24,000 bps and 26,400 bps.

Due to the increased modem speed, if you previously had your software set to use the modem at 19,200 bps, you may now increase the setting to 38,400 bps or higher. Although your modem will communicate with the modem pool at speeds up to 28,800 bps, modems perform data compression which packs more data into fewer bits so that you may achieve higher speeds. Transferring data to your modem at higher speeds may mean better performance, however note that doing so will require a faster computer. If your CPU can not keep up with the speed of data being sent to it, characters will be lost.

Another feature of the new modem pool is that it supports PAP (Password Authentication Protocol). With this feature, login scripts and manual connections are no longer necessary, except for those using Trumpet Winsock. With PAP, you can specify your username and password within the dialing software, then establish your PPP connection immediately after you connect. PAP will take care of entering and authenticating your userid and password.

Connectivity software for PPP may be obtained at the ITS Help Desk through a disk exchange program. Those with Macintosh systems use MacPPP or FreePPP. Trumpet Winsock is used with Windows 3.1. Bring one 3.5" HD disk to the Help Desk in Keller 105 to obtain MacPPP, FreePPP, or Trumpet Winsock.

The operating system for Windows 95 comes with Dial-Up Networking. A document on how to configure Windows 95 Dial-Up Networking is available at the ITS Help Desk.


It is already clear that 260 dialup lines are not sufficient to meet
the needs of the entire University. Watch for an announcemnet
of a new arrangement with a Private Internet Service Provider
and some reconfiguration of the free modem pools next fall.

David Lassner
Director of ITS

Linda M. Maeno
linda@hawaii.edu


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The UH Electronic Swap Meet

Departments often find themselves with older but still working equipment that they can no longer use effectively. Sometimes this equipment is gathering dust and taking up storage space in the hope that, someday, something useful can done with the equipment. At the same time there may be departments that would be able to make excellent use of someone else's older equipment. However, the people who could use the older equipment never know where to find it and the people who have older equipment never know who could make use of it. Hence the development of the University of Hawai`i (UH) Electronic Swap Meet, now available on the World Wide Web at:

http://www.hawaii.edu/swapmeet/

Initially, this project was conceived and pilot-tested for the last six months as an interactive clearinghouse for used computer equipment. It has since been modified to also accommodate non-computer items, such as furniture and office equipment, that could be used by another department within the UH system. With the UH Electronic Swap Meet, "Offeror" departments with older but still functional equipment can first search the database to check if any other department needs what they are trying to dispose of; if there is no existing request for that item, an electronic notice can be posted with a description of the equipment available to transfer away. Likewise, "Seeker" departments in need of equipment can search to see if someone has something they could use, or post a notice of what they are seeking. "Seekers" and "Offerors" should always search the database before posting a request. The terms "Buyer" and "Seller" are not used because they might connotate an exchange of money.

Searching for Lost Treasure

You may browse through the entire database and selectively get specific information on particular items. The list can also be narrowed by searching for specifics such as equipment category, manufacturer, or item description. If you cannot find an item that meets your needs, add your notice to the database so that future "Offerors" or "Seekers" will know what you have or are looking for.

It's a Match!

Once a prospective Offeror/Seeker match has been made, you can either phone or email the contact person to get your transaction started. The Swap Meet has been designed so that anyone can view the notices of equipment sought or available but may be only modified or deleted by the original poster The poster can either update the equipment status via the comment field or delete their entry from the database. This option can also be used to extend the offer period or update others as to a change in the equipment availability status. The self-maintaining system will also automatically delete records after the offer expiration date has been passed.

Reading the Fine Print

Prior to placing a notice, it is important to check with your department that you are authorized to initiate or accept the potential transfer request.

The UH Electronic Swap Meet is intended to be just a meeting place for "Offerors" and "Seekers." Once a potential match has been made, it is up to the individual departments to contact each other and to work out the arrangements (and possible shipping expenses) for the equipment transfer. All standard equipment transfer procedures, including getting departmental authorization to transfer the item, must still be followed to keep inventories accurate and up-to-date. Other State departments may also participate in this project as long as the proper equipment transfer procedures are followed. Any questions regarding transfer procedures should be directed to the department's administrative or fiscal officer. This system is not intended to be used by private or out of state individuals or organizations.

An Invitation to the Grand Opening

Obviously, the more items that get entered into the Electronic Swap Meet database, the greater the potential of matching "Offeror" and "Seeker" departments and the more useful this system will become. All members of University community are therefore encouraged to use the UH Electronic Swap Meet and put your old items on-line.

