List of frequently asked questions about UCLA Astronomy computing.
Topics: e-mail/news , FTP/WWW , general/PCs , printing , SunOS/UNIX .
Click on the number to the left of the ":" to find the answer.


  • general/PCs
  • 01: What are the network parameters to set on my PC?
  • 02: What name can I give to my computer?
  • 05: I accidentally deleted/modified a file. Is there a backup? How can I get it back?
  • 10: How can I have an account (opened)?
  • 28: What anti-virus software can I use on my PC?
  • 35: What kind of X Windows emulator is available for my PC?
  • 49: How can I transfer files to/from Windows systems while using a Macintosh?
  • 51: How can I get the correct time and synchronize the clock on my PC?
  • 53: How do I change my Microsoft Windows Network password?
  • 55: How can I avoid manually resetting my network parameters every time I move my Windows laptop between home and office?
  • 62: How can I transfer files between a PC and a UNIX system?
  • 69: Can I install a software package (and how do I)?
  • 70: How do I make the Alt key work under X-Win32 like under CDE?
  • 74: How can I find out my IP address under Windows?
  • 79: What can I do when my PC won't shut down?
  • 84: How do I logout from Windows or lock the screen?
  • 86: Can my computer be connected to the network in our classroom (8349 MS), conference room (8911 MS), or reading room (8361 MS)?
  • 87: How do I find out what the ethernet/hardware/MAC/physical address of my computer is?
  • 88: Where do I get SSH for my PC?

  • e-mail/news
  • 04: What can I do about junk mail?
  • 11: How can I read/forward e-mail attachments (MIME) on a Sun?
  • 22: What SMTP/POP server should I use to send/read e-mail?
  • 38: How do I forward my mail to a new address?
  • 40: How do I find out who is included in a mailing list?
  • 42: How do I set up (or stop) an auto-response to incoming mail (``vacation'')?
  • 47: What news/NNTP/USENET server is available?
  • 54: What is the (maximum) size limit on e-mail ``messages?''
  • 72: Why was my message to a Physics account bounced?
  • 77: How can I find out where an e-mail message really came from?
  • 78: How can I complain about junk mail once I know where it really came from?
  • 81: How can I sort my e-mail messages by size?
  • 89: Why are some e-mail messages from/to me not getting through (blocked Subject: lines)?

  • FTP/WWW
  • 03: How do I exchange files with anonymous FTP?
  • 13: How can I have my own web page?
  • 20: How can I protect my web pages with a password?
  • 27: How can I access the web server log files (to see who has been visiting my web pages)?
  • 43: How do I transfer subdirectories from an FTP site?
  • 46: How can I access web sites restricted to computers in the UCLA domain from home?
  • 82: How can I make more data available through my web pages than can fit within my home directory quota?
  • 83: How can I restrict access to one of my web pages from certain domains?

  • printing
  • 08: How do I remove a print job from a queue?
  • 15: How can I print on transparencies instead of on regular paper on the Color LaserJet printer?
  • 17: The printer is printing garbage. How can I stop it?
  • 18: I sent a file to the printer (and the job showed up in the queue), but nothing came out. What happened?
  • 21: How do I bring back the print Job Monitor that used to pop up on my screen whenever I was sending a job to a printer?
  • 25: How do I set my default printer?
  • 26: How do I print single sided on a double sided printer?
  • 33: How do I print an A4-size PostScript document on letter-size paper?
  • 39: How do I print only a few pages from a PostScript file?
  • 48: How can I get the drivers for our printers (to install on my PC)?
  • 57: Why did my color file print black and white on the color printer?
  • 59: How can I stop a runaway job on my personal HP printer (e.g. LaserJet 6 or 2100 series)?
  • 63: How can I print a text file in landscape mode?
  • 66: What should I do when the printer seems stuck flashing ``CANCELING JOB''?
  • 67: What should I do when the printer seems stuck flashing ``PROCESSING JOB''?
  • 71: How should I print multiple copies of one file (under UNIX)?
  • 85: How can I print a GIF/JPG/PNG/TIFF file?
  • 88: How do I add a (network) printer under Windows 2000?

