The Computer Interest Floor is a special interest housing group devoted to giving its members and the UR community greater access to computer resources of all kinds. Even so, many of their services are unknown to most people. For example, seeing people working in the ITS Center after midnight is nothing unusual. But people from Hill Court and Towers might be walking all the way to the ITS Center in the cold winter night when they don’t have to ? there’s a computer lab in the basement of Anderson, run by the Computer Interest Floor.

The CIF lab, though small, has many features that other computer labs on campus lack. They have Windows, Macintosh and Linux machines, a laser printer, a projection screen and even a couch and easy chair. Also, the lab can be made available to classes for study.

“For people who have to work on a comp-sci project the lab is available for any groups who want to borrow it for recitations and so on,” senior Sam Hathaway said. The lab is expected to become more popular since printing there will be free, unlike the ITS Center.

While working late at the lab one night, sophomore and CIF member Greg Briggs said, “We’re working hard to get it set up before the ITS Center starts charging.”

The computer lab is just one of many services provided by CIF. They host the only recreational UNIX server on campus, which offers e-mail addresses with personally chosen user names.

They also maintain the online service, which provides technical support for hardware and software on campus.

They also make house calls for technical support, and they work for free regardless of your warranty or type of computer. Of course, they ask for understanding from their customers ? they do not guarantee success in every case.

CIF’s executive board is quick to point out that their activities are not limited to computers, as they have charity and community service projects. Twice a year they volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House near deKiewet Tower, where they lived from their founding in 1983 until they moved to their current location in Anderson in 1994. CIF also holds a picnic, or “CIFnic,” every spring and fall and an annual Thanksgiving dinner, or “CIFgiving.”

“We have fun,” said their chair, senior Jess Bunch.

Senior Dennis Lambe, the annual affairs director, added another one of their favorite group activities. “We run around shooting each other with lasers in the dark,” he said, talking about group trips to Laserquest.

Also, anime cartoons are popular on the hall, although not everyone appreciates them. “Anime may be good, but hentai is better,” Bunch said.

All CIF members interviewed hope to dispel stereotypes of CIF and people who like computers as computer experts with feeble social lives. “There are a lot of girls here,” Bunch said, refering to the fact that one-third of CIF members are women.

Members who major in computer science or engineering are greatly outnumbered by those majoring in liberal arts such as philosophy, linguistics, art and English. As an example of this artistic leaning, the first thing you notice when you go to CIF is a mural of a monitor in the middle of the hall ? with a smiley face spray-painted on. In fact, being skilled with computers is not even needed to live in CIF. Hathaway said, “There are a lot of people here to learn more about computers.”

“It’s the Computer Interest Floor, not the Computer Knowledge Floor,” Bunch said.

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Editor’s Note (5/4/24): This article is no longer being updated. For our most up to date coverage, look for articles…