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Ask Slashdot: Making a Tablet Run Only One Application?

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the write-your-own-exokernel dept.

Technology 260

An anonymous reader asks "I'm working for a medical centre who want to make a tablet with various videos and webpages about smoking cessation available in their waiting room. The tablet can't access the Internet because of security policies. I'm planning to use a local server with copies of the (Creative Commons) videos and pages accessed through local webpages using the tablet's browser. How can I make only the browser be available to the tablet users? Ideas? Suggestions?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

DNS Hijacking (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027083)

Setup a wireless network where all the HTTP requests go to the server with your content.

Re:DNS Hijacking (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027189)

Setup a wireless network where all the HTTP requests go to the server with your content.

At least on some very popular models of tablets, it is unnecessarily difficult to restrict settings like DNS servers.

Something like this [stackoverflow.com] might be helpful though. Only run the Video client with the videos available locally.

Re:DNS Hijacking (2)

the_enigma_1983 (742079) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027241)

Without DNSSec though, it's fairly easy to redirect any DNS traffic. Allow ports 80 and 53, redirect them to a local server, and block anything else.

Re:DNS Hijacking (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027789)

The gateway specified in the DHCP field would be enough to filter things, I'd say. Just have your named.conf give specific information to the tablet's MAC address. And then have all requests made to that gw go where you want them to. Or did I miss something?

Re:DNS Hijacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027225)

That makes only their content available to the browser, sure.
But he wants to know how to make the browser the only application available.

Re:DNS Hijacking (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027467)

Delete the other applications? Was that the answer?

Re:DNS Hijacking (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027591)

Delete the other applications, and replace the hosts file so that the unit can only point at one IP.

easy. (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027087)

Easy if the tablet runs Windows or Linux. Much harder on other platforms. Maybe you should narrow the problem domain.

Re:easy. (4, Funny)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027111)

Stop being so reasonable!

Re:easy. (3, Informative)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027197)

Since they could run other apps on the tablet even if you trap all HTTP requests, first step is to root the tablet and uninstall everything else, then make the browser autostart. Password protect anything you don't uninstall.
-nb

Re:easy. (2)

bragr (1612015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027209)

This pretty much. Unless you want to get down and dirty in Cyanogenmod or some other Android community release (and your tablets run Android), I don't know how you would do it. You might try stripping out everything you can from the tablet, locking down what you can with security and parent control settings, setting up a wireless network that doesn't hand out a gateway with DHCP, or doesn't even have an internet connection, would get you close to you want. Still won't keep people from exiting the browser and bumping around the system.

Re:easy. (3, Insightful)

markkezner (1209776) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027839)

Still won't keep people from exiting the browser and bumping around the system.

Well, if it's an Android tablet you could just create an app that acts as a replacement home screen. Just implement the appropriate intent and display a browser control to the user.

Re:easy. (5, Informative)

Spiridios (2406474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027401)

Bruce Schneier linked to this post on iPads [speirs.org] just a few days ago....

Re:easy. (4, Insightful)

chromeronin (914748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027919)

Actually, I think the technology he is looking fore here is called a pamphlet, or maybe a DVD player hooked to a tv on a loop.

Re:easy. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027937)

If the unit runs Android or iOS, it's trivial to jailbreak/root and delete or move the built-in applications.

WAP Portal / VLAN (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027121)

Put it on a VLAN, and Make HTTP(S) Go straight to the web server and only the web server. There are portal WAPs that do just that. Securing the tablet from running anything else would be as easy as installing a custom version of CyanogenMod or similar. Heck even Apple might be able to make an iPad that did just that.

I'd also tether the thing to the room, or it will walk away.

Curious... (4, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027123)

I do not have a solution to your problem. I am curious about the situation though. Is there a reason your organization wants this to be easy-to-steal-and-expensive tablets? Especially when there's the security policy. And you'll have to keep them charged too. Why not just a cheap laptop. Or a pamphlet and TV?

I realize it's difficult to get people to stop smoking, but fancy technology isn't always the solution.