For the Technically Inclined

The UH Electronic Swap Meet runs on an Apple Computer Workgroup Server using StarNine's WebSTAR server software. The Swap Meet information is contained in a Claris FileMaker Pro database with BlueWorld's Lasso plug-in.


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CA$H For Students

The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, with the technical assistance of Information Technology Services (ITS), has recently developed a World Wide Web database called CA$H - an acronym for Computer Assisted Scholarship Help. CA$H is a database of over 1,000 local and national college scholarships which are available to anyone with access to the Internet and a Web browser at

http://www.hawaii.edu/cash/

The Vice President's office spent many months collecting and entering the scholarship information into a database. ITS created the database and the Web site which enables the user to browse through the scholarships, as well as selectively search for specific scholarships which match the user's requirements. Search categories include location of study, area of study, minimum grade point average, and a few others. Upon performing the search, a list of matches is displayed to the user. After selecting an item from the list, a detailed page with all the pertinent information on that particular scholarship can be pursued. The interested user can write or call the department or agency responsible for the scholarship to obtain further information and application forms.

For the technically inclined, CA$H runs on an Apple Computer Power Macintosh 6150/66 Workgroup Server. The information resides in a FileMaker Pro database using the Lasso Plug-in and the WebSTAR server.

Louise Miura
Office of Student Affairs


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Digital Media Center

Everyone is talking about the World Wide Web, colleagues are giving out business cards with URLs on it, department meetings have the Internet and the virtual university on the agenda, and computers for presentations are showing up in classrooms. What is all this about? Are you someone who would like to use these tools in class but do not know how or where to go for help? One possibility is the Digital Media Center (DMC) located in Kuykendall 105.


http://www.dmc.hawaii.edu/

The DMC officially opened its doors in Kuykendall 105 on October 1st, 1996. It is anticipated that the DMC will be a forum and a catalyst for the use and development of multimedia-based applications and tools for teaching and learning. Specialized hardware at the DMC includes a video digitizer, a flat-bed scanner, a slide scanner, a CD-ROM burner, and an Internet-based desktop videoconferencing workstation. Most of these devices are controlled by Macintosh systems, and digital media resources created can be manipulated and assembled with a variety of software products available including Illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere, Director, Authorware, and PowerPoint. University of Hawai`i (UH) Faculty and staff are invited to use the facility from 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday. Reservations are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. The DMC will provide workshops, group and individualized hands-on experiences, and will facilitate the development of multimedia solutions for education. For further information, please contact the DMC at 956-9818.

The DMC represents a cooperative partnership between the UH offices of Information Technology Services-Distance Learning & Instructional Technology, the UH-Manoa Office of Faculty Development and Academic Support, Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development, and the High Tech Development Corporation.


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Hawaii Supercomputing Challenge Call for Mentors

The Hawai`i Supercomputing Challege is a new type of learning experience and competition that exposes teachers and students to global communications, information and creative innovative problem solving in order to provide students and teachers with the skills needed to meet the challenges of today's information-based society. Students in grades 7 through 12 work in teams with a sponsoring teacher who defines and works collaboratively on the project with the students.

There are currently twenty schools and ten teams in Hawai`i. Most teams are in the beginning stages of technology and need mentors who can help on-line or in person with HTML, email, telneting or Internet searching. Members of the University of Hawai`i community who would like to volunteer can contact Marsha Mooradian at (808)625-5262 or at marsham@mhpcc.edu

Hawai`i Supercomputer Challenge is sponsored by a partnership between Maui High Performance Computing Center, Hawai`i State Dept. of Education, University of New Mexico, Phillips Laboratory, SETS Technology and Tech Corps Hawai`i.


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Disk Quotas Implemented on UNIX Servers

Starting May 19, 1997, each uhunix ID will be allowed 20 Megabytes (MB) of total online disk space. The total amount of space is comprised of any files in a home directory as well as email that is stored on the UNIX servers.

To allow for some leeway, there is a 1 MB buffer that will last for 24 hours. That is, an ID can exceed 20 MB (up to 21 MB) for 24 hours. Once the 24 hour grace period has expired, warning messages will be displayed every time an attempt is made to write to the disk. For example, you may receive a warning message when you try to create a new file using a text editor or compose a message in Pine. Disk writes will be disabled until the disk usage has been brought down below the 20 MB mark.

To display the amount of disk space you are using and your disk quota, at the UNIX prompt type: quota -v (see below)


% quota -v
Disk quotas for noeh (uid 56004):
Filesystemusagequotalimit timeleftfilesquotalimittimeleft
/home/3320995200002100019.3 hours000

In this example noeh is using approximately 21 MB of disk space, her quota is 20 MB, her hard quota is 21 MB, after 19.3 hours if she doesn't reduce her usage below 20 MB she will begin to receive warning messages.

