Friday, March 23, 2012

Software Portal Changes Pushed Live

With increasing workloads, I have been doing everything possible to increase what we can do remotely to eliminate having to send IT staff to users desks. Very often a big part of the problem is not knowing exactly what equipment they have. So I have reworked the "Thin Client Detail" screen in our support portal to give us more information than ever. All of these changes will also allow me to now begin adding new features for the end users.

I've always posted lots of pictures, I think they make it easy to understand how it's working. I'm sure that UI could be better, but it's working and will improve. When you bring up a thin client device it gets the server side configuration files and displays what it *thinks* should be configured on the workstation. This is done because very often the devices are powered off and now we'll be able to see how it's configured even if it's not currently running. The status line indicates that the information is based on configuration files and not the physical device. The REFRESH button is enabled in this case because it has done a ping and detected the device is powered on.

Once REFRESH is pressed, it physically queries the thin client and obtains as much information as possible. It detects version, function and other settings. It also then polls the Xserver and detects the resolution. One great new features is that the EDID is tested and it displays the exact make of the monitor. VG1930wm is an old ViewSonic monitor.

The next tab obtains the rest of the settings and detects their version. If they are running a Beta release of the thin client OS this is clearly indicated; otherwise it just displays a thumbs up symbol indicating they are current.

NX creates an interesting issue, the server thinks they are a thin client but it's really a virtual Xserver. So in this case the UI clearly shows that it's NX and then tries to find their connection IP.

Here is another feature now implemented. Some users have the ability to rotate their monitors as they desire. So when you enter the detail screen it detects that the monitor is configured in this manner (Rotate) but doesn't know how it's currently being used.

However when the REFRESH button is pressed, it does a query and detects the current orientation and displays it accordingly along with color depth and the exact cable (HDMI) being used. Being able to see the cable will allow us to upgrade users from VGA as time allows.

Another new features that is wonderful for us is to know the exact capabilities of the monitor. Are they configured for optimal resolution or running it in the wrong aspect ratio? Does the monitor go into a higher resolution? The portal queries xrandr and gets all of the supported resolutions and displays them as a tooltip when you hover your mouse over the monitor. Previously support would have to check this by physically going to the workstation.

The last major feature that will come is the ability to get a quick thumbnail of their session and a few other cosmetic fixes...but all in all it's working well. Centralized support has been a real time saver for us.

Other projects this week: Prepped Firefox 11 for release, tested Flash 11.2 RC, checked some pages that are having problems with sound, QA'd LibreOffice , reviewed all Evolution crashers and tried to organize them into groups and reviewed log files to look for errant networking cables and bad UPSs

Next week: The next thin client OS feature set will be started now that we have the host infrastructure to support it.

1 comment:

M Welinder said...

How does the many-users-served-by-one-machine setup handle when one or more users do something cpu heavy? -- recalculating a large spreadsheet comes to mind for your type of users.

Same question for memory hogs.

It could, obviously, just be that your users don't tend to do that.