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News Briefs: LaVerde...s to Return to 24-hour Service; Macintosh Cluster Upgraded

LaVerde’s to Return to 24-hour Service

LaVerde’s Market, which was sold to 660 Corporation in early August, plans to return to 24-hour operation on Sept. 17, according to Chris Christensen, director of operations for 660 Corporation.

Prior to the sale of LaVerde’s, Christensen said in August that students would not notice many immediate changes to the business and that the store would keep the same hours as before the sale. However, LaVerde’s has yet to return to its 24-hour schedule for weekdays during the term.

LaVerde’s current store hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to midnight and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“We’re just trying to get the staffing right,” Christensen said last week, adding that there are a core number of people who work in the summer and that the store needed to hire additional help before resuming the 24-hour operation.

Christensen also said that the 24-hour schedule “isn’t particularly profitable” but will be continued because students want it.

LaVerde’s manager Mark Semon, who confirmed that the store will resume 24-hour operation but could not specify when, said that they were waiting to finish training help before increasing hours of operation.

660 Corporation is a subsidiary of Boston University and owns 11 locations in the Boston area, including LaVerde’s in the Student Center and MacGregor Convenience. “We specialize in the college market, with six locations on the BU campus, one on the [Boston College] campus, and two at MIT,” Christensen said.

Ji Qi

Macintosh Cluster Upgraded

The cluster of Macintosh computers in Building 26 has been upgraded to 13 new G5 Apple Macintosh computers as of August, according to David G. Wyman, who manages hardware for the Academic Computing division of Information Systems & Technology. The cluster is in 26-139, across the breezeway from 26-100. It is called the “New Media Center,” and its Web page is at http://web.mit.edu/nmc. It is primarily intended for multimedia projects, and has several commercial graphics and multimedia software packages installed.

Wyman said that the operating system “has been integrated with Athena, so you can now use your Kerberos credentials to log in, and AFS is mounted as a drive.” The AFS filesystem provides access to Athena home directories and Web pages. Wyman also said that the network has been upgraded to gigabit ethernet, up from 10-megabit ethernet.

According to Philip D. Long, senior strategist for Academic Computing, the Macintosh upgrades were prompted by a series of thefts over the summer. Academic Computing spent about $19,000 on the upgrade, Long said. That money comes from the Academic Computing budget that also funds Athena clusters, as well as ad hoc faculty projects, Long said. That budget has declined from about $1.5 million a few years ago to around $600–700,000 this year, according to Long. One of the items stolen over the summer that has not yet been replaced is the cluster’s video projector.

IS&T will be deploying a new laser printer in the cluster in the next few weeks, Wyman said. The new printer will be black-and-white; previously the cluster had a color printer, though it was not replaced after it stopped working several years ago. Wyman and Long indicated that IS&T is thinking about ways to install a color printer in the cluster, while managing the cost of consumables. Currently IS&T operates two public color printers, one in the W20 Copytech center (printer w20color), and one in the 37-312 Windows Athena Cluster (printer echo).

In order to make it easier to reserve the cluster, a touch-panel scheduling system has been installed outside the room, Wyman said. The screen features bright green (available) and red (in-use) lights on its side that are visible from as far away as Lobby 16. When the cluster is not reserved, it is available for walk-in use. Long said the scheduling system will be linked from the cluster’s Web page soon.

Long said that Academic Computing is looking for more feedback about the cluster and is considering relocating it to a larger space in the basement of Building 4 (4-035) if there is sufficient usage to meet demand. He requests feedback emailed to  acis-help@mit.edu.

—John A. Hawkinson