Adobe Acrobat PDF file (2.6 MB)

Adobe Acrobat PDF file (2.6 MB)
Smart Alec®
Installation & Setup Manual
version 1.8
© 1997-1998 Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc.
Form no. 9709-2008A
4/27/98
i
NOTE:
Due to continuing product innovation, speciÞcations in
this document are subject to change without notice.
Copyright © 1997-1998 Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.
Trademarked names appear throughout this document. Rather than list the names and entities
that own the trademarks or insert a trademark symbol with each mention of the trademarked
name, the publisher states that it is using the names for editorial purposes and to the beneÞt of the
trademark owner with no intention of improperly using the trademark.
BETA-BRITE and BIG DOT are trademarks of Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc. registered in the United States Patent and
Trademark Office.
Alec, ALPHA, AlphaLert, AlphaNET, AlphaNET plus for Windows, AlphaNET plus II, ALPHAVISION, Automode, Director, EZ
KEY II, EZ95, PagerNET, PPD, PrintPak, Smart Alec, Solar, and TimeNet are trademarks of Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc.
Visit us at our Internet World Wide Web site:
http://www.ams-i.com or e-mail us at [email protected]
ii
Table of contents
Installing Smart Alec software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Pre-installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Administrator (Server) installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Setting up the system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1
1
2
7
1. Set up Device Drivers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
2. Set up Locations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
3. Set up Users . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Starting the Server. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Using the Smart Alec Launch Configuration Utility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Launching “external” applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Using the “Selected Applications Command Line” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
User (Client) installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Un-installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Basic messaging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 1 — Your first message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 2 — Using Modes to change how a message looks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 3 — Using Characters to change how a message looks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 4 — Using graphics in a message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
19
19
24
28
33
Advanced messaging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Using variable data in messages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 1 — Changing the content of a message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 2 — Sending a new message based on changing data . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 3 — Stopping a message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 4 — Changing the appearance of data in a message. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 5 — Listing Variable Profile statements in a new order . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 6 — Displaying data from an Excel spreadsheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 7 — Using Sockets to get data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Using template messages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 1 — Creating a template message to run from Editor . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 2 — Running the template message in Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 3 — Creating a template message to merge with a text file . . . . . . . .
Example 4 — Creating a text file to merge with a message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 5 — Running the template message: merge text and template . . . . .
Example 6 — Setting the Location for a template message. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 7 — Setting how and when the message is to start running. . . . . . . .
Example 8 — Setting who can use the message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 9 — Using repeating records . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
39
39
39
44
48
49
52
54
58
60
60
64
66
68
69
72
74
79
80
Table of contents
iii
Using email . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Setting up and using email with Smart Alec – the basic process . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 1 — Displaying an email message on a sign . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Example 2 — Displaying a visual page on a sign . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
82
82
83
90
Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Appendix A: Smart Alec system overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Appendix B: Smart Alec computer requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Appendix C: Device Driver information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Appendix D: Location properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Appendix E: User properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Appendix F: Network types . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Appendix G: Troubleshooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Appendix H: What Modes are available on signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Appendix I: What Characters & Colors are available on signs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Appendix J: What display Options are available on signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Appendix K: Smart Alec components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Appendix L: Understanding line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill). . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
Appendix M: Understanding how text and graphics are displayed on signs . . . . . . . . . 119
Appendix N: Setting the address of an ALPHA SA sign. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
Appendix O: DDE servers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Appendix P: Formats of ASCII-delimited files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Appendix Q: How to assign a user’s email name in Windows NT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
iv
Table of contents
Pre-installation
Installing Smart Alec software
For a comprehensive overview of the Smart Alec system, see
ÒAppendix A: Smart Alec system overviewÓ on page 91.
Pre-installation
Before installing the Smart Alec software, use this ßowchart:
Start
Does the computer
on which Smart Alec will be
installed meet the necessary
requirements?
No / Don't know
See “Appendix B: Smart Alec computer requirements” on page 95.
Yes
Do you have
complete information
on each device
you wish to install?
No / Don't know
See “Appendix C: Device Driver information” on page 96.
Yes
Do you have
complete information
on each Location
you wish to install?
No / Don't know
See “Appendix D: Location properties” on page 99.
No / Don't know
See “Appendix E: User properties” on page 111.
No / Don't know
See “Appendix F: Network types” on page 112.
Yes
Have you
made a list
of all the Users and
their passwords?
Yes
Will the software
be installed on
one computer or
multiple computers?
Yes
Install the software.
Installing Smart Alec software
1
Administrator (Server) installation
Administrator (Server) installation
NOTE
The Client software may also be
installed with the Server. See
“Appendix F: Network types” on
page 112 for more information.
2
If you are administering a Smart Alec system, follow these
steps to install the Server software:
1. Close all applications on your computer.
2. Insert the Smart Alec CD-ROM in your computer. The
installation program will autostart, and this screen
should appear:
Installing Smart Alec software
Administrator (Server) installation
3.
If there is a version of Smart Alec already on your
computer, the following prompt will appear:
¥ Select Yes if you want to remove an older version.
After un-installation is Þnished, you will have to
re-start the install program.
¥ Select No if you need to keep the previous version of
software. Normally, there should be no need to keep
an older software version.
4.
The installer will display prompts in which you must
accept the End-User Agreement.
You will be prompted whether or not to install the Smart
Alec Server, Client, or both software:
Selecting Yes deletes all setup
information — Users, Locations, etc.
Make sure all this information is
recorded before continuing.
5.
A system administrator would
select one of these options.
(If the Server will be installed on
its own computer, then select
Smart Alec Server.)
Installing Smart Alec software
3
Administrator (Server) installation
6.
Next, enter the following information:
7.
The installer will attempt to locate an existing Server. If
one is found, the installer will warn you not to install to
that directory.
Select a directory for the Server:
8.
To install the Server in a different
directory or computer, use Browse.
9.
After the Server components have been installed, this
message will appear if you are also installing the Client:
If the Client is not being installed with
the Server, then skip to the last step.
4
Installing Smart Alec software
Administrator (Server) installation
10. If the Smart Alec Client is also being installed, the
installation program will search for the Smart Alec Server
(ALEC.EXE). If the Server is not found or if you want to
use a different Server, locate the Server by using Browse:
If the installation program does not find the Server
(ALEC.EXE), and the Server is on a network (and not on
your PC), then you must locate and “map” the Server.
11. Next, you will be prompted where to place the Client:
To install the Client in a different
directory or computer, use Browse.
Installing Smart Alec software
5
Administrator (Server) installation
12. After installation is complete, the following will appear:
13. To check if the installation was successful, look at the
Start > Programs > Smart Alec:
6
Installing Smart Alec software
Administrator (Server) installation
NOTE
Default settings are provided
for each Device Driver which
should be sufficient in most
cases.
Setting up the system
The Administrator must be used to set up the following for
Þrst time use:
¥ Device Drivers Ñ properties such as baud rate, comm
port number, modem init strings must be set for devices
such as modems, pagers, etc.
¥ Locations Ñ are message destinations created by using a
speciÞc type of device (such as a modem, wireless. etc.)
for each Location.
¥ Users Ñ are the system administrator and all people who
use the Client software. For a User, the system
administrator creates a password and decides the
Locations, Variables, and Templates the User can access.
1. Set up Device Drivers
1.
Start the Administrator. A password prompt will appear:
If you have not set up a Username and
Password for yourself, select OK to continue.
2.
Installing Smart Alec software
The Þrst time the Administrator is started, you will be
asked to verify these Device Driver prompts:
7
Administrator (Server) installation
3.
When the Admistrator window appears, Device Drivers
can be changed by double clicking on the driver you
wish to change:
This indicates that 1 out of 5
User licenses have been used.
Double click on a Device
Driver to change it.
This indicates that 6 out of 100
Variable licenses have been used.
2. Set up Locations
8
1.
Start the Administrator if it is not already started:
2.
To create a new Location, select File > New > Location and
either Alpha SA or Pager. Then pick the appropriate
device for the Location:
Installing Smart Alec software
Administrator (Server) installation
3.
Set the necessary parameters for the Location:
Use meaningful Location names. (For
example, the Wired in the name tells
you what type of device is used by
this Location.)
These are the serial address
numbers of signs. (Signs leave the
factory set to address 0. Use a handheld Remote Control to change a
sign’s address. See Appendix N for
details.)
Allows you to correct for time zone
differences. For example, if you’re
sending messages from the Central
Standard Time zone to a sign located
in the Eastern Time zone (which is 1
hour ahead), you would adjust by 1.
Send a test message to the sign to
check for proper configuration.
A complete set of Locations might look like this:
Installing Smart Alec software
9
Administrator (Server) installation
4.
After all Locations have been created, you can organize
them into categories (called Groups) so that messages can
be sent to a Group as well as a Location. To create a
Group, select File > New > Group:
These two Groups were
created using the
example Locations from
the previous step.
The Groups and Locations
would appear like this in
the Administrator:
10
Installing Smart Alec software
Administrator (Server) installation
3. Set up Users
1.
2.
Start the Administrator if itÕs not already started.
To create a new User, select File > New > User:
Enter the User’s Email Address (if any).
Check only if the User must have the same
rights as the system administrator.
Enter the new User’s Login Name
and Password.
Add the Groups, Locations,
Variables, and Templates to which
the User will have rights. Note that
Variables are set up in Variable
Manager, and Templates are set up
in Editor.
NOTE:
3.
Installing Smart Alec software
To prevent unauthorized system access, the
administrator should add a password for the default
User alec.
User information can be changed by simply double
clicking on a UserÕs name in the Administrator.
11
Administrator (Server) installation
Starting the Server
To run the Server, select Start > Programs > Smart Alec. Then
open the Smart Alec Launch Utility. A default list of applications
will be launched.
Using the Smart Alec Launch Configuration Utility
To add or delete from the default list of applications, open the
Smart Alec Launch ConÞguration Utility:
An application can be set to open Minimized or
Normal (as an open window).
This is a list of Smart Alec applications that will be
launched when Smart Alec Launch Utility is run.
This is a list of Smart
Alec applications that will
not be launched.
Applications can be moved from one side to the other by dragging and
dropping. (To remove an application, select it and then press the Delete key.)
See “Using the “Selected
Applications Command
Line”” on page 14.
12
Installing Smart Alec software
Administrator (Server) installation
Launching “external” applications
In addition to Smart Alec applications, any executable Þle
can be added to the Launched Applications list. For example, if you
have a DDE connection to a Microsoft Excel Þle you can use
Windows Explorer to add the Excel executable to the Launched
Applications list (as shown below):
To add Excel to the list of
Launched Applications, drag
the Excel icon from Windows
Explorer to the Launched
Applications window.
Installing Smart Alec software
13
Administrator (Server) installation
Using the “Selected Applications Command Line”
The Selected Applications Command Line gives you the ability
to open a particular document along with its application. For
example, if you wanted to open an Excel spreadsheet named
UTILITY.XLS, do the following:
1. Select the application (in this case Excel) from the
Launched Applications list.
This is the full file path
of the application Excel.
2.
Add the applicationÕs document (in this case UTILITY)
full Þle path after the applicationÕs executable Þle path:
This is the full file path of Excel.
This is the full file path of the Excel spreadsheet. In this case, utility is in
the same directory as the executable, so the file path is simple.
Remember to leave a space between the executable and the document.
14
Installing Smart Alec software
User (Client) installation
User (Client) installation
1.
2.
Installing Smart Alec software
Close all applications on your computer.
Insert the Smart Alec CD-ROM in your computer. The
installation program will autostart, and this screen
should appear:
15
User (Client) installation
3.
If there is a version of Smart Alec already on your
computer, the following prompt will appear:
¥ Select Yes if you want to remove an older version.
