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IDSC FAQ

The following is a list of frequently asked questions for the IDSC.

General

Is the lab open on holidays or during term breaks?
While the IDSC is closed for all university/state recognized holidays, the lab is generally open during term breaks, with the exception of holidays or scheduled maintenance. Please check the schedule posted in the lab or the lab hours page for more information.

Can I check out lab equipment for use outside the lab?
While lab users may check out lab equipment during their visit, all equipment must remain in the IDSC so that they are available for use by other patrons. Lab equipment must be returned upon leaving the IDSC and are not permitted to leave the premises.

Can the IDSC help me with my homework?
While the IDSC staff are trained to provide basic assistance and troubleshooting with the hardware and software of the IDSC, they are not permitted to help on exams, act as a tutor, or provide assistance with completing homework assignments.The IDSC reserves the right to refuse service if the assistance required by an individual is deemed beyond the scope of what the lab can provide. Please check with the Writing Center, Learning Center, or your academic department for tutoring resources.

Can I use my cell phone in the IDSC?
Cell phone use is not permitted in the IDSC. Lab users are expected to turn their cell phones off or to set them to silent when they enter the lab. Cell phone calls and conversations must be taken outside of the computer lab so that the others are not disturbed. Individuals that are using their cell phone in the lab will be asked to leave the lab for the duration of their call.

I use the IDSC everyday, why is my ID checked each time I use the lab?
While the general access section of the IDSC (BDWY 226) can be utilized by anyone in the PSU community, BDWY 225 is dedicated specifically to faculty, graduate student and staff use. In order to verify that users needing to utilize the BDWY 225 lab workstations or equipment meet these requirements, lab staff must check PSU ID cards and verify enrollment and/or PSU employment upon each entry into the lab. Though many individuals use the lab daily, our procedure is to check ID every time so that we do not single out users who visit the lab less frequently.

I need to leave the lab. Can I reserve the computer I am using?
Workstations that are not in use for more than 15 minutes are considered unattended and will be logged out or rebooted to free them for other users. If you need to leave the lab for more than 15 minutes, we ask that you log off and take all personal belongings with you. OIT is not responsible for items left unattended. Please see the "Unattended Workstation" and "Abandoned Property" Guidelines for more information.

Audio

Can I record audio in the IDSC?
While we do have a fully functional audio workstation, our facilities are not set up as a recording studio. Recording audio in the IDSC is not advised due to existing ambient noise levels as well as disturbing other lab users. However, our PC Audio workstation is perfect for digitizing cassette tapes, DAT tapes, and vinyl records or any portable sound device (Minidisc, tape recorder, etc) with an audio output.

I am new to video editing. Is there someone there to help me?
As part of service changes effective July 1, 2014, the IDSC no longer provides assistance with Audio/Video Capture & Editing. Please note that while support for this service is eliminated, users will still be able to independently use the speciality hardware and software in the lab. IDSC staff will also continue providing assistance with unique onsite lab equipment and software, in accordance with the "15 minute support guidelines" (which states that lab attendants may spend up to 15 consecutive minutes per user per hour, ensuring that the lab attendant remains available for everyone that needs assistance).

While there is a lab attendant available during the open lab hours, due to the complex nature of audio/video editing and the demands/needs of other lab users, we are unable to assist you step by step in the process. There are several alternative resources for assistance with Audio/Video Capture & Editing, such as the Distance Learning Center and Campus Audio Visual Event Team. For more information, please see the IDSC Service Changes.

Video

For more information regarding video in the lab, please see the IDSC Video page.

Printing/Scanning

Where can I scan negatives or slides?
Slides and negatives can be scanned at several workstations in the BDWY 225 portion of the IDSC lab. Please inquire with a lab attendant for more information.

What is duplexing?
Duplexing (also referred to as double-sided printing) is printing on both the front and back sides of a single sheet of paper.

