As I posted a few weeks ago, our church runs a food pantry and we use Fellowship One in a very creative way to track both those who come to the pantry and the food inventory.
After haulin' our kiosk PC's, touchscreens, printers, keyboards, mice, and way too many cables back and forth every 2 weeks we needed a better solution for checkin at the pantry. And of course it all has to be done "on the cheap".
So why not use some of the off-lease laptops I just procured?
Here's the breakdown on a great portable wireless checkin system...
$450 Off-lease Dell Latitude D610 from www.dfsdirectsales.com (could get them for less with lower specs than I wanted)
$380 Zebra 2844-Z label printer (you could find them for less on ebay)
$42 Hawking HWC54D wifi card (obviously don't need this if you don't have an access point)
$150 Magic Touch USB touch screen overlay (touch screen is really optional if you ask me)
Total price = $1022 and now you have a very portable checkin system that's easy to carry, sets up very quick and easy, and the laptops can be loaned out for other uses when not needed for checkin.
This was our first week using this new portable system ... and it was a bazillion times easier to get from Granger to the pantry and required like 2 minutes to setup and since we leave the printers at the pantry I can fit everything else into 2 laptop bags...now it requires only one trip to and from the car. I love how few cords are involved now...power for the laptop, printer cable, printer power, USB for the touch screen overlay (that's 4 cables). Compare that to, power cable, printer cable, printer power, keyboard, mouse, touch screen power, touch screen vga, touch screen USB (8 cables!). I wish I had a picture of the amount of stuff and the rats nest of cords we were dealing with prior.
So are the touch screens on the laptops really needed? Well, jury is still out. The 2 ladies checking folks in this time both use laptops where they work so they found it easier/faster to just use the keyboard and touchpad...their fingers never left the keyboard.
For workers unfamilar with using the pointing devices on a laptop I can see where the touch screen will be helpful. The other thing is that the laptop screen is not fixed...it's on a hinge...push hard enough and it will move. So we're kicking around ideas for a simple wooden brace that would keep the screen from moving backwards.
Here's some shots from Tuesday's event...you'll get a better idea of how the touch screen overlays attach