gimme a popup window outisde of my network
September 17, 2007 2:14 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for something that will enable me to write a message that will popup on a computer outside of my network.

We have a bank of computers at our state library that are for the public. Since the state has crazy harsh rules about restricting browsing, we have these computers on a non-state internet provider. We would like a way to roust out people camping on a computer or people looking at porn without having a face-to-face confrontation. We would like to type a message into a program on the circulation computer that will then appear on the selected station. Is there anything that I can use?
posted by Foam Pants to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
What OS?
posted by bonaldi at 2:40 PM on September 17, 2007

With the Windows Messaging Service patched closed on most systems due to popup spam and security risks, you're out of luck without deploying some kind of app on the client side that checks in somewhere to get the messages. I don't have a specific recommendation for an app to use, but I know they're out there.

FWIW, the Windows Messaging Services was designed to do this, but without any kind of access controls.
posted by davejay at 2:43 PM on September 17, 2007

How is the setup on the stations? What are patrons given access to? Who admins the computer? Are you allowed to install any software or are there restrictions on what can be deployed?

You could always install a VNC package, which is software for remote pc support. Basically, you install a client on the stations and control them via the circulation computer. VNC is quite powerful and pretty much gives you total control over the stations, e.g. viewing the screen, controlling mouse and keyboard, chat, etc. Some would say that VNC is too powerful and could be abused to invade on the patrons' privacy.

UltraVNC is free and for Windows.

If a VNC package sounds like overkill, there are tons of IM software designed for LANs. Snapfiles is my absolute favorite software directory and it's got a long freeware list.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:03 PM on September 17, 2007

Put a sign saying they will be logged off if they are using too much time or surfing porn.

Then remotely logoff anyone who is doing such.
posted by mphuie at 3:27 PM on September 17, 2007

We use DameWare Mini Remote Control for this kinda thing. The client can be deployed remotely across a network. You can send messages to the terminal and also control their workstation remotely.
posted by TheAnswer at 3:33 PM on September 17, 2007

alternately, you could log into the router remotely and block their MAC address on that network.

they can't surf any more porn or whatever.

when they go away, allow the MAC address again.

it wouldn't stop them from using a word processor, but email and web surfing would be kaput.
posted by Megafly at 7:05 PM on September 17, 2007

If you just want to pop up a message, you could install an instant messaging program. Jabber (XMPP) lets you run your own server, and gives you a choice of clients to run on the public terminals.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:23 PM on September 17, 2007

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