Welcome to Redbrick!
This is a brief introduction to some of the more common services available to you now that you have a Redbrick account. For more detailed tutorials on the services mentioned, simply follow the links provided, or visit the Helpdesk page!
What is Redbrick?
This article is also found here.
"What is Redbrick?" - this is the age-old query which has plagued the DCU Networking Society for years. Redbrick is such a diverse society that a million monkeys working on a million typewriters for a million years might reproduce the works of Shakespeare, but they'll never come up with a concise explanation as to what Redbrick is.
Simply put, Redbrick is a rather big social society with a slant on computers and technology. We host a plethora of techy events designed to entertain and educate anyone and everyone, including cinema trips, pub nights and tutorials and workshops on programming, web design and graphic design. Expect to see the return of the annual RedBrick Freshers' Ball (booze! booze! booze!) and the table quiz; last year, the quiz saw members having prizes practically thrown at them, with Sega Mega Drives, portable hard drives, Lucky Charms cereal and plenty of spot prizes being won. We also raffled off a brand new Eee PC laptop.
At the start of 2009, over twenty Brickies went to Finland - birthplace of the Linux kernel - to mess about in massive technology museums, employ stealth and cunning in a battle to snow each other into our cabins and feast on reindeer and mead in a Viking restaurant (all while being quite drunk).
Redbrick isn't just about events though; we are lucky enough to own our own servers on which we host the services used daily by our members: IRC (Internet Relay Chat - our most popular service, as it's great for putting off assignments until the last minute, waffling about whatever's on your mind and meeting new people),webspace (host your own website with massive amounts of storage space), forums/message boards, the photo gallery and your own @redbrick.dcu.ie e-mail address. We also have our own wiki site (wiki.redbrick.dcu.ie), where all members can create/edit/vandalise pages on whatever you feel like. You can access all of these services from any computer connected to the Internet.
Networking societies are to be found all over the country, and Redbrick - as part of the Intersocs network - is often found mingling with other nerds from Trinity, DIT, NUI Maynooth and University of Limerick, both at Intersocs events and in the IRC channel.
So, if you want to make new friends, talk about anything that's on your mind, or just get twisted because you have nothing better to do with your time, RedBrick has something to offer you.
When you connect to Redbrick, you are creating a remote connection to our servers, most likely minerva (the main login machine). This uses SSH, or Secure Shell, to encrypt data and allow you to use your user account as though you were sitting at the actual machine. Click here to get connected to Redbrick.
Our servers all run Unix-like operating systems, the most common being Ubuntu (a distribution of GNU/Linux). There is no graphical interface and everything is done by keyboard. There are plans for a Windows machine to facilitate .NET and other such development, which should be available soon.
For more information on the machines, please see the inventory.
One of the most common ways for Redbrick members to stay in touch is through Chat, or IRC (Internet Relay Chat). IRC basically lets you chat with a lot of different people at the same time.
To begin using chat, simply type 'chat' into your terminal. There are lots of different chatrooms, or "channels" on Redbrick, the default one being #lobby. There is also a WebChat client available, so you can talk to your friends on Redbrick through your browser. webchat.redbrick.dcu.ie
You can get more info about chat and its different commands and features by visiting the IRC page.
When you join Redbrick, you get your own email account, your address being <username>@redbrick.dcu.ie.
By default, your mail will be forwarded to your DCU account, so that you won't miss any mails. To turn this off, type "noforward" in your terminal.
Redbrick has a variety of different ways in which you can read and send mail. By typing "email" in your terminal, you can use the Mutt client to check your mail, but there is also a client available if you'd prefer to read email in your browser. It is called Squirrelmail. This can be accessed by pointing your browser at webmail.redbrick.dcu.ie.
The Redbrick Newsgroups (the boards) are a place for our members to exchange views, seek help or generally rant about anything they want. The default news reader on Redbrick is called slrn. To start it simply type "news" or "slrn" into your terminal. With slrn you can read and post to all of the Redbrick Newsgroups plus some Intersocs Newsgroups.
The boards can also be read using Thunderbird.
Redbrick has a vast array of software installed on the system that was written by our members. As you gain more experience using your account, you will come across a lot of the programs out there.
One of the most used of these programs is rbusers. If you type "rbusers" into your terminal, you will see a list of users currently logged on. Hey is a way for Redbrick users to send instant messages to each other's terminals. Heys are heavily customisable and there are lots of different ways to use it. See the tutorial for more information. The list of user written software is endless and you will come across loads of them on your travels.
Redbrick is host to a variety of games, which are listed here.
Redbrick's operating system of choice is Unix. As explained earlier, Ubuntu GNU/Linux is the most common, used by our login, primary and secondary services machines. In the Windows point-and-click world, don't let a command line usage put you off; once you get comfortable you'll be amazed how much you can accomplish in a command line Unix environment. A standard user only need a very basic knowledge to gain usage from their Redbrick account. For a starting point and a guide to some of the more common commands, see the introduction to Unix.
Changing your password
When you first join Redbrick, your assigned password will probably be some ugly, difficult to remember assortment of characters and numbers. Thankfully you can quite easily change it, and here's how.
When you first log in you'll be greeted with a black screen with your username and the time. All you have to do is type "passwd" like so:
and hit enter. Now you have to enter your current (soon to be old) password.
Almost finished now, I told you it was easy. You'll be asked what you want your new password to be, like this:
you'll have to enter it twice, just for comparisons sake, to make sure you've typed it correctly.
After you've done that, that's it! You're done.
Make sure to remember this password, but if you forget it's not a big deal, you'll just have to e-mail the admins and ask them nicely to reset it for you.
Changing finger information
Finger information is what people see when they "finger" you, this shows your username as well as your real name. At first, your real name and username will both be set to the same thing. Basically, this name is used when posting to the news boards and when e-mailing. If you'd like to change what it says, this is how:
At the prompt, type chfn like so:
and hit return. Next it'll ask for your password, just type it in the same as you would when logging in
Now you can set your name to whatever you want, it can include capital letters and spaces
After you've entered it in, hit return until it exits. It should look like this:
And you're done. As it says, this may take effect instantly or in ten minutes, but it will change.
For a list of the main features at any time, type "help" into your terminal. Remember that you can always ask the Redbrick Helpdesk questions if you have any problems or need assistance. Once you are comfortable with the general setup of your account and the system take a look at the other tutorials to learn a little more and improve your use of Redbrick.
Good luck, and enjoy your Redbrick experience!