(For those new to the column, Forward Migration is our term for companies moving from Wintel machines to Macs — or at least adding or increasing the number of Macs they use. A Forward Migration Kit is an overview of Mac OS products for a particular occupation, such as photography, optometry, etc.)
The E-business Center recently opened its first Mac-based Internet Navigation Center in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Navigation Center, called “Internet Cafe Colon,” is almost entirely Mac based, with 30 iMac DV+/400MHz systems, five iMac DVD/450MHz systems, three G4s, and two Titanium PowerBooks.
Five of the iMacs are equipped with design software, such as Illustrator, Photoshop, Quark, Flash, Fireworks, PhotoPaint, CorelDraw and Dreamweaver. They also run Connectix’s Virtual PC.
The Navigation Center offers CD burning, Web conferencing, laser printing, digital imaging and scanning for customers. It has two AirPort Base Stations for PowerBook users, IP Phone from net2phone, and an international calling system.
What’s more, the Navigation Center features unique TCP IP-based time control software for the Mac Web Cafe, according to Nattan Nisimblat, E-Business Center CEO. All the computers are controlled by a Web server that authenticates an access number that comes inside a prepaid card. The users are prompted to dial the number into the computer. Once the server sends the authorization, a control panel appears with preset applications, such as Microsoft internet Explorer, Netscape, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Clear Phone, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Eudora, as well as the most visited pages, such as Yahoo Mail, Hotmail and AOL.
“Once the user selects the application or the Web site, a time control window is launched from where the user can ask for help to the front desk or chat with other users on the Internet cafe,” Nisimblat told MacCentral. “The chat application uses the Apple Speech Control. So when a message is sent, the recipient’s machine will read it instantly unless the message is not accepted.”
The application lets the user save minutes not used for a next session, he added. And it allows the administrator to control the usage of the machines, restart, shut down, quit applications, add and remove minutes to a card in use, and send instant messages to all the users in the language they selected (English or Spanish) at the beginning of the session, Nisimblat said.
The application is divided in three parts: The server application, which creates cards and access numbers, controls the machines, sends general alerts and instant messages, controls time and IRCs, restarts, shuts down, quit applications, and handles sleep modes; The server client, which allows unlimited number of administrators on the network and lets an administrator log into the server to perform almost all the tasks over the network; The client installed on the machine, it lets the user log into the network and connect to the Internet, open applications, chat with other users on the Navigation Center, videoconference, and request help from the “front desk.”
“This unique software was developed using REALbasic and will be released for sale by the end of July when the beta testing is finished,” Nisimblat said. “The Navigation Center also uses the Apple Network Assistant and the Apple Share IP 6.0 to connect to Windows PCs and an HP printer server.”
In the next five months, the E-Business Center will open 10 new buildings in Central America and five Navigation Centers in San Jose, Mexico City, Managua and Tegucigalpa.
Meanwhile, in a tale that involves both forward and backward migration,
Martha’s Vineyard Regional High in Massachusetts is installing a new CAD-MIDI computer lab with 17 stations and buying new teacher workstations for many classrooms. Some, but not all, of the equipment bears the Apple brand. The good news is that approximately 50 iMacs have been purchased for the teacher workstations.
“Last year we converted an art department computer lab from a mixed PC-Mac lab to all G4s,” Jeff Bernier, the school’s Webmaster, told MacCentral. “There are lots of Apple fans here. Unfortunately, we were shocked to find we are NOT going to be outfitting the CAD-MIDI computer lab with Apple gear.”
Why? He said there are two main reasons: Cost: The labs are going to be used for CAD, MIDI, and advanced graphics. What’s needed are fast machines with high end graphics and big monitors. “Here in Massachusetts, we have a state bid system where vendors give statewide prices that are often below market prices, and Dell has come in with an unbeatable offer,” Bernier said. “We can talk about total cost of ownership all day, but it will not make up the difference.” Lack of software: The software needed is either not available for the Mac or an identical version is available for the PC, he added.
“Apple seems to think all education wishes to buy are iMacs, but at the secondary level there are other needs,” Bernier said.
Requests for help
Now it’s time for our weekly requests for help from folks who need your advice and/or assistance in forward migrating — or at least being able to keep the Mac platform alive and thriving in their businesses. Contact the requesters directly at their e-mail addresses.
Nick Grivas (
firstname.lastname@example.org ): “I am a crossword puzzle writer with a commision to write puzzles for publication on CD-ROM. I need to have versions that are usable by both Mac and PC users. My primary program is Crossword Compiler by Antony Lewis. It has a Web export option that produces a static printable version and an interactive version.
“They are supposed to be readable by the Mac OS but, whereas the Mac will open the disc and read some of the files, it will not read others. For instance, the static version has an HTML file and a GIF file. The Mac will open the files separately, but will not integrate them into a printable version. Can anyone help with this problem or direct me to someone who can?”
Brian Smale (
email@example.com ): “I’m looking for software to host an auction on my own Web site. Does such a thing exist?”