May 14, 2008

FAQ -- Printers Laser and Wide Thermal for Kiosks

kiosk_printer.jpgNew addition to FAQ section. Question is "I need a wide printer but not sure if I should go thermal or laser. Which one should I use". Craig Keefner of KIOSK contributes objective guidelines for consideration. One of the more relevant is the life cycle of the printer. This becomes particularly important in large and longt erm deployments. As size and duration of a deployment goes down, so do considerations on which printer to use.

Wide Thermal versus Laser A4 printers in Kiosks

Thermal "Advantages" Most Often Cited

  • Service Calls -- fewer service calls
  • Capacity - 1200 sheets versus 250 (or 500)
  • Capacity -- higher capacity translates into fewer "add paper" service calls
  • Print Size -- you can print just the paper you need rather than always a sheet
  • Print Options - have choice of printing multi-pages versus only one page
  • Time to Print -- thermal printers require no warmup (10 to 20 seconds for laser)
  • Jams -- thermal printers have fewer jams than laser printers
  • Presenters -- thermal printers have presentation technology for kiosks. Lasers require making something.
  • Cost Lower for paper
  • Cost Lower for Consumables -- toner or ink ribbon consumables are eliminated, printer drum replacements (est every other year) are eliminated (and service calls).
  • Flexibility & Size of Printer -- has horizontal and vertical mounting options. Smaller than laser as rule.
  • Supportability -- wide thermals have longer life cycle. Size and configuration remain consistent if one needs replacement you can always get another the same size and form factor. Laser printers often change form factors every 6 months.
  • Thermals are not Cheaper, but they are more reliable,
  • Larger the deployment and the more support options the bigger the advantages.
  • Thermals are Used more often in self-service deployments (75% of time)
  • Thermals are smaller. Lasers drive you to a larger kiosk size.

Laser "Advantages" Most Often Cited

  • Lower cost for printer (25% the cost)
  • Adding paper can be done by employees with no technical expertise
  • If Workforce/Employees are not technical Laser is easier for them to deal with.
  • Higher resolution and quality of print
  • Easier to service when servicing required.
  • Smaller deployments or test deployments work fine with Lasers

Contributor: Craig Keefner with KIOSK Information Systems
Notes: This is intended as general guide. Each situation is different depending on the project and requirements and the devices. Additions and clarifications are welcome.

Posted by staff at 07:55 AM

October 28, 2006

Tips: Do it yourself Internet kiosk

New post on steps to modify Windows XP so that you have a captive browser. It's pretty rudimentary and there are ton of things it does not address but at least twice a month someone asks. There are other ways to do it but for sake of reference here is this way.

How to Create an Internet Kiosk in 10 Easy Steps � Midspot

How to Create an Internet Kiosk in 10 Easy Steps
October 26th, 2006 · No Comments

If you own a business and would like to provide an “Internet Cafe” to your customers but do not want to worry about them trashing your computer or snooping around your network, there are some things you can do to create a more secure environment. This secure internet browsing mode is commonly referred to as an Internet Kiosk.

Disclaimer: This article is designed to cover most angles but does not claim to be conclusive in securing Windows (if there is such a thing!) What we will essentially do is create an automatically updating machine that grants the user access only to Internet Explorer by changing the shell value for that user and
by applying local Group Policy to restrict the user.

Steps to Create Your Own Internet Kiosk:

