Wire Your World

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here was once a time when the Internet was a far-off thing. You dialed in with your modem, got connected for a moment, and then hung up. But today, things are different. The Internet is pervasive. Your home or small office has more than one computer. It's time to wire your world! This special section has details on setting up a small network, improving your Web pages, and setting up your own Web and e-mail servers.

Step One: Link It Up
Link up your home or small office's computers and printers, and you'll see that a network is more than the sum of its computer parts. With a home network you can play games, share printers, back up your files, share an Internet connection, and more.

Step Two: Dress It Up
Sure, you were excited when you put your first Web site up. But now that site's looking a little bit shabby. Fear not -- one Web design expert has a series of tips to make your Web site look better, work better, and appeal more to your site's visitors.

Step Three: Serve It Up
So you've got a high-speed connection to the Internet, such as DSL or a cable modem. If your Mac's connected to the Net all the time, you can take control over your Internet life. Serve your own Web pages, host your own mailing lists, and make as many e-mail addresses as you can possibly conceive of! It can all happen when you run your own Internet server, and when it comes to running servers, Mac users have it easy. Here's a taste of what you can accomplish.

Step Four: "Wire It Up"
Straight from someone who himself has a closet full of Macs running as Internet servers, here's an in-depth guide to all the issues involved in running your own Mac server software. What kind of Internet connection do you need? What are the best tools? We've got a comprehensive guide to taking the plunge and truly wiring your world.

Illustration by Coco Masuda.

If this is your first network, you might end up connecting the last cable and then wondering, "So how do I use file sharing to move files back and forth between my Macs?" There are two methods, the first of which is simple but totally insecure, and the second of which offers some protection from other users on your network.

If everyone in your house or office could sit down at any Mac on your network and use it, there's little need for network security, since you don't have any physical security. Eliminating the need for network security makes sharing files between Macs especially easy.

On each Mac, open the File Sharing control panel. Enter the same name in the Owner Name field on each Mac. Leave the Owner Password field blank (or enter an easily remembered password, especially if you have a DSL or cable modem connection to the Internet), and type an appropriate descriptive name (like "Adam's 8500") in the Computer Name field for each Mac. Then click the Start button in the File Sharing area below. A few moments later, file sharing will be active, and the Start button will become a Stop button.

To access a hard disk on another Mac, open the Chooser from the Apple menu, click the AppleShare icon, and then double-click the name of the Mac in the list of servers that appears. Enter the owner name that you specified, leave the password field blank, and click Connect. A new dialog box appears, letting you select which volumes on the other Mac you want to access and giving you the option of mounting them automatically on the desktop every time you turn the Mac on. It's only worth doing this if the other Mac is likely to be turned on all the time. An easier way of accessing a disk across the network is to create an alias to it and put it in your Apple menu. Choosing the alias brings up the connect dialog box that asks for your name and password; enter the owner name and click Connect and you're done.

If your Mac is locked away in an office, such that no one could use it without your knowledge, you may be concerned about letting other people on your network see and copy files on your hard disk. If that's true, you need to put a bit more effort into giving people access to just what they need... and no more.

The process of turning on file sharing is the same as discussed above, but make sure to give each Mac a different owner name, and have each person choose their own owner password. Then, open the Users & Groups control panel, and click New User to create a new user. Give the person a name and password, and repeat as necessary for anyone else who needs to access your hard disk. Next, create a group by clicking New Group, giving the group a name, and dragging users from the Users & Groups list into the group window. (You can also drag users onto a group in the main list, or open a user, choose Sharing from the pop-up menu, then drag a group from the main list into the Groups list.)

Now comes the tricky part. Let's assume your hard disk is named Blueberry, and inside Blueberry you have four folders: System Folder, Applications, Documents, and Public. You want people to be able to access files and folders in Public, but you want the other three folders kept private. Here's what you do.

Select Blueberry (the hard disk icon), and choose File -> Get Info -> Sharing to open the Sharing Info window (in Mac OS 8.5, in previous versions of the Mac OS it would be just File -> Sharing). Select the appropriate user or group from the User/Group name pop-up menu, then choose Read only (the eyeglasses icon) from the privilege pop-up menu. Close the Sharing Info window for Blueberry. You've just given the user or group you selected permission to see and copy all the files on your hard disk. That's necessary so users can get to the Public folder, but now let's restrict those privileges appropriately.

Open the Sharing Info window for the Public folder. Deselect "Use enclosing folder's privileges" and from the User/Group privilege pop-up menu, choose Read & Write (the eyeglasses and pencil icon). Close the window. Now you've given the appropriate users permission to read, write, add, copy, and delete files in the Public folder. But how do you prevent these same people from fussing around in the three other folders?

For each one of those folders, open the Sharing Info window, deselect "Use enclosing folder's privileges," and set the User/Group name menu to <None> and the privilege menu to None. This action prevents anyone (except you, using your owner name and password) from seeing the contents of those three private folders.

Remember the instructions for accessing servers using the Chooser above? Now go to another Mac and test your settings to make sure everything works, using the user names and passwords you defined in the User & Groups control panel. If you can't get in properly, check to make sure you've allowed read only access down to the point where you want to provide different access levels. Also make sure you haven't accidentally given more access that you intended, and if so, go back and change the privileges appropriately.

If you want to make a folder that people can copy files into but can't see or remove files from, set the privileges on that folder not to Read & Write, but to Write only (Drop Box). That way, anyone in the proper group can give you files, but no one but you can see them.

--Adam C. Engst

Usually, any printer you hook up to your Mac's serial port is a printer you can't expect to share with other Macs over your network. That's because the printer is hooked up directly to one Mac, and talks exclusively to it.

But if you have an Apple StyleWriter inkjet printer, you can share that printer with other Macs on your network without adding any extra hardware. Here's how.

1. Make sure you have the Printer Share extension in the Extensions folder of all your Macs--it's a standard part of the Mac OS system software. You'll also need to be sure that the printer driver for your particular brand of StyleWriter is in the Extensions folder of those Macs.

2. Then, on the Mac to which the printer is connected, open the Chooser, click the icon for the printer you want to share, then click the Setup button to display the Sharing Setup dialog box.

Select "Share this Printer," enter a name for the printer, and if you want to prevent some people on the network from printing to it, enter a password. Click OK to close the dialog box and start sharing the printer.

3. If you want to make sure the items you print are of the highest quality, make sure the Mac to which the printer is connected is loaded with all the fonts used by the other computers. If you try to print from a remote Mac with a font that the printer Mac doesn't have, it won't print with any quality at all.

4. To access the shared printer from another Mac, open the Chooser, click the icon for that printer, and select it in the "Connect to" list underneath Printer Port and Modem Port. Click the Get Info button to see which fonts aren't installed on the Mac connected to the printer--stick to fonts that are installed on both Macs for high quality printing.

-Adam C. Engst

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