Computer News

July, 1995 to September, 1995 No. 60

For previous issues please click here


Hot Lines
General Enquiries 28592495
Fax 25597904
Computer Operations (Hardware
and operational problems)
Help Desk (Software and general problems)28592480
Hardware Maintenance 28592774

Dial-up Services
60-minute lines (24-hr service) 30-minute lines (HKUDIAL only)
all purpose access staff PPP line access 24-hr service linesNight service lines
(6 p.m. - 8 a.m. next day)
25480590 280302022859259528597992

Operations Schedule
Computer Centre Opening Hours

Normal Schedule (Sept. 12, 1995 to June 16, 1996)
Monday (8:00 a.m.) - Saturday (9:00 p.m.)
Sunday (12:00 noon - 7:00 p.m.)

(All central host systems will be running unattended during the closed hours)
Microcomputer / Workstation Rooms

Run Run Shaw Building (Room 101, 103, 104) :
Monday (8:30 a.m.) - Saturday (8:30 p.m.)
Sunday (12:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.)

Run Run Shaw Building (Room 113, 210),Knowles Building (Room 218) and
K.K. Leung Building (Room LG-108) :
Monday - Friday (8:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.)
Saturday (8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.)

Old Library Building (Room 134, 135, 136) 
Monday - Friday (9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
Saturday (9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)

(All microcomputer/workstation rooms are closed on Holidays)
Holiday Schedule for  September 1995 to January , 1996
Holiday                  Centre Close on         Centre Re-open on

Chung Yeung Festival     November 1, 1995        November 2, 1995
                         (Wednesday) 8:00 a.m.   (Thursday) 8:00 a.m.

Winter Solstice          December 22, 1995       December 23, 1995
                         (Friday) 5:00 p.m.      (Saturday) 8:00 a.m.

Christmas Holidays       December 23, 1995       December 27, 1995
                         (Saturday) 9:00 p.m.    (Wednesday) 8:00 a.m.

New Year Holiday         December 30, 1995       January 2, 1996
                         (Saturday) 9:00 p.m.    (Tuesday) 8:00 a.m.

(All central host systems in Computer Centre will be running unattended 
during the holidays) cheduled  
System Maintenance


October 4, 1995 (Wednesday) 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon January 3, 1996 (Wednesday) 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon


The new University Information System (UIS)

The new University Information System, UIS, (Fig.1) is an online Windows-based system for access to University information by staff. The system serves as a replacement of the existing UIS on the hkuvm1 (IBM 9375/CMS) system and is available for use by the central administrative offices as well as the departmental offices.

The current version of the new UIS consists of the Annual Leave System, the Computer Equipment Maintenance System and the Computer Course Enrolment System. (Please refer to the companion articles "Annual Leave Processing Computerised" and "Registering Computer Course through Campus Network" for detailed description on these two new systems; and refer to the article "Electronic Form for logging Computer Equipment Maintenance (CEM) Requests" appeared in issue no. 58 (December, 1994) of Computer News for the description of the Computer Equipment Maintenance System.) In addition, as a replacement of the UIS on hkuvm1 mentioned, the new UIS will also include enquiry systems on the University's central administrative data which consists of the student, personnel, financial and facilities data. (Such enquiry systems will be available soon).

Information accessed through the UIS is basically divided into two categories, protected and non-protected information. Protected information is governed by passwords to ensure that only authorized personnel can have access to the relevant data. Non-protected information is data considered useful but non- confidential, they do not require a password for entry and are opened to everyone on the University Campus Network.

In the long run, the UIS aims to serve as a front end office automation system to ease data collection and distribution. It will serve as a means of replacing paper copies and will also provide both central administration and departments with fast and easy access to online and up-to-date information.

The current version of the new UIS is the first release available to the University. It will be continually enhanced and improved as we gather feedbacks from users. Your comments and suggestions are most welcomed and will help us to build a better UIS.