Since email gets delivered to a person's home directory, it will get held up for a limited time on the mail server while waiting for space to be freed up. If no space becomes available, the message will be bounced back to the sender.

Provisions can be made to increase your disk quota. Faculty and staff members can send an email message to idmgmt@hawaii.edu with a justification for the increase. Students will need a faculty or staff member to request more space for them.

To get more information on ways to reduce disk usage type 'help space_mgmt' at the UNIX prompt. If you have any questions, please contact the ITS HelpDesk at 956-8883 or send mail to help@hawaii.edu.


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Electronic Mailing Lists

As of this writing, there are about 1000 system-wide mailing lists hosted on our uhunix systems. About 800 are alias files and the other 200 are Listproc lists set up using the Listproc software. We referred to these lists as system-wide mailing lists to differentiate them from personal mailing lists such as Eudora nicknames and Pine addressbooks which can only be used by their creators. System-wide mailing lists, on the other hand, can allow anyone anywhere to send messages to the list.

Mailing lists are a very popular means of communications with a group. They are often used for making announcements or discussing specific topics and normally address a specific audience such as a campus organization, a research group, a department or students from a particular course. Our busiest Listproc list is currently HI-NEWS-L with approximately 1400 subscribers from all over the world "interested in the events and state of affairs in the islands."

There are basically three types of mailing lists: personal, aliases, and listproc lists. If you and only you will be sending to a mailing list, you should use whatever personal mailing list feature is available in your email software (e.g. addressbook in Pine, nicknames in Eudora). Otherwise, you can request a system-wide mailing list by typing this command on any of our uhunix systems:

uhlistreq

The program will explain the differences between an alias and a listproc list and ask for all the necessary information needed to create your list.

ListProc Software Upgraded

This past summer we upgraded our list server software, ListProc, from the free 6.0c version to the commercial 7.2 version of the product which is distributed and supported by CREN. Limited number of lists, sparse documentation, and unnecessary restrictions imposed on list owners were some of the problems that this upgrade addressed.

Lack of documentation was the biggest problem when the University of Hawai`i first installed ListProc Software. List owners now can learn to manage and change their list settings from this web document at:

We are now also allowing interactive connections to the list server from any of our uhunix systems. This means that list owners and subscribers can send their results with a command-line interface instead of the traditional email exchange.

http://www2.hawaii.edu/itsdocs/listproc

Julio Polo
julio@hawaii.edu


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Host Explorerfor PCs: Connecting to Administrative Systems

This past January McGill University sold their terminal emulation software to Hummingbird Communications Ltd. Information Technology Services (ITS) had already purchased a university site license from McGill to use their TCP3270 products, but had to negotiate a new contract with Hummingbird Communications, Ltd. ITS now has a site license for Host Explorer, currently at Version 4.0, for the Windows 3.x, Windows 95 and NT platforms.

The Host Explorer program, formerly known as McGill TCP3270, allows your PC to emulate an IBM 3270 type terminal and is used to log into administrative systems on the IBM mainframe such as the Financial Management Information System (FMIS), the Integrated Student Information System (ISIS), and the Human Resources Information System (HRIS).

Basically, the look and feel of this product is the same as the previous McGill TCP3270, and users who have the McGill product should have no problem using Host Explorer.

UHPT: New Print Screen for HRIS

Most users who need to print the Payroll Notification Form (PNF) when using HRIS are currently using a Windows program called QWS3270 together with the print screen program UHPP. These users should be moving over to the Host Explorer as it now supports printing of the PNF by using a new screen developed by ITS called UHPT. (UHPT works similarly to the current print screen UHPP but works when using the McGill/Host Explorer product).

For users already running McGill TCP3270, it's not necessary to change to the Host Explorer program, unless you prefer to do so. McGill TCP3270 will still function and has the functionality to print the PNF for the HRIS system by using the new UHPT screen.

Administrative mainframe users with the QWS3270 program should get a copy of the Host Explorer program and upgrade. Support for QWS3270 will be discontinued at a later date.

DOS users running CUTCP to access administrative systems, there is no change at this time.

Distribution of Host Explorer via a secure server is being planned. However, for now, the ITS Help Desk at Keller 105 can provide a copy of the software and basic installation instructions for faculty, staff and students. Please bring 3 new high density 3.5" diskettes. If you have specific questions about the UHPT screen, please call the HRIS Hotline (956-HRIS).


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Tips When Asking for Technical Support

"All our technical support representatives are busy at the moment, please hold and your calls will be answered in the order they were received."

