Low cost and trouble free computing
Most of All We Want Technology to:
- Work FOR us not against us
- Help us communicate better and achieve more in new ways
- No be a constant pain to set up and maintain
- Cost us little
So, how can we go about achieving those goals?
- Ensure the YWAM centre has a good hardware firewall - even a low cost router/switch is better than connecting a PC direct to the Internet. That said ensure all Windows PC's have their own firewall on and functioning.
- If you run a Wireless network make sure it is encrypted  especially if you live in a city: you may have a legal requirement due to data protection to keep out people other than YWAMers to connect.
- Do not allow any Windows PC to be connected to your network without having:
- A firewall up and running
- An modern and active anti-virus program installed and running. (Take care with New PC's that come with 6 months of subscription - lots of users do not re-subscribe!)
- Ensure that the Window's OS is fully updated and the automatic updating system is working.
- That no-one is running Internet Explorer 6 or below!
- Train your staff well! Help them to help themselves!
- Write common setup details down step by step and insist they work it through before asking!
- Write down common problems and the solutions you have found as your solve the problems. So staff can look up there for a problem first
- Make a problem report sheet - staff fill it in and think through the problem and how to reproduce it so they don't express problems in vague terms (e.g. "My email is broken")
- Train staff in dangers of viruses, etc.
- Encourage staff not to run Windows computers as with Administrator privilages, but as Computer Users. Have a separate login for Admin tasks.
- Use VNC for remote administration and save time running all over a YWAM centre.
- Examine open source programs for economy and ease! Openoffice is Very Very good and available in lots and lots of languages!
- Consider running Linux Desktops
Consider Running a Linux Terminal Server
You can use old Desktops as the graphical front end to one powerful server.
Imagine 20 PC's linked to one server:
- No viruses
- Only one machine to upgrade when software needs updating AND it wont need to be rebooted either when updating!
- Only one machine needs the money spending on it (The server: 1Gb Ram per 10 users, standard size HD)
- Only one point for backup...
- Not that easy to set up but VERY hard to break once running
- If a terminal breaks down, swap in a new one
- Can make use of old hardware which is easy to request from donors. A P200 and up with 32Mb ram makes for a good client
- Ideal for student use and non-power users and administrative staff
- High cost savings (e.g. Use and old terminal, put in a 2nd hand 100Mhz ethernet card (1 euro), turn off the hard drive, format a special boot floppy (for another euro) and you have a new terminal.
- Server software and client software cost can be 0! See LTSP or Edubuntu for examples. Recommended base for server Ubuntu Linux. For expertise give me a call: Kev-The-Hasty
Some Additional Notes
- WEP doesn't really count as encryption, it is better than nothing, though. Prefer WPA/WPA2 whenever possible.