rev: 2011-June-10

MyPlace Family and Friends Help Site

Introduction

This is a help page designed for Family and Friends who are somewhat Internet capable and who plan on developing a communications and support channel with an individual that is a MyPlace Client User.

MyPlace Features

Here is a quick MyPlace feature list to remind you what this is all about:

See links below for more information.

Client Feature Settings

Each MyPlace Client (except for guest users) have a tailor-made menu environment where buttons are placed to give the user access to features or applications (apps) such as Skype, Internet Radio stations, Weather websites, mp3 music, scanning/snapshot and print apps as well as a number of email send and receive apps. Each Client has different interests and communications needs and so each MyPlace installation is adjusted specifically to their requirements.

Most of these features and apps are configured remotely through the Internet and some of these features are controllable by the Client's Family/Friends Support Group (FFSG) through the MyPlace website (http://pushbutton.tailwind-live.org/users/).

When you first navigate to this page, you will be asked for a USERNAME and a PASSWORD. You should allready have this information and if you don't, contact Harold at: hb at nordicwind dot ca .

Once logged in, you will see a number of choices across the top banner in the following order:

Email Settings

On the Email Support page, you can decide which email addresses will be allowed to send to the Client user in the whitelist, what email addresses will come up in the Clients sendlist and what pre-defined messages the Client User can select to send a short message without the need to tackle the mysteries of a keyboard!

Note that you can also enter email addresses for your cellphone permitting the Client User to send short text messages to cellphones. Check with your cellphone carrier for this email address or contact Harold for assistance.

There are also ways on the Internet of setting up SMS messaging (i.e. text messaging) as an incoming email to the Client. This will probably cost a monthly fee and if you would like the Client User to receive text messaging, then ask Harold for assistance ... I'm sure we can make this happen!

Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop covers two features in one. The first feature is the ability to enter a URL of a interesting website that you think the Client would be of interest to the client, and when the Client User selects the 'Surprise' button (a butterfly on a dark background), the browser will open up with this website.

You can change this Surprise URL as often as you like!

The other thing that the Surprise button does is open up a desktop sharing protocol to permit you to log into the Client's machine and control the mouse and display. This might be used to take the user on a tour of an interesting website! To make this work, you need to install some software on YOUR computer (VNC) and open a VNC port on your firewall. (i.e. you won't be able to do this in a coffee shop ... and you need to be rather good with a computer to be able to pull this off .. but if you want to do it, ask Harold.)

Scans

This page shows you all the scans that have been sent from the Client's machine from the scanner.

The neat thing about the Client's Scanner is that it scans the complete flat-bed area and saves it on the this page along with a 'autocrop' version. You will see that when the email goes out from a scan operation, only the link to the scan files are sent so your email InBox is not filled up with large files .. especially if you don't need the full scan and the cropped version is fine.

If you 'loose' the email, the scan is still here on this page and is saved in a random filename making it difficult for someone to guess the filename and download it. Just the same, you should purge this list periodically.

Print Jobs

This page is where YOU get to send a document to the Client. Basically it is a print queue and you upload a file to this page and then tell the Client that there is something in the print queue (yes, we should generate a message automatically!). The Client User can then click on the Print Jobs button and see the documents and decide if they want to print it. The supported formats are PDF, MS Word, MS Excel and Openoffice Write and Calc. We can possibly add more if there is a need.

This covers the Client Webpage - but there is more to talk about!

Skype

The Client can call and receive Skype connections but only those that the Client has agreed to communicate with.

To create the buttons for Skype (so the Client can call out) talk to Harold - they are easy to add.

To permit incoming Skype calls to be automatically answered, they have to be loaded into Skype as new contacts. It is possible for you to do this by opening your own Skype Client and signing in as the MyPlace Client and setting up new contacts and sending out the request to talk messages to the respective contacts.

Once you have confirmed the new contacts are working, the MyPlace User will pick up these new contact confirmations when they next login.

Sending Email with Pictures

The MyPlace Client has a special Email button (usually called Get Messages) that reads email that has been downloaded from the users Email Account. This app presents the message in large font and shows any attached pictures in subsequent pages.

Often the app is setup in slideshow mode with a timeout of 5 seconds between pages. The Client can stop the slideshow simply by pressing one of the BACK or FORWARD buttons.

We can also disable slideshow mode, change the delay between pages and even add some picture rotate buttons .. so let Harold know if you think your Client User would like something different!

There is also a traditional email client on the MyPlace computer and this can be enabled and accessed with a pushbutton if the Client User would like this. Emails are not whitelist filtered with this tool (thunderbird) and the Client User would likely have to be comfortable with a mouse and keyboard for this to be successful.

Ram Based:

The default setup for the MyPlace environment is to start up the Client User in Ram rather than on the Hard Disk. This means that, when the machine is turned off, any content that was saved in the Client User's space is lost (except for email which we store in a special location!).

This is considered an advantage as it keeps the environment clean and consistent between power ups.

Other Tools:

If you glide the cursor over to the far left edge of the screen you will see a menu bar appear and you can access a host of tools. Don't forget what we said about the Ram environment!

Finally some references:

http://mpusers.nwind.ca MyPlace User Configuration - where you can find this document.
http://myplace.nwind.ca This is the MyPlace introduction page complete with slideshows, videos etc.
http://pushbutton.tailwind-live.org This is the suite of scripts that generate the pushbutton environment.
http://www.tailwind-live.org This is the OS that Myplace is built on (Linux)
http://www.nordicwind.ca/who.html This page might tell you something about me!