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Table Of Contents

Holidays Closed on Re-open on
Good Friday & Easter Holidays April 21, 2000 
 (Friday) 8:30 a.m.
April 25, 2000
 (Tuesday) 8:30 a.m.
Labour Day May 1, 2000
 (Monday) 8:30 p.m.
May 2, 2000
 (Tuesday) 8:30 a.m.
The Buddha’s Birthday May 11, 2000 
(Thursday) 8:30 a.m.
May 12, 2000
(Friday) 8:30 a.m.
Tuen Ng Festival June 6, 2000
(Tuesday) 8:30 a.m.
June 7, 2000
(Wednesday) 8:30 a.m.

HKU Digital Certificates for University Staff and Students

With the Hong Kong SAR Government fully embracing the use of digital certificates and electronic service delivery, Computer Centre has been focussing on the deployment of Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) applications in the Univeristy for the last six months.  In preparation for the roll-out of ESD applications, Computer Centre is building up the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and setting up the HKU Certification Authority (CA) to issue digital certificates to current University staff and students.

The Hongkong Post e-Cert digital certificates

Since 31st January 2000, a Hong Kong citizen can apply to the first recognized Certificate Authority in Hong Kong, the Hongkong Post, for a Hongkong Post e-Cert digital certificate (HKPost e-Cert for short).  It requires an initial subscription fee of $50, and an annual renewal fee of $150.  The most popular use of the HKPost e-Cert is expected to be in the use of the digital signature for sending and receiving signed and encrypted email.  It is anticipated that the HKPost e-Cert will also be used in the Government's ESD applications starting in October, 2000.

The HKU digital certificates (HKU-Cert)

Computer Centre is planning to set up the HKU CA in the third quarter of 2000 and issue HKU digital certificates with the corresponding private keys to current staff and students.   The HKU-Cert will enable HKU members to exchange encrypted and signed e-mail among ourselves and with other users who have installed the HKU CA Root Certificate in their e-mail programs which are capable of handling digital certificates.

With the issue of HKU Digital Certificates, HKU staff and students will be able to use their private keys issued by HKU CA to digitally sign in the HKU ESD applications.  The HKU ESD applications will eliminate the requirement of written signatures, and thus speed up the human/computer processing by capturing data at source, storing and sending data electronically, and eliminating the handling of paper records in departmental offices.  There will be provision for archiving the signed electronic records, which will be archived for seven or more years in accordance with the Electronic Transaction Ordinance.  We shall be equipping offices with the appropriate hardware necessary for this service.  More details will be announced via electronic mail to our staff and students when the facilities are ready.

Public key infrastructure (PKI)

Below is a brief description of the basic mechanism of the PKI technology.

PKI covers the use of public key cryptography for authentication of a user, access control of a user, guaranteeing the integrity and non-repudiation of documents signed by a user, and confidentiality of data.

PKI employs a pair of keys for each user: a private key which is known only to the user himself, and a public key which is published by some authority, in the form of a digital certificate.

In signing a document or an e-mail, a user signs using his own private key so that others can use the signer's public key to verify the authenticity and non-repudiation of documents or e-mail.

In sending an encrypted e-mail to a recipient, the sender uses an e-mail program which supports the PKI technology to encrypt the e-mail using the  recipient's public key, which is obtained from the  recipient's digital certificate installed in the sender's e-mail program. The recipient, on receiving the encrypted mail, can use his private key to decrypt the mail.  Since only the  recipient has his own private key, the encrypted mail will only be readable by him.  Others, even if they can get hold of a copy of the encrypted mail over the network, would not be able to read the encrypted mail as they do not have the  recipient's private key to decrypt the mail.  The use of PKI saves the trouble of maintaining and distributing the same encryption/decryption key between the sender and the recipient.

The e-mail program Netscape Messenger v4.7 supports the signing and encryption of e-mail using 1024-bit RSA keys and certificates encoded in X.509 v3 format.

By using strong public key cryptographic algorithms, such as 1024-bit RSA keys which Computer Centre and Hongkong Post are employing, it is practically impossible for anyone to crack the private key from the public key within the life-time of a private key.

PKI involves the installation of the Certification Authority Server for issuing the key pairs to users and for maintaining the digital certificates for users to retrieve the public keys for verification and encryption of e-mail and documents.

If you would like to know more about the HKU Digital Certificate, please contact the undersigned.

M. C. Pong
Tel: 2859 2491
E-mail: pmc@cc.hku.hk



Forwarding Your Mail while You Are Away

Electronic mail has become so pervasive that many staff and students find it necessary to check their email every day, even when they are away from Hong Kong.  Of course, it is possible to check you email through the use of Web Mail over the Internet.  However, sometimes when the Internet link is slow and you get large attachments, it can become too time-consuming.  If you are fortunate enough to get another email account at the new environment, Computer Centre has now provided a simple means for you to re-direct all your incoming email to the email account at your new environment.

You can do this by using the email forwarding facility prepared by Computer Centre to forward all email sent to your hkucc (or hkusua) account to another account specified by you.  You can “forward” your incoming email messages on your hkucc (or hkusua) account via "Electronic Mail" at Computer Centre's homepage and then click Redirecting your HKUCC E-mail(or Redirecting your HKUSUA E-mail) as shown in the following webpage.
 

In this web page, you need to type in your account name and the associated password.  If you are forwarding your email to a new address, type in the forwarding address and then click the “Set Forwarding” button.  Please note that you need to input the full email address in the “email forwarding address” field.  In setting the forward on, all the email coming to your HKU account will be forwarded to the new email address.  There will not be another copy left in your inbox at HKU.
 