Re:Curious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027183)

interesting comment, I agree though

Re:Curious... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027211)

Is there a reason your organization wants this to be easy-to-steal-and-expensive tablets?

The hospital management is being treated well by the tablet manufacturer, who would very much like this hospital to become the envy of the `non-tablet' hospitals. Plus, it's healthcare; they have money to burn.

Re:Curious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027343)

See what http://www.divide.com/index.php [divide.com] have done for pointers. Not for their functionality but the fact that an app on the tablet/phone is taking over the whole screen and can only be locked out by extra steps.

Re:Curious... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027429)

If the hospital management is being treated well by the tablet manufacturer, then why isn't the tablet manufacturer helping with a solution to lock down the tablet? Surely of anyone they should know best how to lock there own tablets down.

Re:Curious... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027435)

" Plus, it's healthcare; they have money to burn."

Yet the bastards whine they are not paid enough...

Re:Curious... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027479)

generally speaking, the ones burning the money are not the ones complaining about the pay

Re:Curious... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027837)

generally speaking, the ones burning the money are not the ones complaining about the pay

That isn't limited to healthcare. Hell, that isn't even limited to work. That's life.

Re:Curious... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027509)

" Plus, it's healthcare; they have money to burn."

Yet the bastards whine they are not paid enough...

Don't confuse money that's available to be burnt with money that's available to pay said illegitimate children. I work in healthcare. We have a LOT of money available for goofy stuff like this that increases somebody's adoption of something electronic related to healthcare. It all comes from the federal government, and is earmarked for those specific types of projects. What we don't have is money to actually pay the people that provide healthcare service, in large part due to that same entity.

Re:Curious... (2, Informative)

LeoDeSol (1323269) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027235)

I do not have a solution to your problem. I am curious about the situation though. Is there a reason your organization wants this to be easy-to-steal-and-expensive tablets? Especially when there's the security policy. And you'll have to keep them charged too. Why not just a cheap laptop. Or a pamphlet and TV? I realize it's difficult to get people to stop smoking, but fancy technology isn't always the solution.

I am curious about this too. I also work in IT and with several hospitals as customers. The IT staff in the hospitals I work with, small, medium, and large, all talk about things walking away from rooms, lobbies, etc. Surely there is a better solution, possibly more cost effective too... Besides, you will need to be able to recharge it anyway, so why not look for something that can be put on a table with a long core for recharge? If you can do that, then you could possibly look at touch screen media displays that access a media server hosting your videos. Viewer users use would then just be a touch screen display for the content (probably a lot cheaper, depending on media server and cabling install cost). This also keeps it off of the wifi... which from what I see in hospitals around here, the customer access devices on internal WiFi, the better...

Re:Curious... (4, Interesting)

bgibby9 (614547) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027709)

Besides, you will need to be able to recharge it anyway, so why not look for something that can be put on a table with a long core for recharge?

TBH I think the OHS people would shit themselves if they ran into tablets connected to long cords for recharging.

I think the better idea is a kiosk which has more functionality, connected to power and is less likely to "walk away"

Re:Curious... (4, Insightful)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027237)

Absolutely. The solutions is a cheap PC running windows, which can easily be configured to allow one and only one app to run at login, and to log off if the application is closed.
Please stop using technology for the sake of technology to increase my already outrageous healthcare costs.

Re:Curious... (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027395)

DOS 1.1 - one app at a time, done!

Re:Curious... (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027477)

Please stop using technology for the sake of technology to increase my already outrageous healthcare costs.

On the other hand, the "cool-factor" might have a big positive impact on people bothering to actually watch the videos.

Take it from advertisers, the most cheaply-produced message is not always the most cost-effective. They should know.

or just a tv tuned / hooked to a pc runing slides (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027513)

tablets seem out of place for a waiting room.

Re:Curious... (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027323)

Is there a reason your organization wants...easy-to-steal-and-expensive tablets?....Why not just a cheap laptop. Or a pamphlet and TV?

Pamphlets are easy to steal also. I have 800 at home. Just for the hell of it.
     

Re:Curious... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027357)

Ssshhhhh, wacky ideas like this keep us techies employed. Nix the sober reality talk, dude.

