[Edu-sig] Many Laptops per Adult

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Sun Jan 11 19:06:37 CET 2009

Yes lots of excitement about booting from flash sticks, makes the
laptop itself the peripheral, might have no OS at all when powered
down, takes on "personality" of whichever stick.

Nadine of Friends Peace Teams, doing AVP in Aceh, right through the
Tsunami chapter, was all aglow about memory sticks when I saw her in
Portland, thinking at least she'd be free of all those viruses and
slow poke machines, hampered with cruft, trojans, mostly zombies by
the time she gets to 'em.[1]

My own DWA / 4D has:  Satellite Toshiba x1 (x2 counting mom's when
she's around, plus she has a Sony Vaio which I'm not counting); OLPC
XO x2; Ubuntu Dell laptops x2; various PC desktops x4 (3 in office,
one for Spores etc., working on Spores-based Cockfight! concept, an
alternative to violence against chickens (roosters), with real money
bets possible, more on Wanderers Yahoo! list (have to knock to get

I take different laptops to work depending on whom I'm trying to
impress.  If it's OSCON, take the Ubuntu Dell and rotate the Compix
cube because that's what Miguel de Icaza does and everyone claps (when
I do it they stare politely -- need more jokes).  When I go to some
other gigs, I only take Windows because Linux is still scary to them,
as is Python.  You have to understand that North Americans live in a
state of abject fear, brought on by television and misinformation in
the schools.  Anything "Linux" or "GNU" means "hacker" and that's just
too scary to talk about.

The other device we might power up with different memory, depending on
driver, is the "Bizmo" or business mobile, a van or bus or even SUV
sized vehicle that's designed to keep the busy cube farmer in touch
with her workplace, plus offers a meeting space and the ability to put
on a circus, if caravaning with others (my preferred model -- unless
the culture is biased against anything "gypsy" in which case split up,
don't attract attention).  Truckers are already very familiar with the
"bizmo" cab concept, as they make their livelihoods on the road, just
aren't geeks in the same way, so have to haul freight, whereas I'm
hauling access to future career possibilities, showing up in schools
to signal a bright future (that's the storyboard -- so far just using
Razz, a "clown car" (Portland has lots of clown cars [2])).

Think of flying into a remote city, going to your company's garage or
lot, and checking out a bizmo (like a laptop), and installing your
favorite, customized software. Ulmer (not Urner -- different dude), a
full time bizmo guy, invented geocaching, uses his software to find
ghost towns and mine shafts in the North American southwest.[3]
Others would have other goals.  Thanks to the separation of hardware
from software, you don't have to specialize the fleet too much, just
what's on the memory sticks.  Science fiction I realize but I think
we're moving in this direction, based on what I see in the tea leaves.


[1]  http://worldgame.blogspot.com/2008/03/peace-teams.html (Nadine et al)

[2]  http://mybizmo.blogspot.com/search?q=Razz ( = Subaru Bizmo)

[3]  http://controlroom.blogspot.com/2005/12/we-win.html (Ulmer, click
link for details (not current, but gives the idea))

On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 6:23 AM, gerry_lowry (alliston ontario canada)
<gerry.lowry at abilitybusinesscomputerservices.com> wrote:
> If the idea is shared laptops, probably a single laptop configuration would suffice for the following reasons:
> -- it's likely that most adults are barely competent to configure an operating systems
> -- "administrators" need to be able to maintain the revolving door laptops with minimal, consistent effort
> -- hard disks tend to be of sufficient size to host multiple operating systems
> -- someone grabbed the Ubuntu laptop but she/he needed the Windows laptop for________________ (fill in)
> -- someone needed the Ubuntu laptop but it was unfortunately already checked out
> -- individual's need to control their own data
> -- more efficient would be a single laptop to update perhaps by dropping a new image of a virtual configuration set
> -- a smaller pool of laptops would be required per "team" of shared users since all laptops would have a shared configuration
> No matter what, some end-user training would be required to explain how to use whatever laptop
> the adult was checking out ... therefore, with a SINGLE laptop, a SINGLE instruction
> booklet would require one extra section explaining how to boot into one's required environment.
> Shared data (e.g. a slide presentation) could reside in a common folder on each "team" laptop.
> USB flash drives are relatively inexpensive, hence individuals would keep their unique files
> on their own USB flash drive.
> g.
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