SSCC News for November 2004

Inside this issue...

Status of SSCC Web Server
Printing Costs Continue to Increase
SPSS 12 for Linux available on OWL
Spyware and Adware, a Growing Problem
SSCC Fall Training Schedule

Status of SSCC Web Server

SSCC's web server was replaced on Monday after intermittent crashes over the past few weeks. The new server is running a beta version of RedHat Enterprise Linux 4 because we suspect defects in the kernel of the production version of Linux may be what is causing the crashes. Unfortunately, the crashes have been very difficult to troubleshoot because no crash reports are being generated by the system. If this latest change does not fix the problem, we may need to move to a different distribution of Linux, possibly Debian. Meanwhile, staff will be paged immediately if the server crashes and will restore web services as quickly as possible.

Printing Costs Continue to Rise

If printing continues at its current rate, we may surpass 1,500,000 pages this year. Printing totals held steady at about 1,000,000 pages per year for the first three years since SSCC began tracking each member's printing in 2000. Last year printing totals jumped to about 1,250,000 and we surpassed that total in September of this year. Money-wise, paper and supplies alone cost us approximately $32,000 in 2000 and $44,000 last year, over a 37% increase. The total cost of printing for the 2003-2004 year including maintenance and staff time was just over $70,000. Please help keep the cost of printing down by always printing double-sided and printing two pages per sheet of paper when possible. Also note that it is against SSCC policy to print more than one copy of a file. Use a copier if you need multiple copies.

SPSS 12 for Linux Available on OWL

We uncovered serious incompatibilities between SPSS 12 and Linux after a recent operating system upgrade. We notified SPSS of the problem, but they do not have a fix at this time. As a temporary workaround, we have taken one of the Condor servers, OWL, out of the flock and configured it with an older version of Linux so it can run SPSS. We will continue to make OWL available for logins until SPSS releases a fix such that SPSS can run on our main public Linux servers.

Former users of SPSS 6 for UNIX have noted that SPSS 12 for Linux is more like SPSS 12 for Windows than the SPSS they are used to. We have workarounds for some of the problems that causes, so please contact the consultant if you are having difficulties. Unfortunately some of the changes SPSS has made cannot be undone.

Connecting to SSCC Linux Computers and Setting Up Sessions in Xwin32 have instructions if you need to set up a connection to OWL.

Spyware and Adware, A Growing Problem

SSCC's help desk is getting an increasing number of requests from PC users for help removing spyware and adware. These annoying programs are placed on your PC, usually without your knowledge, for commercial purposes. Spyware gathers information about you and your computer usage and then transmits it to a person or company. Adware usually displays ads in browser pop-up Windows, sometimes even when you are not using a browser.

Spyware and adware don't just appear on your computer. It is most often bundled with free software that was downloaded. Another way you can invite spyware and adware onto your computer is by clicking on pop-up windows, which often try to download programs onto your computer.

There are some things your computer might do that could make you suspect it is running spyware or adware. Adware is obvious because numerous browser windows keep popping up with ads, sometimes even when your browser is closed. Spyware isn't as obvious, but if your computer is running more slowly than usual, the hard drive is working even when no programs are open, or messages pop up telling you that Windows can't shut down programs you've never heard of, then it's worth investigating.

There are some free and effective programs that you can install on your computer to help you avoid or remove spyware and adware. Ad-Aware, Spybot Search and Destroy, SpyCleaner, and the Google Toolbar can all be found on SSCC's public (Y:) drive at Y:\Keeping Your PC Running Smoothly\anti-spyware.

SSCC staff can help you determine whether spyware or adware has infested your computer, and help you get rid of it. We can also help you install any of the removal programs above. Please contact our Helpdesk(, 262-9917).

SSCC's Fall Training

There is still time to take advantage of SSCC's training offerings this semester. Upcoming classes that aren't already full include Document-Sharing with Word (Nov. 17, 10:00-11:30), An Introduction to SAS Arrays (Nov. 18, 9:30-10:45), An Introduction to SAS Macros (Nov. 23, 9:30-10:45), Merging Data Files in SAS (Nov. 30, 9:30-10:45), The SAS Debugger (Dec. 2, 9:30-10:45), and Computers in Qualitative Analysis (Dec. 7, 9:30-10:45). More information including required class registration is on SSCC's training web pages.

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