Re:Curious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027675)

I do not have a solution to your problem. I am curious about the situation though. Is there a reason your organization wants this to be easy-to-steal-and-expensive tablets? Especially when there's the security policy. And you'll have to keep them charged too. Why not just a cheap laptop?

Tablets are easier to keep sanitary than laptops.

Proxy & Jailbreak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027147)

Force the use of a proxy server for all web traffic on these tablets and jailbreak them putting on only the browser and no installer.

On Android, replace the launcher app (4, Insightful)

Suddenly_Dead (656421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027149)

If using Android: create a replacement launcher app, set your new app as the default launcher, and... profit?

Re:On Android, replace the launcher app (1)

Suddenly_Dead (656421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027351)

I guess that would probably only work on something less than 3.0, though, since they've added a shortcut on the status bar to launch the Settings app.

But then, why would you need something on a new version of the OS? Cheap Chinese tablets running 2.2 or 2.3 can be had for = $100.

If you must use Android (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027153)

Just roll your own AOSP build that only has /system/app/Browser.apk along with essential system UI apks and include none of the networking drivers that the device needs.

App Locker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027155)

Subject says it all.

Lock out everything but that needed to run. Plus, you can unlock it to upgrade the browser when needed.

I think (2)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027157)

You have a bigger problem there, how do you keep them from being stolen, add to that topic some phone home theft software too, want to inspire people to stop smoking? get a terminal lung cancer patient in the waiting room. wont fail.

Re:I think (2)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027377)

The solution to this is part of the solution to making the device only run 1 app - you put it in a locked metal frame that both secures the device and physically obstructs any switch or button that could be used to exit your app.

Re:I think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027933)

and might be cheaper...

Why bother with a tablet (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027171)

I mean seriously - the first time someone thinks they can walk out the door with the tablet, it's gone. Don't think it wouldn't happen.

Why not instead just make a dvd with those videos and print out the text of the websites? You could have a small tv hooked up to a dvd player, have the dvd available to those interested, etc....

It wouldn't be as convenient to steal, and it is a technically easier way to set something like this up. Why are you going to such great lengths to make something more complicated than necessary?

Use something with better coverage (4, Informative)

Brew Bird (59050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027179)

You need digital signage, not a tablet. Only one person at a time can use a tablet. A couple of flat screens off a cheap PC hidden up in the ceiling or a closet, and use Xibo.

mediakiosk (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027187)

If you are using iPad, there is an app called MediaKiosk. This is used with metal kiosk housings that prevent the 'home' button from being pushed and will allow the charge cable to always be connected. Not really helpful for portable.

Operating System? (5, Informative)

agent_vee (1801664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027199)

Without knowing what Tablet OS you are targeting it is difficult to give you advice. You can just search on google for the terms "kiosk mode" + whatever OS and that should give you what you are looking for.

Proxy and case (2)

billDCat (448249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027215)

A couple of options. One, you could probably bundle the files up into an app like one created using PhoneGap, which would make everything local. Two, you could set the proxy setting to point to a server that you control, that will direct you only to an internal web server that you control. Regardless of how you do it, you will need to physically block the power and home buttons, and for non-iPad tablets, any other button that might take you home like the back button with something like a lockable case. Seems silly to block the internet, though, considering how many people in that waiting room are going to be browsing with their iPhones anyways.

Disgusting! I wouldn't Touch That Thing (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027217)

This seems like a terrible idea! People in a hospital are going to be smearing their fingers all over this device, and passing it around. It seems to be a very convenient disease vector. I would not touch it with a 20 foot pole.

Re:Disgusting! I wouldn't Touch That Thing (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027549)

This seems like a terrible idea! People in a hospital are going to be smearing their fingers all over this device, and passing it around. It seems to be a very convenient disease vector. I would not touch it with a 20 foot pole.

Don't worry, 20 foot poles aren't very common in waiting rooms, therefore it's unlikely that you'll touch it with one.

how about searching for android/ipad kiosk mode (5, Informative)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027221)

Re:how about searching for android/ipad kiosk mode (2)

complete loony (663508) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027381)

On android you can also open an activity in front of the lock screen, or just replace it. So you could have your application appear immediately when the screen turns on, and build a password-ish way of getting to the underlying android OS.

