As most students know, the campus computer rooms are extremely popular places for doing Web research, checking email, or writing and printing papers. In fact, some computer rooms (like the MU Station) are so popular, there always seems to be lines waiting to use them. So we talked to the Computer Room Consultants (CRCs) to learn some tips for getting the most out of the computer rooms.
Find Out What is in Each Lab Ahead of Time
Take some time to visit the Computer Lab Management Web site (http://clm.ucdavis.edu/rooms/) and note the resources available at each computer room, especially specialized software that is available at the Media Labs (i.e., Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, and iMovie). You never know when you might need them, and you might be surprised at what you can do with these programs.
Keep Track of Your Printing
Remember, you are allotted 200 free printed sheets per quarter (it's 5 cents a sheet after that) in the computer rooms, which is quite a bit. However, it can be really easy to lose track of how many sheets you've' printed. To stay on top of it, add the IET Computer Rooms channel to your MyUCDavis front page and look at ?Check # of sheets I've' printed? from time to time. Every printer in the computer rooms is set up for duplex (two-sided) printing, so use that option whenever possible. And don't worry if you have a print-heavy quarter; your print quota refreshes every new quarter. You can also print multiple pages on one sheet by uti lizing the page layout function (a Computer Room Consultant can help you with this).
During the school year, many computer rooms are open late (some until midnight). If you want to really avoid the crowds, visit the labs in the evenings, as many students return home or study in Shields Library. Some computer rooms are also open on weekends. You can check the CLM Web site for exact schedules and hours, or pick up a Student Computing brochure (available at all of the computer rooms, IT Express and the MU Info Desk), which includes the hours and locations of all the computer rooms. If you want to stay late, UC Davis also provides free safety escorts between campus locations and nearby residential areas (you can reach them by phone: 530-752-1727).
Avoid the Crowds--Go to Hutchinson and Meyer
The least-used computer rooms are located in Meyer and Hutchinson. Yes, Hutchinson has computer rooms--three to be exact--located in the basement. These labs, just a short walk from the Quad, are the best kept secret on campus, and are a welcome respite from the packed computer rooms in the MU and Olson.
Use Your Web-enabled Cell Phone or PDA
Now you can actually check how many seats are available in the campus computer rooms through your cell phone or PDA if it is Wireless Accesss Protocol-compatible. In layman's terms, your device needs to be internet-capable to use this service. If you have a WAP-capable device, visit http://clm.ucdavis.edu/wap/. It's pretty cool--instant lab information at your finger tips.
Mac-PC Conversion: Avoid the Gobbletygook
This is a common problem. Microsoft Word documents from PCs are viewable and easy to edit in Mac programs, but the reverse doesn't work because PCs have difficulty converting Mac files. When you save a Word document in a Macintosh computer, make sure to add the ?.doc? at the end of the filename. This will remind the PC computer that the program is a word document and you won't have to deal with a file full of Matrix-style gobbletygook.
Utilize Other Computer Rooms
Keep in mind that many people know where the main labs are, but there are other places where you can access PC and Mac computers if you are affiliated with a certain campus major or program. The UC Davis Cross Cultural Center and LGBT Center both have limited numbers of computers that are rarely used. The computer labs (called Learning Resource Centers) in Segundo, Tercero, Regan and Cuarto are also available to the residents living there. Check with your department for any ?hidden? labs you can use.