Low-Cost Prototype OPAC System

Thu Dec 20 10:25:35 EST 2012

Thanks for that.  I'm definitely going to look into Userful's solution for public access PCs.  It seems like a great solution in terms of not only cost, but also in less time spent on hardware asset management.  I'm sure too that the energy cost savings are quite significant.
As for our OPACs though, it still seems that the APC or Raspberry Pi is the way to go.  I'm guessing that they'd be cheaper overall if I compare their cost with that of a video display adapter, in addition to cabling and the Userful cost.

>>> On 12/19/2012 at 11:30 PM, in message <50D29464.4090909 at ymail.com>, "retalbert at ymail.com" <retalbert at ymail.com> wrote:
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.


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