  • SunOS/UNIX
  • 06: How do I make the Control key behave like Caps Lock and vice versa?
  • 07: How do I use floppy disks on the Suns?
  • 12: How can I read/edit Microsoft documents on a Sun?
  • 19: Some of the menus/commands under CDE suddenly no longer work. How can I fix that?
  • 21: How do I bring back the print Job Monitor that used to pop up on my screen whenever I was sending a job to a printer?
  • 23: How can I handle BinHex (.hqx) files on a Sun?
  • 24: How can I eject a CD if the eject button doesn't work?
  • 29: How can I list ALL my processes?
  • 30: How can I set/change the priority (nice level) of my batch jobs?
  • 31: How can I run an executable that is in the current directory?
  • 32: How can I use a different version of an IDL module than the default one?
  • 34: What should I do about ``ToolTalk'' or ``ttsession'' error messages I get when trying to run CDE applications remotely?
  • 36: How do I silence the speakers/adjust the volume (on a Sun)?
  • 37: How do I delete a file whose name starts with a dash or has some other ``funny'' character?
  • 41: How do I make the CD play on my Sun workstation's speakers?
  • 44: How do I delete some of my own files when it says ``permission denied?''
  • 45: The tape drive can't read my tape. What can I do?
  • 50: How do I configure my Sun workstation to make the monitor save energy?
  • 52: How do I print a PDF file from the UNIX command line?
  • 56: How do I access the contents of a (data) CD-ROM on a Sun?
  • 58: How can I logout remotely (from my Sun workstation)?
  • 60: What user number should I use for AIPS?
  • 61: How much do the Sun discount letter codes translate into?
  • 62: How can I transfer files between a PC and a UNIX system?
  • 64: How do I prevent system error messages from trashing my X Windows screen?
  • 65: How can I connect to an SSH 2 server from here?
  • 68: How do I combine several PS files into a single PDF file?
  • 73: How can I get more disk space?
  • 75: Why is my C/C++/FORTRAN program no longer working when I didn't change anything since it last worked (a while ago)?
  • 76: How can I login to a Sun workstation other than the one I am sitting at?
  • 80: Why is IRAF complaining that os.zgtenv: cannot open `/usr/include/iraf.h'?
  • 85: How can I display a GIF/JPG/PNG/TIFF file?
  • Check the FAQ section of the new Suns web page for more Q&As about Suns.

  • Q2: What name can I give to my computer?

  • A2: Look through all the names already taken; pick another one; and e-mail it to: help@astro.UCLA.EDU for approval/confirmation. If the name you choose is not common, please explain its meaning.


  • Q4: What can I do about junk mail?

  • A4: Of course, the first thing is to try to avoid having your e-mail address end up on a mailing list used by spammers, but this is really hard.

    If you do receive junk mail, there is only one thing to do really: Ignore it! Just delete the message and move on. Do not try to reply to it ("remove" options are useless) or to complain to someone about it (in particular, do not forward it to ``help'' unless you are getting deluged with the same message from the same source, in which case we can and will stop it because it becomes harassment, but only if you report it).

    There is some software that can help you reject junk mail before it gets into your mailbox (so that you never see it), but it is highly sophisticated and can have disastrous consequences if not used properly.

    Our new mail server has some features that will prevent messages that contain invalid addresses or that are too big from coming in, which should eliminate a fraction of the junk mail for everyone. Some valid addresses are also put on a blacklist to prevent future spam attacks (at the postmaster's discretion).


  • Q5: I accidentally deleted/modified a file. Is there a backup? How can I get it back?

  • A5: If it was on a UNIX or VMS system, we probably have a system backup. If it was on a Windows or MacOS system, you are out of luck (unless you have your own backup).

