|Kids gather around the workstations and
network - all running on Windows 95
first children to test
the Windows 95 Network
TOP OF THE NEWS
Windows 95 network for K-Net
K-Net, the computer training organisation in Rivonia, has
installed what could quite easily be the first Windows 95-based network in South Africa.
Jil Hrdliczka, MD of K-Net, says the company's decision to
install Windows 95 was originally based on the fact that Microsoft had generated so much
publicity and enthusiasm that some children had pre-ordered copies and were paying for it
out of their own pocket money.
The idea was to have the operating system installed on the
original network as soon as possible to maximise the impact of the launch.
"We were always a Microsoft shop," says
Hrdliczka. "Up until the launch of Windows 95, we used MS-DOS , Windows v3.1 and
Lantastic as the network operating system."
"About a month before the Windows 95 launch, we got a
Beta copy of the program and tried it out. Some of its flaws were immediately apparent,
but the release version has proved itself to be very stable, user friendly and
Windows 95 was launched on 24 August and by lunchtime the
next day the network was partially installed and a class of the first group of children
began using it. Hrdliczka says an initial problem was that Windows 95's compatibility with
other operating systems already installed. "Since then we have taken everything else
off the network and now only have Windows 95 and the improvements have been remarkable,
especially in terms of speed and the capacity of the network to handle various diverse
applications at the same time."
Apart from the servers having Windows 95, so do each of
the workstations so that if the network does crash the individual stations can continue.
K-Net has a network consisting of 24 multimedia 486DX-33
8Mb RAM PC's. There are three servers: the file server is a Pentium 60 with 16Mb RAM and
1Gb SCSI hard drive; the printer server is a 486 DX-33 as on the workstations; and the
CD-ROM server is a 486 DX-66 with 16Mb RAM, two NEC triple speed CD-ROM drives, a 210Mb
hard rive and SoundBlaster 16 SCSI Interface card.
The primary use of the network is to train children
between the ages of three and 18 in the use of the computer as a tool, for programming,
graphics and animation, school project, and in multimedia applications.
Adults are also trained primarily on office software,
graphics and animation, multimedia business presentations, programming and database
Gerry Hrdliczka, K-Net's financial director, says:
"The major considerations in selecting Windows 95 were: The speed in loading and
using software; speed in loading and using multimedia software from the CD-ROM and
simultaneous multi-user capabilities; ease of use for people of all ages; speed at which
the network can be restarted after there is a problem; and compatibility with software
required in the facility - office software, multimedia research tools and popular network
games such as Doom."
"We did encounter several problems, but the service
from Microsoft SA's Product Support Services has been fantastic."
At the moment the only protocol installed is IPX because
some software, especially the games, will only run on it. However, TCP/IP will be
installed in the near future, particularly once K-Net has and Internet server installed.