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New logo

Back in 2007 a daisy flower was hastily chosen as Webconverger's logo to express simplicity. Over time it has found to be a little too generic and probably not reflective of our "enterprise" positioning in the PC software market. Therefore we commissioned http://www.hawkenking.com/ to update the logo to be a little more unique and serious looking.

Update rationale

The old formats of Webconverger's logo are:

The new logo is:

  1. The petal symbolises a configured machine, typically deployed via USB stick, hence the shape
  2. The detached petal, demonstrates machines can be easily detached and reattached. i.e. moved between configurations or even to leave Webconverger services altogether, since we actively protect customers from vendor lock in
  3. The centre symbolises a customer configuration, e.g. https://config.webconverger.com/client/[CUSTOMER_EMAIL]

The font used is https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/mti/neo-sans/.

Incorporating Webconverger's new icon into the browser chrome

Currently users have no idea what kiosk software they are using. So with the logo embedded now a curious user can hover over the 35x35 flower icon embedded into the top right of the {webconverger,webcnoaddressbar} chrome to see the tooltip Webconverger. They cannot interact with the icon and cannot click away to browse https://webconverger.com/ for example.

Hopefully our new symbol can give confidence to the user that the are using a secure & privacy concious Web kiosk!

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Webconverger does not have an EOL

Like Windows XP before it, Windows 7 is reaching "End of Life" (EOL) on October 31, 2014. This event presents all sorts of logistical nightmares for IT administrators around the world.

In comparison Webconverger does NOT have an End of Life!

Webconverger deployments will just carry on working into the future, providing a standard Web interface, with an uptodate, security supported OS+browser behind it.

We aim to support our software with updates and keep out API stable for ever. This is why and how we offer "Life time subscriptions" in our pricing table.

Learn more about our philosophy and long term vision with our blog Avoiding the Microsoft upgrade treadmill.

Please get in touch with Webconverger sales and we will help you migrate away from Windows to a stable and long term supported Web platform.

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A better Web kiosk experience at Changi airport

Since moving to Singapore about two years ago, I've fallen in love with Changi Airport. It's the best Airport in the world.

However it pains me to see their Internet stations, with such poor support for modern HTML standards:

42 points with SiteKiosk

It wouldn't surprise me that these kiosks running old software had complaints like:

  • Some Web sites simply wouldn't work
  • Or work with much reduced functionality
  • Wastes people's time without having good form validation controls resulting in form submission errors
  • Have a range of security issues since it's so out of date

If Changi airport would upgrade their ~550 Internet stations software to run Webconverger:

455 points with Webconverger

  • Changi Airport would instantly go from 42 to 455 points with the http://html5test.com/ for far better Web experience and happier users
  • Users of the kiosks would have better Web experiences with privacy and safety improvements - better security for passengers
  • Kiosks running Webconverger would auto update to track the latest Firefox developments, ensuring it doesn't just stay at 455 points - always getting better

Webconverger is used by various US, New Zealand and UK government institutions and several banks. There are at least six thousand machines running Webconverger software all around the world, software made right here in Singapore.

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Webconverger 26 release

Revised boot menu

Highlights of this 26.0 signed & tagged snapshot:

  • Revised boot menu; helping you get started with Neon, our Web signage product
  • Firefox 32
  • Basic proxy authentication. A customer wanted this to fit into their complex Windows deployment, so now you have it too.
  • Tab right click menu removed to make user interface simpler
  • Bug fixes to the print button and the job scheduler API (cron=)
  • The usual stable security updates and Adobe Flash, with an additional font to make Flash video text render correctly

Please ask your Web developers to switch to HTML video. If you host your video on Youtube, you can make embeds use HTML5 with a html5=1 argument.

Detailed changelog between 25 & 26.

The sha256sum is f4374d183bbc4b897f423d482690ebf128f3f9b65484aee81e7aef180c8afe1e webc-26.0.iso, quickly download from our CDN http://dl.webconverger.com/latest.iso.

Known issue and future work

There is a known issue where setting up external screens on new Intel hardware might not be possible with the currently installed stable Intel driver. We have the solution which we commercially support, an upgraded driver though we didn't roll this into this release since it causes choppy Flash playback.

We are already working towards to smoothly upgrade to the next Debian release, "jessie", which will have more current video drivers et al.

Device management trials are now free of cost

Our commercial service now is now free to trial. No Paypal required. This screencast demonstrates the new signup flow. We hope you will find our configuration management and support service worthy of supporting via payment.

Thanks to the support of our customers; banks, cafes, governments, NGOs, schools, universites, stores, small and large we look forward to supplying you a stable, current and open Web client platform for running your Web application upon long into the future. Please help spread the word!

