What to do when your Windows Mobile root certificate expires!

4 03 2014

Welcome peeps, today we’re getting a little bit technical but on an issue that is potentially on every Windows Mobile device, so quite topical!

As you know, mobile devices are pretty much useless these days unless they’re connecting and sending or receiving all kinds of updates throughout their working day.  In the field this is done over 3G or Wifi but largely unsecured networks where SSL and encryption is certainly required.

Root certificates are the standard secure SSL certificates that are used by all kinds of apps to enable this functionality without having to install your own costly certificates and Windows Mobile devices have many root certificates installed by many providers.  On 28/01/2014 Global Signs certificates expired and we found  on every Windows mobile 6.1 and 6.5 device that we checked today, this was the same so essentially if your app uses this companies root certificate, then you need to update it.  Here’s how!

1. First download the refreshed certificate here: https://www.globalsign.com/support/Root-R1.cer

2. Copy the file you saved onto the handheld, make sure it has a .cer ending.

3. On the handheld, open it up in file explorer and install it by double tapping it.

4. Now using a registry editor program (We use Remote registry editor via active sync on a pc), navigate to KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Comm\Security\SystemCertificates\Root\Certificates\

5. Delete the folder called 2F173F7DE99667AFA57AF80AA2D1B12FAC830338.  This will remove the old expired cert from the cert store and your app will now use the new version you’ve installed which will allow a connection to function securely and properly.

For many this won’t be an issue but we have had a few users using apps that have sprung up the dreaded error message.

As always get in touch if you need any more help!

www.ruggedandmobile.com





Rugged PDA’s and Tablet Camera Based Barcode Scanners

8 02 2013
Camera Based Barcode Scanning Is an option for some

Camera Based Barcode Scanning Is an option for some

So the last in this mini series of blogs about Rugged Handheld PDA and Rugged Tablet barcode scanner options.  In the first post we looked at built-in barcode scanner options, in the last post we looked at the Bluetooth option and today we’re looking at using the built-in camera for barcode scanning.

Now first and foremost let’s get this out in the open right now.  Camera based barcode scanners, from a data capture specialist point of view, are pretty poor compared to using any kind of proper barcode scanner tech, including even the budget LED style scanner tech.  Camera’s are not built for barcode scanning, they are ill supported and they can cause lots of issues with your mobile solution, especially if trying to scan 1D barcodes.

However!….

There are always some exceptions and things to try so lets cover these off.

Firstly some pitfalls of Camera based barcode scanning

  • They are very slow!  Even the best Android smartphone readers out there would drive you crazy if being used constantly.
  • They can misread.  1D barcodes especially can be mis-read by a standard camera
  • They usually don;t have any dedicated hardware buttons
  • In the Windows Mobile world there are very few things out there that can use the camera to scan.  Android, there are a few better ones and some open source work going on.

The pro’s of using the camera are that you save money on your device and if you’re scanning periodically, lets say 1 scan per site visit, then they can work.  Lets not forget that with a tablet, it might be the only option if you don;t want to try a BT scanner.

Getting the utilities to scan with

Well this is the main issue as most Rugged PDA’s and tablets.  There isn’t actually a utility on the device to barcode scan with.  However Motorola are one of the exceptions to the rule with their Datawedge utility that comes free on all of their kit.  This isn’t too shabby, Motorola would be the first to admit it wasn’t retail standard but it isn’t bad.  We’re told that the new Motorola MC45 has a pretty decent 2D camera based scanner so we’ll try that as soon as we get one.

Android Camera based Barcode Scanners

In Android, it’s a different story as there are a fair few utilities you can use.  You have to be aware of hidden costs as some look free, but aren’t but there is a lot more choice and some of them can work pretty well, almost as well as the Motorola DataWedge utility.

So camera based scanning is an option on some brands.  It’s not really ideal for 1D scanning and it is certainly an inefficient way to scan barcodes but for some we wouldn’t write it off as a solution here.  As always come talk to us and we’ll ensure you get the right kit.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.