How to gain access to the systems

To gain access to a particular group of protected information, departments should approach the corresponding office concerned to register as an authorized user of the system. To gain access to non-protected information, simply click on the icon of the system of interest. The following briefly outlines the current systems on the UIS,

System             Password protected    Administrative Office for registration 
Annual Leave             Yes                  Personnel Uint, Registry 
Computer Equipment       No                               n/a 
Computer Course          No                               n/a

Note : For password protected systems, you will be prompted to enter your 
staff number/alias and password assigned for the UIS system before using the 
Basic requirement for using the system

The basic requirement for running the system is a 486 with 8 MByte RAM and local hard disk. It is strongly recommended to have Windows 3.1 installed in local hard disk for better performance. In addition, departments must have access to one of the local area network servers supported by Computer Centre . The UIS can be accessed through the "Central Network Service" program group of HKUWIN. For any query, please feel free to contact the undersigned.

Margaret Chung
Tel: 28592491

Annual Leave Processing Computerised

In line with the introduction of the University's new annual leave schemes for Term I non-teaching and Term II staff, Computer Centre has developed a Windows-based Annual Leave Processing System to facilitate leave applications by staff, processing of leave applications by department heads or their delegates and management of leave records by department administrations. While the Annual Leave Processing System is mainly designed for the new annual leave schemes for Term I non-teaching and Term II staff, the system also caters the sick leave and miscellaneous leave records and departments can make use of the system to handle leave applications and records for staff of other Terms of Service.

The system provides the following functions :

System Description

The Annual Leave Processing System (Fig.1) is implemented as a function of the UIS (University Information System) which is described in a companion article in this newsletter.

Fig.1 Annual Leave System

Once a staff's record is entered and enabled by the leave administrator of his department, he can apply leave through the "Apply Leave" function (Fig.2).

Fig.2 Apply Leave

He can apply for cancellation of previously submitted leave applications through the "Cancel Leave" function (Fig.3).

Fig.3 Cancel Leave

When a staff submits a leave application, the leave approval authority of his department will be notified and can proceed to process the leave application with the "Approve Leave" function of the system (Fig.4). The staff's leave counts will then be adjusted accordingly.

Fig.4 Approve Leave

Members of the department can know about his colleagues' approved leave schedule through the "Enquire leave" function of the system (Fig.5)

Fig.5 Enquire Leave

Departments using this system must designate a "leave administrator" to input the basic data for the department, enable the staff in using the system, and generate the yearly report at year-end. Computer Centre will organise trainings to the "leave administrators" so that they can maintain smooth operation of the system for his/her department. If your departments is interested in using the Annual Leave Processing System described above, please register with the Personnel Unit of Registry (2859-2248). If you want to know more about the system, please contact the undersigned.

Fanny Chau
Tel: 28598933

Registering Computer Course through Campus Network

Throughout the year, Computer Centre organises and conducts many training courses for our users. In the past, schedules of the course to be held are generally announced in Centre's newsletter, the Computer News, and users can register their interested course(s) by returning the enrolment slip attached to the newsletter. As more courses are being organised and many of them are extremely popular and attracting large number of applicants, our Centre has to spend considerable effort to process the large volume of enrolment slips returned either by mail or fax, and to handle the many related telephone enquiries. Hence, it is desirable to streamline our course enrolment process and make it more efficient to both our users and office staff.

We are pleased to announce that an electronic Computer Course Enrolment System (Fig.1) is now available as an alternative to augment the existing method described briefly above for users to learn about Centre's training courses and register for participation. This system is implemented as a function of the University Information System (UIS) which is described in a companion article.

Fig.1 Computer Course Enrolment System

Features of the Computer Course Enrolment System include :

System Description

Upon starting this system, titles of all courses offered by Computer Centre will be displayed (Fig.2)

Fig.2 Courses Offered

A user may then examine more information about the course content and the class(es) scheduled for a particular course (Fig.3).

