The Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences has dedicated support and various resources to meet the ever growing computing needs of the department. This includes hardware, software, network resources and support staff to help in the day to day life of the department for teaching, research and administration. The dedicated departmental support person is Hugh Chou, who is available to provide daily support on all aspects of your computing needs. Hugh’s typical availability hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm daily. During the pandemic he is on campus Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons 1:00 to 4:30 pm when on-campus classes are in session (Jan 31, 2022 through May 11, 2022 for Spring 2022). The department computing policies and resources are overseen by a departmental computer committee, comprised of departmental faculty and staff.
We can help you select computer systems and peripherals for whatever need may arise. (We have even been known to help with personal purchases!) We can help you find the best deals, although those can also be found at the WashU Purchasing site. Our preferred vendors for computers are Dell (Member# US11190783) and Apple (which can also be purchased at the Campus Bookstore.) Look here for Student Dell Purchases. For accessories and peripherals we typically use CDW-G or NewEgg. Locally we purchase components at the Micro Center in Brentwood. Other preferred vendors with special discounts for us include Insight and GovConnection. For computer supplies, you can also get some good prices from Office Essentials or Corporate Express/Staples, which you can order through the WorkDay Marketplace (start from “Create Requisition” and select “Line Item Purchase Order”).
Any tech problems, complaints or questions, let Hugh know. If you bother him too much with stupid Windows problems, he will simply start pushing Linux on everybody. He will try to respond to any request made between 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on business days within 24 hours, but is typically faster than that. He is a member of Arts & Sciences Computing, so you can also contact someone there for assistance.
The primary tools used for virtual learning on campus are Canvas, Zoom and Teams. Within Canvas there are multiple online teaching tools which you can learn about on the Center for Teaching and Learning site.
Classroom Computer Projectors
There are dedicated room projectors in all classrooms and meeting rooms. Classrooms 102, 203 and 282 are run by the Center for Teaching and Learning and they should be contacted about those systems (although we can help out in a pinch.) Contact Hugh for assistance using the systems in any other room. The 281 projector is supported by Tom or Lars in the Remote Sensing lab. For other rooms, one Optoma (a portable 2000 lumen 1024×768 DLP Projector) is available for checkout. See Katherine to borrow it.
We have remote SSH/SFTP access to select Linux servers in our department. If you would like to have Linux shell account to access the servers contact Hugh. Remote Desktop access to Windows machines is now directly blocked, so anyone wishing to access their desktops remotely will either need to use the Danforth VPN or use a different protocol.
If you would like to access your on-campus computer remotely, I would recommend NOT using Remote Desktop over the VPN and instead use AnyDesk.
The university now prefers any official website to be hosted at sites.wustl.edu, and discourages the use of departmentally hosted sites. However, for a simple site hosting a few files for download, we still let people host files on LEVEE since that is even easier than WordPress or Drupal. Any faculty or staff member can have space on LEVEE for this reason. Any student who wants a site can request a LEVEE account for web space and I can set it up for you too. Your personal webspace on levee is in the directory public_html in your home directory. This is accessed using a URL that will look like https://epsc.wustl.edu/~username
Also note that all the content on the main departmental site (eps.wustl.edu) can be updated by Katherine Totty, so you should contact her to make changes on your page. Arts & Sciences maintains the hardware and software that runs it, but she can make any necessary changes.
Scott Rudolph Hall is currently a wifi hotspot hosting over 60 Cisco access points (SSID values of: wustl-2.0, wustl-encrypted-2.0, wustl-guest-2.0) flooding everywhere. Anyone with a WUSTL Key and a laptop with a 802.11b/g/n compatible wireless adapter (or any wifi capable tablet, smartphone or mobile device) should be able to access one of the wireless networks. You will need a laptop with the properly installed and configured software or an iOS or Android mobile device to use the secured wustl-encrypted-2.0 network. This is the most secure network but is usually not necessary. The wustl-2.0 network should be fine for most general use for anyone with a WUSTL Key. Anyone without a WUSTL Key can use the wustl-guest-2.0 network, but should realize it is bandwidth limited and is not secured. It should still be fine for casual browsing and low security use.
Many visitors from other institutions can also connect to the eduroam SSID and connect using their own institutions’ authentication protocols. I know it works well for people from Saint Louis University and Mizzou.
Some folks think all of the ports on the walls of the modernly equipped Scott Rudolph Hall are all live. Those people are wrong! There are nearly 2,000 network jacks built into the walls but about 1,000 live ports on all our switches combined. If you want to connect a system to our network you must tell us what port you want to become active (e.g. 1234 N1). By default when you plug in to a live port you will be dynamically assigned an IP address, but it you want a static IP just ask and we can assign one to your specific machine (desktops, workstations, printers and servers only please.)
Backing up your data is very important. With today’s giant hard drives on every PC, the department does not have the resources to backup everybody’s computers. The backup of your document and data files is therefore your own responsibility, but we have several recommendations:
- Box.wustl.edu – Wash U IT is offering this collaboration/file sharing tool which also provides backup capabilities with unlimited online storage. All the files shared online are backed up and available for remote access from anywhere. You can use Box Drive where everything is stored in the unlimited cloud without a local copy on your own drive unless you specifically tell it to save a local copy.
