- The University Computing Service
- Computer Rooms
- Wireless Internet Access
- Web Space / Hosting
- Courses and Computing Help
- Purchasing Hardware and Software
The University Computing Service
- New Museums Site
- 01223 (3)34600
- 01223 (3)34679
The Computing Service offers computing facilities and support across the university.
When you arrive at the University you will be given an email account, usually on the university’s central email system, Hermes. You may also get an account or email address from your department. Email stored on Hermes can be accessed via pine over SSH, with a secure IMAP or POP client, or by using Hermes webmail service. Alternatively, you can forward your Hermes email to another account to be read there instead.
For further details see the university’s email documentation at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/cs/docs/email.html.
The Public Workstation Facility (PWF) is a centrally-run facility which provides networked PCs and Macs running a wide range of software, together with printers and scanners, for the use of all staff and students of the University. You can access the PWF from a number of public rooms and also from many Colleges and some Departments. All students are given PWF accounts when they join the University and are sent an initial password and introductory booklet.
Several of these rooms, including the Phoenix User Area on the New Museums Site and the Sidgwick Computing Facility, are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may need to get a key to access them out of standard office hours – these are available from Computing Services Reception for a deposit of £10.
Many colleges and departments have separately-run computer rooms – enquire locally about these.
Wireless Internet Access
Wireless networking is still very much the exception rather than the rule in Cambridge. The university has an extensive wired network, and IT people are traditionally opposed to wireless (mainly on security grounds). There are signs of change though; a few colleges and departments are beginning to use it, but very selectively. The GU offers free wireless internet access in the GU lounge to graduate students.
Colleges generally don’t provide wireless networking as a standard feature in their rooms. Not all rooms are networked, even with wires. Some colleges are starting to provide wireless access for their own students in communal areas. Libraries, lecture rooms, and public computer rooms do not tend to offer wireless network facilities. However, the University Computing service is piloting a new wireless service called Lapwing which is currently available in certain lecture theatres, and in the West Room of the University Library. More hotspots will hopefully be added soon.
Web Space / Hosting
Some colleges and departments offer personal web space to members, but in any case space is available elsewhere to all students. The standard PWF account provides web space at a URL under
http://people.pwf.cam.ac.uk/. Alternatively, members of the university can sign up for an account with the Student Run Computing Facility (SRCF). This provides shell accounts on a Linux box, and has a more flexible setup than the PWF. The SRCF allows the use of PHP and CGI scrips, as well as providing virtual hosting for use with your own domain names.
Courses and Computing Help
The Computing Service run courses each term giving both basic and advanced instruction on a range of computers and programs. These courses are free to all members of the University. Contact the course administrators for course details.
- 01223 (3)34662
The Computing Service runs a Help Desk to answer technical queries and help with general computer problems. The Help Desk is open Mondays to Fridays during office hours.
- 01223 (3)34681
Purchasing Hardware and Software
Various computer manufacturers offer discounts for educational users, including Dell under their Public Sector scheme which your departmental computer officer can help you access. For information is available from the IT Purchasing Group.
If you need or wish to purchase a Mac, this can be done cheaply through the University of Cambridge/Apple Personal Purchase Scheme whereby Apple supply students with hardware at discounted prices.
The Software Sales section of the Computing Service can supply software or software licenses to students for the period of their studies for academic use, or in some (rare) cases for personal use. The on-line catalogue and ordering system is the easiest way to check availability, licence conditions and prices, and to place orders.
Every year there are a few students who can’t submit a dissertation on time because their laptop has been stolen, or who lose a large amount of data when a computer breaks down. The University is usually unsympathetic! Back up your work! The Computing Service back up the PWF itself, so that if one of their servers crashes little harm is done, but they are unlikely to have the time to retrieve a file that you have accidentally over-written.