    E-mail the exact location of the file or directory (i.e. system and path) before it was lost and where you want it to be restored (default will be the same location), as well as the dates of the initial creation, last modification (prior to this morning), and loss of the file (as well as you can remember). To avoid unnecessary e-mail exchanges between you and the system administrator(s), please provide all of that information, or say that you do not remember where appropriate. The more information you provide, the faster your file will be restored...

    Please realize that restoring files is time consuming, so if there is any other way you can retrieve/recreate your files, try that first.


  • Q6: How do I make the Control key behave like Caps Lock and vice versa?

  • A6: You need to run the command xmodmap ~/.xmodmaprc once, when you start your windows session. (Typically, you do this in ~/.xinitrc, but it depends on the window system you use.) The file ~/.xmodmaprc -- you can change the name if you want -- should contain the following:
    remove Lock = Caps_Lock
    remove Control = Control_L
    keysym Control_L = Caps_Lock
    keysym Caps_Lock = Control_L
    add Lock = Caps_Lock
    add Control = Control_L
    
    You can also remap other keys at will. Type man xmodmap and man xkeycaps for more details. The mappings revert to their default when you logout.


  • Q7: How do I use floppy disks on the Suns?

  • A7: Insert the disk in the drive. Type volcheck followed by cd /floppy/floppy0/. You can now read the contents of your disk and copy files to/from (hard) disk with the usual UNIX commands. When you are done, change directory out of /floppy (e.g. cd) and type eject floppy. Check for error messages of the form:
    DATE HOST unix: fd0: message
    on the console if you are having trouble.


  • Q8: How do I remove a print job from a queue?

  • A8: Type lpstat -R to find out where your job was sent. The output will look like this:
    0 QUEUE-ID              USER@HOST  SIZE DATE on QUEUE
    
    In the example above, the USER sent a job which is SIZE bytes long to the printer QUEUE from the HOST computer, with request ID, at the given DATE.

    If you alraedy know what QUEUE it was sent to, you can directly type:

    	lpq -l -PQUEUE
    and you will get something like:
    QUEUE is ready and printing
    
    USER: active                                [job ID HOST]
            FILE                                 SIZE bytes
    
    To cancel this job, the USER must issue the command:
    	cancel QUEUE-ID 
    while logged in from HOST.


  • Q10: How can I have an account (opened)?

  • A10: Follow the instructions on the accounts web page.


  • Q11: How can I read/forward e-mail attachments (MIME) on a Sun?

  • A11: Use dtmail to read your mailbox, or save the message in a file and use mpack/munpack (see man pages for details).


  • Q12: How can I read/edit Microsoft documents on a Sun?

  • A12: Use StarOffice.


  • Q13: How can I have my own web page?

  • A13: Log in on any Sun (or on another system where you are sure you have the same home directory as on the Suns), and create a subdirectory within your home (login) directory called public_html (e.g. mkdir ~/public_html).
    You can then put all the files you want there. Your homepage should be in the file called index.html (although a number of other suffixes are allowed; namely: .shtml and .htm). Everything you put under ~/public_html/ will be found (in a corresponding structure) under http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~USER/ (where USER is your username).
    When you are ready to share your personal pages with the world, please
    send e-mail to ``webmaster'' so that we can put a link to them from the Division online directory (currently under construction).


  • Q15: How can I print on transparencies instead of on regular paper on the Color LaserJet printer?

  • A15: Transparencies should be loaded in tray 2 (and tray 2 only) as needed. Tray 1 is reserved for envelopes and non-letter sized media; and tray 3 is for ``regular'' (color printer) paper.

    If you are printing under MacOS, in the ``Print'' dialog window, pull down the ``General'' menu and select ``Printer Specific Options.'' Then change ``Media type'' from ``Plain'' to ``Transparency.'' (The exact names and details may vary depending on the specific application you use.)

    Similarly, from Windows, your print dialog window should give you the option of selecting the tray and media type (through the ``Properties'' menu), so you just use that.

    If you do not get a choice of media type, please report this by e-mail, or your job will keep printing to regular paper even if you specify the transparency tray (2)...

