I am working on behalf of a local group seeking to purchase laptops. They are facing some problems regarding how to set up the workstations. The laptops would be used in a multi-use hall and therefore must be put away after each use – they can’t have permanent workstations.
However, they need to be able to set up to fifteen laptops up in an arrangement which would eliminate trailing power and data cables. There is a possibility that they could fit a row of sockets etc on one wall and place tables up against when in use. However, the group are not keen on this idea as they want to be able to face eachother when using them in order to keep it sociable. The college run classes with a horseshoe arrangement – the cables then all fall in to the centre which eliminates the chance of people tripping. However the funder isn’t keen on this and in order to arrange it this way they end up having extension cables plugged into extension cables – which obviously isn’t recommended.
Does anybody have any novel suggestions of how to solve this problem?
Any help would be appreciated
Although definitely a technology question, this isn’t really related to fundraising, so I don’t have an answer, beyond thinking a wireless (wi-fi) solution would at least cut down on the number of cables required, even if it doesn’t resolve the power cable issue. I’d suggest trying the following:
A US site but with a good discussion forum, populated by some UK people.
Lots of tech sharing info, including a nascent forum.
Maybe a member of the Institute of Fundraising’s IT special interest group will read this and respond.
the standard solution would be to put sockets in the floor and cover them with a plate (door) so they don’t interfere with the saturday night dance!
Both of the above are completely right – if you need to network the computers together Wi-Fi is the way to go – this can be very cheap to set up – potentially as little as £30 per computer – buy a PCM-CIA Wi-Fi card (we use cheap MSI ones available from http://www.morgancomputers.co.uk) for each computer and set them up for a peer to peer network and off you go.
For power then I’d suggest either a floor power socket – which are cheap and easy to install – any electrician could do it with their eyes shut – or for a completely wireless solution – remember laptop computers should all run on batteries! You may need to charge them up in advance and it depends on how long you are using them at a time but even if you need to purchase new batteries it may be worth it!
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