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 Forum index » Taking the Puppy out for a walk » Puppy Power
Puppy Linux saves Disabled club approx £3000!
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Sat 02 Jan 2010, 04:20    Post subject:  Puppy Linux saves Disabled club approx £3000!
Subject description: Chicken Soup for the Soul
 


Class of 2009...

Hi all. Thought it was about time I let you know about one of the Projects Ive been working on while not on the forum ;D.

Last summer I was approached by a local disabled club. They deal with the elderly disabled, mostly those that have trouble getting out and about, mostly (but not exclusively) due to age related conditions. They told me that they wanted to start computer classes to enable the clubs members to keep in contact, communicate with the outside world, and take advantage of online services (and shopping!).

As they had very little space (they hire a room in a local social club) they told me they wanted laptops that they could store away between sessions. Their budget was also extremely limited, and they wanted at least ten computers to cope with the demand for the course. Security was also an issue.

The laptops they had looked into getting were around £350 each. We currently have 14 laptops which would have made the bill just for hardware around £4,200. This is without additional setup fees. We opted for 14 reconditioned Dell D600's, sans batteries and hard drives. From our local reconditioned computer supplier these cost us just £1800. Just one of the computers has a Hard Drive, which netboots the others via ethernet (and a cheap £10 recon 24 port hub!). The hub plugs into the social clubs router via ethernet, which provides the internet connectivity.


Kittens....much more calm enducing than Teletubby land!


Over the past 12 weeks, Ive tought the first "term/semester" using a custom netbooted Puppy 4.21 system. Ive dressed it up to look "familiar" and used it to teach basic internet access, searching and email so far in the first term, teaching two classes. These are a beginners (those who have never used a computer before), and and an "intermediate" (those that have in some shape or form). The begiiners I started for the first two weeks just getting to grips with gCompris and learning the motor functions to use the mouse and the keyboard, then onto doing simple google web searches. The intermidiate ons I taught websurfing, and set them up with an email address.

Weve had a fair share of technical issues along the way. Half the omputers wernt working for the first class....later due to the fact that the others only had 256mb of RAM to netboot into. I did some remastering of the puppy image and now all the computers will boot into 256mb. We also had issues with the bios batteries not remembering the time and the date, or which device (ethernet PXE) to boot from. This made setup in the mornings tricky and time consuming, but theyre back at the refurbishers over the xmas period getting new bios batteries installed. Also, being in a rural location, the internet connection was down for two of the ten classes due to bad weather!

Teaching using puppy has been fun again, and Ive had plenty of opportunity to plug linux. One of the local computer guys has been coming to help teach the class, and has now learned to setup and install puppy linux...and has been installing puppy on the students home machines.

THE biggest barrier with people when they are just starting out using computers is the hooror stories they hear in the media and from their friends about viruses, "defragging", anti-virus etc. Its great to be able to explain to the budding cybernauts that they have nothing to fear from these things!

I still have a few issues to work out with the system....256mb of ram means that I will have to have two separate systems - one for the gcompris, built into 4.12 barebones to save space!, and a main teaching suite with seamonkey. I would like this to have firefox rather than Seamonkey as this is the browser they will be using mostly at home. Development of netbooting systems is still slow for me, as I have to reboot my computer each time to compress a boot image. Im working on a system using virtualization, that mounts the drive image after the VM session has done and automatically creates a netboot initrd.gz without having to reboot. Ive also got a problem with my server at the moment, and am working hard to raise the £70 needed to get it back online. I can then get my email, website and download server back up!!! Once this is done, I will write a more thorough howto and offer this system for download.

I also wanted to say happy new year to everyone who works on the Puppy Linux project, and a great many thanks for your services from a small corner of Lincolnshire!

Woof Woof!

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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4765
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Sat 02 Jan 2010, 09:38    Post subject: Congratulations!  

Congratulations, Robert and the project proponents!

Your net-booted 4.2.1 will be interesting for other computer labs, too. Hope you can upload it, example is here.

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Colonel Panic


Joined: 16 Sep 2006
Posts: 1513

PostPosted: Sat 02 Jan 2010, 18:06    Post subject:  

Fantastic Rob. Just one thing though; by my mental arithmetic the saving is even greater than you're claiming, because £350 x 14 = £700 x 7 (multiplying and then dividing by 2) = £4,900 before set up fees!

It's stories like this which remind me why I use and love Puppy.

