Getting Started with Computer Services

Policies and guidelines for part time staff working with Computer Services

Reviewed by Bil Hays 08/18/2015

General Requirements

  • Be prompt for your shift. If you can’t be on time, or can’t come in for whatever reason, send email to facil-parttime@cs.unc.edu to let us know that you are running late or are unable to make your shift. We use the UNC TIM system to track your hours, please make sure you clock in when you get here and clock out when you’re ready to leave. Make sure you clock in here, and at the actual time you clock in to the minute. Information on how to use TIM is at http://finance.unc.edu/training/#tim, and you can reach the TIM system at
    http://unctim.unc.edu/employee
  • Conduct yourself in a professional manner when dealing with any user. This means being polite, prompt and thorough. It is perfectly ok to tell someone you don’t have an answer to their question, but make sure to tell them you’ll get someone to follow up on their issue.
  • Make sure you not only are, but appear to be available–if you’re not already doing something, make a point of asking other staff if they need some help; no headphones while you’re at work unless you’re working on a training module; and if you have nothing to do, work on a training module. If you don’t have any work to do, ask one of the other staff for something to do. Playing games or hanging out on social media sites during work hours is not appropriate, and work study staff are not allowed to do class work while on the clock.
  • We use Remedy to track the work we do. Login to Remedy’s Action Request System (it should be installed on all of the shop PCs) when you begin your shift to check for open tickets. Information on using Remedy is at https://help.unc.edu/help/remedy-windows-client-overview/. Be sure to check your Remedy tickets and email during every work shift since these are primary forms of communication. Keep your Remedy tickets up-to-date, if you need to leave before completing a ticket you’ve started to work on, make sure you update the work log with information on what you’ve done so far.
    Some notes re: remedy usage:
    -When creating tickets, please do not assign them to CS Help (AS-CS-TSC). It’s not intuitive, but that group is for other remedy folks outside CS to assign us tickets.
    -For Short Description, please make sure to select the pull down to the right of the box and select the blank line, that will populate the Category, Topic, and Item affected. We don’t use those, but all of them have to be filled in to close a ticket. Once you’ve selected that, enter the short description in the field.
    -Very few tickets need to be Important or Critical, make sure to select general unless it’s really important. Anything that’s Critical, call a full time staff. Extension 6172 should ring all full time staff phones
  • You will have superuser privileges, so be careful when working as root. See http://www.cs.unc.edu/cms/help/help-articles/sudo/.
  • Do not leave a machine logged in with the superuser password.
  • If you have completed all your assigned tasks, please speak to your supervisor to receive additional assignments, or train yourself (links below).
  • Be thorough and attentive to all tasks, no matter how simple they may appear.
  • If you have questions about how things are to be done, ask!

Training

At some point, you’ll be working with student data protected under FERPA. Please take the FERPA online training course.

http://registrar.unc.edu/training/ferpa/ferpa-instructions/

You also need to go take the EHS workplace safety training and successfully complete that course.

http://ehs.unc.edu/training/orientation/imac/

You will be using the Time Information Management system to track your hours. These links will help you get started.

TIM Training:
Link to TIM:

When you’re done with each of these, email bil to let him know that you completed a course.

And for general IT training, see https://cs.unc.edu/help-article/it-training-opportunities/

When you’re on the clock here, you should not be working on classwork or in social media, so If we don’t have any specific work for you to do, go to that link and start training in a relevant area.

Scheduling

You can access the department’s google calendar at http://calendar.cs.unc.edu, login yourcsid@cs.unc.edu.

Bil schedules the student staff, so please make sure to keep him apprised of your class schedule.  Also, we keep the student schedule in the departmental Google calendar, that calendar is Comp. Svcs. Student Schedule.  Logging into the department’s google space is a bit non-intuitive, as the ID you use to log in is your CS email address (eg. userid@cs.unc.edu).  Once you are logged into Google, you can add this calendar to your list.  Please try to keep your cs calendar up to date, we’ll use that for scheduling meetings and the like.