- External USB Drive – Many people do not trust online backup so they can stick to a hardware based solution. That means an USB external hard drive, SSD or flash drive large enough to hold your essential documents. Most drives comes with some kind of backup software, but there are also free alternatives we can suggest.
- Microsoft OneDrive: The university Office 365 accounts also come with a 1TB OneDrive account. Does anybody really use OneDrive? Who, maybe all those Bing users? I did not think so. Since WUSTL Box is unlimited and has better sharing and access control features, it is better to use Box.
The department has some good deals for many popular packages through The Software Library and also directly with our primary software vendor, Insight Public Sector.
There are billions of software packages out there, but these are ones we have available through special arrangements:
- Operating Systems: Download sites are available for Windows 10 or 11 Education, Enterprise or Professional, both 32 and 64 bit versions. We also have physical media (yes, CD’s and DVD’s) for Windows 7, XP, 98SE and 2000 Professional if you need them for a virtual machine. Similarly we have the media for some older MacOS versions, and numerous distributions of Linux (including Ubuntu and its many variants, of course). Activation for the Microsoft operating systems is separate, but departmental systems can be activated on campus through the campus KMS servers. Download Linux ISO images from the University of Indiana mirror site.
- Office Suites: Microsoft Office. All registered university students, faculty and staff can download a copy of the latest version of Office from their Office 365 account for personal systems. Department faculty and staff can download the latest version from mscampus.wustl.edu for university owned systems. To activate the university enterprise versions you must do extra steps on your computer, so contact me and I can help you out. Both sites require WUSTL Key authentication. Braver souls can try the free alternatives like LibreOffice or FreeOffice.
- MATLAB: The department currently has a departmental license of MATLAB for use by anyone in the department including faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students. Any faculty or staff interested in installing MATLAB on their system should contact me for further instructions. Students can find MATLAB information here.
- Communications: For remote terminal access we recommend people use a SSH client like our favorite for Windows, MobaXterm. For file transfer we suggest the multi-platform favorite, FileZilla.
- Graphics: Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop version CS6 was the last version for which we could purchase “perpetual” licenses, and now we cannot even purchase that anymore. So now you must either buy your own Adobe subscription or use old software. Students can purchase a special $50/year offer for Creative Cloud. Let me know if you are interested and I can send you the link. Those wanting to try out the open source alternatives should give Inkscape, Photoscape or GIMP a try.
- Anti-Virus: Sophos Anti-Virus – Arts & Sciences has purchased a site licenses for faculty and staff use. We have both Windows and Mac versions. The corporate version cannot be used for home use, but Sophos does have a free home version.
- Backup: You really should backup your computer, since we do not do it for you! The safest and most secure place for backup is using the unlimited, encrypted online storage from box.wustl.edu. Use the Box Drive software, or just use your browser to upload and download specific files and folders.
- ArcGIS: Due to a licensing agreement between the university and ESRI, any student, faculty or staff member can install ArcGIS on their computer for academic and research purposes. Visit the Data Services web site or just bug Bill Winston for more information and to find out how to obtain the software.
GIS Classroom, Rudolph 308
The GIS Classroom (pictured) is located on the third floor of Rudolph Hall, Room 308. The classroom consists of 22 Dell Optiplex 7010 i7 desktop systems with 16GB RAM all running Windows 10 Professional and loaded with all sorts of useful software. When not in use by a class, the computers can be used for general use by anyone with a WUSTL Key and an ID card to enter the room. This space is maintained and reserved through Arts & Sciences Computing.
In Room 308 there is a Xerox Phaser 7400 color laserwriter and an HP 9040 for use with the GIS workstations. Print jobs are processed through the Papercut system and will be billed to the user’s Campus Card account. In Room 222 there are two departmental printers available: a HP LaserJet 4200tn printer named chert that prints duplex black and white pages, and a HP Color Laserjet CP5225dn for faculty and staff use. There is also a networked HP LaserJet 400 Color M451dn in the first floor office area. The two Kyocera TASKalfa 5052ci copiers can also be used as networked color printers. Let Hugh know if you want to network your computer to these printers.
The department cheerfully supplies laser printer toner cartridges for any lab in the department. We no longer support inkjet printers. Our vendor also will recycle any used, empty toner cartridges, simply leave them under the delivery table in the main office. Let us know what supplies you need and we can usually get them in 1-2 days. The university preferred toner vendor is Office Essentials (via WorkDay Marketplace) for toner. We also have a toner and service contract with Sumner One for our more heavily used networked laser printers and copiers. Please let us know when any printer with a Sumner One tag needs service or more toner.
All new students, faculty and staff now receive e-mail accounts on Office 365. However, anyone can receive an alias which gives them a @levee.wustl.edu or @eps.wustl.edu address forwarded to any e-mail account desired. Account requests can be sent via this online form and aliases can be requested here. We also have a number of mailing lists with @levee.wustl.edu addresses for sending out mass e-mails to people. You can contact us to add or remove you from the appropriate list.