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  • 1. University of Michigan Information Technology DivisionEducation Services Computing Fundamentals at U-M The University of Michigan has a special and unique computing environment. U-M staff, faculty, and students have access to some of the finest academic computing resources in the nation. This part of the workshop is an introduction to the special features of our computing environment. It is our intention that this workshop will help you become more familiar with the computing services available to you here at U-M. As you become more familiar with the rich source of computing resources available at the University, you will be better able to make a more informed choice about which programs can be of most help to you in your specific work or study situation.Additional aids besides this workshop are available to help you learn to use the U-M computing resources most effectively. These include additional workshops, a vast array of computing documentation, and information stored online. These aids are listed in this workshop handout. We will refer to many of them throughout the workshop. Many of the computing services we will be exploringincluding this workshopare provided by the Universitys Information Technology Division (ITD).**Service will be demonstrated in the workshop. *Indicates documentation that is included in the workshop materials.Using the U-M Computer Networks To use many of the computing resources available at U-M, you must be able to communicate with the computers where these services are stored. This frequently requires connecting to a network. A network is two or more computers connected together with printers, and possibly other appropriate devices, so that they can all communicate with each other. Many, if not most of the members of the U-M community who use computers are part of one or more networks.Your network may be a LAN (Local Area Network), operated by your department. The campus backbone network, which is made of fiber optic cable, connects these LANs together into a network of networks enabling the entire U-M community, including the Flint and Dearborn campuses to communicate and work together. We should point out that the computing, telephone, and video connections between the three campuses do not travel on cable. Instead, they are transmitted electronically between microwave towers on each of the three campuses.ITD is responsible for creating and maintaining this entire U-M communications network and for connecting the University community to the outside world. While the ITD telecommunications unit handles internal phone calls, University phone calls to places outside the U-M are transferred to the common telecommunication carriers.ITD is also responsible for providing the computing connections between the U-M and the computing world outside the University, including connections to MichNet, and the National Science Foundation Network (NSFnet)the principal academic and research backbone for the US and a major part of the worldwide Internet.The University of Michigans computing environment is generally decentralized and distributed. In other words, at U-M we dont rely on a single centralized computer system, but rather on many networks serving various parts of the U-M that are joined together. Authority over the various parts of the campus-wide computing network is diffused among the units which own each part. Two of the very large units of the University have their own extensive fiber networks. These include CAEN the Computer-Aided Engineering Network, which serves the many buildings that 5/20/2010mrbComputing Fundamentals at U-M1

2. comprise the College of Engineering on the U-M North Campus. The Medical Center Information Technology (MCIT) organization has its own fiber network which connects the entire Medical Center together. The CAEN and MCIT networks are interconnected with the ITD- maintained campus-wide computing backbone network which connects most of U-M LANs together.MichNet and the World-wide Internet While many of the computing resources we choose to use are located on the U-M campus, some of these require that we connect to the computing world beyond U-M. Consequently, its important for us to have some understanding of the networks that exist beyond the University. The U-M computing network is connected to and part of the Michigan regional network called MichNet. MichNet is operated by Merit, a consortium of Michigan universities which is based on the University campus and has a close relationship with the U-M. MichNet connects many networks around the state, including those at universities and colleges, K-12 schools and school districts, hospitals, private corporations, research institutions, libraries, and many other organizations.MichNet is one part of the international Internet, that vast collection of networks around the world that are interconnected. The Internet is sometimes called the information superhighway. Since our campus networks are part of MichNet, they are also part of the Internet. Members of 2 3. University of Michigan Information Technology Division Education Services the University community with computer connectivity thus have access to the extensive resources available on the Internet.The Internet The Internet is a worldwide network of about half a million computers belonging to educational and research organizations, the military, corporations, and many other types of organizations. The Internet, or information superhighway, is not a destination but the means by which you get to your destination. Mail and files move across the net from computer to computer until they reach their final destination. You can send personal mail and access many different services.The Internet is free to users, the costs being paid by participating educational and research organizations, the military, the government, and the other organizations and corporations who use it. U-M is one of the original members of Merit and contributes to the support of MichNet the Michigan part of the Internet.)The Internet has been around for many years, but it only recently became the information superhighway of the general population. Previously the software that accessed remote computers was complex and navigating tools were not developed.A few years ago the University of Minnesota developed Gopher, a software program which makes it relatively easy to access information stored on the Internet. We will talk about and demonstrate the U-M GOpherBLUE server later in this workshop.Client/Server Programs In order to access services stored on U-M servers and elsewhere on the Internet, a user often needs one or more software programs loaded on their computer. These programs make it possible for the computer to make the connection(s). In these situations, your computer is the client machine, receiving services from the server computer. The software you need to accomplish this is called client programs. Information on how and where to get these programs for the various services is listed in this handout.**The U-M GOpherBLUE Server(Note: The GOpherBLUE server is scheduled to be phased out over the 1996-97 year. We include it in this workshop until it is truly gone, because it contains much useful information and is easy to use. A recent ITD customer survey indicates that GOpherBLUE is a very popular service at U-M. When Gopher is phased out, the information currently stored there will be moved to the World-Wide Web.)Gopher uses menus and allows easy selection of items. The U-Ms GOpherBLUE information server is accessible to U-M faculty, staff, and students on the Internet, and through the campus AppleTalk network. Some of the information on GOpherBLUE, U-M open positions and Non- Credit Campus Computing Workshops, is stored on computers on the U-M campus. Where the information is stored is not of concern to the GOpherBLUE user. Once an item is selected from a menu, GOpherBLUE makes the appropriate connection and presents the information on the users screen.U-M information available on the U-M GOpherBLUE includes: news and weather, the X.500 directory, historic documents and speeches, U-M Library information, and Computing on Campus. The Computing on Campus information includes computer sales information, software available at U-M, and ITD computer documentation. Complete copies of InfoTech Digest, an ITD-produced periodical which keeps U-M users up-to-date on the latest computing changes and 5/20/2010mrbComputing Fundamentals at U-M3 4. services are there. A list of ITD products and services, computer use policies information, and much, much more is available on the U-M GOpherBLUE server.Telnet: A U-M GOpherBLUE page ITD Documentation: Accessing GOpherBLUE, ITD Documentation, Series Title: Step-by-step S4124The World-Wide Web (WWW) Now, in addition to Gopher, we use the World-Wide Web (WWW or the Web). The World- Wide Web is a global web of computer-accessible information, organized into pages. There are over 20 million home pages on the Web, set up by people and organizations, including U-M schools and departments, which provide excellent sources of information.Each Web page contains linkswords, pictures, sounds, and even videothat you click on to move to other pages, often of related information. This clicking on the various links allows you to surf the Web. When you use your mouse to click on highlighted words, pictures and icons, the related files which may be located anywhere on the Internet, are presented on your screen. The advantage of making information available on the Web is that it can be more easily updated and distributed than information in hard copy format.The interconnected computers and computer networks, including MichNet and the U-M campus network that make up the Internet, can communicate with each other because they have agreed to a common language or set of protocols called TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Int