There is also a proposed schedule calendar. This is what bil uses to figure who can work when. You can add this calendar to your CS google calendar account by clicking on the button at the lower right.

Other department calendars are found at http://www.cs.unc.edu/cms/events/computer-science-department-calendars/

Very important, please let us know if you cannot make a shift at least one hour before, and try to find someone to sub in for you by emailing facil-parttime@cs.unc.edu.

 

Email lists

You can email all Computer Services part time staff at facil-parttime@cs.unc.edu, this list also includes me. You can reach all of the Computer Services full time staff at computer-services@cs.unc.edu, use this address to let us know if you will be later or unable to make your shift (if you email just one of us, the rest of us might not get the message).

 

Reading Help Mail

Part of your duties will be to read the help email.  The help mail calendar is online at Google, please add this to your departmental Google account by using the button at the bottom right of that page.  You will likely have multiple shifts, and it is important to know when you are scheduled so we do not take too long to respond.  Our goal is to get back to clients in less than thirty minutes.

Please read through the procedure for reading help mail, it is very important to follow this so we can present a consistent interface to clients and not get in each other’s way.

http://cs.unc.edu/help-article/reading-help-mail/

If you can’t get to help mail during your shift because of conflicting duties, please let bil, Alan Forrest or John Sopko know.

Attire

We’re very casual about dress, but you do need to wear shoes that cover your feet, and sometimes you will get dirty, as you will be moving furniture and other fairly heavy items on a regular basis. Sneakers or boots are fine, but sandals and flops are not appropriate.

Logging In

LOGGING IN TO A PC WORKSTATION

PCs are located throughout the department to facilitate work.  See this list of public workstations, and student staff have computers in SN130.

When you sit down at a machine press “ctrl+alt+delete” to bring up the login prompt.  Type in your login and password and then click “OK”.  You will see a standard Windows environment loading on the machine.

LOGGING OUT OF A PC WORKSTATION

To log out of a PC, press “ctrl+alt+delete”. Then select to “Log Off”.  This will end your session without shutting down the machine.

LOGGING IN TO A UNIX MACHINE

Your Windows login and password will work on all our UNIX systems.

Your new account has been initialized with standard environmental files that should allow you to log in on any machine.  Regardless of where you log in, you will share the same home directory and the same system mailbox.  In other words, you can access your files in the same way across all machines.

To log in on any machine, first login to a PC, then open the ssh software (We use Secure CRT and OpenSSH within the department.) to ssh to that machine.  Enter your login at the login prompt and press , then enter your password at the password prompt and press .

LOGGING OUT OF A UNIX MACHINE

To log out of a UNIX workstation, type “exit” or “bye” at the prompt.

Password Changes

To change your CS Windows and UNIX password, use the http://www.cs.unc.edu/webpass page.  To change your password on campus systems, go to http://onyen.unc.edu/ and click on “Manage password”.

Your Electronic Mail Address

Your electronic mail address is login@cs.unc.edu, where login is your CS Department login.  Our default is to forward your mail to your campus account.  Alternatively, we can set up an account for you on the department’s Google server if you want to receive mail there, but keep in mind that you only keep this account as long as you are employed by the department, a Comp Sci major, or taking a course.

WINDOWS SOFTWARE YOU SHOULD BE FAMILIAR WITH

  • Remedy. UNC uses Remedy as a problem tracking system, see the ITS Remedy page for details.  In particular, you will watch the CS Students group’s tickets, as that is where we will queue up tasks for students.
  • SecureCRT. This is an ssh terminal application that is part of the standard installation.  Use this to connect to Linux servers.

UNIX SOFTWARE YOU SHOULD BE FAMILIAR WITH

  • vi. The defacto standard text editor for unix systems, we use vi to edit configuration files.  ITS has a good introduction to vi, and there are a number of cheatsheets online, see this pdf.
  • ssh. The command line terminal program used to connect to remote machines.
  • sftp. The command line file transfer program.
  • bash. The most popular shell for unix is bash.  The shell provides the command line interface to unix systems, and you should be familiar with basic operations in bash. See this introduction for the basics.