1. Install Windows XP (Pro is recommended, but not required. This how-to is based on Pro edition) on a NTFS formatted hard drive.
2. Install all updates via and set automatic updates to install automatically in the future on a daily basis
3. Install your anti virus software of choice and set it to auto update
4. Install Flash, Macromedia, and acrobat reader if you so choose
5. create a new user account with admin privileges, set the password to never expire and to not be able to be changed by the user
6. log in with that user and make the following registry change:
* click Start -> Run and type regedit and click OK
* Once the Registry Editor opens, click File and Export… to create a backup of the registry (in case something goes wrong). Place this in the C:\Windows folder.
* Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current
* Create a new string value called shell (Edit -> New -> String Value)
* in the Data portion of this new string value type: C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE
7. Close the Registry Editor and logout of Windows
8. Log back in with your original admin account
9. Reduce the privileges of the new user account you created earlier to user
10. Click Start -> Run -> Type “mmc” without the quotes. On the File menu click “Add/Remove Snap-in“. Click Add.
Under Available Stand-alone Snap-ins, click Group Policy, and then click Add. This will open the Group Policy editor where you can limit user rights to your heart’s content. I would recommend dis-allowing control panel access, Active Desktop options, Task Manager from Ctrl-Alt-Del, and other obvious settings to ensure that your users can only
do what you say.

There you have it, 10 easy steps to create your own secure Internet
Kiosk. When your newly created restricted user logs in, they will only get an Internet Explorer window. No start menu or desktop options.

If you have any suggestions on how to improve the security of your newly installed Internet Kiosk, please share them with our readers.

Posted by staff at 08:21 AM

January 06, 2004

Extending Wi-Fi Wireless Range

How Can I Extend the Range of my Wi-Fi network?

Best option is probably for antenna extenders. Something like the HyperGain Range Extender 14 dBi Flat Patch Antenna versus the HyperDirectTM HG-XT11P 11 dBi Smart Directional Diversity Antenna. Tessco makes units to 6dB.

These have drawbacks as they are "directional". This means the signal is focused over a smaller sector, and thus gets better distance. You need to be sure the coverage sector is appropriate for your location. The HyperGains above both show a 30 degree coverage sector. The XT11 is a bit weaker (each 3db doubles the mW power, each 10db increases power by a factor of 10). So I would pick the stronger antenna. They look pretty similar otherwise.

Then there are repeaters. The DLink DWL-900AP+ has a repeater mode. You enter in the MAC address of the AP to repeat. Problem here is that it has limited compatibility.

Other Issues to consider:

Repeater mode is not the best approach, because it uses a lot of frequency space, and typically slows down the throughput. While it can work in some situations, it should not be the first choice. And if you want to get into wireless networks with more complexity than a single access point like the WSG, be prepared to support them.

In client mode, the Dlink product works fine (I use several of DWL-810+ devices to deliver WiFi to my neighbours). But it does not really extend the range of the network, rather, it provides a RJ-45 wall jack with no cable behind it. Good to connect a wired device (say a desktop computer) to a wireless network.

A more powerful antenna, situated in a good location (i.e. separate from the AP, in an obstruction free spot), is probably the simplest approach for improving signal coverage. For 1000 feet (indoors I presume), multiple access points would be the only reasonable approach. This would require some cabling efforts and a site survey of sorts to determine optimal cable paths and access point locations.

There are FCC limitations with respect to power levels. (1 Watt for point to multi-point). The WSG 100 is 30mW I believe. Add a 15db antenna and you will be very close to this limit (16 db antenna will push 30mW to 1200mW or 1.2W, just over the limit). Antenna cabling introduces loss, and its always fun to get the connectors right, as there is no prevalent standard interconnects.

In summary, extending the range of a wireless network beyond a hotspot is not trivial, and will vary with the attributes of each location. Its really outside of our core mission, but with the right engineering, its very do-able. I have designed and installed hotel installations with more than 60 access points in the network. But the design and installation fee, separate from equipment, usually fell between $10,000 and $20,000 USD. Then you have to consider ongoing support, equipment warranties etc.

Posted by Craig at 10:27 PM

January 05, 2004

What is Triple DES?

What is Triple DES anyway?

Article below plus there was a nice whitepaper [pdf] by Ann All on Triple DES that can be
Triple DES Compliance

What is Triple DES?

