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Ask SIPB
 
Have questions about Athena? Stuck with a program error? Ask SIPB! In this column you will find answers to common computing questions ranging from double-sided printing to shell scripting. You will also find announcements regarding new developments in MIT computing. We will do our best to answer any question that is sent to us, and print the best answers in our column here on our web site, http://www.mit.edu/~asksipb/. If you have a computing problem, new or old, let us know and we will be happy to help.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 (Software at MIT)

Wishing MIT provided more software and services for your personal computer? Need to use software on Athena at home? This issue, we cover many of the software options available from MIT.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 (Email at MIT)

This week's column covers electronic communication at MIT — email, mailing lists, and zephyr.
Mailing lists are used for all sorts of things here, and IS&T has placed a large amount of control over mailing lists in the hands of students — we can even create our own mailing lists! Whether you want to get access to loads of free stuff (reuse@mit.edu and free-food@mit.edu), or want to follow the latest on your dorm's discussion list (ask your neighbor if you don't know already), you'll need to deal with mailing lists in some form.

Friday, August 28, 2009 (Intro to Computing at MIT)

Welcome, especially to freshmen and new grad students! Ask SIPB is a column published semi-regularly by the Student Information Processing Board, the volunteer student group concerned with computing at MIT, to help students like you learn more about the computing resources MIT provides and how to make effective use of them. Look for more columns in the future, and feel free to stop by the SIPB office (W20-557) or email sipb@mit.edu with questions about computing at MIT.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008 (Athena Tools)

Want to use the software on Athena? Wondered what sorts of cool things you can do? In this column, we discuss some of the useful software you can find in Athena lockers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 (Email at MIT)

This week's column covers email and mailing lists at MIT.
Mailing lists are used for all sorts of things here, and IS&T has placed a large amount of control over mailing lists in the hands of students -- we can even create our own mailing lists! Whether you want to get access to loads of free stuff (reuse@mit.edu and freefood@mit.edu), or want to follow the latest on your dorm's discussion list (ask your neighbor if you don't know already), you'll need to deal with mailing lists in some form.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 (Introduction to Athena)

Welcome, especially to freshmen and new grad students! Ask SIPB is a column published semi-regularly by the Student Information Processing Board, the volunteer student group concerned with computing at MIT, to help students like you learn more about the computing resources MIT provides and how to make effective use of them. Look for more columns in the future, and feel free to stop by the SIPB office (W20-557) or email sipb@mit.edu with questions about computing at MIT.

Tuesday, December 12, 2007 (Mail Clients)

This week, we will explore several ways in which to access MIT email accounts and the various advantages that various email clients offer when compared to Webmail.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 (Subversion)

If you've used a computer for any length of time, you've undoubtedly wanted to have a backup of older version of the files you're working on. You may also have wanted to let multiple people edit a document and track the changes each has made. In this week's Ask SIPB, we'll discuss version control, the traditional solution to these two problems, and walk through using Subversion, a popular, modern version control system.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 (Introduction to RCS)

Ever wanted to go back to yesterday's version of a file? Or figure out what you changed since last week? Maybe you want to let someone else make some edits to a document, but be able to see what they changed. This week we'll look at one solution for these questions: RCS, a common, lightweight version control system (VCS).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 (Hardware on Athena)

Athena isn't just software — it's a computing environment. In today's issue of Ask SIPB, we'll look at some common questions about using hardware in the Athena environment, from USB memory keys to large monitors.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 (Mathematical Computing)

Today, we'll discuss two popular mathematics software packages, Matlab and Mathematica. In addition, we'll take a look at gnuplot, a tool designed to produce high-quality data plots.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007 (An Intro to Unix)

Confused about Unix, or just curious? Having trouble doing certain things on Athena? In this column, we will answer some basic questions about using Athena and the Unix operating system.

Friday, August 31, 2007 (Additional Useful Services)

Today, we finish off our series of introductory columns with information on a hodge-podge of additional useful services.

Thursday, August 30, 2007 (More Software)

Wishing MIT provided more software and services for your personal computer? Need to use software on Athena at home? This week, we introduce some lesser known computing services supported by MIT.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 (Software on Athena)

Want to use the software on Athena? Wondered what sorts of cool things you can do? In this column, we discuss lockers on Athena, and the things you can find in them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 (E-mail and Zephyr)

In today's Ask SIPB column, we'll discuss various ways to communicate with others, namely e-mail and Zephyr.

