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I live in a students' flat, and as you might know, a student usually likes to have a beer or two. (Or three, or more...) To cater that need, somewhere in the history of the flat it has been decided to buy beer collectively: one person (let's call him the 'beer-master') is designated to make sure that there's always enough beer and that people pay their bill on time.


To put things in perspective, the flat consists of 20 students, so this really is not that much beer.

In order to create these bills, however, it was required that everyone tallied every beer they drank on something called a 'bierlijst'. At the end of a period, the beermaster has to add up all the (sometimes hard to read) lines, put it through an algorithm to compensate for any 'lost' beers and mail everyone with the bill. Luckily, the calculation itself and the mailing was one of the first things that was automated.

Examples of two tally-sheets

Long story short: a few years ago, I became the beer-master of our flat. While the administration and mailing of people was something that was easily automated with the help of a MySQL database and a PHP frontend, the tallying of all the beers was something that took a bit more thinking out. Ofcourse, it would be a possibility to take a random PC, install Linux and create a webpage or app where the beers could be counted. That solution has a few disadvantages, though:

(Before everyone thinks that we're all complete drunks: That's not the case. This is more a case of 'better safe than sorry', in the end it's better to design a failproof design and take a bit longer to finish it than to have to rescue a beer-drowned HD cause someone decided PCs must get thirsty, too)

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