Besides that cute shower caddy and rubber ducky, the most essential dorm item you’ll need is an Internet-ready computer and plenty of hard drive space for, um…, those thought-provoking academic essays. Those, and maybe Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, the Michael Cain version of “The Italian Job,” and the video of those guys imitating the Bellagio fountains using Mentos and Diet Coke. We recommend you don’t tell UCSB’s Residential Networking Program employees about the latter category.

Better known as ResNet, this network provides all students living in the residence halls with high-speed Internet access as long as they have an Ethernet network card and an Ethernet CAT-5 cable to accompany their virus-free and recently updated computer.

Though Mac users do not have to worry about updating their operating system, ResNet Manager Ben Price recommends that all Windows users take advantage of the Windows Updates available on the Microsoft website. Students running an illegal version of Windows will have to obtain a legitimate copy before they can receive these upgrades.

Before you can use the high-speed on-campus Internet, you must plug in all your power cables, install Ethernet cards – which are pre-installed in most new computers – connect your new cables to the wall and register with your perm number and PIN, which will be the last four digits of your social security number if you have not changed it.

Upon registering, you must then download a small piece of software from ResNet called Cisco Clean Access, which allows students to connect to the network after their computer meets certain requirements, specifically, Windows Updates.

While installing virus scan software is no longer a requirement, students are still urged to obtain anti-virus software to protect their computers. Since the network is a shared environment, certain viruses may use the network to travel from one computer and infect another. Protecting your computer, in turn, protects other computers.

If you have any computer questions, ResNet network consultants are ready and available to assist computer users. Offices are located in San Nicolas, San Rafael and Francisco Torres Residence Halls and are open seven days a week.

Of course, there are a few questions you should not ask these consultants, such as anything concerning downloading music, movies or that funny Bellagio video. ResNet complies with the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which forbids the downloading of copyrighted material.

This law, however, does not stop many students from accessing the wealth of illegal music and video available on the popular and free program, DC++.

DC++ is unique from other well-known file-sharing programs because it is insulated from the outside world and runs entirely on UCSB’s fast connection. This means that your downloads will go at previously unimagined speeds. Songs take an average of three seconds to copy, and entire movies can be yours in about 20 minutes. The one caveat is that in order to keep the connection secret from users in the general public, including the Isla Vista population, students must obtain the “secret code” or address of the central administrating computer that serves as a hub.

The address is only available by word of mouth, so students are advised to ask their nerdy friends what it is. The software is available at