3. Hardware

plotdata runs on various Unix platforms, including the SGI/Irix that is spartan, and also on VAX/VMS platforms (such as csvax.cosc). We will assume you are using spartan. There are several things that need to be set properly (see Appendix), but the system manager should have taken care of it, so to run plotdata all you need is to type

spartan % plotdata

at the Unix prompt (shown as spartan %).

plotdata is too large and complex to run on a personal computer, whether a Mac or an IBM PC compatible. It runs on a powerful host computer (spartan) and you access it through the so-called ``X-terminal'' communications protocol. This protocol of eXchanging the information with a remote terminal was invented at MIT, and has been implemented for many different hardware platforms.

For example, in B203 (the lab across the hallway from the Physics Office, where you have your 2P20 labs) you will find several hardware X-terminals, powerful dedicated machines with high-resolution monitors and the ability to manage multiple windows connected to several different hosts. Using one of these X-terminals will give you the best performance.

In F317, the PCs must pretend to be like X-terminals; they do that by running an ``X-terminal emulation'' program called eXceed. To activate it, select the X-terminal entry under the blue start-up menu.

Additional PCs are available for use by Physics students in H300 when they are not required for the 2P31 or 3P92 labs. Instead of the blue menu, you activate eXceed by double-clicking on its icon, a big red X. You must do it from the MS Windows environment; if the PC you are using is in plain DOS mode of operation as indicated by the prompt such as D:\>, simply say

D:\> win

to start MS Windows first, and then double-click on the eXceed icon.

There are other ways to connect from a local PC to a remote host, and some of them may support the kind of graphics-intensive interaction that plotdata requires, but for the sake of simplicity we will stick to what is appropriate for X-terminals. Consult the manuals and/or your instructor about other options.

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