Re:how about searching for android/ipad kiosk mode (2)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027799)

Aside from looking for the keywords "kiosk-mode" when searching for a solution tailored to the OS you have in mind, I'd suggest you revisit this entire tablet idea in the first place. Your tablet will most likely be locked down to some heavy furniture for security reasons, so what is the point of making it an expensive fragile tablet anyway. Also, it will require headsets unless you want to bother all the employees and fellow patients with the sound of those videos.

If I were you, I'd make a real kiosk and I'd place an old television and VCR in it, with a couple of directional speakers (like what they use in museums). And I'd place the kiosk outside in a location where all the patient smokers actually go to smoke a cigarette. My mother does that, she smokes a cigarette before she enters an hospital, and she smokes one as soon as she gets out of one.

If there are no obvious central locations for visiting smokers to congregate, I'd suggest you create one or two first and actually make sure that those areas get used by real smokers that frequent your medical center (before you start investing too much energy in placing kiosks at those locations). The worst thing you can have is a designated area for smokers that nobody actually uses, despite the fact that everybody continues on smoking anyway near the entrance and exits of your Medical Center.

In any case, this was just an idea. I realize you're only the techie implementing this, not the guy making the actual decision, but I just thought I'd throw my half-baked idea in anyway.

Some type of rooted Android tablet... (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027231)

... should do the trick. Preferably one without any hardware buttons (other than volume/power).

In the app you can already disable the back button and menu button. The trick will be removing the Home button, Task Switcher button and notifications.

Now that Honeycomb/ICS source is available you should be able to find where they have the "fullscreen" code. This code is designed so that an app like YouTube can go full-screen -- but, once the user touches the screen, the soft buttons will return.

Hardware manufacturers can also set a flag to enable or disable the soft keys, so you may be able to find this flag and just turn off the keys.

All of this wouldn't prevent a user from booting into recovery or some such, but should provide a decently predictable experience for informational videos and whatnot.

The one part I'm not so sure on is how to disable notifications. Hopefully this will help though.

applock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027243)

on Android there is an app called APPLOCK you can use to lock down apps you don;t want people to have access to.

Chrome/ChromiumOS (4, Insightful)

micheas (231635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027259)

http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os

The only app that runs is the browser, it is based on gentoo so you can install pam modules to meet your site requirements needs (ldap, kerberos, etc),

And it is designed so you can easily force an enterprise wide os refresh whenever you need/want.

Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027261)

I assume the tablet will be cemented / bolted to something. Otherwise it would be ripe for easy theft.

So.... if it's bolted down anyway, why not just use a touchscreen computer, which opens up the "lockability" options a lot more.

That said, there are plenty of MDMs (Mobile Device Managers) that give you lock-down policy capabilities for Android - almost certainly your least expensive tablet option. Google "Android MDM" and you'll see a bunch of options out there.

If your employer is extra cheap you COULD potentially tap the Android API directly to manage a device but that is a lot of heavy lifting to accomplish something relatively simple.

chmod a-rwx (1)

deragon (112986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027265)

Really not an expert in Android so I am just throwing ideas here.

Since Android is based on Linux, chmod a-rwx would be an easy staring point. If the application cannot be read and executed, it cannot be started.

Better, erase the unwanted apps with 'rm' and keep only the one you want, the browser.

Re:chmod a-rwx (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027507)

Really not an expert in Android

Shoulda stopped your mental train at that station...

Re:chmod a-rwx (1)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027519)

Really not an expert in Android so I am just throwing ideas here.

Since Android is based on Linux, chmod a-rwx would be an easy staring point. If the application cannot be read and executed, it cannot be started.

Better, erase the unwanted apps with 'rm' and keep only the one you want, the browser.

