Making Reservations

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Some of our equipment is only useful it it can be used by a single person for several hours at a stretch. In order to allow people to schedule their time efficiently and not step on each other, we maintain a system to allow people to create, edit, and view reservations for certain pieces of equipment.

In order to use one of these pieces of equipment, you must do three things:

Be aware that use of this equipment requires training. If you're not trained on the equipment, you're not allowed to use it.

Special note for instructors: If you're teaching a class that involves the use of equipment which is managed by the reservation system, please ensure that you reserve the equipment for the duration of your class. Please do so as early as possible to minimize the chances that someone else will have already reserved it and would thus have to be bumped. If your class gets rescheduled or cancelled, please remember to modify your reservation appropriately.

Contents

Signing up

Go here to sign up. You should now be sitting at a page that says Please create your account below. Fill in the information and click Create my account. You're done! And you never have to revisit that page again. To reserve time or check on a schedule, click the link on that page to go to the reservation system.

Rules for making reservations

We expect you to be respectful of others' ability to use the equipment. That means making sure that your reservations reflect reality, including

  • Showing up promptly at the start of your slot
  • Modifying or deleting your reservation if you realize you'll be late or won't make it at all
  • Truncating your reservation to the actual time needed as soon as you know how long that is

Showing up late

If you show up late to a reservation, you take the risk that some other user may "no-show" you---in other words, they may usurp your reservation and start using the equipment themselves. They may do this whether or not they're listed as an alternate. If someone no-shows you, that action is logged. If we find a consistent pattern of no-shows, we may ask you to explain why. We do not (yet) have a hard and fast policy on "how late is too late" to show up, but we will establish one if asking users to use common sense doesn't work. (We also ask anyone waiting to not be unreasonable about no-showing someone who might be late by some trivial amount; again, use common sense.)

If you've made a reservation, but realize that you won't be able to show up on time, please modify your reservation to reflect when you expect to show up, or cancel it if you won't be able to show up at all. This may prevent someone from no-showing you. However, be aware that a consistent pattern of last-minute modifications to your start time is also frowned upon---by not changing or cancelling your reservation until the last minute, you may have prevented someone else from hopping on before you and finishing before you even showed up. (If this becomes a problem and social pressure is insufficient, we can also configure the reservation system to disallow last-minute changes---this means that if you're running late, you won't be able to change your start time, which means someone may no-show you instead, locking you out completely. We'd rather not operate in that mode if we can avoid it.)

Truncating your reservation

As soon as you know how long you'll be using the equipment, try to modify your end time to reflect reality. Obviously, in many cases, you may not have any reasonable way to know when you'll finish before you actually do---screenprinting is an example of this. On the other hand, it's often the case that you'll want to reserve a large block of time on, say, the 3D printer, but discover once you start the job that the printer thinks the job will run much faster than you expected. In that case, please truncate your end time to roughly what the printer thinks (plus whatever time you need to unload your workpiece, etc).

Truncating your reservation has two important benefits. First, it allows others to know, a few hours in advance, that they might be able to squeeze in a short period of use immediately after you, or perhaps start a long-running job much earlier and hence finish earlier. Second, it keeps someone from showing up near the end of your reservation, finding the device apparently idle, and assuming that you never showed up at all---and then no-showing you even though you were actually there on time, but simply finished early.

Limits on signup time

At the moment, the reservation system allows almost any reasonable block of time to be reserved, up to a long time in the future. You can also make back-to-back reservations if that makes sense. The system has a huge number of configurable parameters (most of which we've turned off for the moment) that can be used to limit the total number of signups per person, the total amount of time any one person can sign up for, change behavior based on whether it's a weekday or weekend, disallow back-to-back reservations, allow reservations only if they're shared with someone else from a particular set of people, send a wide variety of notifications to users or administrators, and many more.

If you're an extraordinarily heavy user of one piece of equipment, we may ask you to moderate your use to let others squeeze in occasionally.

Reserving time on equipment

Once you have an account, you can reserve time on the equipment by going here. Type in your username and password, and you'll see a page with a small menu at the top and several large grids of boxes. These are the actual schedules. In addition to the help below, you can also find screenshots and explanations of some common actions here.

