Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Computers (#5) Computers (#5)

All four systems are up and operational now. I finally found out how to install NetBEUI on Win XP. MSFT makes it hard because they are trying to move away from it to running NetBIOS over TCP/IP for Windows networks. It does help just a little bit, but the XP machine (#E) still acts like a poor stepchild of the three Win 2K computers. The way I am configured, each of them can access the other two as an Administrator. I have password protection on all of this, but in the 2K to 2K environment, apparently the passwords gets shipped along with the userids whenever you are signing onto another (2K) computer, and, thus, is transparent.

Under Win 2K, you can specify which users and groups have which access to which shares. The default is to allow all users unlimited access to each shared resource. I went through all of the shared storage devices (including directories) on the three 2K computers and changed them from allowing all users to allowing just Administrators to access them. I did allow read access to my Install shares (i.e. install files), but that was it.

I also created a server userid on the server (#G). The idea here is that it will only be allowed to read from a small area of its disk, and write to even less. Hopefully, this will help keep my systems safe.

In any case, so far it all seems to be working.

Finally a note on the ZDS server (#G). Zenith Data Systems (ZDS) made its name maybe fifteen or so years ago winning DoD contracts for PCs. Bull, my old employer, purchased the company at the top. Needless to say, what the government can give, it can take away, and ZDS started downhill soon after that. The glories of French ownership of a high tech company.

In any case, Bull bought ZDS computers because it, well, owned ZDS. But Bull was milking its U.S. assets, most notably its GCOS systems group in Phoenix where I worked as a patent attorney. So, it has been downsizing for better than two decades in Phoenix, from somewhere near 10,000 employees down to less than 500.

So, during one of these downsizes, a lot of computers were surplused. We had a drawing for being allowed to buy them, and I "won" the right to buy a 125 mhz P5 system with Win 98, Office 97, etc. for $50. I did, and gave it to my daughter. But she wasn't ever allowed to bring it to her mother's house, as the later wants to maintain control of our daughter's computer usage. So, I had this spare machine. I used it for awhile three years ago in Dillon, but then the HD failed. I replaced it with a 40 gb drive (but the BIOS can't access that much - maybe 32 gb). In any case, upon reinstalling Win 98, I found that I didn't have the video and ethernet drivers for it. And at that, I quit trying to use it until a couple of days ago. I tried to get Win 98 drivers from Bull a couple of months ago, but they had just had another downsizing, and had dumped all such unused software at that time. In any case, I have gotten better than three years of usage out of the video monitor that came with it, so the $50 wasn't wasted (and, indeed, am viewing what I am writing here right now on that monitor). And, now the computer is operational running Win 2K.

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