Student Assistant Employee Handbook

All ICESS Student Assistants are responsible for the following material. Let the IT Manager know of any suggestions or needs for clarification.

UNIX Root Password (also the Windows Administrator Password)

You should have the ICESS root password by now, if not, please let the IT Manager know. It's going to be difficult to do your job if you don't have the root password. Certain responsibilities go with the password. Please take care to observe the following at all times:

When on UNIX:

  1. rsh (or your favorite equivalent) around as your username to get on the systems you need to be on and THEN "su" to root. This way we can know which of us is on what systems and avoid stepping on toes.
  2. "suspend" your "su" whenever you don't need root privileges. Doing so will reduce the likelyhood of major mishaps. To err only requires a regular account, to really screw up requires the root password.
Windows and UNIX:
  1. UC policy requires that system administrators use the "least intrusive" methods possible to debug system problems. In other words, avoid looking at stuff you wouldn't be able to see without the root password. For example, if you're debugging an E-mail problem and are watching the end of someone's mail spool file, use "tail -1f" instead of "tail -f" (the former exposes one line of the file, the latter, 10 lines) . If we do see something private, we're expected to keep it private.
  2. Within ICESS there are a fair amount of resources that are owned by and dedicated to the use of the various PIs and grants. When we grant access to resources it's important to insure that it's in accordance with the wishes of the owner(s). Many users attribute more power to us that we really have. For example, it's very typical for someone to run out of space and come to us to ask to borrow some space (as if we control all the space.) Even if you know if you know of a fairly empty, unused, file system that could easily be lent out by you with a simple "mkdir ...; chown ...; chgrp ..." it's inappropriate for us to hand out resources like this. It's preferable to say "ask your PI for more space", or "ask some of the other PIs or Data Librarians" for more resources. Doing so keeps us out of the loop in any negotiations that may ensue.
  3. Some ICESS data is private! For example, data sets that a PI is not ready to make public either stay private or the PI risks having the data set used in a way that turns out to eventually be defamatory. People are sharing data all the time here and often ask us to open up the permissions on files. This can be a sensitive issue and it's important to insure that whatever access changes we make will meet with the approval of the corresponding Data Librarian and/or PI. For example, it would not be appropriate to add Barbara Prezelin to the ucmbo group without checking with Ray (PI, of course) and Karen Baker (Data Librarian) first. If there is any doubt, ask!

Master Key

When you need to get though an ICESS locked door to do your job, you are welcome to use the master key that is in the standard location that we will communicate to you verbally (let the IT Manager know if you don't know where the master key is kept or how to access it.) This key must not leave ICESS and it must be kept in the standard location outside of our normal working hours (8am to 6pm on working days).

Working Hours and Location

Unless approved in advance:
  1. Your working hours need to fall between 8am and 6pm on normal ICESS working days in order to coordinate your work with the Systems Group staff and users.
  2. Work must be performed on-site.
We greatly appreciate any willingness on your part to do occasional off-hours or off-site work; however, weekend hours and/or off-site work are a rare exception and are never routine.

Please give us as much notice as possible if you plan to take any time off from your published schedule. Post your plans to:
As soon as you know your schedule at the beginning of a quarter, please post it to:
and update the hours on your office door.

Out Sick

If you are going to be out sick, please, as soon as practical, send or cause to be sent to:
an e-mail message that says that you are sick and are not going to be able to make it to work for however long you anticipate being out. You can cause an e-mail message to be sent to the above address by calling:
    (805) 893-4885 (this is the ICESS Admin Office)
or, in the unlikely event of no answer above:
    (805) 893-7363 (this is the central Bren School number)
and asking whomever answers to send the message for you. You can also call or ask anyone else you know that happens to be near or is going near their e-mail account to do the same.

Student Assistant Office

Please be courteous and considerate of your fellow office-mates. You are welcome to use this office if you need somewhere to "get away" during your studies when you are off-work; but, in doing so, please don't get in the way of someone that is taking care of ICESS business.

Use of ICESS Computing Resources

You're welcome to use the computing resources at ICESS for your own personal pet projects subject to the following:
  1. Keep a low profile and don't disrupt ICESS business.
  2. Long-running processes or tasks (on Windows and UNIX) are not allowed unless they are not competing for resources at all and at all times with other processes and/or tasks. Monitoring of this rule must be manual. You must be logged in and watching so that you can yield to anyone who might log in and need to run their job. You can't just fire up a background job and leave without watching it. ICESS is not the greatest place to try and snag a lot of idle CPU cycles because our researchers are trying to use the leftover CPU cycles much of the time.
  3. Use of the Administrator and/or root password to run and/or install pet projects is not allowed. Pet projects must be installed and run under your username and clearly identified as such.
  4. Do not use disk space on file systems where compute team home directories reside.
  5. The use of University resources for non-university business is not allowed. (Don't use your account to start-up your own or to go for the prize money associated with some cypher-cracking contest.)

Telephone Use

The telephone line in your office (x7348) is shared with the IT Manager. You are welcome to and will need to use that line for ICESS business.

If you lift the handset and hear a conversation, please hang up and try again in few minutes.

If you pick up a call for the IT Manager, please ask the caller to leave a message on voice mail. Then flash (depress the switch-hook, wait one second, then release), listen for the "beep beep beep" confirmation tone then dial x7348. When the voice mail system answers, hang up. If have problems making this work, ask the IT Manager for a demo.

