Category Archives: How To …

Rules for using the computers

We have a bunch of shared access computers that everyone has to use, and we don’t want the machines to be compromised. Here are some rules that should not be too onerous, however Rob will disable accounts that don’t follow the rules.


You should use strong passwords, and that really means sentences or phrases. It does not equate to the number of capitals or punctuation in your password.

From time to time we will run password crackers on all machines in the lab. If your account has a weak password it will be disabled without notice.

You should not share your password – that is a common way for machines to get hacked and accounts to be abused. If you need to share data, you can either change the permissions on your account or you can set up a common working area (see below).

Common working areas

Many machines have a directory like /data. Write access is typically asserted at the group level, and you may need to be added to the group to write to the directory. Let an admin know if you need to be added.


Please do not download nr, viral nr, seed nr, or other directories to your home directory. The chances are high that (a) we have them somewhere, and (b) others will want them. If everyone downloads the databases we will run out of disk space quickly.





Add Posters to the Page Publications->Posters

(1) Convert the poster file into a PDF file

(2) Create a screen capture of the PDF file (e.g. import the PDF to Photoshop) and save it as GIF file with the longest dimension being 200px

(3) Copy the PDF file to the server under /var/www/html/labsite/media/poster/

(4) Copy the GIF file to the server under /var/www/html/labsite/images/stories/poster/

(5) Add the new poster image and description to the poster web page (make sure it is added to the correct year)

That’s it!

Invite people for the Journal Club

Step 1: Choose a paper. Have a different person choose the paper every week. Check the previous Journal Clubs here to see who chose one the longest time ago. Let new lab members join the club a few times so they can see what it is like before asking them to choose a paper themselves.
Step 2: Ask them to come up with papers that represent the Cutting Edge of Science. Think about:
– papers that present something new (e.g. a novel data set or approach)
– papers should preferentially be recent (so that we can use the new insights/data promptly)
– if the paper appeared in a lower-impact journal, this could avoid it having been noticed by competing groups 😉
– review papers are good to learn some background, but they usually do not represent the Cutting Edge of Science.
Step 3: Use the “Add content” link to post the paper on the Edwards Lab Site Mention who chose the paper and when we are discussing it.
Step 4: Send out an email to the Edwards Lab mailing list telling them which paper to read and the date of the Journal Club. Attach a PDF of the paper. Also, tell everyone to really read the paper, or the Journal Club will lose its meaning.
Step 5: While reading, try to understand what the paper is about. If something is not clear, discuss it with the others.
Step 6: During the Journal Club discussion, remember the following points:
– Think about how we can use the information presented in the paper in our own research.
– Try to focus on positive things – trashing something is just too easy.

Add Users and Make their Blog Pages

Step 1: Get administrator status within the system, specifically access to the User Manager.

Step 2: Log in to the administrator backend.

Step 3: Go to the user manager, click New. Add in all the relevant information: full name, username, email address, password. Give them the status required to do what they need to, usually Registered or Author. Hit save, not apply.

Step 4: Go to the category manager. Make a new category attached to the lab blog section. Pretty simple. “Joe’s lab blog”, etc. Sort it alphabetically if you want. I did, just for ease of looking through to make sure everyone has a blog page that needs one.

Step 5: Go to Lab Blogs inside the Menus dropdown menu. Add a new one, a Category Blog Layout, and select your category from the menu on the right hand side. Apply then save. Make sure to sort the menu alphabetically. This is what users will see on the right hand side when browsing lab blogs, so this is not an option!

Step 6: Done.

Replace the printer cartridge

At some point, the lab printer will run out of toner and the cartridge has to be replaced. New printer cartrigdes can be found in the mail room in 411. If you don’t have a key for 411, ask someone who has a key to help you. If there is no printer cartridge for the model you need, ask Brenda in the office to order a new one (tell her the Q-number from below). Ordering a new cartrigde takes 2-3 days. (In case Brenda asks, tell her that Amy will take care of the payment.)
Current lab printer: HP 2420
Printer cartridge: 11A (Q6511A)
Some last notes for cartridge recycling. The old cartridge should be packed into the box of the new cartridge. Put the provided return sticker on top when you are done (or go to to print a free return shipping label). The easiest way to get the box shipped back to HP is to leave it in the outgoing mailbox in 411 (in the room with the table, after the second door). That’s all.