    If you do get a choice of media type, but get a warning about a conflict with the device settings, switch to the Layout tab and (un)check all appropriate boxes so as to print on only one side (NOT on both); then go back to the Layout tab and you should be able to select the correct media and tray without any warning this time.

    Under Solaris and Linux, type:
    lp -o mtypeTransparency -o simplex -d pabc FILE
    (where FILE is the document you want to print).

    You can get transparencies from the nice people at research stores. Please do not ask the computer staff about this. Those are general office supplies that have nothing to do with computer equipment.


  • Q17: The printer is printing garbage. How can I stop it?

  • A17: The first thing to do is to pull all the paper trays so that the printer has nothing to print on. If the printer has a ``cancel job'' button, hit it once and wait for it to display the ``job canceled'' message before putting the trays back in. If there is no such button (or if it failed to work), go back to the computer you sent your job from and cancel your job (see question 8 above for how to do that.) Then turn the printer off and back on after a few seconds. If after all that the printer reprints the same garbage, pull all the paper trays again and find the system administrator(s) for assistance.


  • Q18: I sent a file to the printer (and the job showed up in the queue), but nothing came out. What happened?

  • A18: If you did not pick up your printout promptly, there is always the possibility that someone else picked it up by mistake!
    Otherwise... the most likely cause is that the file you sent was missing the showpage PostScript command. In that case, instead of typing lpr FILE, type:
    (cat FILE; echo showpage) | lpr. -- Note that this may be obsolete advice that has probably not been necessary for a long time. (MM 2006/01)


  • Q19: Some of the menus/commands under CDE suddenly no longer work. How can I fix that?

  • A19: Type:
    mv ~/.dt ~/.dt-old
    logout from the window system, and login again. After checking that everything is fine, you can type:
    rm -fr ~/.dt-old
    Otherwise, compare ~/.dt and~/.dt-old (e.g.:
    dircmp -s ~/.dt-old ~/.dt | more -s)
    and see if you need to change any customization in the new ~/.dt/.


  • Q20: How can I protect my web pages with a password?

  • A20: See the NCSA tutorial and the Apache web server specific authentication information.


  • Q21: How do I bring back the print Job Monitor that used to pop up on my screen whenever I was sending a job to a printer?

  • A21: This feature has been disabled by default due to popular backlash until its bug is fixed (by HP). To enable it, type:
    xhost + printers
    You may want to add that command to your X windows startup scripts so that it is done automatically (details depend on what window manager you use).


  • Q23: How can I handle BinHex (.hqx) files on a Sun?

  • A23: Use the pkzip command. There is no man page, but you can find a link to online instructions on our software web page. Make sure you give a hqx suffix to the file you are applying the pkzip command to (e.g. /opt/pkzip/pkzip25 -extract MYFILE.hqx), otherwise it will not know what to do with it. Note that this command is available only on GATEWAY due to licensing restrictions.


  • Q24: How can I eject a CD if the eject button doesn't work?

  • A24: Type eject cdrom or eject -f cdrom. If that still doesn't work, try inserting a paper clip into the (tiny) reset button (next to the eject button). If the CD is still stuck, send e-mail without forgetting to specify what computer is having the problem and to mention that you did try the previous suggestions.


  • Q25: How do I set my default printer?

  • A25: Using queue as a generic queue name, under:
  • MacOS: Pull down the top level Apple (icon) menu and select ``Chooser.'' Click on the LaserWriter8 icon on the left and a list of printers will appear on the right. Click on the printer of your choice and close the winodw.
  • MacOSX: FIXME If anyone knows how to do this, please email help@astro.ucla.edu with instructions -- thanks! (MM 2006/01)
  • UNIX: Add the following line to your ~/.cshrc if you're using tcsh:
    setenv PRINTER queue
    or, if you're using bash
    PRINTER=queue
    export PRINTER
    See also man printers under Solaris (However, please note that this man page may contain out-of-date information since the transition to CUPS starting in 2006.) Note that some (graphical) applications may require you to specify the queue name in spite of this.

