Department of Physics and Astronomy
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What wireless networks are in the Kelvin Building?

Updated 31-3-2010

There are 3 wireless networks in the Kelvin Building:

The first is known by these names:
PAG1AWless | Paglawless | PAGlAWireless

and it is the Physics department own wireless network. It is secured by PIN access.
Coverage is mostly in offices (and the Common Room), but some labs now have access points as well.
Availability is classed as good for most of the building

The second is:

and that is a University wide network, secured by VPN. Access points are in Lecture theatres only.

Instructions for Staff :
Instructions for Students:

The third is:

and that is a University wide network for people who are classified as "short-stay" visitors. Access to this network is pre-registration only. Details on pre-registration are usually handled by Conference Services. Access points are in Lecture theatres only.

For further information please contact Faculty IT Office.

Which mail program should I use?

You may use any IMAP capable mail program that runs on your operating system. Thunderbird is one that is free, fully featured and runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Set up information is here.
Note that using the departmental webmail system should be your last resort.

Can I access my mail from anywhere?

Yes - you may access your email via your standard email program (set-up information here), from the department webmail server, and by using SSH to access the departmental login server - note that access must be pre-arranged for this server, and it is a command line environment. If you are not used to this type of interface you are better off using one of the other two methods.

Why is the webmail so slow (or fails completely?)

Even though the web interface is deceptively simple, there is a large amount of work going "under the surface", and any additional load factors (such as a large number of small emails or a small number of large emails in the inbox) can cause the webserver to run slowly or even timeout.
For best performance overall, email should be filed away in a folder structure of your own choosing when it is no longer 'current'. Doing this helps your email program respond quickly, and allows the server to process more email requests.
If you can't send email at all from the webmail interface, you may have been tagged as a "spammer" - if you send to 18 or more people twice within a 10 minute period your email access will be revoked until you contact IT Support. This is to stop compromised accounts from being used by spammers (and yes, we have had this happen to us on two occasions.)

How do I put an out-of-office (or vacation) message on?

In an attempt to reduce complexity, the old way of putting on a vacation message is no longer supported. Our mail system has grown in server numbers and the network bandwidth required for supporting the old way of doing it is better used for other purposes (like giving you access to your email store).

Currently, there is one way to put an out of office message;

Email your text, your start date and your end date to and it will be scheduled to start automatically and end automatically.

Plans for the future include a web application where you can schedule this for yourself, and perhaps a squirrlemail plug-in as well.

How do I forward my email?

Send the address you want your email forwarded to to and it will be set up when you specify.

Why can't my laptop connect to...?

Laptops fall into three categories:
1. Wirelessly connected (requires PIN access - contact local IT support or Faculty IT Office)
This is the most restricted category. Mail ports, web ports, and ssh are open. Also, every effort is made to allow VPN to visitors home sites.

2. Wired connection, untrusted.
While less restricted than the wireless connections, you will still find certain services denied to you.

3. Wired connection, trusted
There are no restrictions on any destination services. A trusted laptop is one that has been vetted by the Faculty IT Office to conform to certain standards. Trusted status is only given to laptops owned/operated by University employees.

What is my email address?

Email addresses in Physics and Astronomy
It is a general principle that members of the Department have a well-defined email address. Normally, this address will take the form:
and, as far as is reasonably possible, this address will be maintained over time.

It may also be possible to reach people by guessing their address, knowing their surname and optionally their initial(s), but this "fuzzy matching" is likely to change from time to time, as other people with similar names may join the Department. Therefore, if you establish initial contact with an individual in this way, it is advisable to enquire their well-defined email address for future contacts: members of the department are advised to include this address (e.g in the Reply-to: mail header and/or in a "signature block") in their outgoing mail.

Some users take their mail directly from this server, while others have it automatically forwarded to their preferred email address. If the initial and surname match more than one person (yes, this does happen in a few cases already), then the mailer will return the mail to the sender, with some appropriate hints for choosing the address that unambiguously matches the correct addressee.

The Staff search page uses the same data as is used by the departmental mailer. So, if you wish to reach a member of the Department whose email address is unknown to you, you can either try a staff search to find their email address, or try sending an exploratory email to initial.surname and see what happens. In case of difficulty, contact the Departmental postmaster address,

Suggestion to members of the dept.
In most cases, it will probably be appropriate for members of the department to give out their email addresses in the above "user friendly" form. Some users will prefer to use a different "real" address, but it's a simple matter to have the "publicly-advertised" email address forwarded to one's currently favoured "real" email address without having to notify all of one's correspondents of the change. Of course, it's also possible at their discretion to inform their more-frequent correspondents of their currently favoured address.

How big can an email be?

The server is set to transport emails at 20 megabytes.

Please Note:
To transport an email across systems, an email has to be text only. To get your email into a text form, it needs to be encoded. For brevity's sake, I won't go into details, but the encoding process adds an extra 30% to your emails size.

