In today’s time, technology dominates the lives of almost every people. Technology can be seen anywhere, may it be at home, in school, in the mall, in the grocery store, etc. A computer is one of the most popular devices where technology is greatly applied. Since technology plays an important role in our society, computers are generally wanted and sometimes needed by everyone. People use computers for a variety of reasons, may it be for chatting, playing computer games, researching, video-conferencing, etc. The only thing is, not everyone can afford to buy a computer.
Because computers are in demand and not everyone has a computer, business-minded people then thought of establishing businesses, dealing with computer usage. And so internet cafes were made which simplified the process of having to use a computer without actually buying one. Managing and operating an internet cafe is not an easy task and sometimes it is a paradox as internet cafe owners, managers and administrators have to think of ways to solve the problem of not losing the business, especially nowadays since there are lots of competitions.
The internet cafe owners think of schemes like lowering the hourly rate of usage, installing new and popular applications or games, and sometimes even lowering the costs of snacks so as to attract more customers. But there are times when the quality of services rendered are compromised like slower internet connectivity; poor performance of the computer; and lastly, bugs in the system causing computer lockdown and even shutdown. There are also times when the internet cafe administrators use their internet cafe transaction management system with difficulty thereby adding additional burden to the tasks they have to do in an internet cafe.
Lastly, there are times when the system they are using malfunctions, resulting in many problems like: disconnections, lockdown, shut down, inappropriate time extensions due to the system not locking down the computer when the time is up, and the worst thing is, having to manually do the task of operating the internet cafe. Internet Cafe Management System is a system used for managing transactions made in an Internet Cafe. These transactions include collecting and saving records of the customers’ usage of a computer unit in an internet cafe.
This system makes internet cafe transactions convenient, efficient and overall hassle-free to the person managing or operating the internet cafe. The Internet Cafe Management System simplifies the everyday tasks of internet cafe administrator by automating the tasks that he or she has to do. Instead of having to manually log the start time and the end time of a user, the internet cafe administrator can just sit back and click the necessary buttons so that the system itself would just do the task for him.
Also, instead of telling the user that his usage time is almost over, the internet cafe administrator can also type the message and just press send so that the user will now be alerted as to his upcoming end-time. Another thing is, the internet cafe administrator can shut down the computer that has been idle for some time and is not being used so as to save energy, without actually going to the spot where the computer is placed and shutting it down manually. The Internet Cafe Management System will be developed in the Microsoft Visual Basic 6. environment where it will focus on codes with Microsoft Winsock control 6. 0 for networking; API functions for basic OS functions like shutting down, restarting, locking up the computer; database related codes to add, update, delete and find records; etc. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY Internet cafes in the Philippines started out in the late 1990s as LAN shops- a center in which computers are networked in order to play LAN games. Internet connection then was dial-up and relatively expensive, therefore, only few shops offer internet service.
The bulk of their service back then was gaming and typing services for students. Prior to the late 90s to the early 2000s, the speed of the internet improved to 100 kbps. Users can now enjoy simple Internet relay chats, MIRC was famous at that time; download images, and do some research. It was in the year 2012 when Jay Cyber Cafe started its operation in Kalipayan. The owner, Jay Engle, took the risk of establishing an internet cafe business although it was apparent at that time that there were already two internet cafes established in the said area.
Back then, the computer units were only 25. In a week after the establishment of the business, the area was then crowded by a mixture of people, those who already know how to use the computer, and those who were curious and wanted to try it. The system back then proved to be efficient. The system could automate the tasks of the administrator. It was all enough to handle the 25 computers networked in the internet cafe. Years later, the owner decided to buy additional computer units so as to supplement the growing demand of the customers. It was then that some of the problems manifested.
There were occasions where the system would disconnect a computer unit even if the time wasn’t over. There were times when the system from the server couldn’t shutdown or restart a computer and the system couldn’t accurately calculate the exact amount to be paid in terms of the hours used. There were also times when the administrator has to manually unlock the computer because the system from the server couldn’t unlock it. Thus, the researchers decided to conduct the study on the said internet cafe. The researchers will then have the owner assess the system after it has been completed. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The researchers aim to address and fix most of the problems encountered by internet cafe administrators. The researchers would develop the Internet Cafe Management System for an internet cafe in Tanauan, Leyte named Arcadia Internet Cafe. This system would automate the tasks of the internet cafe administrators, thereby simplifying their tasks to a greater extent. The internet cafe administrators wouldn’t be doing the manual tasks like logging the start and end time, calculating the time left for each user, locking and shutting down the computer manually, and telling the users that their time is up.
The main problem lies in the functionality of each part of the system, because every part is essential to make the system successful. These parts include: getting the start time and end time accurately, computing the remaining time left as well as the rate for the computer-usage, disconnecting the computer if it has already reached its time limit, shutting it down, and lastly, alerting the user if his or her time is almost over. Upon conducting the survey questionnaires administered to the internet cafe administrators, the following problems in their system were identified: 1.
