NACS’ “Response Center” Help Desk

Welcome to the second issue of NACS-News, the Network & Academic Computing Services electronic newsletter. Below we describe our help desk, which serves as a central starting point in NACS for obtaining information and service. You may utilize the Help Desk by visiting Engineering Gateway E2130, calling (949) 824-6116, or by sending electronic mail to the address NACS@UCI.EDU.

The Help Desk is also known as the NACS Response Center and is a part of NACS’ Core Services group. It is located in Engineering Gateway E2130 and is open 8 AM to 5 PM daily except during weekends and holidays. In addition to providing computing assistance and information, software kits including the Macintosh and Windows Anteater Access Kits (MAAT and WAAT) are sold here along with print cards and a few other supplies. Two Apple digital cameras are available as well for loans up to a day in length to those needing illustrations for reports and Web pages. E2130 is also the place to come to resolve any issues with UCInetID’s and passwords.

In-Lab Consulting

Student consultants are available in NACS’ Engineering Gateway E1140 Computing Lab to assist those using NACS lab facilities. They provide help activating and using UCInetID’s, and help using electronic mail, information retrieval tools and other software. The consultants also facilitate access to high-quality monochrome and color printing and flat-bed document and image scanners.

Student consultants are available daily between 8 AM and 8 PM except weekends, holidays and when school is not in session. All UCI students, regardless of major or class enrollment, may use NACS lab facilities and consulting assistance for educational purposes.

NACS@UCI.EDU E-mail

The NACS@UCI.EDU electronic mail address provides an additional way to ask questions, report problems, and provide feedback to NACS. The address is staffed by a combination of student and career computing support staff with assistance from area specialists throughout NACS. Our goal is to provide an initial response to inquiries within one business day of receipt. Electronic mail is an excellent way to make non-urgent inquiries, especially those that require specialized or in-depth expertise.

What the Help Desk Does Not Do

The Help Desk does not generally assist with hardware and software purchases, issues requiring on-site visits or other longer-term matters. Our help with installation and configuration issues for home computer systems is limited to phone-support as time allows and to those following standards we communicate (the UCI Macintosh Anteater Access Kit based on MacSLIP, the UCI Windows Anteater Access Kit based on Trumpet Winsock). On-site PC and Mac support needs are best provided by local departmental staff.

Recent Improvements

We have recently gone to a “receptionist / dispatch” scheme at our help desk to make it easier to reach us, ensure that urgent matters are handled without delay, and improve overall service quality. Callers and visitors now interact with one or two trained receptionist-dispatchers who determine the most effective way to respond to their needs. We have also implemented a call tracking system to enable us to respond to requests in a timely manner and ensure each receives appropriate attention. The system tracks outstanding problems and will provide key information concerning help desk trends to accommodate continuing service refinement.

Supported Software and Services

Support for the following areas of expertise is offered by front-line Help Desk staff. Included is campus standard software, software of widespread use, and items of critical importance to the computing mission of UCI and NACS:

  • Operating environments: Microsoft Windows 3.1 (Windows 95 and NT support coming), Macintosh, basic UNIX
  • Network Applications: Telnet, FTP, Web browsers (Netscape, Lynx), Electronic mail (Eudora, Pine)
  • Other Network services: UCInetID network authentication, campus directory database, modem use with WAAT and MAAT packages, access to campus-wide information services, LISTSERV mailing lists
  • Productivity Applications: Microsoft Word and Excel
  • NACS Services: “EA” Student computing, “E4E” Faculty and Staff electronic mail, Orion UNIX service, Convex research computing service, NACS instructional labs

The Help Desk also provides limited access to specialized assistance in other software as expertise and staff time allow. Please direct your questions about other software to us via electronic mail to NACS@UCI.EDU.