Using the SGI Indy Stations


Generally speaking, the computer hardware in the ChemGate Laboratory is intended to support a wide range of student and faculty experimentation. Its primary purpose, however, is to support instructional activities, and this activity takes precedence over all other uses. You can expect other classes to use the laboratory throughout the year, and these other users may occasionally reserve one or more workstations for a short period of time. Please respect and cooperate with these other users.

Finally, it is possible that this class (and others) could be disrupted by computer "downtime". Of course, not all equipment failures can be prevented, but experience shows that the main identifiable causes of equipment failure are (in no particular order): 1) failure to follow instructions for proper use of workstations and software, 2) dirt and dust, and 3) physical "abuse" of the hardware by users. Please follow all instructions for logging in and out of the computer. Do not bring food, drinks, or pets into the ChemGate Laboratory. Smoking is prohibited in the laboratory and throughout the Chemistry building. Under no conditions should you ever touch the computer screen with a pen, pencil, or other pointer type object (We strongly prefer that you do not place your hands on the screens too). Under no conditions should you move or reposition the workstations (or the monitors), or use them as a foot rest, book prop, etc.. Most important, under no conditions should you turn on or off any of the computer hardware, disconnect or reconnect hardware, or attempt to reconfigure the hardware in any way - all of these activities are performed exclusively by the computer support staff. In short, treat the computers as the expensive, highly sensitive research instrumentation that they are. With your cooperation and assistance, the ChemGate Laboratory will continue to be a useful teaching and research facility for years to come.

User Accounts, Workstation Basics, etc.

Each of you will have your own individual user account for use on the Indigo workstations (The same account can be used on all of the workstations). Do not share your password with anyone else since this will compromise the security of your user account. The procedures for logging in and out of any Indigo, and a description of the Indigo "desktop" follow.

Turning the Workstation On

As a rule, the workstation and monitor will always be turned on, but the monitor screen may be dark. If the screen is dark, move the mouse or press a key on the keyboard. If the screen does not light up, notify your instructor, and try using another workstation in the meantime. Under no circumstances should you power on/off, or reset, or physically move a workstation yourself.

Indigo Mouse Operation

The Indigo mouse has three buttons, and each performs a different function. Most "clicking" or "selecting" is done with the LEFT mouse button (Fig. 2). The right and center buttons are used primarily inside the Spartan program. Unless specified otherwise, all mouse operations are assumed to involve the left button.

Figure 2. Indigo Mouse Operations

Logging In

1) Click inside the text box next to Login name:, type the name of your user account, then click on the button Log In (or press Enter on the keyboard).

2) Type your password in the text box next to Password:, then click on Logging In again (or press Enter on the keyboard).

About the Desktop, Icons, and Windows

A typical Indigo desktop can contain several objects, including a "Toolchest", and various windows and icons (Fig. 3). The "Toolchest" is located in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, and is used to initiate basic system activities, such as the creation of a "shell window" (ignore this if you are unfamiliar with UNIX). It is also used to log out.

"Windows" and "icons" can be placed anywhere on the desktop. Icons serve various functions; they may represent data files, file folders, and applications. The only two icons that you are likely to use are the Spartan icon (double-clicking on this activates the Spartan program) and the "dumpster" icon which is used to delete old files (file/folder icons must be dragged to the dumpster and then the dumpster must be "emptied"). It is only necessary to create an icon once; after that it will always appear each time you login.

The two most important gadgets in an Indigo window are the buttons in the upper right-hand corner. One zooms the window, and the other transforms the window into an icon (Fig. 3), i.e., the window collapses into a small box at the top of the desktop. The "make icon" button is handy if too many windows have been opened at the same time (making a window into an icon does not stop or quit the program that launched the window). A window icon can be turned back into a normal window by clicking on the icon.

Indigo programs use "dialog" windows to communicate with workstation users. These windows always have a name in their title bar and will be identified in these tutorials as the "XXX" dialog window, i.e., the title bar will read "XXX".

Finally, two very important points that apply to all windows: 1) the cursor must lie inside a window for that window to be active, 2) clicking on a window's title bar causes that window to rise to the top of the window stack (a window does not need to be at the top of the stack to be active).

Figure 3. Schematic Representation of a Typical Student Desktop

Log Out

1. Click on Desktop in the "Toolchest", then click on Log Out.

2. Click on Yes in the Confirm dialog window (DON'T FORGET TO SAY "YES" - otherwise you will still be logged in and anyone can use your account, erase your files, etc.)

3.Never turn off the screen or adjust its brightness!! A screen-saver program will automatically darken the screen.