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Slapdash


Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Posts: 79
Location: Silesia

PostPosted: Sun 03 Jan 2010, 09:04    Post subject:  

It is a great story. Good job too Smile

Ps. Yes, they saved 4900 on the initial laptops but then spent money on those they currently have (1800 quid - I just realised haven't got the "pound" symbol on my keyboard. WTH? Very Happy)
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daverich

Joined: 03 Jan 2010
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun 03 Jan 2010, 16:47    Post subject:  

Love the Explore Internet icon,- that's actually very smart Wink

Kind Regards

Dave Rich
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sidders

Joined: 23 Jul 2008
Posts: 470
Location: Bolton, uk

PostPosted: Sun 03 Jan 2010, 17:36    Post subject:  

Good effort.

note to self- Will have to get to grips with netboot
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benali72

Joined: 09 Aug 2006
Posts: 276

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan 2010, 01:23    Post subject:  

ecomoney, thanks for taking the time to post this. It's great to hear a real-world story about how Puppy is being used and having an impact.
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Fri 05 Mar 2010, 08:46    Post subject:  

I have a problem with the machines! all of the bios batteries are flat and the supplier is refusing to replace them under warranty. at £4 each x 14 machines this is rather too much for the club to afford right now. Because the time isnt set security certificate validation errors are popping up at every secure website login and scaring the students!

I would like to set the time automatically from an internet timeserver at each boot. Ive requested a solution for this in the appropriate thread.

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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Wed 02 Jun 2010, 07:19    Post subject:  

Thanks to everyone today on IRC who were so friendly to my students during the IRC lesson. They were absolutely petrified of chatrooms when I mentioned them, they had heard so many bad things....they left saying "wow...is that all they are, whats all the fuss about?" Smile
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Colonel Panic


Joined: 16 Sep 2006
Posts: 1513

PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan 2014, 15:54    Post subject:  

Has anyone heard from ecomoney recently, or do they know anything about what he's up to nowadays (pm me if you want, but I'd be interested to know)? I hope he's OK anyway.
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dejan555


Joined: 30 Nov 2008
Posts: 2648
Location: Montenegro

PostPosted: Thu 23 Jan 2014, 08:03    Post subject:  

Today on puppy linux forums: bringing old threads back from dead. Very Happy

But seriously though I would like to know too, he had a very good use for puppy linux and I remember he shared his window-ish look puplet that he used to install on computers for those in need.

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Puppyt

Joined: 09 May 2008
Posts: 568
Location: Gatton, Queensland

PostPosted: Thu 23 Jan 2014, 08:16    Post subject:  

Yes - I enjoyed using EcoPup 2.17 (from memory) and I still have several cd burns of ecomoney's pupplet. He might have polarised the older hands in the Puppy Community, but his enthusiasm and initiative was a major factor in my making Puppy my OS of choice. He was good value.
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cthisbear

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 3413
Location: Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Thu 23 Jan 2014, 20:56    Post subject:  

Ecomoney Seafarers Cybercafe Pup >> cyberlinux.iso

A first class effort I reuploaded last year.

Based on Puppy 4.21

http://www.4shared.com/file/j_QM5Uvw/cyberlinux.htm

These days you need to login....sorry.

Chris
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Colonel Panic


Joined: 16 Sep 2006
Posts: 1513

PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan 2014, 13:06    Post subject:  

cthisbear wrote:
Ecomoney Seafarers Cybercafe Pup >> cyberlinux.iso

A first class effort I reuploaded last year.

Based on Puppy 4.21

http://www.4shared.com/file/j_QM5Uvw/cyberlinux.htm

These days you need to login....sorry.

Chris


Thanks, I'm downloading it now.

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Colonel Panic


Joined: 16 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Jun 2014, 10:30    Post subject:  

A quick update; when ecomoney came down to see us in 2009 at the community centre I help out at in Cornwall, and to demonstrate the software he uses (and is featured in this thread), he left us a parting gift of a computer, which one of the local schools told him they would otherwise have dumped.

This past week, the community centre have said they have no further use for the computer and have passed it on to me for my own use. All I've had to do with it is install the hard drive and sound card from my old machine (and the sound card works much better in this one) and buy two 1 GB sticks of RAM for it, as it only came with 256 MB, and it's working well.

So, if you're reading this Rob; thanks again! Hope you're OK wherever you are and whatever you're doing.

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