There are times when computer doesn’t automatically lockdown when the user’s time is over. 2. Rarely, the internet cafe administrator has to manually shut down the computer because he or she cannot do it in the server. 3. Sometimes, the users are not alerted that their time is almost over, causing them to use obscene words especially if they are in the middle of a game. 4. Rarely, disconnections occur. 5. System is often complicated to use. INSTRUCTIONAL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY Instructional Goal
To provide and develop a system which will manage the transactions made in an internet cafe without the internet cafe administrators manually doing the tasks. The system will deal with the process of automating the tasks and organizing the transactions which would take place in an internet cafe. The Internet Cafe Management System logs every transaction made by the customers (users) and the internet cafe administrators. In conducting this thesis, the researchers would state why it is necessary to have an internet cafe management system in every internet cafes.
Objectives The objectives of the system include the following: 1. Accurate calculations of the time left, based on the start time and the end time 2. Functionally shut down, lock, restart and log-off the computers remotely 3. Successfully alert the users if their usage-time is almost over 4. Successfully lock the computer if the usage-time is over 5. Provide a user-friendly interface 6. Eliminate as much as possible, bugs and glitches in the system 7. Disable task manager to eliminate the chances of intercepting with the security of the system.
Rationale and Needs Assessment The researchers chose to do the study for the reason that in doing so, hopefully, the system would help eradicate the problems encountered mainly in operating and establishing an internet cafe. These problems include inconvenience, inefficiency, and hassles mostly experienced by internet cafe administrators and users as well. The researchers would devote a lot of time and effort to make this system a successful one. Internet Library Management System would electronically convert tasks done by an internet cafe administrator.
This would make the internet cafe administrator’s job much simpler than compared to manually doing the tasks. It would be a great benefit not just to the administrator but to the users as well. This system will make sure that users would use the computer without unexpected disconnection or lockdown from the server. This system would also be user-friendly, thus eliminating complicated actions, so internet cafe administrators won’t commit mistakes when using this system. Target Audience
The Internet Cafe Management System is intended to be conducted in Arcadia Internet Cafe; therefore, the target audience would be the internet cafe administrators and the users as well. The said researchers will try to assess the performance of the current system that the internet administrators of Arcadia Internet Cafe, whether the system is performing well, or if the system experiences bugs and glitches, by interviewing the internet cafe administrators. Scope and Delimitations
The study focuses on managing and organizing the transactions between the customers (users) and the internet cafe administrators. It is conducted to develop a more reliable system than the current system being used by the Arcadia Internet Cafe. The system exhibits the concept of server/client. It will be executed in the main server or the computer used by the internet cafe administrator. The administrator will conduct the necessary operations including: locking and unlocking a computer to be used via the server, shutting down, restarting and logging off a computer via the server, etc.
When a customer (user) wants to use a computer, he or she will pay the administrator and the administrator will unlock the computer via the server. The system will indicate the start time based on the current time set in the server, and the end-time based on the amount of money the customer paid. If the customer tells the administrator that he or she wants to use the computer with an “open time” then the administrator will unlock the system and the end-time will not be indicated in the system, until the customer himself or herself, decides to end his or her use of the computer.
The balance will then be displayed and it is based on the rate per hour used. In some cases, the system also allows half an hour use, for a rate of P10. If there is no more transaction between the administrator and the customer (user) then the administrator will lock the computer or shut it down. The limit of the said system is control via the internet. The researchers wouldn’t be providing the necessary codes and functions for the system to be run in the internet, so that administrators can’t run the system in places outside the border of their internet cafe. Definition of Terms
Technology- A device, material, or sequence of mathematical coded electronic instructions created by a person’s mind that is built, assembled, or produced and which is not part of the natural world. Dominates- overwhelming influence over something or someone Video conference- a set of telecommunication technologies which allow two or more locations to communicate by simultaneous two-way video and audio transmissions Business-minded- a person who has an eye out on possible business opportunity and capitalizing it. He knows what to sell, when to do it, what risk to take and how far the risk should be taken.
Paradox- A difficult question, particularly one which leads to a deeper answer Administrator- one who is responsible for software installation, management, information and maintenance of a computer or network Scheme- a systematic plan of future action Compromised- To cause impairment or to settle for a lower standard Bug- A problem that needs fixing, especially in computing Glitches- techniques that exploit vulnerability in other software Server- A computer or a program which provides services to other programs or users, either in the same computer or over a computer network Computer lockdown- securely locks a computer with encrypted codes.
Burden- A heavy load of responsibilities Internet Cafe Monitoring System- a system which monitors transactions made in an internet cafe Malfunction- failure to function Disconnections- Unexpected termination of a computer connection Microsoft Visual Basic 6. 0 environment- is Integrated Development Environment (IDE). It is the place where programmers start programming in Visual Basic. Microsoft Winsock control 6. 0- allows programmers to create and maintain a connection to a remote computer. Using the connection, both computers can stream data between themselves.
API functions (Application Program Interface)- specifications and functions intended to be used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other OS- abbreviated form of Operating System. An Operating System is a collection of software that manages computer hardware resources and provides common services for computer programs Database- is an organized collection of data, today typically in digital form LAN (Local Area Network)- is a computer network that interconnects computers in a limited area such as a home, school, computer laboratory, or office building using network media.
Internet Relay Chat- is a protocol for real-time Internet text messaging (chat) or synchronous conferencing MIRC- is an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client for Microsoft Windows, created in 1995 and developed by Khaled Mardam-Bey Supplement- Something added, especially to make up for a lack of supply System- A collection of organized parts of a computer