The ViewSonic AirPanel V150 (see Figure 10-2) is a 15" Smart Display utilizing the Intel's XScale PX250 processor running at 400 MHz. It comes with 32 MB of ROM and 64 MB of SDRAM. Weighing a mere six pounds, it is quite easy to lug around the house. A fully charged battery allows the AirPanel to last for four hours (a decent duration ? just remember to charge it every alternate night if you use it on a regular basis).
The AirPanel screen can support a maximum resolution of 1024 by 768. With an optional docking station (see Figure 10-3), you can use the AirPanel as your primary monitor.
The AirPanel comes with the following features (see Figure 10-4):
Directional pad with left and right button functionality
Two USB ports and one PC card slot
Microphone and speaker jacks
The AirPanel V150 also includes the 802.11b AirSync USB wireless adapter (see Figure 10-5). You need to connect this to your host computer so that the AirPanel can connect to it wirelessly (this is not needed if you already have a Wi-Fi adapter).
There are a few ways to connect the AirPanel to your desktop:
The simplest way is to use the included AirSync USB Wireless adapter. Connect the AirSync adapter and your AirPanel to your desktop using the included USB cable. Install the included setup application. Your available user accounts on the desktop will be copied to the AirPanel. This method is the most straightforward. It uses the wireless ad-hoc mode and does not require the use of access points.
If you have an existing wireless card in your computer (common for notebook users), you can either use the included AirSync USB adapter or the existing wireless card to communicate with the AirPanel. However, if you use your existing wireless card to connect to the AirPanel, you will not be able to connect to your network (and Internet). The best option would be to use the AirSync for connecting to the AirPanel and to use your existing wireless card for Internet or network access. This approach still uses the ad-hoc mode for connecting to the AirPanel.
If your desktop is connected to a wireless access point (through a wired connection), you need not use the AirSync for ad-hoc networking. You can connect the AirPanel through the access point. This mode uses the infrastructure mode.
By default, the Smart Display connects to your computer using ad-hoc mode. Using the installation CD, install the Microsoft Smart Display services by following the instructions on the screen. Prior to this, you also need to connect your Smart Display to your computer using the provided USB cable. The Smart Display services will automatically copy the account(s) on your host computer to the Smart Display.
When you insert the supplied CD, the window in Figure 10-6 will be displayed. Select the desired language.
You will need to connect the AirSync USB Adapter to your computer (see Figure 10-7). You can also reuse your existing wireless adapter.
The accounts used to log in to your host computer must have a password, or else you will be prompted to supply a password for accounts that are used to log in to the host computer (see Figure 10-8).
If you have an existing wireless adapter, you can choose to use it (see Figure 10-9). Otherwise, you can leave it alone and use the provided AirSync to connect to the AirPanel.
If you have more than one wireless adapter, you will be prompted to select the adapter to configure for connecting to the AirPanel (see Figure 10-10).
Once the configuration is done, you will be shown the configuration information (Figure 10-11). I suggest you print out this window (press the Print button) so that you can use it to check on your AirPanel if you have a connection problem later on.
Finally, you will be prompted to select the account(s) that will be copied to the AirPanel (see Figure 10-12).
That's it! On the AirPanel, use the stylus to tap on the user account to log in to the host computer.
Using infrastructure mode is straightforward: you just need to install the Microsoft Smart Display services on the target machine and configure your Smart Display to connect to it. There is no need to use the included AirSync wireless adapter. This configuration is suitable for office environments where your computer is connected to a network and you want to use the AirPanel in a meeting room with wireless access. On the AirPanel:
Click on the Settings icon and select the General tab.
Under the New connection group, click on the New... button.
Supply the username and computer name of the computer that you want to connect to (with the Microsoft Smart Display services installed).
You may optionally supply the password now so that when you connect to the computer in the future you will not need to supply the password again. But if you lose the AirPanel, your computer will not be secure anymore!
Under the Advanced tab, ensure that you check the option to obtain an IP address using DHCP.
If you encounter problems in connecting your AirPanel to your computer, try the following:
If you are accessing through an access point, ensure that you add the MAC address of your AirPanel to your access point (if you enable MAC address filtering, see Section 5.4.11 in Chapter 5). The MAC address of the AirPanel can be obtained via Settings System Info (on the AirPanel itself).
If your AirPanel connects to your desktop via ad-hoc mode, the AirPanel uses a fixed IP address. If you are using infrastructure mode, ensure that you use DHCP to obtain an IP address for the AirPanel. You can go to the Settings button on the AirPanel to configure the IP address.
The best way to solve a connection problem would be to use the Connection Troubleshooter located in Programs Microsoft Smart Display Services. Simply use the included USB cable to connect the AirPanel to your computer and click on "Scan your Smart Display connections" (see Figure 10-13).
Use the Connection Troubleshooter to see the WEP key generated (it is automatically generated by the Connection Troubleshooter). You need to enter this key into your AirPanel. WEP is used in ad-hoc mode when you use the Connection Troubleshooter to establish a connection between your computer and the AirPanel. If you are using infrastructure mode, WEP is optional.
In most cases, the AirPanel is useful for tasks that do not require much input. Reading email and surfing the Web using the AirPanel is quite neat, considering that you can bring the monitor around the house and find a comfortable position to do so.
However, when it comes to input-intensive tasks such writing emails and using instant messaging, the shortcomings of the AirPanel become apparent. The onscreen keyboard is too slow and the handwriting recognition is not accurate enough. This is due to the touch screen technology used. The AirPanel is still using the older pressure-sensitive technology found in Pocket PCs, unlike the new Tablet PC's magnetic pen technology. And so, resting your hand on the screen would often cause you to click on items unintentionally. Writing on the screen is not natural and requires you to write legibly.
For typing, you can attach a USB keyboard to the AirPanel (see Figure 10-14). You can also attach a USB mouse to help in the navigation. One challenge in using the AirPanel for web surfing is that without using a mouse, it is difficult to identify hyperlinks ? there is no mouse cursor to indicate when you are hovering over a hyperlink. If the AirPanel were to use the magnetic pen technology, then the hovering cursor would be visible to give visual cues.