After un-installation is Þnished, you will have to
re-start the install program.
¥ Select No if you need to keep the previous version of
software. Normally, there should be no need to keep
an older software version.
4.
The installer will display prompts in which you must
accept the End-User Agreement.
You will be prompted whether or not to install the Smart
Alec Server, Client, or both software:
Selecting Yes deletes all setup
information — Users, Locations, etc.
Make sure all this information is
recorded before continuing.
5.
Since you’re just installing
the Client, select this option.
16
Installing Smart Alec software
User (Client) installation
6.
Next, enter the following information:
7.
The installation program will search for the Smart Alec
Server (ALEC.EXE). If the Server is not found, locate the
Server by using Browse:
If the installation program does not find the Server (ALEC.EXE),
then you must locate and “map” the Server for the Client.
Installing Smart Alec software
17
Un-installation
8.
Next, select a directory for the Client Þles:
To install the Client in a different
directory or computer, use Browse.
9.
To check if the installation was successful, look at the
Start > Programs list for Smart Alec.
Un-installation
To un-install Smart Alec, just re-run the installation program
from the CD-ROM.
When the following prompt appears, select Yes:
Selecting Yes
18
Installing Smart Alec software
Example 1 — Your first message
Basic messaging
Because the Smart Alec software allows you an inÞnite
number of ways to create a message for a device like a sign or
pager, there is no way to show every possible example.
However, in the following pages, examples of basic and
advanced messaging will be presented.
First, the basics . . .
Messages can come from a variety of different sources:
This is
covered in
this chapter,
“Basic
messaging”.
These are
covered in
the next
chapter,
“Advanced
messaging”.
Data source
Smart Alec Applications
User
Editor
Email
Email Gateway
ASCII
ASCII File Input Interface
DDE, sockets
Variable Manager
Serial
ALPHA SA - Output Interface
Data output
ALPHA SA signs
1 Pager - Output Interface
Pagers
1 Email - Output Interface
Email
1 Serial data input interface
1 This is an option that can be purchased separately.
Example 1 — Your first message
NOTE
The default Username is “alec”.
There is no default Password.
Basic messaging
Open the Editor
1. To create your Þrst message, open the Editor. At the
prompt, type your Username and your Password:
19
Example 1 — Your first message
Create a message
2. Select File > New Message and type ÒYour Þrst messageÓ
in the message window:
NOTE
Instead of selecting File > New
Message to create a new
message, you can use this icon:
Select where a message will be sent
3. To choose a place (or places) for the message to go, select
Submit > Setup Options. This window will appear:
NOTE:
20
The Smart Alec Submission Options window will
open automatically if no Destination Locations
have been selected. Otherwise, select Submit
> Setup Options to open this window.
Basic messaging
Example 1 — Your first message
4.
Select a Location from the list of Available Locations Ñ
Production (Group) in this case Ñ and then click on the
<-----> button:
Select one or more Locations where your
message will be sent. (The Available
Locations for each User are set using the
Administrator application.)
Then click on this button to move a
Location to the Destination Locations
list.
Your message will be sent to all the
Locations that appear in this list.
When (Group) appears at the end of a
name, it means the name represents
multiple Locations. In this example,
Production (Group) consists of the
Engineering, Manufacturing, and
Shipping Locations.
Run Schedules = message will be
displayed when a preset time is
reached.
Run Variables = message will be
displayed when a Variable reaches
a certain value or “trigger”.
The Priority level affects when a message is
displayed. Exclusive 8 is the highest level.
Basic messaging
21
Example 1 — Your first message
Select when and how long a message will be displayed
5. In the Smart Alec Submission Options windows, select
Scheduled Options and set when a message will be
displayed. Then select OK:
An Immediate Message will be sent
as soon as you click on OK.
An Immediate Message can only be
scheduled to appear for a certain
length of time (or duration)
If this box is not checked, then more
scheduling choices are available.
If checked, the time used in scheduling will
be the time on the computer that is running
the Smart Alec Server.
22
Basic messaging
Example 1 — Your first message
NOTE
Instead of selecting Submit
Message to send a message, you
can use this icon:
Send the message
6. After clicking on OK, select Submit > Submit Message to
send the message:
The Editor’s status
line lets you know
that the message
has been sent.
Watch the message
7. After a message is submitted, it can be tracked by
watching its Status in the Message Server application:
NOTE: The Status of a message Ñ Pending, Running, or
Complete Ñ indicates the status of a message
within the Smart Alec Server. Because Smart Alec
software does no handshaking with output
devices, the Status condition does not reßect if a
message was actually received and displayed by
an output device.
See
NOTE
above.
Message
creator
Basic messaging
Message
destination
Message start and
stop indicators:
Start/End set by
Message
Run Schedule.
priority:
Trigger On/Off set by
0
= lowest,
Run Variables.
9
=
highest.
(See “Select when and
(0 = Normal,
how long a message
1 = High,
will be displayed” on
2-9
= Exclusive)
page 22.)
Message
filename
path.
Message
file (MSA)
version
number.
23
Example 2 — Using Modes to change how a message looks
Example 2 — Using Modes to change how a message looks
ÒModesÓ are special effects that change the way a message
appears on a sign. For example, the Rotate Mode moves a
message from right to left across a sign. In this example weÕll
create a message that displays employee birthdays.
In this example, the Hold and Rotate Modes are used to display employee birthdays.
This set up can be used for a variety of uses such as announcements and anniversaries.
Using the Hold Mode, the
top line remains fixed
while the names go by.
Using the Rotate Mode,
the names move from right
to left on the bottom line.
NOTE:
1.
24
Some Modes are not available on all signs. See
ÒAppendix H: What Modes are available on signsÓ on
page 114.
To create the Example 1 message above, open the Editor.
Select File > New Message to open a new message
window. Then select Modes > Hold:
Basic messaging
Example 2 — Using Modes to change how a message looks
2.
When the following window appears, select Top:
Line Position is where a message appears on a
sign. See “Appendix L: Understanding line
positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)” on page 118.
3.
NOTE
Place the cursor over an icon
and press the right mouse
button to see a short
description of the icon:
The icon for Hold will appear in the message window:
Top line position
Bottom line position
Middle line position
Right
mouse
button
Fill line position
4.
Basic messaging
A dot on
the Hold
icon
shows the
message
line
position.
Type ÒBirthdaysÓ. Select Modes > Rotate > Standard and
the Bottom line position. Then type ÒTom White, Patty
Smith, Bob EvansÓ:
25
Example 2 — Using Modes to change how a message looks
5.
To get an idea of how this message will look on a sign,
select File > Emulate All. When the Smart Alec Emulator
window appears, click on the stop button. Then extend
the right side of the window:
Stop button
Start button
Extend
this
side of
the
window.
Current Mode
6.
Message speed
(S5 = fastest, S1 = slowest)
ALPHA SA sign model
(a 7120C is a 3-line,
tri-color sign)
Next, instead of simulating a 3-line sign (like the 7120C),
weÕll emulate a 2-line sign. To do this, select Options >
Sign Model. Then choose 316-120T/4120C and select OK:
This is the 2-line sign we’ll emulate.
26
Basic messaging
Example 2 — Using Modes to change how a message looks
7.
Now run the message on the Emulator:
NOTE
The Smart Alec Emulator does
not show exactly how a message
will appear on a sign — that is,
it’s not WYSIWYG (What You
See Is What You Get).
However, the emulator should be
used to check how fonts and
colors will appear on a sign —
and also how much text will
appear on a line.
Basic messaging
27
Example 3 — Using Characters to change how a message looks
Example 3 — Using Characters to change how a message looks
ÒCharactersÓ are options that change the appearance of text
in a message. For example, normal-sized text (called Seven Row
Normal) is seven LED rows high. However, some signs allow you
to create text that is 15 or 16 rows high using the 15/16 Row
Normal option.
In this example, weÕll create a message that displays airline
fares.
In this example, the Roll mode, 15/16 Row Normal text, and the
New Line option are used to display airline prices for several cities.
A single message will be
used to create large text on
2-line signs and normal text
on 1-line signs.
NOTE:
1.
28
Some Characters are not available on all signs. For a list
of what is available, see ÒAppendix I: What Characters
& Colors are available on signsÓ on page 115.
Open the Editor. Select File > New Message to open a new
message window. Then select Modes > Roll > In:
Basic messaging
Example 3 — Using Characters to change how a message looks
2.
Select Top when this window appears:
3.
Because we want large text, select Characters > 15/16 Row
Normal. Then type ÒLas Vegas $85, Chicago $199, New
York $235Ó:
OOPS!
By selecting Top, we’ve made an
error that will show up later.
However, we’ll keep going to
demonstrate a common mistake
and how to correct it.
15/16 Row Normal icon
Basic messaging
29
Example 3 — Using Characters to change how a message looks
4.
LetÕs see how the message looks so far. First, letÕs see how
it looks on a 1-line sign. Run the Smart Alec Emulator.
Select Options > Sign Model and change the sign being
emulated to 215C. Start the emulator and this should
appear:
Since a 1-line sign like the 215C can’t display 15/16
Row Normal, the sign displays the smaller Seven Row
Normal instead. This is what we want.
5.
Stop the emulator and change the sign to a 4120C (a 2line sign). Re-start the emulator. You should see this:
Why doesnÕt the large text appear on the 2-line sign?
Because in a previous step, we selected the Top instead of
the Middle line position:
To make the large 15/16 Row Normal
text appear correctly, the line position
must be changed from Top to Middle.
6.
To make sure the large 15/16 Row Normal characters
appear correctly on a 2-line sign, start by deleting the Roll
icon from the message:
To delete the Roll icon, place
the cursor after the icon and
press Backspace.
30
Basic messaging
Example 3 — Using Characters to change how a message looks
7.
Next, without moving the cursor in the message, select
Modes > Roll > In as you did before. Then, when the
following window appears, select the Middle line
position:
8.
Now display the message on a 2-line sign in the Smart
Alec Emulator:
The large 15/16 Row Normal
text now appears correctly.
Your message text should now look like this:
Notice that the dot on the Roll icon
indicates the Middle line position.
9.
Basic messaging
Select File > Save and save your message as TEST1:
31
Example 3 — Using Characters to change how a message looks
10. WeÕd like to display a city name and dollar amount at the
same time on a sign. In order to do this, add Option >
New Line after each city-dollar pair. The message should
look like this:
NOTE
Don’t use carriage returns to
break up a line of text — use
New Line.
These are the
New Line icons.
11. Run the Smart Alec Emulator to see the effect of adding
New Lines:
The New Line Option
formats text correctly.
32
Basic messaging
Example 4 — Using graphics in a message
Example 4 — Using graphics in a message
The Animation and Graphic Options allow you to include
small bitmapped graphics in messages:
The Animation and Graphic
Options are used to display
moving and still images on a sign.
These are the only
moving images that can
be displayed on signs.
The Animation Option is a series of moving images Ñ like
Cherry Bomb and Fireworks Ñ that have already been created for
you. For example, Running Animal will display a horse galloping
across a sign.
With the Graphic Option, you can create your own bitmapped
image which can then be placed in a message.
Basic messaging
NOTE:
Before creating a bitmapped image, make sure you
understand how images are displayed on a sign. (See
ÒAppendix M: Understanding how text and graphics
are displayed on signsÓ on page 119.)
NOTE:
Because bitmapped image editing software is not
included with Smart Alec software, youÕll need a
program to create, edit, and save images. In the
following example, the Paint Shop Pro program is
used.
33
Example 4 — Using graphics in a message
In the following example weÕll make a left and a right
ÒarrowÓ and then use the Graphic Option to display both arrows
on a sign:
2-line sign
The two arrows we’ll make
are 7 rows (or pixels) high.