In the following screen, the email from my hkucc account  is forwarded  to my hkusua account.
 

When you return from your trip overseas, remember to cancel your email forwarding using the same web page. Just type in your username and password and then click the “Restore Forwarding” button as in the following screen.

 
 
Charles Cheung


Tel: 2859 2488
Email: cheungyw@hkucc.hku.hk



Why Should I Use Webmail?

 
Have you ever used webmail to access your e-mail on the server?  If your answer is "yes", congratulations! You have found the most convenient tool for checking your e-mail.  If your answer is "no", perhaps you should try once.

This article introduces a web-based tool for managing your e-mail.  Not only at HKU, but a lot of Internet Service Providers (ISP) are also using the web interface for their email system so that users can check their email using a web browser from anywhere at anytime.
 

You may ask: What is the advantage of using webmail over the email tools I am using now?  Well, let us count the ways:
Perhaps, you are using Outlook, Eudora or PC-Pine at home to check your e-mail and everything looks fine. Well, this is only true if you are using the HKU network. If you subscribe to an ISP's network service, you will find that some email functions are not available.  This is due to the security measures we have implemented to protect the HKU network from outsiders. For example, if you use an ISP's service to access your mails in the Centre's servers using the PC mail client such as Eudora, Netscape Mail or Outlook Express etc, you will have to re-configure the mail client to use the ISP's outgoing mail server (i.e. SMTP server) for email sending.

Also, when you use the HKU network, your email program can be configured in either the IMAP or POP formats for receiving mail, otherwise, you must use the POP format to download all your email to your PC. However, with Webmail, you can receive or send email from your mailbox whereever you are. The Webmail server acts as a proxy between your web browser on the PC and your mailbox on the server. After successful login, it collects mail from your mailbox, processes them, and displays them at your browser.  Since e-mail messages are not downloaded to your PC, you don't have to worry about  your email program hanging in the middle of a streaming of hundreds of messages to your mailbox.
 

The Webmail was upgraded from version 3.51 to 3.61 to fix a number of bugs. For example,
We will keep our Webmail service as efficient as it can be to provide the best service to our users, i.e. you.
To try out Webmail, please visit: http://webmail.hku.hk

(N.B.  If you have bookmarked http://webmaila.hku.hk or http://webmailb.hku.hk in your browser, please change it to http://webmail.hku.hk. This URL will take you to the most updated version of webmail at any time.)

Kenneth Yip
Tel: 2857 7973
Email: kenty@cc.hku.hk


The Bulk E-mail Service at HKU

Computer Centre provides a bulk e-mail service which is a convenient and effective way for departments and offices to send notices by email to all HKU staff and students.   More and more departments are using this service to disseminate university-related information such as announcements on seminars and public lectures.

Currently, HKU departments send a request for bulk e-mail to Computer Centre with the following information:

and our Centre's staff will prepare and send out the bulk e-mails for them in the early morning of the following day.

To improve on the submission process of bulk e-mail requests and to minimise delay due to incomplete information provided by the department in their requests, Computer Centre has developed a bulk e-mail request system which allows HKU departments to submit their requests via a web-based interface.  In this way, the most essential information can be captured at source and completeness of information can be ensured.

Effective from May 3, 2000, the web-based Bulk E-mail Service is available within the "Computer Centre " option of the "Intranet System for Staff" and can only be accessed by staff who have a "bulk e-mail submission" account.  Meanshile departments interested in using the Bulk E-mail Service can submit to Computer Centre a "bulk e-mail submission account" to authorize their staff to use the system. All bulk e-mail requests are regulated by the Computer Centre's Bulk E-mail Guidelines, a copy of  which is included in this Computer News.

For details of how to apply for a "bulk e-mail submission account" and instructions on the use of the system, please refer to the URL: http://www.its.hku.hk/office/forms/bulkemail_guide.htm.

For further information or queries, please contact the undersigned.

Lui Tun Yee
Tel: 2857 8633
Email: lty@cc.hku.hk


Guidelines on using the Bulk E-mail Service
The Bulk E-mail Service provided by Computer Centre is to assist University departments in distributing University-related information, such as inter-office circulars, seminar notices, etc. to University staff and students.  While many departments have found the bulk email service a useful means to disseminate information to the widest possible audience, there are also staff and students who found the information un-interesting and consider it disruptive to have to read so many emails.  In order to provide some balance between the information provider and the receiver, some guidelines are prepared to assist departments and offices for the proper and effective use of the Bulk E-mail Service as follows:

(1)    The bulk e-mail service is used for distributing University-related information that should be endorsed by the department.  Requests from individuals will not be entertained.

(2)    Though the bulk email service is provided by Computer Centre , the message is sent out on behalf of the requesting departments and offices which will be fully responsible for the accuracy and appropriateness of the content.

(3)    It is advisable that any non-English bulk e-mail message should be accompanied by the corresponding English version of the message.

(4)    The e-mail message must be in plain text format, provide an informative subject heading and must not exceed 2500 characters.

(5)     Reminder of a previously sent message is not allowed.

(6)    Bulk e-mails requests must be submitted to the system before 4:00p.m. on Monday to Friday and before 11:30a.m. on Saturday for processing by Computer Centre so that they can be sent out in the early morning of the following day.

(7)    Computer Centre reserves the right to reject any bulk e-mail request based on system capacity and other reasons.
 

For further information or queries, please contact the undersigned.
 

