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.