Firefox 8.0

Workstations in the BCRC will be updated to Firefox 8.0 overnight. Other labs in our network will receive it over the next few days. Also included are new versions of Flashblock, Flash Player, and Shockwave.

Using the No-Script Firefox Add-on

For Technology Tuesday on Nov 22, 2011, I will offer an overview of the No-Script Firefox add-on -- an important tool for improving browser security.

One of the most serious current vectors for security issues in computing are client-side scripts (Javascript and Flash in particular). In many ways, when you let these scripts run on your computer, it's like letting a stranger sit at your computer and do whatever they want (watch your keystrokes when you type passwords, for example). It's not supposed to be like that, but all too often it turns out that they actually can. It's worth taking steps to be aware of the issue and protect yourself.

Unfortunately, browsers don't provide simple tools to manage which sites you allow to execute code on your computer. In Firefox, there is a powerful Add-on called No-Script, which lets you choose on a site-by-site basis, which to allow to execute scripts on your web-browser. I will offer a walk-through of how to install and manage the add-on to help you make informed decisions about security and web-browsing.

RSS and Feeds

The BCRC is experimentally hosting an instance of the TinyTinyRSS Feed Reader that can be used to subscribe to (and publish) RSS and Atom feeds. Most modern websites (like this one) can provide a feed (or feeds) of articles, often by author or category -- or even the comments. Most scientific journals also provide feeds that generally include the abstract. If you're suffering from information overload, a feed reader can help you organize things to stay current with a much larger number of information sources than would be possible almost any other way.


Hi everyone,
It's already November and I can't believe how fast time has gone by. It's getting colder outside but it's always warm at the BCRC :)

I started working on creating a hard copy of the BCRC Staff Manual. I also plan on creating tutorials/tips on the things that I've learned here for future references. mferony, did you figure out how to print the slides for powerpoint?

I also started playing around with the TinyTinyRSS we got from Steve. I'm not much of a FeedReader but I will start learning to~ I subscribed to 1 site that I particular check on a daily basis and now finding out what TinyTiny can do :)

If anyone has any special tips that they think should be included in the HardCopy of the Staff Manual, please print it out or send it to me so I can add it.

First Blog

Hi Everyone!

I know it's a little late for my first post, but better late than never right? My name is Tanya, and this is my first semester working as a Consultant in the BCRC. I'd have to say that so far my favorite thing is changing the ink cartridges in both printers. I also sow the post of changing the posters and I think that's a great idea. We should find some recent science posters, or biographies of some important people in the field.

Poster Printer Payment

We've changed how we handle paying for poster printing: we can no longer accept payment via checks or cash. We can now accept UCard payments. And we can still bill people provided you will give us a speedtype number to simply the billing. Hopefully this will represent a simplification for everyone.

~New Ideas~

Hi everyone,
It is a rainy chilly day outside but really nice and warm here at the BCRC. I've recently been given the opportunity to teach a faculty member in learning to use gimp. As a photoshop person, it was a little tough to grasp. But through some web tutorials it is getting easier.
I also had an idea that maybe we should make a tutorial on "How to Print" for various applications available as a book page because then in the future any new BCRC consultant can refer to it. I'll try to get started on it when my GIMP adventures slow down.


New Application: 4 Peaks

I have added the application 4 Peaks to the installed software in the BCRC, Intro Labs, and ISB 264, 264, and laptops. The application is a sequence trace file analysis program that can read and translate among many different formats, recognize motifs, and do many other sequence analysis tasks. It should be on all the computers on Sept 29.


Hey guys,
My name is Jobin and this is my first year at the BCRC. I see that msyed(sorry I don't know your actual name) was talking about a new poster , well I've been working on one for the Biology Imagery outside of the BCRC. I have a couple of pictures that were on Umass Biology departments website and was wondering if you guys have any input. I'll make a list of which ones I have now and send them out in my next blog post but if you see one that really catches your eye then give me a heads up. Also if anyone has any pictures from a lab they may work at and want that to be included then send that over with a brief description.



I see that some of the posters seem to be old, maybe we should order some new posters?

Science Badges

I was visiting the website, that Ann told us about in her email, with a list of Science Badges.
As an Accounting Major, I was awestrucked at what people do out of curiosity.

