Update at January 2nd..1995

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Happy New Year to Everybody associated with, registered for, or contributing to the VSNS-PPS Course. We hope you all had a joyous and peaceful time with your loved ones.


About a week before Christmas Day we closed Registrations via our electronic form, since we were already oversubscribed, even though registrations were only open for about a fortnight. We have registered more than 250 students from 27 different countries, so this will be a truly global learning experience. We are, however, saddened by the absence of Africa, India, the former Soviet Union, and all of Central Asia :-(

To those unfortunate individuals that were not accepted or not in time for registration, please accept our commiserations and apologies, but our resources are unfortunately limited. Which is not to say we won't be running the course again at a later date, so if you're still likely to be interested, give us your particulars by registering anyway, and we'll get back to you if and when we do.

To those of you who did register, you should ALL have heard back from us by email, either way. However, some of the messages we sent out just before the Christmas holidays were bounced back to us. If you have not heard, you may be in this category. Please check with our list of bounces (IS THIS YOU? - off the Main Menu), sort out the problem with your email address, and send it on to us, if you wish us to add your name back into the registrations list. The same goes for any URL that you may have provided for us, and which we detect has problems. Thanks :-)

E-Mail Discussion Lists

We had hoped to have these running over the holiday period, so that we could start getting to know each other and raising the issues that interest us. BUT we didn't quite succeed :-( Sorry!

Check the Listprocs page regularly, and as soon as we get them running, subscribe to the lists you think appropriate to you, and Let the Fun Begin.

BioMOO Party

For the next two weeks or so, we thought it would be a good time, before we get down to the nitty-gritty, to take the opportunity to meet each other informally, and at the same time to get to grips with the MOO technology. Please register with BioMOO VERY SOON, if you haven't done so already, and have a go at MOOing. You should be able to find someone in there who will help newcomers. Have a look first at the instructional pages provided, and then try logging in as guest :- telnet bioinformatics.weizmann.ac.il:8888 connect guest Soon thereafter, you should register, using your first name(plus intial of your surname). We hope that several consultants and students will hang around and chat with each other during these early days. Don't be shy; we're ALL newbies in cyberspace. We hope to meet you there.


This is intended primarily for students, but consultants should also read it. In these first few weeks you should be getting your learning system into trim. As far as this Course is concerned, this means organising and optimising your computer for the technical aspects that this course will demand, some of which are listed below. If you need help, raise it on the vsns-pps-technical email discussion list; somebody's probably already solved your problem.

  1. Operating System and Hardware

    If you are intending to use a non-UNIX PC, then you must be running Windows 3.1, preferably under DOS 5.1 or later. If you need to upgrade any other elements of your set-up (eg monitor quality, interface software, etc), then now is the time to get it done, not half-way through the course!

  2. Browser

    Try and ensure that you are using the `best' version of browser for your set-up. Opinions differ, and we are sure it will be discussed on vsns-pps-technical, but find out the LATEST release of your favourite browser. I (AlanM :-) prefer Netscape running under MS-Windows, when I can't use a Silicon Graphics. It's also a VERY GOOD IDEA to install more than one browser on your machine, if at all possible (they all have different quirks).

  3. Viewers

    The Course material will make use of MIME technology that requires you have RasMol and KineMage installed on your machine. If you haven't got them yet, or if you have old versions, NOW is the time to download them from the archives, and get them running on your machine (MAGE for UNIX is coming RSN :-).

  4. MIME

    Check out chemical MIME, and do whatever is necessary to configure your system so that the appropriate viewer responds when you click on a MIME link.


There are many ways in which the course could be enhanced by your specific contribution.
  1. Many of you, when registering, indicated that you wanted your own URL, ie your own Home Page, where you could develop hyper-material of your own. Well, we can load people's pages onto our server, if you can't get them mounted on a server local to you. You can ftp them to us by anonymous ftp to www.cryst.bbk.ac.uk into the directory /upload/PPS/. Remember to use binary if you are sending images or compressed files.

    If you want guidance on producing your own stuff, check out our Style Guide page.

  2. Students will be expected to undertake a Project on some topic from the Course, and consultants have undertaken to help and advise individuals or groups in their efforts. Think about what area you're interested in, and where you would benefit most. There will be opportunities to suggest and discuss suitable project topics, as well as the <../families/families.html>Protein Families, some of which are already under way.

  3. The VSNS-PPS Glossary will be of tremendous value to the Course. Many of the documents in the Course will be AUTOMATICALLY marked up so that all entries in the Glossary appear as hyperlinks. Can you contribute some definitions of terms, or even lists of words that you wish to see included? If you wish to help out, email the Glossary Team at pps-gloss@crystal.desy.de or join the vsns-pps-glossary email discussion list.

  4. Volunteers will be sought to help with certain aspects of the course. If there's a particular area you wish to undertake, email Alan Mills on pps@www.cryst.bbk.ac.uk. Otherwise, check out the Vounteer page from time to time.


We expect it may be necessary to organise students into tutorial groups with a consultant or two as `tutor'. This is only to relieve the amount of effort at the centre, and not to swamp resources, such as email discussion lists, and BioMoo sessions. To this end we will be publishing some schedules, of times and groupings. We will try to accommodate preferences and time zones, but please bear with us.

And again, a Very Happy New Year from the VSNS-PPS Course Organisers.