Using this height permits the
arrows to be used on both 1line and 2-line signs.
1-line sign
1.
34
To make the two graphic arrows, the program Paint Shop
Pro will be used. However, any bitmapped graphics
editor can be used as long as the images can be saved as a
BMP Þle, and the editor should have a ÒzoomÓ function
to make images easily viewable.
Open Paint Shop Pro:
Basic messaging
Example 4 — Using graphics in a message
2.
Next, select File > New. When the New Image window
appears, make the width and height of the new graphic
16 x 7:
NOTE: Width and Height deÞne the size of the graphic
in pixels Ñ in this case, 16 pixels wide x 7 pixels
tall. These numbers also correspond to a signÕs
columns and rows Ñ the 16 x 7 graphic will
occupy a space 16 columns wide x 7 rows tall.
We’re using 7 because this is the
height of a single line on a sign.
Because a maximum of
only 8 colors can be
used on a sign, select 8
or 16 colors instead of
256 colors, if possible.
3.
After selecting OK, a very small window should appear.
Increase the size of this window using the editing
softwareÕs zoom feature:
Use the zoom feature to increase
the size of the small window until
16:1 appears on the window.
Basic messaging
35
Example 4 — Using graphics in a message
4.
Select a color for your graphic:
5.
Draw the right arrow and save it as a BMP graphic
named RARROW.BMP:
Be careful what color you use. Not
all colors can be displayed on all
signs. (See “Appendix M:
Understanding how text and
graphics are displayed on signs”
on page 119.)
36
Basic messaging
Example 4 — Using graphics in a message
6.
Create the other arrow and save it as LARROW.BMP:
7.
Next, open the Smart Alec Editor. Select File > New: and
then Options > Graphic. When the Select Graphic window
appears, select the RARROW.BMP Þle you just created:
8.
Next, type ÒNewsÓ after the Graphic icon. Then use
Graphic again to add the LARROW.BMP Þle after the
word ÒNewsÓ:
9.
Finally, run the message emulator to preview the
message:
Right arrow graphic (RARROW.BMP)
Left arrow graphic (LARROW.BMP)
This is how the message looks
on the 4120C, a 2-line sign.
This is how the message looks
on a 215C, a 1-line sign.
Basic messaging
37
Example 4 — Using graphics in a message
38
Basic messaging
Using variable data in messages
Advanced messaging
Using variable data in messages
The Variable Manager is responsible for bringing variable
(changeable) data from outside the Smart Alec system into Smart
Alec. An example might be to display the temperature of a liquid
on the production ßoor in a message.
Variables can be used to:
¥ change the content of a message, and
¥ trigger a new message
NOTE
We could show the time easily
with an option in the Editor,
but this is a simple example
with tools you have now.
Advanced messaging
Example 1 — Changing the content of a message
In this example, we will create a message which contains the
time and send the message to a sign. The message on the sign will
always show the correct time.
You need to run the following Smart Alec components and
log in as user ÒAlecÓ to use this example:
¥ Message Server
¥ Editor
¥ Variable Manager
¥ Clock Variable Demo (Clocksrc)
¥ ALPHA SA Output Interface
¥ Device Driver - Wired
39
Using variable data in messages
1.
Open Variable Manager.
If the items in this window
don’t appear, select File >
Open. Then open the file
varmng1.vmg. This file is
located in the same
directory as the Variable
Manager.
40
2.
In the Editor, select File > New Message.
3.
Select Mode > Hold. Then select Fill and OK. This way, the
message will remain in one place on the sign.
Advanced messaging
Using variable data in messages
Advanced messaging
4.
Select Options > Speed > Speed5. This way, the message
will be shown quickly and the Variables will be updated
frequently.
5.
Type ÒTime: Ó in the message (with a space at the end.)
6.
Select Options > Variables, highlight Hour, and then OK.
41
Using variable data in messages
42
7.
Type Ò:Ó in the message (with no spaces before or after.)
8.
Repeat Steps 6 and 7 for Minute. Then repeat Step 6 for
Second. Your message should now look like this:
9.
Select Submit > Submit Message, highlight the name of the
destination location. (For this example, the destination
location must be for a sign, not a pager or email.) Then
click the double-arrow button to set the destination.
Advanced messaging
Using variable data in messages
10. Select the Scheduled Options tab and then OK to let the
message run for the default two minutes.
You should now see the time being updated on the ALPHA
sign, like this:
Note that the display of
the seconds may appear
to skip from time to
time. This is due, not to
the counter in the sign,
but rather to how quickly
Smart Alec can update
the sign.
Advanced messaging
43
Using variable data in messages
Example 2 — Sending a new message based on changing data
Smart Alec can be used to start a message when data outside
of Smart Alec changes. In this example, we will create a message
that alerts us at 30 seconds after each minute.
You will need to run the following Smart Alec components
and log in as user ÒAlecÓ to use this example:
¥ Message Server
¥ Editor
¥ Variable Manager
¥ Clock Source
¥ ALPHA SA Output Interface
¥ Device Driver - Wired
NOTE
Example 2 assumes you are
familiar with the steps in
Example 1.
Here are the steps to take to make this happen:
1. In the Variable Manager, select File > Open and open the
Þle VARMNG1.VMG, if itÕs not already open. This Þle is
located in the same directory as the Variable Manager.
2. In the Editor, select File > New Message.
3. Select Mode > Hold. Then select Fill and OK.
4. Type ÒSeconds have exceeded 30!Ó in the message.
5.
44
Select Submit > Submit Message.
Advanced messaging
Using variable data in messages
Advanced messaging
6.
Highlight the name of the destination location, select the
double-arrow button and then Run Variables:
7.
8.
Select the Variable Options tab.
Click anywhere in the Start box and the word ÒNoneÓ
will disappear.
45
Using variable data in messages
9.
In this step we will create a statement to determine when
to start running the message. Double-click on Second in
the Available Variables list. Next, click once on the buttons
for >, 3, and 0, in that order.
While you can
type this in
directly, using
the mouse is
more reliable.
NOTE
For either the Start or Stop condition, if
you enter a negative number or an
alphabetic character, (like when
“Temperature <= -50” or when “Status
= On”) then when you select OK, Editor
shows an error for an “undefined
Variable” and asks if it should be
accepted. As long as the condition is
correct, choose Yes and ignore the
warning.
46
10. Click anywhere in the Stop box and the word ÒNoneÓ
will disappear.
11. In this step we will create a statement to determine when
to stop running the message. Double-click on Second in
the Available Variables list. Next, click on the buttons for
<=, 3, and 0.
Advanced messaging
Using variable data in messages
12. Click OK. to set these run conditions and send the
message. Now each time the seconds in the Clock Source
are greater than 30, the message ÒSeconds have exceeded
30Ó! should appear on the display, as shown below. Each
time the seconds return to zero, the message will no
longer appear on the sign.
Advanced messaging
47
Using variable data in messages
Example 3 — Stopping a message
1. The message in ÒExample 2 Ñ Sending a new message
based on changing dataÓ will continue as long as Smart
Alec remains running. To stop the message, select Submit
> Replace Message in the Editor.
48
2.
Highlight the name of the message you want to turn off
(e.g., Òalec2Ó). The contents of each message and its run
conditions are shown in case youÕre not sure which to
choose.
3.
Select the Delete button, and then select OK.
Advanced messaging
Using variable data in messages
Example 4 — Changing the appearance of data in a message
In addition to simply using data from outside of Smart Alec,
you can determine how the data should look in the message
based on the value of the data. In this example, weÕll set two
conditions for the Second data. This way, whenever Seconds are
shown in a message (like Example 1 with Hours/Minutes/
Seconds) the Seconds will stand out from the rest of the message.
1. In the Variable Manager, highlight the Item for which you
want to create a proÞle. For this example, choose
Òstring6Ó for Second.
The profile can change the
color or flashing state of the
data in the message
(provided the sign supports
these) without changing the
looks of the surrounding text.
If a profile is not defined for
the data, the data will be
displayed with the same
looks as the rest of the
message text.
2.
3.
Advanced messaging
Select Edit > ProÞle as in the picture above.
For the Level, enter the value at which the appearance
should change. WeÕll specify Greater or Equal to 0. This
means that the appearance will change when Seconds is
zero, that is, every minute.
49
Using variable data in messages
after each minute, the Seconds will be shown in red and
will ßash.
7.
Advanced messaging
Click OK. Now, when you run the message we created in
ÒExample 1 Ñ Changing the content of a messageÓ on
page 39, the look of the seconds will change every halfminute.
51
Using variable data in messages
Example 5 — Listing Variable Profile statements in a new order
Say you had made another statement for setting the looks of
Second when it gets to 20. Each time you set another statement,
itÕs put at the end of the list, like this:
But when you look at the list, the statements are not in order
of low to high, based on Level. You want to move the statement
for 20 after the one for zero and before the one for 30.
HereÕs what to do:
1. Right-click on Level 20 in the list. A short pop-up menu
will appear. Click on Move.
52
Advanced messaging
Using variable data in messages
NOTE
Changing the sequence of the list
statements does not change
their effect. It just gives an
ordered list for ease of
understandability.
Advanced messaging
2.
Another window will appear. Click on After and leave
zero highlighted. Then click OK.
3.
The result is an orderly sequenced list.
53
Using variable data in messages
Example 6 — Displaying data from an Excel spreadsheet
You can include information from a spreadsheet in a
message.
You will need to run the following Smart Alec components
and log in as user ÒAlecÓ to use this example:
¥ Message Server
¥ Editor
¥ Variable Manager
¥ Microsoft Excel
¥ Alpha SA Protocol Converter
¥ Device Driver - Wired
¥ Administrator (wherever authorization is done)
In the spreadsheet:
1.
NOTE
Always be sure to have the
spreadsheet open when including
its data in a message and running
that message.
Set up the spreadsheet as needed. For this example, just
open a new Excel spreadsheet. In cell A1, type Ò5Ó and
press the Return key. Save the spreadsheet as
ÒBook1.xlsÓ.
In Variable Manager:
2.
54
Choose Connect from the DDE menu.
Advanced messaging
Using variable data in messages
3.
Specify the Service for this spreadsheet (ÒExcelÓ, for
Microsoft Excel) and the Topic (e.g., Ò[Book1.xls]Sheet1Ó).
Click OK
4.
Specify the Item you need (e.g., the name of the
spreadsheet cell, in this example Òr1c1Ó). You can provide
an Alias (meaningful name) here also. Specifying the
Service, Topic, and Item makes the cell data available to
Smart Alec. Click OK.
The Service identifies the
software application where the
data is coming from.
Here, the Topic identifies the
specific spreadsheet you want
and the specific sheet within that
spreadsheet. Always identify both
the spreadsheet and the sheet.
NOTE
Cell A1 in an Excel spreadsheet is referred
to as cell “r1c1” (or “R1C1”). This refers to
“row 1, column 1.”
The Conversation is
a combination of
Service and Topic.
The data is identified by its Alias
in Smart Alec. (The Alias defaults
to the Item name if you don’t put
one in.)
Size sets the maximum
number of characters to
be allowed for this item.
If the size is not large
enough, the data may be
ignored in the message.
Advanced messaging
Padding can fill in missing
spaces automatically if
the number of characters
is less than the maximum
size. This is helpful when
there are columns of data
in a message.
You can add
more than
one Item by
clicking Add.
Leaving Register Now checked makes the
data available in the Administrator so the
data can be assigned for access by users.
Once users have access, they can use the
data with messages. If registered, the
data counts toward the number of
licensed variables. If not registered, the
data is only available for purposes of
testing a DDE connection.
55
Using variable data in messages
5.
YouÕll see the Item Òr1c1Ó listed.
