Computer Availability

Quick Links: Chart, Table, Mobile, Map, Mobile Map

This page describes various web-based applications that can be used to find computers that are in the CLM (Cooperative Lab Management) system or supported by ITS (Mac's and Linux systems).  There may be other labs and computers managed by your campus/college/department available to you as well; contact your local IT support office to find out.  Also see the OurRooms page that shows all locations in our database.

Note: at this time building and room operational hours are incomplete so be aware that even though a location may have available computers, you might not be able to get in.  Also, if classrooms are shown, you may not use the room if a class is in session.  You may use the computers between classes, but must vacate when a class starts.

Large Map

The large interactive map uses Google Maps with custom code to show icons for buildings with available computers. You may select a campus, narrow the display to one or more platrorms, and filter the results by room types.  You can zoom and pan the map just like any Google map. 

Mobile Map

A map for use with your phone's web browser is on the PSU Mobile Web at http://m.psu.edu/labs.  Select your campus from the list and a map of the campus is shown.  When possible, your actual location will be indicated on the map.  Balloon markers for the buildings will be shown in green, yellow, and red, depending on the percentage of free computers (scroll down to see the legend). A "List" tab will change the display from a map to a list of buildings; select a building for a list of rooms also note the tabs for a map and photo of the building.

Mobile Text Pages

Tabular data scaled for a small screen is available at https://clc.its.psu.edu/ca/Mobile.aspx.  You can select a campus, then building and room, and room details will show you who supports that room, along with their support web page and support phone number (if available). Each page is navigated to with a particular URL that you can save as a bookmark, so you don't have to start at the top next time.

Charts and Tables

The Current Lab Use pages will show charts or tables with the number of computers by room and platform.  Platforms and room types or particular buildings can be selected.  At the top you'll see a compus selector.  Try it and come back here if you have questions or want more information. 

Query String Shortcuts

The application presents several options to modify what is queried and displayed. You may choose platforms (Windows, Macintosh, Linux), types of labs to show (open, classrooms, or both), what to show (chart or data table), or particular buildings. A "query string" can be added to the web address if you do not want to manually select the options you want to use all the time.

Options for the query string are:

  • Campus=xx — show rooms at this campus (default is UP; currently, only computers in the CLM program or for which we know address ranges are available)
  • Platform=<W<M<L>>> — one or more of the letters W, M, and L to include those computer types in the output; default is Platform=WML
  • Show=Data — show data table instead of chart; chart is the default
  • Types=<O<L<C <M>>>> — Room types to include, one or more letters where O=open labs, L=libraries, C=classrooms, M=Media Commons. Default is to show open labs, libraries, and Media Commons rooms.
  • Options=Hide — don't show the option panel.

For example:

Details

Data Scope

Counts are available for open labs (rooms not usually scheduled), classrooms (rooms often scheduled for classes) and locations in libraries. The default is to show just open labs since we don't want to mislead you in thinking a classroom has available seats if there is a class scheduled. Soon we'll have class schedules available so we'll be able to show you when a classroom has open time.

Computers such as those in hallways, private labs, and various other facilities are not included in the data shown by this application.

Computers used by help desk consultants are included in the counts; while these are usually not available for general use, they are also usually in use and you usually wouldn't be misled into going to a full lab.

Data Source

All logins and logouts are recorded for each computer by a service called PALS (Page Accounting and Login Server), which updates a database with a record for every login and logout event. Beginning November, 2003, another table with a record for every IP address is updated with the login/logout status. CurrentLabUse.aspx obtains the numbers (through a view of a view of the table) to get the number of computers and the number of computers that have someone logged on, by room and platform.

This program is not available for non-CLM labs because we don't have data tables defining the IP addresses of all your computers.

The Latest Change column shown in the data table view is the most recent logon or logoff among the computers in that platform/room group. For the chart view, the data time shown in the label "Lab use as of . . ." is the maximum date/time of the most recent login or logout for all the computers.

Methods

The program is written in VB.Net and calls an Asp.Net web service that actually does the database queries.  For the chart and table queries, a cache setting of 120 seconds avoids frequent database connections for the same information, and you may notice that refreshing the page often doesn't change what is displayed.  Campus and building information is cached for 3600 seconds.

The data table is produced by a GridView control bound at run time to a DataTable loaded by a SqlDataReader. The chart is produced by brute-force html (tables within a table, with the background color of the cells of the inner tables set to make the "bars") assigned to an ASP label. The data is obtained by a simple query and an SqlDataReader. In both cases, the totals are obtained via an SQL view.

This all performs very well, most of the time. If it is occasionally slow, it is most likely the web server doing other things.

Changes

Date Who Changes
02/11/10 cjs Move to https:/clc.its.psu.edu/CA to make publishing changes easier.
Add Mobile page to header; move campus selection to middle; change campus list to have nickname rather than code.
Exclude help desk consultant computers from counts.
11/1/07 cjs Add libraries as a room type; default to open labs and library rooms.
2/12/07 cjs Minor changes.
2/1/07 cjs Major version update:
- links on top to CLC pages
- links for each room to details on that room
- drop-down list to select a campus
- try to default to the campus you are at
- fix layout for building list (extend option panel)
3/28/06 cjs Views changed to get login state from PalsUsers.Logins table
3/21/06 cjs Add campus code and select on campus
10/14/05 cjs Remove dtPing check in LabComputersView3 in case ping job breaks
01/24/04 cjs Fix some invalid room assignments
Put out current version, fixes some error I don't understand.

Last Updated November 21, 2014