Library Self-Checkout hardware selection. My recommendations.

So you're looking for hardware to build a self-checkout system for your library? How much should you spend? Here I will offer my opinion... You will need (1) a computer, (2) a monitor (or touch monitor), (3) a barcode reader, (4) a receipt printer (optional). For the computer, I would totally recommend the Dell Optiplex 3080 micro PC. 8GB, 256 GB SSD. These are available currently for about $650. Whichever PC you get make sure it comes with enough USB ports. This one has six. A touch monitor is nice. A 15-inch 4:3 ratio screen is best. While large widescreen monitors are fine they do not improve the user experience and can be distracting. Here are touch monitors from Elotouch and Beetronics. These cost around $500 to $600 depending on the options. I recommend the built-in speaker and desktop stand. Be aware you may need a video adapter cable to connect the PC to the monitor. (Such as Display Port from the PC to VGA on the monitor.)  If you do not wish to use a touchscreen, a regula

My self-checkout software goals for 2023

 Hi again. Hope you've been well. Software can be kind of boring. No one really cares about most of the cool little features that we spend months developing. I mean, think about a utility such as a word processor program. I have used "MS Word" about every day since the early 1990s. How many features can you think of that were added since then that are really useful? Seriously, the last cool feature that I use regularly was mail merge. MS corp needs revenue so every year they release a new version of the software and hope people will buy the same software yet again. I used the 1997 version for ten years or so. Now I use the 2007 version. Office software is like a microwave oven or a toaster. They were pretty much perfected more than 20 years ago. Of course they can add bluetooth, and enable Alexa to inform you when the toast is ready. It will be cool when your robot can serve your poptarts in bed. So here's what I am currently working on: Camera integration. This is ac

Buying hardware to build a self-checkout system

During the recent supply shortage, I made a costly mistake when buying what was in stock just because it was quick and easy to get it. The parts I normally recommend had long lead times of several months. So I ordered a couple computer systems in mid-2020, which were not what I wanted. The systems I wanted would take about three months or so to get. So the systems came in the usual nice packaging. They were 'top-of-the-line' newest tech.  The system hardware was fine. But we had extreme instability with unexplainable memory and CPU usage problems which made the computer totally freeze up or crash at odd moments. So I went back and forth with the customer and supplier for several months. Finally, the system improved, which I think was due to better drivers and software updates catching up to the new hardware. On-site trips cost a fortune though and we followed many false leads like seeing if increased memory would help. After it was done I had lost $7000 and my customer was not

Some Very Important Acknowledgements

 I feel very grateful to my friends of the past. I now run a small business serving libraries thanks to some great people whom I shall mention briefly here. (This COULD be a long post, as memories flood back, but I will try to summarize my love and admiration for these people.) My friend Wayne Myers , who owned the successful "The Other Book Store" in Mystic Connecticut in the 1970s and 80s taught me to love books. In the 1980s he created a business, Bit Systems, Inc., and hired me as a programmer to develop software to manage bookstores. He was a true giant of a man and taught me so much about the world. In 2005, my first (and only) child was born and I was trying desperately to be responsible and provide for my family. I had recently lost my job at a fairly large food corporation and was feeling rather low and worthless. When Ron Faria invited me for an interview, concerning a programming position in his library service business I jumped at the opportunity. He was a great

Building my business.

 I am looking at myself carefully, in my late 50s. The life expectancy for a U.S. male is 76. I would like to stay active in this business until I am 70. Then who knows. I had a late-in-life child, now 17. She loves traveling, so we will probably be visiting some libraries and a few conferences together this year. I am hoping she'll want to be involved with libraries and maybe keep HPCS alive. So what are my goals for this year and the next few? A stronger sales effort, advertising, conferences, and R&D. I am open to your suggestions.

A wonderful happy 2023

Hey all! We are still here. Covid was bad for business, but hopefully, 2023 will be much better. We have been doing lots of R&D and hope to demonstrate some cool new self-checkout features. We are so grateful to our long-term customers. If you need anything at all drop me a line. I do respond seven days a week. May your 2023 be filled with happiness.
Dear visitors. Bill Potter here, owner of HPCS Library Services. I hope you are okay. It's been a bad year for everyone, but especially for libraries. But I am confident about the future. So we are soliciting outside help. We have had to increase prices a bit to improve the incentive for helpers to join with us in selling software and improving it. I would like to introduce a new marketing partner. Library Supply Solutions in Rochester New York will be helping us get out the word about our feature-rich mature self-checkout software. The executives at that business, Dean Eveleigh and Gary Sloan are so kind and helpful! Please visit them at Phone 844-644-5720. They made me feel so comfortable, it is obvious that they really care about people. Best wishes, and hope to see you soon. Bill Potter