If you want to work directly on your own computer (not by connecting to the math/cs department computers but by doing everything on your own computer), you could use an easy way of transferring files between your own computer and the math/cs file server.
SFTP is one way to transfer files between two computers over a network. To use it, you need a program that supports SFTP. If you can use ssh on your computer, you can also use sftp on the command line. A command-line sftp session can be started on Mac OS or Linux with a command such assftp email@example.com
After giving your Linux password, you will be able to use the commands put and get to transfer files between the local computer and the remote computer. The ls command will list files in the current directory on the remote computer, and the cd command can be used to change directories on the remote computer. To list files and change directories on the local computer, use the commands lls and lcd. Use exit to end the sftp session. (On Linux or Mac OS, see the man page for sftp for more information.)
However, you might want a GUI interface for SFTP. This page discusses the FireFTP extension for Firefox and two GUI programs for SFTP: Fugu for Mac and WinSCP for Windows. Note that the IT department recommends FireZilla, and you can find instructions for using it on their site.
You can use these programs to connect to any of the Math/CS departments computers: csfac0.hws.edu, csfac1.hws.edu, ..., csfac7.hws.edu, cslab0.hws.edu, cslab1.hws.edu, ..., cslab11.hws.edu, or math.hws.edu. Once connected, you can move files back and forth between your machine and the department's file server.
FireFTP Firefox Extension
If you use the Firefox web browser, you can do SFTP file transfers in a web browser using the FireFTP Firefox extension. Information about obtaining and using FireFTP can be found on a separate page. Since it is a nice, cross-platform solution, it's a good choice for Firefox users.
Fugu for Mac OS
The web page for Fugu is http://rsug.itd.umich.edu/software/fugu/. The current release version does not work on Mac OS 10.7 or later, so you should be sure to get the pre-release version 1.2.1, which can be downloaded from the Fugu page on Sourceforge, http://sourceforge.net/projects/fugussh/. You can download the ZIP file directly using this link: this link. (You don't have to fill out the form to download it.)
After download, just double-click the ZIP file to open it. It will unzip to give the Fugu application. You can drag it to your Application folder or elsewhere -- or just use it from wherever it extracted.
Double-click the Fugu icon to start the program. You see a window that shows your files on your Mac on the left. On the right is a "Connect To" box. You can enter math.hws.edu or (from on campus) any one of the csfac0.hws.edu, ... csfac7.hws.edu computers. Enter your usual user name (like zz999). You can leave Port and Directory blank. (The directory is the directory that you will see when you connect. If you want to transfer files directly into a particular directory, such as such as /classes/cs124/homework/fred, you can enter the name of the directory in this box. Otherwise, you will start in your home directory and can navigate from there.)
Click "Connect". The first time you connect to a computer, you will be prompted to confirm that you want to continue connecting. Click "Continue." You will be asked for your Linux password. Once you enter it, you will see the files in your Linux account (in your home directory or in the directory that you entered on the first screen).
Once you are connected, you can simply drag-and-drop files from one half of the window to the other. You can also drag-and-drop entire folders, but if you download a folder you will be told that the program has to use "SCP" instead of "SFTP"; that's OK.
Hopefully, you can figure out how to navgigate from one folder to another in the interface. (Double-click a folder to enter it; use the pop-up menu at the top of the file listing to go up to containing folders.)
Click the "Disconnect" button when finished (but closing the window without disconnecting probably won't do any harm).
WinSCP for Windows
The web site for WinSCP is http://winscp.net/eng/index.php. The download page is http://winscp.net/eng/download.php Click on "Installation Package" to download. This will download winscp439setup.exe. Double-click the icon, named "winscp439setup") to run the installer (or tell Internet Explorer to run it instead of save it when you download). Note that the number "439" might have changed by the time you get there.
When you run the installer, you can accept all the defaults. You will get a WinSCP icon on the Desktop, as well as an entry in the "All Programs" menu. (You can delete the installer.)
When you run WinSCP, you will see a Login window. For the "Host name" you can enter math.hws.edu or (on campus) andy of the csfac0.hws.edu, ..., csfac7.hws.edu computers. Enter the User Name and Password for your Linux account. Other things can be left at the default values. Click "Login".
The first time you connect to a computer, you will asked whether you want to continue connecting. Say yes.
Once connected, the files on your Windows computer are shown on the left, and the files in your Linux home directory are shown on the right. Unfortunately, you will see a lot of extra files with named that begin with ".". These are "hidden" files that you generally don't want to know about; look farther down in the list to find your real files.
You can transfer files between systems simply by dragging files between the left and right sides of the window. You can also drag entire folders.
To easily change directories, click on the "open folder" icon above the file list. You will be asked to enter the directory that you want to view. For example, you could do this to easily get to a folder such as /classes/cs124/homework.
Just close the window when you are done.