Monday, August 27, 2007 (Intro to Computing at MIT)

Welcome, especially to freshmen and new grad students! Ask SIPB is a column published regularly by the Student Information Processing Board, the volunteer student group concerned with computing at MIT, to help students like you learn more about the computing resources MIT provides and how to make effective use of them. This column is part 1 of 4 introductory columns to help you get started with computing here at MIT.

Friday, April 20, 2007 (AFS)

Ever wondered how you can get to your files from any Athena computer? How lockers work? How you can share files with your friends? In today's issue of Ask SIPB, we'll cover these questions and more.

Friday, September 1, 2006 (More Software)

Wishing MIT provided more software and services for your personal computer? Need to use software on Athena at home? This week, we introduce some lesser known computing services supported by MIT.

Thursday, August 31, 2006 (Zephyr)

Want to learn more about Zephyr? Need to figure out if someone is logged in and communicate with them quickly? In this final introductory column, we cover the basics of using Zephyr.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 (Lockers)

Want to use the software on Athena? Wondered what sorts of cool things you can do? In this column, part 3 of 4 of our introductory columns, we discuss lockers on Athena, and the things you can find in them.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 (Mail)

Want to read your MIT mail on your personal computer? Or figure out exactly where all those @mit.edu addresses go? In this column, part 2 of 4 of our introductory columns, we cover mail and mailing lists.

Monday, August 28, 2006 (Intro to Computing at MIT)

Welcome, especially to freshmen and new grad students! Ask SIPB is a column published regularly by the Student Information Processing Board, the volunteer student group concerned with computing at MIT, to help students like you learn more about the computing resources MIT provides and how to make effective use of them. This column is part 1 of 4 introductory columns to help you get started with computing here at MIT.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 (DMCA Notifications)

Have you received a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) violation notification for sharing copyrighted materials online, or are you worried that you might? This week's column explains what happens when you get one of these notices.

Friday, October 28, 2005 (Lesser Known Services)

Wishing MIT provided more software and services for your personal computer? Need to use software on Athena at home? This week, we introduce some lesser known computing services supported by MIT.

Friday, October 7, 2005 (Zephyr)

Want to learn more about Zephyr? Need to figure out if someone is logged in and communicate with them quickly? In this final introductory column, we cover the basics of using Zephyr.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005 (Lockers)

Want to use the software on Athena? Wondered what sorts of cool things you can do? In this column, part 3 of 4 of our introductory columns, we discuss lockers on Athena, and the things you can find in them.

Friday, September 30, 2005 (Mail)

Want to set up mail on your personal computer? Or figure out exactly where all those @mit.edu addresses go? In this column, part 2 of 4 of our introductory columns, we cover mail and mailing lists.

Friday, September 23, 2005 (Intro to MIT Computing Resources)

Welcome, especially to freshmen and new grad students! Ask SIPB is a column published regularly by the Student Information Processing Board, the volunteer student group concerned with computing at MIT, to help students like you learn more about the computing resources MIT provides and how to make effective use of them. This column is part 1 of 4 introductory columns to help you get started with computing here at MIT.

Friday, September 24, 2004 (CVS)

This week, we continue our discussion of version control systems and explain CVS, the Concurrent Versioning System. If you're new to version control systems, refer to our May 11 column at http://www.mit.edu/~asksipb/ for an introduction.

Friday, September 3, 2004 (Lockers and Cool Utilities)

Want to use the software on Athena? Wondered what sorts of cool things you can do? In our final introductory orientation column, we discuss lockers on Athena, and the things you can find in them.

Thursday, September 2, 2004 (Zephyr)

Want to learn more about Zephyr? Need to figure out if someone is logged in and communicate with them quickly? In this column, part 3 of 4 of our introductory orientation columns, we cover the basics of using Zephyr.

Wednesday, September 1, 2004 (Mail)

Want to set up mail on your personal computer? Or figure out exactly where all those @mit.edu addresses go? In this column, part 2 of 4 of our introductory orientation columns, we cover mail and mailing lists.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004 (Intro to MIT Computing Resources)

Welcome, freshmen and new grad students! Ask SIPB is a column published regularly by the Student Information Processing Board (the volunteer student group concerned with computing at MIT), to help students like you learn more about the computing resources MIT provides and how to make effective use of them. This column is part 1 of 4 of introductory columns during orientation to help you get started with computing here at MIT.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 (Version Control)

Want to work on a group project and have everyone edit a common set of files? Heard of RCS and CVS, but don't know what they are? This week, we discuss version control systems and explain how to use RCS.

