Computing FAQ

How do I create a personal web page?

Everyone with an account in the Department of Statistical Science will have space for a personal website in their home directory with a url of where "user" is your DSS username. See the instructions under Resources for Creating a Personal Website.

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How do I add an event to the website?

If the event should be publicized university wide (or broader), please see Karen for entering the event information into the Duke Calendar of events. If Karen is not available, email if you need immediate assistance or wish to create a local event. The event info will be displayed on the Duke calendar and then imported to the Department website via an XML feed. There may be a delay of up to 5 hours from the time the information is entered in the Duke calendar and when it appears on our site. The Duke Calendar has a word limit on their description field, which makes the description field unsuitable for storing abstracts for seminars, see the information below for editing events on  the StatSci website. Adding an Abstract or Updating an Event on the StatSci Site

  1. Login by clicking on the link at the upper top right "Duke Statistics Login" and login with you Duke netid. If you are logged in you should see a black bar at the top and your username.
  2. Click on the event title. If it is not on the homepage, go to to see all upcoming events.
  3. If you have appropriate permissions to edit, click on the Edit tab. 
  4. Scroll down to locate the field for Abstract and enter the text for the abstract. Please note that if you are cutting/pasting from a text window that line breaks will automatically be converted to newlines in the html. For cutting and pasting plain text, please switch the input format to plain text, then paste in the abstract. You may leave it as plain text or switch it to filtered html for emails or url or full html of you need additional html formatting.
  5. Save or Preview, then Save.

Do not change the title, presenter or other fields in this form prior to the event if this event has been entered in the Duke calendar as the hourly imports from the Duke calendar will override all fields EXCEPT the Abstract field. Changes to those fields should be made on the Duke Calendar.

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How do I add my Thesis or Dissertation to the website?

Once your thesis/dissertation is approved and in final form, your are ready to link your thesis to the website!

  1. Please login to the website with your netid
  2. Please complete the thesis form at Fill out all of the required fields. If you are a Master's or Ph.D. student, you should have deposited your thesis in the Duke Library's DukeSpace repository and will need that URL to link your thesis to the file there. Please see the information in the Grad School about electronic thesis/dissertation submission. If you are an undergraduate student, you may also submit you undergraduate thesis to DukeSpace. Otherwise, please upload the pdf file of the dissertation.
  3. Click Save. The information will automatically be linked to your personal web page in the department.
  4. Go to and locate your personal web page entry to review your page.

You may edit the page if you need to update any information. Just click the Edit tab (assuming you are still logged in with your netid). If you have any problems with completing the form, please email

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How do I upload and add a link to a pdf file?

There are two scenarios: a link to an external file available on the web or an internal file that you need to upload and add a link to the file.

If you wish to add a link to a pdf file in a web document follow the following steps for uploading and adding the link

  1. First make sure that the Text Format for the Body of the page that you are editing is set to Full Html
  2. Type in the text
  3. Select the text and click on the "Insert/Edit Link" button (looks like a chain link)
  4. To upload a pdf and link, click on the "file browser" button to the right of the URL field  (white square with red checks)
  5. Click "Upload File" browse to find the file and upload.
  6. Select File and click "Insert File"
  7. Click Update to save link
  8. Save document and test links to make sure that they work

For external links there are 2 options: If you use a filtered or Full Html text format urls are automatically converted to links. If you do not want to put the url in the body, follow steps 1-3 above. For step 4: type in the external URL in the url field. Click Update. 

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How do I add an image to a web page?

To add images within the body of a webpage follow the following steps:

  1. First make sure that the text-format for the Body is Full Html; this will bring up a rich-text editor
  2. Resize your image using your favorite photo editor so that the size will load quickly (1 MB  from most cameras is too large)
  3. Once you are ready to upload, place the cursor at the location for inserting the image, then click on the "Add Media" button (image of a mountain) browse to find the image in your local director and then click Upload.  (note if the image has already been uploaded, select Library to browse for images)
  4. To resize or change alignment, click on the image to select, then click the "Insert/Edit Media" button (looks like an image of a tree)
    1. Select the Appearance tab
    2. modify the width or height, but keep the "Constrain Proportions" box checked to preserve the aspect ratio of the original image
    3. select an Alignment (left, right, etc)
    4. make sure that the Class is "Not Set"
    5. Click Update  (you may wish to add an informative title and description on the General tab first) 
  5. Repeat step 4 if you need change the size or alignment. You can drag the image to a new location or click on "html" to edit the ran html to move the location of the image.

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Do I get a Duke Email account? How do I set it up?

Everyone affiliated with the Department will have two email accounts - one from Duke and the other for StatSci. Your Duke email address will be where netid is your Duke NetID; this will be emailed to you during the summer before you arrive at Duke. You may access your Duke email using the Duke web client at

You will also receive an email account from the Department when you arrive in the Fall.   For more about email, see the entry under Computing in the Resources section.

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How do I learn about the Graphical Environment on our Linux desktops?

Scientific Linux 6 supports several graphical user environments: Gnome, KDE, XFCE, and ratpoison with Gnome being the default choice.

If you've used Windows or Mac OS X then the basics of these environments will be somewhat familiar. You have a desktop, a task bar, and menus available to open new windows, run applications, etc.

While not free, the ebook Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Essentials delivers a good introduction to the graphical environment and can help you get the best out of your desktop!  It only costs $9.99 and you can get both PDF and EPUB versions of the book. You can also purchase a Kindle version at Amazon for the same price.

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Where can I learn about using the Linux command line?

The shell command line is a powerful tool that will help you get your work done faster and more efficiently. You just have to learn how to use it! Several good tutorials are available on line, including:

  • Introduction to the Command Line: A FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) book available in HTML, PDF, and EPUB format for free and provides a good basic introduction to the power of the Unix/Linux command line.
  • The C Shell: Specifics of using and configuration the C shell, the standard command line shell used on Duke Statistics linux computers. This is part of Alvin Alexander's excellent Introduction to Unix and LInux.

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