Tech solutions - Crowdicity Kiosk PC and Windows 8.1
A great way to get your community involved on the platform is to set up a laptop or two on ‘kiosk mode’ in a public space. It allows your crowd to sign themselves up on their lunch break, and captures the people who may not have spotted their invitation email from the platform yet.
Coupled with a few posters around to point them in the right direction it takes the ideas platform to your crowd, away from their desks, something which is proven to be hugely successful.
Gareth Davies, 2nd Line IT Support Engineer at Capital FM Arena, Nottingham, shared with us how he has been able to set up a kiosk computer. For the more technical among you who want to understand more about the journey he took to discover the solution, click here
Here’s how he did it:
To stop staff being able to browse any websites apart from the our Crowdicity site (or even abuse the PC in general), I decided to install Windows 8.1 onto two old PCs. Windows 8.1 has a new feature called ‘Kiosk Mode’. Kiosk Mode modifies a local user profile so that when the account is logged into, only one App from the Windows Store loads. It stops any access to the desktop, blocks Ctrl + Alt + Del from working and disables the possibility of anything else running.
In our example, we wanted a web browser to show the Crowdicity site, so I chose Internet Explorer for the Windows Store App. To make a user account load into Kiosk Mode, you need to create the account as a standard user and then log into the machine as an administrator. When you log into Windows 8.1 as admin, go to Users and Settings and there will be a link labelled ‘Set user as designated user’. Selecting this allows you to choose the account for Kiosk access and the single application to be loaded.
This worked like a dream. The only issue is that the user could still manually enter URLs for unwanted websites.
After some investigation, I found a suggestion on-line about setting up a small proxy server on the machine. I thought that if we pointed it to a fake proxy server, this should work as long as we could exclude certain addresses.
When setting the proxy settings, there is a setting to add Excluded addresses. Hooray! So I added the Crowdicity URL.
Things to be aware of:
Changing from http to https meant that the URL would not load. So I had to add both http and https copies of the URL. Crowdicity now works exclusively over HTTPS so only adding the HTTPS URL is required.
Crowdicity host some media content on their own servers which are pointed to in the webpage. This content did not load so I had to find the site URL for the content and add those.
The site uses some Google API bits and pieces so I needed to add those too.
The site uses Google Analytics and until the URL for GA was added to the exclusion list, none of the stats would work and it slowed down loading of the webpage. Crowdicity now has most of the media delivered from https://f69aa27b9b6c6702e27b-ffbfdeddb5f7166a1729dfea28599a63.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com so this needs to be added to the exclusion list also.
RESULT: The only website that will work is our Crowdicity site and if any other URLs are entered into the address bar, it just says that the proxy is failing to respond.