Lui Tun Yee
Tel: 2857 8633
Email: lty@cc.hku.hk



From The Help Desk - Electronic Junk mail

Spam, unsolicited commercial email, or junk mail are all terms which evoke a strong feeling of resentment or abomination in many people and they are just what you are getting in your inbox at HKU everyday.   They are the electronic version of the colorful advertisements stuffed into the mailbox at your house.

Spam is originally the name of a canned luncheon meat made by Hormel which is generally thought to be of no nutritional value.  The term "email spamming" is now used to describe the sending of many copies of the same message via the Internet to people who did not ask to receive it.  Spam is now a synonym for junk mail. Spamming is essentially free for the spammer. The recipients pay for delivery and storage of the spam. Even a very small percentage of people responding to those ads makes spamming effective for the spammer.  Spamming is becoming a serious problem for computer systems because the junk mail soon fills up our mailboxes causing our mail quota limit to be exceeded, and it also creates a load on the network traffic, not to mention the time it takes recipients to delete them.

Where do people get their mailing lists?

E-mail spamming is primarily transmitted through mailing lists of e-mail addresses.  Advertisers collect lists of e-mail addresses and then send their ads directly to individuals. Various methods exist for collecting addresses. Advertisers routinely collect addresses from scanning Usenet posts, stealing Internet mailing lists, searching directory services, or searching the Web for addresses. Such information is gathered with automated searches to retrieve E-mail addresses for spamming. Web-site guest books are also a popular source.  In essence, if you ever visit anywhere or do anything on the Internet, you probably left a trace to your email address.

Bulkmail at HKU

Bulkmail at HKU is not to be thought of as junk mail.  Bulkmail is the dissemination of e-mail notices from university departments to staff and students of the university.  They contain announcements on academically related activities in the various departments in the university.  What seems totally irrelevant information to one recipient may be welcomed by another as an opportunity for expanding the mind or uplifting the spirit.  Computer Centre is under obligation to send these notices out to the HKU community for the various departments and administrative offices of HKU.

What we have done to reduce Spamming ?

The mail servers in Computer Centre are set not to relay mail that is sent from outside the HKU network going to addresses outside of the HKU network.  In this way, we do not become part of a chain sending spam mail from server to server.  This is why you must configure your SMTP server to be your ISP's SMTP server if you are using an ISP's network.

Computer Centre has also implemented the following two checkings on our mail servers to fight against spamming:

1:  SPAMCONTROL is a software package installed on the Centre's mail servers to detect junk e-mail by volume. Once the spamming has reached a pre-configured level, it will block the originating site completely.

2:  Any site whose name appears in the "Mail Abuse Protection System's Realtime Blackhole" list will be blocked access to the Centre's mail servers.

What you can do about spam ?

You should not respond or send "remove" messages to spams as this just assures the spammers that your email address is valid for future spams.

Almost all PC client email software, e.g. Eudora, Netscape mail, Outlook Express etc., provide functions for you to filter the incoming email (Refer to the documentation on that email software for filter setting). You can make use of this filter function to reject any junkmail from being downloaded to your PC.  For example, in Eudora 3.05, click Tools...Filters...New...and enter your filter rules.  In Netcape 4.x, in the Mail screen, click Edit...Message Filters and then enter your criteria.

Users can also report spam mail to ithelp@hku.hk.  If the spammer is from an outside site, we can only file a complaint to the administrator of the offending site for his subsequent action. Users can also file their complaints directly to the administrators of the offending sites if they know their email addressses (information of a site can be looked up at the SPAMCOP).

If  the spammer is a HKU member, we will investigate the matter.  If mail abuse is established, Computer Centre will issue a warning to the sender and may disable the abuser's account.

There seems to be not too much one can do about the hateful junk mail. One approach would be to simply delete the unwanted mail without reading them and without getting excited.

Please share with us if you have any creative ways to handle junk mail.
 

Mabel Chau
Tel: 2859 8934
Email: chaumabc@hku.hk



The Hong Kong Examinations Authority is Directly Connected to HARNET

The Hong Kong Examinations Authority (HKEA) has long been connected to the Hong Kong Academic and Research Network (HARNET) through a router set up in the HKU Computer Centre .  With HKEA's increasing use of the HARNET and Internet, HKEA has applied and obtained endorsement from the Joint Universities Computer Centre (JUCC) to join HARNET via a direct T1 (1544 Kbps) connection link from HKEA.  The migration was smoothly carried out in early January this year with the help of our Centre's colleagues.  This new link enables the HKEA to have a direct and fast link to the HARNET and the Internet, and facilitates the HKEA on various kinds of applications including the Joint University Programs Admission System (JUPAS) applications and improve the co-operation between HKEA and other member universities of the HARNET.

Ronald Leung
Tel: 2859 8934
Email: lhy@cc.hku.hk



HKU Campus Network Update - Major Upgrade in Queen Mary Hospital

Our last report on the status of the Campus Network upgrade in the Queen Mary Hospital was made in Issue No. 77 of the Computer News.  Now, we are glad to report further progress on this project to the HKU community.

During the past year, we coorperated extensively with the QMH Administration to push ahead with the upgrade, which was beset with some difficulties peculiar to the Hospital environment.  To start with, the installation of some Phase III (ACEnet) points planned in the ward areas required special arrangement in terms of time and access.  The pace of the network upgrade was also hampered by the simultaneous launching of a false-ceiling replacement project initiated by the hospital for the Professorial Block and the New Clinical Building. The two projects had to be conducted simultaneously  in order to minimise disruption to users.  Lastly we have had a lengthy negotiation with the government's Architectural Services Department over the cost of the installation of electrical sockets in the hospital area which are essential for the powering up of network equipments which provide connectivity to all the network points.

