PBBrowser Compatibility

Tuesday, 9 August 2011 14:47 by JRBenning

The built-in Peanut Butter Browser utilizes the Windows internal browser and is therefore the same as latest version of IE on your computer.  Even though IE 8, 9 and now 10 have significantly upgraded the IE rendering engine to be more CSS and HTML compliant, the Windows internal browser is still stuck in the old IE 7 rendering by default.

We will tackle this in a future release.  But, if you are not faint-of-heart, we have an immediate solution for you.

Changes made to the Windows registry happen immediately, and no backup is automatically made. Do not edit the Windows registry unless you are confident about doing so.

1. Run regedit and find the following Key...

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\MAIN\FeatureControl\FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION

If it doesn't exist, just create it.

2. Now, create a new DWORD value called "pbbrowser.exe" without the quotes.

3. Now modify the decimal value to one of the following...

9999
Internet Explorer 9. Webpages are displayed in IE9 Standards mode, regardless of the !DOCTYPE directive.

9000
Internet Explorer 9. Webpages containing standards-based !DOCTYPE directives are displayed in IE9 mode.

8888
Webpages are displayed in IE8 Standards mode, regardless of the !DOCTYPE directive.

8000
Webpages containing standards-based !DOCTYPE directives are displayed in IE8 mode.

7000
Webpages containing standards-based !DOCTYPE directives are displayed in IE7 Standards mode.
 

4) Close regedit

5) Now we will test the things by running pbbrowser.exe from the Peanut Butter PC directory and manually entering the following address... http://thismachine.info

6) If all goes well, the new emulation will be reflected on the screen.

Good luck and email us if you have any questions.

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When Pigs Fly (or Toasters)!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011 17:36 by JRBenning

Okay, so maybe you don't remember the iconic flying toasters screensaver of the early 90's.  But, you probably use a screensaver of some sort today.  The ResetAfterScreenSaver option, like the Timeout option, will exit out of any running program and return to the welcome screen.  This is especially helpful if you are using older software that can be affected by screensavers (a notorious problem).

Just open the settings.xsd file and look for...

<ResetAfterScreenSaver>true</ResetAfterScreenSaver>

Change the "false" to "true" and restart PBPC

J.R. Benning
President/Founder
Peanut Butter Software

PS - Don't forget to download the new Beta.

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Now Entering the No-Spin Zone

Wednesday, 15 June 2011 08:01 by JRBenning

No, we haven't started advertising on Bill O'Reilly.  Just another backroom option we put in place for one of our resellers.  It seems not all of our users are fans of the spinning program icons.  We happen to love them.  But, if you are in the camp that likes catatonic icons, we've got a treat for you. Just open the Settings.xsd file with Notepad and look for...

<DisableIconSpin>false</DisableIconSpin>

Change the "false" to "true" and restart PBPC.  That's it.  No more spinning.

J.R. Benning
President/Founder
Peanut Butter Software

PS - Don't forget to download the new Beta.

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Automatically Reset After A Child Leaves The Computer

Wednesday, 8 June 2011 07:32 by JRBenning

If you have PBPC in your school or library, you know more often than not the kids leave the computer without exiting a game or program.  Wouldn't it be nice to have the system automatically reset to the Welcome screen after a certain timeframe?  Well, you actually can.  It's a hidden feature in our Settings.xsd file.  Just open it up in Notepad and look for...

<IdleTimeout>0</IdleTimeout>

The value represents the number of minutes without mouse or keyboard movement that it will wait until it resets.  This is a very popular  feature with our library clients!

J.R. Benning
President/Founder
Peanut Butter Software

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Reading, Writing, Relabeling

Wednesday, 1 June 2011 07:34 by JRBenning

Since Peanut Butter PC was designed for toddlers, there are only a couple spots where kids could see written text.  The "Volume" knob (which we really consider part of the image) and the "Click on a Picture" which appears in the Welcome screen.  Since some schools have opted to use different kid accounts to represent different grades, they wanted a way to update this text.  We added it to the Settings.xsd file I mentioned last week. The tag to update is listed below.  Just remember that you have limited space to place your new label.

 

<KidFrameLabel>Click on a Picture</KidFrameLabel>

Oh, and don't forget to download the new Beta.  If you find a problem and want to switch back, just uninstall it.  You won't lose any of your settings.
 

J.R. Benning
President/Founder
Peanut Butter Software

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One of Our Hidden Features

Friday, 27 May 2011 07:49 by JRBenning

As a small company we can turn on a dime and often make feature changes as quickly as our customers request them.  However, some features just aren't needed by the average user.  So, we'll handle these through a file called SETTINGS.XSD.  If you open this file up with Notepad, you'll see it's an XML structured document with two parts.  The first section, <Main>, handles the general settings and the other section pertains to the kid accounts you've set up.

Today, we're going to talk about screen resolution.

<ForceResolutionWidth>0</ForceResolutionWidth>
<ForceResolutionHeight>0</ForceResolutionHeight>

The two tags above are used to restore your computer's resolution after an errant game/program has changed it.  Many DOS and/or graphics heavy programs change the computer's resolution when they run.  If game ends unexpectedly, it doesn't change the resolution back.  This is a problem for computers in Libraries that receive very little administrative attention.

To use this feature, just find out what resolution you're running now from and enter it into the appropriate tags.  If you want to disable the feature, just set them back to zero.

I'll discuss some of the other hidden features next week.

