VineyardComputers

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The Vineyard is a Christian community centre in central Richmond. (Website here.)

Vineyard-SideView.jpg

It provides internet access using 4 laptop computers (pictured, right) which are now quite old and showing signs of wear.

The Vineyard is looking for a low-cost replacement for the laptop computers

We propose to offer one or more Raspberry Pi Linux computers, each with separate mouse, screen and keyboard. The cost for one complete replacement set will be in the region of £100, paid by the Vineyard.

If any of the accessories (mouse, keyboard) becomes damaged, it can be individually replaced at low cost, £10 or less, unlike a laptop where one faulty part affects the whole terminal.

Using the existing metal cabinet, the screen, keyboard and mouse will be fitted into the top section. The Raspberry Pi with its power supply will be in the bottom. The bottom section will be fitted with a lock to restrict access.

There will be provision for connection of headphones to a jack socket, and there will be a USB socket for plugging in a memory stick or other device.

An on-off switch in the top section of the cabinet will end the user's session on the computer and will blank the screen. When switched on again, the screen will start a new, clean session with nothing left over from the previous user.

A limited set of programmes will be offered on the computer:

  • Chromium Web Browser
  • Skype
  • PDF viewer
  • Movie viewer
  • Text writer (a simple notepad)
  • Document writer (LibreOffice writer)
  • Spreadsheet (or maybe not)

This will cover all the common requirements for a communal computer. There will not be an email programme, as users will be expected to use webmail to write and read personal messages. There can be provision for document printing across the network to an established Vineyard printer, if that is wanted.

We think this solution will stand up well to the environment where the computers are worked hard and sometimes used carelessly. Damage can occur, but with this system, damage can be easily put right. Privacy is improved by setting up a clean session for each new user.

Users may find the system a little unfamiliar at first. It's not exactly the same as Windows, only similar. Many computer users soon adapt to the slight differences. We will set up one system for free, to try it out and will be guided by responses from the users.


Some requested enhancements from Imi:

  • Current problem being dealt with - Some windows (e.g. save dialogue window) open up off screen
    • The resolution looks good in general, just some windows have problems.
    • xrandr is showing the resolution of the current screen set correctly at 1368x768 (you can force this in /boot/config.txt if helpful). Tested this resolution as working on laptop.
    • Solved- it's a rights issue (likely to do with /home/viny/.config/gtk-2.0/gtkfilechooser.ini)
    • Elevate rights through uncommenting out viny in sudo visudo -f /etc/sudoers.d/030_viny-setup, make changes and, without logging off, run Ian's update-clean script. Remember to demote viny afterwards.
      • New image on novo /vineyard-pi-images/2018-03-07-vin2.img
  • He'd like the Taskbar hidden until scrolled over - not sure I agree with this one as it's only good if you're expecting it
  • Currently they wake up on keyboard press or mouse movement, would like it just on keyboard press ( See more at VineyardComputers-Wakeup)
  • default location for saved files to be desktop to make it easy for users - easiest to change in individual app settings
  • Andy- setup remote access. Will find out who to authorise this (Bob) - Leaving this for now for Pi problems to settle down
    • /etc/hosts.allow

sshd : ALL

    • /etc/hosts.allow

sshd : 192.168.0.0/24 - or similar sshd : 127.0.0.1 sshd : 81.2.114.76 sshd : IP-FOR-RML-VPS

  • Video stuttering problem on the pi. Works ok with youtube but not the vimeo video on their main website
    • Ian showed that it's working on vimeo's site. Due to the other code on webpage? - Andy tested as working; CPU usage doesn't hit 100%, increasing GPU_MEM in /boot/config.txt doesn't seem to improve this... codec issue?
    • Possible solutions/ tests - testing this with another browser, overclocking the pi through raspi-config or increasing gpu_mem in config.txt.
    • May be that Chromium needs a H264 codec
    • Andres suggested it's that vimeo starts playing before buffering properly. I know youtube constantly adjusts the quality to allow you to play consistently, not sure how vimeo works.
  • Imi would like to investigate 1 more powerful (windows?) machine there - this partly stems from the video problem above