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Windows MultiPoint Server
is a thin client or shared resource computing
software solution in which one host computer is shared by multiple users
simultaneously. Basically, it allows one computer to serve several people in a
lab or library at very low cost and with minimum maintenance. TechSoup and Interconnection, one of our
Refurbished Computer Initiative partners, teamed up to supply a group of
nonprofits and libraries with everything they would need to set up a MultiPoint
Server lab in their environment. In most cases, we sent them the instructions,
hardware, and software they’d need and then stood back and watched how the
installation went. We then did check-ins on how the MultiPoint Server system held
up under use.
Computer Technologies Program in Berkeley,
California, was one of our test sites. They provide people with disabilities with training in IT
skills useful for employment. They also operate a PC refurbishment program
called their Computer ReUse
Center, which refurbishes 200 computers per year. This program
provides IT technical support training to clients and revenues to the larger
program. They also offer low-cost computer repair to the public. Computer
Technologies Program has an employment placement rate of 80% and has served as
the model for technical training programs. Its IT job training model has been
replicated at more than 50 locations internationally.
teamed up to supply Computer Technologies Program with everything they would
need to set up a bank of MultiPoint Server-based public access computers.
was a four-station donation:
December 18, 2012
This was a new
installation to augment existing training labs. Computer Technologies Program has
40 PCs, which are separated on to two different networks - one for staff and one for
students. Each network has its own file server. They have a T1 Internet
connection (10 MB up / 100 MB down).
This was an
interesting installation because, at my request, two non-technical people did
this one. Business Manager Christine
Tabony and a trusty volunteer gamely opened up all the boxes and
straightaway began laying things out and plugging them in. They laid the lab
out in a row, so immediately had some trouble with short USB cables. Like
most of our test sites, they didn’t initially use the instructions to connect
up the hardware. It took them about an hour to connect all the hardware, and
then an additional 20 minutes to configure the software. They had no problems
getting the Internet to work. They just plugged an ethernet cable into the server
and it went live.
This was our final test installation, so we had fewer problems than with the others since we had a
much-improved set of instructions. Once Christine started using our
step-by-step instructions, the installation went smoothly. I already mentioned
that some of the USB cables were too short for the in-line configuration, but
Christine was able to adjust things to make everything fit.
Once the new system
was up and running, former student and current volunteer Frank Schulz sat
down and began testing it. Other testers came in soon after. I really like this
kind of place, where everyone seems to have a set of tools and just likes
tinkering. When I mentioned that we found that Flash-heavy websites sometimes
bogged down the system, our testers were immediately on it. They all found
highly animated websites and managed to slow the system down considerably.
The new MultiPoint
Server system is mainly used for open access to the Internet for students,
volunteers, and visitors. They routinely check email and access SaaS cloud
services. Operation Manager Alex Tabony observed that graphically intensive
websites continued to slow the system down.
Tabony reported that the new MultiPoint Server system required no effort to
Alex recommends MultiPoint Server to any nonprofit that has a
need for open access computers.