Hardware

As a student employee, you will spend much of you time working in SN128 (a.k.a. “the shop”), setting up new machines and tearing down old ones.  Whenever a machine is dropped off in the shop (or moved from one room to another!), you must fill in a move form for that machine.  We also check out equipment to CS affiliates from time to time.  If you do loan something to someone, make sure that you log that on the checkout list, which hangs on the wall in SN130.

Also, we have materials considered potentially hazardous in the shop. Please familiarize yourself with how we handle Material Safety Data Sheets.

PROPER HANDLING OF EQUIPMENT

You’ll be moving a lot of hardware.  Here are some guidelines:

  • Always carry computers upright.
  • Be careful not to press too hard on the front of the computer because blank drive bezels can be pushed into the machine.
  • Be careful when loading and unloading computers onto and off of a cart. The cases of most PCs are made of plastic and can be damaged.
  • Remove a computer’s plastic case with care;  don’t ever force the case back into place, or you might break the case’s tabs.
  • Most cable connectors are keyed and will plug in only one way. Don’t ever force a cable;  this will usually result in a bent or broken pin in the connector. When unplugging cables, grip the connector instead of pulling the cable out by the cord.
  • Laptops are very fragile, so take special care when handling them. The cost of repairing a dropped laptop can be very high.
  • If in doubt about how to handle something, please ask a full-time staff member.

PROPER ELECTROSTATIC DISCHARGE PROCEDURES

Some of the most difficult problems to diagnose on computer hardware are caused by static electricity damage.  You can harm a component even though you, yourself, have felt no voltage.  As little as 3 volts can damage a chip so that it will only partially work.  This is why proper electrostatic discharge procedures are so important.  Mike Stone has a video that explains things in detail;  feel free to ask him to let you view this tape if you want to know more.  You can avoid many problems, however, by using these few simple procedures:

  • When removing or installing adapter cards, always wear an anti-static wrist strap. These are located in drawer D1 in the gray metal cabinet in the shop.
  • If you ever need to remove an adapter and do not have an anti-static strap, make sure the computer is plugged into the wall and touch the metal on the power supply to ground whatever static electricity has built up in your body.
  • If you have to transport an adapter card, place it in a static bag, which you will find in the shop.  These are usually kept in a box below bench number 4 or in the lower right-hand drawer of bench number 3.
  • When installing or removing an adapter card, always handle the card by the metal mounting bracket and the end of the card.  Never touch the gold contacts on the edge connector.

See also
Preparing machines for Surplus or Transfer

Security

See the security collection for detailed information.

SENSITIVE DATA

You will likely have to deal with some sensitive data as part of your duties, please review our document on sensitive data.

VIDEO SECURITY SYSTEM

The Department has a video security system installed which records the images from video cameras stationed at various locations around the building.  The following guidelines are in effect for use of the recordings:
The viewing is done only in response to a legitimate reason, e.g., a theft.
The recordings are viewed only with approval from the Chairman or the Associate Chairman.

BUILDING ACCESS

Access to the building is limited except between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.  At other times, except for special occasions, the doors automatically lock, and you need an access card to enter the building.  Please note that you should not hold the door open for someone waiting outside the doors unless you are certain that they have a card of their own (and for some reason do not have it with them).  If someone forces their way past you, please report this to the Campus Police at 962-6565 (or just 911).
Faculty and staff access cards provide access to the Machine Room (122).  Since the equipment in the machine room is very valuable, and since there is a whole lot of electric power running under the raised floor, please do not bring food and drink in the room.  When machines are being worked on, there might be tools and equipment in the room, so please be careful.

KEEPING AN EYE OUT

If you see someone you don’t recognize lurking around the building, ask if you can help them.  If you see someone walking toward the door at night with a PC under his arm, observe what is happening, and call Campus Police (962-6565), take a picture with your cell phone, or yell “Stop, thief!” if this seems appropriate.  Do not try to stop someone yourself, just make note of what’s happening and contact an appropriate authority.