Syzygy

Monday, August 25, 2008

things that annoy me, part 1

The doors on the apartments in our new graduate housing complex. Which are NOT traditional locks, but fancy new card+code locks. The rationale behind installing them? Supposedly they make you more secure. I guess in the sense that if a traditional key were to be lost, the lock would be replaced, but here, a simple reprogramming can be done.

So what are the problems?

1) The card is our school ID card, which everyone generally agrees is lost more often than a key. Case in point, you take out your card much more often (such as to borrow books from the library). In addition, sometimes, your ID gets held as collateral (such as when you check out a table for a booth on Library Walk). Regardless, it would have made more sense to use a separate card whose single purpose is to open doors, rather than tack on another feature.

2) You need both a code and a card to open the door. Again, supposedly for security reasons. However, a lot of people use their apartment number as their code. In fact, that was a suggestion by the guy who set up our cards in the first place! So now, not only is the physical item (id card) to unlock the door easier to lose, but the code, which is supposed to be added security doesn't really add that much after all.

3) Apparently the doors can run out of batteries and stop working. I cannot tell you how awesome it is to be locked out because my door ran out of juice. There are at least 3 solutions to this problem that I can think of off of the top of my head:
- add an external crank for emergency charging of the lock so you can get in and replace the battery!
- add a warning for low battery power (I should note that the light is supposed to flash red after the door is unlocked when the battery is low, but I never noticed it if it did. The solution then is to flash red BEFORE the door is unlocked, adding in a noticeable delay before the door can be opened OR to have the door make audible beeps, like a fire alarm.)
- replace the batteries in ALL the apartments BEFORE the anticipated death of batteries. If they're supposed to last for 18 months, replace after one year, and recycle the batteries for something else.

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