Random Notes

Mac @ Soton

This page contains install notes for a Mac used at the University of Southampton based on my own personal experiences. These experiences include amongst other the observation that my Mac did run best without any iSolutions managing software installed on it.

Installing Snow Leopard

iSolutions delivers your Mac with an outdated version of the operating system OS X, namely Mac OS 10.4 Tiger (if I am not mistaken). By the day of writing the current operating system version is 10.6 Snow Leopard and this version is very much advanced compared to Tiger! Your computer should have been delivered with a Snow Leopard installation disk. Upon starting your iMac insert the installation disk and press the C-key until the system boots from the CD rom drive and follow the instructions.

It is highly recommended to erease the previous installation completely.

Installing Necessary Software

Next we need to install some more software such that we can actually use the computer.

Internet: Firefox. The standard web browser on a Mac is Safari. But I recommend the most recent version of Firefox as it is much more secure and allows to be configured to avoid anoying advertisements on the internet. The adblocking functionality comes as an add-on to Firfox. Choose the Add-ons… item in the Tools menu bar and look for the Adblock plus add-on. After installing this add-on and after restarting Firefox you can select one blocklist to subscribe to and advertisement has been history from then on. Enjoy the Internet without ads! (And as a side effect browsing the internet gets safer: malicious advertisement won’t harm you anymore.)

E-mails: Thunderbird. My recommondation for an e-mail client is Thunderbird. It comes with a very good adaptive junk filter algorithm which will make reading your e-mails again a pleasent experience. The following information is needed to configure Thunderbird here at the University of Southampton:

IMAP Server: imap.exchange.soton.ac.uksoton_imap_config
Port: 993
Encryption: SSL
User name: ISS user name
Password: ISS password
Mail path: ~/Mail

Outgoing Mail (SMTP): SMTP server: smtp.soton.ac.uk
Port: 25
Encryption: TLS
Authentication: Yes
User name: ISS user name
Password: ISS password

The configuration information provided by iSolutions can be found here.

TeX: MacTeX. The TeX distribution for the Mac is MacTeX. Its installation is straight forward. Noteworthy is the use of BibDesk (which comes with MacTeX) for managing BibTeX databases.


Software updates. Keep your software uptodate. Check in regular intervals whether there exists software updates for the operating system (Software Update… in the Apple menu on the top left corner).

Firewall. Activate the Firewall on your computer. Select System Preferences… in the Apple menu. You find the firewall setings in the security section. Select “Allow only essential services”:

Backups. One of the very important new features of OS X 10.5 is the Time Machine. It is a simple but very effective tool to keep your data save and prevent a big desaster if for some reason your data on your Mac would get lost. It also makes it possible to access older versions of your work and recover them if needed. In order to use time machine you will need an external hard drive. My recommodation is 500GB d2 Quadra Hard Disc from LaCie which can be obtained for approximately £110 to £130 pounds at the time of writing. The robust drive can be connected to the Mac via its fast Firewire 800 interface and it can remain powered on while the Mac is running. To know that your PhD work is savely backed up is definitely worth the investment! Don’t save money at the wrong place by not buying an external hard drive!


The following information is only relevant for the School of Mathematics.

The IP addresses of the printers on level 7 and 8 are  the following:

PR404 (Room 8035): (HP LaserJet 4300tdn)
PR831 (Room 8035): (HP LaserJet CP2025dn)
PR904 (Room 7023): (HP LaserJet 4300tn)


The ISS file server is: smb://samba.soton.ac.uk. You can connect to it using ‘Connect to Server…’ in the ‘Go’ menu of the finder. Use your ISS username and password to authenticate.

In order to access the personal homepage one needs to connect to the file server smb://webfiles.soton.ac.uk.

The ISS file server on which the resource drive is located is smb://pjsharedfiles.soton.ac.uk/


2 Responses to “Mac @ Soton”

  1. Jan said

    Hi! I tried to configure my Thunderbird as explained by you but it somehow does not work. I am pretty sure that my details like username and password are correct, since they work when I try to log in via the SUSSED platform. DO you have any idea what might be the problem?
    Thanks! Jan

    • mfluch said

      If the ysername and password work to login to the SUSSED platform, then they are correct.

      What precisely does not work? Can you receive e-mails, that is, does your IMAP configuration work? And/or do you have problems sending messages, that is do you have problems with the SMTP configuration?

      I have added screenshots from the most important configuration panes, does your configuration agree?

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