December, 2003
We Get Questions: Why the Lab Supports Some Systems, But Not Others and What’s the Best Way to Contact the Help Desk
When a Lab staff member contacts the ITSD Help Desk with a support question, the employee making the inquiry is also sent a survey about the service received. A number of questions have appeared frequently as of late – here are some of them, along with the answers from the Desktop Support Group.

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Lab Employees Qualify for Discounts on Dell, MPC Computers for Personal Use
Lab employees who are looking to buy a Windows PC for personal use can take advantage of discounts on computers sold by Dell and MPC (formerly Micron), the two vendors currently providing Lab-standard systems under Basic Ordering Agreements (BOAs). Under their “Employee Purchase Programs,” Dell offers up to 10 percent off its systems (plus special offers), and MPC has special offers at up to 20 percent off.

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Mozilla Being Adopted as Lab Standard for Email, Web Browser as Netscape Use Declines
ITSD is continuing its plan to gradually roll out Mozilla 1.4 as the new Lab standard application for both email and Web browsing. However, due to limited support and a more complex installation procedure, the target date for having all Lab divisions converted to Mozilla is June.

Survey of Library Use Shows Differing Patterns of Use, High Rate of Online Access

The Technical and Electronic Information Department, which is responsible for the Lab’s libraries, recently worked with the Computing and Communications Services Advisory Committee (CSAC) to survey members of scientific divisions about future library services. TEID Head Jane Tierney gave a summary of the responses received from the survey to CSAC members.

Need Dedicated Space for a Computer Cluster? Here’s One Option

ITSD runs a computer room in Bldg. 50A-2109, which formerly housed a large research cluster. The room has adequate power and air conditioning to support a number of small systems. The monthly cost of $225 covers space recharges, electricity for the computers, air conditioning and minor maintenance. There are still several rack spaces left, so researchers who are having problems finding dedicated computer room space for a cluster or a group of individual computers can contact Charlie Verboom at for more information. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Two empty racks for housing computers are currently available for use at no charge.

Lab’s Computer Training Classroom Now in Bldg. 90
On-site computer training classes are now being offered in Bldg. 90, room 0026 (on the basement level). The old training room in Bldg. 51L is being demolished as part of the work around Bldg. 51. A list of computer classes is available under the Training option of the Employee Self Service Web site.

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StarOffice Version 7.0 for Linux, Windows Now Available Via Site License
The Lab now has a site license for StarOffice version 7 for both Linux and Windows systems. StarOffice is a suite of applications which replicates many of the features of Microsoft Office. According to Lab users and outside reviews, the new version is greatly improved over the previous StarOffice 6.0.

ITSD’s Nat Stoddard Named Help Desk Engineer of the Year in SF Bay Area
Nat Stoddard, a member of the Lab’s Help Desk staff, has been selected as the “Help Desk Engineer of the Year” by the San Francisco/Bay Area Chapter of the Help Desk Institute, an international organization of help desk professionals. Nat, who received his award at Dec. 10 dinner and awards ceremony, will next compete with representatives from 10 other chapters in the West Coast Regional selection in February.

Tip of the Month: UNIX Distributed Printing Service Improved, Cost Reduced

Reminder: There is no longer any host fee for using UNIX distributed printers. Thanks to the successful conversion to CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) and Linux-based servers, the Computing Infrastructure Technologies Group was able to retire a number of outdated systems and software. Lab organizations can now have their UNIX distributed printers managed for $20 per printer per month.

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Computer Security Training: What's On Tap for the New Year?
To help you plan for enrolling in future computer security training courses, the Computer Protection Program has added a link on its home page that brings up a display of all the courses to be taught in the next eight months and the dates on which the courses are to be taught. Visit and then go to the bottom left part of the page and click on "What's on Deck for 2004."