Welcome School of Education to the Co-op

We're pleased to announce that the School of Education has joined the Social Science Computing Cooperative. The School of Education's SSCC membership will give their faculty and graduate students improved access to statistical software and support in using it, while having the School of Education as a member gives the SSCC greater diversity in funding sources and the opportunity to expand our services. This will also allow for greater intercollegiate collaboration.

Winstat Web Interface to be Upgraded February 6

On Wednesday, February 6, we will upgrade the primary web interface for logging into Winstat. (The web interface used by SOE members is already running the newer version). It will also get a new address that is easier to remember:, though going to the SSCC home page and clicking on the Winstat link will of course continue to be an option.

The new web interface will also distribute a new version of the Citrix ICA client. The new version is functionally identical, but is compatible with Windows Vista and the Safari web browser on Macs, and is more reliably detected by Firefox. The first time you log in to the web interface you will be given the installation file automatically. Download it, run it, and you'll be all set to log into Winstat with the new ICA client.

Change to Permissions for Web Sites

The Linux permissions changes we implemented last month have worked very well in general, but did cause some problems for web sites. Thus we've made the following additional change: all files and folders in web directories (PUBLIC_web in users' home directories, /usr/global/web and /usr/global/cgi) are now available on the web automatically. The web server of course still honors .htaccess files, so if your web site required a password it continues to do so.

This makes it easier than ever to put files on the web: simply place them in your web directory without any need to make them world-readable. Those who have files affiliated with the "nobody" group for security purposes may be interested to learn that this is no longer necessary--contact the consultant if you'd like to make those files editable by a group of people again.

However it does spoil one trick advanced users may have taken advantage of: if you have files in a web directory and no longer want to make them available via the web, it is not enough to simply remove the world read permission. You'll have to actually move the files from the web directory to another location, or delete them.

Spybot to be Re-enabled on PRIMO PCs February 5

We recently disabled the anti-spyware software called Spybot which we used to run weekly scans on PCs that connect to PRIMO. Spybot was unexpectedly starting a time-consuming full scan on a few PCs upon boot up. Now that we understand why Spybot started doing this (after over two years of using the software without incident) and know what to do about it, we plan to re-enable Spybot next week.

If Spybot detects a suspicious file in use by an application that will not allow Spybot access, Spybot will attempt a full scan the next time you start up your PC. If this happens and you have time, let the software do a full scan. It can take up to an hour or more on a PC with lots of files.

Otherwise, you can cancel the scan by clicking the "Stop Check" button in the Spybot dialog box. You'll then have the option of telling it not to run a scan again next time you log in. You can select this button but it will not prevent Spybot from doing the same thing again the next week when Spybot runs automatically. If this occurs, please contact SSCC's help desk. We will want to check your PC because it is very likely infected with spyware. (Well behaved applications allow access to files in use.) Removing the infection will also stop Spybot from trying to run full scans.

SSCC Spring Training

SSCC's spring training is well underway. We have a lot of offerings this month including Introduction to SPSS, Intermediate Stata, Running Large Statistical Jobs Using Condor, Programming in Stata, Introduction to R Programming, Intro to Stata Graphics, A Hands-On Introduction to NVivo, Hands-On Introduction to Linux, and Delving Deeper into NVivo. All SSCC classes require registration. For details and to register please visit our training web page.

Tip: Placing Files on your Desktop is a Bad Idea on Winstat

Placing large data files on your desktop is not a good idea on Winstat because it can cause long delays when logging in. The tables of your desktop are part of your "profile" which the server must download when you log in. Not only does this cause delays for you, you could also fill up the disk space available for profiles, preventing anyone from logging in to the server. (Yes, this has happened before.) Save your data files on the network drives, then if you wish you can make shortcuts to them on your desktop for easy access.

See SSCC Publication, Using Winstat, for several other computing tips including why it is very important to log off your Winstat session.