I have long since given away my test machine that was running Deli Linux on it, but a friend at the local Linux User Group has installed it on an old Sony laptop, and is chronicling the process at http://www.distasis.com/cpp/dlin.htm. More importantly, she wants to actually use the distro, so there is a lot on the page about what works, changes that will get things working (such as sound, and recognizing USB drives), as well as details about which programs are available and work, and how to get other programs to compile.
Whether you are in a public library, academic library, or special library, this issue has something for you. It is hard to pick a favorite among them, but I really like “Quick lookup laptops in the Library,” because it’s about using Linux to leverage old machines in the library.
I gotta say, it’s great being a part of the editorial team, bringing this to the world.
I am heading off to another conference, this time to learn instead of teach. Code4Lib 2008 is in Portland, Oregon, next week. I’ll be posting here from the sessions.
If anyone is interested in stacking the deck for next year, I’m not above a shameless plug for a vote for South Florida for next year’s conference. If you have a login account at code4lib.org, go here to vote (note, some firewalls block the port in this url – leave a comment here if you are having problems). If you don’t have a login account at the code4lib site, you can get one here.
My dad’s advice: It’s hell getting old. Don’t do it.
Two very significant things are happening this century. First, Americans are living longer than any previous generation, so we are all discovering, directly or indirectly, the handicaps that come with old age. Second, computer technology has become truly mainstream, catching a whole generation off guard. Consequently, computer illiteracy has become one of those old age handicaps, and it is acutely felt by those who are otherwise functioning extremely well in society.
The older generation sees their grandchildren interacting with all kinds of computers with ease, yet they have difficulty just getting their heads around some of the most basic concepts like menus and scrollbars. I haven’t kept track of how many older adults I have talked to about computers, but I’m sure if I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase “I feel so stupid” I’d be as rich as Bill Gates.
I repeatedly tell members of the older generation they are not stupid, they are inexperienced. They wouldn’t think of themselves as being stupid because they can’t play a piccolo or speak Swahili. Neither should they feel stupid because they can’t use a computer…yet. Did they learn to read in a day or a week? How long were they taught penmanship? ( “Oh! Years!”) And that was when they were young, like their grandchildren.
Learning to use a computer is doable, no matter how complicated it looks to them. But a big factor in their success is their attitude. In addition to making it easier for them to learn, it is important to counteract the self image they come in with by reminding them that they are learning, that it is not as hard as they imagined, and that they can do it. It is a wonderful thing to see their faces brighten as they realize they have learned something, and therefore are not stupid after all. As their attitude and self image changes, barriers start coming down and they pick up more determination.
Tip #9: Encourage them. Not just with positive reinforcement, but with active encouragement that reminds them what they have accomplished.