We all know how frustrating it is to be put on hold when you need to know now why your computer is making strange sounds and smoking like a barbecue pit. It is even more exasperating to spend an hour answering all kinds of questions before finding out that "It's not a hardware problem, you'll have to call the software company."

However, most of these nightmarish experiences with technical support can be avoided by spending a few minutes in preparation before you call.

Here are a some tips to follow when asking (phone or email) for technical support. The more concise your request, the faster it can be answered.

  1. State what computer you are using. Do not overlook this and assume the person on the other end knows what computer you are using. Be as specific as possible.

    Example:

    Bad: Uh... I'm using a clone... I think.
    Good: I'm using a Model ZXP2000 Pentium 166 w/ 32MB of RAM, 2.1 GB HD, SoundPounder32 sound card, and a F14 Tomcat video card.

  2. List the software you are using and the version numbers, including the Operating System. Many times there are known problems and bugs for a particular version of software. A common problem can be diagnosed quickly if the technical support person knows the specific version of software you are using.

    Example:

    Bad: I'm running Windowpanes and the newWord Perforate
    Good: I'm running Baywindows for Teams 3.11. The problem starts when I have Amigo 5.1 and Lortis 4-5-6 running at the same time.

  3. Mention all the symptoms of the problem, not just what you think is wrong. If you are asking about how to accomplish a particular task, state what you want your final outcome to be and not just what the immediate hurdle is. The correct answer to your question is not always the best solution to your problem.

    Examples:

    Bad: My computer is acting funny. How do I reformat my Hard Drive?
    Good: I just installed Netscoper 4.0 pre-alpha and now my computer crashes when I try to download software. What should I do?

    Bad: How do I write a script that will parse my document and return a word count?
    Good: I want to know the number of words I have in my Macrosqash Worder document. I'm using version 6.0.3a What is the best way to find that information?

  4. If the problemis with software, you should try to duplicate the problem. If the same problem persists, it will be easier to pinpoint the cause of it. If it is a hardware problem, it will be difficult to duplicate the problem and in most cases it is better not to "try again".

    Example:

    Bad: My screen went blank yesterday. It's okay now but what's wrong?
    Good: Everytime I try to save a file in Wormhole, my screen goes blank.

  5. Mention everything you may have done to remedy the situation. Additional information about what you've tried and the outcomes may help pinpoint the problem.

    Example:

    Bad: My computer keeps crashing. Help me now!
    Good: My computer crashes whenever I try to open more than one program at a time. I've tried using virtual memory (even though I have 64MB of RAM), I've tried opening different programs in different sequences, and I've even scanned my drive for viruses. What should I do now?

  6. If you have received courteous and professional service, consider thanking your technical support person. Technical support in a heterogeneous environment is a complex and difficult job. Take the time to show your appreciation when it is warranted. While you are on hold, they were trying to help yet another frustrated customer.

Michael Sasaki
msasaki@hawaii.edu


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Email Attachments - Not as Simple as they Should Be

"Send me the file as an email attachment." A simple statement often exchanged among those who use electronic mail (email). But in practice, it's not always so simple to exchange useful information between different systems. This article will attempt to unravel some of the difficulties encountered when using attachments and provide suggestions on how to make it work.

First of all, why do we need attachments? Standard email between systems generally only contains simple text (upper and lower case characters but no special formatting). This is the only information that is guaranteed to be safely delivered in the body of an email message between different systems. An attachment is an external file that gets sent along with an email message. The file which is attached is not limited to text. The attachment may be a computer program, word processing document, spreadsheet, graphic image, sound file or any information that can be stored in a computer file.

The idea of a foolproof method of exchanging information by email is quite appealing. But there are several things that need to be considered when using attachments.

First and most obviously, both parties must be able to exchange email. The Internet standard for delivering email betweeen systems is called SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). SMTP is the most widely used method for transporting email in the world and the standard supported by the University of Hawai`i (UH). But many LAN-based or proprietary systems use other standards. For these systems to exchange email with the Internet, a "gateway" is used to make the translation. For example, UH offices which use Pegasus mail on their LAN generally have the Mercury Internet gateway installed as well.

Second, both parties must use the same standard for attaching and encoding the file which is to be carried by email as an attachment. The Internet standard for email attachment is called MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension). To exchange attachments successfully using MIME the email "client" which each person uses to compose and read email messages must be able to suport MIME. Examples of email clients supported by UH are Pine (on the uhunix hosts) and Eudora (on the PC and Macintosh). All Information Technology Services (ITS)-supported software uses MIME. LAN-based email systems and clients such as Microsoft Mail or Pegasus may use other standards for attachments, but fortunately, the Internet gateways can usually be set to use MIME for any attachments sent or received via the Internet. People who use Pine or any other host-based email client must also be prepared to upload or download in binary mode any attachment files which are to be used on their microcomputer, e.g. a word processing document.

