Product Review: Pro-Lite Scrolling Message Signs
In order to display one or more messages at a time, the sign includes ten timers named A to J. Each timer specifies a time and a series of 1 to 32 pages to sequence through. You may repeat pages in a sequence. The time a sequence is displayed consists of a weekday, an hour and a minute, any of which may be wildcarded (*) to match “all”.
When the first timer is defined, the sign is put into “timer” mode and will display that timer's messages immediately. Should two or more timers be defined, the sign seems to wait one minute, then checks each timer to see if one triggered based on the current time. If so, at the end of the displaying message, the new timer's sequence goes into effect. If no rule matches, no change is made.
Note the sign checks the rules for the immediate time. It will not go back to try to find a previous timer. So if you set a timer for 4:15PM and it is now 4:17PM, you've missed the moment when the sign would change.
Should two or more timers both be valid for the current time, the sign unpredictably selects one for display. This means you cannot set one timer to display at 4:15 and another timer to display at 15 minutes past any hour. Both rules would be triggered at 4:15 and it is a toss-up as to which message will be displayed.
The timer command is defined as <Tx>dhhmmABC..., where x is the timer, d is 0 (Sunday) to 6 (Saturday) for the day, hh is a two-digit hour and mm is the minute. “ABC...” is a list of 1 to 32 pages to display in the order specified. Note that Page-A and Timer-A are two different, unrelated entities. A timer set for “*****” will be triggered immediately.
The following sequence will display a series of messages at 8:00AM, noon, 1:00PM and 5:00PM:
$ cat > /dev/prolite <ID01> <ID01><PA>Good morning. <ID01><PB>Have a nice lunch. <ID01><PC>Get back to work. <ID01><PD>Have a safe drive home. <ID01><TA>*0800A <ID01><TB>*1200B <ID01><TC>*1300C <ID01><TD>*1700D ctrl-D
In order to display a whole sequences of pages, just list more page letters. For instance, it is useful to make a scheme where you assign page letters to different message content. For example, page A could be hourly announcements, page R the runtime status of your machine, page M the message of the day, page T the time and so on. To display several pages right now (including repeats):
$ cat > /dev/prolite <ID01> <ID01><TA>*****TAMARA ctrl-DTwo interesting tidbits of information:
For some reason, the specific time of Sunday at midnight (00000 as a timer value) does not seem to work consistently. I suspect it confuses this value with unset timers.
If a run-page command (<ID01><RPA>) is issued, the sign is taken out of “timer” mode and displays the requested page. If you then issue the command <ID01><RP*>, the sign will go back into “timer” mode, displaying the last sequence of messages.
echo "<ID01><DTx>" > /dev/prolite
There are 26 graphic blocks that can be redefined and are commonly used for graphics. Graphics are inserted into the text via the tag <Bx>, where x is a letter from A to Z. For example, this command will display a mug and a wine glass:
echo "<ID01><PA><BW> Party Tonight <BZ>" >\ /dev/prolite
Altering the graphics requires the <Gx> command followed by a string of 126 characters made up of R (for red), Y (for yellow), G (for green) and B (for black or unlit). A sequence of seven rows of eighteen LEDs is specified back to back on a single command line. (See Figure 4.)
I know at least one user who loads a font into a sequence of graphic blocks, and in this way is able to display more characters than the sign technically allows by default—very clever.
To delete a graphic block, restoring it to the default, use <DGx>, where x is a letter A to Z; * is a wildcard indicating all are to be deleted.
Fast/Flexible Linux OS Recovery
On Demand Now
In this live one-hour webinar, learn how to enhance your existing backup strategies for complete disaster recovery preparedness using Storix System Backup Administrator (SBAdmin), a highly flexible full-system recovery solution for UNIX and Linux systems.
Join Linux Journal's Shawn Powers and David Huffman, President/CEO, Storix, Inc.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- Google's Abacus Project: It's All about Trust
- Download "Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI"
- Seeing Red and Getting Sleep
- Fancy Tricks for Changing Numeric Base
- Secure Desktops with Qubes: Introduction
- Working with Command Arguments
- Secure Desktops with Qubes: Installation
- CentOS 6.8 Released
- Linux Mint 18
- The Italian Army Switches to LibreOffice
Until recently, IBM’s Power Platform was looked upon as being the system that hosted IBM’s flavor of UNIX and proprietary operating system called IBM i. These servers often are found in medium-size businesses running ERP, CRM and financials for on-premise customers. By enabling the Power platform to run the Linux OS, IBM now has positioned Power to be the platform of choice for those already running Linux that are facing scalability issues, especially customers looking at analytics, big data or cloud computing.
￼Running Linux on IBM’s Power hardware offers some obvious benefits, including improved processing speed and memory bandwidth, inherent security, and simpler deployment and management. But if you look beyond the impressive architecture, you’ll also find an open ecosystem that has given rise to a strong, innovative community, as well as an inventory of system and network management applications that really help leverage the benefits offered by running Linux on Power.Get the Guide