SSCC News for December 2004

Inside this issue...

SSCC Email Unavailable December 4th 8:00 until Noon
Tape Station on Its Last Legs
SAS 9 to Replace SAS 8 January 2
4218 Print Queue Improvements
Cleaning Out Your Mailboxes

SSCC E-mail Unavailable December 4th 8:00 until Noon

This is a reminder that SSCC e-mail will be unavailable Saturday, December 4th, from 8:00 until noon in order to add disk space. We thought we had enough space to hold off until January when we could use Capital Exercise money to buy additional storage, but disk usage has increased in the last few months at a much higher rate than anticipated. SSCC's mail is stored on two disk arrays: one holds everyone's INBOX and the other holds all other IMAP mailboxes. It's the 100 Gig disk array holding the IMAP mail boxes that is almost full. To find out how much mail space you are using, log onto Linux and type inboxsize. (The consultant can do this for you if you aren't familiar with Linux.) Read the related article later in this newsletter for ways to reduce the size of your mailboxes. We also have a new publication, Cleaning Out Your E-mail, with more detailed information.

Tape Station on Its Last Legs

SSCC's tape station will be retired at the end of October 2005. If you have data tapes that must be read using the tape station, please plan to transfer them to other media as soon as possible.

SSCC has provided a tape station for reading/writing various formats of tapes since before VMS was retired in 1999. The tape station has been replaced a couple of times as we've moved to different UNIX and now Linux operating systems. The tape drives on the station are mostly very old, the 3480 drive over 10 years old. Since moving the tape station to Linux a few months ago when we retired our Tru64 UNIX computers, we have had problems with both the 3480 drive and the software. We were able to get the drive fixed, but were told that spare parts are now very hard to find. The software though can no longer read 3480 tapes that were created on any operating system except Linux, essentially rendering the drive useless for our purposes.

We kept one Tru64 computer (NORMAN) around just for any unexpected problems that arise, like this one. During next Wednesday's downtime, we will be moving the tape drives to NORMAN where the software works as it should. This will buy a little more time should you have data on 3480 tapes (or 9-track or 8mm) that still need to be transferred. Our license for running Tru64 expires at the end of October 2005 and we plan to retire the tape station then. Hopefully the 3480 drive will last that long. Note: The tape station is located in the 4218 computer lab.

If you're planning to transfer files to other removable media, visit for comparisons of various media.

SAS 9 to Replace SAS 8 January 3

On January 3rd we will be removing SAS 8 from KITE and HAL and replacing it with SAS 9. Note that SAS 9 has been available on HAL since September. The change will be transparent to users: SAS 9 reads the same data set format and runs SAS 8 programs without modification. We would encourage SAS users to try out SAS 9 (if you haven't already). You can use it now by typing sas9 on HAL instead of sas.

One improvement in SAS 9 is that it will allow you to set permissions for the output of a SAS program, including temp files. If you work with sensitive data we strongly recommend that you set your umask to 077 in your .cshrc file, so the default is for new files to be only readable by you. However, if you have a different umask but need to make sure others cannot read your SAS temp files, you can set that umask for the duration of your program. The syntax is simply:

X 'umask 077';

Full documentation for SAS 9 is available online at This link also contains a "What's New in Version 9" section. Please contact the consultant if you have any questions.

4218 Print Queue Improvements

We've implemented a change in the printing system which prevents jobs requesting special paper from stalling the print queues in the 4218 computer lab. Until yesterday, the printers would wait for a manual feed when they received a request for special paper like legal size, B5, or C5. These jobs had to be manually deleted from the queue before other jobs could print. This created long delays when these jobs got queued after hours. Now these jobs get deleted automatically and an error message pops up on the screen of the person submitting the job.

Often times people submit print jobs requiring special forms unknowingly. If this happens to you, change the page set up for your document to either letter, A4, or A5, the only forms loaded in these printers. If you really do need to print on special paper like envelopes or letterhead, you are welcome to use the printer in the 2470 computer lab. Instructions are provided in SSCC publication, Printing on Special Paper.

NOTE: When print jobs are automatically canceled, there is no record of the print out. Consequently, no erroneous page counts get attributed to your printer usage statistics.

Cleaning Out Your Mailboxes

Keeping your email under control will improve your email program's performance, and how quickly you can access both new and old email. Any email program works better if there are fewer messages in the Inbox or other mailboxes that you are using. The number of messages you can have without causing problems depends on the resources available on your computer, but fewer is better. Every time you check your mail, the server has to look through all the messages in your inbox and download the headers (or entire message, depending on your settings). Checking or reading mail is also faster in a small mailbox, especially over a slower connection.

There are a few easy things you can do to clean out mailboxes and reduce the volume of stored mail. If there are mailboxes or large portions of mailboxes that you want to save but do not refer to on a regular basis, you can simply move them elsewhere. Within your email program, you can make a local mailbox and move the messages into that one. (Recall that SSCC does not back up files on local drives.) The attachment will move along with the message. You can also save mailboxes onto an external storage medium, like a CD. Each mailbox is just a large text file, with each message included in its entirety in the text file. It can be restored as a mailbox by copying it back to the mail directory if you need to use it again.

For most of us, deleting large numbers of email messages is not the best way to reduce the size of a mailbox. It's much more effective to find the few messages with large attachments and delete those. They are easy to find if you sort your messages by size. Information on how to do this in Eudora is in our publication, Managing your Email using Eudora. For Outlook Express, you may need to add Size to the column display. (Go to View / Columns and check the Size box.) Note that some e-mail programs like Eudora keep a second copy of the attachment on your hard drive. Deleting a message only deletes the copy of the attachment stored on the mail server. You need to delete the copy on your hard drive manually.

For more detailed information including instructions with screen shots, read our publication, Cleaning Out Your E-mail. And, as always, we're eager to help. Please contact our Helpdesk (, 262-9917).

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