Computing Commons FAQs

Help Center Computing Commons FAQs

Computing Commons Frequently Asked Questions

If I am working on a document in the Technology Spaces and I need to work on it later in another location what are my options?

Many options exist for clients to store their files while using UWIT Technology Spaces. One of the best and safest types is FTP (File Transfer Protocol). All UW students are given space on Dante to store their important documents. This storage space is convenient because it can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection, and it's safe because it's backed up twice per day.  Many FTP programs are available to access this space from any computer with an internet connection. In the General Access labs the PCs use SSH File Transfer Client and the Macs use Fetch.

This storage space may be accessed with SSH Secure File Transfer on the PCs or Fetch on the Macs. Instructions on how to use these applications may be found here:

Other storage options include personal flash based storage (thumb-drives), DVD and CD-Recording, as well as other 3rd party storage web sites.

If you have a question regarding any of these options, the Help Desk consultants are available to assist you.

How do export or download messages using Pine?
  1. View the message that you wish to export
  2. Type "e" to export.
  3. Give the message a name. There should be no spaces in the name, and it should end with ".txt".
  4. Hit enter (or return).

Now, if you wish to download the message to the computer you are on, use Fetch if you are on a Mac, or SSH FTP if you are on a PC. For further assistance, please ask a help desk consultant.

How do I save a web page to disk?
  1. Go to the File menu and select "Save as".
  2. Either give the page a name, or use the default name.
  3. If you wish to save as text only, be sure that the "Save as Type" field says "Text only".
  4. Make sure that you are saving to your disk, and click on "Save".

How do I reduce the font size in the web browser?
  1. From the View menu go down to the Text Size option.
  2. Choose the "smaller" option to reduce the text size in your web browser.

How can I recover my items from the Lost and Found in one of the UWIT Computing Labs?

UWIT and the University of Washington are not responsible for any lost or stolen items.

There is a Lost and Found located at the 1st floor Information Desk in Odegaard, and in the Gateway Center office in Mary Gates Hall.  All materials found in UWIT spaces are taken to one of these two locations.

For security reasons Lost and Found information will not be given out over the phone or email.

I can't get on a computer because the lab is full and several clients are playing computer games.

While we don't have a policy explicitly against gaming (more on that below), we do have policies that should resolve the problem you mention.

  1. Appropriate use of computing resources - When the lab is full, we ask that all clients engage in course related work only. Clients engaged in non-course related activities are asked to leave.
  2. Specific computers - The newest computers in the OUGL Computing Commons can't ever be used for gaming. These machines are clearly marked and gamers are encouraged to use other machines (if the lab is not full).
  3. Noise - The labs are quiet study spaces. Lab staff will ask noisy clients to quiet down or leave. That includes gamers, talkers, etc.

There are several classes offered at the UW that require students to engage in a number of activities that can be misconstrued as inappropriate use. These include but are not limited to 1) Computer Science students who are designing games. Part of their assignment includes testing other games, programming and testing their own games. 2) Cinema Studies students who are required to view and critique films. Many of these students view films online using lab computers. 3) Art students who view art online that others may consider pornographic.

In each of these situations the students are engaged in a legitimate activity that they have a right to do in our labs. Unfortunately, all of those activities can also be considered inappropriate by others using computers.

We've worked with the Attorneys General office to find the best policy to accommodate everyone. The solution is that we do not judge the content of students work. Instead, we ask our clients to use lab computers for course related work and to relinquish their computer to other students if their activity is recreational only. On this we have to trust the individual students assessment of their own activity. However, noise is a separate problem. Regardless of whether the students activity is course related or not, noise is not appropriate in a study environment such as our computing labs. Any group that is disturbing the work of others will be asked to quiet down or leave.

Why is the Technology Space I'm in so hot? It seems like it would be damaging to the machines, as well as an inconvenience to your staff and clients.

We understand your concern about the heat. We know that it has an adverse effect on the equipment and makes people uncomfortable (including us).

Unfortunately, we don't have access to air conditioning during this time of year. Most of the AC on campus is produced from chilled water which comes from the University's power plant. The power plant doesn't normally begin sending out chilled water until late May. This may happen even later this year, to save electricity.

Since the lab's windows do not open, the most we can do is monitor the situation and keep Campus Operations informed. Thank you for understanding.

I would like to be typing in a different language. How do I change the language setting?

The Language Bar is located in the bottom right hand part of the screen. To access it:

  1. Right Click on the Language Bar Icon and click on "Settings...". This will open up the Text Service and Input Languages box.
    Language Bar right-click menu

  2. Click on "Add..." and it will open up the Add Language dialog box.
    Text Services and Input Languages

  3. Click on the arrow next to the current language to open up the drop down list.
    Add Input Language

  4. Select the Language you would like to add. Click "OK" on the Add Input Language box, then "OK" on the Text Service and Input Languages box. The language will then be selectable by clicking on the Language Bar Icon in the bottom right hand corner.
    Language Bar left-click menu
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