In the Administrator:
6.
56
You must be authorized to use the variable data.
Generally, this will be done by your Smart Alec
administrator.
Advanced messaging
Using variable data in messages
In Editor:
7.
In Editor, open a new message. Type ÒCell A1 data: Ó,
with a space at the end. Then choose Options > Variables.
8.
Highlight r1c1_cell in the list, and click OK.
9.
Submit the message. It should look like the one shown
here.
If r1c1_cell does not
show in the list, you
probably are not yet
authorized to use it.
See step 6 above.
10. Change the spreadsheet data, and the message changes.
Advanced messaging
57
Using variable data in messages
Example 7 — Using sockets to get data
There are two ways to get data into Smart Alec. One uses
DDE, as in ÒExample 6 Ñ Displaying data from an Excel
spreadsheetÓ on page 54. The other uses socket communications,
most commonly with TCP/IP. Socket usage allows Variables to
be registered, sent, and updated from other applications that do
not use DDE and/or other computers. Socket communications
can be used by programmers to integrate software, such as
warehouse management systems, with Smart Alec.
This example shows how to use data from applications using
sockets.
In Variable Manager
1.
Select Socket > Open.
2.
The Open Socket window displays the IP address it found
for this computer and the default Port number (1069).
The Port number in Variable Manager must agree with the
number identiÞed in the sending application. You can
change the Port numbers, but they must agree. Click OK.
In the sending application
3.
NOTE:
58
Supply the IP address and the default Port number
(shown in step 2) for the Variable Manager computer and
open a conversation to the Variable Manager.
Sending application processing is beyond the scope of
this manual. A document (System Integration Input
Advanced messaging
Using variable data in messages
Interface DeveloperÕs Reference PN 9709-2029) is
available for application developersÕ reference.
4.
Start and stop submitting data as needed in the sending
application.
In Variable Manager
Advanced messaging
5.
6.
Variable Manager can send back status messages.
Error messages are logged in Variable Manager's Error
Log. Select View > Error Log.
7.
When you no longer need the data from the sending
application, select Socket > Close.
59
Using template messages
Using template messages
A template is a blueprint or a skeleton of the text, formatting,
and submission options or properties of a message.
There are two ways to use a template message:
¥ A personal template message which can be used from the
Editor so that you start with one basic message each time
rather than recreating a message over and over
¥ A template message which can be merged with a Þle of
text (created outside of Smart Alec) to send a complete
message
Example 1 — Creating a template message to run from Editor
This example creates a message that contains both text that
does not change and text that will change periodically. The
advantage is that you can run the message and supply just the
text that changes without worrying about the text that does not
change. You donÕt need to create similar messages over and over.
You need to run the following Smart Alec component and log
in as user ÒAlecÓ to use this example:
¥ Editor
60
1.
In the Editor, choose File > Create New Template.
2.
Type ÒHappy birthday to Ó, with a space at the end.
Advanced messaging
Using template messages
3.
From the Options menu, choose SA Text Marker.
4.
Leave the Field Number as 1. Type ÒBirthday personÓ in
for the Label.
The value of the Field Number here
coordinates with the sequence of the
fields in a text file which can supply the
values. For further explanation, see
Template Examples 3, 4, and 5, and
“Appendix P: Formats of ASCII-delimited
files” on page 125.
5.
Advanced messaging
The message now looks like this:
61
Using template messages
6.
Hint: To see what an icon in the message stands for, place
the cursor over (or just to the left of) the icon and then
press the right mouse button. The explanation shows in
the status bar.
A Text Marker acts
like a placeholder
in a message.
NOTE:
7.
62
The template message must have at least one SA Text
Marker.
Choose Submit > Setup Options and select a Destination
Location. For this example and the next, choose a sign
location, not pager or email.
Advanced messaging
Using template messages
8.
Choose the Scheduled Options tab and set the Duration for
the message to 30 minutes. Click OK.
9.
Choose File > Save. Editor displays the prompt shown
here. Click No for now. Give it a Þlename of ÒBirthdayÓ
and click OK.
Refer to “Example 8 —
Setting who can use the
message” on page 79
for more explanation of
this prompt.
10. Now the template message is ready to use. SeeÒExample
2 Ñ Running the template message in EditorÓ.
Advanced messaging
63
Using template messages
Example 2 — Running the template message in Editor
This example shows a simple way to run the message created
in Example 1.
You need to run the following Smart Alec components and
log in as user ÒAlecÓ to use this example:
¥ Editor
¥ Message Server
¥ Device Driver - Wired
¥ Alpha SA Protocol Converter
64
1.
In Editor, choose File > New Template Msg.
2.
Choose birthday.mst.
Advanced messaging
Using template messages
Advanced messaging
3.
The message opens up and looks very much like any
other message, except that the cursor is placed with the
Text Marker, which is highlighted to be replaced.
4.
Without moving the cursor, type ÒGeorgeÓ. Notice how
the Text Marker disappears when you start to type.
5.
Choose Submit > Submit Message. The message on the
sign will look something like this:
65
Using template messages
Example 3 — Creating a template message to merge with a text
file
This example creates a template message to list todayÕs
meeting schedule. This message will have three Text Markers:
time, room number, and group. This example and template
message are to be used in conjunction with ÒExample 4 Ñ
Creating a text Þle to merge with a messageÓ on page 68 and
ÒExample 5 Ñ Running the template message: merge text and
templateÓ on page 69.
You need to run the following Smart Alec component and log
in as user ÒAlecÓ to use this example:
¥ Editor
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
66
Create a New Template.
Type ÒTodayÕs meeting: Ó, with a space at the end.
Add a Text Marker and label ÒMeeting timeÓ.
Type Ò Room Ó, with a space at the beginning and end.
Add a Text Marker and label ÒRoom numberÓ.
Type Ò: Ó, with a space at the end.
Add a Text Marker and label ÒGroupÓ.
Set the destination and the time to run it.
Choose File > Save.
When Editor asks if you want other users or applications
to have access, choose Yes.
Advanced messaging
Using template messages
11. Save the template as ÒMeeting1Ó. The extension of Ò.mstÓ
will be put on for you. It is saved in the Server\Templates
directory.
12. The template message should now look like this:
13. The template message is now available for the Smart
Alec administrator to grant access to individual users.
Advanced messaging
67
Using template messages
Example 4 — Creating a text file to merge with a message
This example creates a text Þle to be used in conjunction with
ÒExample 3 Ñ Creating a template message to merge with a text
ÞleÓ on page 66 and ÒExample 5 Ñ Running the template
message: merge text and templateÓ on page 69. This text Þle
supplies variable data for the message.
You need to run the following to use this example:
¥ Notepad (Windows>Start>Programs>Accessories>
Notepad)
NOTE:
The format of the text Þle in this example conforms to
the ÒBasic DAQ FormatÓ as described in ÒAppendix P:
Formats of ASCII-delimited ÞlesÓ on page 125.
WeÕll create a text Þle to Þll in the blanks when the message is
run:
1. In Notepad, type ÒMeeting1,alecÓ with no spaces before or
after the commas. Press the Return key.
2. Type Ò10:00,200,Sales and MarketingÓ with no spaces
before or after the commas.
3. The Notepad Þle should look like this:
4.
68
Save the Þle as ÒMeeting1Ó. The extension of Ò.txtÓ will
be put on for you. You can save it anywhere you wish.
Advanced messaging
Using template messages
Example 5 — Running the template message: merge text and
template
Smart Alec allows you to merge a text Þle with a predeÞned
NOTE
template. The templates are created in the Editor with blank Þelds
The ASCII File Input Interface
application must be running to
deÞned as SA Text Markers and the ASCII-delimited Þle provides
use ASCII-delimited files.
the information for the SA Text Markers in the template.
You need to run the following Smart Alec components and
log in as user ÒAlecÓ to use this example:
¥ ASCII File Input Interface
¥ Message Server
¥ Device Driver - Wired
¥ Alpha SA Protocol Converter
It works this way:
1. You must have created a template with SA Text Markers.
(See ÒExample 3 Ñ Creating a template message to
merge with a text ÞleÓ on page 66.)
2. You must have created a text Þle for the template SA Text
Markers in an ASCII- delimited Þle format. (See
ÒExample 4 Ñ Creating a text Þle to merge with a
messageÓ on page 68.)
3. Bring ASCII File Input Interface to the front. Click the
About button. Note the Inbox shown. You may want to
write down the directory name. Click OK, then minimize
ASCII File Input Interface.
Advanced messaging
69
Using template messages
4.
In Windows Explorer, make a copy of the Notepad Þle in
the same directory. Rename it to ÒMeeting1.daqÓ.
Explorer will warn you about changing the Þlename
extension. Choose Yes anyway.
5.
In Windows Explorer, move ÒMeeting1.daqÓ to the inbox
directory of the ASCII File Input Interface which you noted
in Step 3, shown below as C:\Alec\Server\12.
6.
The ASCII File Input Interface automatically takes the Þle
out of this Inbox and merges the text for the SA Text
Markers with the template. The message is set to run as
scheduled, immediately in this example because that
option was chosen in Editor.
The ASCII File Input Interface merges the template and the
text into a Þle, converts the Þle into an .MSA Þle format,
and sends the message to the destination sign.
7.
70
Advanced messaging
Using template messages
8.
Advanced messaging
The message on the sign will look something like this:
71
Using template messages
Example 6 — Setting the Location for a template message
LetÕs say you want to send a template message to different
locations depending on other circumstances to be determined
only when the message is sent. In this case, you donÕt want to set
a location when you create the template message. You want to set
the location when you send the message. This example shows
how to do that.
You need to run the following Smart Alec components and
log in as user ÒAlecÓ to use this example:
¥ Editor
¥ Message Server
¥ Device Driver - Wired
¥ ASCII File Input Interface
¥ Alpha SA Protocol Converter
¥ Notepad (Windows>Start>Programs>Accessories>
Notepad)
1.
2.
3.
4.
In Editor, choose File > Create New Template.
Type ÒMeeting in Room Ó, with a space at the end.
Add a Text Marker and label ÒRoom numberÓ.
Choose Submit > Submit Options. At the top of the list of
Available Locations is Ò@SubmitÓ. Move this to the
Destination Locations list. Ò@SubmitÓ must be the only
item in the Destination Locations list.
Using @ Submit means that
the Location will have to be
set either when the message
is submitted from the Editor
or in a text file with the ASCII
File Input Interface.
72
Advanced messaging
Using template messages
5.
6.
7.
8.
NOTE:
Click on the Scheduled Options tab. Leave Immediate Mode
checked and the duration as 2 minutes. Click OK.
Choose File > Save. Give other users access.
Save the Þle as ÒMeeting2Ó.
Open a new Þle in Notepad. On the Þrst line, type
ÒMeeting2,alecÓ for the Þlename and user. On the next
line, Type the destination name that you wish, followed
by Þve commas. On the last line, type Ò200Ó. The Þle
should now look like the picture below.
The format of the text Þle in this example conforms to
the ÒExtended DAQ FormatÓ as described in
ÒAppendix P: Formats of ASCII-delimited ÞlesÓ on
page 125.
The commas act like
placeholders. You don’t need
to fill in all the fields, but you
must have all five commas.
See “Appendix P: Formats of
ASCII-delimited files” on
page 125 for details.
9.
Advanced messaging
Now follow ÒExample 5 Ñ Running the template
message: merge text and templateÓ on page 69 to send
the message. It should look like this:
73
Using template messages
Example 7 — Setting how and when the message is to start running
You can set the message to start running based on time or
based on the value of a variable. The ßowchart below shows all
the options.
Start
Is the
message to run
based on timing?
Yes
Check Run Schedules
No
Check Run Variables
Is the
message to start
immediately?
