PC Talk

The col­or print­er is dead. Boo. Our scan­ner died recent­ly, too. The kids’ web­cam absolute­ly will not talk to the kids’ com­put­er. We haven’t been able to get Andre, one of the old­er PCs, to boot after he was on a remote assign­ment with friends for a while.

We are not hav­ing good tech­nol­o­gy expe­ri­ences right now.

So this prob­a­bly isn’t the best time to do this, but if we can get any of the old PCs run­ning, we want to turn one of them into a Lin­ux-based router.

See, we had room in the old house to put mul­ti­ple PCs in the pub­lic areas of the house, so we could all use them. Between the play­room and the office area (orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed to be a din­ing room), we could have one for each mem­ber of the family.

That isn’t the case in the apart­ment. I’m typ­ing in a cor­ner of the liv­ing area. Sam’s desk is in a cor­ner of our bed­room. The serv­er is tucked away in an old print­er stand near me. The only place to put more PCs is in the kids’ bed­rooms. Each kid does have a desk in his or her room that could sup­port a PC. (In fact, lit­tle­fire­fae has a desk and her draw­ing table.) Being able to do aca­d­e­m­ic stuff in a qui­eter space would cer­tain­ly be prefer­able to doing it in the mid­dle of every­thing else that’s going on.

But we don’t want them to have unmonitored/unlimited inter­net access in their bed­rooms, espe­cial­ly to chat rooms. That’s one of those things that I’ve seen get way too many kids into trou­ble. Unmon­i­tored inter­net access by kids is dangerous.

Our cur­rent router does­n’t seem to be able to block inter­net access to cer­tain IP address­es. Either you’re on the LAN and have net access, or you aren’t. It cer­tain­ly can’t do what would be ide­al and block access to every­thing but cer­tain sites. All the “parental con­trol” pack­ages we’ve encoun­tered suck. So we’ll try using a Lin­ux router and see how that works.

We don’t actu­al­ly have as many work­ing PCs as we did at one time, as some have died. But we’re hop­ing to fix that as things improve finan­cial­ly. Right now, the newest machine in the house is prob­a­bly at least five years old—Sam’s for­mer employ­er was throw­ing it away and he snagged it. No, wait—there’s one that was bought for the kids in Decem­ber 2000.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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