Wednesday, January 7, 2004 (SpamAssassin)

Deluged with spam? In this column, we revisit the topic of spam filtering with SpamAssassin and discuss the new changes made to MIT's SpamAssassin configuration.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003 (Mail Etiquette)

Having problems connecting to the network since Thursday, September 11? Getting deluged with lots of spam? This week, we explain the required re-registration for dynamic IP addresses (DHCP) and e-mail etiquette.

Thursday, August 28, 2003 (Kerberos and AFS)

Ever wondered how secure your files on Athena are, or exactly what Kerberos and AFS actually are? Or perhaps you would like to be more practical, and want to know how to easily share files with other users? In our final introductory orientation column, we discuss two related, but more advanced topics: Kerberos, and AFS.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003 (Zephyr)

Want to learn more about Zephyr? Need to figure out if someone is logged in and communicate with them quickly? In this column, part 5 of 6 of our introductory orientation columns, we cover the basics of using Zephyr.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003 (Mail and Mailing Lists)

Want to set up mail on your personal computer? Or figure out exactly where all those @mit.edu addresses go? In this column, part 4 of 6 of our introductory orientation columns, we cover mail and mailing lists.

Monday, August 25, 2003 (Using Unix and Athena)

Confused about Unix? Having trouble doing certain things on Athena? In this column, part 3 of 6 of our introductory Orientation columns, we will answer some basic questions about using Athena and the Unix operating system.

Sunday, August 24, 2003 (Connecting to the Network)

Want to get network in your dorm? Interested in setting up a server? In this column, part 2 of 6 in our introductory orientation columns, we cover residential computing and getting connected to the network.

Friday, August 22, 2003 (Computing Resources at MIT)

Welcome freshmen and new grad students! Ask SIPB is a column published regularly by the Student Information Processing Board, the volunteer student group concerned with computing at MIT, to help students like you learn more about the computing resources MIT provides and how to make effective use of them. This column is part 1 of 6 of introductory columns during orientation to help you get started with computing here at MIT.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 (End of Term Info)

Summer is almost upon us, and with it, comes the mass exodus of students from MIT. This last column of the term covers accessing e-mail, Athena space, and other MIT services remotely.

Friday, May 2, 2003 (Dorm Networks)

Working dorm networks are practically a necessity for most MIT students, with puzzled students coming out of their rooms the instant the network stops working. This week, we discuss the issue of dorm networks.

Friday, April 25, 2003 (Media)

Want to read various computer media, like CDs and DVDs on Athena, but weren't sure how? In this week's column, we cover reading media on Athena.

Friday, April 11, 2003 (Prefrosh Introduction)

Welcome to the Campus Preview Weekend edition of the Ask SIPB column! This week, we discuss MIT computing issues that may be relevant to prefrosh.

Friday, April 4, 2003 (Dialup at MIT)

What if you don't have Internet? If you have a modem and phone, MIT has a free service with which you can connect to Athena to accomplish most common tasks such as email.

Friday, March 21, 2003 (web and www)

MIT offers many options for viewing and publishing material on the web. This week, we will first answer an unrelated (but timely) question, and explore two of MIT's most frequently used web servers, web.mit.edu and www.mit.edu.

Friday, March 14, 2003 (MIT Spam Screening)

Like all e-mail accounts, Athena accounts tend to receive lots of spam. Further compounding this problem are the numerous mailing lists available, each receiving its own junk. The inconvenient and unwanted spam can be controlled, though, so this week, we explore MIT Spam Screening.

Friday, March 7, 2003 (Zephyr, Part 2)

This week, we continue the two-part series about Zephyr, covering more advanced configiuration issues, and other Zephyr clients.

Friday, February 28, 2003 (Zephyr, Part 1)

Friday, February 7, 2003 (Configuration and User Interface)

Wednesday, January 15, 2003 (File Transfer)

Friday, December 6, 2002 (Printing)

Friday, November 22, 2002 (Mailing List Management)

Friday, November 8, 2002 (Email, Email Readers)

Friday, October 18, 2002 (Web Browsers, Certificates)

Friday, October 4, 2002 (Athena Help, Wireless)


To ask us a question, send email to sipb@mit.edu. We'll try to answer you quickly, and we can address your question in our next column. You can also stop by our office in W20-557 or call us at x3-7788 if you need help. Copies of each column and pointers to additional information are posted on our website: http://www.mit.edu/~asksipb/