Saturday, February 28, 2004 6:17 AM bart

SchoolServer Internet Blocking

Working again on the Microsoft SchoolServer development, this time in the field of internet blocking tools which can be used by teachers to lock certain students, a whole class for example, from the internet just by performing a few mouse clicks on the teacher's computer. Not that simple at all, but a great challenge again :-). The main problem is that we can't really do a central blocking since the infrastructure in the targeted schools is different in quite a lot scenarios, so we can't rely on some unified infrastructure. I also has to be really easy to install and to use by teachers. To do this, we're currently working on a client-based approach with the central SchoolServer as a "blocking server/dispatcher". The other difficulty to deal with is the fact that blocking will be applied on a user-basis, not on a computer-basis. All kinds of scenarios are taken in account for the moment: roaming students, students being logged on on multiple machines, etc. Secure by default, you know :-).

Okay, back to work now developing the server-components and the client-tools used to map users on computers (where those people are logged on to), to do the blocking and to have secure communication between the client and server. Still working on the Windows 9x client for older systems (which are still out there in many schools). It was a welcome present to have a Virtual PC solution for Microsoft to test all flavors of clients on my machine (my main OS is Windows 2003, running Windows 98, Me, 2003 and XP in Virtual PCs for the moment). Let's ALT-TAB to C++ for another few hours.

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