One of the Badges, that I particularly liked was "I've set fire to stuff". I have a fascination with fire and I can make a fireball in my hand, I can also create a cool flame come out of my fist. So, it was natural for me to choose this badge.
Other then that, I could not relate to anything else.
To me business is exciting, I like reading about frauds committed in business. I keep tabs on how the market is doing.

I have taken Science classes in High School. I have also done some basic experiments like, making solutions, titration etc but that is it.

Hopefully, after reading this, I will be able to understand Science more and will be able to appreciate it even more.

As for the computer lab, I am thinking about stuff I can help with. If anyone of you needs help with anything, feel free to holla!

Another thing that I wanted to say and I might be completely wrong and people can disagree with me too but can we not call out a consultant, who is late to work, to the whole group? It has never happened to me but I feel very uncomfortable just reading those emails.

That is it for me.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Staff Manual Migrated

In response to Ann's suggestion, I've migrated the Staff Manual to this site -- you can find it in the menus to the left. Go ahead and start updating!



This is my first semester working at the BCRC, which is an awesome room full of computers and posters about bugs. I'm a consultant, which entitles me to a nice little sign that says I'm a consultant. It's the best job I could have hoped for, and I'm excited about the impending adventures.

One thing in particular that I have noticed is that people seem to be having trouble printing PowerPoint slides. If somebody wants to print slides 19-45 out of their 94-slide presentation, with two slides on each page, or something of that nature, they tend to run into weird problems. So far I have been helping them find ways around these problems, such as printing double-sided, but it would be nice to be able to help them work with these issues more directly. Recently I've been messing around with PowerPoint, trying to figure out some tricks.


~Updating the BCRC Staff Manual~

Hi everyone,
My name is Ann and I've been working here at the BCRC for a while and love it. I've noticed that the BCRC Staff Manual seems to be getting out of date. Some of the things such as the ProblemLog, rental log, or computer covers are not used or available anymore.

I am thinking of updating it and possibly making a hardcopy of it to be stored in the Black Cabinet. The hardcopy would be a great in an event of a power outage for instance. How would you know the procedures if you cannot view the manual on the computer? So This is my plan for now. I will do some edits and see if it can be approved for updating the BCRC Staff Manual website.

That's it for this week, I'll come up with more ideas for the BCRC next time~



I've updated MacOS X and added a bunch of other updates, including Firefox 6 and Office 2011. I've left Office 2008 installed as well.


Nobody uses the chalkboard at the front, what should we do with it?

Little things here and there

A few things that we can change at BCRC

1- We definitely need more fans in the room. It gets very hot and becomes harder to sit through the shift.

2- The two computers in the back left should be turned into a permanent consultant table to make it easier for students to find us.

3- The consultant signs if in color in addition to getting everyone's attention will look nicer. (I will work on that)

This is all for now.

Good luck on the finals!

Ideas for Decorating the BCRC

Hey guys,

The other day I was thinking about some possible ways to spruce up the BCRC for next year. Here are some potential ideas that I came up with:

  1. Make the BCRC more biology-themed rather than computer-themed. Maybe take down some of the random posters around the room and replace them with reference posters, for example, a phylogenetic tree, a plasmid map, a periodic table (although I suppose that's more chemistry-related), a poster about DNA, etc....

  2. Put some plants around the room

  3. A fishtank, maybe?

  4. I thought a bulletin board with recent scientific articles would be cool to have around the room. Perhaps the bulletin board could be titled something like "science in the news" and BCRC staff could periodically update it with interesting news articles they find having to do with science.

Let me know what you guys think of these ideas and if you have any other suggestions for beautifying the BCRC!


Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!

With the holiday, and Wednesday being a Monday schedule, I haven't spent much time in the bcrc this week. In the time that I was here, I helped people with making posters using Scribus.

10 days until May 3rd! This is the home stretch...

Inkscape and Cameras

Someone came in with a camera wanting to upload pictures to the computer for a project. The camera wouldn't upload the pictures initially, so I learned how to upload pictures using a cable.
I also re-familiarized myself with Inkscape because the person was going to use it for their pictures.
The colored printer is still giving me issues. I tried cleaning it with a coffee filter, but I didn't have any luck.
Printer 2 vs. Alyson 0
Happy Wednesday, and 19 days left until May 3rd!