Yes
Check
Immediate Mode
No
See “Example 2 —
Sending a new
message based on
changing data” on
page 44.
Is the
message to run on a
fixed schedule?
Yes
Set the schedule
(all parameters)
Is the
message of fixed
duration?
No
Yes
Set the duration
No
Set @Submit
Set @Submit
Are any
parameters fixed?
Yes
Set individual
parameters
No
Leave all parameters
as @Submit
End
A message set to run based on time has Þve scheduling
parameters which must be detailed: start date, start time, end
date, end time, and duration. Any or all of these can be set when
the template message is created. They also can be set when the
message is run, by using the @Submit option.
This example shows how to run a message where some
parameters will be scheduled and some will be set at the time the
message is submitted.
74
Advanced messaging
Using template messages
You need to run the following Smart Alec components and
log in as user ÒAlecÓ to use this example:
¥ Editor
¥ Message Server
¥ Device Driver - Wired
¥ Alpha SA Protocol Converter
¥ ASCII File Input Interface
Assume you have two main work areas: Production and
OfÞce. Production works from 6:00 AM to 2:30 PM, while the
OfÞce works from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. For each group, you have
created a template message like ÒMeeting1Ó in ÒExample 3 Ñ
Creating a template message to merge with a text ÞleÓ on
page 66. Each group has meetings from time to time, but not
every day. You want to set the message to run at the times when
people are at work and only when there are meetings pertinent to
each group. WeÕll go through setting up the message for
Production.
1. In Editor, open the ÒMeeting1Ó template message. Select
Submit > Setup Options. Since this will be based on time
rather than Variables, select Run Schedules for Message
Mode.
Advanced messaging
75
Using template messages
76
2.
Click on the Scheduled Options tab. We want to set the
start time of the message based on ProductionÕs work
hours, so click on the Immediate Mode checkbox so that it
is not checked.
3.
Click Set @ Submit. This sets all the parameters to be
determined at the time the message is sent. WeÕll adjust
this in the next step.
Advanced messaging
Using template messages
4.
In the Start Time box, click on the up and down arrows to
set the time to 6:00 AM. Leave the Stop Time, Start Date,
and Stop Date boxes set to @Submit. Click OK.
These set
the minutes.
These set
the hour.
5.
6.
Save and close the template message.
Choose File > New Template Msg. Click on ÒMeeting1Ó
and then Select.
7.
For the Þrst prompt, type Ò8:00Ó. Tab to the next prompt
and type Ò101Ó. Tab to the last prompt and type ÒHealth
planÓ.
Choose Submit > Submit Message.
8.
Advanced messaging
77
Using template messages
9.
Now you need to set those parameters that were not set
earlier, namely the Stop Time, Start Date, and Stop Date.
Again using the up and down arrows, set the Stop Time to
one hour after the meeting time, in this case 9:00. Click
once on either of the up arrows for the Start Date and Stop
Date to set them to todayÕs date.
10. Select OK. The message is submitted and will run from
6:00 AM to 9:00 AM today.
78
Advanced messaging
Using template messages
Example 8 — Setting who can use the message
1. When you save a template message, the prompt shown
below is displayed.
¥
2.
3.
4.
Advanced messaging
Choose No if the template will only be used by you,
or if you want to use the template message as a
message whose Þelds will be entered in the Editor.
¥ Choose Yes if you want other users to be able to use
the template, or if you want the ability to merge text
for SA Text Markers from other applications.
In the Administrator, if you chose Yes in step 1, any other
Users must be authorized for the template.
When a User selects File > New Template Message, a list of
authorized templates appears to choose from.
Highlight one and click Select to use it for a message.
79
Using template messages
Example 9 — Using repeating records
You need to run the following Smart Alec components and
log in as user ÒAlecÓ to use this example:
¥ Editor
¥ Message Server
¥ Device Driver - Wired
¥ Alpha SA Protocol Converter
¥ ASCII File Input Interface
This example shows how to use the Begin Repeat and End
Repeat feature whenever there are multiple records to supply
values for a template message. Here there are several meetings
scheduled.
NOTE:
The format of the text Þle in this example conforms to
the ÒBasic DAQ FormatÓ as described in ÒAppendix P:
Formats of ASCII-delimited ÞlesÓ on page 125.
1.
In Editor, create a template with ÒRoom numberÓ,
ÒTimeÓ, and ÒGroupÓ:
2.
Place the cursor in the message at the beginning of the
text to be repeated. From the Options menu, choose Begin
Repeat.
Begin Repeat icon
80
Advanced messaging
Using template messages
3.
Place the cursor at the end of the text to be repeated, then
from the Options menu, choose End Repeat.
Begin Repeat icon
4.
5.
End Repeat icon
In a new Notepad Þle, on the Þrst line, type
ÒMeeting1,alecÓ with no spaces before or after the
commas.
On the next lines, type room numbers, times, and groups
as below, with no spaces before or after the commas. The
Notepad Þle should look like this:
NOTE
The Repeat function repeats
an entire block of characters
in a message. However, in the
text file, you only supply the
values for the text markers.
6.
7.
Advanced messaging
Save the Notepad Þle. Make a copy of it. Rename the copy
with the extension as Ò.daqÓ. Move the copy to the inbox
directory of the ASCII File Input Interface.
When the text Þle gets merged with the template and
sent as a message, it will be displayed as in the following:
Meeting in
Room #100 at 8:30: Personnel
Room #100 at 10:00: Personnel
Room #200 at 10:00: Sales and Marketing
Room #201 at 2:00: Executive Conference
81
Using email
Using email
You can use email to send changeable data to Smart Alec so
that it can be merged with a template message and sent to a sign
or to a pager. For example:
¥ You can use a template message with just a single text
marker to be merged with a block of free-form email text.
¥ You can have a template message with given text plus
several text markers for speciÞc data from email.
Setting up and using email with Smart Alec— the basic process
1. In your email server application, create a user called
Smart Alec. Since there are a number of email server
applications, you will need to refer to your email server
documentation for a section about ÒHow to add an email
userÓ. Using that information, add a user called Smart
Alec, or ask your system administrator.
2. In Editor, create a template message located on the Smart
Alec server. This template will be used for sending email
messages to designated locations, either signs or pagers.
(See ÒUsing template messagesÓ on page 60 for detailed
information about template messages and ÒExample 1 Ñ
Displaying an email message on a signÓ on page 83 for
an example.)
¥ To allow a block of free-form text to be sent to a sign,
simply include one text marker Ð nothing else Ð in
the template message.
¥ For more speciÞc messages, include formatting, text,
and text markers as needed.
82
Advanced messaging
Using email
3.
In the Administrator, authorize users for email and
templates. This is shown in ÒExample 1 Ñ Displaying an
email message on a signÓ.
4.
Finally, from the email server application, a message can
be sent to the email user Smart Alec with the name of the
template as the subject and the message to be sent in the
body of the email. This is also shown in ÒExample 1 Ñ
Displaying an email message on a signÓ.
Example 1 — Displaying an email message on a sign
This example shows how to send a message to a sign from an
email system using a template message with three text markers.
All these components need to be running on the Smart Alec
server:
¥ Microsoft Exchange (or your email server application)
¥ Email Gateway
¥ Message Server
¥ Editor
¥ Administrator
¥ Device Driver - Wired
¥ Alpha SA Protocol Converter
¥ ASCII File Input Interface
Advanced messaging
83
Using email
In Editor
84
1.
Create a new template following ÒExample 3 Ñ Creating
a template message to merge with a text ÞleÓ on page 66.
2.
Select Submit > Setup Options and on the Submit Options
tab, choose a Destination Location for a sign. For Message
Mode, choose Run Schedules.
Advanced messaging
Using email
3.
On the Scheduled Options tab, choose Immediate Mode (for
sending the message immediately) and set the Duration
to 1 hour. Click OK to save the changes.
4.
Save the template.
In the Administrator
5.
Advanced messaging
Choose any user who is to send email with this template.
85
Using email
86
6.
In that person's proÞle, add the new template. Click OK.
7.
This shows authorization for the new template.
Advanced messaging
Using email
8.
Select the
box.
9.
This will bring up a list of local email addresses. Choose
the address belonging to the user and move it to the right
side with the To--> button. Click OK.
NOTE
This capability is not currently
available with Windows NT. See
“Appendix Q: How to assign a user’s
email name in Windows NT” on
page 131 for more information.
Advanced messaging
button just to the right of the Email Address
87
Using email
10. The chosen Local Email Address will be shown in the Email
Address box. Click OK.
HINT: Create a Smart Alec user
called “Guest” for non-Smart
Alec users to send email
through Smart Alec. “Guest” is
the default cross-reference.
After an Email Address is set, when Smart Alec receives email from this Email
Address, it will cross-reference to this user to validate authorized templates.
In the email system
11. Open a new email message.
12. For the addressee, type ÒSmart AlecÓ. For the subject,
type the name of the template for which data is being
supplied, shown in this example as ÒMeeting2Ó.
13. In the body of the message, type the text to be sent. The
ÒMeeting2Ó template message includes three text
88
Advanced messaging
Using email
markers, for meeting time, room number, and group. So
type: Ò9:30Ó,Ò205Ó,ÒPersonnelÓ.
If the template has one SA Text Marker, the body of
the message will Þll in the SA Text Marker. Quotes are
optional around the body of the message.
¥ If the template has more than one SA Text Marker, the
body of the message must be broken into sections for
each of the SA Text Markers. Quotes and commas are
used to break the body of the message into sections.
14. Send the email message.
¥
In Smart Alec
15. The message displayed in this example will look
something like this:
Advanced messaging
89
Using email
Example 2 — Displaying a visual page on a sign
1. You could create this template message:
90
2.
Then send this email message:
3.
The resulting message on the sign would be:
Advanced messaging
Appendix A: Smart Alec system overview
Appendices
Appendix A: Smart Alec system overview
Big perspective of Intelligent Messaging
Created messages
E-mail
Electronic message signs
DDE
Messages received, processed,
E-mail
combined, scheduled, converted
Serial
and delivered.
ASCII files
Pager
Software
Applications
Figure 1: Big picture of Intelligent Messaging
ÒIntelligent messagingÓ allows you to:
¥ send and receive messages
¥ deÞne messages
¥ schedule messages
¥ determine where messages go
¥ manage message ßow
Intelligent messaging systems can acquire message input
from many software systems. They accept and process input,
coordinate data, and send messages out as needed. Message
output goes to software systems or hardware devices to deliver
the right message to the right locations at the right time using the
right communication methods.
Appendices
91
Appendix A: Smart Alec system overview
User perspective of Smart Alec
Data source
Smart Alec Applications
User
Editor
Email
Email Gateway
ASCII
ASCII File Input Interface
DDE, sockets
Variable Manager
Serial
ALPHA SA - Output Interface
Data output
ALPHA SA signs
1 Pager - Output Interface
Pagers
1 Email - Output Interface
Email
1 Serial data input interface
1
This is an option that can be purchased separately.
Figure 2: User perspective of Smart Alec
Smart Alec overview
Smart Alec can acquire information from email, ASCII, serial,
and DDE and socket data sources, as illustrated above. Messages
can also be created directly for input to Smart Alec through its
Editor. Variable data is acquired and handled by the Variable
Manager. Variables can be embedded in messages in real time
and can also be used as triggers for messages.
At the heart of the system is the Message Server, which
accepts and processes input, coordinates data, and sends it as
messages to the output communication devices, such as ALPHA
SA displays and alphanumeric pagers.
To get a message out to a given device, the message must be
converted to a format which the device understands. This is done
by protocol converters which convert signals from the Smart Alec
system and send the signals to device drivers. These device
drivers further interpret and process the signals and send them to
the Þnal communication devices.