The current status and anticipated development can best be gleaned from the following table :
 
 
Building No. of Phase II network points No. of Phase III network points Present status Targeted completion date
Main Block 0 42*
  • Cabling and termination of network points completed,
  • Installation of network equipmnets underway
  • 30 March, 2000
    Block J 0 6*
  • Cabling and termination of network points completed,
  • Installation of network equipmnets underway
  • 30 March, 2000
    Block K 0 33*
  • Cabling and termination of network points completed, 
  • Installation of network equipmnets underway
  • 30 March, 2000
    Block L 0 4* In operation               -
    Sch. of Nursing Studies 0 25*
  • Cabling and termination of network points completed, 
  • Installation of network equipments underway
  • 30 March, 2000
    New Clinical Bldg. 136 6*
  • Cabling and termination of network points completed, 
  • Installation of network equipmnets underway
  • Network Interface Cards replacement for Phase II points under preparation
  • 30 March, 2000
    Professorial Block 123 4*
  • 2/F & 6/F in operation
  • Cabling for 3/F, 4/F and 5/F underway in tandem with the hospital's false-ceiling replacement exercise

  • Depends on the progress of the false-ceiling replacement project, anticipated to be completed in 2000.

    * Note : On advice of the QMH Administration, all Phase III network points are not provided with power sockets because of the current near-capacity loading of the generators.

    We look forward to bringing you more news in the near future on the development of the QMH network upgrade.
     

    T.Y. Shen
    Tel: 2241 5229
    E-mail: sty@cc.hku.hk



    Successful Migration of the HKUSUA and HKUSUB Systems to run on the SUN Enterprise 1000 System

    Since October 1999, we worked towards the installation of a more powerful SUN Enterprise 10000 system to replace the general computing and email servers for students (i.e. HKUSUA and HKUSUB). The installation of the new system was completed in mid December 1999.  However, due to the approach of Year 2000, the migration of the HKUSUA and HKUSUB system to the new system was scheduled to be in January 2000.   In order to minimise the service interruptions to our users, we staged the migration of the HKUSUA and HKUSUB to the new system in 3 phases over 3 consecutive weekends from January 23, 2000 to February 6, 2000 respectively.

    We are pleased to inform our users that the migration was completed on schedule and users should not notice any difference in the computing environment except performance improvement.  In addition, a high-available (HA) cluster has been formed between these two systems such that the machines mutually backup each other.  As a result, service interruption would be minimized whenever there is hardware failure in any of the two machines.

    As a reminder to our users, the following software are now available on the HKUSUA/HKUSUB cluster:

    If you find any problems or difficulties in using the services on the HKUSUA or HKUSUB systems, please contact the undersigned or Mr. Charles Cheung (tel: 2859 2488, email: cheungyw@hkucc.hku.hk ) for assistance.
     

    KC Chang

    Tel: 2859 7972
    Email: kcchang@hkusua.hku.hk

    An SP2 Supercomputer User Experience : Computational Fluid Dynamics and Parallel Programming
     

    Computer Centre has recently interviewed Dr. LIU Chun Ho on his experience in using the IBM SP2 supercomputer in doing his research work at HKU.

    Dr. Liu did his undergraduate studies at the University of Hong Kong and was awarded a BEng (Mech) degree in 1995.  After graduation, he continued to pursue his post-graduate studies at the Department of Mechancal Engineering and completed his PhD degree in 1999.  He then worked as a Research Associate in the University until the end of 1999 when he took up work as a postdoctoral research fellow in National Center For Atmospheric Research, Colorado, USA, with the support of the Croucher Foundation, Hong Kong.  Dr Liu's PhD research were conducted using the IBM SP2 Supercomputer supported by Computer Centre .  We were very pleased to get Dr Liu to share some of his experience in using the IBM SP2 supercomputer and parallel programming.

    The interview was conducted by our Senior Computer Officer Mr Kwan Wing Keung and Assistant Computer Office Mr Woo Chat Ming, who are responsible for the SP2 support:

    KWK:  "Dr Liu, congratulations on your appointment at the NCAR.  Thank you for agreeing to share some of your experience on using the SP2 supercompter with our readers.  Why did you use the parallel computer in Computer Centre for your research work?"

    Dr Liu:  "My research topic concerns the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for simulating the atmospheric boundary layer and air pollutant dispersion. Such kind of computer simulation is similar to most CFD research work  that always takes huge amount of time. Even using the fastest workstation in the world, each numerical simulation experiment may take several days to give me only one set of result data. It is clear that a serial computer cannot solve my problem.  A parallel computer like the IBM SP2 has many CPUs, which can solve the numerical equations concurrently with results obtained much faster than from a serial computer. It produces results for me in hours rather than in days or weeks. I may say that it is the ONLY viable solution for my research."

    KWK:  "How long have you been using the parallel computer?"

    Dr Liu:  "I started using the SP2 as soon as I started my PhD degree 4 years ago. I didn't even make any attempt on other serial computers. I knew I must use the parallel computer. "

    "Is parallel programming difficult to learn?"

    "No. I would say it is rather easy. The most common computer software for parallelization is the Message Passing Interface (MPI). MPI is a software library and can be called from Fortran or C. Even though MPI has more than 100 subroutines, most of my parallel programs use less than 20 MPI subroutines. I became very proficient in MPI programming within 2 weeks. Also, Computer Centre staff gave me a lot of advice in the development process. This made it easier than I had imagined."

