Technical support & resources

Here to support you

The CS Help desk, located on the first floor of the Goldberg Computer Science Building can also be reached via phone at 902-494-2593.

For technical support contact: cshelp@cs.dal.ca Your request enters a ticket queue and will be processed as completely and timely as possible. 

What are we here for?

  • Software installation and setup assistance 
  • Operating system troubleshooting (Windows, MAC-OS, and Linux)
  • IT Consultation & A/V assistance
  • Printing
  • Equipment loaning

Equip yourself with tools & resources

Laptop recommendations

In most cases, the base specifications will suffice for your time as an undergraduate student. To help you in your decision-making, we've put together a list of recommended laptop specs.

Available FCS technical resources & tools

Personal web & database hosting

All students, faculty, and staff are entitled to webspace on the faculty personal webhosting server. Usage is restricted to academic and personal (e.g. non-commerical) use.

Webspace URL

Where "yourCSID" is the CSID username that you use to login to various faculty services, like moodle, lab computers, bluenose.cs.dal.ca, etc. Your website is located at:

URL: http://web.cs.dal.ca/~yourCSID (both HTTP and HTTPS are supported)

You can lookup your CSID and change your password at: http://cs.dal.ca/csid

File uploading

To upload files, login using SSH or SFTP to:

Hostname: bluenose.cs.dal.ca
Username: Your CSID
Password: Your CSID password

Once logged in, navigate to ~/public_html and upload your files. They will be visible at the URL above.

Important points in this step:

  • You cannot login directly to web.cs.dal.ca, uploads must be done through bluenose.cs.dal.ca.
  • If you accidentally delete your public_html directory, contact cshelp@cs.dal.ca to have it recreated. (Simply recreating the directory will not work.)

Databases

All students, faculty and staff are entitled to a MySQL database, however databases are not created by default (except when a student is enrolled in certain classes). Anyone without a MySQL database can request one by emailing cshelp@cs.dal.ca.

To connect to your database (via your website, a dedicated app, etc.) use:

Hostname: db.cs.dal.ca
Username: Your CSID
Password: By default, your Dalhousie BannerID
MySQL Database: Your CSID

You can manage your MySQL database and change your MySQL password through phpMyAdmin at:

phpMyAdmin: https://myadmin.cs.dal.ca

You can also use a database manager that supports SSH tunneling, to access your database, by connecting via SSH to bluenose.cs.dal.ca and then to db.cs.dal.ca.

Important points in this step:

  • Your MySQL password is not the same as your CSID password for security reasons. Please do not manually make them the same!
  • Only websites uploaded to bluenose.cs.dal.ca (and thus accessed at web.cs.dal.ca) can use db.cs.dal.ca. All other access is blocked by default.
  • phpMyAdmin can be used to export and import databases to and from other installations of MySQL. Use "SQL" format when exporting. Be careful when importing, many exported SQL data files contain statements that will delete existing data before importing the new data.

Logs

You can view the last 2 days of access and error logs for your webspace at:

Apache logs: https://web.cs.dal.ca/logs/

This is intended to be a tool for debugging and not for long term access tracking. Older logs are not available.

Cloud File Storage with Microsoft OneDrive for Business

Part of the Office 365 platform is OneDrive for Business, a cloud file-storage solution for individuals and groups.

In addition to storage, OneDrive for Business also facilitates editing and simultaneous collaboration of Office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote Notebooks) using Office Online and via supported Office clients. Office Online and the current Office clients have varying levels of feature support.

Every Dalhousie faculty member, staff member, and student is allotted their own 1TB of space for storage. Additionally, Office 365 groups have been created by CS tech support for various organizations (Committees, Societies, etc.) within the faculty. Each group is allotted its own distinct 1TB of storage (separate from individual user storage). Faculty and staff can see the groups they have been added to by logging into myDal and navigating to the OneDrive app.

Accessing your OneDrive space via the web

  1. Login to myDal using your Dalhousie NetID.
  2. Open the Office 365 App Launcher located in the top-left corner of the screen and select OneDrive.

