Peyton Hall Network DOs and DON'Ts

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Some things to keep in mind while using the machines and network connections in Peyton Hall.


  • Plug in or unplug any network device without prior authorization of the systems administrator.
    This does not apply to the 'public' NAT routers available in rooms 29, 22, and 119; you may plug your laptop into any of the labeled ports for laptops, but should only unplug whatever you plugged in (ie, if there's no port available, don't unplug things at random, but ask what to do next and someone will look at the network device). Obviously if someone's said to you that you can use a certain connection for your laptop, you don't need to ask every morning when you bring it in if you can use that port; however you should *NEVER* unplug any device to use a network port without first asking (and before you ask, know that the answer will probably be no, since the device is likely there for a reason and shouldn't be unplugged).
  • Plug in or unplug any computer connection, such as power, keyboard, mouse, or monitor, without prior authorization of the systems administrator.
    Keyboards and mice can cause problems on machines when they're plugged in or unplugged while the machine is running, and therefore their connections shouldn't be disturbed. While monitors generally don't pose a problem when they're disconnected or reconnected while running, it's not something one would expect to need to check, and therefore can cause issues when someone next tries to use the console and can't find out why the monitor doesn't work.
  • Reboot machines without prior authorization from the systems administrator.
    Computers - especially those running Unix or Linux - are frequently used remotely by other people, so just because nobody is sitting in front of the console doesn't mean nobody's using the machine. If it's exhibiting strange behavior, that problem may be fixable without a reboot, which is much more disruptive to anyone working remotely. And rebooting machines without the proper information on how to do so can cause disk errors, leading to lost data and/or requiring an operating system reinstall. Lastly, if the systems administrator is aware of a problem that affects all the machines in the building, he may have to reboot them all, and possibly in a certain order (for example, after a major power failure). If you've rebooted a machine and he doesn't know about it, it may get rebooted again; while this won't harm the machine, it will do considerable harm if you're now sitting in front of the machine happily working on something, and suddenly the box is rebooted in front of you since the last time anyone knew about it, that machine was on the list of those in need of repair.
  • Power off or power on machines without prior authorization from the systems administrator.
    Same as rebooting, a machine may be in use even if nobody is sitting in front of it, and therefore shouldn't be powered off. Similarly, a machine shouldn't be powered on without first asking, since it may have been off for a reason (for example, hardware failure, diagnosis of a break-in, etc).


  • Contact us and report any and all anomalies.
    If you're seeing a problem on a certain machine, by all means report it. While there are many systems set up to detect and sometimes even repair problems as they occur, we are not entirely omniscient and don't always know what's wrong right when it happens.
  • Write a clear and concise report of the problem, giving all known data.
    It's NOT sufficient to say "I can't see a disk" or "I have no home directory" without also giving information such as which disk you can't see, and which machine you tried to view it from. If you tried on three machines, list all three and what happened there. If your neighbor tried from the same three and had no trouble, mention that as well. Without a clear report of what the problem is, what you did to elicit the incorrect behavior and from where you did it, your problem report may be glossed over as either incorrect, or will require a reply to get the additional information from you. "The network's broken" doesn't say nearly as much as "I can't reach or, but have no trouble with and" does.
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