Westside Tells It Like It Is

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Spending your parents’ money just got a little harder.

Local greengrocer-cum-discotheque Westside Market has stopped accepting Off-Campus Flex for purchases made between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., the hours of the store’s highest traffic volume.

The announcement this weekend came in the form of a delightfully terse sign posted at Westside registers (see right). Like Amir’s and Samad’s, problems at the heart of the Flex system appear to have forced Westside to curtail its use.

The long-term impact of the new “blackout dates” for Westside Flex aren’t immediately clear, but if you’re going shopping, bring more than your CUID next time or risk having a prix-free dinner of puffed rice cake shards and tiny jiggers of soup.

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  1. This is no surprise  

    I cringe every time hand the cashier my CU ID in fear of the rolling of the eyes, sucking of the teeth and just overall annoyance that will surely follow.

  2. oh gosh  

    I hate the font they use.

  3. ldr  

    Columbia needs to work on making Flex more reliable. Lots of other schools know how to make systems like it that work much better.

  4. Anonymous  

    When I was there about midnight Friday night, it was taking like ten minutes to process each Flex transaction... who can blame Westide, really? I guess Columbia is too small and powerless institution to get this together. How long has it been around?

  5. solution  

    use your Flex to buy a West Side Market gift certificate. use said gift certificate between 4pm and 9pm.

    • stupid  

      that defeats the whole purpose of flex...convenience. you now have to carry around stupid gift cards.

      btw why doesn't everyone just use credit cards? I got a pong table from rewards. flex doesn't give you anything

  6. kekekekekeke

    bwog said cum.

  7. well  

    you could use a credit card to buy flex at 118 hartley

  8. Bounteous mother...  

    shooting yourself in both feet and a kneecap.

  9. Dial Up  

    The problem with Flex off-campus is that the system uses a dial-up modem, so it has to call into a CU modem pool and execute a long handshake for every transaction (I'm sure some of you guys were around before the ubiquity of broadband connections).

    Other credit card machines, depending on the system, will simply remain dialed in, so there's almost no waiting for each transaction.

    The reason on-campus Flex isn't slow is because the cash registers/card readers have a direct network connection to the CU servers.

    The solution is to connect the off-site terminals to the CU flex system using an always-on internet connection. The obstacles to that are the greater cost of ordering a cable modem or DSL connection dedicated to flex, as well as certain security risks in opening up very sensitive servers to Internet traffic.

    • ...  

      bah. there are enough wired columbia buildings in this area that they could probably just toss together a hodgepodge 802.11 network firewalled and secured just for flex auths to cover those businesses that aren't wired.

    • well  

      for what it's worth, last time i was at west side, the CC processing took a noticeable minute too.

      plus, you all realize that this is not a system designed or implemented by columbia?

      while the on campus flex system i'm not sure about, i'm 99.9% sure that the offcampus system is contracted to blackboard's blackboard transact program -> http://www.blackboard.com/Commerce-Security/Capabilities/Commerce-Management/Off-Campus-Payment.aspx

      no shit sherlock the system supports connections over IP. how do you think that campusfood integrates with it? do you really think that campusfood uses their modem pool for it (although i would admit that they have a huge modem pool)?

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