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10.3: Set up a kiosk machine with an auto-open folder System

Actually, this is more of a peeve. In Jag-wire (I wonder how Steve Jobs pronounces Panther?), setting up a user that only has the Simplified Finder made administration in a university (where I work) a breeze. As part of this setup, I had the My Applications window open as a Login item (i.e., it was set in the Login preference pane for the "kiosk user").

In Panther, however, even though the system will allow you to add a folder to the Startup Items section of the Accounts preference pane, if the Simple Finder is set for an account, the folder doesn't open, even though (in this case) it's the My Applications folder! To work around this problem, I created a simple AppleScript (compiled as an application) which fires off during the login process. The script is as follows:

tell application "Finder"
  open folder "My Applications" of folder 
    "Managed Items" of folder "Library" of folder 
    "patron" of folder "Users"
end tell

While I'm talking about kiosks, I'll mention that I also dealt with all the files left on the Desktop of the kiosk account. Even if the Simple Finder is used, files are still downloaded to somewhere (generally, the Desktop). To overcome that problem (usually it's PDF files piling up), I added a simple cron command to deal with the problem, redirecting the output of the cron job to /dev/null. The redirect is necessary, since the cron job runs literally every minute, and sometimes there's nothing to delete. If there's nothing to delete, the command complains, which in turn, cron sends the complaint back to the sendmail account of the user running the job. Since no one would ever check that mail (much less every minute), the output needs to be sent immediately into oblivion. The command for the cron job is:

rm ~/Desktop/* 2>/dev/null

(For those not in the know, the 2> portion refers to the standard error of the job; an error is returned if there are no files to delete (rm).

I'll also take this opportunity to gripe about Dock items for a Simple Finder user; there's no nice way to set them. You simply get the Finder on the left, and the My Applications, My Documents, and Shared folders on the right. Period. Does anyone know if it's OK to edit the plist to insert the wanted item? In this case, it's the icon for Safari, so even if the My Applications window isn't open, people can still click the Safari icon.

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10.3: Set up a kiosk machine with an auto-open folder | 7 comments | Create New Account
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10.3: Set up a kiosk machine with an auto-open folder
Authored by: fragerybou on Nov 12, '03 11:33:40AM

I can't see why editing the plist file would hurt anything. It might not work the way you were hoping, but it definitely shouldn't break stuff.

But if it does, don't sue me.



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10.3: Set up a kiosk machine with an auto-open folder
Authored by: raider on Nov 12, '03 02:48:01PM
I also have some questions about "simple finder".

When I set a user to simple finder, then the apps they run are not allowed to change resolution. Breaks most of my kids' games. Under Jaguar it worked fine. The app would load, change to 640x480 or whatever, and then when it closed it went back to the system resolution. In Panther it won't change the resolution, instead just runs "small" (only using say the center 640x480 pixels with black border on all the rest). This works once then after that starts getting unstable - and since the kids open and close games often, it can lock the machine pretty quickly.

Also, since the new version of "DiskCopy" which handles image mounting, "diskimagemounter", won't allow us to turn off the auto verify option - I have switched to using Mount which works much better. I specified Mount as the program to use to open all .dmg files, and it works as advertised. But when I put the images in the login items, only the first one ever gets mounted.

I would also like to know how to modify the dock for somple finder accounts!

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10.3: Set up a kiosk machine with an auto-open folder
Authored by: Wayne_S on Nov 12, '03 06:25:01PM
I wonder how Steve Jobs pronounces Panther?

I believe the pronunciation is "Panther" - phonetically it is pan' thire.

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Every rule has an exception. Especially this one.

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10.3: Set up a kiosk machine with an auto-open folder
Authored by: TokyoJimu on Nov 13, '03 03:59:50AM

> an error is returned if there are no files to delete (rm)

Not if you use the -f option.



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10.3: Set up a kiosk machine with an auto-open folder
Authored by: adams4 on Nov 16, '03 11:17:21AM

Actually, the error message will always appear if you use the command rm -f * when there are no files in the directory. If there were some real file name involved, such as rm -f doesnotexist.txt, then yes, there's no error message produced because of the -f flag. But using a wild card (in this case, *) will produce an error, even with -f.

Of course, try to account for files that people will download, and you'll find you have no choice but to use rm -f *.

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--Adam Spector.

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com.apple.dock.plist
Authored by: maczac on Nov 15, '03 08:41:38AM

Simple Finder does not use the com.apple.dock.plist file. I also was trying to customize my youngest son's Simple Finder setup. Creating a customized dock, then setting the account to Simple Finder didn't work, as is did in Jag-U-ar (which btw is the proper British pronunciation).

I then created the customized dock, backed it up, set the account to Simple Finder, then with the terminal I replaced the "new" dock.plist, with the backed up one...this likewise didn't work.

My conclusion is that Simple Finder ignors the com.apple.dock.plist file since if you revert a formerly Simple Finder account to a normal account, you get the previous custom dock back.

The solution for this problem must be in the Finder itself. Or more precisely in the SimpleFinder files, but that is beyond my capabilities

Zac

---
Chris



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10.3: Set up a kiosk machine with an auto-open folder
Authored by: SeanAhern on Nov 28, '06 05:06:48AM

The error, as you noticed, comes not from rm but from the shell expansion of *. You may be able to get around that using something like "find . -type f -print0 | xargs -0 rm".



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