    "Is parallelization of your code difficult?"

    "Learning MPI is simple, but using it to build my own project consumes certain amount of time. However, it is not as difficult as I had imagined. The whole process in parallelizing my 20,000 lines of code took less than 2 months. I used this program throughout my PhD study. That effort had proved to be very worthwhile."

    "Do you think the parallel computer is suitable for CFD problems alone?"

    "There is no doubt that parallel computers play an important role in CFD research nowadays. CFD programs are easy to parallelize and efficient to run.  They are also very scalable, i.e., the execution speed increases proportionally with the number of processors used without huge amounts of overhead. However, I am sure the parallel computer can solve many other scientific problems also. I have heard that researchers in the Faculty of Science have also obtained some signficant results using the SP2."
     

    Kwan Wing Keung
    Tel : 28678631
    E-mail : hcxckwk@hkusua.hku.hk

    Woo Chat Ming
    Tel : 28578632
    E-mail : cmwoo@hkusua.hku.hk


    Major Software Upgrade in PC Laboratories

    We are pleased to inform our users that major upgrades to a number of software packages in our PC laboratories (except RR101 and RR201) were carried out in March and April 2000.  The upgraded software packages include SPSS, Corel WordPerfect, Adobe PageMaker, Microsoft Visual Studio Professional Chinese Edition, Microsoft Windows Media Player and Netscape Communicator. Details of the upgraded software and their new features are listed as follows:
    1. SPSS version 9 has been replaced by version 10.  SPSS version 10 comes with new features such as better data management, enhanced graphics and higher output quality. For further details, please refer to the SPSS web page at  www.spss.com/spss10/details.htm.
    2. Corel WordPerfect version 8 has been upgraded to WordPerfect version 9. WordPerfect version 9 is downward compatible with previous versions of WordPerfect as it uses the same file format as versions 6.1, 7 or 8.

    3. Adobe PageMaker 6.5 has been upgraded to 6.5 Plus. Besides the standard features of Adobe PageMaker, some add-on features including Adobe table 3.0, filters, color libraries, design templates and Adobe type manager have also been installed.  A few hundred design templates are available to assist users to create high-quality business documents.

    4. The Microsoft Visual Studio Professional English Chinese Edition version 6 which was installed on the Chinese Windows 95 or Windows 98 has been replaced by the Microsoft Visual Studio Professional Chinese Edition version 6. The Visual Studio is a complete suite of tools for rapid application development. It consists of Visual Basic, Visual C++, Visual FoxPro and Visual InterDev. Visual Basic, C++ and FoxPro are programming languages, while Visual InterDev is an integrated team-based development tool for building Web applications which are based on HTML, scripts and components written in any programming language.

    5. Microsoft Windows Media Player 6.1 has been upgraded to 6.4.  With the use of  Microsoft Windows Media Player 6.4, one can listen to or view live news updates, view a music video and preview clips from a new movie on various web sites. The new players also supports a number of common multimedia formats which include MP3, WAV, AVI and MPEG.

    6. Netscape Communicator 4.5 has been upgraded to 4.7.  Netscape Communiator 4.7 encompasses a set of components, namely Navigator, Messenger, Composer, RealPlayer G2, Winamp, etc. In addition, it provides a 56-bit encryption in order to make electronic transcactions secure.
    For details about software installed in the PC laboratories, please refer to our Computer Services Handbook. Should you have any questions regarding these software packages, please contact the undersigned.

    Vitus Lam
    Tel: 2859 2484
    E-mail: lsw@cc.hku.hk


    Simplified Smart Card System for Purchasing Laser Printing Units

    With the introduction of the Self-Service Smart Card System for purchasing laser printing units on February 14, 2000, we have received very good response from our users.  The system has drastically reduced the queue at our Centre's enquiry counter and has allowed our users to purchase laser printing units after office hours.  The self-service smart card system for purcashing  laser printing units was initially installed in Room 104 of the Run Run Shaw Building.

    Details of the Self-Service System for purchasing laser printing units was described in the Computer News issue no. 83.  Basically, any staff or student who possess a University Staff or Student Smart Card can use the system by following the instructions displayed on the side of the system.

    During the pilot run of the system, it was found that many users do not remember the PIN (personal identification number) of their smart cards which was required to enter the system.  To further simplify the procedure, the requirement of entering the PIN number was removed starting from February 28, 2000.  Since then, we have found many users enjoying the convenience of the system.

    In view of the excellent response, we are pleased to inform our users that we have already set up a similar self service unit in Room 134 of the Old Library Building in March 2000 to facilitate users working in that area.  We hope this arrangement will provide even better service to our users.

    If you have any queries about this service, please contact the undersigned.

    Lui Tun Yee
    Tel: 2857 8633
    Email: lty@cc.hku.hk



    Staff News

    We are pleased to welcome four Assistant Computer Officers to Computer Centre .  They are:

    Mr Yip Kai Yin, Kenneth - Kenneth graduated from The University of Hong Kong in 1996, majoring in Electrical & Electronic Engineering.  He received his Masters degree in the same discipline in 1999.  He is working in the systems team.

    Mr Ng Sau Chin, Ben - Ben  graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1994 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Information Engineering).  He is working in the Administration Support Team in supporting the administrative application development projects of the University.

    Mr Chan Yuen Keung, Thomas - Thomas graduated from The University of Hong Kong in 1995 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Engineering).  He is working in the Finance Support Team.

