Informational kiosks were introduced at Penguicon 3.0 in 2005 as part of the MinisterOfCommunications plan for improved communication at the convention.
A mouse or other pointer is used to operate a computer locked in a cabinet, which displayed Guest Info, schedules, a restaurant guide, and almost all the contents of the ProgramBook, using a monitor embedded in the cabinet. This was on a website packaged on the live CD, not connected to the web, which was running in kiosk mode so that it locked out the mouse from the rest of the operating system. One was in the lobby, one was outside ConSuite, and one was in the hallway by the DealerRoom, BigTent and AtTheDoor Registration.
An ancillary benefit is that ideally, this brings a little bit of Linux out of the computer room and into the hallways, where people from the non-Linux segments of the convention can see it and say “hey, now I have used Linux.”
MattArnold, in his role as MinisterOfCommunications had been seeking this to be done for more than a year. He and BillPutt built the cabinets and JoeBender provided the hardware. The problem was finding someone to be in charge of the software. So a kludge was rapidly devised. The kiosks were supposed to run on live CDs, but the live CDs did not work as intended when set up at the hotel. RonBlanchett valiantly stayed up all night working on it, but the hardware/software conflict was intractable.
Work is continuing through hacking parties with BillPutt and RonBlanchett at AaronThul's house, and currently the kiosks are running fine. Their hardware and functionality is being enhanced for Penguicon 4.0, where they are expected to work well.
Parts list for the cabinet:
- 6 2x2s
- 2 sheets Medium Density Fiberboard
- 40 sets of carriage bolts
- 3 18×18 sheets of wood
- 6 angle brackets
- 2 latches
- 6 bolts for angle brackets