ibookserver Setup

my How-to quest to set up a rural dialup server on an ibook g3.

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Location: Trinity County, East Texas, United States

I'm a lawyer who likes to surf the net, play music and bitch about things I can't change.

Friday, June 17, 2005

My Basic ibook setup - Equipment

Macs all around! I have an older iBook G3 Blueberry 366 Hz. with 320 MB RAM, a cd-rom, airport card, modem and 10 GB hard drive. It is circa 1998. Obsolete? No way! If it has software and can connect to the internet, it is not obsolete. Slow? A little bit in comparison to the newer iBooks. My other main computer is an iBook G4 1.07 GHz, 768 MB RAM, Super drive DVD, Airport Extreme Card, 14" Screen, 40 GB hard drive. It is way faster than the Blueberry, but it is circa 2004. The latest iBooks are faster still. Remember, comparing hertz speed on different chips and computers i.e., PCs versus Macs, is not the way to tell speed. For the average user, most computers are speedy enough. Get the most speed you can for the money! To speed up your mac, always install more memory first.

The other equipment for my home setup is as follows; an Airport Extreme Base Station with dial-up modem, a cheap Lexmark 605 color printer, an extra phone line, and a cheap dial-up ISP that allows unlimited connection time. They all say "unlimited connection time", but their fine print says that you cannot use any auto features to stay connected 24/7. As a lawyer, I say they are pissing in the wind - offering unlimited time and then saying "not really" is not cool at all. Can you say consumer complaint? I knew you could! But I digress.

Optimally, you would want a high-speed, always on, broadband account with which you connect to the internet. But that is not gonna happen in the rural areas for quite some time. You can always do better, but remember the nature of this blog - cheaper, easier, leaner, and meaner. I use Apple Macintosh computers because they stay up and running way longer than Wintell Computers, they are easier to use, and they are a lot more easy to setup and configure. Adding new software is a snap! I worked my way through college (and while awaiting Law School to begin) as a computer tech at my college. I fixed all the macs on campus (400 or so). The other techs worked for the PC computer side - 10 -13 for about 1,000 PCs. They were busy all the time - I, on the other hand, skated because once a mac was set up properly, it tended to stay up. Since I knew the PC side, also - I used my spare time running fixit tickets for the PC users. Thinks about that for a moment - 1 part-time tech taking 17 hours keeping 400 macs up and running versus 10 -13 techs, some of which were fulltimers, to keep 1000 or so PCs up and running. This does not include the unix and server folks, or the software helpdesk, or the lab techs -(you know, those geeks who warm a chair in the computer lab reading a book or playing games who tell you "use that computer over there, and I send a repair ticket in").

That is a major reason why I use macs. Sometimes my ibooks run for weeks and weeks without a restart, and usually I only restart to clear up hard drive space - some programs eat up your hard drive space and never give it back unless you restart. Safari is bad about that. After you have loaded about 1000 web pages, each having 20 to A HUNDRED icons and graphics, a small hard drive fills up quite fast. Restart to clear up memory. Photoshop is (I use an older version) is notorious for using up hard drive space - 50 to a 100 MB per filter use or color change or mask or any of a hundred other things. When you open a photo and change the color just a little, that is 50 MB of space reserved by Photoshop - get the picture. Quit the program to reclaim the disk space, and sometimes, you just gotta restart to clear the space.

So, More RAM, More Hard Drive Space means a faster computer. I also have a couple of cheap firewire 30 BG hard drives that I use to back up my data. There you have it - my basic hardware - an old laptop, a newer laptop, an airport base station with modem, a printer and a couple of external hard drives. Next time, Basic software.

Rural, out!


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