Institute for Language Sciences Labs


Working with experiment laptops

Last updated on 18 February 2019 by Iris Mulders

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Experiment laptops

The ILS Labs offer laptops for loan for linguistic experimentation.

Please note that these experiment laptops have been chosen and configured with much care for you to be able to conduct your experiments. We consider these laptops measuring devices and certainly not ‘general purpose laptops’ for anyone to work on.

You won’t get administrator rights on these devices, so don’t expect to be able to install anything! Get in touch with lab support in advance if there is any special software you need installed for your operation. We’re happy to help!

Dual Boot (Kubuntu Linux or Windows 10)

Just like with the PCs in the lab, after you’ve hit the power on button of your laptop, a black and grey ‘boot menu’ appears. Using the arrow keys, you can select which Operating system will be started. If you don’t do anything here, after 30 seconds, the laptop will automatically start a specific Linux Distribution, called Kubuntu.

Time critical experimentation

If you require very precise timing (± millisecond precision) for your (ZEP-) experiment, usually developing, piloting and testing under Kubuntu is the best idea.

Alternatively, you could boot the laptop under Windows 10, but as Windows allows much more variance/delay in the way in which timestamps work under the hood, you should generally not run time-critical experiments under Windows. Confer with lab support if needed to make the right decision for your experiment.

User interface

The price you will pay for the timestamp-stability under Linux (Kubuntu), is that the user experience may be a bit different — especially if you’ve never worked under a Linux OS before. See this howto for working under Kubuntu. (As is noted there, if your system freezes up, use CTRL + ALT + F2, followed by CTRL + ALT + F7.)

Reserve an experiment laptop

You can reserve an experiment laptop through the reservation system. As with any loan equipment, make an appointment with a lab technician about pick-up and return.

Standard: 30 days limit on user name + login

Your Solis ID will need to be ‘activated’ on the experiment laptop while you are still in the lab – otherwise you will not be able to log in on the laptop at all.

To ‘activate’ your Solis ID on the laptop, you will need to log in once with a network cable from the lab plugged in. You can use an ethernet cable in the technicians’ office 0.09 on the ground floor, or the freehanging ethernet cables in the back of room K.06 in the basement.

After logging in this first time, you can keep logging in with that user name + password for 30 days after. Special precautions will need to be taken if this period should for some reason be longer (like measuring abroad) – please let us know beforehand and we’ll be happy to help.