Fig.3 Class Scheduled

When the user finds the class(es) which he would like to attend, he can enrol in them through the "Enrol Class" function (Fig.4).

Fig.4 Enrol Class

Normally, there will be a closing date for the enrolment of each course. Users can check the results of their enrolment applications through the "Enquire Result" function of the system (Fig.5) after the closing date.

Fig.5 Enquire Result

This electronic means for course enrolment serves as an alternative means of sending course enrolment reply slips to Computer Centre . Course enrolment applications made through the electronic method, like through returning of reply slips, does not imply automatic acceptance to the courses. For further enquries, please contact the undersigned.

Fanny Chau
Tel: 28598933

Enhancements of HKU PPP Service

The HKU Dial-up TCP/IP PPP (simply called HKU PPP) service which has been put into service for about two months is very well received. At the same time, we have implemented the following enhancements which should improve our users' access to the HKU PPP facilities :

I Additional lines for staff PPP-dial-up access

Since the release of the PPP dial-up service in July, 1995, its usage has grown very quickly and it is becoming more difficult for a user to get a free line during the busy hours. We are pleased to announce that we have set up a new modem pool which will be dedicated to staff's PPP connections. The characteristics of this new modem pool are as follows :

If you are a staff who is using the HKU PPP package, you can follow the instruction given below to change the dial-up number which can be set either to 25480590 or to 28030202 :

a. Start the "TCP Manager" in MS Windows
b. Abort the login by clicking on the "Cancel" button when you are prompted to enter your username
c. Click on the "Dialer" menu and select the "" entry
d. You will be prompted to enter a new dial-up number
e. Type in the dial-up number (28030202 for the staff-only lines or 25480590 for the commonly shared lines) and then click the "OK" button.
f. Select "Exit" from the "File" menu

II New Release of HKU PPP Package with additional and updated features :

A new release of the HKU PPP Package (Rel. 1.1) is now available. This new release includes the following new and updated features :

- A new "HKU PPP Re-configuration" icon to facilitate users to change their personal settings of the package, such as his e-mail address, the modem port and its speed, etc., without having to re-install the whole package.

- The FTP program in the package is upgraded to the latest version (Rel. 95.07.30). It provides a more reliable environment for file transfer between the PC and host computers.

III Answers to the HKU PPP FAQ

We have complied a document on Answers to the Freqeuently Asked Questions (FAQ) to help our users to tackle their encountered problems by themselves. This HKU PPP FAQ document can be obtained through the network from the following places :

- HKU ftp server : file "hkuppp.faq" under the directory "/pub/hkuppp" - HKU WWW server : URL "" (accessible through Computer Centre's WWW homepage)

Alex Fan
Tel: 28032532

Annual Account Renewal and Delection

All staff and students of the University are eligible to have one general user account on one of Computer Centre's academic host computers, e.g. HKUCC and HKUSUA, during their stay in the University. The computer budget for the general accounts will be reset to the standard allocation value on September 1 each year if the users remain as members of the University on that day. The standard budget allocation for staff and postgraduate students is $5,000 and and that for undergraduate students is $2,000.

All users are therefore reminded that if they will leave the University soon or change their status from undergraduate to postgraduate or from student to staff, they should take steps to back up their useful files in advance of the change. This is particularly important for users who are changing the status from student to staff or vice versa because new usernames will be allocated under their new status and the username (together with their files) registered under their old status will not be accessible thereafter.

Users leaving the University are reminded that their accounts and files on the academic host computers will be deleted. They are thus advised to backup their useful files on tapes, diskettes or other backup media well before their accounts are deleted. The account deletion arrangements are as follows:

1. All accounts and files belonging to students graduated in 1995 have been deleted on September 1, 1995.

2. General computer accounts are granted to staff and students of the University if their names appear on the Registry's database. When their names no longer appear on this database, their general computer accounts will automatically be considered expired and could be removed without prior notice.

