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4.7 TCC Services

As services are delivered by people, here is a list of contacts for when help is needed.

  1. User Consultant at Help Desk
    Speare 5, 835-5437
    See http://www.nmt.edu/~uc for more info.

    The Help Desk is managed by the TCC Services Coordinator, Ray Piworunas. His office is in Speare 119 and he can be emailed at ray@nmt.edu, or phoned at 835-5584.

  2. Application Specialist, John Shipman
    Speare 146, 835-5950
    See http://www.nmt.edu/tcc/help for more info.

Computer Account

The TCC does not provide accounts for individual services. One TCC account will provide a person with access to any platform (PC, Mac, what-have-you) which the TCC allows logins on. The TCC has arranged its file system so that a user's files are available to him regardless of which platform is used (as long as he's taken the time to configure his account accordingly).

The default TCC account can use any packages available to the general user community. Among these packages are various flavors of email programs, news readers, news posters, web browsers, editors, compilers, text processors, graphics packages, and debuggers. (Note that some packages, like "Endnote", are not available to the general user community due to licensing restrictions. For a more thorough list please visit the TCC Help web page.)

Non-student TCC accounts currently renew for $2.00 per semester. The account can be created/activated upon request (just come down to the Help Desk in Speare 5). It can also be terminated upon request. It can remain active for as long as the holder is associated with Tech and adheres to the TCC policies associated with the account (a student not registered for any classes will have the account turned off). Note that both activation and termination requests must be made in person (at the Help Desk in Speare 5) and that a picture ID is required.

While our normal procedure is for people who want TCC accounts to visit the Help Desk in Speare 5 a more efficient approach to these labs would be to send a list with each student's name and Student ID Number to the TCC two weeks prior to the class. (The instructor should make arrangements to have their own, or the class, account setup well in advance of that - - at least two weeks prior to the first meeting of the lab, preferably a month or more, so that they have ample time to become familiar with our systems.)

Announcements

Official TCC announcements (policy, shutdowns, upgrades, outages, and the like) will be conveyed using:

  1. The message of the day (motd) on TCC systems. This message is displayed at login time, or in response to the command motd.
  2. The Lyris mailing list set up for this purpose.
  3. In a paper based format such as the TCC Hotline.

Whenever possible we will give at least one week's notice of shutdowns and other planned outages. Reports of failure to receive proper notification of events should be sent to the TCC Services Coordinator.

User Assistance

The TCC provides numerous handouts to help people become familiar with the TCC, its machines, and the services it offers. These handouts are available on the wall in Speare 5 near the south door to Speare 15.

The TCC also has an on-line help system reachable from either the TCC web page (www.nmt.edu/tcc) or the TCC User Consultant web page (www.nmt.edu/~uc).

Another source of help at the TCC is the Help Desk in Speare 5. The desk is manned by the TCC User Consultants (whose office is in Speare 9). The User Consultants (UCs) can help you with most of the common computer tasks at the TCC. They also have access to a small reference library from which TCC account holders can borrow books for short term use (usually from a few minutes to a few hours, and generally less than a day).

Classroom Support

-- this section under development --

The TCC only provides support for the classrooms it manages (a list of these rooms, and their schedules, can be found under TCC Managed Rooms on the UC web page).

The TCC's obligations to supporting the classrooms is as follows:

  1. Ensure that equipment in the rooms is in working order (with the allowance of one PC of every twenty, excluding the instructor's PC, to be down at any given time).
  2. Train people who need to use the equipment in the room for their presentation (this excludes training on how to use software packages).

The following items will not be done because there is no funding for the additional staff required to do this.

  1. Provide, as a routine service, a proctor to oversee the Audio/Visual/Computer/Network devices in the room during class sessions or other events.

    However, if we have appropriately trained staff available and this type of proctoring is requested we could provide it at our normal hourly rate if we are given two weeks notice to prepare for the event.

  2. Provide a means by which students can access their home directories from Linux, and MS Windows (whichever flavor is currently in use at the TCC).

Dorm Support

Due to limited resources the TCC is not able to fully support all networking and machine issues regarding personal machines in the dorms. After discussing the issue of supporting dorm users with the CCC (Campus Computing Committee, email: ccc@nmt.edu), Housing, and ISD the TCC's obligations to supporting dorm networking can be listed as follows:

  1. Publish a list of PC Configuration Standards.
  2. The TCC will only consult on equipment conforming to the PC Configuration Standards. (Note that, students choosing to purchase non-standard configurations will not receive help from the TCC.)
  3. The TCC, the Bookstore, and the Purchasing department will provide a list of vendors that have provided equipment that has been tested and accepted as meeting the PC Configuration Standards.
  4. The TCC will provide workshops on how to install and configure standard equipment to connect to the Internet. (Probably by the second or third week of a semester, and then upon sufficient demand thereafter.)
  5. The TCC will provided an automated means by which students can obtain standardized software kits to assist with Ethernet connectivity (for Linux, and the flavor of MS Windows currently in use at the TCC).

