LRMC upgrades Cyber Café

Thomas Warner
LRMC Public Affairs

***image1***An upgrade to the Cyber Café Internet lounge is allowing Soldiers, patients and visitors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to more easily access the Internet.

A makeover was ordered eight weeks ago in the lounge, which is located in the back hallway next to the USO office and the medical library. Sleek wooden console cabinets now house the computer monitors, with new tables and furniture also spread around the room.

Maintenance personnel with the LRMC Information Management Division help desk say things are the best they’ve been since the facility opened in March 2003.

“We replaced the PCs in there and everything is brand new,” said Linda VanBemmel, Information Management Division help desk deputy manager. “The cabinets and pretty much everything is locked up except the keyboard and the mouse. We’ve had no problems like in the past. People are being respectful of what we’ve put in there.”

The Cyber Café is open 24 hours, seven days a week with a high speed DSL network that’s separate from what mainstream hospital employees use. This means less restriction on site surfing and a more relaxed setting in which to go online. As in the past, table space and wireless Internet capability are available for laptop users.

There are five sit-down units and three designed for use while standing up. Ms. VanBemmel said all the sit-down areas are large enough to accommodate patients in wheelchairs.

“The Cyber Café is for Soldiers who are here at LRMC or maybe patients and family members who are visiting patients,” she said. “It is not meant for regular personnel at the hospital. They can go and check their e-mail or just surf the Web. It is completely for relaxation.”

The initial purpose of the lounge was to give patients and other non-employees an avenue to access the World Wide Web or to do computer work. Eight computers were made available for public Internet usage but the machines were continuously found to be damaged by patrons and the Cyber Café was in constant disrepair.

“The keyboards would get damaged but also if PCs themselves were left out we’d have problems,” Ms. VanBemmel said “People were trying to use CD drives and they weren’t really set up for that. These machines are for Internet usage and nothing else, really.”

Help Desk personnel are sending a message that the success of the Cyber Café will ultimately be determined by the patrons.

“We do not monitor what they surf the Web for and there is no time limit,” Ms. VanBemmel said. “Often you will see a few people waiting to use the computers. We would expect them to monitor their time in those situations in order to give the next Soldier or user a chance to go online.”