Using Personal Storage

On the OneDrive for Business webapp you’ll see your personal files in the default view. This page has controls for creating office documents and folders, as well as for uploading any other document type. Other major features include:

  • syncing your files to local devices (using the relevant sync client for computers and mobile)
  • sharing files for viewing and editing via account permissions or link
  • reviewing the version history of a file

Using Group Storage

In the left sidebar of the OneDrive for Business webapp will be a listing of the groups that you’ve been added to. Clicking on any of those groups will take you to the file storage for that group. This space functions fundamentally the same as your personal space with only minor differences, such as that files cannot be shared via link when stored in group file storage. Files stored in group storage do not count against your personal quota.

Group owned files default to being automatically viewable and editable by everyone in the group. To see the members of a particular group, select the 3-dots icon (i.e. •••) located just under the group title when viewing the group file storage page. From this view select Members. (Note: Most groups will have a “Dalhousie Faculty of Computer Science” user. This is an administrative user managed exclusively by CS Tech Support.)

Sharing Files

Aside from the default sharing of group stored files with the members of a group, OneDrive for Business also allows sharing via explicity granted permissions and via links (links or work with personal stored files though).

To share via permission, with either personal or group stored files:

  1. Select the 3-dots icon located in the row of the target file or folder.
  2. Select "Share" from the context menu.
  3. Enter the name(s) into the person look-up (only staff and faculty can be found by search, contact CS Tech Support if you need to share with at student)
  4. Select the appropriate permission - view or edit - and set the remaining permissions as desired.
  5. Press the "Share" button.

Shared files will be viewable in the recipient's "Shared with me" section (listed in the OneDrive for Business webapp sidebar).

To share via a link (only works with personal files, group owned files cannot be shared by link):

  1. Select the 3-dots icon located in the row of the target file or folder.
  2. Select "Share" from the context menu.
  3. Select "Get a link" from the modal that appears.
  4. Create a link for viewing or editing as appropriate and share the link with the recipient via your medium of choice.

Collaborative Editing

Files stored in OneDrive for Business can be edited collaboratively and simultaneously. All Microsoft Office based files can be opened using the webapp versions of the Microsoft Office suite. To edit a file:

  1. Select the target file's name in the appropriate row from the Onedrive for Business webapp.
  2. Select "Edit Document" from the menu along the top bar.
  3. Select "Edit in <AppName> Online"
  4. Proceed with modifying the file as appropriate.

Note: If a OneDrive for Business stored file is opened in a desktop version of Microsoft Office, the file will become locked and nobody else will be able to edit the file until the file is closed. Collaborative editing only works when using Office Online.

Git Hosting

Git project hosting is provided for all student, faculty, and staff at git.cs.dal.ca. Hosting is provided via a locally hosted instance of GitLab.

MSDN Academic Alliance

MSDNAA is a program affiliated with Microsoft that supplies software to eligible students at no charge for academic purposes. Students must be enrolled in at least 1 course in the current semester in order to access the MSDN site. Software can be downloaded from Microsoft directly via the Dal FCS MSDNAA site.

Research compute environments

Computer Science operates several computer systems that its researchers can use to run their jobs. It would be a good idea to research the specific choices based on historical usage/over-usage patterns, appropriateness to your particular task (ie match compute-bound jobs to fast CPUs, and memory-bound processes to large memory machines).

Your network mounted storage can be found in /remote, and local storage in /local. Use your CSID and password to login via SSH.

Available FCS systems include:

There are also system located outside the FCS that may be available for your use.

For the current status of the systems, you can consult monitoring pages from Nagios or Munin.(These pages will only load when accessed from Dalhousie's network.)

Finally, here is a copy of the slides used in a CS Seminar presentation on these services.

Dalhousie ITS resources

ITS Software

ITS provides a number of software packages for general university use. Specific packages available depend on your account type (student, faculty, staff, etc.)

ITS Networks and Systems

For student, staff, and faculty with existing access, there are a number of tools made available by ITS Networks and Systems.

Usage policies


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