September 13, 2005

Curious George: Program that limits to surfing only? I went to a business that had "free internet" - the computers were new & nice, but only allowed http/s/ traffic (browser only), no "Start" button, no right-click, no CTRL-ALT-DEL . . . what program let them do that? Or is it just a matter of turning off *everything* for anonymous users? And how would one do that?
  • What browser? Linux or any kind of *nix will let admins do that.
  • Sounds just like the local library computers here, where they lock you out of everything but the IE browswer. I don't know how they do it specifically, but it's built in to XP administration.
  • There are programs for that. Some programs even allow you to count down the time that you're logged in, like in internet cafes and hostel computers. Can't remember what program though. Although I recall it's possible to set up user accounts in XP to prevent non-administrators or super-users to access stuff like CTRL-Shift-ESC (calls up program manager in XP). The library I work in does that to all the computers. However, CTRL-ALT-DEL is still allowed since it's supposed to allow you to login.
  • My first visit to Kuala Lumpur, I stayed in this nice cheap "hotel" (it seemed they had more "hourly" business than overnighters). They had a small internet cafe downstairs. Forget how much I paid for one hour of use (not that it mattered anyway because the connection was teh sucky), but they had the same setup. I tried all the workaround tricks to no avail. The girl who ran the place was proud to show off the administrative software she used to implement such restrictions after I inquired... but the hell if I can remember what software that was now. Wow, I'm really helping here...
  • I wonder what Lord Vader thinks of this?
  • I shall inform Lord Vader!
  • here would be one place to start
  • I remember getting one of the ZRNet accounts. I found that, although there is no menu, the IE still responds to some commands, ie Ctrl-S and others. So, I was able to download drivers for my laptop from their severe restricted browser into my flash key. Note, though, that the saving popup window shows for half a second, and then you have to type like a monkey on guarana.
  • Microsoft has a nifty "shared computer administration tool" that I believe makes it fairly easy to lock down anything you don't want to allow access to on a publicly shared computer. I downloaded it a while ago, but haven't yet tested it to see how well it works - but it might be similar to what you observed. Camilo - Heck, you get an open USB port and a momentary chance to enter a command (such as [ctrl]+O to open something, then browse to the USB key) you should be able to run anything you want from the key itself. Like Firefox for example.