I looked on the AppStore and did not find neither chmod or rm, however there is a new Angry Birds

More info needed (1)

sheddd (592499) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027307)

I would be helpful to know what OS the thing is running :)

Re:More info needed (1)

Salpula (1598505) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027577)

He didn't say it was apple. TL/DR Its Android. Well, I guess it could be WebOS. lol

KISS You're missing one thing... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027309)

... I walk out of the waiting room with the tablet in my jacket

Re:KISS You're missing one thing... (1)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027539)

... I walk out of the waiting room with the tablet in my jacket

maybe you are the one who missed something (I mean: the 50 persons who made that same comment before you)

Re:KISS You're missing one thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027635)

Unfortunately, you forgot that this particular waiting room happens to be in a prison infirmary. You don't make it very far.

The article doesn't actually say that, but it's possible physical security isn't really an issue for one reason or another.

iPad? (1)

Kantara (246758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027325)

The closest you could get on an iPad is with 10.7 server w/ Profile Manager. You could remove the vast majority of the standard apps and force down Full Screen web clips that you could even change on the fly for all your devices. You could even set the devices to connect to specific wireless connections even with WPA Passwords. The only down side is some access to 'Settings'.

We build a similar solution (2)

ozkaanix (2501932) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027333)

Using linux on a omap3230 with a zendframework php app that gets a db loaded with data, mysql..., serving over lighttp to a local browser firefox. The syncing can be done either through a usb stick or local network through a sync server... We served thousands of patients at their home through their platforms. Hope it helps

Posters on the wall (1)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027353)

Seriously ... how will the people know to pick up the tablet? Answer - there'll be a poster or something. So, just user the poster to carry the message, and forget the tablet.

Come to think of it, people at a doctors get enough tablets anyhow.

LCD Digitial Frame (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027363)

The solution that you want may fully well exist without having to reinvent the wheel.

Is there any reason you can not use a LCD picture frame?

I don't know how well they deal with video but I suspect that you can put a good a presentation using stills on one of those.

Hijack the Home (1)

fbellag (1046976) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027373)

If you are using android devices, you can create an app that publicizes itself as a Home Screen replacement. Then you set that as your default app and you have a kiosk on your tablet.

Options: Offline or Kiosk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027419)

-= Offline =-
Instead of web pages, just have interactive books and videos loaded on the device. You'd need a central desktop configured to update/charge the devices (using a bunch of USB ports). Using SL4A scripts and whatever language you prefer, automate.

-= Kiosk =-
Simply create a web application without a browser title set only to your internal server. Then run the app in kiosk mode.
http://www.basic4ppc.com/forum/basic4android-getting-started-tutorials/10839-android-kiosk-mode-tutorial.html

If i were you... (1)

pjr.cc (760528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027443)

I'd pick the cheapest tablet you can get (that'll support your content), then farm off the app coding to one of the many freelancing sites to do what you need..

tbh, this is a pretty simple thing to do on android - completely locking a tablet isnt hard, and completely locking the content isnt hard either. You could then have various external mechanisms for unlocking them again (via bluetooth, wifi, usb, etc).. as an android coder, i wouldnt think this would take more then a couple of hours personally.

If your determined to do it yourself, stackoverflow is a good place to start looking for ideas on how its achieved.

Re:If i were you... (1)

pjr.cc (760528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027497)

actually, just to reply to my own post... if i were doing this, what i would do is have an app that locked the tablet to only itself (pretty simple), then have a hard coded set of settings for wifi access and a content server it connected to (all provided by the application)... from the content server i would be able to then unlock the tablet, but to be safe, i'd also add a key combo that unlocked it too (like vol up, vol up, vol down, power power, etc, something complex).

Imagineering: (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027445)

Just paint a black frame around some rectangular mirrors and put a big reversed brochure printout on the ceiling. Nobody will know the diff and you can keep the real tablets for yourself. (My experience at AOL is paying off.)

Re:Imagineering: (4, Funny)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027561)

Just paint a black frame around some rectangular mirrors and put a big reversed brochure printout on the ceiling. Nobody will know the diff and you can keep the real tablets for yourself. (My experience at AOL is paying off.)

Brilliant! This has the side benefit of making the waiting room a very convenient place to snort coke! (my experience on Wall Street is paying off too!)