Is there a fee to use the color printers?
Clients that elect to print to specialty paper need to utilize the IDSC's Pay2Print service for a small fee. This is separate from the standard printing available in OIT labs. Contact the IDSC for more information on the Pay2Print service and pricing. Please refer to the PSU Printing Overview for more information.

Can I use my own paper/toner on the Xerox color printer?
You may use your own Letter or Legal-sized paper with the Xerox color printer located in BDWY 225. However, the IDSC assumes no responsibility for (1) other users printing on your specialty paper, (2) changes in the image quality, or (3) damage to your specialty paper. All other printers in the IDSC must utilize paper supplied by the lab. Please note, the IDSC only accepts Letter (8.5" x 11") or Legal (8.5" x 14") paper on the Xerox printer.

If you elect to supply your own paper, we highly recommend that you bring twice the amount of specialty paper than you think you will need (i.e. your print job is 12 pages, bring 24 pages). Please be aware that when providing your own paper, the cost of your print job will be the same (ie. no discounts) as the major cost of printing is the wax used to print the page. For example, if you print 12 pages to the Xerox printer using your own paper, your cost will still be 12 pages. Please note that the wax may not adhere to certain paper types (ie. glossy, coated, photo). We highly recommend consulting with a lab attendant before using your specialty paper. Printing with your own toner is not supported.

Where can I find out more information about color printing services?
Please see the Wide-Format Printing and IDSC Services FAQ pages for more details.

Workstation

Are files stored on the Shuttle "protected"? Can they be viewed by other users?
The Shuttle is temporary network storage limited to file transfer between specialty workstations in the lab. Users should store sensitive, confidential, or copyrighted material on their H or I drives as the Shuttle is shared by all IDSC users. Please see the Data Storage Guidelines for more information.

Can I save my files on the computer until I am done editing?
Please see the Data Storage Guidelines for more information.

Content from my network drive (H or I) is not showing up. How do I fix this?
There are two scenarios that may prevent a user from accessing their network drives ( H or I) on a lab workstation. If a lab user has recently changed their OAM password, there may be synchronicity issues. The computer utilizes the same the login name and password used to originally log into the computer to access network drives. If a user has recently changed their password on a PSU lab workstation, the new, correct password will be different from the old one used to log into the computer. The computer does not recognize the password change, and will still use the old password in an attempt to access the network drives. To resolve this issue, the lab user will need to log out of the workstation and log in again, forcing the computer to use the new password instead.

The second situation involves plugging in an external drive (such as a USB thumb drive) before the PC workstation has completely started up. When the computer "boots" up, it scans for drives and assigns letters to each of the them for identification. During the boot up process, If it "notices" the external drive before the network drives, it may have assigned letters "H" or "I" to the external drive instead of to the network drives. This leaves the network drives without identification letters and thus, they are ignored. To resolve this, the lab user will need to remove the external drive, log out, then log in again, and wait until the computer has started up completely to insert their drive.

How do I reserve a workstation or cancel a reservation?
Please see a lab attendant to place a reservation for a workstation. Please contact the IDSC staff directly at 503-725-9111 to cancel your workstation reservation.

How long will my workstation reservation be held?
Reservations for IDSC workstations will be held for a maximum of 10 minutes past the start of the reservation. After that time, the workstation will be released will be released for open use. If you are unable to make your reservation time, please contact the IDSC at 503-725-9111.

Why can I only reserve a workstation for 2 hours?
With the exception of the video workstations, the workstation reservation system limits reservations to 2 hours in order to provide access to all lab users. Users can reserve the Mac and PC video workstations for up to 4 hours per video workstation per day. Reservations that exceed the limit will not be honored beyond the first 2 or 4 hours (video only) of the reservation.

