Using our public share

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Using the Asylum's public file share

The Asylum has a file share available for the use of its members. Its primary purpose is to make it possible for members to share files with other members, primarily inside the building. This includes design files for CAD/CAM projects, photos and video for our publicity, and so forth. It is not intended to be a permanent storage facility for members' own files unless they intend them to be shared with others. If you need the files to be visible to the rest of the world, the share is not the place---use this wiki or some other externally-facing service. Do not put any confidential information in this share; it can be read by anyone who knows our wireless passphrase, which means all members.

If you use the share, please add yourself to its mailing list so you receive service updates.

Everyone using the share is expected to abide by all our policies, including acceptable use of our public network and our member-to-member privacy policy.


If you're uploading files to the share, it's generally the right idea to put them in a folder named for yourself. Use lowercase with no spaces in the name. This is not just a matter of consistency; if you want to be able to get at your files from outside the building, this will be the name of your user account for doing so.

If you're participating in some group project, you can also put your files in a group directory (such as "publicity" or "outreach" or something like that). Make sure that others in the project can figure out whose files they are or when they might be obsolete.

Please make sure that there is some named person who is responsible for shared folders! If it isn't instantly obvious from the name of the folder, consider putting a README file in it with your name and email address (at least). Otherwise, if we need to figure out whose it is (say, because it looks abandoned and is taking up significant space), we'll have to send mail to everyone to figure it out.

You can create folders to hold students' work during a class. Please make sure to identify the instructor and the class (see above), and also to remind your students that we won't necessarily hold class information forever; we might even delete it before the next run of the class. Have students take their own data with them if they want it.


The share is backed up daily, and those daily backups are kept around for about two weeks. Every week, one of those backups is selected for longer-term storage. Most of those weekly selections are expired within a couple months, but some may persist for much longer. This means that, the longer a file was around in the share before it was deleted, the longer it's likely to persist in our backups. Something that was around for a week or two may persist for many months. Something that was only around for a day may also persist that long (if you're lucky), but most likely will vanish from the backups within a couple of weeks. So if you notice something missing, ask for its retrieval as soon as you do.

See also the discussion immediately below about file permissions.


Anyone can read, write, and delete any file in the share, including creating and deleting toplevel folders. This means that new users can just start using it immediately (if they're inside the building), without having to go through any sort of account-creation process.

We do this because we trust people to be responsible about not causing problems for others. If you accidentally delete something (yours or someone else's) send mail as soon as possible. It may be retrievable from backup, if you don't wait too long to let someone know.

If someone (including yourself) deletes file(s) from the share and fails to request restoration from backups, they will eventually (in weeks or months) disappear from the backups, too---otherwise, backups would grow without limit. This means that you should never put your last copy of some important file into the share without keeping a copy for yourself.

In certain cases (arranged on a case-by-case basis), it is possible to protect files or entire trees of files from deletion---but doing so also makes it impossible for you to update them on your own, either, so this should only be done for "write-once", archival information, like photos and videos that we'll want to keep forever. Because changing files from mutable to immutable requires human attention, please try to minimize the number of times you request this. Send mail if you need a set of files protected in this way.


At the moment, there are no quotas on the share. Having to turn quotas on would be a considerable inconvenience, because that would imply that every user would need their own account, even if they're using the share from inside the building. That's a lot of work for everyone.

Please don't abuse the share by using it as a general dumping-ground. Files you put on it should be relevant to the Asylum, and you should take personal responsibility for cleaning them up if they become obsolete or irrelevant. Flagrant abusers take the risk that their files will be deleted, especially if we can't figure out who to ask about them.

Getting to the share

You can access the share from inside the building, or from the rest of the net. Doing so from inside is easy; doing so from outside requires that someone create an account for you.

From inside the building

You can reach the share from the wireless network. If you don't know our wireless passphrase, ask a desk staffer. The share itself has no password from the inside, but the wireless network does, so make sure you can use the wireless network first.

The host for the share is ZOAC.

If you're running Windows, go to the share on \\asylumnas.tyler\InmatesShare, using the workgroup WORKGROUP, as a guest. [We use the default workgroup name because otherwise Windows users would have to constantly reset their machines from the default to ours, which generally requires a reboot, and then reset from ours to their default again later, which also requires a reboot. Yay Windows!] Note: If you're using Windows 7, you should in general have unknown networks set to Public network so you don't inadvertently advertise shares on your own machine to untrusted machines. However, doing so also means you can't connect to shares you do trust. If you use this configuration, you should first connect to our wireless network, and then change that particular network to Work network so your machine will trust our network enough to allow you to join our share.

If you're running Mac OS X, use smb://asylumnas.tyler/InmatesShare as the name of the share. These instructions have more detail.

If you're running Linux, specifically Ubuntu, you can use the Places menu in your toolbar; click on Connect to server... and pull down on Service type to Windows share. Use zoac as the server; leave the rest of the fields blank.

From outside the building

There is no longer external access to the Asylum public NAS.

Mailing list

Please add yourself to the mailing list for share users. This is an extremely low-traffic, announce-only list which will receive notifications of changes to service. It will also be the first place we will ask if we need to identify an abandoned folder before it gets deleted. This is not the place to ask for help (you can't post there anyway) or to contact an administrator; to do that, send here instead.

To add yourself, send a blank message to You'll get an automatic acknowledgement, which you will have to confirm in order to be added to the list.

How to contact an administrator

If you have questions, or need an account created so you can use the share from outside, send mail to

If you're requesting an account, remember that you need to provide some information first; see above.

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