    Mr Leung Wing Tong, Gary - Gary graduated from the City University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor of Science (Information Technology) in 1995.  He received his Masters degree in Automation System and Management from the City University of Hong Kong in 1997.  He is working in the Academic Services Section System Support Team

    We said farewell to the following staff, wishing them every success in their future endeavors:

    Ms Christine Liang who left on Jan 10, 2000,
    Mr Ha Kong Kuen who left on Jan 31, 2000,
    Mr Kan Tak Yin who left on Feb 23, 2000, and
    Ms Cecilia Cheung Choi Yan who left on Feb 29, 2000.

    Training News

    Computer Centre is pleased to announce a series of courses given between February and April, 2000 to assist staff and students in using the Centre's facilities. The courses will cover the following areas:
     
    • Internet Browsing and Webpage Authoring
    • Chinese Information Handling
    • Spreadsheet
    • Unix System and Application Software
    • PC Network and Services
    • Word Processing 
    • Web Course Tools
    • Parallel Programming
    • Adobe Photoshop
    • Statistical Analysis

    Most courses are open to all staff and students free of charge.  A fee is charged for courses provided by a course vendor. Some courses require pre-requisites.  Click on the course number to see the description of each course.

    Users can apply on-line for these courses through the "CC Course Registration" icon in HKUWIN or click the "Staff Registration" or "Student Registration" links below.

    Click here to suggest new courses you would like.

    Staff Registration   or   Student Registration



    Course Schedule from February to April, 2000

    Courses on Parallel Programming
     
     
    C1113599 SP2 Parallel Programming with workshop Apr 28, 2000 
    2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Run Run Shaw Building, 
    RR-101
    C0413799 High Performance FORTRAN  May 8, 9, 10, 2000 
    2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Run Run Shaw Building, 
    RR-101
    C1213599 SP2 Parallel Programming with workshop May 25, 2000 
    2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Run Run Shaw Building, 
    RR-101
    C1313599 SP2 Parallel Programming with workshop Jun 21, 2000 
    2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Run Run Shaw Building, 
    RR-101
    C0513799 High Performance FORTRAN  Jul 12, 13, 14, 2000 
    2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Run Run Shaw Building, 
    RR-101
    C1413599 SP2 Parallel Programming with workshop Jul 20, 2000 
    2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Run Run Shaw Building, 
    RR-101
    C1513599 SP2 Parallel Programming with workshop Aug 24, 2000
    2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Run Run Shaw Building, 
    RR-101

    Staff Registration   or   Student Registration
     

    Courses on Web Browsing and Webpage Editing
     
     
    C0814099 Getting started with Internet Services and WWW Apr 27, 2000 
    2:30 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.
    Run Run Shaw Building, 
    RR-201
    C0215099 Introduction to WebCT  May 8, 2000 
    9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135
    C0815199 Basic HTML Editing May 16, 2000 
    9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135
    C0215299 WebCT Course Designer's Basic Workshop May 18, 2000 
    9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135
    C0215399 WebCT Course Designer's Advanced Workshop May 29, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135
    C0914099 Getting started with Internet Services and WWW Jun 5, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135
    C0715899 Advanced HTML Editing : Imagemap, CGI and Frames Jun 8, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135
    C0915199 Basic HTML Editing Jul 11, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135
    C0815899 Advanced HTML Editing : Imagemap, CGI and Frames Aug 8, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135

    Staff Registration   or   Student Registration

    Courses on Microsoft Office and Other Topics
     
     
    W0480799 MS Excel 97 for Win95
    (Staff Only)
    May 15, 16, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    May 17, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Run Run Shaw Building, 
    RR-201
    W0380599 Adobe Photoshop 4.0 
    (Staff Only)
    May 18, 19, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Run Run Shaw Building, 
    RR-201
    W0181399 MS Visual FoxPro 6.0
    (Staff Only)
    Jun 1, 2, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135
    W0580999 MS Access 97 
    (Staff Only)
    Jun 12, , 13, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135
    W0381099 Webpage Creation Using 
    Dreamweaver 2 
    (Students Only)
    Jun 19, 20, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135
    W0781299 MS Powerpoint
    (Staff Only)
    Jun 26, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135
    W0181499 Corel Draw 8
    (Staff Only)
    Jun 29, 30, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135
    W0480899 Chinese Inputing Method 
    (Staff Only)
    Jul 19, 20, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Jul 21, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Old Library Building, 
    LBO-135
    W0480699 MS Word 97 
    (Staff Only)
    Aug 9, 10, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Aug 11, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Run Run Shaw Building, 
    RR-201
    W0580799 MS Excel 97 for Win95 Aug 21, 22, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Aug 23, 2000
    9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Run Run Shaw Building, 
    RR-201

    Staff Registration   or   Student Registration
     

     Course Descriptions:

    Courses on Internet Browsing and Webpage Authoring

    Getting Started with Internet Services and WWW

    This is a 3-hour introductory course. Course contents include
        Introduction to Internet
        Using The Netscape Communicator 4 Browser
        Reading Chinese on WWW Browser
        Tour on the HKU Intranet
        Tour on the Global Internet

    Basic HTML Editing

    This 3-hour course workshop on HTML editing using the Netscape Communicator 4 Editor.  In the workshop, students would be doing the following exercises:
        Exercise 1 - Create a document, try colors, fonts, bullets lists etc.
        Exercise 2 - Create targets and hyperlinks
        Exercise 3 - Create a table
        Exercise 4 - Using image files in your document
        Exercise 5 - Uploading your document to the server

    Advanced HTML Editing

    This is a 3-hour course on advanced techniques for HTML editing using the FrontPage Editor.  Contents include:
        Creating frames in a webpage
        Using image maps in a webpage.
        Downloading and imbedding "cgi programs" in a webpage
    Pre-requisite: Basic HTML Editing.
     

