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Author Topic: KidsMenu - a shell replacement for kids  (Read 7933 times)
lanux128
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« on: August 19, 2009, 11:38:03 PM »

Basic Info

App NameKidsMenu
App URLhttp://glob.com.au/kidsmenu/
App Version ReviewedRelease 9
Test System SpecsPentium C2D E6550 @ 2.33Ghz, 2GB RAM, WinXP Home SP3
Supported OSesAny of the Windows OS  family, provided it supports Internet Explorer 7 or higher.
Support MethodsThe author provides his email address on the website.
Upgrade PolicyN/A
Trial Version Available?Freeware
Pricing SchemeFreeware, donations accepted (Paypal).
Author Donation Link Donate to Byron Jones, the author.
Reviewer Donation LinkN/A
Screencast Video URLN/A
Relationship between Reviewer and Product I am not affiliated with this product and its developer in any way. Just another happy user.


Introduction

As any parent would agree, introducing computers to young children can be quite frustrating. Since most of the systems are not designed with kids on their mind, it's not wise to leave the kids unattended. There are several useful utilities here at Donationcoder that can attest to this fact, such as Skrommel's ToddlerTrap and CrazyLittleFingers by Kwacky.

This is where alternate shells come into the picture. They let the children to explore and launch programs while allowing the parent to retain certain amount of control. One such program that recently caught my eye is KidsMenu by Byron Jones and as it turned out Byron wrote this program for his kids to use and I feel that is an important criteria.

As he explains on the KidsMenu website.
Quote from: website
kidsmenu avoids some of the complexity and danger introduced by the standard windows shell (explorer) when put in front of young children. for example, as there's no start menu, hitting the windows key accidently while playing a game won't show the start menu. (note this functionality currently requires kidsmenu to be running as the replacement shell).




Who is this app designed for:

As mentioned earlier, parents can focus more on the programs they had installed for their children instead of worrying about Windows getting wrecked.


The Good and Why I think you should use this product

I find KidsMenu relatively easy to install and configure, even though it is to be used a replacement shell (normally a terrifying prospect). The hard parts are all taken care of the program itself.

Based on my experiences while setting up the computer to run KidsMenu. I find it quite intuitive and highly customisable. In fact there is a file called "Customisation Guide.rtf" that helps you to get started. By referring to the guide, I managed to switch the default two-column layout into a three column one (see image).



If you are handy with HTML & CSS, you can basically modify every aspects of the GUI.

Another positive factor is that one doesn't have to create any shortcuts within the shell to have a launcher menu. Instead the user just have to drag-and-drop existing shortcuts into the folder called "shortcuts". Then upon starting the shell, these shortcuts will be displayed.


How does it compare to similar apps

There is another program called GDS Child Menu but I feel that it still exposes a lot of the default shell. And to be honest with the kids snapping at my heels, I haven't had much time to explore other kids-friendly shell replacements. smiley


Conclusions

What can I say - this program can be set-up in a snap, ready to be used and I can take my eyes off the kids while they're using the computer. That's a big compliment for any launch system.

The best thing about the program's current status is that it being actively developed and the author is very responsive to suggestions.


Links to other reviews of this application

A google search returned only this review by Lifehacker.
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2009, 11:51:19 PM »

thank you for writing this thumbs up thumbs up
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kwacky1
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2009, 07:48:05 AM »

awesome!  Thmbsup
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Jabberwock
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2009, 03:14:58 PM »

One note: some replacement shells disable the windows key anyway, so if you run e.g. Emerge Desktop there is not need to run KidsMenu as shell...
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lanux128
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2009, 08:00:21 AM »

One note: some replacement shells disable the windows key anyway, so if you run e.g. Emerge Desktop there is not need to run KidsMenu as shell...

i'm aware of that but that would mean running KidsMenu on top another shell. i kinda prefer to let a single app to do all shell replacing. smiley
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2010, 02:31:51 AM »

Well yeah...im gonna be getting this and installing on a few computers cheesy
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"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!" - Dr. Seuss
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2010, 05:44:13 AM »

Now that's a cool idea. While I usually deal with business networks, I'll have to keep this in mind for the occasional "What about little Johnny" questions.
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2010, 08:09:00 PM »

I was thinking about that option, but also for the wifes laptop rofl
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"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!" - Dr. Seuss
app103
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2010, 04:05:53 AM »

I was thinking about that option, but also for the wifes laptop rofl

And I was thinking this might be good for my husband.  Grin
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