    A third method is lpoptions -d[queue], which is available on Linux and Solaris 9 and 10 systems.

  • VMS: Under the MAIL utility, you can type SET QUEUE queue. Outside MAIL, you have to specify /QUEUE=queue on the command line. If you're still using VMS, you will probably not have access to the new print server; please get in touch and we'll see what we can do. (MM 2006/01)
  • Windows: The default printer is preselected when it is added. You can change it in the print dialog whenever you print.

  • Q26: How do I print single sided on a double sided printer?

  • A26: Like this:
    lp -o simplex -d QUEUE FILE
    (where QUEUE is the printer queue and FILE the file you want to print).


  • Q28: What anti-virus software can I use on my PC?

  • A28: Network Associates' software is free for UCLA computers. Don't forget to update the virus definition files periodically after downloading the software!


  • Q29: How can I list ALL my processes?

  • A29: With the command: ps guxww (or: /usr/bin/ps -fl -u $USER).


  • Q30: How can set/change the priority (nice level) of my batch jobs?

  • A30: When you run a long (or short, but disk/CPU intensive) program (typically in the background) on a public system, you should make it run at a nice level of 19, so that others using the system (and yourself if you are on the console) do not have their interactive use seriously degraded because of that program. There are two ways of doing that.

    The best way is to start your PROGRAM with the command:

    /usr/bin/nice -19 /PATH/TO/YOUR/PROGRAM [ARGUMENTS]
    (/PATH/TO/YOUR/ is optional if PROGRAM is already in your $PATH).

    Alternatively, if PROGRAM is already running, you can find its PID (e.g., with the top command) and then type renice 19 PID (note the difference in sign). If your PROGRAM is actually a shell script that starts sub-programs, you should use the PID of that shell script (not the one of the sub-program running at a particular time, because subsequent sub-programs would not be affected). You can find it with the command ptree PID.


  • Q31: How can I run an executable which is in the current directory?

  • A31: Type ./EXECUTABLE (where EXECUTABLE is the name of the executable file, e.g. a.out). If you want to not have to type the leading ./, you may have to add:
    setenv PATH ${PATH}:.
    somewhere in your ~/.cshrc (if it is not already there). However it is recommended that you do not to do this (for security reasons).


  • Q32: How can I use a different version of an IDL module than the default one?

  • A32: Locate the DIRECTORY containing the version you want to use (which is likely to be under /usr/local/pkg/idl). Then edit your $IDL_STARTUP file by adding:
    !path = expand_path(':+DIRECTORY') + !path
    (which will make DIRECTORY be searched first for the module you want).


  • Q33: How do I print an A4-size PostScript document on letter-size paper?

  • A33: First, find out if you can re-generate the PS document from source on our systems (where presumably letter format will be used). If this is not possible, you should use the pstops command (see the man page for details). Typically, you will do something like:
    pstops 1:0-\(0,-2cm\) A4-SIZE-FILE.ps LETTER-SIZE-FILE.ps
    
    (where LETTER-SIZE-FILE.ps is what you get and print; you may need to adjust the 2cm measurement used in the previous example for the specific document you are printing).

    Note: This command is available only on SunOS systems at this time.

    UPDATE: I don't know how much of a problem this still is since this FAQ was answered, but the printers are now setup to automatically rescale documents to the correct page size when printing, so the above procedure may not even be necessary.


  • Q34: What should I do about ``ToolTalk'' or ``ttsession'' error messages I get when trying to run CDE applications remotely?

  • A34: If you were trying to run COMMAND, type ttsession -c COMMAND instead (replacing COMMAND with the actual name of the command of course; e.g.: dtmail or workshop).


  • Q35: What kind of X Windows emulator is available for my PC?

  • A35: For Windows, we have a department agreement with Starnet Communications for X-Win32. The cost is $15 per copy, with an optional $7.50/year for technical support and free upgrades. Contact Laurie Liles for payment details and paperwork.
    (There is also Exceed from Hummingbird, for which we have no agreement).

