Another Choice for Satellite Broadband Internet Access

To follow up last week's column about DirecPC satellite broadband Internet access, I want to tell you about a second source for two-way satellite broadband—StarBand. StarBand has partnered with MSN as its satellite provider, and when you follow the links from the MSN pages, you are offered the "opportunity" to buy a new computer at your local Radio Shack with the capability to use this satellite connection. By going directly to the StarBand Web site, you can order the service directly, with a guarantee to have you up and running within 4 weeks.

One of the folks that wrote me about the service was actually using it with Windows 2000 and Internet Connection Server (ICS) (though the person told me that StarBand said that configuration wouldn't work), and the company offers full support for Win2K with a USB port.

So which is a better choice, StarBand or DirecPC? StarBand claims slightly better performance and it's available right now. We'll have to see how DirecPC fares. I'll be setting up both products and comparing them side by side. So stay tuned.

Here's this week's tip:

If you're like me, you might have a few systems sitting around that are symmetric multiprocessing (SMP)-capable but that don't have the second processor installed. Now that prices have come down on Pentium IIs, I picked up a couple of 300MHz units to add as second processors to some of my older systems.

If you've ever added a second processor to a Windows NT 4.0 box, you probably remember that getting the NT 4.0 Resource Kit's uptomp.exe program to work was often an exercise in futility; it was often simpler to just do an Upgrade/Install of the OS. (Microsoft finally got around to putting in one document all the information you need to make uptomp work. Go to TechNet and search on uptomp.

Fortunately, Win2K makes the process much simpler because recognizing that second CPU can now be done from within the OS.

  1. Right-click My Computer and select Properties from the context menu.
  2. Select Hardware.
  3. Click Device Manager.
  4. Double-click Computer.
  5. Double-click the device name that Computer expands to.
  6. From the Properties applet, select Driver.
  7. Click Update Driver to launch the Upgrade Device Driver Wizard.
  8. Click Next.
  9. Click Display a list of all known drivers.
  10. Click Next.
  11. Select ACPI Multiprocessor PC or MPS Multiprocessor PC (depending upon which choice is offered).
  12. Click Next, then Finish.

Your OS should now recognize both CPUs at the next boot.

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