Computer glitch

Melinda Rogers

University students using residence hall cafeterias experienced long lines and delays last week due to a faulty computer making access to students’ accounts difficult.
The main server for the Omni Access System, which runs all of the computer systems in residence dining halls, was inoperable because of a dysfunctional battery — causing tedious work for dining service employees and a long wait for students.
“We had to wait for a new battery to arrive from New York, and we had several problems re-starting the computers,” said Ted Sander, MIS director for dining services.
With the main server down, dining hall computer U Card readers were forced to go offline and were unable to communicate with the main server to access students’ accounts.
Many residence dining hall employees chose to write down card numbers manually, which slowed dining service.
“Lines were slowed down quite a bit because we had to do a lot more writing. I don’t know if people’s accounts were being charged
correctly,” said Brian McMenimen, food service director at Sanford Hall.
“We’ve had problems with (the computer system) all year, but last week was bad,” he said.
Though last week’s problems with Omni Access System’s main server has been fixed, UDS employees still have the task of tracing account information from last week.
Anyone with a U Card was able to pass through the line and eat in the dining hall, regardless of whether they had an account with dining services.
“Last week we could walk right through,” said an anonymous resident of Sanford Hall.
Sander hopes records of card numbers written down manually and saved in computers will help evaluate this possible problem.
“There are records of card numbers and we will take a look at them and evaluate the problem (of students without a UDS account eating in the dining hall),” Sander said.
While Sander sees last week’s problem as a fluke, he said initiatives have been taken to prevent the problem from happening again.
“A new machine will replace the main server by Christmas break,” he said. “Hopefully the problems will not happen again.”

Melinda Rogers welcomes comments at [email protected]