Web

I need to create or maintain a PSU website. Can the IDSC help me with this?
As part of service changes effective July 1, 2014, the IDSC no longer provides assistance with Web Design & Development. There are several alternative resources for web assistance, such as Academic & Research Computing (ARC), which has website creation services for students, faculty, staff, and community members/organizations. Additionally, University Communication's Web Communication Team oversees the university's content management system, Drupal as well as offering free Drupal training for PSU websites. OIT also offers free technology workshops on Google Apps, Desire2Learn (D2L), and more. For more information, please see the IDSC Service Changes and Website Creation.

Where can I get assistance with advanced web programming and applications?
Advanced web programming, application & learning management system (LMS) support is beyond the scope of services provided by the IDSC. If you need assistance with any of the following topics, please contact Will Garrick, Manager of Academic & Researching Computing.

  • Advanced technical services
    • database design and development
    • advanced application support (MatLab, Labiew, SPSS, SAS, ArcGIS, etc.)
    • programming/web programming (VBA, PHP, Flex/action script, Javascript, Java, Python, Ruby, etc.)
    • system integration
  • Basic technical services
    • technical application support (e.g. Access, Filemaker Pro, Excel, etc)
    • web application implementation
  • Basic non-technical services
    • data entry
    • content entry

Can the IDSC help me with Drupal?
Drupal is the University standard for web content management and is beyond the scope of our support in the IDSC. University Communication's Web Communications Team supports Drupal and offers free Drupal workshops and has many Drupal resources available online.

Guidelines

What are the "Unattended Workstations" Guidelines?
The "Unattended Workstations" Guidelines states that workstations that are not in use for more than 15 minutes are considered unattended and will be logged out or rebooted to free them for other users. If you need to leave the lab for more than 15 minutes, we ask that you log off and take all personal belongings with you. OIT is not responsible for items left unattended.

What are the "Abandoned Property" Guidelines?
The "Abandoned Property" Guidelines states that OIT is not responsible for lost or stolen items. Patrons are expected to keep their belongings, especially valuables (electronic devices, backpacks, wallets, laptops, etc.) with them at all times. OIT is not responsible for the security of any items brought into or left behind in the labs. Items that are left at a workstation for longer than 15 minutes are considered abandoned and will be treated as lost. Lost items that are found in the lab will be logged and turned into the Campus Public Safety Office (CPSO).

What are the "Data Storage" Guidelines?
The "Data Storage" Guidelines states that as of January 1, 2013, the IDSC will no longer allow personal content storage on local machines. Users needing to store large amounts of data or video projects will be required to provide their own storage in the form of a high capacity portable disk drive. Otherwise, IDSC users are encouraged to utilize their University-provided H and I drives on PSU's network for data storage.

The IDSC network Shuttle is temporary storage ( < 24 hours) limited to file transfer between specialty workstations in the lab. Files on the Shuttle as well as local storage on the workstations are purged regularly and without notice. Users are reminded to always make personal backup copies and save their work on removable media (USB drive, flash disk, portable HD) when possible. The IDSC is not responsible for lost or corrupted data on removable, network, workstation or storage media.

What is the procedure for lost and found data storage devices?
Please see the Data Storage Device Lost & Found FAQ for more information.

What is a "Special Use Request"?
A Special Use Request, more formally known as the IDSC Undergraduate Student / Special Use Guidelines, is a letter from a faculty member requesting access on a student's behalf to the BDWY 225 portion of the IDSC that is dedicated specifically to faculty, graduate student and staff use. PSU undergraduate use of the IDSC (BDWY 225) lab is restricted to completion or development of projects for faculty members, or other special academic projects that may not be completed elsewhere. Additionally, undergraduate students requesting access must be enrolled for the term they are requesting access. Graduate students who are admitted to a graduate program, but are not enrolled for the current term, must also submit a letter from their faculty adviser requesting access to the lab on their behalf. Please request a copy of the Undergraduate Student/Special Use Guidelines handout for specific requirements and instructions.

