Printing in the fast lane

Courtesy of Junne Park

There is a select group of computers at UR that take far less time to log users in than the majority of campus desktops. These kiosk computers — those stationed in various campus locations for walk-up use — are the fastest and take only 12 seconds to move past the loading screen, as determined by an informal test. Faster log-in times are possible because these machines use quicker, solid-state hard drives, and because most auxiliary programs are stripped away, leaving only the Microsoft Office Suite and Internet access.

In contrast, additional informal testing revealed that non-kiosk PCs and Macs required approximately 52 and 21 seconds of wait time, respectively.

The kiosk computers are currently missing from nearly every campus location where printing is available, with the exception of Information Technology Services, which houses five of them. In a laudable move, though, University IT and River Campus Libraries are currently working to address the concern and have announced that a kiosk computer will be installed in Carlson Science and Engineering Library by the end of this week. More kiosk computers in campus libraries are expected to follow.

Students will benefit from the addition of these kiosks. Many students, whether they admit it or not, often work on assignments until the last minute, at which point fast printing is imperative. Significant time is wasted loading unnecessary programs, when all that students need to do is open a document and send it to a printing release station. Adding these kiosks is a logical and greatly appreciated solution to the current problem, and placing the kiosks in libraries will help students optimize their time for doing work instead of waiting while the computer loads. The additional kiosks will further minimize potential student complaints because, when a speedy log-in is possible, a speedy log-in will be available.

Still, there is plenty of room for improvement in the future. Other printing locations such as the Multimedia Center and certain computer labs do offer printing and would also benefit from kiosk computers. Moreover, signs should be placed on existing kiosk computers indicating their intended purpose and limited functionality as not all students are aware that one machine may differ from the next.

In the meantime, these forthcoming kiosk computers will help all users keep up with their fast-paced lives.

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