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Exploring the Groove Application

Enter the world of Groove and learn how to install it, establish identities and accounts, and experience peer-to-peer interaction.
This chapter is from the book

In this chapter

Installing Groove

Creating a Shared Space

Inviting Others

Receiving Invitations

Shared Space Members

Groove Tools

In this chapter, you will install Groove, establish identities and accounts, and experience peer-to-peer interaction. You will see and use Groove tools similar to the ones you will be building. If you are already a Groove user, you may already know the material in this chapter. Be sure to read the "Grooviness" sections of the tool descriptions, however, before moving on.

Installing Groove

To install and use Groove, your system must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Operating system:

    • Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, 2000, 98, or NT 4.0 (with Service Pack 3 or later)

  • Hardware requirements:

    • Pentium (233MHz or higher) processor

    • 64MB system RAM, with 40MB of available hard disk storage

    • Display resolution 800x600, 15-bit (32,768) color minimum

    • Sound card, speakers, and microphone required to use voice features

  • Software requirements:

    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or greater (IE 5.0 or greater recommended)

  • Internet connection:

    • 56Kbps modem (LAN with Internet access, DSL, or cable modem preferred)

These requirements are subject to change. For the latest, go to http://www.groove.net.

If your system meets these minimum requirements, installing Groove could not be easier. Simply insert the CD included with this book into your CD-ROM drive and watch as the Groove installer launches. Respond to the prompts and you're done!

Creating an Account

After the installer launches Groove, you are presented with the Create Account dialog box (see Figure 3.1).

Enter your name and a passphrase. A passphrase can consist of letters and numbers, and for maximum security should consist of 8 to 10 random words. The passphrase is used to keep your account and any shared spaced you create secure. Note that passphrases are not recoverable, so if you were to forget your passphrase, your only option would be to delete your old account and the identities in it and create a new one, losing all your tools and spaces in the old account. You could recover these spaces, however, by asking another member of the space to re-invite you.

Figure 3.1 The Create Account dialog.

A passphrase serves the same purpose as a password except that it is generally much longer and can include punctuation, including spaces. The words in the passphrase should be random, and the longer you make your passphrase (up to 10 random words), the more secure it will be.

Passphrases are local to each device, so if you move your account to another computer, you will have to enter a new passphrase on the new system. If you want, you can check Remember My Passphrase on This Computer, but be aware that anyone with physical access to your computer can also access any of the shared spaces of which you are a member if you have enabled this option.

Accept the option List My Name in the Groove.net Public Directory. Others can then find you and start Groove activities with you.

Your Groove account is a file stored on your computer that holds your Groove identity, the private keys that Groove uses to protect your account, and a master key that is used to protect your shared spaces. It identifies the computer systems on which you run other copies of Groove, and it contains information about the people with whom you communicate.

About Identities

The name you entered in the Create Account dialog box is now your identity, or Groove screen name. A Groove identity uses a pair of cryptographic keys, a private key and a public key, to uniquely identify you, and to make sure that communications between you and other Groove identities are secure. You can also think of it as the name that appears in the shared spaces of which you are a member, and the name under which you are listed on the groove.net directory. You might have several different identities, and you may use any one of them in shared space. In other words, someone might want to appear as Fred Williams to his professional contacts, as Fred to the members of his golf space, and as Dad in the space he shares with his children. Each of these names corresponds to an identity.

When you have finished creating your account, you can click Manage Identity Information or choose View, Go To, My Account, and then click the Identities tab to see your vCard. If you click the vCard button, you will be able to edit the information that appears on it. You can include as little information as you'd like, but keep in mind that this information will let others know whether they have the right person. For example, if your account identity is Donna M, information in your vCard will separate you from other Donna M's in the directory.

Your identity also includes a digital fingerprint. Groove automatically generates a long random number and character string, and associates it with each of your identities. Others can use this information to authenticate your identity. Let's say that Marjorie calls you on the telephone and tells you that her digital fingerprint is 1bg5-3184:2g3-8081:30b-5166:6g8-3184:4r6. You ask her a question that only she would know, or otherwise confirm her identity. You can click on the digital fingerprint line on her vCard in My Contacts and compare that number against the one she gave you on the telephone. You can then be assured that she is not an imposter. This assurance may be important if the space is used to discuss highly confidential material.

Multiple Devices

If you have more than one computer and want to use Groove on each, you can install the software, then use the same account you previously created on each of the other devices. Your Groove account includes your contact and identity information, and references to any shared spaces of which you are a member. It does not include, however, the shared space itself.

You can copy (or move if you wish) your account information to another computer in one of two ways. The first way is to create a file on a local drive of your computer and copy it to the second computer. Second, you can upload your account information to Groove.net and download it from the second computer.

To save your account to a file, open My Account and then click the Computers tab. Click on the Multiple Computers button, which launches the Multiple Computers Wizard. Figure 3.2 shows the wizard.

Click the Manually, Through a File radio button, and then Next, and you are presented with a standard Save dialog. Save the file to a floppy, or a folder you share with the system on which you want to install your account.

If you follow the Via the Internet branch, you are prompted for your passphrase to secure your account information on Groove.net and an email address. Click Next, and Groove uploads your account to Groove.net in an encrypted form accessible only by you.

Figure 3.2 The Multiple Computers Wizard, launched from the computer without an account established.

To use the account on a second computer, install the Groove software on the new device, and then click the Multiple Computers button of the Create Account dialog, which launches another version of the Multiple Computers Wizard. Figure 3.3 shows the wizard.

Figure 3.3 The Multiple Computers Wizard, launched from the computer with an account established.

If you saved your account information to a file, select I Have an Account File on My File System. You then are prompted to locate the file. Make sure that the floppy or network drive is accessible. When you click Open, your account is loaded into the second computer and you receive notification that it was successful.

If you uploaded your account to Groove.net, click the My Account Is on Groove.net option. Enter the account name, passphrase, and email address that you supplied when you uploaded your account, and click OK. When your account has been downloaded, the wizard presents you with instructions on how to fetch any shared spaces to which you belong.

To fetch a space, open your transceiver and select View, Go To, My Spaces in your Groove home page. When the My Spaces window opens, you will see that although your spaces are listed, the status is shown as Not on This Computer. Select a shared space from the list and click Fetch Space.

If you and the computer from which you requested the space are both online and running Groove, Groove fetches the space from the other computer, and the status indicates Fetching. When the download is complete, the status indicates Ready and the shared space is accessible from the second device.

If either of you is not online, or if the remote computer is not running Groove, the status line changes to Fetching, but the download won't begin until the remote user signs on and opens Groove. When that happens, the space downloads and the status changes to Ready.

Those multiple computers will remain synchronized by Groove as long as the two are online in Groove together with reasonable frequency, approximately once every few weeks. If you go beyond that time, Groove will stop updating the dormant machine and will post a synchronization alert.

If you see the alert, you need to delete your account from the unsynchronized computer and re-install the account from the computer with current information following the earlier steps for using the Multiple Computers Wizard.

As you can see, creating an account in Groove has consequences beyond the obvious.

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