This means an attachment of a file of 15 megabytes will fail.

Keep your attachments under 14 megabytes total, and all should be well.

Please note that we cannot control the size the accepting end allows.

My friends say their emails to me are being rejected as 'spam'. Why?

The department operate an anti-spam policy that will automatically refuse email that accumulates 8 or more 'spam points', and it will mark (and deliver) mail that scores over 5 'spam points'.
It is not possible to predict the content of all the emails coming in to the department, so it is not possible to predict what is regarded as 'spam'. If your friends/contacts have been having their email to you rejected, they should do as the rejection message says and get in contact with the postmaster ( We always send a polite rejection message, but it is not always passed on.
For more information on why we use 8 points (as opposed to 7 or 9) see as this is the major tool we use to fight spam.

How can I tell if an email is "phishing"?

There are two main indicators:

1. The email does not address you by name

Logically, if they are emailing you about your account, then they should know your name!

2. There is no phone number in the email

All customer support emails should include a phone number for confirmation, questions etc.

3. The email addresses used for the To, From, and Reply-to are not at this institution.

If it is our computer support/customer services, then why do they want us to reply to an address outside our institution?

If you have answered one of these "phishing" emails, get in touch with your local computer support to get your email password changed as soon as possible.

What Anti-Virus program is recommended?

Glasgow University have a licence for the Sophos Anti Virus product. The licence allows use on your home computers at no charge. There are versions for Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris and Linux. Instructions for installing the program can be found here.

What can I do to stay safe online?

Some sensible advice may be obtained from

Why can't I log into Moodle?

Chances are, you are trying to log in to moodle using a Novell account made up by Physics.
While some people seem to be able to use these accounts for Moodle log-ins, others are out of luck.

For the form(s) necessary to obtain a Novell login that will let you log in to Moodle, see this post

If you are sure you are using the right account and password, please contact the Department Moodle Co-Ordinator (currently Morag Casey ) for some help.

What file type(s) can I receive?

We block most active attachments, and some inactive attachments as well. Anything that is not on this list will get through to you - eventually. We do 'freeze' certain attachments for postmaster inspection, so that can result in some delays.
File extension list we block:
.ani, .ade, .adp, .asx, .bas, .bat, .bin, .cbo, .cbl, .cbm, .chm, .cmd, .com, .cpl, .crt, .dll, .exe, .hiv, .hlp, .hta, .inf, .ins, .isp, .js, .jse, .jtd, .lnk, .mdb, .mde, .msc, .msi, .msp, .mst, .ocx, .oft, .ovl, .pcd, .pif, .pl, .plx, .rar, .reg, .scr, .sct, .sh, .shb, .shs, .sys, .vb, .vbe, .vbs, .vss, .vst, .vxd, .wsc, .wsf, .wsh

We freeze .zip files for postmaster inspection. Currently we are rejecting emails with no text, just a .pdf attachment

Logically, if we block these incoming, other mail sites will also, meaning that if you send these file types you risk getting them rejected at the far end.

What Video Conferencing facilities are available?

The department has the following Video Conferencing equipment available:
Room 506 seats 12, recently updated (July 2007) Video and Telephone conferencing set-up.

Room 450 seats 4, has older equipment and is mostly used by the PPE group.

Availability can be checked on the departments Room Booking page.

What happened to the old Faq-o-Matic?

Sad to say, the old Faq-o-Matic has fallen on hard times. Nobody was asking it questions, and its knowledge base was pretty outdated.
If you miss any of the information in it, and you can't find it here, contact the Faculty IT Office

How can I get a computer account for a new staff member?

Under the Accounts navigation tab is the New Accounts tab. Clicking on this tab will open a new window with instuctions on how to request a computer account for your new staff member.
Basically, read the instructions, fill in the web form, confirm the email, print the received form, get the new staff member to sign it and take it to the Faculty IT room (room 238).
So, no more traipsing around the building to three different places and then told to come back later. And as soon as you know the staff member is coming you can start the process, completing it in a few minutes when they actually arrive.

Why can't the Boyd Orr lecture theatres connect to the Internet?

Apparently, each centrally bookable lecture theatre in the Boyd Orr (and probably elsewhere) that supplies an Internet connection on a lectern requires that your laptop be specifically set-up with explicit network parameters such as a specific IP address.

To find out what settings are required for your teaching room, use this link to this Computing Service maintained web page

What internet phone applications can I use?

The current policy on Skype is here.
The standards based voice over ip applications recommended by the University are here.

What kind of server racks do I need?

For the new server room, the method chosen for the most efficient use of the cooling equipment installed is "cold-aisle containment". For this to be effective, the racks used to house the servers need to be uniform. For that reason, it was decided that racks purchased from a specialist who could repeat the order over a period of time would be mandatory.