Computer Literacy (University of Massachusetts)

Spring 2014

CMPSCI 105 Image

News & Upcoming Events

Lecture Notes (Only a few will ever be here)

Friday, March 25, 2014

The final exam is scheduled for Tuesday, May 6TH, at 1:30pm, in Totman Gym. Totman Gym in May can be hot, particularly in the afternoon, so watch the weather closely. If it looks to be a warm, sunny day, please dress appropriately, with loose clothing, and bring a water bottle. We don't want anybody passing out from overheating!

Folks needing a make-up exam should have a good reason, and should fill out the on-line request form which is now available in the Quizzes, Forms, and Homeworks Web page.

As with the midterm, the exam will be open-book, open-notes, no electronics. Turn your iPods and cell phones off, leave calculators and computers at home. Anything brought in on paper is allowed. Bring a picture ID. Any makeup exam must be taken during final's week.

The exam is essentially entirely spreadsheets and databases. I won't be able to put on the site (below) any more final exams from previous semesters, but there is one currently available. Also, ALL the previous midterms listed below that have spreadsheet questions that can be used as study guides. The sample questions in the Exam chapter in the back of volume 3 are also good study guides.

Any extra-credit work (Extra-Credit Web Page or Term Paper) are due NO LATER than the day of the final exam.

Here is a printable review sheet from a previous semester.


I will hang on to your old graded work for one semester, but will discard it at the end of Fall 2014. If you wish me to send you your final exam and all other graded work, please bring to the final exam a self-addressed 9×12 Manilla envelope or larger (8½×11 is too small) with about $3-$4 in postage, or a Flat-Rate envelope from the Post Office, and I will mail your work to you after the grades are done. If you include loose stamps I will return any extra postage to you.

Grades are due by Tuesday, May 13TH, and we will not have them available before that time. Please do not pester us about the grades before then! DO NOT ask for extra work to do after the grades are done in order to boost an undesirable grade! When the grades are in, we're done!

If you are planning to take any more computer courses, particularly courses from me for the I.T. minor (120, 145, 119) or the Informatics Major (190IN), I strongly recommend that you hang on to your copy of the Computer Literacy Workbook - you will find it to be a valuable resource for your other computer classes.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

All the midterm exams (except for a couple of stragglers) have been graded and entered into our database. Please come pick up your exam, plus other graded work, from LGRC A355 during TA office hours. The average on the exam was 84.6 (yay!), and several people scored above 100% (double yay!). Here is a histogram of how people did overall:

If you scored under 73 you should probably come see me during office hours so that I can make certain you are keeping up with all the rest of the work.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The midterm is scheduled for this Thursday, the 6TH, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Go to the following room, based on the first letter of your last name:

A-G: Go to Hasbrouck 20
H-Z: Go to Mahar 108


You are allowed to change rooms based on convenience of access or to be with a friend, but please tell me which room you'll be going to so I can keep the counts of exams correct.

People needing to take a make-up exam for legitimate reasons (work or class schedules, family requirements, etc.) may request to do so through the proper form in the Quizzes page below. The make-up exam is Monday, March 10TH in LGRC A301 (across the hall from my office), also from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.

The midterm is open-book, open-notes. You may bring anything on paper that you wish. No electronics: no calculators or computers, turn your cell phones off, and please leave your iPods in your backpacks. You may use pen or pencil (please no red pens).

For study purposes, you should look at the sample exams at the bottom of this page, BUT there will be NO QUESTIONS ON SPREADSHEETS on this exam. Since the exam is open book, I recommend that you use small Post-It notes to index frequently used pages of the book so that you don't spend a lot of time looking for things.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lab #1 Due This Week

Remember that lab #1 is due this week. You may turn it in in-class, or bring it by the TA office (LGRC A355) before 5:00pm Friday. Remember as well that there are TAs holding office hours in LGRC A355, and there are evening help-lab sessions in DuBois 1685 (side room) Tuesday through Thursday, 5:45pm-7:15pm. If nobody shows up in the first 15 minutes or so of the lab period the TA is free to leave.

Talking to the Server

For labs #2 and #3 you will need access to our server:

  • The host address is
  • Your username is the same as your UMail username
  • Your password will initially be ELxxxaaa, where xxx is the last three digits of your student ID and aaa is the first three letters of your username.

For example, if Fred Smith has username fsmith and student ID number 12345678, then his initial password would be EL678fsm (with uppercase and lowercase as shown). We'll use this username and password in all the following examples.

Telnet for PC users

In the OIT lab in DuBois 1685 use the PuTTY program, which is already installed. Do not attempt to download or install it yourself.

At home, PC users need to download a program called PuTTY to their computer. Go to the main site, click on the Download tab, and download putty.exe to your desktop. It is the upper left link on the download page. There is no installation for this program, but you should scan it for viruses. Run it.

