Multiple Screens,multiple Keyboard For Input But 1 Cpu/disk
14 replies to this topic
Posted 2010-01-15 11:06:13
Can anyone please advise a simple set up of multiple screens with multiple keyboard but linked to 1 cpu/disk?
I run roadshows and collect databases of enquiries- sometimes the crowd gets too many, and also sometimes the enquirer scrawls their info-so it is not legible,thus no use for me.
If I just set up maybe 6 monitors + 6 keyboards all connected to 1 cpu/disk- is that possible?
Thanks for all the advice
Posted 2010-01-15 11:48:56
I don't see how that could be possible unless you attach some kind of thin clients.
Allow people to send their information via SMS instead and have a SMS gateway format the data.
Posted 2010-01-15 13:00:22
I used to use a dual k/brd and dual monitor system many years ago as part of a stock trading system, it required a PCI card in the PC to handle the interrupts from the keyboard. So technically it is possible - however just to gather personal data it seems overkill, more people and clearer forms would probably be cheaper. FWIW
Posted 2010-01-15 14:29:43
This became routinely possible for me in 1999 with 500mhz 500 RAM PCs (cutting edge then !). All on trading floor of investment bank. IN latter years, ran multiple screens and keyboards from less PCs (maybe 4 screens to 1 keyboard and PC ???). Can't remember exacts.
With today's processing power, I'd say easily possible. What software or hardware you need (if any) I don't know.
Posted 2010-01-15 20:23:41
Multiple monitors to one PC is simple enough, that isn't the problem. But multiple user interfaces each with separate keyboard/mouse that sounds more tricky.
Posted 2010-01-16 15:42:54
"Multiple monitors to one PC is simple enough, that isn't the problem. But multiple user interfaces each with separate keyboard/mouse that sounds more tricky. "
Spot On! tats my question! Hope some friends out here at TV can advice
Posted 2010-01-24 18:04:03
To me it seems like you should have a simple web application running locally on one of the computers in your roadshow setup.
You can have the database there too. The rest of the machines can be any computers of your choice.
Any web design company should be able to do this for a low cost...
What functionality exactly are you looking for?
If not too much I can give you some more hands on advice but I have a full time job requiring my attention. Where I work I do Man/Machines interfaces built from the same concept and other web based applications.
I also run a couple of web sites as a hobby...
Posted 2010-01-25 12:24:55
Thank you all!
Thanks RKASA! I think thats how the set up should be..but it all sounds Greek to me with all the programming..nevertheless, its a start- I guess gotta start learning a new language now! thanks anyway!
Thanks for the offer siamect! very nice of you to offer your time- at the moment, I think Im just looking to set it up physically first-as in the hardware stuff-once tats done, I will look at the software/application options. thanks!
Posted 2010-01-25 21:46:48
Not sure if TeamPlayer works for this. It seems you can have two (or more) mouse pointers but only one can be active at a time ('click to take control'). Not sure though since I just read one short article and I'm too lazy to check on it
It's kind of obvious that there are Linux solutions available since Linux has always been a multi user environment from the start with multiple terminal sessions and XWindow being flexible enough to do all kinda things.
Windows however... well the technology is there, Windows can manage multiple remote user sessions even though the feature is restricted on non server versions AFAIK.
Found one product that claims to be able to do what you need on Windows, never heard of it before or tried to run it (lazy..)
Not sure what application you use to collect your data, just make sure it can handle multiple users writing to the database - if the app is file based (like Excel or Word) it will probably not support if users write to the same file even if you get a sophisticated product to run multiple users on one computer.
Posted 2010-01-25 23:21:46
As has been suggested, I think the best / cheapest way to get the functionality your after is to have a PC running Apache Webserver and an SQL Server, and create a simple website with a few forms to gather the relevant data from the customers, and submit into a SQL database (PHP would be my choice of language).
Then you can simply have cheap units that just need to run a browser (even really old P2 233mhz will run Linux with a browser, or even win98 - all your after is the browser - no real 'grunt' needed CPU wise and probs get away with 128mb RAM).
Then connect these all together with a hub, and if you use static local IP addresses for the machines, you dont even need to be hooked up to the internet for it all to work, which could be a bonus if in a remote location.
If you need any help with the website coding I`d be willing to help out, or if you want more info just ask
Of course I`m unsure how cost-effective it is to buy base units in LOS, but should be very cheap for the spec your project requires at a minimum.
Posted 2010-01-26 19:10:11
Aster XP from ibik software should do exactly what the OP is looking for, at least I get that impression when reading the software manual. I am still a bit doubtful though since the product doesn't seem to have a lot of coverage/reviews on the internet. However, it is listed on softpedia.com which should rule out any rogue ware. Seems to have been developped by a russian company, the manual states 2003-2007, and only compatible with Windows 2000 and XP. So maybe no active development anymore.
There is a trial though and softpedia lists the price with 80 USD, so it might be worth a try. Depending on how sophisticated your current desktop application is the price of having a custom web solution developed could be much higher. Usability for simple web solutions often suffer, but the whole setup could be more flexible and scale better (in the long run). Of course you could always combine the two solutions, running e.g. two terminals per one computer.
Often survey databases are simple programs done in MS Access, which can also be adapted to support multiple terminals. (I am no friend of MS Access, but sometimes the most straight forward solution is not the most elegant/sophisticated one
Why the OP doesn't tell us more about the application / setup he/she currently uses.
Posted 2010-01-26 22:53:35
Im just currently using 2 laptops and pc - all three individually , data is entered into Excel. then combined together after the roadshow. All very basic. the problem is - with just 3 terminals, my data collection is just not fast enough. Also, with just the 2 laptops and pc, the visual effect is not there.
If only I can lay out maybe 6-9 or maybe even 12 monitors and keyboards, the visual impact created will itself draw many others to come register.
Using 6-9 monitors + 6-9 keyboards connected into 1 computer/hard disk will definittely be much, much cheaper to deploy than getting 6-9 tiny netbooks .
Posted 2010-01-27 19:01:35
New netbooks start at 12000 THB, the cheapest laptops at 13.000 THB . Since you don't need processing power you can go for those. Netbooks are small but can look pretty slick. But it seems you would rather like to go for the big screens (22" - 23" TFTs are ~5000 THB).
If you compare the two setups, netbooks without external screen vs. 'terminals' (screen + keyboard), the terminal will cost you maybe half of the terminal solution, IF the latter really works.
The way you collect your data (Excel) does not interfere with any of the two solutions. Since you don't have a central database you are very flexible from a technical point of view. In case of using separate clients you don't even need to network them.
However, you might speed up the data collection by introducing a more customized 'application' that offers drop down boxes, multiple choice fields, auto completion and other stuff to enter the data quicker.
Is the data collection slow because of technical difficulties or because of 'social' aspects.