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Keeping Students (or Employees) 'On Track'

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Geoff Taylor

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Posted: 12 Jul 2002
 

Being a school administrator and a trained teacher I often use several aspects of ZENworks to provide valuable supervision.

I use the following...

  1. Use Nalwin32 as the shell with the student's name and the workstation in the title bar.

  2. Under 3.2, use the application launcher watermark property to pop up the student's ID photo on the NalWin window.

Having remoted in on a student and seeing them breeching an IT policy, I can see the student's name and photo.

For example, I was able to recently screen dump and print the remote window showing the student's name, photo and the porno web page the student was viewing. If needed, I can lock out their keyboard, arrange their screen and dump, faster than they can hit the reset button!

Then with the evidence in hand I was able to stroll up to the lab and have a 'friendly' chat to the culprit.

Here's how we set everything up:

First, we load Nalwin32 to replace the Windows Explorer.exe shell in the C:\Windows\system.ini using the following syntax...

shell=\\SERVERNAME\SYS\Public\Nal.exe /s /n /c="%FULL_NAME% on %COMPUTERNAME%"

Because the Launcher Properties will not accept a variable, it makes it difficult to pull in a picture file from a folder containing all of the users' pictures by name. However, if you create a batch file that copies the user's ID picture with a 'generic' name such as ID.jpg, from the source file to their own home folder then you are nearly there. You can then run the batch from the user's login script, or as we do, as a scheduled policy.

\\ SERVERNAME\SYS\Public\COPYID.BAT

Copy \\ SERVERNAME\PATH\%CN.jpg H:\ID.jpg
attrib +rh H:\ID.jpg
The launcher property can now simply be:
"H:\ID.jpg"

Another consideration is that the placement property for the watermark put the picture at top left or tiled. This usually means that the picture is obscured by icons. We work around this by altering the ID pictures using a Photoshop automated batch that elongates the picture 'canvas' vertically. The picture ends up at the foot of a rectangle the height of the standard Nalwin32 window. The picture then pops up at the foot of the window.

Many thanks to Geoff for sharing this very cool solution. If you have questions, he can be reached at carine@vianet.net.au


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