Application virtualization, IoT and Cloud Computing, Blog of Sacha Thomet

Hands-on

IoT, LaMetric and mouse issues …

In summer 2014 I became a backer for the Kickstarter project LaMetric. LaMetric was advertised as a smart ticker for life and business. To be honest the Internet of Things (IoT) topic was not so present for me in summer 2014 and I just decided to spend some money for a cool gadget.

Last week I finally received my LaMetric Time and today I need to say it’s one of the coolest gadget I bought in the last months. With the acquisition of Octoblu, what Citrix made early this year and promoted on Citrix Synergy (especially on the GeekSpeak Tonight …) I’m now more aware of IoT an it’s possibilities!

LaMetric is the perfect IoT output device!

First LaMetric app

The creation of apps is pretty easy! On the LaMetric developper portal you can create your push or poll apps. With push you can transmit data to the LaMetric servers in JSON code. W ith pull it’s also easy, you just need a webserver on which you have a file in the correct format.

On this way I created the EuroMillions app which display the current Jackpot. The data are fetched from www.euro-millions.com and formatted with a small and simple PHP script:


{
 "frames": [
 {
 "index": 0,
 "text": "<?php 
$host = "http://www.euro-millions.com"; 
$filestring = file_get_contents($host); 
$startpos = 0; 
// <div class="est-jackpot">&euro;30<span class="amount">Million</span></div>

while($pos = strpos($filestring, ">&euro;", $startpos)) 
{ 
 $string = substr($filestring, $pos, strpos($filestring, "<span class=", $pos + 1) - $pos); 


 //echo $string. " "; 
 echo str_replace(">&euro;","","$string");

 $startpos = $pos + 1; 
} 

?> Millions estimated in next Jackpot",
 "icon": "i616"
 }
 ]
}

Result:

LaMetric-EuroMillions

 

First IoT LaMetric Project

Problem

I’m living in an old farmhouse which is converted with some apartments, but it’s still a old house with a lot of wood. And the old problems … mouses. So I have now since some weeks 4 mouse traps installed, not the killing traps, only those which able me to take the mouse out of my apartment.

Problem: Every morning I need to check all mouse traps, because the traps are hidden positioned an annoying daily work. And with the risk that the mouse need to wait hours until I find them.

Concept

Now the concept of my first IoT project is to get alerted as soon a mouse get in a trap.

I want to solve this with:

  • a modified mouse trap with an attached window/door sensor, something like this http://store.wirelesstag.net/products/reed-kumosensor
  • an Octoblu workflow
  • and LaMetric as Output device.

The result must be this:

LaMetricMouse

Implementation

Need some hours … I have to learn how to handle  octoblu and learn a bit of JSON.

Citrix X1 Prototype Mouse – hands-on

On Citrix Summit in Las Vegas back in January 2015 Citrix presented the X1 Prototype Mouse. This mouse is not just another mouse with a Citrix logo on it. It’s a mouse that works in Citrix Receiver with iOS-Devices! Yes it’s the truth, normal bluetooth mice doesn’t work with the Citrix receiver on iPad.

Even when I was not on Citrix Summit, with the social media channels I was pretty fast to get that Info and I was the 7th on the order form to request this cool gadget for a described use case.  I want to demonstrate this in my company because we are currently in a VDI initiative project with up to 2000 VDIs.

Today almost 4 months later I received my Citrix X1 Prototype Mouse and can start test and maybe show off in my company 🙂 To be honest, the design don’t give me the chance to show off …

Mouse MouseBottom
The X1 Mouse appears in a nasty 80ties style, the power switch on the bottom has three possible positions, up- and down for ON and OFF in the middle.

Connect the mouse to the iPhone? Really? 4,7 inch ? 

Not only the iPad is the only use case for the mouse, remember 2010 the Vision of the Nirvana Device and the Motorola NirvanaPhone . With the new version of the Citrix Receiver for iOS you can connect a Screen on your iPhone, a Bluetooth Keyboard, that mouse and you can work with the iPhone as “Thin Client” on you television connected with Airplay or on your 24″ Office Screen connected with a Lightning VGA adapter.

I made some quick hands-on test:

I’ve used the following infrastructure to test:

  • XenDesktop 5  on Windows 7 x64, Citrix Webinterface behind Netscaler Gateway.
  • XenDesktop 7.6 on Windows 7 x64, Citrix Webinterface behind Netscaler Gateway.
  • XenApp 7.6 Desktop on Windows 2008 R2, Citrix StoreFront 2.6 behind Netscaler Gateway.

For all tests I used my Apple iPad mini with the R1 Receiver which is mandatory necessary to use the X1 Prototype Mouse. I didn’t install anything special on XenDesktop or XenApp.

11210509_10205552449102835_7320258021443610820_n

iPad Mini, Belkin Keyboard, Citrix X1 Prototype Mouse

 

 

The next points where I mention what is ok and what needs improvement I will complement as soon as I have new points.

What works fine:

  • No issue to connect and use the mouse if you follow the instructions from Citrix.
  • I can use the X1 mouse inside my virtual desktop like a normal mouse, I can launch applications from start menu, change the active cells in MS Excel – most things I usually do with my mouse works.
  • I can configure in mouse pointer options a “mouse track” which also works fine.

What currently doesn’t work or need still improvement:

  • I tried to resize an Internet Explorer window and was irritated because the mouse pointer doesn’t change his  shape on the edge of the window to a “double-arrow”:
    mouseedge-expected

    Expected mouse pointer on window edge, with a classic mouse on my macbook

    mouseedge-UNexpected

    Unexpected mouse pointer on window edge, from iOS with the X1 Prototype mouse

     

  • Most mouse properties (Mouse speed, pointer scheme, etc.) has no effect.
  • I can see my mouse pointer in my R1 Receiver for iOS on the Webinterface but I cannot click anything. Possibly I need for this the X1 Web Receiver (StoreFront 2.7)  and not my legacy Webinterface …

 

Conclusion: For iOS the Citrix X1 Mouse can be a game changer, but to be honest that what is now possible with this mouse on iOS is already long time possible with an Android Tablet and a commercial of the shelf bluetooth mouse.

By the way, the X1 Mouse can also be used with other OS than iOS, so if you have an X1 Mouse but you decide that your iPad is to small to work you can use your “cool” mouse with a computer that supports Bluetooth 4.0 as a classic mouse.

 

Update 5.5.2015 06:10 GMT+1:

From now it’s possible to use the normal Recevier with the X1 mouse:

X1-Receiver-info X1-Receiver

Update 5.5.2015 22:20 GMT+1:

The final version of the X1 mouse will be launched on Citrix Synergy: http://blogs.citrix.com/2015/05/05/the-mouse-that-roared-for-business and what sounds exciting:
“…this is a unique Bluetooth Low Energy mouse (BTLE) with custom firmware that provides full-function mouse support to specific Citrix Mobile apps including Citrix Receiver, GoToMyPC, ShareConnect and WorkDesktop.”