info-beamer hosted 12 releasedPosted Feb 09 2021 by Florian Wesch
The info-beamer hosted operating system gets a new major release.
Updating to the latest release
You don't have to do anything manually. Within the next months, your devices will be gradually upgraded automatically. Please get in contact with support if you have any questions.
If you want to upgrade manually, you can click on the Activate stable channel option in the Manage menu on the device page of the device you want to upgrade. This will install the new version and reboot the device once. If you want to delay updates at some point, you can go to the devices page, click on Manage and Toolbox.. and select "Delay auto upgrades for 14 days".
A device is also updated if you use the web dashboard configuration editor and apply a new configuration to a device. As usual the updating process includes a failsafe and a device that doesn't reconnect back to the info-beamer service after a configuration change/OS upgrade will be rolled back to the previous working configuration automatically after a few minutes.
Fetching the new version, upgrading the OS all happens in the background and only a reboot that should not take longer than 20-30 seconds interrupts playback briefly.
This release features a ton of minor improvements in addition to the following changes:
This release includes initial support for audio playback on HiFiBerry devices. This feature is used within the In-store Radio package. Additionally the bundled info-beamer player software now also supports streaming audio content as well as playing local audio files. An FFT transformation allows detecting silence within the produced audio output. Refer to the linked package for more information or have a look at the forum post.
Faster WiFi connection
Devices using WiFi now connect to their configured network a lot faster. Often within seconds after booting up. Additionally if the network connection gets lost temporarily, reconnects are now faster and the device will reappear within the dashboard sooner. For that, the WiFi connection is directly monitored by the synchronization service. More detailed WiFi information like signal strength is now gathered and visualized on the device detail page within the dashboard.
Updated RPI Firmware/Kernel
The Pi firmware and Linux kernel have been updated.
Compute Module 4 (CM4) support
The Compute Module 4 is now supported. This should include support for the NEC Compute Module 4, but we didn't have a chance to test this yet.
The default EEPROM has been updated and the Pi4 8GB variant is now supported out of the box. Additionally the custom EEPROM is flashed immediately upon setting up a new devices. This ensures that the EEPROM always matches the running OS version. Previously it was required to rewrite the OS (by setting configuration values for example) to ensure that the EEPROM was flashed. Unfortunately this method does not work on the CM4 yet as it doesn't allow EEPROM updates using recovery.bin. It might be possible to support self-updating by the EEPROM itself in the future.
Offline device syncing
It will be possible in the near future to select devices within the dashboard and generate a downloadable offline sync ZIP file. This ZIP file can then be extracted to a USB drive. If the USB import feature is enabled on an offline device, the USB drive can be used to apply configuration changes or assign new setups to an offline device.
P2P for system updates
The Peer-to-Peer feature is now used for system updates. This results in lots of saved bandwidth for devices within the same local network as future updates will be retrieved only once and then shared across devices. Of course system updates are cryptographically signed and verifier by each devices.
Faster workflow for adding local devices
The Local Registration feature allows faster registration of devices within the local network. Enabling Peer-to-Peer is required to use this feature. A newly booted devices is automatically detected and if the info-beamer website dashboard is used from within the same local network, the device can now be added to an account without typing in the PIN code. Have a look at the forum post.
Customizing image downloads
In the previous version only ZIP downloads could be customized. This release now also allows customized image downloads. This makes it easier to automate mass deployments of devices that use image based SD card initialization.
Better MTU detection
In rare cases it was required to reduce the default MTU used to transmit network packets. A router on the network path to the info-beamer backed or other services might drop packets using the default MTU of 1500 bytes, resulting in stuck connections. This is now improved by automatic MTU probing. Dropped packets can now be detected and the MTU will be lowered automatically if needed.
Sysinfo for easier debugging
A new tool named sysinfo is now included. It dumps out a lot of information regarding the configuration and runtime behaviour of the Pi. It will be automatically called if a configuration change wasn't successful and the Pi reverted back to its previous configuration. This can then be used by support to figure out why the change wasn't successful. Similarly the "Manage" button within the device detail page now has a new "Toolbox" option. It allows users to manually create such log files in case any issue requires detailed log output.
Experimental NTLM proxy support
Devices behind Windows Network based proxies can now use NTLM for proxy authentication. This is an experimental feature and using proxies is generally not recommended for running info-beamer based devices. VLAN based isolation is recommended instead.
Access to USB based HID
Package services can now request access to attached USB devices using the "input" permission. See node permissions for more information.
Welcome screen can be remote controlled
Using CEC, a TV remote can be used to open up a menu within the welcome screen. It can be used to query additional hardware or debugging information. Additionally the WiFi configuration interface can be manually started on WiFi enabled devices. See Welcome Screen CEC menu for more information and configuration of this feature.
NEC MediaPlayer integration
This release includes an integration into the NEC MediaPlayer, the default OS running on RPi powered NEC displays. The MediaPlayer allows users to switch to various digital signage solution including info-beamer. A user can easily revert back to MediaPlayer from within the info-beamer dashboard by just deleting the device from their account.
NEC fan control
An updated release of the NEC SDK is now included and the NEC fan is now automatically controlled based on CPU temperature.
Head over to the community forums for questions or feedback regarding this release.
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