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iDrone Hints and Tips

Do not upgrade iMacros on the iDrone

The iDrone is only officially supported with the versions of iMacros included with the iDrone installer. Later versions of iMacros released after the iDrone release date may be incompatible with the iDrone.

Do not log out or activate a screensaver on the iDrone

Make sure the iDrone’s desktop does not get locked. Otherwise, the iDrone is not able to take screenshots in case of an error. See also How to avoid black screenshots in the iMacros Wiki.

Note : We have solved this issue in our upcoming iDrone 3.0 release, currently in Beta

Be careful using the iDrone for recording macros

If you need to, make sure the iDrone has stopped operation. Otherwise your recordings may be affected by scheduled measurements or tasks that ensure the iDrone operation. This, for example, includes closing all open browser instances including the one you are using to record at that moment.

Do test your macros prior to scheduling them

It makes sense to test your macro prior to scheduling them, as the environment in which you recorded the macro may differ to some degree from the one that the iDrone runs in.

For example, depending on the OS you are running the iDrone on, there may be rather strict rules in place for accessing certain web pages (think of “Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration”). When watching the iDrone during execution, it is easy to detect any popup/confirmation window that might affect the uninterrupted replay of your macro.

iDrone Settings

The iDrone UI comes with a configuration wizard that hardly needs any explanation to get your iDrone up and running in minutes. Here’s some additional information for those interested.

iDrone Name

Every iDrone needs to be registered with a certain name that makes sense to you, or in your network setup. In your AlertFox sensors’ settings, this name is offered for selection when creating a sensor. Here’s what we have been using at one time or the other

  • “Intranet”
  • “Vpn_Walldorf”
  • “Wifi_Dev_TeamRoom”
  • “ThinkPad_Admin”
  • “myFirstIDroneTest” ;-)

iDrone Authentication String

This string authenticates your iDrone’s communication with the AlertFox service. You can find it in your AlertFox account:

  1. Login at https://my.AlertFox.com
  2. Navigate to “iDrones”
  3. Copy token as presented there (e.g. “53aboaeixxxxxx249eba123″)
  4. Paste into the iDrone configuration tool’s text field

Number Of Macros

Depending on your system’s resources, you can increase/decrease the number of macros that may be run in parallel. This influences the “throughput” of your iDrone, i.e. the number of macros processed in a certain interval. Several factors come into play, here, like:

  • The processing power of the Windows installation, as set on the host system.
  • The processing power of the host system.
  • The accuracy of timing information: when CPU/memory becomes rare, the automated browser instances will perform their tasks more slowly.

The default setting is two (2). We recommend to leave it at this low level unless you need to increase the processing capacity. Rule of thumb for an average PC/Server: Per machine core you can run between 1-3 instances.

Registration of the iDrone

Registering your iDrone simply means that AlertFox is informed about this iDrone and “connects” it to your AlertFox account. After registration, you can see that iDrone in your accounts iDrone tab. More importantly, you can then select that iDrone in any iMacros sensor’s settings. Sensors assigned to that iDrone will then be performed on your iDrone instead of our “normal” test servers in the US, the EU or in the Asia-Pacific region. All registered iDrones are displayed in the Control Panel

iDrone Operation

This is, where you can trigger your iDrone so it starts/stops actually performing measurements.

  • Click Start to open a new window that shows the operation of the software component which communicates to the AlertFox system and controls the web browser automation.
  • Click Stop to terminate the component. Note that termination is immediate. This means that incomplete measurements may leave browser instances on the screen. Feel free to close them manually, or have the next “Start” close them for you.

Automatic Operation on Reboot

If the iDrone is rebooted while being in operation, it will continue to process macros once the user logs in again. To “survive” a reboot without any manual interaction (e.g. for reasons of maintenance, a host reboot, a machine crash), the guest machine must have auto logon activated for the user that runs the iDroneConf tool. Here’s one way to do it:

  1. Open a command prompt.
  2. Execute “control userpasswords2″ and a new window is opened.
  3. In the “User” tab, select the account that should login automatically at system start.
  4. Remove the tick for “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.
  5. Confirm with “OK.” A new window in opened.
  6. Enter the user’s password, confirm

Password Encryption

All traffic between the iDrone and the AlertFox servers is encrypted by SSL. Therefore, your macros are never exposed to a third party. However, if you feel uncomfortable editing/storing macros that contain passwords in plain text, you can do the following:

  1. On the iDrone, enter a master password to the iMacros software settings.
  2. In your sensor’s macro, enter this line: SET !ENCRYPTION STOREDKEY

With this setup, your passwords are never stored as plain text on any AlertFox.com server. They are decrypted on runtime right on your iDrone and never leave that iDrone as plain text.

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