Sunday, April 17, 2005

A Productive Weekend

Yesterday I paid a visit to one of my clients, a custom printing/blueprinting shop. This is the same client for whom a partner and I installed Ethernet and telephone cabling in their new office back in the Fall.

Anyway, yesteday's visit had two purposes: first, my normal monthly maintenance on their file and mailservers. Second, to limit Internet access for some of the workstations on their LAN. A number of the PCs are hooked up to large printers and used to control them, and nobody should ever be using them for anything else. Likewise there are two PCs used strictly for shipping items, one for UPS and one for FedEx. These need limited access. About a half dozen PCs need full Internet access.

Since they are on a budget, the way I created different levels of access was to use access control lists (ACLs) on their SMC 8013 cable modem/router. The PCs with full access were assigned static IPs in a particular range, while the boxes with no access were left as DHCP clients. I changed the DHCP scope, cutting it in half, and created an ACL which denies Internet access to those PCs within the range of IPs handed out by the router.

The UPS and FedEx PCs were special cases. We downloaded and instaleld Norton Internet Security on the FedEx box, and one of their employess who's pretty savvy will configure it so that the only website the user can go to is FedEx's. We tried the same thing for the UPS box, but this one was acutally supplied by UPS and NIS wouldn't install. So, the company's owner is just going to have to put her foot down with repsect to misuse of that PC in particular.

Finally, I also got the mail users migrated to Mozilla Thunderbird, off of Outlook Express. The main reason for doing so was to minimize their exposure to malware.

Today my electrician friend who helped me out on the big cabling job with this client came over and did some work at my house. We got most of the remaining two prong outlets replaced with properly grounded three prong outlets, got our doorbell fixed, a couple of outside floodlights upgraded, and checked out attic fans at Lowe's. He'll probably come back out next month to do the attic fan, which should save us some money during the summer.

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