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Webconverger 25 release

Australis changes

Highlights of this 25.0 signed & tagged release, making Webconverger an even better Web kiosk:

  • New super simple whitelist= filtering option
  • New numlock API, to assist deployments in banks and such for numpad data entry
  • Incorporated Firefox 29/30 based Australis user interface refresh, being very careful to minimise its impact on our conservative userbase
  • Downsized 397M→375M, losing ~22M
  • nvidia video card support restored with the nouveau driver
  • Various SSL and flash security updates

Here is the detailed changelog.

Would like to thank my colleague Mike Kaply for his fine contributions to our integrated Firefox webconverger addon.

md5sum: 83dbe58d01560b2ece17a78efc4dd15a  webc-25.0.iso
sha1sum: 8216353147e76701fdda7963f02027b6c75f1f6b  webc-25.0.iso

If you are a new user or live user, download the latest ISO release and upgrade.

For install users, sit back and enjoy summer! Your install should automatically upgrade. You can always double check with about: to be sure.

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Fine grained filtering

Today we launch a new filtering service filter.webconverger.com. It's an ongoing service to block any combination of ads, blasphemy, dating, file, gambling, gaming, image, malicious, pharma, piracy, porn, proxies, social media & video categories of sites. We keep the lists upto date for you, so you don't have to worry.

filter.webconverger.com competes with the OpenDNS "domain blocking" service, though at a cheaper price, typically sold as an annual subscription.

Please contact sales to get on a trial!

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Webconverger 24 release

It has been 3 months since the Webconverger 23 release which has been a fine stable release. Now it's time to upgrade for Live users for security reasons and a couple of new features mainly driven by Firefox.

What's new?

Detailed changes between 23.0 and 24.0

  • Firefox 28
  • MP4 video playing support, so you can use an MP4 video now to attract patrons to your service when idle
  • Flash security updates, though do try HTML video instead, so we can deprecate Flash
  • Linux kernel 3.12, a longterm stable kernel
  • New filter= API which complements our new filter.webconverger.com service for fine grained blacklisting (think OpenDNS, but cheaper)

For install users of 23.0, the upgrade delta is about 178M, when automatically upgrading. Github does throttle your connection or if you are on a poor internet connection, upgrading can be quite a long winded process. Do please check what version you are running by looking at about: or using the WEBCVERSION homepage expansion. Paid subscribers can quickly check the version of their machines by clicking the information icon on the control panel. If in any doubt, please do download the latest release and re-image your machines!

Notice a bug? Please email us or report the bug on Github.

Please support our work by purchasing a subscription. We are tentatively offering free trials of our central management tool, so you can see for yourself how easy it is to manage a fleet of machines accessing the Web. Thank you!

sha1sum c2283b9d4b4f9df8496825138207a4e2442aa226  webc-24.0.iso
md5sum e557925fe4c7c31f66dd2423db0e97d0  webc-24.0.iso
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New NUCs

We initially blogged about the promising Next Unit of Computing form factor back in 2012 by Intel . What's changed?

Different manufacturers offering the NUC

This should mean lower prices, with different OEMs putting together their own competitive NUC solutions. Anandtech reviews the NUC Gigabyte offerings.

They all should be plug and play with Webconverger.

The cheapest NUC?

We've heard excellent reports of the Intel DN2820FYKH from customers. They are well made and use the cheaper Celeron based processor. These are going for less than 200USD!

September 2014 Update: Look out for the Atom NUC Thin Canyon (DE3815TYKHE) and the Intel NUC Kiosk eDP. These are around the 150USD mark and lowering.

Also do compare the Recommended Customer Price at the Intel ARK.

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Qualifying for PARCC

The PARCC initiative was brought to my attention by Matthew Newton at Montclair High School, a K12 school in NJ, USA.

PCs running Webconverger versus Chromebooks

The school contact raised concerns about using Chromebooks in student assessments.

The cost of acquiring physical Chromebooks and their management console to lock them down for American schools is significant.

What if you could turn an existing PC temporarily into a locked down Web kiosk for online examinations for just 10USD?

Webconverger could be just the solution schools need to roll out their PARCC testing in a timely and cost effective manner!

Pursuing a PARCC certified solution

The Web application carrying out the PARCC examinations is called TestNav and it's implemented by Pearson.

When first investigating TestNav, I was disappointed to see requirements for Java and samples that used Flash. It didn't make sense, since later guidelines indicated that Chromebooks could run the application, and Chromebooks do not have Java support.

I tested the new TestNav 8 http://www.parcconline.org/computer-based-samples in the latest Webconverger and they work just fine! Pearson's Qualification Standards for TestNav 8 are not yet publicly posted.

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