Zaurus: Digital Divide

January 2, 2008

Zaurus 5500


I have not been doing a good job with keeping up with desktop Linux news.  Fortunately there are a lot of others who do.


Despite my disappointment with Linux for the desktop, the Zaurus has been my best friend.  I read and write more blog entries on this thing than even my Windows desktop machine.  Using flash memory, I’m able to easily move documents back and forth with the desktop being used mostly to upload and polish up and add links with my various blogging interests. I have a work laptop that I can also use but the thing is still much too large and bulky for just reading stuff.  The Zaurus is cozy and comfortable.  I can lie on my back on the bed or couch and have at it.  I can get 4-5 hours of reading on a battery charge if I read on the lowest screen brightness.  But even having to have an outlet close by is not a huge deal as long as I can have some time away from it.


 I recently ordered a wireless card for my Zaurus that may change how I do business. I ordered a D-link but it is being sent from China!  Hopefully it won’t be a very slow boat.


Yeah, we’re still on a modem but there are getting to be more and more wireless places around nowadays.  I am thinking about going high speed with the cable company, which may shift things back in favor of Linux since the modem issue has been such a stickler.  Also high speed would greatly facilitate getting updates and fiddling around.  But I hear Linux has wireless issues so we’ll see.




Digital Divide Issues


The digital divide continues to grow.  Even if I escape the modem by buying DSL or through the cable company, what about single parents who arre being left behind?  Who don’t even have a computer?  


This was a big part of why I wanted to make Linux work.  I envisioned taking legacy hardware and  giving it new life to parents of kids with severe disabilities who already have mobility and isolation issues along with financial strain.  Getting them online would help them access information and services already available to everyone else.  Getting online really is becoming more and more of an issue for accessing knowledge and information and parents of kids with severe disabilities have perhaps more need for the access and mobility offered by the internet than anyone else.  But they are being left behind.


When a machine finally gets into their price range (which is more or less free) it is obsolete for getting online.  I’m thinking of the countless Win98 machines that are now choking landfills.  Why couldn’t these be given to people who might otherwise not have a machine?  I’m watching our school upgrade and dump off hundreds and hundreds of machines that are otherwise okay.  This seems like such a huge waste.  So my modem quest wasn’t just for me but for many others who have been left behind, technologically.  I also envisioned giving them some simple training on computers to get them up and running.


I’m just wondering how to make the idea a reality, or even if it is worth doing.





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