Elected officials and library administrators gathered at the Kings Bay branch of the Brooklyn Public Library last Friday to celebrate the launch of a new laptop loaner program.

The program kicked off in Brooklyn Public Library branches in Kings Bay (3650 Nostrand Avenue) and Kings Highway (2215 Ocean Avenue), where 18 brand new laptops and charging carts are now available thanks to $50,000 in funding allocated by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein.

“Whether you’re a student using the internet as a research aid or a senior citizen wanting to know your rights, this program will have a positive impact on all library patrons,” said Weinstein in a press release.

The laptops will help busy branches like Kings Bay by allowing people to use the laptops for two hours anywhere in the building – a departure from the policy for current desktop computers, which can only be used for 30 minutes.

Now… we’re on our way over to make sure every browser’s homepage is set to Sheepshead Bites.

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  • a good neighbor

    laptop will soon be the thing of the past. instead of allocating all $50,000 on laptops, she should have allocated some to tablets. and how does the library make sure they won’t get stolen by patrons? also 18 laptops and charging carts don’t cost $50,000 as laptops are dirt cheap. i can get the same number of high quality equipment for no more than $15,000. someone might have pocketed the difference. oh well, did she even advise the community before allocating this lump sum of money? if i heard it i would protest right there and then.

    • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

      You know, we had this discussion in the office, because I really was trying to figure out how you spend just shy of $3,000 on a laptop in this day and age (especially the clunkers shown above). Robert, who’s a former IT guy, started pointing out that they have to get licensing for each computer, for all the programs on it, for the virus protection, for special library software, for anti-theft devices that I’m sure are built onto it, for the charging carts, etc etc.

      I do think the city should have just bought a bunch of Chromebooks at $250 a pop. Far less likely to get any viruses, and all the programs are web apps you won’t need licenses for. But then they’d have to spend the remainder of the $50k teaching their staff how to use Chrome and Linux…

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

        Here an Acer at Newegg hat sells for $199.

        http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834215914&IsVirtualParent=1

        It has Windows 7, which will save the cost of training staff members.

        EDIT The specs show Chrome. It didn’t originally. Strange.

        • a good neighbor

          like you said, a simple Windows laptop with all the bells and whistles can be purchased for $200 and under. obviously this lady didn’t do her due diligence in the bidding process. i’m upset because my tax money is used to help fund this project. Ned please make a comment to her about this program.

          • brooklynmachine

            Silly taxpayer worrying about due diligence in bidding processes. You didn’t make that money that you spent on taxes, someone else did that. You are just so inexplicably racist to want to deprive an nice honest politically connected vendor or a nice honest politician and their non-profit their ability to afford luxury cars from City awarded contracts.

            Next you will be complaining about the 2 Billion Mayor Bloomberg squandered on Citytime and a new 911 system. Silly taxpayer, that money didn’t go to outdated equipment and poorly written software, it went directly into the pockets of some deserving politically connected business so that the owners and their families can afford Bentleys.

            Be more considerate. Now, Shut Up and pay your taxes, Brooklyn Politicians and their cronies can spend your money far better than you can – come on as if you could buy a Bentley…

          • levp

            That link shows a Chromebook. We don’t have the specs for the model that was purchased, plus I haven’t seen $200 price point for a Windows-based laptop, unless it is refurbished. Even Costco lists models from $600 to $1000.

      • brooklynmachine

        Can they put these anti-theft devices on taxpayer money? Your “IT Guy” Robert is full of it. Those are no more than $500 machines, refurbs can be had for even less or off-lease. Their is no “licensing fees” involved for OPEN OFFICE, ACROBAT READER, or even FREE ANTIVIRUS. If your “IT Guy” was worth his salt, he could tell you that by clamping down on user rights in a Windows environment, most viruses can not install. But as usual this isn’t about protecting the tax-payer nor getting the best value. Someone’s pockets got a nice lining supplying the nearly $3000 machines. Brand New 17″ Macbook Pros go for less than that.

        And if the Councilwoman and the Library were so eager to assist the community, those machines could have been had for free by requesting donations from major corporations looking to dispose of surplus or outdated but still very useable office equipment and looking for a tax write-off. But again this isn’t about serving the best interest of the community, only the best interest of the politician.

        Where can I get these vending contracts? I have been doing IT work for several corporations for years servicing the financial industry and hundreds of networked computers with specialized software and redundancy requirements. Apparently, I should angle for a city contract and sell outdated crap at a huge markup and claim I am giving them a deal and a kickback.

        • levp

          Do you have the specification for these laptops, or a copy of the invoice? Otherwise, it is hard to speculate about the cost.

          See my other comment in this thread about how these costs usually break down.

          Brooklyn Public Library does solicit corporate donations:
          http://www.bklynpubliclibrary.org/support/corporate-donors
          Apparently, not enough of them donate computers.

  • brooklynmachine

    I wonder which local political donor or ‘nonprofit’ received that contract to supply $500 laptops at a $2200 mark-up?

    Oh yeah, “the software licensing” eats into that markup…. Sure volume licensing for free anti-virus, browsers, open office and acrobat reader account for the mark-up. I see why my neighbors with city contracts are all driving 2013 Bentleys.

    I guess my property taxes will have to go up another 600%, water bill another 100%, taxes on utilities 50% and the NYPD will have to follow every car owner around with a ticket quota so that more “positive impacts” can be made on those politically connected vendors who “supply” city bureaucrats.

  • levp

    To be fair, usually purchases like this come with installation and maintenance costs.
    Also, “anywhere in the building” part may have required new and/or upgraded access points.
    Someone has to assemble those carts, go through initial Windows setup, install any required library filtering software (no porn for you), create user ID/passwords and ensure network connectivity.

    The company I work for charges $175 per hour and a minimum of $300 per month maintenance.

    Therefore, I can totally see a company charging for this job, per unit:
    Laptop – $500
    Cart – $100
    Assembly and installation – $175
    Software and network setup – $175
    12 month prepaid maintenance, with 50% volume discount – $150 x 12 = $1800
    Total, per unit: $2750.

    Everybody, take a chill pill.

  • a good neighbor

    to sum up: tax is inevitable, unless you are a politician.

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