Third, even if the email attachment is successfully encoded, transported via email, and decoded at the other end, the recipient's computer must be able to actually use the file. For example if someone who uses WordPerfect on a PC sends a word processing document to another person who uses Word on a Macintosh then the recipient must be able to translate or read the file. Or if a Macintosh user sends a folder which has been compressed with Stuffit to a PC user the PC user may not have a utility to Unstuffit. Much of this negotiation between sender and receiver usually takes place in advance, by email of course, as the people agree on what types of files will be useable by all parties. Fortunately, most applications today can read documents from competing software.

Finally, recipients should be aware of the possibility that an email attachment may contain a virus. It is not wise to run applications received over the Internet unless you know their source. With the proliferation of macro viruses even documents may be afflicted. For years there have been false alarms about destructive viruses that spread when you read your email. Unfortunately, by providing a convenient method to exchange any type of file, email attachments also make it possible to propagate viruses, just as when diskettes are exchanged.

In summary, the successful use of attachments over the Internet requires that:

  1. Both the sender and recipient's mail programs are MIME-compliant. ITS-supported systems all use MIME. If in doubt about your LAN system, check with your LAN administrator to be sure it is set to use MIME.

  2. Plan ahead. Both sender and recipient should agree upon the type of files and the compression type that will be used for the attached files. (The correct compression software is necessary to uncompress the compressed files before it can be used.)

  3. As always, practice safe computing. Treat an attachment as you would a diskette and check for viruses regularly.


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Maui High Performance Computing Center

The Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC), located in the Maui Research and Technology Park in Kihei, is one of the Department of Defense's (DoD) major computing resources. With over 130 gigaflops (billion floating point operations per second) of capacity, it is one of the more powerful computing centers in the world and offers a full range of hardware, software and mass storage facilities to support processing, software development and comp-utationally intensive research and analysis.

Formally opened in August, 1994, the MHPCC was established on Maui to support the United States Air Force Maui Space Surveillance Site (MSSS). As a result, a key focus of the MHPCC is the development of advanced image processing and visualization technologies. MHPCC is involved in research activities related to processing and enhancing electro-optical sensor data. In addition, the MHPCC is working with private industry to research better methods of processing 3D image data used by the entertainment, biomedical, and architectural communities.

The DoD High Performance Modernization Program sponsors the primary customer base of MHPCC-DOD researchers across the country. The MHPCC also serves other DoD and government missions, business, and academic customers and supports a wide variety of scientific, research, and commercial projects.

The MHPCC serves as a testbed for scalable parallel technologies. The MHPCC was one of the first research organizations to acquire an IBM RS/6000 Scalable POWERparallel (SP) System, and today is one of the largest SP installations in the world. The MHPCC works actively with software developers to migrate both commercial and development software to parallel environments. In addition, the MHPCC is taking on active role in implementing new high performance storage system technologies.

The MHPCC's hardware and software resources, documentation, and training materials are available through the Internet. Help desk services are provided for software and system questions. The MHPCC also offers comprehensive parallel programming/computing training and education programs on Maui, throughout Hawai`i, on the mainland, and abroad. A one-week training program is offered every year at no charge on the University of Hawai`i (UH) Manoa campus specifically for UH researchers.

MHPCC welcomes projects from government, business, and academia. Academic and educational projects are an integral part of MHPCC. A review process determines the level of MHPCC resources available for each project, and there is typically no charge for computer time for accepted academic projects from UH. UH researchers are currently the single largest group of academic MHPCC users.

To start a project please contact:

Or check the Word Wide Web at: http://www.mhpcc.edu for more information on MHPCC facilities, training programs and information about how to apply for access.

David Lassner
david@hawaii.edu


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Current ITS Organization

The following diagram shows the current organization of Information Technology Services (ITS), the new organization formed through the merger of the Computing Center (UHCC), Management Systems Office (MSO), UH-Manoa Telecom Office, and Office of Information Technology (OIT). This new organization represents a refinement of the work to consolidate similar functions performed independently by each of the former organizations (e.g. all four units were involved in networking in some way) as well as move toward more focused customer support. We believe this new organization will help ITS better meet the daunting challenge of supporting the University's exponential growth in technology usage which is based on far more complex and interconnected technologies than in the past, while operating in an environment of shrinking resources.


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