J.R. Benning

President
Peanut Butter Software

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Peanut Butter PC 4.0 Public Beta

Tuesday, 24 May 2011 07:03 by JRBenning

Yesterday we opened up our first public Beta.  This is a milestone for us, as we have always done our own testing in our own labs.  But, for  this release of Peanut Butter PC , the changes are too big and important. 


Our goal from the beginning was for Peanut Butter PC 4.0 to resolve our two biggest support issues: Flash  Installs & Administrator privileges. 


It has frustrated me for some time that when a customer struggled with Flash (through no fault of our software), it reflected negatively on us.  We've seen corrupt installs of Flash, unpatched versions, or plug-ins installed for every browser accept the one we need.  If you ask me, the corrupt Flash installs were the worst because they caused really odd behavior in Peanut Butter PC (again, looking like bugs in PBPC).  Fortunately, Peanut Butter PC 4.0 no longer needs Flash installed on the computer, so these troubles will soon be behind us.

We also think we've also resolved the quandary of needing privileges in order to remove privileges.  Frankly, the irony was never lost on me.  Schools and libraries have lead the charge to move away from running Peanut Butter PC from an Admin account.  They always feared a teacher or librarian would add a non-child-safe program like Word to Peanut Butter PC and basically open the floodgates.


Yet, I think we have an elegant solution in Peanut Butter PC 4.0.   You can launch the software in any account (guest, admin, standard user).  If the current user does not have sufficient privileges, a login window will appear.  This will capture the admin credentials needed for some of Peanut Butter PC's low-level security changes, while still enabling games and applications to be launched from Peanut Butter PC with the same rights as the logged in user.  There's a whole lot more to the story, but I won't bore you with the details.  Basically, Microsoft doesn't make it easy to launch programs non-elevated programs from an elevated one.

Since both of these changes really stretch the boundaries of what is allowed under Windows, we realized they needed to be field tested.  You just can't mimic real-world scenarios in a lab.  So, please download the new Beta and take it for a test spin.  If you find a problem and want to switch back, just uninstall it.  You won't lose any of your settings.
 

J.R. Benning
President/Founder
Peanut Butter Software

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Necessity is the mother of invention

Friday, 2 July 2010 14:34 by JRBenning

A few months back my kids asked me to help load some music videos onto their iPod touches.  When I asked why they couldn't just use the built in YouTube app they proceeded to enlighten me.  It seems rather obvious now, but I came to discover that when the kids are away from home (school bus, swim meet, etc.) they don't have Wi-Fi.  Then I was shown how frustrating streaming videos can be with them suddenly stopping to let the buffer catch up.

So, they made a good arguement and I found myself on my computer downloading the videos they wanted, and sync'ing their iPods (knowing full well they would be tired of them shortly and I would have to start all over again).

That's when the idea for our latest product came to me.  A solution that "just works!"  I won't spill the beans today, but it's going to be popular.  In fact, this is our first product aimed at all age groups.  That's right. You're going to want this for yourself. 

So, for now, it's with Mr. Jobs...  awaiting approval.  If all goes well, we'll be unveiling the app sometime next week Laughing

J.R. Benning
President/Founder
Peanut Butter Software

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3... It's a Magic Number

Saturday, 27 December 2008 10:03 by JRBenning

It's been a long road, but we finally released version 3.0 yesterday (Christmas Eve).  I'd like to thank all those who helped test the Beta and offered feature advise throughout the development process.   Our main goal was to make this version more FUN.  I'm proud to say, "Mission Accomplished!"

Our previous versions served us well and did exactly what we needed... They protected our computers and files, while giving our children a place to launch approved programs and websites.  But where Peanut Butter PC 2.x was a way-point to children's edutainment, Peanut Butter PC 3.0 is a destination in its own right. 

We've added so many fun things, from animated characters on themed desktops, to multimedia support.  My kids (4, 5 1/2 and 7) can't get enough of our new video player.   

We've downloaded their favorite videos from totlol.com and shared family movies.  I think the simple interface (just click to change movies) makes it perfect for all ages.  Oh, and here's an undocumented features...  You can download YouTube videos, too.  Just place the YouTube URL in the textbox on the Videos tab and have at it.

We have a couple more undocumented features that I'll save for my next blog entry.  Hopefully I'll have more time to write in the new year Smile.

But for now, let me close by wishing you all a very safe and happy holiday season.

J.R. Benning

President/Founder
Peanut Butter Software

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Multiple Setups on the Same PC

Friday, 20 June 2008 10:32 by JRBenning

We use an undocumented feature internally for demoing Peanut Butter PC at trade shows and to schools.  It's a command-line parameter that allows us to point the software to different directories or drives.

This gives us the ability to have more than one setup on the same computer.  For example, we may show PBPC with several children, each having their own programs and websites.  But, we can also show the system using grade levels to separate the programs and websites.  Or, we can just separate the websites from the programs.

In each case, we replicate the directory structure under

C:\Program Files\Peanut Butter Software Co\Peanut Butter PC\

Just copy all the files and directory structure into a new folder.  For example, we use

C:\PB_PC_SAMPLE_DB

Then create a new shortcut for the PB_PC.exe file
1) Right-click on the desktop and select New|Shortcut
2) Browse to the find the PB_PC.exe and select it.
3) The textbox will now read something like,
   

"C:\Program Files\Peanut Butter Software Co\Peanut Butter PC\PB_PC.exe"

4) Place your cursor in the textbox after the quote and enter: 
   
-d C:\PB_PC_SAMPLE_DB

5) Click Next, give it a name and you're done.

This shortcut will now run a different set kids, programs, websites, options, etc.

Good luck and email us if you have any questions.

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