You are welcome to ask people to leave messages for you at x7348. Your name is on the personal greeting for the voice mail system. (Callers hear something like: "This is a voice mail box that is shared by the IT Manager, Chris DeMars, Ajay Kochhar, and Vince Ungaro. Please leave your message after the tone.")

To retrieve your messages, dial 8800 and enter the password (ask the IT Manager if you don't know the password). Hit 0 if you need help. Skip over messages that don't belong to you. Please don't delete or save messages that are not for you. Please don't leave messages on the system for more than a day. (The mailbox will fill up.)

You are welcome to use the phone and the voice mail for incidental low-profile personal use, but don't expect any privacy.

When you make a long-distance call, please log the call the same day by appending an entry to a file in your UNIX home directory named:

You can set the mode to 0600 if you like. The IT Manager will be looking at the file once a month to recharge telephone calls.

Start the log with the following column headers:

    Date&Time                    Regarding      Called          Number
    ---------                    ---------      ------          ------
For example:
    Date&Time                    Regarding      Called          Number
    ---------                    ---------      ------          ------
    Mon Oct 26 18:39:32 PST 1998 req #1395      Dial-a-prayer   123-456-7890
    Mon Oct 26 19:00:32 PST 1998 personal                       234-567-8901
"req #1395" means request number 1395. The "Called" field should contain the name of the party you called. If the call is personal, you can leave this field blank. The Date&Time can be generated with the UNIX date command. See "Time Tracking", below.

If you make any personal long distance calls, you will be asked to reimburse ICESS in the Admin Office. (The telephone statements are delivered to us once each month.)

DO NOT attach modems, answering machines, or any other devices that will autoanswer calls to x7348.

Request System

You need to know about the Request System and how it works. If you haven't already, the best thing to do is to schedule an orientation with another member of the Systems Group. After the orientation, if you ever have any questions, just ask.

Time Tracking

We need you to track your time so that your time can be recharged to the many funding sources here at ICESS. It is very important to keep accurate time logs that are up-to-date by the end of each day. Untracked time has to be charged to core funding and there isn't very much core funding, so it won't do to have many hours that aren't accounted for.

As much as possible, your time needs to be tracked against request numbers (e.g., the 2566 in "[UCSB-ISSP #2566] disk on Grebe"). If you're asked by a user to do something new that isn't already associated with a request, ask them or help them to create one or ask another member of the Systems Group how to find out whether or not an open request is already associated with your work.

If you're doing something that isn't associated with a particular request, that's okay, just put down a short description for it. If you need more room, use comments (see the examples below.)

Most text editors have some kind of shell escape that will allow the date(1) command to help with these logs, for example, in vi(1) one can say:

and something like:
    Wed Mar 18 08:59:18 PST 1998
will replace the current line.

Please keep your time log in a file named:

in the following format:
    <description of work>: <start time> - <end time>
For example:
    req #1821: Mon Mar 30 14:16:31 PST 1998 - Mon Mar 30 16:08:28 PST 1998
    req #2016: Mon Mar 30 16:08:28 PST 1998 - Mon Mar 30 17:08:28 PST 1998
    check E-Mail: Mon Mar 30 17:08:28 PST 1998 - Mon Mar 30 17:18:28 PST 1998
    # Had to forward to "request" e-mail that some users sent directly to
    # my user name.
    req #2016: Mon Mar 30 17:18:28 PST 1998 - Mon Mar 30 17:48:28 PST 1998
A line that starts with pound ('#') will be interpreted as a comment.

The IT Manager will be looking at your file once a month to generate recharges.

The precise timing of when the work is done is less important than the difference between the start and end times approximating (it doesn't have to be exact) the true amount of time that was put in on the request.

For example, this:

    req #1821: Mon Mar 30 14:00:00 PST 1998 - Mon Mar 30 15:00:00 PST 1998
    req #2016: Mon Mar 30 15:00:00 PST 1998 - Mon Mar 30 16:00:00 PST 1998
is just as good as this:
    req #1821: Mon Mar 30 14:00:00 PST 1998 - Mon Mar 30 14:30:00 PST 1998
    req #2016: Mon Mar 30 14:30:00 PST 1998 - Mon Mar 30 15:00:00 PST 1998
    req #1821: Mon Mar 30 15:00:00 PST 1998 - Mon Mar 30 15:30:00 PST 1998
    req #2016: Mon Mar 30 15:30:00 PST 1998 - Mon Mar 30 16:00:00 PST 1998
Don't try to make these logs accurate to the second. Plus or minus 15 minutes is close enough.

Please try to reverse engineer your log back to your start date as much as possible based upon your memory of what you worked on.

The timesheet you deliver to the ICESS Personnel Assistant each month needs to match your time log (above). It is suggested that you use your time log as specified above as a reference for generating your timesheet.


We value your suggestions and feedback. If there is anything we can do to make the above less painful or to make ICESS a better place, please feel free to share your ideas. Thanks!

Notes for maintainers:

This work originated in:

    [UCSB-ISSP #1395] ICESS Student Assistant Employee Handbook
HTML version created by: em, 4 Jan 1999

Last modified by: em, 4 Jan 1999