Networking at Gus' Cafe
26 January 2001, http://www.tomw.net.au/2001/gus/
- Gus's Cafe
- Close up of Palm III in leather case
- Palm III in Use
- Computerised Cash Register
While travelling the world it is easy to forget what is around your home town. My last high technology tourist report was transmitted from the Eurostar high speed train between Paris and London. This one is from a cafe a few kilometres from where I live in Canberra.
As commemorated in a bronze plaque in the pavement outside, Gus' Cafe was opened by Augustin "Gus" Petersilka, advicate of the outdoor Viennese cafe. He was made Canberran of the year in 1978, in part for his battles against Canberra bureaucrats who opposed outdoor cafes.
Wireless PDA Networking
Well after Gus' time the cafe has changed from using pencils and note paper for taking orders and now has wireless PDAs. The staff were a bit busy taking orders to stop and explain the system to me, but it appears to use standard Palm III personal digital assistants (PDAs) for taking the orders. These have some sort of custom order entry software and a wireless interface to the cash register.
Orders are taken by using the PALM stylus to tap on the PDA screen. These are transmitted to the cash register where an order is printed and the food and drink prepared. The staff deliver the printed docket with the order to the customer, who then pays at the cash register.
Unlike some automated systems this one is relatively inconspicuous. The PDAs have black leather flip covers making them look a bit like police notebooks. The cash register is similarly black with a thin LCD screen. Many patrons would not notice the technology at all.
This report was uploaded from the Cafe using a GSM phone and infrared linked Laptop on 26 January 2001. I will see if I can find details of the technology used and add it after.