3. Course accounts and their data created for the last academic year (1994-95) have been deleted on September 1, 1995.

4. Special accounts which are not renewed before October 30, 1995 will be deleted on November 1, 1995. This category of accounts include departmental/group/ production accounts, consultancy accounts and guest accounts for visiting scholars and fellows. Renewal notices of these accounts will be sent out soon and users should ensure that their accounts are renewed in time.

If you have queries on account deletion and renewal, please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned.

C.M. Mak
Tel: 8592491

Clearing of Output Bins

Computer Centre will carry out an output-bin clean-up exercise. All unclaimed printouts which are produced on or before September 1, 1995 will be removed from the output bins in Room RR-107 (outside the Computer Room) on October 15, 1995. Users are reminded that each output bin is shared by several users, and they should help each other in maintaining the bin orderly by collecting their printouts promptly. Best of all, users should avoid any unnecessary printing.

C.M. Mak
Tel: 28592491

New Colour Plotting Service

Earlier this year, a XEROX 8900 II electrostatic colour plotter has been installed as part of the central Geographical Information System (GIS) facilities in Computer Centre . After considerable testings and the development of a plot-file submitting program, we are pleased to announce that this plotter is now available for general use by our users.

The XEROX 8900 II plotter can plot rasterized plotting data and can convert data from the common standard formats to rasterized data with an embedded controller. It can produce large high-quality colour plots of 400 dpi. (Maximum width of a plotting output is 36" and its length is only restricted by the length of the paper and size of the plot file). The plotter that we have installed supports the following plotting formats :

To recover part of consumables for generating colour plots, plotting output will be charged by means of Centre's Laser Printing Coupon at the following rate :

- plotting output of A0 (33"x48") or smaller size :	HK$50 
- additional length exceeding A0 size :			HK$10/ft
Users interested in using this high-quality plotter should first apply for an account on the system called "HKUPLOT". Application form for applying a "HKUPLOT" account is available from the Enquiry Counter at Room 223, Run Run Shaw Building. Once your HKUPLOT account is created, you can transfer your plot files to the HKUPLOT account by ftp and then submit plotting jobs and monitoring their status with the following procedures :

To submit a plot file to the plotter, type the command :

  /usr/local/bin/psubmit FILETYPE FILENAME

where:  FILETYPE can be one of the following:

  postscript, hpgl, hpgl2, cgm, vds_vcgl, cc907, ccitt-g4, direct, raster


  FILENAME is the name of the plot-file 

For example : Queue the plot file in postscript format for plotting

  %  /usr/local/bin/psubmit postcript
  uid=1000(user1) gid=10(staff) euid=11(vsadmin) groups=10(staff)

(Note :	the parts in italic shown above and the following examples are 
displayed by the system and the parts in bold are entered by the user) 

To monitor the list of all the submitted plotting jobs, type the command :


  For example :

  % /usr/local/bin/plist

  uid=1000(user1) gid=10(staff) euid=11(vsadmin) groups=10(staff)
  - Plot files submitted by user nhychi :-

To cancel all submitted plotting jobs, type the command :


  For example:

  %  /usr/local/bin/pcancel
  ---/d5/plot/postscript/ cancelled
When a plotting job is successfully submitted, the user can go to the counter of the Computer Room (Room 109, Run Run Shaw Building) to collect their plottings by producing the required Laser Printing Coupons for cancellation of the printing units corresponding to the charge of the plot to be collected at or after the next plot-out distribution time. The schedule of plot-out distribution times is :

Monday - Saturday : 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Laser Printing Coupons which bear $20.00 of printing units can be bought at the Counter of Centre's office in Room 223, Run Run Shaw Building and the Centre's service counter at Room 134A, Old Library Building. Users are also reminded that a discount of $4.00 will be available for each Laser Printing Coupon when a used one can be returned.

Should users have any problem or enquiry, please contact the undersigned.

Nick Chi
Tel: 28598936

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1995 © Computer Centre , The University of Hong Kong