Welcome, New Members!

Fall always brings new faces to the Social Science Computing Cooperative, and we welcome all of our new faculty, staff, and students. To learn what the SSCC is and what we can do for you, we invite you to attend our general orientation on September 1st. Register on our training page. (Note that many departments have a separate SSCC orientation for their incoming graduate students.)

If you are a new graduate student or researcher, consider signing up for one of the statistical software "bootcamps" next week. Almost all graduate students in the SSCC need to learn at least one statistical package, and the sooner you learn it the sooner you can take advantage of it in your research and class work. Attending one of our bootcamps lets you get that learning out of the way before classes start.

Fall Training

Next week SSCC staff will teach bootcamp introductions to Stata, R, and SAS. These are very valuable to new graduate students, new researchers, or anyone looking to learn a new statistical package.

After the semester starts we'll teach Stata for Researchers again, but also more advanced Stata classes: Programming, Publication-Quality Tables, Grammar of Graphics, and Structural Equation Modeling. We'll also teach Mplus Fundamentals for even more SEM options. Look for more classes (especially R classes) to be scheduled in the coming weeks.

Mplus Now Available on Linstat

Mplus is now available on Linstat, the SSCC's Linux computing cluster. Running Mplus on Linstat lets you use up to 16 cores and 256GB of RAM, which makes large jobs run much faster than on Winstat. See Running Mplus Jobs on Linstat.

Office 365 Update

Just over 60% of SSCC members have now migrated to Office 365. We appreciate everyone's time and patience through this transition. We expect that the migration deadline will be in early-to-mid October, and we strongly encourage everyone who hasn't migrated yet to migrate before that point so you can do it at a time that's convenient for you. However, we ask that you avoid migrating during the first two weeks of the semester (September 2-September 11) as this is a very busy time for SSCC staff and we may not be able to help in a timely fashion if you run into problems. That means the best time to migrate is right now, or at least before the semester starts.

Office 365 Migration instructions can be found here.

SSCC has set its own migration deadline for people who have mail on our server but have already migrated their WiscMail account to Office 365. If you are in this group, and you should have received email from us if you are, SSCC staff will migrate your SSCC email account on August 27, 28, or 31 unless you ask us to migrate it before then. Since you're already using Office 365 this should cause minimal disruption.

If you just received an SSCC account, you don't need to worry about migrating to Office 365.

SSCC staff are still learning which Office 365 issues we can solve and which we have to refer to the DoIT Help Desk, but in general anything that involves what's stored on the server, like missing mail, has to be sent to DoIT. When in doubt, continue to contact the SSCC Help Desk first. Unfortunately the DoIT Help Desk is still learning too, and as a Cloud application Office 365 is under constant development, adding to the challenge. We trust the support situation will improve over time and ask for your patience.

We also recognize the frustration many of you feel about the time spent on the migration, Office 365/Outlook itself, or both. We share that frustration. The decision to both replace WiscMail with Office 365 and require that all other campus email servers be shut down was made at the highest level of campus leadership, though it should be noted that this decision predates the current Chancellor, Provost, and CIO. If SSCC had been given the option of keeping our email server we would have taken it in a heartbeat—the staff time we have spent on the migration could have kept our server running for many, many years. Still, we encourage you to make the best of it and take advantage of the new features Office 365 offers.

Five Tips for Using Office 365 and Outlook 2013

Here are a few ideas from SSCC staff for improving your experience with Office 365 and Outlook 2013:

  • Whenever you log in to Office 365, your user name is your email address, not your primary email address. Trying to log in using your primary email address sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.
  • You can make Outlook 2013 look a lot like Thunderbird by going to View, Change View, and selecting Preview. This will also allow you to sort by message attributes (From, Subject, time Received, etc.) by clicking on that column. Set Message Preview to Off to maximize the number of messages you can see at once.
  • When you do a search in Outlook 2013 it will by default search all messages in the current mailbox, but to Outlook a "mailbox" is your entire email account. To search within the folder you currently have open (your Inbox, for example) change the menu item just right of the search box from Current Mailbox to Current Folder. Here are instructions for making this the default.
  • The People Pane by default appears as a small bar across the bottom of the email message you're reading. Clicking on it will give you more information about the sender of the message, including a list of all the email messages you've received from them. This can be very helpful to put your conversation in context.
  • If you start to compose a message to someone who has set up an autoreply (i.e. a vacation message) their autoreply message will appear just above the To... field. You can then decide whether it makes sense to send a message to someone who's away before you take the time to compose it.