January 23rd, 2014 • 2 comments
Are you a Penn State student who doesn’t like lugging their laptop to campus? Have you ever brought your laptop to campus only to realize that its battery is dead and you forgot your charger? Yeah, we’ve all been there. Luckily, we pay an “Information Technology Fee” so that Penn State can provide us with computer labs on campus. The only problem is that many of the labs with computers are also classrooms, meaning they are are only free for short windows of time during the day. As a result, computer labs that don’t double as classrooms tend to be packed with people. Well, I have good news! My second Windows Phone app, PSU Lab Status, will solve all of those problems (except the unreasonable IT fee, of course).
PSU Lab Status aggregates lab location data, computer usage statistics, and classroom schedule information to help you find an open computer as close to your location as possible. You may choose to use your GPS location for the most accurate information, or simply provide a nearby building to save battery power and avoid transmitting your exact location. You also have the option to filter the lab results based on the type of computer you’re looking for–this app won’t send you to a Mac lab when you’re in search of a real computer! After you search, you’ll be presented with up to five of the nearest open labs that match your criteria, each paired with a visual indicator of how busy the lab is.
As an added bonus, you can view classroom schedules so you know how long you’ll have to work in a given lab before the next class begins. Tapping on a nearby lab result will display a schedule for that lab for the remainder of the day. To find the full day’s schedule for a lab, you can search from the main page of the app by swiping to the left or right, or tapping on the large “schedule” heading at the top.
The initial release focuses on the “at the moment” usage scenario, meaning that you can only view the schedule data for the current day. I have plans to add more features in the near future. Namely, I’d like to implement the ability to search for a lab schedule by date and filter nearby labs based on their current window of availability. If you have any feedback or suggestions, feel free to leave them as a comment.