Can my faculty member call/email you instead of submitting a Special Use Request letter?
No. Requests must be submitted on PSU departmental letterhead from the faculty member. Please request a copy of the Undergraduate Student/Special Use Policy handout for specific requirements and instructions.

I need an extension on my Special Use Request. What do I do?
After the initial Special Use Request has been approved and is on file, it depends on the length of extension needed. If an additional 2 weeks or less is needed, the same faculty adviser can email the IDSC Lab Manager to request an extension. If the extension is longer than 2 weeks, a new request letter must be submitted. Please be aware that extensions do not include university closures, holidays, or other closures such as maintenance time during term breaks.

I am a graduate student, but am not currently enrolled. What do I need to do to be admitted to the lab?
PSU graduate students who are admitted to a graduate program, but are not enrolled for the current term, must have their faculty adviser submit a Special Use Request for access to the lab on their behalf. Please request a copy of the Undergraduate Student/Special Use Policy handout for specific requirements and instructions.

Graduate students that are not admitted to a graduate program nor currently enrolled at PSU are in most cases considered "Post-bac".

I am an undergraduate student and need to use the IDSC (BDWY 225) for my class. What do I need to do to be admitted?
Please see the previous section on undergraduate students for more details.

I am a undergraduate student, but am not currently enrolled. What do I need to do to be admitted to the lab?
In order to utilize the IDSC or it's services, PSU undergraduate students must be currently registered for classes at PSU. Please see the previous section on undergraduate students for more details.

I am a post-bac student, but am not currently enrolled. What do I need to do to be admitted to the lab?
PSU post-bac students that are currently enrolled for graduate level courses (500 or higher) may use the lab. Post-bac students who are in the process of applying to a graduate program, but are not enrolled for the current term, must submit a letter requesting access to the lab from their faculty adviser. Please request a copy from the Undergraduate Student/Special Use Policy handout for specific requirements and instructions.

What is the "15-minute policy"?
The 15-minute policy, more formally known as the 15-Minute Support Policy states that lab attendants can spend a maximum of 15 consecutive minutes per customer per hour. This policy is in place to ensure that the lab attendant is available for everyone that needs assistance. Please see the previous section on User Support for additional details.

Can I get a refund or discount if I don't like how my poster turned out?
As previously stated in the IDSC Services Policy above, if you have already signed the work order, you have accepted the final work. We are not able to offer discounts or refunds. Clients are responsible for reviewing their documents for accuracy before submitting the file for printing. This includes, but is not limited to spelling, grammar, layout, missing images, and font substitution. The IDSC will not be held responsible for the cost of any printed materials that contain errors that were contributed solely by the client. If a poster needs to be reprinted, the client will be charged the price of the original poster plus the poster reprint with no discount. When dropping off the file for printing, the lab attendant will open the document and have the client review the document for any errors. It is important that the client reviews and verifies that the file is accurate. If the client refuses to review the document at the time of drop-off, the document(s) will be printed "as is," and the client will be held responsible for any errors and the cost of both the original poster(s) and the re-printed poster(s). If the problem is due to technical issues, we will reprint the file at no additional cost. Please see the IDSC Services Policy for additional details.

Why is the No Food or Drink Policy so strict?
The IDSC has high-end equipment which is procured by the University with the understanding that such equipment will be later "down-streamed" to other users, often in other departments. Compared to other labs, the IDSC often receives special equipment funding because the high-end needs of its users, under the condition that the purchased equipment be extremely well maintained. A computer in IDSC may eventually end up in a general computing lab, student group, or it may become a workstation for a faculty member. Replacing such equipment due to food and drink damage is both costly and an inefficient use of funding. By strictly and unambiguously disallowing any food or drink near these borrowed resources, we ensure that our inheriting user community is happy with their "used" equipment, and that beneficial down-stream programs continue. Additionally, PSU students expect non-new equipment once used by their predecessors to be clean and well maintained.

Further Resources

Contact the Helpdesk for additional assistance.