Signing up for a slot

First, find the device you want to sign up for. Either scroll down the page, or just click on its name in the little box in the upper right labeled Resource. (See here.) reservations. Once you're at the right device, the easiest way to sign up for a slot is to just click in the box that corresponds to the day and time you want the reservation to start. (See here.) The box will display <START>. Click on some box lower down, and that box will display <END>. You're not done yet---you then need to click on the box labeled Signup, just to the right of the red Confirm Signup as primary label. Once you do, you'll see a green rectangle with your name on it appear on the schedule grid. You're done.

Note that clicking in the Start Date or End Date boxes will bring up a calendar.

Changing, truncating, or deleting a slot

If you make a mistake, or discover that you can't use the time you signed up for, you can change the start and end times, or delete the reservation entirely. To do so, find your box in the schedule, and click on your name. The menu in the upper left changes to Update Delete Cancel with the obvious consequences. (See here for general editing, and here for how to truncate your reservation.)

Note that you can only delete a reservation that hasn't started yet. If you only discover that you can't use your slot once it's started, you have to truncate it, by using the "Return Resource" button.

You can't create, edit, or delete anyone else's reservation. However, administrators may do any of these things if necessary.

Alternate signups

You can sign up as an alternate to a primary signup. This means that, if the primary cancels their reservation, you get it. We currently allow up to one primary and two alternates for any given slot. (Depending on how this works out, we may adjust this number, or turn off alternates completely.)

To sign up as an alternate, just sign up for a slot as if it was free. When you specify the end time, you'll see a label saying Confirm Signup as alternate 1 (or 2, since we allow up to two alternates); if you click the Signup button, you'll be entered as an alternate. (See here.)

No-shows

If someone simply fails to show up for a slot, you can "no-show" them, as described here. Please use common sense and don't jump the gun---but on the other hand, if it seems pretty clear that the user is quite late and you need the device, no-show them and use it. Note that if someone else is already listed as an alternate for that slot, no-showing the primary user will promote the next alternate to the slot, which isn't you unless you were the alternate, but if they're not there either, you can no-show them as well. [Note, in this case, that the alternate not being present is not counted as "someone who failed to show up for their reservation"---we won't hold it against someone if they signed up for an alternate slot and then weren't around when some third person no-showed the primary.] See the rules above for more information.

Other actions

Notice the little bar at the top labeled Actions. You can use these to poke around in reservation system, to find other signups of yours, to show signups for only particular devices or in particular time periods, or to edit your account information.

Logging out

If you're using a shared computer, please log out when you're done. Sessions do expire, and we can make them expire extremely quickly if necessary, but making them expire quickly is annoying in ordinary use. Please remember to log out so the next user doesn't accidentally create a reservation in your name, or even accidentally delete it and then not have enough information to put it back.

Getting help

If you're in the main calendar view, there is a small Help! label on the right hand side, which points here. Give it a whirl; it describes several features not covered here.

Administering calendars

It's possible to give some users calendar authority, which allows them to edit the usage calendar without being able to completely reconfigure the reservation system. Someone with this authority may cancel others' reservations, make reservations for others, and so forth. Calendar authority implies the ability to edit the calendars for all pieces of equipment; it cannot be restricted to only one. (Of course, such actions are logged, so it's possible to tell if changes were made by the user themselves or by an administrator.) Calendar authority may make sense if one person is in charge of doing maintenance on a piece of equipment or otherwise has authority over it. Please contact us if this seems appropriate.

Privacy

We keep your contact information and information about what you've reserved private in several ways.

Nonmembers. The reservation system is not viewable at all by people without accounts. This means that any information about what equipment is in use when, or who has signed up for it, it not viewable by people who don't have accounts with us.

Members. You're only visible to other users if you sign up for something, and other users only see your first and last name, without any other contact info. If we routinely find that users need to contact each other about each others' jobs, we may revisit making more contact information available to all; if we do, we'll give lots of notice first.

Administrators. Administrators can view your contact information and what you've signed up for.

In addition, we keep logs of how the reservation system is used. This includes actions such as creating accounts, and creating, modifying, or deleting reservations. These logs also include the IP address from which those requests originate. We may use these to investigate whether unusual behavior is the result of a software bug, an accident, or misbehavior. The actual database is backed up hourly, to make it likely that we can recover from some sort of issue without having to ask everyone to redo their reservations.

Network security. We force all connections to the reservation system to use SSL encryption. This means that personal information, such as contact information and passwords, can't be eavesdropped between our server and your browser.

Problems and questions

If you have an issue using the reservation system, think you've spotted a bug, have questions, or otherwise need to reach a person, please send mail to reservationsREMOVETHIS@artisansasylum.com.

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