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Zephyr: The Single Notification System for All Users of Central Computing Services

  Tony Cass IT/PDP

The introduction of Zephyr for PC users at the end of January has led to a number of questions about the alarm messages that started to appear on PC screens. In part, these questions were prompted not just by the fact that these new messages appeared, but also because so many appeared in the first weeks after the introduction of the new service!

A notification system is needed to allow the operators of the Central Computer services to tell users of any problems that may affect them or their colleagues. Using Zephyr as the notification system allows us to send a message to almost all computer users. By sending such messages we can avoid having many users call the User Consultancy Office or the operators---or waste time trying to find out if they are doing something wrong. Fortunately, such incidents are relatively rare and no Zephyr warnings were sent out at all in the last 2 weeks of February, for example.

More services are now being provided in common for UNIX and PC users and Zephyr helps us to keep all users informed of what is happening with central services. As such, we hope you can accept the occasional Zephyr message. These messages are only sent when necessary and one day such a message may prevent you from wasting time trying to solve a problem that lies elsewhere.

Finally, one or two users have complained that it is not just the Operators that can send messages, and that their work can be disturbed by other users. However, you can control the messages that Zephyr displays with a "zephyr.sub" file in your NOVELL home directory, i.e. a file "J:\zephyr.sub". If this file contains the line

then other users will not be able to send you messages. You can create such a file yourself by starting Notepad or Wordpad, entering this line and saving the file in your home directory (J: drive).