20  Software & Computers

We mostly use computers running MacOS or Linux. Having said that if you want to run Windows, that’s fine too, but just know that I can’t help, I know nothing about Windows. Our lab research accounts can support buying one computer per trainee for use with your research in the lab. This can be a desktop or a laptop (plus external display(s), additional external storage/backup, and keyboard & mouse). Western has a site license for MATLAB and for Microsoft Office. In general, if there is a piece of software you need for your work, we can buy it using our research account(s). Come and see me and I will likely approve the purchase.

IMPORTANT: Do not store illegal or illicit documents, images, data, etc., on your work computer(s)

Lab Server

We have a lab computer server that we use to archive lab-related data and documents. The idea is long-term, in-house, on-site archival storage of lab related data and documents. The server is located in the server room on the 5th floor of the WIRB. You should all have login accounts on it so that you can access it remotely, to store and retrieve your files as necessary. If you need a login account or you have lost your password please come and see me. The archive is automatically mirrored off-site, every night. The purpose of the server is to act as an in-house archive repository of all lab data and documents. You should deposit all raw data, experiment scripts and programs, data analysis scripts and processed data on the archive.

IMPORTANT: Do not store illegal, or illicit, or personal data, media, or files on the lab server. Only use the lab server to store lab-related data and files, not personal files.

External offsite backup

Everyone should purchase (you can file an expense report and get reimbursed) an external hard drive to store an extra copy of your research-related documents and data, off-site (e.g. at home). It is critical to maintain an off-the-cloud, off-lab-site archive of your data, documents and code.

Automated, Cloud-based backup

In addition everyone should have an automated, cloud-based backup system in place on the computer you use for your research. I suggest Backblaze. Sign up using the annual (or 2-year) plan and submit an expense report and my research grant will reimburse you. Other possibilities include Dropbox, or Google Drive, etc.

IMPORTANT: Do not store illegal, or illicit, data, media, or files on your cloud-based account(s).

Dropbox Plus

Optional: if you would like to use Dropbox Plus for syncing your documents across multiple machines, my research grant will reimburse you for the annual fee. Just submit an expense report. Note that with your Western account you have access to Microsoft Office 365 which already includes OneDrive storage, which is like Microsoft’s version of Dropbox. At present I use Dropbox Plus, I prefer it to OneDrive. It’s up to you whether you need such a service and if so which one you choose.

IMPORTANT: Do not store illegal, or illicit, data, media, or files on your cloud-based account(s).