Creating Basic Warehouse Applications with the Cipherlab 8200

7 09 2012
Syncing your data from the Cipherlab 8200 couldn't be easier!

Syncing your data from the Cipherlab 8200 couldn’t be easier!

This is the last of 3 articles showing you how to get started on creating a basic warehouse application, using Forge and the Cipherlab 8200.

In the 1st article we went over setting everything up. Yesterday we went through the Forge Application Generator development kit and today we’re going to sync our data from the 8200 Batch Scanner to the PC.

Syncing your data

Syncing your data is pretty easy.  In the software you installed in the 1st article in this series you’ll actually find a few applications.  One of these is called “Data_Read.exe” and this is a small little application that handles syncing your data from your Cipherlab 8200 on to your PC as a user-friendly (and more importantly Excel friendly) text file.  The main and only screen you;ll see is below and I’ll go through a few of the important areas here.

Setting up

The Data Read application is where it all happens!

The Data Read application is where it all happens!

Properties

This is where you set up the file properties, whether it overwrites existing data, adds line feeds etc.  You can also set up the filename conventions here and where it will be stored.

Options

You can generate log files here to check where bad syncs are going wrong, also make sure you keep the “always show this dialog box” checked or you won’t see this screen any more!

Communication Parameters

This is an important area as you have to get this right or the syncing will fail.  You’ll almost certainly be using the RS232/iRDA/USB VCOM so unless you have a really old PC or are syncing in a very bespoke manner just use this setting.  The COM port is essential to get right.  If you didn’t catch it when it installed the device then go to your Device manager on your PC and look for the COM port number with the 8200 device on it.  The COM port will be shown there.  Baud rate is almost becoming a non issue these days, leave it at 115000.  If you check the “Keep online…” box then this will leave the Data_Read app in a state where it should auto upload the data when you connect your 8200 device.

Auto Upload and Delete

These settings allow you to choose what data is deleted off the device after a sync has taken place.

Running a Sync

Once set up running a sync is easy.  Follow these steps:

  1. Connect your Cipherlab 8200 batch scanner to your PC using the cable or cradle.
  2. Run the Data_Read app.
  3. Click OK.
  4. The sync will take place or an error will be shown.
  5. You’ll find the new text file saved in the folder you set up above.
  6. Depending on your settings, the device might then ask you to delete the data, select the option you want.
  7. Disconnect the 8200 and you;re ready for more scanning!

It really is this simple, if you get connection issues they tend to be around USB and your PC so just unplug everything and start again and you’ll usually be fine!.

http://www.ruggedandmobile.com/Category.aspx?CID=6





Creating Basic Warehouse Applications with the Cipherlab 8200

5 09 2012

You need a lot less than you might think to create small warehouse solutions!

So this is the 2nd article in a series of 3 that shows you how to get started on creating a basic warehouse application, using Forge and the Cipherlab 8200.  Yesterday we went through the basics, how to set up your PC, what hardware you need to buy and today we’ll look at Forge a little more closely.

What is Forge Application Generator?

Forge is Cipherlabs application environment for its 8000 series batch scanners.  It allows you to quickly and easily create small, basic data capture applications with very little programming knowledge.  It’s not for everyone, but it is for a lot of people.

Running Forge is easy, you just install it and run the Forge application form the newly installed Cipherlab folder on your start menu.  The main screen is where you do most, if not all your work and is shown below:

Forge's main screen is where it happens from!

Forge’s main screen is where it happens from!

So let’s go through the basics by going through each of the blue folders on the main screen:

Startup

This is where you set up the main startup behaviour of the Cipherlab 8200 device.  You can ask it to start in a menu fashion, giving the user a set of menu items to choose from, or you can go straight into a “Form” which is really an app in Forge. You can also set up the menu you want the user to see and restrict certain elements from it.  You can also set up basic font sizes and more from here.

