SPECIAL NOTES – Improving Usability and Avoiding Problems

 

REGARDING WIRELESS NETWORKING

§         Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to manually assign IP addresses to all of my computers.  It makes it much easier to keep track of things.  There are a few IP domains that are assigned for private networks.  These include 192.168.X.X .

§         The Xplore tablet computer has a lan interface built-in.  Your laptop computer probably has one as well.  If you want to use both the wired lan (for example to interface with some blackbox instruments on your boat) while using the wireless network to communicate between the laptop and tablet, the wired and wireless interfaces will have to be in separate sub-lans.  For example, if your laptop wired interface has an IP address of 192.168.1.12, you’re the wireless interface have an IP address of, for example, 192.168.2.12.  Similarly, the wireless interface of the tablet would, using this example, have an address such as 192.168.2.15.

§         If your wireless network is intended only to be used in the ad-hoc (peer-to-peer) mode, you do not need to (and probably should not) set a gateway IP address or dns server IP address for the interface.  If all of this IP address stuff makes no sense at all, consider reading James's TCP/IP FAQ - Understanding IP Addresses

§         Before turning on WEP security, first make sure the wireless connection is actually functioning by running VNC over the link.   (Be sure to write down your WEP code and VNC password where you can find them).

§         To make keep your computer from trying to connect with any nearby access points, use the advanced options menu under the properties for your wireless network connection to allow only ad-hoc (peer-to-peer) connections.



        FULL SCREEN MODE (AND EXITING FULL SCREEN MODE)

§         VNCviewer full screen mode allows the viewer to run on your tablet without a frame or scrollbars around edge of the screen.  This makes the display appear exactly the same as the display on the laptop running VNCserver and makes better usage of the area of your display.  The trick to running is figuring out how to exit VNCviewer from full screen mode.  Exiting the full screen VNCviewer is accomplished by bringing up the tablet computer’s Start menu and then right clicking the VNCviewer icon in the tablet’s task bar.  Ctrl-Esc will bring up the tablet’s Start menu.  I have set the P3 key on my Xplore tablet to generate this key sequence.  Once the Start menu appears, use the Event Scheduler to create a right click then right click on the VNCviewer icon on the taskbar and select Close.  (I have not been able to find a way to generate a macro to do this yet, but I continue to work on it...)

 

        QUICK START VNCviewer

§         You can start VNCviewer without having to select the IP of the VNCserver or entering a password.  First you must create a .vnc (configuration) file which contains your configuration information.  Then you just set-up a softkey or shortcut to launch the application referencing the .vnc file.  It is a lot easier to do than it sounds…

o        Click on VNCviewer (Fast Compression) via Start menu/All Programs/TightVNC.  Enter the IP address of the VNCserver.  Select Options.  From the Options menu, select Full Screen if you prefer that mode.  Close the Options menu.  Click OK.  Enter the password when prompted.  After the VNCviewer starts, press either Ctrl-Esc or press the “windows” key to bring up the Start menu on your tablet.  Right click on the VNCviewer icon on the task bar.  Select “Save Connection info as...”  Assign a simple name and location (like c:\my.vnc).  When prompted about the password, select YES to save the password (it will be encrypted).  You have now created the necessary configuration file.

o        Next you can create a softkey or shortcut to quickly launch VNCviewer using the configuration file.  

§         Softkey:   Select a softkey (I use P1) and configure it to launch an application.  Select c:\Program Files\TightVNC\vncviewer.exe   Add the following to the options line:  -config c:\my.vnc   Close the softkey configurator and give it a try.  WOW!

§         ShortCut:  Traverse the Start Menu down to the vncViewer (Fast Compression) and right-click it.  Select “Pin to Start Menu”.  Go to the Start menu and right click on the new vncViewer icon.  Select Properties.   Replace everything after …vncviewer.exe   with   /config c:\my.vnc    You should also place a set of quotation marks (“) around the c:\Program Files…\vncviewer.exe  (not around the /config c:\my.vnc)  Close the Properties window and try it.  Equal WOW!

 

        OTHER SUGGESTIONS

§         For fear of sounding like your mother… as soon as everything is stable, create an automated system recovery backup of both your laptop and tablet.  Using an external USB disk drive is ideal for this.  (I keep one that runs on 12 volts on the boat for backups and to store my large music collection).

§         You can use the wireless network to back up the tablet to the laptop and visa versa.

 

§         Consider keeping a USB keyboard on your boat.  It can be very handy if you want to do other work on your tablet computer.

§         Set the Power Options to never standby or hibernate when the unit is plugged in.  This way, the system will remain live in the cockpit as long as power is provided.  (Start menu, Control Panel, Power Options, Advanced)

 

 
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