Tips for Working Remotely
- Connecting to Department E-mail from Home
- Browse the Web as if on Campus Internet
- Copying or editing files stored on the math department file server from a local computer
- Logging Into Math Department File System Remotely via command line and SSH
- Logging into other department computers once connected remotely
- What to do if you are blocked from accessing SSH or mail after several failed logins...
- Embedding videos to your department webpage using HTML
If you require a secure connection to UMass online resources (such as access to academic journals, gradebooks, etc) while off-campus or on an insecure network, you can set up your computer to act as a SOCKS proxy in order to access the internet as if you were coming from our department’s ssh server. Step-by-step instructions for how to configure this setup on Mac or Windows can be found here
We also have a department VPN. Keys are issued per-user and can be requested by e-mailing support at firstname.lastname@example.org .
macOS and Linux
scp command can be used to securely copy files between computers. For example, to copy over a file located at
~/Documents/myfile on the math department file server to your local Documents folder, you can run the following command from your local computer's terminal:
scp email@example.com :~/Documents/myfile ~/Documents/
Similarly, to push a copy of
~/Documents/myfile from your local computer back to your Documents folder on the math department file server:
scp ~/Documents/myfile firstname.lastname@example.org :~/Documents/
Another option for Mac users is to use an SCP client to "click and drag" files back and forth. One such client is the free version of FileZIlla, available here. To use FileZilla, do the following:
- Open the FileZilla program. Towards the top of the program window, there is a place to enter the following information: The first time you use the program, you will need to enter in all this information. However for future logins, you can simply click the small triangle to the right of the "Quick Connect" button and select a previous connection to save time.
- Click “Quick Connect” to open the connection to the math file server. The first time you connect, you will get a warning about connecting to an unknown server – you can add this connection to your cache to dismiss the message in the future, or just click OK to proceed
- You should then see two panels. On the left is your local computer, on the right is the file system on the math department server. Copying files from one computer to the other is then as simple as clicking and dragging the file from one panel to the other. Alternatively, if you double click on a file, it will automatically transfer over to the open folder in the other panel.
- You can also edit files directly in FileZilla. To do this, right-click on a file, and select "View/Edit" from the drop-down menu. This will download the file to a temporary location on your local computer, where you can edit it. When you are done, save and close the file normally - FileZilla will detect the change and ask you if you'd like to upload the updated version back to the math department file server (click Yes!)
You will need an SCP client to securely copy files between a local computer and the remote math department file server. One such client is the free program WinSCP, available here. To use WinSCP, do the following:
- The first time you open the program, you will have to configure the client. Choose the following options: To avoid having to do this every time, you can select “Save” and create a Desktop shortcut for this specific connection
- You may see a warning about connecting to an unknown server – you can add this connection to your cache to dismiss the message in the future, or just click Yes to proceed
- You should then see two panels. On the left is your local computer, on the right is the file system on the math department server. Copying files from one computer to the other is then as simple as clicking and dragging the file from one panel to the other.
- Alternatively, you can edit files directly in WinSCP. Unfortunately you cannot double-click to open files in WinSCP. Instead, you must single-click on the file in the right-side panel that you wish to open, then from the menu toolbar click "Files", and then select "Open" from the drop-down menu. You will be prompted to choose the program you'd like to use to open the file. This will download a temporary copy of the file on your local machine -if you edit and save your changes, the updated file will be automatically copied back over to the math department file server.
Every department user is provided with a “home” folder for their use, containing subfolders such as your Desktop, Documents, Downloads, etc. These files are stored on our network, and can be accessed at any lab computer in 1585 (login with your math username and password), as well as remotely over SSH. There are two systems you may use to connect to our network remotely (Referred to as our SSH Gateway Systems). They are:
The process for connecting via SSH depends on your operating system:
- Open a terminal session on your system. For Mac you can find Terminal under "Applications > Utilities > Terminal".
- Type the command
ssh email@example.com, replacing "username" with your math department username. Note this is not the same as your NetID. Hit the "Enter" key to proceed.
- Enter your password when prompted. Note that the terminal does not display any characters as you type the password – this is normal and your keystrokes are still being recorded by the terminal. Hit "Enter" key to log in.
To view documents or to run some applications properly, you may want to include the additional
-Y argument to the
ssh command, in order to enable trusted X11 forwarding:
ssh -Y firstname.lastname@example.org
- Windows users must first install an ssh client, such as the free client PuTTY . Most users will want to select the MSI (‘Windows Installer’) download for 64-bit systems.
Open the PuTTY program. Under “Host Name” enter
email@example.com(replace “username” with your math department username) and click “Open”.
- A terminal window will open on your screen – enter your department password when prompted. (Note that the terminal does not display any characters as you type the password – this is normal and your keystrokes are still being recorded by the terminal). Hit the "Enter" key to finish logging on.
To view documents or to run some applications properly, you may need to forward X so Windows and Unix based systems can communicate. Within putty you can enable X forwarding via the instructions here.
Once you have logged into one of the SSH servers listed above, you may then remotely connect to any of the computer systems in the math department's internal network. This includes the 10 "public" workstations available to all faculty and grad students to use. Faculty with Linux or Mac office computers can also configure their systems to be available from SSH. From SSH, you can use the following command to access, for example, lab computer 3 in room 1585:
Public Lab Systems Available:
Each computer contains the same mounted file system that is available to you on SSH. In other words, if you create a file in your home directory on SSH, it will also be accessible on any of the lab computers, and vice versa.
The software installed on all lab computers includes, but is not limited to:
- MATLAB 2016 (all systems except lab1585-7 & lab1585-8)
- Pari / GP
- Mozilla Firefox
- Mozilla Thunderbird
In addition, the following software is available on specific systems:
- MATLAB 2020 (lab1581-1, lab1585-3)
- Macaulay 2 (lab1585-1)
- Magma (lab1585-1, lab1585-4)
You can request the installation of additional academic software by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
We have security measures in place to block any IP addresses that are generating too many password failures during remote logins to SSH or department mail. If you mistype your password frequently, you may find yourself blocked from accessing department mail or SSH from your home. If this is the case, please do the following:
- Google the phrase "my ip" (or click here) to find out your public IP address. It should be a series of 4 numbers, separated by "."s, such as "123.456.789.10".
- Copy this IP address and include it in an email to email@example.com to request your IP be unblocked.
If you'd like to upload a lecture video (such as
lecture1.mp4 in the example below) to your department webpage, you can embed the video in an HTML page by creating an HTML file called
lecture1.html with the following contents:
<video controls="" height="417" width="810"> <source src="/lecture1.mp4" /></video>
Then upload both
lecture1.html to your
public_html directory, and be sure to change permissions so that the files are world-readable (see
here). The video can then be viewed at "https://people.math.umass.edu/~yourusername/lecture1.html"