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Communication Software

Written by Dave Houldershaw, Ian Tickle,Huub Driessen and Clare Sansom

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Introduction to Communication Tools

During this course, we will be using a variety of communication tools to interact with each other as well as the visualisation tools we use to explore protein structure. The most important of these is the Instant Messenger tool Jabber which we will be using for our interactive tutorials. We also run a blog in which we link recent developments in research into protein structure and allied disciplines with the course material. Many of the posts are linked to talks in the Birkbeck Department of Biological Sciences seminar programme.

We will be using email discussion lists regularly throughout the course. There are two of these: the general list and the tutors' list. More details of these lists are available here.

We also have a Facebook group for the MSc in Structural Molecular Biology, which is run by a current student on the Protein Crystallography course. Do consider joining if you use Facebook; it can be a good way of interacting with students on other MSc course modules and with some former students, as well as with each other.

We will discuss blogs, wikis and other "social software" communication tools at much more length in section 4 of the course, when we also discuss the scientific literature and how it is accessed and used.

Archive Material: The Birkbeck MUD

In previous years, the interactive tutorials in this course were given using an older text-based chat program, the Multi-User Dimension or MUD. A MUD is a virtual meeting place which contains objects and people which behave (in principle!) in a similar way to real-life equivalents.  The system is based on rooms which can contain objects and where people can meet in real time.  Communication is generally by means of typing a command word followed by a sentence in English. 

We will be keeping the Birkbeck MUD active for a while in case of glitches in the new software. So keep these instructions to hand in case you need to use them!

There are a number of different ways of connecting to the Birkbeck Crystallography MUD; the web browser interface has been by far the most popular.
Web browser interface http://mud.cryst.bbk.ac.uk:6006
Web browser telnet window telnet://mud.cryst.bbk.ac.uk:6005
Unix X-term window telnet  mud.cryst.bbk.ac.uk  6005

Detailed information on the use of the MUD can be found by following the links on the Birkbeck Crystallography MUD page (who to contact, how it works, command reference, map of the MUD, and a quick reference card of the most useful commands).

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