Why oh why has no-one written a proper library computer system yet? When I say “library computer systems”, I mean the things they install down at the library so that people can access the internet. The current setup on the computer that I’m using (no internet at home at the moment unfortunately – Paul’s taken his router home, so I’ll have to try and pick mine up tomorrow) is Windows XP, with a kind of “shell” installed on it.
Unfortunately, this shell looks like it was written in Visual Basic — it’s rubbish. When you want to book an internet PC, it tells you that to exit that part of the application, you have to press Alt+F4 (for those of you who don’t know, in Windows that is the shortcut for exiting the current application). When you’ve logged on to use the internet, it comes up with the default “libraries” Internet Explorer thing (which doesn’t have an address bar at the top), so you have to actually click on “Hotmail” (or another link on the page) to bring up a new Internet Explorer window — which opens outside the application, and … grrr!
They could make all this so much better by using Linux (no, seriously), Mozilla Firefox, and a transparent proxy. A properly secure operating system, a decent browser, and a secure internet connection (so they could log what you were doing and not let you do anything subversive). To be honest you could probably do the same thing on Windows, you can make it fairly secure if you want — but most libraries don’t.
Anyway, I’ll stop rambling now…