SSCC News for April 2003

Inside this issue...

Recap of Recent UNIX Problems
SSCC Account Renewal Reminder
SSCC to Begin Automated PC Security Updates April 21, 2003
PCs Replaced in 7413 Public Terminal Room
New SSCC Publications
WiscMail Changes (Does not apply to you if you use SSCC's mail server)
Changes to DoIT's SMTP Server (May apply to you if you use a PC e-mail program remotely)
DoIT Broadband DSL, Cable Modem, and VPN Services

Recap of Recent UNIX Problems

We have some good news regarding our main UNIX file server, HAL. Last month we reported in SSCC News about HAL crashing at least on a weekly basis and our problems in figuring out what was the cause. The fact that the crashes were not producing any system logs made it especially difficult to diagnose although a hardware problem was suspected from the beginning. We replaced a SCSI adapter card and some memory but problems persisted. The next step was to replace the CPU which we did two weeks ago and HAL hasn't crashed since. We're still crossing our fingers, but we think replacing the CPU has solved the problem.

SSCC Account Renewal Reminder

It's time to renew your SSCC computer account(s) if you haven't already. As of this morning, there were still over 300 accounts that hadn't been renewed. SSCC requires that all accounts be renewed annually. Please take a moment to fill out the short form. It should take no more than two minutes. Note that you will need to complete this form for EACH user name that you have on the SSCC system. This includes departmental accounts and "email-only" accounts. If you need help identifying what accounts might forward e-mail to your primary account or if you have any other questions about the renewal process that are not answered on the page, please contact Deb Brauer. The account renewal deadline is April 30. Accounts not renewed by April 30, 2003 will be locked.

SSCC to Begin Automated PC Security Updates April 21, 2003

Microsoft releases many critical software updates every month. Critical updates are labeled by Microsoft as those that fix security holes and bugs in the operating system that people can use to break into your machine or make it behave in ways that are undesirable to you. It would be a huge undertaking for SSCC staff to visit every computer and apply each update. Currently, we apply these updates only when someone reports a problem. Fortunately, we can now automate the process using new features of a Microsoft product called Systems Management Server (SMS). SMS will allow us to push out updates to all Windows 2000 and XP machines within the Social Science Building.

If you are running Windows 2000, you probably will never notice the updates being applied to your machine. A small timer icon will appear in your system tray (little box that contains the clock in the lower right hand corner of your desktop) while the update is being installed.

If you are running Windows XP, a small balloon will pop up next to your system tray with the heading "Software Updates Installation". You can do nothing and the balloon will eventually disappear, click on the "X" to close the balloon right away, or click on the balloon to see exactly what updates are being installed.

SSCC's goal is to provide the peace of mind in knowing that it will be much harder for an intruder to break into your machine and access any personal files. We are working hard to improve the level of security in the building and keeping your system up-to-date is a big step towards that objective. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email Charlie Maurice.

PCs Replaced in 7413 Public Terminal Room

The three PCs in the 7413 Public Terminal Room have been replaced using Capital Exercise funds. All three new PCs are Pentium IV 2.66GHz machines with 512MB RAM and a 40GB hard drive In addition each has a DVD drive and a zip drive.

New SSCC Publications

An Introduction to SAS Data Steps

One of our larger publications, An Introduction to SAS Data Steps, is a good starting place for anyone who wants to learn SAS. It focuses heavily on SAS's own peculiar (but internally consistent) logic, and thus might also benefit anyone who started with a broader but shallower introduction such as The Little SAS Book. Look for more introductory SAS publications in the coming months.

How to Find Someone's Email Address

This publication describes various tools for finding email addresses, including our Find an SSCC Member web page, sscwho and lookup in UNIX, and setting up the UW directory in Eudora.

An Introduction to Condor

This publication has been updated with a new section anyone who uses Condor to work with confidential data needs to read. But this is also a good time to remind all our users that the SSCC has a tremendous amount of computing power easily available through the Condor flock. If you ever write programs that take more than about three minutes to run, you should take a look at this publication.

WiscMail Changes

DoIT's mail service, WiscMail, is switching to secure connections for checking mail. This change goes into effect on April 15, 2003 and only affects you if you use DoIT's email (your address includes,, or just can find information for changing all the supported email program settings at DoIT's WiscMail web site. Don't forget about the webmail option, for using your web browser and not an email program to read your email. For more information on Webmail and the advantages of using it, visit DoIT's Webmail web site.

These changes to DoIT's mail service do not effect your SSCC email account. You do not currently need to use a secure connection for this account. Later this summer though, SSCC plans to implement a similar secure connection.

Changes to DoIT's SMTP Server

DoIT's outgoing (SMTP) email server is now and the following outgoing SMTP addresses will no longer work:,,, and If you use a PC e-mail program remotely AND it is set to use the old SMTP servers listed above, you need to change your settings. If you connect using DoIT's modem pool, change it to If you connect via a commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP), you need to use their SMTP server. More information is available at DoIT's WiscMail web site. For a list of SMTP servers for some of the most popular ISPs, visit DoIT's Help web page.

DoIT Broadband DSL, Cable Modem, and VPN Services

DoIT will be terminating their Broadband DSL and Cable Modem (Bucky Bandwidth) services as of June 30, 2003 and plan to have a new contract in place by that time with Charter Communications for cable modem service. These state contracts generally allow for a discounted service fee and provide a means to pay for the connections using a University requisition. New orders are no longer being accepted for these services and customers who have not moved off by 6/30/03 will be terminated on that date. For more information, visit DoIT's Campus Network Services web pages.

DoIT's Network Services group is also planning to offer a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service later this summer called WiscVPN. VPN provides secure connections to a private network from a remote location. WiscVPN allows eligible users to connect to the UW network using a commercial Internet service provider. When a remote user establishes a WiscVPN connection, their network communication will have a UW IP address and will be able to access campus network resources in the same way they would if they were on campus. SSCC staff are currently testing this service and will provide more details in next month's SSCC News. Meanwhile, you can find out more at DoIT's WiscVPN web page. Note that SSCC also has a VPN service which is documented in Connecting to the SSCC Network via VPN.

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© 2003 University of Wisconsin Social Science Computing Cooperative