92
Appendices
Appendix A: Smart Alec system overview
Technical perspective: acquire, process, distribute
Acquisition of data (“Data source”)
Input can come from any of many data sources, including:
¥ MAPI-compatible email Þles, such as Microsoft
Exchange
¥ ASCII-delimited Þles, such as Schedule+ or Goldmine
Day Planner
¥ Serial data stream processors, such as WinWedge or
Dynacomm
¥ DDE-capable applications, such as WonderwareÕs
InTouch or Microsoft Excel
¥ Socket communication applications
¥ The Editor, by allowing you to provide text for messages
¥ Smart Alec-speciÞc MSA-compatible Þles
Processing the messages (“Smart Alec applications”)
Processing is accomplished through software components of
the Smart Alec system.
¥ The Administrator program allows you to set levels of
security and access to locations, variables, and templates.
¥ The ASCII File Input Interface merges templates with
ASCII data from email and ASCII Þles.
¥ The Message Server is responsible for delivering
messages to the proper locations at the proper time. It
processes all messages, displays a log of all current
messages, and sends messages as required.
¥ The Variable Manager manages data to be used as
variables in messages, makes those variables available
for use in messages, displays the list of variables linked
to the system, and works with the Message Server to
start and stop messages when variables pass pre-deÞned
thresholds.
¥ The Message Viewer lets you monitor and delete
messages.
Distribution of messages (“Data output”)
Output from the Message Server is converted to formats
appropriate to each hardware communication device. Protocol
converters, such as an ALPHA SA or pager protocol converter,
transform each message into the proper format for the necessary
Appendices
93
Appendix A: Smart Alec system overview
device driver(s). The device drivers, such as a modem or a
wireless transmitter, process the signals and send them to the
Þnal communication devices. The actual communication devices,
such as an ALPHA SA display or a pager, display any messages.
Watching Smart Alec in operation
There are several user dialog windows whereby you can
watch Smart Alec process and deliver messages:
¥ The Variable Manager allows you to request speciÞc
variables from other programs and watch the values of
the variables as they change in the system.
¥ The Message Viewer shows details of any active or
pending messages. These include: owner, run period,
message contents, variables used, destination location(s).
You can also delete messages here.
¥ The Message ServerÕs Transaction Log displays active,
pending, or complete messages, as well as identifying
and processing characteristics.
¥ Each protocol converter shows the number of messages
and variables it has processed, and can show additional
details of their usage for a given output device.
¥ Each device driver shows settings, number of messages
processed, and its status for a given output device.
So, with windows to the Smart Alec processing as described
above, you can watch a message as it comes into the system and
is processed by the Message Server, the protocol converter and
the device driver. Then you can see each message as it is
displayed.
94
Appendices
Appendix B: Smart Alec computer requirements
Appendix B: Smart Alec computer requirements
Make sure your hardware system Þts these requirements:
¥ Personal computer, IBM or compatible
¥ CD-ROM drive
¥ Mouse
¥ VGA or SVGA color monitor
In addition, the following is recommended:
Operating system (server)
Operating system (client)
Processor, minimum
Hard disk storage space
Appendices
Microsoft Windows 95 with 32 MB RAM, or Windows
NT Workstation 4.0 with 32 MB RAM
Microsoft Windows 95 with 16 MB RAM, or Windows
NT Workstation 4.0 with 32 MB RAM
Pentium 125 MHz
25 MB
95
Appendix C: Device Driver information
Appendix C: Device Driver information
A Device Driver is an application that communicates with an
output device, such as a modem, pager, LAN, etc.
Every Location uses a Device Driver. A Device Driver must
be properly set up in order for the Smart Alec Server to send
information to a Location.
The Þrst time the Administrator application is used, you will
be asked to verify the properties of each Device Driver.
Location
Pager
Alpha SA
Wired
Property
Baud rate
Connector (COM port)
Parity
Data bits
Service port
Init/Initialization string
Dialing prefix
Phone number
96
LAN
Modem
Wireless
Format or valid values
9600
Com1, Com2, Com3, Com4
None, odd, even
7, 8
Port number of print/terminal server on a LAN, e.g., “9101”.
Group of commands (e.g., “AT,”) for modem set-up; sent to the modem before
the number is dialed.
Sequence to dial to get to an outside phone line, e.g., “9,”.
Standard telephone number. May include formatting characters such as
commas, parentheses, or dashes.
Appendices
Appendix C: Device Driver information
Table 2: Device Driver Properties
Device Driver
Property
Value
Baud Rate
Connector (COM port)
Wired
Parity
Data Bits
Baud Rate
Connector (COM port)
Tekk Inc
KS-960
Parity
Data Bits
Baud rate
Connector (COM port)
Parity
Data bits
Wireless
Init string
TAP
Dialing prefix
Phone number
Appendices
97
Appendix C: Device Driver information
Table 2: Device Driver Properties
Device Driver
Property
Modem
Device
LAN
Service Port
98
Value
Appendices
Appendix D: Location properties
Appendix D: Location properties
A Location is a message destination. A Location may be
composed of one or more ALPHA SA signs or a pager. Every
Location has a Device Driver associated with it (see ÒAppendix
C: Device Driver informationÓ on page 96).
Locations are created and set up in the Administrator.
Basically, there are three types of Locations Ñ ALPHA SA, Pager,
and Email:
Types of ALPHA SA Locations:
* Types of Pager Locations:
* Pager is an option that must be purchased from Adaptive
Micro Systems.
* Email Locations:
* Email is an option that must be purchased from Adaptive
Micro Systems.
Appendices
99
Appendix D: Location properties
ALPHA SA Wired properties
This type of Location is composed of one or more ALPHA SA
signs that are connected to a Server (or Client) computer that is
running the Wired Device Driver.
In the Administrator, select File > New > Location > Alpha SA >
Wired:
Select Send
Test Message
to verify that
the devices at
this Location
can receive
messages.
These are the
Device Driver
properties.
(See
“Appendix C:
Device Driver
information”
on page 96.)
100
Appendices
Appendix D: Location properties
Property
Description
Every Location must have a name.
Name of Location
Address List
Time Zone Adjust
Hint: To remember which Device Driver is used,
put the driver type in the Location name — for
example, Engineering-Wired.
One or more unique numbers from 0 - 255
separated by a comma or dash, that represent
sign “addresses”. For example, typing 1-5 would
mean that there are five ALPHA SA signs
networked to this Location, and that one sign has
an address of 1, another has 2, etc.
To change the address of a sign, see “Appendix
N: Setting the address of an ALPHA SA sign” on
page 123.
Difference, in number of time zones, between the
time where a server is located and the time zone
where a client is located
Table 3: Properties for ALPHA SA wired Locations
Location name
Appendices
Address(es)
Time
zone
adjust
101
Appendix D: Location properties
ALPHA SA Wireless properties
This type of Location is composed of one or more ALPHA SA
signs that are connected to the Server via a wireless data receiver
attached to each sign. In order to transmit messages from the
Server to a data receiver, either a wireless transmitter must be
connected to the Server Ñ for TAP (Local) or Tekk Inc KS-960 Ñ or
a modem must be connected to the Server Ñ for TAP (Wide Area).
In the Administrator, select File > New > Location > Alpha SA >
Wireless. Then select either TAP (Wide Area), TAP (Local), or Tekk
Inc KS-960:
TAP (Wide Area)
Select Send Test Message to
verify that the devices at this
Location can receive messages.
These are the Device Driver
properties. (See “Appendix C: Device
Driver information” on page 96.)
102
Appendices
Appendix D: Location properties
TAP (Local)
Select Send Test Message to
verify that the devices at this
Location can receive messages.
These are the Device
Driver properties. (See
“Appendix C: Device Driver
information” on page 96.)
Appendices
103
Appendix D: Location properties
Tekk Inc KS-960
Select Send Test Message to
verify that the devices at this
Location can receive messages.
These are the Device
Driver properties. (See
“Appendix C: Device Driver
information” on page 96.)
104
Appendices
Appendix D: Location properties
Table 4: Properties for ALPHA SA wireless Locations
Location name
Appendices
Address(es)
Capcode
Time
zone
adjust
105
Appendix D: Location properties
ALPHA SA LAN properties
This type of Location is composed of one or more ALPHA SA
signs that are connected to the Server via a print server.
In the Administrator, select File > New > Location > Alpha SA >
LAN:
Select Send Test Message to
verify that the devices at this
Location can receive messages.
These are the Device
Driver properties. (See
“Appendix C: Device Driver
information” on page 96.)
106
Appendices
Appendix D: Location properties
Table 5: Properties for ALPHA SA LAN Locations
Location name
Appendices
SIgn
Address
Print
server
IP
Address
Time
zone
adjust
107
Appendix D: Location properties
ALPHA SA Modem properties
This type of Location is composed of one or more ALPHA SA
signs that are connected to the Server via a modem. (There must
be a transmitting modem, attached to the Server, and a receiving
modem, attached to a sign.)
In the Administrator, select File > New > Location > Alpha SA >
Modem:
Select Send Test Message to
verify that the devices at this
Location can receive messages.
These are the Device
Driver properties. (See
“Appendix C: Device Driver
information” on page 96.)
108
Appendices
Appendix D: Location properties
Table 6: Properties for ALPHA SA modem Locations
Location name
Appendices
Address
Phone no.
Time
zone
adjust
109
Appendix D: Location properties
Pager properties
This type of Location is composed of an alphanumeric pager
connected to the Server via a wireless transmitter.
In the Administrator, select File > New > Location > Pager.
Then select TAP (Wide Area), TAP (Local), or Tekk Inc KS-960.
ÒALPHA SA Wireless propertiesÓ on page 102 also applies to
Pager properties.
Table 7: Properties for Pager Locations
Name of the location
110
Cap code for
pager
Time
zone
adjust
Appendices
Appendix E: User properties
Appendix E: User properties
The following table is provided to make it easier to keep
track of User properties:
Table 8: Properties for Users
Access rights
User name
Password
Email address
Locations
Appendices
Variables
Templates
Administrator
access?
111
Appendix G: Troubleshooting
Appendix G: Troubleshooting
Where to go for additional help
If you need assistance, please follow this procedure:
1. Refer to relevant topics in this manual.
2. Refer to on-line Help for pertinent software.
3. Contact your authorized Smart Alec reseller.
What you need to provide when you need assistance
If you need technical assistance, you will need to provide:
¥ full description of the problem
¥ the sequence of steps that lead up to the problem
¥ computer system hardware and relevant software
version numbers
¥ the version number of Smart Alec
¥ the product serial number Ð found on the outside
packaging and on the registration card
¥ the version number of any relevant Smart Alec
components, found in Help > About for that component.
For more information, you can visit Adaptive Micro SystemsÕ
World Wide Web site at: http://www.ams-i.com.
Appendices
113
Appendix H: What Modes are available on signs
Appendix H: What Modes are available on signs
Modes are special effects used in the Editor to change the way
a message appears on a sign:
Table 9: Modes available on signs.
114
Wipe
Twinkle
Switch
Starburst
Spray
Sparkle
Snow
Slide
Scroll
Rotate
Condensed
Standard
Roll
Interlock
Hold
Flash
Bulletin
Modes
Automode
ALPHA
sign
Type
Sign
(FM = Full Matrix,
CM = Character Matrix,
LM = Line Matrix)
Series 200
FM
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Series 300
FM
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Series 4000
FM
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Series 7000
FM
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Big Dot
FM
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Alphavision FM
FM
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Alphavision CM
CM
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790i
FM
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Solar
FM
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Director
CM
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2.1-inch CM
CM
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3.2-inch CM
CM
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PPD
LM
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Appendices
Appendix I: What Characters & Colors are available on signs
Appendix I: What Characters & Colors are available on signs
The Editor allows you to change the character shapes and
colors that appear in sign message:
Table 10: Characters and Colors available on signs.