The following items will not be done because there is no funding for the additional staff required to do this.

  1. Provide mount points, by which students can access free or properly licensed software.
  2. Repair work to a person's computer.
  3. Provide a means by which students can access their home directories from Linux, and MS Windows (whichever flavor is currently in use at the TCC).

Machines

NOTE: The TCC does not have sufficient resources (space, people, time, or money) to support personal or departmental machines. This section speaks only of TCC machines.

The TCC operates different flavors of client computers (PCs, and Macs) and servers (PCs, Mac, an Alta cluster, and DEC Alphas).

The client machines are available in various user areas, and several PC-based classrooms.

Machine metrics.

We have an established goal to provide 95% uptime for these machines. ( - - Uptime metrics, their calculation methods, and means of measurement still need to be defined though. - - )

Modem

The TCC provides modem service for people holding active accounts with the TCC.

Modem service for off-campus locations currently costs $5.00 per month (the charge is used solely to pay for carrier charges for the phone lines dedicated to modem usage -- it does not cover maintenance, equipment replacement, upgrades, or new equipment acquisition).

The TCC will provide upon request the settings used on the TCC modems (speed, phone number, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, no parity, etc). However, it is the user's responsibility to configure their software to take advantage of the modem services.

It is the user's responsibility to set up their computer to use the modem service. Problems that do not result from the TCC modems (such as bad house phone lines, an improperly installed TCC script (barring errors in the installation instructions, or the script itself), or a malfunctioning modem) are the responsibility of the user.

Modem metrics

We are currently operating under a modem-count system of eight modem-users per modem. (Example: for 800 modem-users we would have 100 modems.) Our intent here is to provide first-time connection 90% of the time to 90% of our modem users. This should provide second-attempt connection about 95% of the time the time to 95% of our modem-users and a third-attempt connection rate of 99% for all our modem-users. (Allowance should be made for those times where lack of funding, or equipment-order delay, may cause a temporary climb above the eight users per modem goal.)

email

We need to spell-out our commitment to making sure account holders can get/send their mail, and mail security. We should also provide information about our mail service (such as POP3 name, SMTP name, etc). There was a ticket on an SLA for this.

email metrics

( - - Work-up metrics for measuring email performance. Describe how we will use these to ensure adequate service and support for our users. - - )

News

Same as with email, but for news.

News metrics

( - - Work-up metrics for measuring news performance. Describe how we will use these to ensure adequate service and support for our users. Our current news-guru should develop the SLA for this. - - )

Web

The TCC will provide web access through supporting a sufficient number of common web browsers.

Web metrics

( - - Work-up metrics for measuring web goals. Describe how we will use these to ensure adequate service and support for our users. We should involve whoever are our current web stars are in this. - - )

File

Our policies on file privacy, disk quotas, system maintenance, and the like can be found in the TCC Policy document.

(NOTE: I have recently heard that, contrary to our policy statement on who owns the data on our disks that, since the disks are state property all the information residing on them is State, and then presumably Public, property. This may be of concern to some of the people using our systems.)

Printing

Charges, when we are responsible for a bad print out, etc.

The TCC will issue refunds for any errant print jobs which result from failure of TCC equipment or programs. To be issued a refund please explain what happened to the User Consultant, at the Help Desk, in Speare 5. If you don't want to come in to the TCC you may file a ticket about your problem using our ticket system (if you've not used our ticket system before you can call 835-5437 for instructions, or email tcc-uc@nmt.edu for the instructions). Whenever possible leave a copy of the file that the print job failed-on around so we have a real live case to test with.

Network

For example, allowing remote logins, providing DNS, accessing our file system remotely.

Network metrics

( - - Work-up metrics for measuring network performance. Describe how we will use these to ensure adequate service and support for our users. Whoever is currently managing the TCC network should be involved with this (we may also want to draw upon other the NMT network administrator's experiences in this area as well). - - )

FTP

Software

Requests for new software must be submitted in writing (submission using the ticket system is preferred though email submissions are okay) at least one month prior to when the software will be needed for class (or testing). This should allow TCC sufficient time to address issues like: compatibility with our systems, pricing, delivery, and installation. (It may not however allow for fitting the above into our current activities, more lead time may be required for that.)

The TCC can provide assistance in using software by:

  1. Providing a recommendation of which software to use (we are not here to do the user's work). It is still the user's responsibility to implement this solution.
  2. Providing assistance in finding a solution (i.e. showing online help, checking out a book, etc)
  3. Providing an alternative.
  4. Providing an explanation. All programs contain problems, and a fix to a problem may not be provided by the company who made it.

The TCC only provides support on software packages that have been officially installed by the TCC staff, on TCC supported machines, for public use. There is no support for software that has not been officially installed by TCC staff, on TCC supported machines, for public use.

This support can be obtained by talking with the User Consultant at the Help Desk in Speare 5, or by contacting our Applications Specialist, John Shipman, in Speare 146.


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