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School district gamers can't play at work

Florida's Polk County School District Transportation Division took action before it had a problem with employees playing electronic games at work.

The district installed AntiGame Plus from Apreo Inc. of Laguna Beach, Calif., to detect and delete game files from its network.

Mark E. Chiampi, Management Information Systems network administrator, said that while the Transportation Division did not have a widespread problem with employees installing computer games on their hard drives, the district wanted to prevent employees from engaging in any questionable activity.

'We run a tight ship,' Chiampi said. 'We don't want any black eyes. It's also a way to keep honest people honest.'

Chiampi said that the division's system manages incident reports, bus routes, student information, payroll and human resources data. It also handles all fleet management data, including records for bus maintenance, warranties , inspection and repair.

'It's important for us to keep our network healthy because of everything it is used for,' he said. 'But in doing that, you don't want people to think you are looking over their shoulders to see what's on their hard drives. I don't want to be a systems Nazi.'

Chiampi said he sought a program that would automatically keep his network clean of games.
'When I first started looking for a product that would allow me to find games on our system, I had a hard time finding a company that made such a product,' he said.

Chiampi said he found information about game detection software on the Tech Republic Web site, at www.techrepublic.com.

Chiampi said he did a baseline search to find out which computers in his division had games installed on them.

'I really didn't have to confront anyone about it,' he said. 'When the employee turned on their computer in the morning, the file would be wiped clean from the hard drive. I just waited to see if anyone came knocking on my door to complain about it.'

The software can detect up to 12,000 game files, and renaming a game will not prevent its detection.

Chiampi said the entire cost of the software was just under $300 for his network.
'I don't have to run the program all of the time,' he said. 'Just every once in a while to make sure we are catching anything that could be out there.'

The district is running the software on dual 800-MHz Pentium III Gateway servers with 256M of RAM.

Chiampi said he is testing Apreo's AntiGame Flex, which allows him to customize and control access policies and procedures for games or any application running on his network.

'Donna Young

dyoung@postnewsweektech.com

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