Triple DES (Data Encryption Standard) is the new encryption standard being mandated by Visa and MasterCard. It replaces the existing standard simply known as DES or Single DES. Triple DES refers to the encryption or scrambling of the Personal Identification Number (PIN) that the ATM user enters during the ATM transaction process. This encryption is done after the PIN number is entered, but before the ATM requests transaction authorization at the ATM network. The name Triple DES was given to the new encryption standard because the PIN number entered by the ATM user is encrypted three times. The first encryption takes place using the first half of an assigned double length key (series of numbers or letters) to encrypt the PIN. The second operation required as part of the new standard calls for de-encryption of the previously encrypted PIN using the second half of the assigned double length key. The third operation requires the reuse of the first half of the double length key to re-encrypt the PIN. This encryption process may also be referred to as two-key triple encryption.

The new requirement is for the Triple DES encryption to occur inside the keyboard/encryptor, and subsequently the newly encrypted PIN is not available to the network or ATM application software until the PIN is fully encrypted. The new keyboard and encryptor combination device is called an Encrypting Pin Pad or EPP, and is different than the encryptors offered on previous ATMs. On previous ATMs, the encryptor board and the keyboard were separate components, making them less secure than the new EPP.

Why is it Required?

Concerns have grown over the vulnerability of the present standard, DES. In 1999, an industry approved academic project called DESCHALL 111 successfully used a network of computers to crack the DES encryption code. This was accomplished in less than 24 hours, showing that this type of attack was possible and affordable (the hardware used to do this cost $250,000), although it has never been accomplished in the real world. As a result of this study and the ever increasing access to more and more powerful computers for fewer and fewer dollars, Visa and MasterCard are mandating that all PIN numbers be encrypted using the more advanced Triple DES Standard to prevent the potential theft of PIN numbers.

When do I have to Comply?

(Tentative Dates)

April 1, 2002-All newly installed ATMs, newly installed merchant terminals that accept PINs, and Cardholder Activated Terminals must be Triple DES capable by this date. That is, they must be capable of adhering to the Triple DES at the point of transaction. Newly installed refers to new ATM placements, ATMs being replaced at an existing location, and ATMs relocated from another location. This also includes POI terminals.

April 1, 2003-All member processor host systems (networks) must use Triple DES compliant in accordance with Triple DES.

April, 2005-All ATMs must be Triple DES compliant.

Triple DES

What is "ADA" and "ADAAG" and how does it affect Triple DES?

The Americans with Disabilities ACT (ADA) or "ADAAG" was set up by the Government to ensure that anyone would be able to use an ATM regardless of physical capabilities or handicap. The Triple DES keyboard has a change in the color and position of the "CLEAR", "CANCEL", and "ENTER" keys. When you see a new Triple DES keyboard installed, it will look similar to the one shown in the diagram below. Thus, in addition to being Triple DES ready, the keyboards are meeting the new ANSI standards for ADA as well.

Private Audio Feature

In Addition to new Keyboard standards, the NEW ADA requirements will include some form of AUDIO lead through. The final ruling has not been made by the Government, but it is anticipated there will be a public and private AUDIO requirement for your ATMs. NCR has been marketing AUDIO capable machines for over a year. Your existing machine base may or may not have to be upgraded to meet these POTENTIAL new requirements. If you choose to go ahead and upgrade your AUDIO along with your Triple DES upgrade, the requirements for Audio are listed below.

Hardware Requirements:


Digitized Audio Services enabled on all new units

DAS functionality enabled under NDC 5.04.02

56XX or older 58XX can be upgraded

Pentium Processor with Warp 4, 32 MB RAM,

10 MB of free disk space are minimums for DAS audio

What do I need to do?

If you are upgrading an existing machine to Triple DES, you must decide on whether or not you have the processing power to meet the AUDIO requirements

The legislation is not finalized, and we do not know if existing units will be "Grandfathered" in. If not, you nay have to go back and upgrade those processors that met the minimum requirements for Triple DES (486 66), to a Pentium based processor. The kit price for an audio upgrade is Call (K521) This will get you the hardware you need to be compliant. It will NOT make your ATM talk. This will require custom Audio tracks to match your machine download. These Audio "*.WAV" files will have to be installed on your machine, at an additional cost, in order for it to "talk".