  • In the Host Name box of the opening dialog place the host name:
  • Verify that the SSH radio button is set.
  • Click the Open button.
  • When the server responds (black screen) with login as: type in just your username. (Fred Smith would type in fsmith)
  • When the server asks for the password, type it in. THE PASSWORD WILL NOT ECHO TO THE SCREEN. (Fred Smith would type in EL678fsm)
  • You should now be connected to the server and can give it commands.
  • At the end of your session, type logout to drop the connection to the server and close the PuTTY window.

Telnet for Mac users

Mac users do not need to download a program to their computer for this step. Go to Finder-Applications-Utilities and run the Terminal application.

  • At the Terminal command line, type ssh, a space, your username, an at-sign, and the host address. (Fred Smith would type ssh
  • When the server responds (white screen) and asks for the password, type it in. THE PASSWORD WILL NOT ECHO TO THE SCREEN. (Fred Smith would type in EL678fsm)
  • You should now be connected to the server and can give it commands.
  • At the end of your session, type logout to close the connection to the server and return to the Terminal command line.
  • Type logout again to close the Terminal program.

Changing Passwords

When you first log in, via PuTTY on the PC or via ssh through Terminal on the Mac, the first thing the server will demand is that you change your password. Change it to something containing digits and both upper and lower case letters, with no sequences or dictionary words (for example "frog1234" is a bad password because is contains both a dictionary word and a sequence). If you forget your password I cannot retrieve it for you, but I can set it back to the initial ELxxxaaa default for you if you send me an email asking me to do so.

FTP for PC users

In the OIT lab in DuBois 1685 use the WinSCP program, which should be already installed. (There may be another tool available instead of WinSCP.) Do not attempt to download or install it yourself.

At home, PC users need to download and install a program called WinSCP. Go to the main site and download the WinSCP 5.1.7 Installation Package. WARNING: This site has an advertisement linked to a software package with a big DOWNLOAD button -- DO NOT CLICK THE DOWNLOAD BUTTON! Click the link to Installation Package (sponsored) instead. Once the package has been downloaded, install it. Accept all the default settings during the installation that pertain to WinSCP (turn off any options to install other software). Run it. In the WinSCP Login of the opening dialog place the following items:

  • Host name:
  • User name: your user name (Fred Smith would type in fsmith)
  • Password: your password (Fred Smith would type in EL678fsm), password will appear as dots.
  • Click the Login button.

FTP for Mac users

Mac users need to download and install a program called Fugu. Go to the main site, click the Download link, then download and install the Fugu-1.2.0-English.dmg program. Owners of Macs running "Lion" (OS X 10.5 and above) have a separate link on that page to download a compatible version of Fugu. Run it.

  • In the Connect to: box put the Host name:
  • In the Username: box put your user name (Fred Smith would type fsmith)
  • Leave Port: and Directory: boxes blank.
  • Click the Connect button
  • When the password box appears, type your password (Fred Smith would use EL678fsm), password will appear as dots.
  • Click the Authenticate button.


WARNING #1: If you are attempting to log in to the server using any of the telnet or FTP tools and FAIL six times, the server will lock out your IP address for at least 24 hours. It thinks you are trying to break in! If this happens to you, you will get a message such as "Server unexpectedly closed connection" or something about "ssh-exchange-identification". You can then attempt to log in from another machine (on a different IP address) or you can wait until the server clears yours to try again.

WARNING #2: If you attempt to log in from a public wireless hotspot such as the Campus Center, please remember to first log in to OIT's wireless through your Web browser BEFORE attempting to connect to our server. If you aren't connected to the OIT wireless network, neither PuTTY nor WinSCP nor ssh nor Fugu will work.

WARNING #3: If you are using a wireless hotspot and close the lid on your laptop, you will be breaking the connection to the wireless access point. If you do this while connected in via PuTTY, Terminal, Fugu, or WinSCP, that connection is also broken. Re-opening the lid, particularly if you move to another hotspot, won't automatically re-establish your telnet or ftp session - you'll have to log back in to the wireless hotspot and connect again.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

MAC Users:

Several of you have had some difficulties in Lab #1 with your Web page not working because you have inserted into your HTML the wrong kind of quotes, called "smart quotes". You can identify smart quotes because they are **angled** to the left or right, rather than appearing straight up-and-down. Both double-quotes and single-quotes have smart-quote equivalents. If you have these, they MUST be replaced with simple double-quotes or single-quotes, respectively, but you first have to change the settings in TextEdit to make this happen.

In TextEdit go to TextEdit-Preferences and in the New Document tab please make certain that the "Smart quotes" checkbox is UNCHECKED. Then, exit the TextEdit program (which saves the settings). Restart TextEdit, load in your Web page, and manually replace all smart quotes with their straight quote equivalents. This should fix the problems with your Web page.

Smart Quotes: ‘ ’ “ ”
Straight Quotes: ' "

Monday, January 20, 2014

Welcome to all new incoming students, and welcome back to everybody else! This is the main Web page for CMPSCI 105 (Computer Literacy). Check back here throughout the semester for news and updates pertinent to the class. Here are a few tidbits to get you started.


