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EEE-PC 701 4G's Back to Xandros for Electronic Registration

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by , 12th October 2010 at 01:05 PM (3203 Views)
We're in our third year of Electronic Registration, and we looked into Registration during assemblies using EEE-PCs. The excellent Asus EEE-PCs 701 4G were the netbook of choice back then. Using the wonders of nLite we created the well documented slim installation of XP so teachers could use SIMS and register their classes during assemblies (and in other locations).

All has been well until recently, I never like XP running on these devices; it never seem to have any slick-ness which is not surprising when you consider they only have 512Mb of RAM and an aging Celeron Processor. They've been slowing up and issues with the WiFi not connecting correctly so it was time for a re-think. I know for the money that we paid for these back then you can get some really decent Atom based netbooks that would be more than capable but no funds available to replace at this time.

Last term we got up and running RemoteApps on Server 2008R2 for staff to be able to do their report writing at home, and has been useful for the Cover Supervisor to be able to access SIMS remotely at home to arrange Cover while eating her cornflakes as staff are phoning in ill for whatever reason. This got me thinking; why not use RemoteApps on these devices to access SIMS for electronic registration?

I'm pleased to report that with the most recent version of rdesktop (rdesktop: A Remote Desktop Protocol client) now does support connecting to RemoteApps on a server running Remote Desktop Services (as its now called). I've now got these devices running SIMS via RemoteApps using their supplied Xandros OS. These are the steps taken:

Re-Imaged the EEE-PC with supplied Support DVDs back to factory defaults.

Accessed the Terminal and used the tips in the most excellent edugeek wiki (EeePC - Linux OS - Wiki) to allow apt to update through our proxy and allow all the updates to be installed.

sudo kwrite /opt/xandros/share/AsusLauncher/simpleui.rc

and added the following code the just before the end:

<parcel simplecat="Work" extraargs="/usr/bin/rdesktop -4 -f SERVER -s 'c:\Program Files (x86)\SIMS\sims .net\pulsar.exe' -u USER@DOMAIN -p PASSWORD -a 16 -k en-gb"
selected_icon="iptv_hi.png" >
<name lang="en">SIMS</name>
Obviously you need to change the SERVER, USER@DOMAIN and PASSWORD elements that suit your setup. SIMS is sitting on a 64Bit Server hence the 'Program Files (x86)' bit. The above puts an extra icon in the Work tab of the EEE-PC Simple Menu system.

The -4 switch is setting the RDP version to v4, -a switch is setting the display to 16bit, -s is setting the Shell, which in this case is to run pulsar.exe which is SIMS, the -u, -p, -s are self explanatory and the -k switch is just ensuring the keyboard map is set to English UK on the session.

The user that is used to login is restricted on access and is set so it can't be used outside via the TS Gateway.

My only real gripe is that it takes the Wireless about 15 - 20 seconds to latch onto the Wireless Signal, which could lead to some impatient teachers stabbing away at the icon repeatly but I think its an acceptable wait time. I'll start releasing these for tomorrows assemblies and see what happens.




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