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 Post subject: WiFi eLibrary for your organization.
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 2:20 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:05 pm
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Location: MA
So I finally found a low cost solution for a WiFi eLibrary. I've been going back and forth with one of the developers of Connect Box https://connectbox.technology/wp/ we have successfully gotten it to work on a Raspberry Pi Zero W ($10 computer half the size of a credit card.) Let's not forget that most of our organizations are there to educate the public. Almost all our visitors will be equipped with a smart device of some sort or another and I have a WiFi eLibrary give us another way to distribute information to our patrons. I'm planning on setting one up at the local Trolley Museum I'm feeling at with electric Railway material for example the electric Railway dictionary and trolley trip through New England. As well as high resolition images from our trolley line, trolley and railroad music and a few trolley theamed cartoons and movies.


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 Post subject: Re: WiFi eLibrary for your organization.
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 7:42 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
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Location: New Franklin, OH
I’m intrigued with these little devices and possibilities are swirling around in my head. How do you plan on deploying them?

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Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
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 Post subject: Re: WiFi eLibrary for your organization.
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 11:22 am 
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Just place one in a common ariea and put up sighnage explaning what it is and how to log on.


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 Post subject: Re: WiFi eLibrary for your organization.
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 4:12 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
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Location: New Franklin, OH
I'm considering this for a self-guided tour through the Depot museum. I haven't dug into the documentation yet but I'm hoping it can be set up to serve responsive HTML pages sort of like a mini website or something similar to guide them along through the displays. I figure this can be a help with the social distancing issues, also.

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Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
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 Post subject: Re: WiFi eLibrary for your organization.
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 6:30 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1290
Quote:
"I haven't dug into the documentation yet but I'm hoping it can be set up to serve responsive HTML pages sort of like a mini website or something similar to guide them along through the displays."


Keep in mind that a $10 PC bought at a thrift store can run a basic Web server far better than any code for serving pages natively off an appliance, whether you use some flavor of original Windows or load Linux. While this would use more electricity than a Pi, it's a far more flexible platform that can host a relatively large number of potential applications and features ...

The ConnectBox scheme works well if you are retrieving items from a catalogue or menu, going back each time. I would argue that the ability to have multiple items open 'interactively' in tabs or windows will be valuable if you want more than basic spam-in-a-can repository access -- especially if you incorporate chat/e-mail to reach a nearby wireless-connected docent (or other folks via the LAN or Web) so that questions can be answered, photos and files of potential relevance or importance suggested, etc.

Note that there are artificial-intelligence 'agents' available to help manage a customer's "interaction experience" -- none of them, to my knowledge, optimized to run on a Pi at the same time it's serving multiple file requests and security. Not that it might not be interesting to see if one could be written ... just that the job's already done for even obsolescent Intel computers.

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 Post subject: Re: WiFi eLibrary for your organization.
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:05 pm
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Location: MA
Apparently connectbox can custom web interfaces using Word Press.


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 Post subject: Re: WiFi eLibrary for your organization.
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 9:40 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:51 pm
Posts: 116
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
I think that these things sound awesome when used with a Raspberry Pi Zero W, and would be very useful distributed around various exhibits. The solar powered aspect for outside units could be rather useful also.

I've been developing professionally in Linux for over twenty years now (yikes!) and I'm all for reusing old PCs for other applications, but the embedded, low-power, headless (no keyboard/monitor) aspect of these things make them pretty ideal for your use.

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 Post subject: Re: WiFi eLibrary for your organization.
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 10:57 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
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Location: New Franklin, OH
jrevans wrote:
I've been developing professionally in Linux for over twenty years now (yikes!) and I'm all for reusing old PCs for other applications, but the embedded, low-power, headless (no keyboard/monitor) aspect of these things make them pretty ideal for your use.

My thoughts exactly. I considered setting up a local web server running Linux and a dedicated WiFi router using superfluous stuff I have on hand and that type of setup is still under consideration. But I’d be the only one to maintain it so custom html may be out the window. I‘m looking for a way to keep it simple enough that others can chip in without me having teach a bunch of classes. WP integration within ConnectBox is a step in the right direction since it’s not very hard to work with. I might have to get one of these gizmos just to play with it.

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Eric Schlentner
Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
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https://orrvillerailroad.com


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 Post subject: Re: WiFi eLibrary for your organization.
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 8:12 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:43 am
Posts: 32
I am a Raspberry Pi fan and have a number of them deployed around my house/barn (all on AC power, not battery). They are pretty reliable, but I suggest using an inexpensive APC battery backup with the Pi to deal with powerline surges/spikes etc.

While all my Pi are running as webservers, I don't have any of them using WordPress. But raspberrypi.org has a page/tutorial on doing just that:
https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/pro ... -wordpress

Once you get things setup and running the way you want, use the Pi 'built-in' "card copier" utility to make multiple copies of the functioning SD card so you can easily insert a backup card if needed.


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 Post subject: Re: WiFi eLibrary for your organization.
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 11:23 am 

Joined: Sat May 23, 2020 9:04 am
Posts: 1
You could probably set up something with QR codes to have links to additional information about displays pretty easily as well.


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