For right now, you have to decide if you want to upgrade an existing unit to "audio capable", or do you want to wait and see how the final legislation plays out.

If you are upgrading the processor for Triple DES purposes anyway, you may want to go ahead and add the audio hardware as well

Article Link

Posted by Craig at 09:57 PM

October 13, 2003

What is TTY or TDD?

What is a TTY anyway?

TTY stands for Text Telephone (or Teletypewriter for the Deaf). It is also sometimes called a TDD, or Telecommunication Device for the Deaf. TTY is the more widely accepted term, however, as TTYs are used by many people, not just people who are deaf.

A TTY is a special device that lets people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-impaired use the telephone to communicate, by allowing them to type messages back and forth to one another instead of talking and listening. A TTY is required at both ends of the conversation in order to communicate.

To use a TTY, you set a telephone handset onto special acoustic cups built into the TTY (some TTY models can be plugged directly into a telephone line). Then, type the message you want to send on the TTY's keyboard. As you type, the message is sent over the phone line, just like your voice would be sent over the phone line if you talked. You can read the other person's response on the TTY's text display.

If you don't have a TTY, you can still call a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-impaired by using the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS). With TRS, a special operator types whatever you say so that the person you are calling can read your words on his or her TTY display. He or she will type back a response, which the TRS operator will read aloud for you to hear over the phone. Toll free TRS services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Posted by Craig at 10:36 PM

October 10, 2003

Printers Used in Borders Kiosk

What kind of printer is used in the Borders kiosk?

a 112mm printer

Posted by Craig at 06:47 PM

September 16, 2003

Airports and new TSA requirements

  • Fasteners -- must be immune to normal tools now in Airports due to guidelines
  • You cannot create any new potential storage facilities in airport. Side areas must use clear plexiglas

Posted by Craig at 03:17 PM

Trim for kiosks -- which one do we by default specify?

Which one should you use?

We always recommend metal trim first rather than wood. More durable.

Posted by Craig at 03:01 PM

JAWS or Section 508 ADA -- What is "JAWS" or TRACE unit?

What is it?

University in Wisconsin has developed the TRACE unit. It is available from KIS.

Posted by Craig at 02:59 PM

keyboards - how many keys on our keyboard and what kind of control key combination customization can be done?

How many and are they programmable?

The KIS ruggedized keyboard has 65 keys and the keyboard are fully programmable.

Posted by Craig at 02:58 PM

back-up power backup - for Tripplite USB 550 how long is it good for during power outage?

Figure on about 15 minutes.

Posted by Craig at 02:57 PM

Powdercoat or stainless steel finish - can i get a brushed stainless look?

Our painted carbon steel has the brushed look. We use that with the McDonald units

Posted by Craig at 02:57 PM

Logitech Video Cam - what's the differences between Pro 4000 and the basic Web Cam?

About $60 difference money wise.
Pro4000 resolution for still image goes to 1280x960 at 1.3 megapixels (logitech does not provide lower resolution figure for entry web cam.

video frame rate of 30 fps is at lower 320x240 for web cam.

brochure links:

Posted by Craig at 02:55 PM

What is range of Airpath hotspot?

typically quoted as 300-500 feet though this varies based on environment installed into.

Posted by Craig at 02:54 PM

What are dimensions and weight of the Dell sx270?

Vertical Orientation (H x W x D)
9.72. x 3.35. x 9.53. (24.7cm x 8.5cm x 24.2cm)
Horizontal Orientation (H x W x D)3.35. x 9.72. x 9.53. (8.5cm x 24.7cm x 24.2cm)
Chassis Weight 7.6lbs (3.45Kg) -
Chassis with a FDD device in the media bay
8.0lbs (3.6Kg) -

Posted by Craig at 02:53 PM

What is CE certification?

A combination of FCC and UL, CE is an European standard.

Posted by Craig at 02:53 PM

Can I rent kiosks?

Yes, but not from us. There are several companies in the USA who do this. A search of the web should identify them.

