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Science Hardware

Ask Slashdot: Automatically Logging Non-Computerized Equipment Use? 130

First time accepted submitter Defenestrar writes "I've recently taken a job at a large state university where I manage the laboratories for a couple of departments. We have a good system to pro-rate costs for shared use of big ticket items, but don't have anything in place for small to medium expense pieces which don't require software control (i.e. AD user authentication logs). It is much more efficient to designate a common room for things like water purifiers and centrifuges, but log books have a history of poor compliance. Also, abuse or neglect of communal property has been an issue in the past (similar to the tragedy of the commons).

Do any of you know of good automatic systems to record user/group equipment usage which would allow for easy data processing down the line (i.e. I don't want to go through webcam archives). Systems which promote accountability and care are a bonus, but for safety reasons we don't want the room's door locked (i.e. no pin/badged access). Most of these systems also require continuous power — so electrical interlocks are not a good option either.

I call on you, my fellow Slashdotters, to do your best and get quickly sidetracked while still including the occasional gem in the comments."
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Ask Slashdot: Automatically Logging Non-Computerized Equipment Use?

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  • Yes.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @01:08PM (#46397659) Homepage

    You hire someone to check it in and out. Honestly unless you put RFID tags on everything and then force them to be passed through a reader before use, you can not automate that stuff.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @01:13PM (#46397739)

    why does "big ticket items" link to a page advertising a "high-resolution diffractometer" from the Rigaku Corporation?

    and for that matter, "pin/badged access" links to a page from Stanley Security Solutions??

    can I purchase sponsored links from slashdot summaries to promote my company's products??

  • by MasterOfGoingFaster ( 922862 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @01:23PM (#46397861) Homepage

    In cases like this, I create a resource in MS Exchange that can be reserved. Bill against that reservation. It isn't perfect, but after someone gets kicked off by someone who reserved it, they begin to use the system. This makes the guy that pays for usage the prefered user.

On a paper submitted by a physicist colleague: "This isn't right. This isn't even wrong." -- Wolfgang Pauli