I have often wanted a security program for my IIGS, something that could protect files and programs from deletion while letting me use the Finder to which I'm accustomed. My need for security of this type stems from sharing our computer with our three children, with occasional use by their friends and cousins. I'd like to avoid having the hard drive wiped clean, as it once was by my daughter Molly when she was two and dabbling in Dazzle Draw.
Thus it was with great interest that I learned about Bret Victor's new software, SlixSecurity. In the Read.Me file that accompanies the program, Bret writes:
"How often have you thought about filing your entire IIGS under "Trash" and buying a Mac, along with some cheesy "At Ease"-ish security software to prevent the unwanted intrusions by your progeny. But you held on, in the hope that Slixter, after already ripping off every other software idea in the known universe and porting it to the IIGS, would eventually get around to this one."
Well, he has and has done a great job. For the bargain price of $10.00 you get a security program that allows you to create a selection of software for others to use, while giving you, via a login password, access to all of your computer's resources.
SlixSecurity is a New Desk Accessory. Installing it is as easy as dragging the file to the System Folder, allowing it to be installed in the Desk.Accessories folder and rebooting. Upon rebooting, you select SlixSecurity from the Apple menu, put in your administrator's password, then configure your settings. These settings include controlling non-administrators' access to desk accessories and Finder Extras and allowing copying and moving of files and folders within the SlixSecurity folder. Security can also be turned on or off from within the settings panel at any time. All of these settings can be configured via simple radio buttons, as shown in Figure 1.
Once installed, SlixSecurity will present a log-in screen after booting into the Finder. Typing in the correct password puts you in the Finder, while an incorrect password gives an error message and a chance to try again or click on the "Continue" button.
The SlixSecurity folder is a folder you create and name (with the name of the program) in the top level of your boot disk. Anything you place in this folder is available to people who don't have the password at login time. In fact, SlixSecurity conveniently opens this folder up once the IIGS boots into the Finder. This folder doesn't need to contain actual programs, of course; aliases created with the EasyMount Finder Extra work perfectly for this purpose. While SlixSecurity hides any Finder Extras, they still work...it is only the Finder Extras menu that is not available when security is on.
For the user who boots up in SlixSecurity, the Finder looks a bit different: the Trash Can is gone, and disks that are double-clicked don't open. Only items inside the SlixSecurity folder can be accessed. With Desk Accessory permission denied, the only NDA available is SlixSecurity; this allows the administrator to get in and turn it off if needed.
SlixSecurity may be foolproof, but it's not proof against the savvy. A shift boot will disable the NDA, along with all others, and thus give someone without the password access to the Finder. However, this is not likely to be the type of person that you are protecting your computer from.
SlixSecurity is shareware, and as noted above, the price is only $10.00. If you've ever had to reconstruct a hard drive after someone inadvertently deleted some (or all) files, you'll recognize this as a bargain price. Similar software on a Mac or PC might cost $50.00 or more. Until you pay your shareware fee, SlixSecurity displays a reminder box every minute or so. I didn't even bother installing it until I had my registration code from Bret, as that constant dialog box would have been far too irritating. On the other hand, it would likely be even more irritating to Bret to create such a nifty utility and receive only $5.00 from the entire IIGS community for it (as he writes has been the case for his other two shareware endeavors).
SlixSecurity can be downloaded from Genie, Delphi and Bret's web site. Once you send the shareware fee to Bret, he will mail or email you the registration code which unlocks SlixSecurity and does away with the reminder box. Bret's address is:Bret Victor 19253 Parkview Rd. Castro Valley, CA 94546
web site: http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~bret