Article 38: Laptops in a Vending Machine!

Service takes another Step towards Full Automation

College students treat sleep as a luxury. With good reason. As a mechanical engineer, when I have a large project due in a day or two, I carefully adjust my caffeine intake and sleep schedule to make sure I can get it done. Then add a few more hours for good measure. However, getting access to anything and everything I need to complete projects is not always easy. This week, the Modern Nerd takes a closer look at a new tool to give students more options when arranging their schedules.

Good News for the Night Owls

Drexel University is taking steps to improve our available resources. They have introduced a new type of vending machine in the W. W. Hagerty Library that dispenses not food or coffee, but laptops. At the suggestion of Omer Hashmi, a member of the Student Government Association, a customized kiosk was recently installed to allow students to check out one of twelve MacBook’s, reducing the need for library staff during the graveyard shifts. The machine is located in the Bookmark Cafe, the 24-hour open study area for students.

 

The laptops are connected to Drexel students’ school ID’s, and are available for free. The rental period is 5 hours, and beyond that time a late fee of 5 dollars per hour is assessed. The laptops also have sensors to detect if they have left the building, so students must agree to not take them outside of the library.

This program was put into place to increase campus security. Even if you have your own laptop, carrying it around with you to get to the library at night is not the safest plan. This way, you don’t need to worry about your own tech getting stolen or broken and you can get access to the internet, word processing, and the standard student tools that are installed on the library computers such as MATLAB and Maple.

System Security

These machines are also equipped with a full security suite to give your web browsing and emails more peace of mind. They are guaranteed to be virus-free when delivered to you. The same contract for laptop rentals that applies to the main desk applies to the vending machine, so you are responsible for the laptop if it is lost or stolen.

This is a really neat piece of equipment, and I approve of the move wholeheartedly. Now if the library could just get all of the Ethernet and power plugs working…   But I digress.

There are already a bunch of options for students when it comes to workstations. If you want a dedicated space to work where you are less likely to be distracted, then this might be for you. The administration has also said that they will monitor the success of the vending machine, and may introduce iPads if they would be beneficial.

Thanks for reading, and if you are a Drexel student, go check this out. I would not be surprised if this trend were to continue to other universities in the area within a year or so. There are many benefits to automating a service to help out students at any time of day. Check out our facebook and twitter pages to get all of the updates from The Modern Nerd, on our blog at The Computer Fixer.

 

Aaron Krick
Blog Contributor at The Computer Fixer
aaron@flyingparrotcomputers.com
www.thecomputerfixer.com

 

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