What to do with a new machine?

October 17, 2006

Mr. Khan wheeled in the last of my 3 new computers.  He said he had tried to give it away, but said the other teachers were maxed out and they had to go to specialed teachers.  He said that I could do whatever I wanted with it.

I’m sure he didn’t mean take it home and go crazy, but still there are some interesting possibilities.  Namely, if you are thinking what I’m thinking…

Could that be my newest desktop linux machine?

I could hook it up to the network intermittently to get downloads and updates as needed, but otherwise it would stand alone, pretty much and run whatever applications I wanted.  Trouble is, almost all of the adaptive technology stuff I use is Windows.  Older Windows, but still Windows.  Intellikeys, Boardmaker, various games I’ve downloaded over the years as well as the touchscreens.  Making them all work under Linux would be a major coup because I know of no one else anywhere doing anything like this, porting A.T. for students with severe disabilities to Linux.  The bad news is that there wouldn’t be much in the way of support.  I’m thinking most things would work with WINE just because the stuff is older, but that’s not a for sure deal.

I think I might just let the machine set a spell until I decide what to do with it.  I wish it had a DVD-RW, because then I would definitely be turning it into a multimedia movie making machine .  My kids are not huge fans of many movies but they will actually watch themselves for a long time.

Any suggestions?




  1. Here we have a typical Linux situation.
    Someone as a problem, and starts looking for a solution. Posts the results online and “bingo!” someone else will benefit from that! 🙂

    Well, all I can say is get all that gear connected to a Linux box and let us know what does and does not work. You might be surprised…

    Try a couple of different distros (Red Hat, Suse, Knoppix) and see the results, then post them online with the full details of the hardware you are using so someone else might have a look at it and see what can be done (contact manufactures, check for specs, etc).

    Who knows, this may be the start of a Linux distro aimed at students with severe disabilities.


  2. Any chance I will get a comment on this? 😉

  3. Not much because my life is consumed by the Georgia alternate Assessment at the moment.

    And as you can see above, when I try to employ a Linux solution I muck it up!


  4. I found this site by googling linux and intellikeys.

    I am trying to break into the AT field and I’m also considering buying an XO laptop from http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/index.php

    I think it would be a perfect AT machine — light, rugged, etc. But I have no idea if intellikeys or a touch screen or speaking dynamically pro could ever run on it.

  5. While the XO looks cool, it really isn’t designed with AT in mind, except it *is* AT of a sort! Magic Touch claims to be penguin friendly, but I have yet to test it.

    It’s doubtful Intellikeys will work at all, since that is so software dependent and Intellitools is not ported to Linux. Same for SDP. Widows is miles and miles ahead on accessibility, except when it comes to price point. There are a few open source tools out there, but they are few.

    Besides, the XO has a crank to charge the batteries…might be kinda hard for those with various orthopedic impairments! Good therapy for a few other exceptional students tho!


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