    WebCT (Web Course Tool) Training Courses

    Introduction to WebCT

    This 2-hour course will discuss the basic functionalities provided by WebCT from a student's point of view to give participants some feelings on what WebCT can do for their course. e.g. browsing course materials, attempting on-line quizzes, using bulletin boards.

    WebCT Course Designer's Basic Workshop

    This 4-hour course will cover steps for course designers (staff members who actually prepare courses on WebCT) to post lecture materials on WebCT, and to perform customization on course homepages.
    Pre-requisites: Introduction to WebCT, Basic HTML Editing.

    WebCT Course Designer's Advanced Workshop

    This 2-hour course will cover more advanced features for course designers, e.g. preparing on-line quizzes, checking statistical data, managing student records.
    Pre-requisites: WebCT Course Designer's Basic Workshop

    Courses on Parallel Programming

    SP2 Parallel Programming with Workshop

    This is a 3-hour seminar and workshop for people interested in parallel programming using the IBM SP2 Supercomputer. It covers the methodology of writing parallel programs using the message passing interface (MPI). Students should have programming experience in C or Fortran but experience in parallel programming is not needed. Sample programs will be given to users in the hands-on workshop.

    High Performance FORTRAN

    This 3-hour seminar on High Performance FORTRAN provides an easy way to write data parallel programs in MIMD computers such as the IBM SP2. The High Performance FORTRAN is an extension of the FORTRAN 90 in several areas, including:

    • Data distribution features
    • Data parallel execution features
    • Extended intrinsic functions and standard library
    • EXTRINSIC procedures
    Introduction to FORTRAN 90 Programming

    This 9-hour course provides and introduction to the structure and syntax of the FORTRAN 90 language for FORTRAN 77
    programmers. After taking this course, users will be able to write FORTRAN 90 programs using arrays and write reusable and
    readable codes using the data encapsulation feature of FORTRAN 90.

    Courses on Unix System and Application Software

    Introduction to UNIX

    This is a 3-hour introductory course for users with little or no Unix experience. The course will cover the Unix computing environment, the Unix file system, the editor, email, disk quota and mail quota allocations and commonly used Unix commands.

    Seminar on MAPLE V

    This is a 2-hour introduction course on the use of MAPLE V for mathematical computations.  The course covers:
        Maple Objects,
        Syntax of Maple V commands
        Some Common Operations
        Numerical Operations
        Graphics
        I/O
        Programming in Maple V

    Seminar on MATLAB

    MATLAB is an integrated computing environment for numeric computation and visualization. This 2-hour seminar will give an
    introduction on using MATLAB in numerical analysis, matrix computation and graphics etc.

    Seminar on Mathematica

    Mathematica is a general computer software system and language intended for mathematical and other applications. In this 2-hour
    seminar, examples of using Mathematica in numerical calculations, graphics, algebra and calculus, solving equations etc, will be
    shown.

    Seminar on SAS

    The SAS package is an integrated system for data analysis. In this 2-hour seminar, users will learn how to create a SAS
    data set, to retrieve data from the data set and to perform some commonly used statistical procedures. Users are expected to have
    some statistics background.

    Connecting to the HKU Network (PPP, ACEnet and Hall Network)

    This is a 3-hour seminar on the HKU network with an introduction to the network topology, network services, and the software for accessing the HKU network.  The HKU network can be accessed from the following venues:
        PPP - for dialing in from home
        Hallnet - for student residing in residence halls
        ACEnet - for accessing everywhere from any network point
     

    Courses on Microsoft Office and Other Topics

    MS Word 97 for Windows 95 ($360)

    This is a 2 1/2 day course especially designed for users who want to learn how to navigate through and work with documents; manipulate text; change formatting and page layout; and preview and print a document.

    Course Outline :

  • Word 97 processing concepts
  • Using dialog boxes and icons
  • Documents editing
  • Files save/retrieve and Management
  • Files conversion and import/export filters
  • Selecting fonts and using special text and symbols
  • Auto formatting and style options
  • Using thesaurus and hyphenation, spelling and grammar check
  • Creating multiple columns and table
  • Positioning text and graphics with frames
  • Assembling documents with mail merge
  • Working with long documents
  • Printing master documents, envelopes and labels
  • Data linking and embedding

  •  

     
     
     
     
     

    PowerPoint 97 ($200)

    This is a 6-hour course on making a professional presentation slide show using PowerPoint97.  Contents include:
        Creating and editing a slide show presentation
        Entering data in a presentation
        Adding clip art and charts to a slide
        Creating speaker notes
        Adding transition effects
        Saving and printing a presentation

    ACCESS 97 for Windows 95 ($360)

    Access is a powerful database software allowing users to create
    database and database applications without any programming work.
    Access 97 is part of the Microsoft Office 97 system which operates in
    the Window 95 or Window 98 environment and is Y2K compliant.
    This is a 2 day course.

