There are a lot of interesting new developments happening with DaDesktop, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to update you about them. We're also now launching some very useful new features that have been in development for a while.
I will be doing more training sessions at some point soon to demonstrate these new features and to provide more info about the other changes. Additionally, full documentation will also be available shortly.
beta-button.png New Training Room - This has been entirely rewritten inhouse and will provide a simpler, better training room, but without some of the unwanted additional features on the original training room that was used from a separate application. This meant that the integration previously wasn't ideal, ie an extra chat function completely separate to all other chat apps was included.
There are views for Trainer, Side by Side and Grid and a new course Recording feature.
beta-button.png Enhanced Desktop view. This uses a more standardised system called QEMU Spice to provide DaDesktop sessions to users.
One major benefit is that Copy and Paste from the user's computer to the DaDesktop machine now 'just works'.
A couple of examples amongst many more :-
When using a MacBook, the clipboard 'just works', previously this relied on a non standard way of doing things compared to Windows and Linux.
Unicode characters, e.g. including Polish/Chinese characters, can now be copied and pasted without issue, where previously support was poor or non-existent.
This also makes usage of DD4W easier too.
Newly built DD desktops will be supported straightaway, whereas older course machines will still use the older VNC connection method until they are updated.
Please see the docs on how to add this to your existing Windows and Linux FreshStart machines. There are a number of other benefits - please get in touch to find out more.
production.jpeg Optional dates on Courses - To simplify course creation, it's now possible to create Courses without specifying course dates. This additionally helps where a Trainer / or Co-ordinator wants to start working on a FreshStart machine on a course but the actual course dates are not yet known. Course dates can be added when they are finally known.
This new approach will also be particularly useful for more informal training events where dates can be agreed at short notice.
Please note - the original method of adding dates when creating the course is still of course available.
production.jpeg Expected number of course participants - this new field has also been added on Course entry. It does pretty much as it says. Trainers and Co-ordinators are asked to input the expected number of participants on courses so that better planning of server resources can be made.
This is different to the Max. number of participants field as this value was sometimes inflated to allow latecomers to join a course, and ended up skewing the resources higher than necessary in our DD Planner calculations.
production.jpeg Participant Course Access Simplified - Previously, access to the DaDesktop machines for each user was only allowed after the start time set on the first day of the course. However, to allow additional time for participants to test out using DaDesktop beforehand, often the start time was set earlier than the real course time. This occasionally caused a degree of confusion for participants.
So to improve matters, course access has been greatly simplified.
On course days, course access is now available at any point in the day, ie before and after the course.
Outside of course days, participants now get 15 mins access to try their DaDesktop machines, instead of the previous 5 mins. See Joining a Course section here in the documentation.
production.jpegDeletion of older unused Standalones. Usage of DaDesktop is increasing, which is good, but there are a good number of Standalone Desktops that have not been used for a long while, and possibly may never be used again. In order to make the most of our resources, users will be asked if they haven't used their machines in the last month whether they still want to continue using them, and if no longer required the machines will be deleted in two weeks time. It's easy to stop deletion of any important desktops so that the question will never be asked again. This change is being made to free up disk space on servers, where there had been a few issues recently.
Trainers are requested to update their DaDesktop machines using the latest OS templates to get up to date with new features and security updates. Effectively this means recreating the machines using the latest OS template available, but the benefits include more secure desktops with improved features such as the QEMU Spice support mentioned above.
Almalinux 8 has been added to the default OS choices available which adds support for anyone who prefers using RedHat / CentOS Linux distros. AlmaLinux is a 1:1 binary replacement for CentOS 8 which is no longer supported.
If you need further information about DaDesktop or need any help with any of these new features, please contact me, or a member of the Tech team, and we'll be happy to assist.