NATIONAL RADIO ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY
DATE: July 20, 1994
TO: 140-ft Operators
FROM: Ron Maddalena
SUBJECT: Operators workstation
These instructions document suggestions on how you can take advantage of the
workstation recently placed at the telescope console. You should expect that the
system of software and environments you will be using will change as we get more
experience with how you need to or want to use the workstation. Try to stay up
to date with changes in the system that we will report to you either via e-mail
or through memorandum. Report all suggestions or problems to me.
At the beginning of each shift, the in-coming operator should log out the
previous operator's login session and then log into the workstation using their
own account. You may want to delay logging out the previous operator until you
know the telescope won't be doing anything critical for the amount of time it
takes to log out and in.
In case of problems with your account, I have set up an account with the name
"oper140" which you can log into and use. The account is only for time
of problems and should not be used when another account will do. I'll pass
around the password for this account and inform you of any changes in password.
DO NOT MAKE ANY CHANGES TO ANY FILES IN THE 'OPER140' ACCOUNT.
I will also pass around the password for 'root' in case you may need to do
some work on the operating system. PLEASE USE YOUR ROOT PRIVILEGES ONLY IN
I have modified the set-up files (i.e., the "dot" files) in your
home directory so as to provide you with all of the tools George Liptak, Bob
Vance, and I think you will need to operate the 140-ft. The 'dot' files I have
given you reflect what your 'dot' files were like so you may not notice any
changes and if you do the changes will be very slight.
Most of the 'dot' files in your account point to 'dot' files in the 'system_stuff'
directory in the 'oper140' account. By my changing the 'dot' files in the
'oper140' account all operators will immediately benefit from the changes.
OPERATORS SHOULD NOT ALTER THE 'DOT' FILES IN THE 'SYSTEM_STUFF' DIRECTORY OF
THE 'OPER140' ACCOUNT. Only a few people should make these changes. If you'd
like to see changes made, please send your requests to me and I'll try to put
them in if all agree that the changes would be beneficial.
You have the power to change the 'dot' files in your own account but be
careful since you may accidentally lose some of the necessary functionalities
provided by the 'oper140' 'dot' files. You should try to always use the
'oper140' dot files. If your desired changes are of little concern to the other
operators (e.g., the 'colors' of your windows), you may modify the 'dot' files
in your account. When in doubt, ask before you change the 'dot' files in your
Currently, you have a choice of windowing systems: openlook, mwm, tvtwm, and
twm. If you want to migrate to a new windowing system, edit the '.unipops' file
in your home directory and modify the "setenv popswindow" line to
reflect your choice of windowing systems. The above names are those systems that
currently will work. Note that the sunview windowing system is no longer
Your account's 'dot' files have been configured to use a centralized SoftPC
'C' drive. This will allow you to store and share PC files (e.g., maintenance
and shift logs) with other operators. Do not alter the designation of your 'C'
drive when in SoftPC. Do not make any system changes to the 'C' drive without
consulting George Liptak since he is maintaining for now the 'C' drive. All
operators have read/write privileges to the 'C' drive. We are currently
configuring the 'C' drive so don't expect to find anything useful in there yet.
You can create your own 'D' drive (look under the 'options' button of SoftPC)
which you should locate in your account. The 'D' drive is where you would place
any work and files that do not need to be accessible by the other operators.
Your 'dot' files provide access to all third-party software (e.g., xmosaic,
WordPerfect via the startxwp command, PV-Wave) and UniPops. The 'dot' files also
are configured to bring up a set of windows that we think will be needed to
execute your function as operators. You can either use C-Shell (which all
operators are now using) or the Bash shell -- see the system's administrator or
me if you want to change shells.
Have fun exploring the capabilities of the system.
When you log into the workstation, a set of windows will appear that have
You will use the window labeled 'ModComp' to talk to the ModComp computer.
The window replaces the v102 terminal you have been using to talk to the ModComp.
The window has a black background so that it will be easily recognized. It also
has the special property that you don't need to press the 'caps' button to get
capital letters. Anything you type will appear as capital letters. The window is
a modified xterm window and you should read the xterm manual pages (use the
command 'man xterm') to understand the full capabilities of the window.
If at any time you have major problems (e.g., the workstation crashes and
cannot be re-booted), you should revert back to using a v102. The backup v102
will be located at the 140-ft and all you need to do is plug the serial cable
that goes into the 'A' serial port on the back of the workstation into the
'modem' connection on the back of the v102.
If the ModComp window dies, type in any other window the command 'ModComp' to
resurrect the window. If the 'ModComp' command fails, try the command 'cua'. If
that fails, go to the backup v102.
A 'Scans' window will also appear and it will mimic the output that appears
on the astronomer's workstation telling you if scans are being received by the
analysis computer. You should watch this window to make sure no scans are lost.
If the window were to ever die, type the command 'Scans' in any other window and
the lost window should reappear. The 'Scans' window cannot be used for anything
(i.e., don't try to type in the window since all your commands except things
like Ctrl-C and Ctrl-Z will be ignored). Contact me if you have any problems or
questions with the 'Scans' window or command.
The output in the 'Scans' window will differ slightly in a few minor ways to
what is on the astronomer's workstation. First, the 'Scans' window may lag the
astronomer's workstation by about 5 seconds. Second, the first number in each
line of the output to the 'Scans' window will differ from that on astronomer's
Your workstation cannot receive or send mail. But, I have configured your
accounts to make it appear as if you can receive and send mail. When you log in
you'll see a mailtool window appear which is actually running on another
computer. You can open the window and send and receive mail just as if your
workstation was capable of sending and receiving mail. In actuality, the work is
being done on the other computer.
If you ever loose your mailtool window, you can recreate it with the command
MailTool which will re-establish the communication for mail to the other
You should be aware of some special commands I have provided to your accounts
and which I have already mentioned. Type the commands exactly as I have written
cua A backup way of starting up communications to the ModComp. Can be used
outside of windows. Only use this command if you are logged onto the operator's
workstation and there is no other on-going communication with the ModComp. Use
the ModComp command instead whenever possible.
ModComp Starts up a special xterm window to communicate with the ModComp. Only use this command if you are logged onto the operator's workstation and if no other ModComp window is present. Use this command instead of cua whenever possible.
MailTool Starts up a special 'mailtool' window that uses another computer.
Only use this command if you are logged onto the operator's workstation. Use the
mailtool command if you are logged on a different computer. Don't issue the
MailTool or mailtool command if a 'mailtool' window already exists.
Scans Starts up a window that will track the scans being sent from the ModComp to the analysis computer. The command can be run from any workstation though its use would be unnecessary on the astronomer's workstation..