Settings

This is where you set up the general behaviour of the whole device and applications you install to it.  Its pretty straight forward with options for the keyboard lights, sounds, scan beeps etc.  However a key feature here is the connection property of the device.  You can choose USB, RS-232, IR all of which are key to getting right if you want to upload and download data with the 8200.  You can set up functions keys and the security of the device here too.

Symbology

This is where you control the bar code scanner on the Cipherlab 8200.  It’s much the same as any other device and where you can configure the scanner.

The menu on the 8200 Device

The menu on the 8200 Device

Menu

This is where a lot of the work is done when creating an application.  You can have 10 menu’s in Forge, I have never needed all of them!  From here you can create a custom menu for your application with links to each Form (See below) you create.  It’s essentially where you build the framework and navigation of your application.

Lookup

This is where you create Lookup data which can be used to drive any type of application that requires a data check.  An example of this is you might want to scan products in your warehouse, but look up the bar code in real-time, matching it with a description or expected quantity for example which is data designed to be presented to the user in real-time.

Form

So we created a menu structure above, however a Form is where the bulk of the application happens.  You can again have a maximum of 10 forms, and onto each from you can create fields, actions and manipulate the data structure captured by the fields.  So you can create a text box, set its name, allow input from the scanner or text or neither, set its min and max data lengths and lots more.  From here you can also link it to other forms or menu items so you build the form right into the fabric or workflow of your application.

Uploading the application

It couldn’t be easier, simply put the device into Accept Application mode. Select the “Send Application” option from the Forge software and you’ll see the app upload and run.  This will then run every time the user turns the 8200 device on.

It really is simple.  Tomorrow we’ll round off with the types of apps you can create using different configurations of the Cipherlab 8200 device.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.





Creating Basic Warehouse Applications with the Cipherlab 8200

3 09 2012

Inexpensive batch scanners can do a lot for you in the warehouse

So we’re back online here after a testing week but back blogging better and stronger hopefully!  Rugged solutions usually mean you need some form of Microsoft or other type of solution, however there are a lot of customers out there both big and small who simply need something more basic.  Step in the “batch scanner” which come in all shapes, sizes and ruggedness but just how do these weird little things work and how can they help you build an inexpensive but effective solution for your warehouse.

This week I wanted to share some expertise with everyone by essentially showing you how you can do this extremely quickly and with our choice of batch scanner, the Cipherlab 8200.  Cipherlab make great kit, they have a lovely northern UK base and you’ll find their tech at the heart of other brands, most notably the Honeywell ScanPal 2.b  Their kit is well priced, good quality with nice scanners and most importantly their batch scanners come with a free utility called “Forge” which gives you a small, basic but powerful little application generator that you can easily start to create applications under.

The problem

The problem with many companies is that they either don’t have the infrastructure to support a fully fledged warehouse solution or they might have one but it could be old and very complex, requiring a lot of expertise and money to link up to.  However something that can spit out a CSV file in the right way could be the answer and this is where the Cipherlab 8200 with Forge can help.

So what do I need

Lest take a really simple stock taking solution.  All we want to do is scan something and take a QTY on the shelf of it.  This will be stored and then reported out at the end.  We need a batch scanner to do this, we need forge to create the application and we need a PC to sync all the data to.

Setting up

The 8200 comes ready to use out of the box, all it needs is a good charge of the battery and you’re away!  However in order to sync to your PC you need some USB drivers specific to the device.  Don;t worry this is simple, just a double-click and the drivers self install on your PC. Just keep the device unattached whilst doing this.  Forge is also easy to set up, you just get the package when you buy a device, install it like you would any other windows application and everything will be there ready to use, including a comprehensive manual.

Testing the set-up

Once done, attach your Cipherlab 8200 to the PC via the USB cable or cradle if your bought one and it just connect.  When the little bubble appears it will tell you the COM port it will be using, make sure you take a note of this.  If you miss it then just go into your Device manager and find it there.

So we’re all set-up, in the next blog we’ll start to create a basic application that will scan and store products and their QTY’s.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.








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