Parental restrictions in iOS do this already (4, Informative)

lethe1001 (606836) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027451)

iOS has parental restrictions. Enable restrictions, enable Safari, leave everything else disabled. No step 3.

Re:Parental restrictions in iOS do this already (2)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027575)

iOS has parental restrictions. Enable restrictions, enable Safari, leave everything else disabled. No step 3.

But how do you get the parents of each patient to come down to the hospital to setup parental restrictions? That's the tricky part (especially if they are dead).

SiteKiosk - Android (1)

librarygeek (126538) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027455)

Provisio has a beta of their new SiteKiosk product for android tablets. It looks like it might do what you are looking for.

http://www.provisio.com/SiteKiosk/SiteKiosk_8_SiteKiosk_Android_beta.aspx

Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027457)

Root the tablet, then rename any links to all of the other apps. I did that on my fascinate to remove the vzw crap.

A few suggestions (2)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027475)

Easier: Buy a portable DVD player. Dirt cheap and does what you want. Less likely to get stolen. No software to break.

If using a Linux tablet, just run X with no window manager and start a fullscreen browser. Google keywords: "Maximus", "Devilspie", "Firefox kiosk mode".

If you're using Android or iOS, it looks like HockeyPuck has you covered above.

Dont matter, they will all be gone in a week (2)

bobjr94 (1120555) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027525)

Leave a bunch of tablets laying around, even cheap ones, they will disappear pretty quickly. Who's going to round them up and charge them everynight ? BTW: I dont think getting the message out to stop smoking on tablets out will do anything. They know they have a problem, they wont sit their and watch ads and videos telling what they already know. You will just get 50 people a day asking how they can get into their facebook on this thing.

Why a tablet?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027531)

Why not just a TV?!? Why a tablet?!?

For the price of a tablet computer, you can get a 32" tv and a DVD player.

AND you don't have to risk someone walking off with it.

Geeze! No wonder healthcare is so goddamn expensive! Solving easy problems with the most expensive solutions.

please check with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027571)

1) infection control - to get their sign off for the obvious reasons.
2) housekeeping - to make sure they know it's not dish washer safe.

just my two bits

Apache, EngineX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027581)

You can't figure out how to setup an HTTPD?

Put it on its own subnet.... (1)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027629)

And give it a bogus default gateway.

Wireless or USB touch-monitor (3, Interesting)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027633)

Tablets are generally designed to be resilient, and usable by the unskilled. For that reason, they can't usually be locked down like this, because the feature, in and of itself, is more technical than tablets are meant to be.

I don't know much about Androids, but an iPad makes a good example. Can you hijack DNS on the your wifi network? Yes... but it's incredibly easy to join another wifi network that isn't redirected, and there are no User and Administrator type accounts to keep people from doing so.

If you jailbreak an iPad, there is an extension you can install that locks it into a particular app (the browser, in this case). But getting around it involves, I think, nothing fancier than rebooting the device. You could modify the Hosts file on it to redirect no matter which network the user is on, as well... but a dedicated goof-off could always resort to direct DNS entry to cause mischief.

I would try to find out if anyone sells a wireless display with touchscreen capabilities. That could be linked to a computer that's locked down at an arbitrary level, and would prevent users from engaging in the kinds of shennigans they get up to when they have access to function keys and Reset buttons. If users can use the ctrl key or reboot the machine, you -will- end up with porn on your browser.

As a bonus, the device would be borderline useless to anyone who walks off with it and isn't fairly gadget-oriented, and you might be able to run several of them off of one host machine.

If this exists, someone should let me know, because I've made made want one.

If it doesn't you cold even use one of these:
http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/usb-gadgets/c609/ [thinkgeek.com]

Wireless is great, but the real goal is just something hand-held that each person in the waiting room can have one of. Run some USB cables out to each end-table in the waiting room, and attach them to these. They're cheap, so have them stolen is less of an issue... unplugging them makes the, stop working, which makes them less immediately temping... they have no keyboard and no buttons that affect the actual computer behind the scenes... They're a perfect solution if you don't mind a few cables.

