A PC for the Kids: Introduction

With my wife adopting a new notebook we’ve found ourselves with an additional, usable machine which we’ve earmarked for our boys use.

The unit in question is a rather dated IBM Thinkpad R51 which ran fine with Windows XP, but given that our boys are now of an age where they are being more inquisitive, I’ve decided that something a little more robust would better fit the bill than the aging Windows OS.

As a keen open source OS user myself, I’m planning to drop Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) onto the notebook and then lock down the configuration to allow the boys to experiment, but not break the environment.

So, looking at the task list ahead of me, I’ll be looking to run through the following:

  1. Install the OS (release date is 29/04/2010)
  2. Install and configure parental control on the boys user accounts
  3. Lock down the rest of the system on the boys accounts
  4. Let the boys at the notebook and observe what usability issues crop up
  5. Tweak

The next few articles getting posted to the blog will be following through this list so I’ll be making extensive use of search engines, forums and any other resources I can leverage to get the best info to make this happen as painlessly as possible. Suggestions in the comments please 🙂



World Wide Telescope – I want to be a kid again…

I read Scobles post when it appeared on TechMeme yesterday about Microsoft Research and their Worldwide Telescope project and the praise for the concept is again reflected on TED (love TED).

Anyway,  enthused by what I’ve seen thus far (the project still not being open), I told my son Max about it and, watching his eyes light up with the possibility of viewing other planets, stars and galaxies through the shared resources of spaces agencies around the world was simply magic. We were going to get the telescope he got for Christmas out last night to compare what the web will bring to his fingertips against what we could see IRL through his (admittedly low powered) telescope. Our children will have access to so much of the worlds information as they grow up, I envy the opportunities that this will bring them.