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Laundromat Manager


This essay does not describe an existing computer program, just one that should exist. This essay is about a suggested student project in Java programming. This essay gives a rough overview of how it might work. I have no source, object, specifications, file layouts or anything else useful to implementing this project. Everything I have prepared to help you is right here.

This project outline is not like the artificial, tidy little problems you are spoon-fed in school, when all the facts you need are included, nothing extraneous is mentioned, the answer is fully specified, along with hints to nudge you toward a single expected canonical solution. This project is much more like the real world of messy problems where it is up to you to fully the define the end point, or a series of ever more difficult versions of this project and research the information yourself to solve them.

Everything I have to say to help you with this project is written below. I am not prepared to help you implement it; or give you any additional materials. I have too many other projects of my own.

Though I am a programmer by profession, I don’t do people’s homework for them. That just robs them of an education.

You have my full permission to implement this project in any way you please and to keep all the profits from your endeavour.

Please do not email me about this project without reading the disclaimer above.

This is a project to manage a small laundromat inside an apartment building. The problems with the current coin-operated systems include:

Here is how the system works:

Apartment dwellers can pay extra on their rent cheques. The extra money goes into a gas tank to use on laundry facitilities (washers, dryers and possible extras like extractors or soap/bleach dispensers.

Apartment dwellers have an ID card. They either wave this over the washing machine to make it work, or wave it over token machine that issues a token they then insert in the washing machine in a traditional coin slot.

If an apartment dweller loses a card, they can get a replacement. Since the balance of their account is kept in the computer, they don’t lose the money and they can disable the old card so it cannot be used my someone who finds it.

You write the software that sits in a computer in the laundry room. Once a month or so it gets updated with the balances of all the valid cards from the main billing computer.

Make sure you allow for the possibility of two people sharing the same apartment wishing separate laundry cards.

You can use an inexpensive card reader system, perhaps just an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) with an unique serial number. There is propably no need for PIN (Personal Identification Number) numbers or elaborate measures to prevent duplication or forgery.

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