    Contents of this course include:

    1. Introduction to Access 97
        - Basic concepts of Access 97
        - Starting the application
        - To quit Access 97
        - To open a database in Access 97
        - How to read from and write to standard text files

    2. Creating tables
        - Data type
        - Creating tables
        - Saving table
        - Data entry table

    3. Finding data
        - Sorting data
        - Filtering by selecting data
        - Filtering by form

    4. Query
        - Creating a query
        - Creating multi-table query and calculated field

    5. Creating a form
        - Creating a form with form wizard
        - changing design of form
        - preview designed form
        - formatting toolbar

    6. Creating reports
        - creating reports
        - creating mailing labels

    Ms Excel 97 for Windows 95  ($360)

    The course outline of this 2 1/2-day workshop include :

  • Spreadsheet concepts, basic movement
  • data entry techniques & create formulas
  • using special functions formatting
  • cells formatting, data & formulas cell reference
  • workbook save & retrieve
  • using dialog box commands, icons & toolbars
  • creating an embedded chart on worksheets
  • creating graphical objects on worksheets
  • worksheets printing techniques
  • database query and table handling auto filter
  • worksheet and workbook linking
  • useful built-in & functions, PMT, vlookup, (if, sumif)
  • add-in program, auto save
  • graph and picture handling and slide show
  • goal seeking and scenario manager
  • view manager

  •  

     
     
     
     
     

    Adobe Photoshop 4.0  ($360)

    This is a 2-day course on using the Adobe Photoshop, a software for photo retouching, image editing and color painting.
    Adobe Photoshop 4.0 has many new and enhanced features in auto-updating of formats, multiple layers control, digital watermarks for copyright, effects filters, and other enhancements for control of quality etc.
    Course outline :
        Photoshop Basic
        Selections, Mask and Channel Operation
        Enhancing Photo
        Montage and Collage
        Using Filters
        Painting
        Combining Photoshop and PostScript
        Special Effects
        3D/4D Adding Depth and Motion

    Adobe Illustrator 8  ($500)

    This is a 2-day course on using the Adobe Illustrator 8, a popular illustration software that can create graphically rich artwork for print or the Web.
    Course Outline :
        1. Basic concepts on computer graphic design
        2. Using various drawing tools
        3. Grid and guides
        4. Text editing, path type and area type and use of different fonts
        5. Rotating and resizing objects
        6. Mask effect, transforming objects from 2D to 3D
        7. Inserting graphic images

    Web Creation Using Dreamweaver 2  ($500)

    This 2 days course is designed for users who want to learn how to use Macromedia Dreamweaver 2, a powerful & professional visual editor for creating and managing web pages. With Dreamweaver, it's easy to create cross-platform, cross-browser pages.  Course outline :
        1. Dreamweaver Work Space
        2. Site Planning & Site Management
        3. Understanding Hyper Link
        4. Using Images & Animations
        5. Using Cascding Sytle Sheet
        6. Creating Forms & Frames
        7. Creating Interactive Homepage
    Pre-requisite: Basic HTML Editing, Advanced HTML Editing
     

    Chinese Inputting Method & Chinese Word 97* ($360)

    This is a 2 1/2-day course especially designed for users who are familiar with the English microcomputer working environment but with little experience on Chinese microcomputer operation. The course will cover :
     

  • Basic principle Changjei Chinese character input method.
  • Basic operation of Microsoft Word 6.0 under the Chinese Windows 3.1 working environment.
  • Techniques and common practices in preparing Chinese document.

  •  

     
     
     
     
     

    Visual FoxPro 6.0* ($500)

    This 2-day course provides an introduction to Visual FoxPro, a fast relational database management system in Windows.  It is a 32 bit Xbase database engine, the application can be used in Windows 95/98/NT environments.  It can also support Microsoft SQL Server/Client Server.

    Course Outline:
        1. Starting Visual FoxPro
        2. Organizing with Project Manager
        3. Explore a database
            - Creating: new table, Query, view of local data, One-to-many form
        4. Ordering data using indexes
        5. Collecting tables into a database
        6. Finding information
            - Querying data, Updating data with views, Updating multiple tables
        7. Displaying information
            - Designing reports and labels, Displaying data in forms
        8. Visual FoxPro with other Application - Sharing information with other programs.

    Graphic Design Using CorelDraw 8* ($500)

    This 2-day course is designed for students who want to learn how to use Corel DRAW, the most popular vector-based drawing program that makes it easy to create professional artwork - from simple company logos to intricate technical illustrations.

    Course Outline:
    1. Basic concepts on computer graphic design
    2. Using various drawing tools
    3. Style and color of line
    4. Text editing, Fit text to path, Uses of different fonts
    5. Rotate, skew and resize objects, Group and combine objects
    6. Mask effect, transform 2D objects to 3D using Extrude function
    7. Inserting graphic images
     

    1. Since workshops on Microsoft Office97 and other programs for Windows are organised in conjunction with a course vendor, the Whiz Company, there is a nominal charge on the course.

    For courses requiring a fee, please send payment to Computer Centre together with your registration form, or as soon as you have registered on the web, otherwise your registration is considered invalid and will be replaced by another applicant.  Payment can be made in cheque (payable to the University of Hong Kong), or through departmental requisition (for applicants supported by departments).   Successful applicants will be notified by e-mail or telephone at least one week before the commencement of the workshop. Once accepted, the fee is not refundable. However, substitution of participant is possible by written notification to the Centre.

    2. The workshops on Chinese Word 97  will be conducted in Cantonese.

    3. Enrolment for some courses may be for staff only while others are for students only.  Where it is not specified, the courses are open to all staff and students of the University.

    * The maximum number of participants for workshops held in Room 135, Old Library Building is 25; Room 201, Run Run Shaw Building is 22; and Room 101, Run Run Shaw Building is 20.