Posted by Craig at 02:50 PM

Can I lease kiosks?

Yes, but not from us. We do not actually do the leasing or carry the paper. We can provide leasing partner information.

For ballpark figure cost of kiosk X .034
we don't hold the paper or actually do the lease

Posted by Craig at 02:49 PM

Does KIS sell separate components without an enclosure?

For customers who have purchased systems from us, absolutely.

If you have not purchased kiosk systems from us, we seldom do this. It is not something that we do as a rule. You should probably contact one of our partners or resellers directly. We can provide contact information as required.

Posted by Craig at 02:49 PM

Can I purchase an empty enclosure and put all of my own components in?

No. For customers with very large production requirements (100 or more at one time) we will consider this approach.

Posted by Craig at 02:48 PM

Can I put my own PC into an enclosure that KIS makes?


#2 -- If we cannot have your PC in our factory in order to test your kiosk, we will use on of our PCs to test your kiosk. This means, however, that your kiosk will not be UL certified as we must have ALL components in the kiosk for this certification process.

#3 -- Even if you ship us your PC for installation in the kiosk, we still incur the same costs of handling, integration, testing with kiosk components, insurance, etc. We will add this charge to the kiosk pricing without your PC to cover those costs.

#4 -- Lastly, our warranty and on-site maintenance guarantees (warranty of one year and on-site maintenance and parts replacement for one year) will not apply to the PC or any problems caused by the PC. This means that your warranty or on-site maintenance charges may well be much more than if we supplied the PC.

Posted by Craig at 02:48 PM

What is the difference between Standard and Custom?

Standard kiosks do not involve any special or specific device or design modifications to support customer needs. There are many components that can be supported within standard kiosks without any design modification. When a customer specifies specific and unique components not normally installed into standard kiosk designs, they are now entering the Custom realm in that respect.

Standard products can be delivered in any number of colors. Similarly, we can provide standard kiosks with a wide variety of decals or logos on the body to "brand" the kiosk appearance to customer needs.

Posted by Craig at 02:47 PM

Which specific kiosks CANNOT be provided in the exact look (i.e. someone wants to buy the exact McDonald kiosk).

McDonald is one. Indicate the model/style that you are interested in and that will let us know whether the design is proprietary or available for use "as is" or "with modifications".

Posted by Craig at 02:46 PM

What do I need to do in order to get pricing information?

Contact us and let us know which kiosk model you are interested in be it standard or custom and more importantly, a detailed description of the components you want in those kiosks. Call 303-466-5471 or fill out our Request for Information form on our website located at

Posted by Craig at 02:46 PM

Does KIS have a catalog?

KIS has both an online catalog of standard and custom projects and a hard copy catalog from which to review our product offerings and to learn more about KIS. Pricing for our products is provided by our account representatives once they have determined your kiosk design and component needs. They can provide you pricing, be it standard or custom.

Posted by Craig at 02:44 PM

Does KIS provide software?

KIS delivers the kiosk fully tested with software installed. We have a full line of software partners that we can bring into the requirements phase and ensure that you receive the best solution.

Posted by Craig at 02:43 PM

What is the general lead time?

Once requirements and design criteria are agreed: for standard configurations the general lead time is 3-5 weeks. That can be accelerated to less than 2 weeks in special circumstances and where we have a standard in-stock model available. For custom kiosks, figure 4-6 weeks.

Posted by Craig at 02:43 PM

How long does the process of purchasing a kiosk take?

Depends on customer requirements. Typically 3-5 weeks if standard in-stock configurations are ordered. 4 to 6 weeks if a standard kiosk is to be modified with other-than-standard configuration. As general guideline for Custom Kiosks, figure 4-6 weeks for prototype, and then 4-6 weeks from prototype approval for production run.

Posted by Craig at 02:42 PM

September 10, 2003

Outdoor Kiosk Considerations

An informative talk on outdoor kiosks and the special considerations that they entail.