Fixed Width
True Descenders
Double High
Flashing
Double Wide
Wide
Normal
Color (see NOTE)
Five Row
Seven Row Fancy
Seven Row Normal
Ten Row
15/16 Row Fancy
Series 200
FM
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FM
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Series 4000
FM
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Series 7000
FM
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Big Dot
FM
Alphavision FM
FM
Alphavision CM
CM
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790i
FM
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Solar
FM
Director
CM
2.1-inch CM
3.2-inch CM
PPD
NOTE:
Appendices
Characters
15/16 Row Normal
ALPHA
sign
Type
Sign
(FM = Full Matrix,
CM = Character Matrix,
LM = Line Matrix)
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CM
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Sign names ending in “C” or “T”, such as 4120C or 37-90T, have color capabilities. Sign names ending in
“R”, such as 4120R or 37-90R, can display in red only.
115
Appendix J: What display Options are available on signs
Appendix J: What display Options are available on signs
Options is an Editor command composed of special features,
like animation, and is used by the software to enhance the way a
message appears:
Table 11: Options available on signs.
116
End Repeat
Begin Repeat
SA Text MArker
Snippet
Accessory Enable
Attach File
Animation
New Page
New Line
Speed
Temperature
Variables
Date
Options
TIme
ALPHA
sign
Type
Sign
(FM = Full Matrix,
CM = Character Matrix,
LM = Line Matrix)
Series 200
FM
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Series 300
FM
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Series 4000
FM
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Series 7000
FM
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Big Dot
FM
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Alphavision FM
FM
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Alphavision CM
CM
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790i
FM
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Solar
FM
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Director
CM
2.1-inch CM
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3.2-inch CM
CM
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Appendices
Appendix K: Smart Alec components
Appendix K: Smart Alec components
Administrator
ASCII File Input Interface
Clock Variable Demo
Device driver - LAN
Device driver - Modem
Device driver - TAP
Device driver - Wired
Device driver - Wireless
Editor
Email Gateway
Message Viewer
Message Server
Pager - Output Interface
Alpha SA - Input Interface
Set Password
Smart Alec Launch Configuration Utility
Smart Alec Launch Utility
Variable Manager
Licenses – Users
Licenses – Variables
Appendices
Component function
Allows administrator to manage the system
components
Combines ASCII-delimited text files with
predefined Templates
An example of a DDE server.
Sends output to a LAN device (print server)
Sends output to a modem
Sends output to a TAP-protocol device
Sends output to a wired device
Sends output to a wireless transmitter
Allows the creation and editing of messages and
templates
Processes mail sent to Smart Alec
Allows you to view messages currently in Smart
Alec
Processes and logs all messages that go through
Smart Alec
Converts output to pager protocol
Converts output to ALPHA SA sign protocol
Allows you to change your password
Allows you to select which components will start
when Smart Alec Launch Utility is selected
Collects DDE variable information
License information
Client
Component name
Server
The server components or the client components, or both
server and client components (or applications) can be installed on
a computer.
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
5
100
117
Appendix L: Understanding line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
Appendix L: Understanding line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
The Òline positionÓ refers to where a message can be
displayed on a sign Ñ the top, middle, bottom, or Þll positions.
Line position are available with most Modes (e.g., Hold, Snow,
Sparkle, etc.):
Line
position
What appears in the Editor:
What is displayed on a 2-line sign:
Top
Middle
Bottom
Fill
118
Appendices
Appendix M: Understanding how text and graphics are displayed on signs
Appendix M: Understanding how text and graphics are displayed on signs
Each sign is made up of a display area composed of columns
and rows of LED ÒpixelsÓ which can be turned on and off. These
pixels can also be displayed in different colors, depending on the
type of sign. The display areas for signs are in a table below.
Columns and rows make up a sign
For example, a 4120C (or 4120R) sign has a total display area
of 120 x 16:
Sign
BETA-BRITE Series
215 Series
300 Series
4000 Series
7000 Series
Outdoor displays
ALPHAVISION
NOTE:
Appendices
Display area
(col x rows)
BETA-BRITE
80 x 7
BETA-BRITE BIG DOT
80 x 7
ALPHA Big Dot
80 x 7
215
90 x 7
215C
90 x 7
320C
120 x 7
330C
180 x 7
4120R
120 x 16
4120C
120 x 16
4160R
160 x 16
4160C
160 x 16
4200R
200 x 16
4200C
200 x 16
4240R
240 x 16
4240C
240 x 16
7120C
120 x 24
7160C
160 x 24
7200C
200 x 24
790i
90 x 7
Display areas from 128 x 32 to 256 x 128.
Colors
8
3
Sign names ending in “C”, such as 4120C, have color capabilities. Sign names ending in “R”, such as 4120R,
can display in red only.
119
Appendix M: Understanding how text and graphics are displayed on signs
Five Row
In this type size, characters are 5 rows high and about 5
columns wide:
Graphics must be “bitmapped to a sign’s columns and rows
Before creating a graphic for a particular sign, you must Þrst
know the display area of that sign.
The columns and rows that make up a signÕs display area
also represent the maximum pixel size of a graphic that can be
displayed on a sign.
For example, a 4120C (or 4120R) sign has a total display area
of 120 columns x 16 rows. This means that the largest graphic that
could be displayed would be to be 120 pixels wide x 16 pixels
high: (The graphic could, of course, be smaller than this.)
Appendices
121
Appendix M: Understanding how text and graphics are displayed on signs
A graphic may be too big for some signs
Because signs vary in size, make sure that your graphics are
designed to Þt on all your signs or at least on one of your signs:
Though this 32 x 16 pixel graphic fits
easily on a 2-line sign like a 4120C,
only the top part of the graphic
appears on this smaller 1-line sign.
A graphic may be the wrong color for a sign
4120R
(red only sign)
4120C
(multi-color sign)
Only ALPHA SA sign names ending in ÒCÓ have color
capabilities (like the 7120C). ALPHA SA sign names ending in
ÒRÓ, like the 4120R, can only display red:
122
This border will be yellow.
This line will be red.
This line will be green.
The entire graphic
appears in red.
Appendices
Appendix N: Setting the address of an ALPHA SA sign
Appendix N: Setting the address of an ALPHA SA sign
An ALPHA SA sign comes from the factory with an
ÒaddressÓ of 0. However, this address can be set to any number
between 0 and 255.
Giving a sign a unique address allows you to send messages
to a single sign that is part of a network of signs.
The following instructions describe how to change the
address of an ALPHA SA sign with an infrared Remote Control
keyboard.
NOTE:
Remote
Control
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Appendices
The infrared Remote Control can not be used with all
ALPHA SA signs. On some ALPHA SA signs, an
internal DIP switch must be set to change the address.
See the documentation that came with your sign.
Press the PROGRAM key.
Press the BACK key until SET SERIAL ADDRESS or SET
SERIAL appears on the sign.
Press the ADV key and the signÕs current address will
appear, such as SERIAL ADDRESS = 000.
Type the new address, like 010.
Press the RUN key twice to enter the new address.
123
Appendix O: DDE servers
Appendix O: DDE servers
Working with existing DDE servers
The Variable Manager acts as a DDE client. It needs a DDE
server to communicate with in order to create Variables. Many
existing programs already function as DDE servers, such as
WonderwareÕs Intouch and Microsoft Excel. To use these or any
other DDE-server applications with the Variable Manager, you
must Þnd the service, topic, and item names which are to supply
values for the Variables from the DDE server. The applicationÕs
documentation should provide these.
The Variable Manager establishes a request-and-advise loop
when it requests an item from a DDE server. This means that the
Variable Manager requests the itemÕs value once from the DDE
server and then the DDE server is responsible for sending the
item to the Variable Manager each time the item changes value (as
long as the conversation between the Variable Manager and server
has not been broken).
If you have a custom application which is not a DDE server
but is one which you would like to use as a source of Variables for
Smart Alec, there is an example which shows you how to create a
DDE server:
¥ CLOCKSRC.EXE, in the ÉVARMNGR\CLOCKSRC
directory Ð a Visual C++ (version 4.x or greater) example
which has DDE functionality encapsulated in C++
classes. The README.TXT Þle included with the source
code provides additional information.
NOTE:
124
When using DDE, Variable Manager must be installed
on the same computer as the external data source, and
that source must be Windows-based. When using
NetDDE, Variable Manager must be installed on the
same network as the external data source, and that
source must be Windows-based. When using socket
communications, Variable Manager can be installed
anywhere, but the external data source need not be
Windows-based.
Appendices
Appendix P: Formats of ASCII-delimited files
Appendix P: Formats of ASCII-delimited files
The ASCII File Input Interface uses data Þles as sources of data
to merge with Templates created in Editor. There are four
variations of the traditional ASCII-delimited Þle format. Each
variation provides a little bit different functionality. All variations
are ßat Þles which use commas as Þeld delimiters.
File formats
Basic DAQ Format
The basic .DAQ Þle has one header record and any number
of data records.
Record One = Template Name,Owner Name
Record Two = Field1,Field2,Field3,…
Record Three = Field1,Field2,Field3,…
EXAMPLE
Birthday,Alec
Bill,29,March 29
Bob,30,April 1
Betty,28,April 10
Registered Extension Format
The registered extension format Þle has the type of its
extension (e.g., Ò.xlsÓ) and the owner (e.g., Excel) registered for
use with a particular Template through the Administrator. This
eliminates the need for the header record (with Template name
and Owner name) to be in the Þle. Only data records are needed.
Record One = Field1,Field2,Field3,…
Record Two = Field1,Field2,Field3,…
Record Three = Field1,Field2,Field3,…
EXAMPLE
Bill,29,March 29
Bob,30,April 1
Betty,28,April 10
Appendices
125
Appendix P: Formats of ASCII-delimited files
Extended DAQ Format
An extended .DAQ Þle is used with a template that contains
at least one @submit Þeld. The Þle has a header record with values
for the @Submit Þelds in the template. This Þle also has another
header record (with Template name and Owner name) and any
number of data records.
Record One =Template Name,Owner Name
Record Two = Destination,Start Date,Start Time,End Date,End Time,
Duration
Record Three = Field1,Field2,Field3,…
Record Four = Field1,Field2,Field3,…
EXAMPLE
Birthday,Alec
Office,,,,,5:00:00
Bill,29,March 29
Bob,30,April 1
Betty,28,April 10
Extended Registered Extension Format
An extended .DAQ Þle is used with a template that contains
at least one @Submit Þeld. This Þle has a header record with
values for the @Submit Þelds in the template.
The registered extension format Þle has the type of its
extension (e.g., Ò.docÓ) and the owner (e.g., Microsoft Word)
registered for use with a particular Template through the
Administrator. This eliminates the need for the header record
(with Template name and Owner name) to be in the Þle. One
header and any number of data records are used.
Record One = Destination,Start Date,Start Time,End Date,End Time,
Duration
Record Two = Field1,Field2,Field3,…
Record Three = Field1,Field2,Field3,…
EXAMPLE
Office,,,,,5:00:00
Bill,29,March 29
Bob,30,April 1
Betty,28,April 10
126
Appendices
Appendix P: Formats of ASCII-delimited files
Format of @Submit fields in the header record
General
¥
¥
.DAQ Þles are in ASCII-delimited Þle format.
Parameters included in these Þles will override any
parameters deÞned in a template message.
Comma delimiters
¥
¥
¥
¥
Commas are used for separating the @Submit Þelds.
Do not include spaces before or after the comma,
except when the space is part of the data.
For the template/owner header, both Þelds are
needed, with one comma between them.