    For MacOS, there is XTen from Tenon Intersystems, at a UC discounted price of $120 per copy (plus an optional $30 for a manual and the CD).


  • Q36: How do I silence the speakers/adjust the volume (on a Sun)?

  • A36: With the command audiocontrol.


  • Q37: How do I delete a file whose name starts with a dash or has some other ``funny'' character?

  • A37: See the UNIX FAQ about removing files whose name starts with a dash or has some other ``funny'' character.


  • Q39: How do I print only a few pages from a PostScript file?

  • A39: Using ghostview, highlight the page numbers you want to print with the left mouse button; then go to the ``File'' menu and select ``Print marked pages.''

    Also, under Solaris and Linux, you can use the -P switch of the lp program to specify the page list as either a single page, range of pages, or a combination of both, in ascending order. For example,

    lp -P 1,3-5,16 [file(s)...]


  • Q40: How do I find out who is included in a mailing list?

  • A40: From any Sun, type /usr/lib/sendmail -v -bv ADDRESS, where ADDRESS is the name of the mailing list (e.g., dewar). The output can be quite long, but the first line usually tells you what you want to know.


  • Q41: How do I make the CD play on my Sun workstation's speakers?

  • A41: Try to adjust the audiocontrol settings. If you cannot get the sound to come out of the speakers that way, you will have to plug headphones into the jack below the CD tray (usually the case for older models)...


  • Q43: How do I transfer subdirectories from an FTP site?

  • A43: Use the xftp command (man xdir for details).


  • Q44: How do I delete some of my own files when it says ``permission denied?''

  • A44: If you are indeed the owner of those files, chances are that you do not have write permission on them or on the directory where they are. (Typically, this happens when files have been copied from a CD-ROM.) Type chmod u+w FILES (or chmod u+w DIRECTORY if you do not have write access to that DIRECTORY). For more details, see the chmod man page.


  • Q45: The tape drive can't read my tape. What can I do?

  • A45: First thing is to make sure you are using the right command to read the tape. (For example a tape created with ufsdump cannot be read by tar.) So check with whomever wrote that tape.

    Second thing is to make sure you are using the right drive. (For example, a 125-m DAT tape cannot be read by a DDS-2 DAT drive.) So check the tape drives web page.

    Third thing is to determine whether it is a drive or a tape problem. Try the tape you are having problems with in another drive (that can read your tape--see previous paragraph). If it works there, then use it there and report the other drive was bad (assuming it was not known to be experiencing some outage). If it doesn't work in that another drive, try writing to a blank tape in the drive that couldn't read your tape in the first place. If the new tape can't be read (back), then there is a problem with the drive--please report it--but chances are that your tape is bad as well. If the new tape can be read successfully, then your tape is definitely bad.

    There are two main reasons why your tape could be bad. Either it got ``corrupted'' when the first record was overwritten by mistake, or it has physically deteriorated. In either case, data recovery will be very difficult (if at all possible)...


  • Q46: How can I access web sites restricted to computers in the UCLA domain from home?

  • A46: Use our web server (www.astro.ucla.edu) as proxy. Access to the proxy service is restricted, so you must e-mail your IP address and request it before you can use it. It is available to static IP addresses only (i.e. mostly cable modem/DSL/fixed wireless customers).

    You should use the proxy only when necessary; otherwise all your browsing will be slowed down since it will first go through our web server. Also, keep in mind that anyone with an account in our domain can look at the web server log files and find out what web pages you were looking at and when, whenever you use the proxy service...

    Alternatively, if you have a Bruin OnLine account, you can use the BOL proxy, regardless of whether you have a static IP address or what ISP you use.


  • Q47: What news/NNTP/USENET server is available?

  • A47: news.ucla.edu. Under SunOS, the environment variable NNTPSERVER is automatically set to that for you.


  • Q48: How can I get the drivers for our printers (to install on my PC)?

  • A48: You don't need to worry about this anymore. Just follow the printer installation instructions and you should be good to go.