Low-Cost Prototype OPAC System

retalbert@ymail.com retalbert at YMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 19 23:30:28 EST 2012

Evening All:

There is another alternative I built at the University of Arizona.
http://userful.com uses one Linux computer with multiple video cards and 
USB cards to create an up to 20 'headed' system.
* They do create systems just for libraries;  
* How is that possible? UNIX and X Windows on UNIX was designed to drive 
more than one display/workstation. What the people at userful.com have 
done is to create a packaged system so that you do not have to work out 
the configuration.
* The system I built had 10 displays, keyboards, and mice. With the 
computer in the middle, 'workstations' stretched fifteen feet out both ends.
* There is a Userful USB hub at each station for the keyboard, mouse, 
and audio in/out connections.
* Worked great for web and Open/Libre Office.
* I would recommend having the people at userful build the computer for 
you. Saves the hassle of finding compatible video cards.
* Also be patient at boot time. My system could take up to 10 minutes to 
discover all monitors, keyboards, and mice.
* Once initially set up, the computer remembered which keyboard & mouse 
was associated with which monitor.

On 12/18/2012 5:08 PM, Ross Singer wrote:
> On Dec 18, 2012, at 6:52 PM, Cary Gordon<listuser at CHILLCO.COM>  wrote:
>> I can't imagine putting together a package like that using an SBC for
>> that price. Just the monitor would be more than that.
> A lot of places have a lot of old monitors in surplus.
> And keyboards.
> And mice.
> But, agreed, not everyone.
> -Ross.
>> Cary
>> On Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM, Christian Pietsch
>> <chr.pietsch+web4lib at googlemail.com>  wrote:
>>> John,
>>> this is so cool, especially considering that the costly Kiosk PCs my
>>> home town's public library has just acquired do not offer more than
>>> your extremely cheap solution: they run a web browser.
>>> In contrast to your solution, this public library (like so many) has
>>> wasted money ...
>>> - on many licenses for Microsoft's Windows operating systems
>>> - on licenses for proprietary software to keep Windows in check
>>> - to buy the powerful computers required to run Windows
>>> - and harmed the environment because of the hight energy consumption
>>>   of these computers.
>>> Congratulations for avoiding these pitfalls!
>>> My own academic library offers Linux-based PCs as OPAC terminals which
>>> by and large avoid these pitfalls as well, although I do hope they
>>> will eventually be replaced with more energy-efficient hardware such
>>> as the options you mentioned.
>>> Cheers
>>> Christian
>>> On Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 01:49:25PM -0500, John Lolis wrote:
>>>> Has anyone else been looking into a low cost alternative to the usual OPAC computers?
>>>> Here at White Plains Public Library, we're testing the feasibility of an APC system board that retails for about $50.  I have it booting Raspbian Linux from a microSD card and running Chromium in kiosk mode to access our catalog.  So far after about a month in operation, it's looking good.
>>>> See http://whiteplainslibrary.org/2012/11/our-new-low-cost-experimental-online-catalog-pc/ and http://whiteplainslibrary.org/?p=3780 for more information, the latter page having detailed information about its setup.
>>>> Btw, I also looked into the less expensive Raspberry Pi; however, it only provides HDMI out, and no VGA.
>>> --
>>>   Christian Pietsch<http://purl.org/net/pietsch>
>>>   LibTec (Library Technology and Knowledge Management),
>>>   Bielefeld University Library, Bielefeld, Germany
>>> ============================
>>> To unsubscribe: http://bit.ly/web4lib
>>> Web4Lib Web Site: http://web4lib.org/
>>> 2012-12-18
>> -- 
>> Cary Gordon
>> The Cherry Hill Company
>> http://chillco.com
>> ============================
>> To unsubscribe: http://bit.ly/web4lib
>> Web4Lib Web Site: http://web4lib.org/
>> 2012-12-18
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> 2012-12-18


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