Why Outdoor kiosks cost so much

Outdoor kiosks are typically two, sometimes three times the cost of indoor kiosks. The reasons are varied but can best be summarized as follows:

. Kiosk Design: An outdoor kiosk needs to be designed from the ground up as a watertight enclosure. It is generally not cost-effective to try to modify an indoor kiosk model to be outdoors compliant. The primary reason for this is that the kiosk needs to have all seams watertight and must be insulated on the inner walls to protect from heat and cold. Outdoor kiosks also need to be much more durable in construction as they will more often than not, be in unsupervised environments. After all is said and done, the outdoor enclosure (the cabinet only) is twice the cost of a comparable indoor unit.

. Kiosk Display: The monitor must not be susceptible to .sunlight washout.. The effect is most commonly seen on ATM machines in the sunlight: you cannot read what.s on the screen due to direct or indirect sunlight. The solution is high backlighting and this can only be done on LCD monitors. LCD monitors in themselves are a bit more expensive than CRT monitors, although the cost differences are narrowing. High backlighting more than triples the cost of a LCD. For example, a 15. LCD with touch screen and with high backlighting and will cost about $2,000. The decision to use high backlighting is up to the customer but if they decline, we will want that in writing. Before you ask, we will not deliver outdoor kiosks without the LCD solution. We will never provide a CRT solution. The CRT approach has proven to yield unsatisfactory results and we want no part of that since an unsatisfactory monitor solution is virtually assured.

. HVAC: The kiosk may well require a heater/air conditioner installed to maintain an acceptable temperature and humidity inside the kiosk. Depending on the environment, we may have to use various degrees of air treatment methods, which may add up to $3,200 to the cost of the kiosk. There are some areas in the country that may allow outdoor solutions without HVAC or your outdoor installation may be in-wall where you can take advantage of air conditioning in the building for your kiosk. The issue, however, is not only heat but also humidity. Protecting the electronics inside the kiosk is expensive.

. UL Testing: Any kiosk that goes outdoors MUST pass the official UL tests for outdoor electronic enclosures. These UL tests ensure that the units are truly waterproof and more importantly, are shockproof in the rain and snow. Liability is the issue here. We will not build an outdoor unit without this testing, so don.t even ask us to do so. If you get an outdoor kiosk from KIS, it will be UL tested. UL testing cost is $1,500 to 3,500 for the first kiosk and $250 to $350 for every kiosk of identical design thereafter.

. PC Hardware: Because of heat generated by the components inside the kiosk (mostly by the LCD and the PC), we recommend the use of a very small form factor, low heat generating PC. This adds to the PC cost a bit but lowers the amount of heat that must be removed by the air treatment/conditioner system. Bigger PCs generate more heat and more heat means more expensive and capable air treatment/conditioning which costs more, etc., etc.

. Kiosk installation: This is an extra and uncalculated cost of outdoor kiosks. Typically, outdoor kiosks need to be bolted to the ground, which implies that they have a level cement slab on which to be mounted. There must be power and whatever other connectivity you will need, delivered to the kiosk (frequently underground and through the cement slab). The power cables and connections must also be watertight and in agreement with local electrical standards which vary from state to state. The site preparation for this could be costly and time-consuming, as you will have building permits, specific guidance from the state or local government, specific subcontractors that must be used and related costs and delays to complete this.

Posted by Craig at 06:08 PM

September 01, 2003

About gokis the site

Information regarding gokis and this site.

The gokis site continually strives to be an independent resource for the self-service kiosk industry. We do not accept advertising dollars.

Editor/Manager is Craig Keefner (aka keefner). Craig has a long history within the kiosk industry. He began in it over 15 years ago as the original Usenet kiosk newsgroup moderator.

Contributing editors include Francie Mendelsohn, Alex Richardson, Rick Redding, and Peter Snyder.

The gokis site was established in September 2003 and we are located in Westminster, CO.
For more information, or to contact us, you can reach us by sending email to editor at

Our mailing address is:

980 Home Farm Cir
Westminster, CO 80234

Thank you!

Posted by keefner at 06:59 AM