Right now it looks like I can admit into the 4:00pm class pretty much anyone who asks, but the 11:15am class is quite full.

Anyone looking for another computer class may wish to consider my CMPSCI 145 (Representing, Storing, and Retrieving Information) class, which meets at 11:15am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in Hasbrouck 124, or my CMPSCI 119 (Introduction to Programming in Python) class, which meets at 2:30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in ELAB 323. In the Fall 2014 semester I will teach both 105 and 119, but CMPSCI 120 instead of 145. CMPSCI 105, CMPSCI 120, CMPSCI 145, and CMPSCI 119 all fulfill requirements for the IT (Information Technology) minor. If you are interested in the minor, please see me for more information.


The book, available in the Textbook Annex or directly from Kendall/Hunt Publishing, Co., is Computer Literacy Workbook, 20TH edition, 2013-2014 printing, with the MAGENTA cover. DO NOT buy any older edition with any other color cover! The book is in three volumes and has had updates to the material from last year, including the lab assignments. All lab assignments are compatible with Office 2007-2010 for Windows and Office 2011 for the Mac, with two exceptions that must be performed on Windows (Office for Mac 2008 and Office for Windows 2010 Starter Edition will not work).


If you take any of my other classes, I strongly recommend that you hang onto the book from 105. There is some overlap, and I think you will find it helpful in these other classes.

Lecture #1

For any student who cannot attend the first class, here is a direct link to a .PDF file of the Syllabus (see also the link to the Syllabus at the bottom of this page), and here is a link to a .PDF file of the first lecture. It is an expanded outline version of the first lecture, with enhancements not covered in class but important nonetheless, in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format. If you do not have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, go here. This will be the only lecture I put on-line.


Day-to-day work falls into three categories: quizzes, homeworks, and labs:

Quizzes are held in-class at the beginning of lectures. The schedule for when quizzes will happen is on the syllabus, but I reserve the right to throw a pop-quiz from time to time. You are allowed to bring your books, notes, computer, and calculator to the quizzes (but no electronics are allowed at the midterm and final exams). You keep all the points you earn from all the quizzes you take, but I compute the quiz score as if there were two fewer quizzes. This way you can miss up to two quizzes without penalty, and it is possible to get extra credit if you take all quizzes. Quizzes may not be made up, but the "miss two" rule is there to absorb circumstances where you must be away from campus (illness, travel, etc.).

Homeworks are performed on-line from any machine connected to the Web, at your convenience (subject to due dates, of course). Paper copies of most homeworks are found in volume 3 of the Workbook, so you can get an idea of what is coming, but all homeworks are submitted electronically. Homeworks may be submitted as many times as you wish - if you do not like your score on a particular homework, back up and try again.

Lab assignments are in volume 3 of the Workbook, and are to be performed on your own equipment at your own speed, subject to the due dates. Lab reports are turned in on paper, either to me in class or to the TAs in LGRC A355. If you do not have the proper hardware or software to do a particular assignment, you may use any Windows PC lab on campus run by OIT. All necessary software is already installed. Our TAs will be in DuBois Library 1685 (side room) Monday-Thursday, 5:45pm-7:15pm, to help with lab assignments. (Do NOT use lab times to ask for help with homeworks - use TA office hours for that.)

Midterm Exam

The midterm exam will likely be scheduled for the evening of Thursday, March 6TH from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. THIS DATE MAY CHANGE. The rooms will be announced as the date gets closer. For people with a legitimate reason for missing the regular exam time, there will be a form to fill out to request taking the make-up exam on Monday, March 10TH at the same times in the evening. That make-up request form will be available on-line in late February.

Academic Honesty

Do your own work, including homework and lab work. You may discuss homework and lab assignments with other students, but you may not share files or disks. Term papers must not be plagiarized, and will be scanned using on-line software to detect duplication. Upon discovery of any infraction, I will contact you for a conference, as required in the guidelines set out by the University of Massachusetts Academic Honesty Policy, and we will resolve the issue according to those guidelines.

Pictures of Important Stuff

Previous Semester's Scores

To see how previous classes fared, here are histograms from previous semesters:

Previous Semester's Exams

For reference, here are some links to previous semesters' midterms and final exams, all in Adobe Acrobat (.PDF format):

Social Networking

While I have a Facebook account, I reserve its use strictly to personal friends (high-school comrades, hiking buddies, etc.). Please DO NOT "friend" me on Facebook or Linked-In; all such requests will be ignored.

You may, however, follow me on Twitter if you wish. My posts, although infrequent, will be primarily math and science based.

On-Line Quizzes, Forms, and Homeworks Data for lab assignments
Dr. Bill's Office Hours Teaching Assistants Office Hours
Description of CMPSCI 105 (1.2 Meg) Some fun (free) PC software I wrote
Syllabus and Handbook General Education Statement
Send Email to Dr. Bill Running Windows Software on a Mac
Back to Dr. Bill's Classes Back to Dr. Bill's Home Page

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