What you need (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027639)

Is a portable DVD player. Or better yet, a wall-mounted TV and a running video from whatever appliance you want in another room.

Why use a tablet? Because you can?

frep.

Let 'em smoke. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027671)

Smokers pay taxes. Just make sure those taxes help subsidize healthcare for others, and while you're at it, deny them benefits based on their self abusive behavior. Win Win.

That's they way healthcare is heading anyhow.

Re:Let 'em smoke. (0)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027849)

I'm losing patients with you.

HTTPS and certificates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027693)

It doesn't matter the OS or the web server. You want this only to be available to specific machines. So, you use https on the web server and certificates on the client machines to allow authentication under the client context.

Unfortunately, I can only tell you how to do this on SharePoint.

iPads are easy (2)

st0nerhat (2540360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027729)

If you are using iPads, besides enabling parental controls, you might also want to prevent access to the home button. I've seen this done at a few well put together installations. A few pieces of plexi-glass and some silicone adhesive will do the trick. If you use some other opaque framing material, you can even make it look like you paid many more thousands of dollars for custom technology.

wrong approach (2)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027771)

Wrong approach. People will walk off your tablets. Instead, have the users bring their own. Set up an open wireless connection that supplies the users with a captive DNS directing everything to your internal service that only serves up your content.

Don't provide any other open connection. Then your crap shows up on everybody's ipad and android phone. Be prepared to fend off angry customers.

But at least you save the cost and headache of managing all those tablets and don't have to.replace.them every week.

Use a PlayBook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027821)

There aren't any apps for it anyway...

A solution (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027831)

Assuming Android:

Well, your container application would override some of the keys (onBackButton for example) to do nothing, making it harder to leave the app. Or you could use key events (http://developer.android.com/reference/android/view/KeyEvent.html) to have them fire an event when a key is pressed, that you'd have to configure to your liking. Your only problem would be the home button key, since it doesn't return any value when pressed.

From what I gather from reading tidbits here and there ( http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2079691/overriding-the-home-button-how-do-i-get-rid-of-the-choice [stackoverflow.com] ) you'd have to make your app have an intent to be the launcher and make it the default launcher in the settings. Pressing the home key would just fire the app once again.

Why not a live wall paper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027841)

if its an android tablet couldn't you build a live wall paper? They can interact with the user. You would then be able to hide all the other buttons :)

/. Disappoints (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027899)

Slashdot's credibility as a technical knowledge source is seriously compromised by these comments' lack of technical savvy + belittlement of a client's request for product development guidance on a rather simple effort; reflecting poorly on this technical community. And the reason I won't be returning.

tablets make good ashtrays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39027903)

Wanna bet it gets used as an ashtray by some sneaky smoker within the first 24 hours?

Two things - WiFi, run the web client as the shell (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39027923)

I'm talking out my hat here, since I have not done anything with Android or iOS, but the following would work for any generic *nix.

In Linux, BSD or any *nix (does iOS run a form of BSD, like Mac OSX does?), one can make any program the shell (the thing that comes up when you log in). So as soon as the tablet boots up, it will just be running the web client.

The problem with that would be how much the web client needs the graphical user interface login. If it needs that, then you can make rsh or another restricted shell environment, which only allows the programs that you specify in a chrooted directory.

There are probably some complications to getting such a thing set up right to run the embedded things, but I would presume that the Android (which supposedly has a Linux kernel) and possibly iPad tablets could be set up that way.

Also, I think some versions of Linux have a 'kiosk' mode that does most or all of what you want.

Then, to prevent going outside, configure the tablets to only work with a single WiFi access point, and that access point is connected to your data server, and that server is not connected to anything else. The user would have to login via an external boot loader or debugger to get around the OS and modify the WiFi configuration.

You might want to have another application running in the background that screams bloody murder if the tablet gets out of range of the WiFi access point. Maybe something like 'beep ... beep ... Beep .. Beep .. Please return to the office ... BEEPBEEPBEEP HELP I'M BEING REMOVED FROM THE OFFICE!!!! HELP!! HELP!! HELP!! AIEEEE!!! '

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