For the scheduling header, there must be Þve (5)
commas total. There does not have to be anything
between them, and if there is not, then a comma acts
as a placeholder. However, you should include all
the Þelds logically needed. For example, if you have
a start time and date, you should also have either a
duration or a stop time and date.
Destination
¥
¥
¥
Must be typed exactly as is shown in the Editor lists
of Locations in Submit > Submit Options.
This is case-sensitive, that is, use upper and lower
case as appropriate.
If the Location is a group, then the Destination must
be typed with (Group) at the end.
Date
¥
¥
¥
Do not use commas within the date Þelds! Commas
are reserved for separating the @Submit Þelds.
Use month-day-year format.
It is best to use backslashes (/) or dashes (-) as
separators. However, words are acceptable for the
month. Do not include commas!
Time
¥
¥
¥
Use military time, that is, a 24-hour clock.
Use the format HH:MM:SS. Default start time is
immediate.
For example, 18:45:22, for 22 seconds past 6:45 PM.
Duration
¥
Appendices
Use the format HH:MM:SS. Default is two minutes.
127
Appendix P: Formats of ASCII-delimited files
Format of fields in data records
Comma delimiters
¥
¥
Commas are used for separating the data Þelds.
There is no comma at the end of any record.
Field values
¥
If there is a comma within the data for a Þeld, enclose
the entire Þeld data in quotes.
Field numbers
¥
In the template message, the Þeld number
corresponds to the sequential number of the desired
Þeld in the ASCII-delimited data Þle.
¥
For example, assume you have a data Þle with a total
of Þfty Þelds. You only want to use three of these
Þelds. The three you want are number 40, 21, and 35,
in that order in the template message. So when you
enter them in the template message, specify the Þrst
text marker Þeld as number 40, the second as 21, and
the last as 35.
The value of the Field Number
here coordinates with the
sequence of the fields in a text
file which can supply the values.
128
Appendices
Appendix P: Formats of ASCII-delimited files
Registering an extension and owner
You can associate a speciÞc template with a unique type of
Þle extension for a Þle that provides data for a variable in that
template. With this, Smart Alec automatically merges a Þle with
that extension together with the template to process a complete
message.
While this example shows a template being associated with
Microsoft Word, typically, this would be associated with the
output Þle from a custom application.
1. In the Administrator, select the template to be used and
then choose Edit > Properties.
2.
Appendices
The Template Properties screen will appear. Enter the
Extension for the type of Þle you would like this Template
to use, e.g., ÒdocÓ for a Microsoft Word document.
129
Appendix P: Formats of ASCII-delimited files
130
3.
Enter the Owner who will be submitting the ASCII Þle
with that extension, e.g., ÒMSWÓ for Microsoft Word. (An
Owner is any person or application which will submit
information in some way to Smart Alec. Owner is used as
a label in the Message Server so you can recognize where
the data is coming from. Owner can be up to three
characters.)
4.
Select OK. This template will now be used any time an
ASCII Þle with that extension is put in the ASCII File
Input Interface's Inbox. You wonÕt need the header record
with Template name and Owner name in the Þle.
Appendices
Appendix Q: How to assign a user’s email name in Windows NT
Appendix Q: How to assign a user’s email name in Windows NT
You must manually change the CROSSREF.INI Þle in
Windows NT. Use this description and example of the sections
and lines which are needed to assign a user and an email identity:
Description
[Users]
Login Name=User profile .INI file name
[Email Users]
Local Email Address=User profile .INI file name
Example
[Users]
Alec=ale
[Email Users]
Administrator=ale
Appendices
131
Glossary
Glossary
ASCII file
An ASCII Þle comes from an information source, such as
software or email, and includes ASCII text strings and possibly
some submission options. In most cases, the ASCII Þle includes a
template name (except if the template was previously associated
with a particular type of ASCII Þle through the Administrator).
Destination
A selected location where a message will be sent.
Device
In general, any kind of hardware component that is part of
your computer system. However, in Smart Alec, the term device
is limited to hardware components to which you send messages.
Examples are: signs, modems, and pagers. All devices need
Device Drivers.
Device Driver
Software and parameter settings needed to communicate
properly with a hardware device.
The Smart Alec system includes the following device drivers:
¥ Wired Ñ Uses cables to connect ALPHA SA signs into a
network, and messages are sent over this cabling. A
direct com port connection works best when all the
devices are in one building.
¥ Wireless Ñ Uses a wireless receiver attached to a display
device. The advantage of this connection method is that
wiring does not have to be strung between devices.
Messages are sent from your computer to wireless
receivers and pagers via a transmitter, attached to your
computer, which broadcasts messages to these receivers.
The distance from your transmitter to the receivers is
limited.
¥ Modem Ñ Uses a modem attached to your computer
and one or more modems attached to a remote device.
When a message is sent, it is transmitted to the remote
device when the computer modem calls the deviceÕs
modem. A modem connection is often used for devices
that are not in the same building and possibly not in the
132
Appendices
Glossary
same city. It works best when message data does not
change rapidly.
TAP Ñ Uses a wireless receiver attached to a device,
either a display or a pager. A message is sent from your
computer to an attached modem. The modem then dials
a paging service, such as SkyTel, and this paging service
actually transmits the message to the wireless receiver.
The distance between your transmitter and the receivers
is limited only by the range of the paging service.
LAN Ñ Uses a Local Area Network cabling system to
transmit messages to a device on the LAN with an IP
address.
¥
¥
NOTE:
You may have purchased devices from other third
party sources. These are not supported by Adaptive
Micro Systems. You will need to consult the third party
source for any needed assistance.
Display message
The actual message that will be displayed at the
communications device. It includes the message text - plus any
embedded variable data. For example, message text might
include headings of plant run rates. Below the headings, the
variable values (run rates for each production line) are embedded
in the message and displayed as they change. Display messages
also include the associated submission options. Finally, display
messages have been converted to the format required for the
selected display device(s), such as an ALPHA SA sign or an
alphanumeric pager. The layout follows:
Display message (in output device format)
Submission options
User/owner
Schedule or
Destination(s)
active
period
Message text
Priority
Message
text with
embedded
variables
Display
format
Dynamic Data Exchange
Dynamic Data Exchange, or DDE for short, is a programming
method by which Windows-based computer applications can
exchange data when running simultaneously, generally on the
Appendices
133
Glossary
same computer. This way they can ÒcommunicateÓ directly and
actions in one system can be triggered by data in another system.
External data source
A source of data or information outside of the Smart Alec
system. Also known as a data server. One example of an external
data source could be a production line system, such as Intellution
or WonderWare, providing machine statistics, like the number of
parts produced per minute or a machine's temperature. Another
example of an external data source could be a Microsoft Excel or
Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet.
Location
An individual or group of output communication devices,
such as ALPHA SA signs, pagers, or other communication
devices. Examples of Locations could be the vice presidentÕs
pager, the companyÕs intranet site, or an ÒOfÞceÓ Location which
includes all ALPHA SA signs in the ofÞce area of a company. A
Location is a message destination. Each Location has a name and
other information, such as baud rate or address.
Message
A Smart Alec message is composed of two necessary parts:
the message text and the submission options, as deÞned below.
Message text
The text of a message, including optional links for variables
that indicate where variables will be displayed at the
communications device. Message text also includes the format in
which the information will be displayed (such as red and yellow
ßashing LED letters).
Submission options
The properties of a message that enable Smart Alec to deliver
that message at the right time to the right place. Typically, these
properties are assigned in the Editor. Submission options include
the user/owner of the incoming information, the destination(s)
where the message should be sent, the priority, and the schedule
of the message. Messages are scheduled using either preset
schedules or an active period started and stopped by variables as
triggers:
¥ Some messages have pre-set schedules Ñ they run at a
given time for a given length of time. For example, an
134
Appendices
Glossary
¥
employee greeting can be set to run every day at 8:00 AM
for an hour, factory statistics might run all day, or an
email that pages MIS might be set to run immediately as
soon as it is submitted to Smart Alec.
Other messages run only during an active period, when
triggered by a changing variable value. As values for that
variable stream into Smart Alec, the Variable Manager
keeps track of these values, watching for a threshold to
be crossed in some way. When that happens, a message is
triggered to run. For example, the variable for an alarm
might take on the values 0 or 1: 0 if it is off, 1 if it is on.
The variable is submitted to Smart Alec. If the alarm goes
off, the variable changes from 0 to 1, triggering Smart
Alec to send a message like ÒFire in the North Sector.Ó In
another example, a temperature is continually sent to
Smart Alec, which is set to trigger a message if the
temperature rises above 90 degrees. The message is set to
stop running when the temperature drops below 90
degrees. The period during which the message runs is
called the Òactive period.Ó
Message
Submission options
Schedule or
Destination(s)
active
period
User/owner
Message text
Priority
Message
text with
optional
links for
variables
Display
format
Protocol
A format, or a set of standards or rules for how things are
supposed to be formatted or done. In the computer and
communications world, protocols relate to the format and timing
of data transmission between devices. The rules have to do with
speed, tones used, and events that must be done in a speciÞc
sequence so that hardware devices work together properly. ItÕs
similar to the agreement we have to speak the same language.
Protocol Converter
Software to convert the format of the message to the protocol
of a device. ItÕs a translator. For instance, Smart Alec has one to
Appendices
135
Glossary
reformat messages to the required protocol for an ALPHA SA
display, another for pagers, etc. A pager protocol converter is also
responsible for keeping information up-to-date in messages that
use variables.
Template
A blueprint of the text, formatting, and submission options
or properties of a message. Created in the Editor, a template can
be used over and over again with slight variations in the options.
Typically a template pre-deÞnes most of the message text and
submission options, leaving key elements blank for use in
recurring messages. In a template, some text is always missing,
indicated by a Òtext markerÓ which acts like a placeholder
inserted in the template. In some cases, submission options, like
the destination location or active period are missing from the
template. The user then instructs Smart Alec that the information
will be provided Òat submitÓ time, when the message is
submitted for display. Key elements are:
Template
Submission options
User/owner
Destination(s) Schedule or
provided “at
active
submit” time
period
Message text
Priority
Message
text with
optional
links for
variables
and “text
markers”
Display
format
For example, a template might include the text: Happy
Birthday to [text marker]. Various peoplesÕ names will later be
inserted into the text marker space. New text to Þll in the text
marker space may be provided directly through the Editor or may
be supplied in an ASCII Þle from an outside information source
or email.
Submission options may also be updated through the Editor
or provided in an incoming ASCII Þle. For example, email always
provide the user/owner information and text to an associated
email template. The pre-deÞned template determines the
locations and active period.
136
Appendices
Glossary
User/owner
Any person who is both authorized and set up to submit
information in any way to Smart Alec.
Each user has not only a name and password, but can also
have an email address and a list of authorized locations,
templates, and/or variables that person can use. In addition, one
or more users may be authorized as a system administrator. The
number of users active at the same time is limited only by the
number in your license agreement.
Variable
A variable represents real-time data that changes (e.g.,
temperature or production rates, security lock status, alarms.) Its
value changes so itÕs called a variable.Ó Variable values are
typically acquired and handled by the Variable Manager through
Smart AlecÕs DDE or serial interfaces. Variables are embedded in
messages (at variable links) in real time. The value of a variable
gets Þlled in wherever the variable is used in a message and is
refreshed as the value changes. Variables can also be used to
trigger messages and events to start and stop.
As an example, you could have a variable called
ÒTemperatureÓ which is continually Þlled in with values from a
thermometer, changing whenever there is at least a 1-degree
change at the thermometer. Whenever ÒtemperatureÓ equals or
exceeds 212¡ F, an alarm sounds.
Appendices
137
Glossary
138
Appendices
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