I call it "my Classmate" since I get to hang onto it for a while and let kids really get a feel for using it, both in and out of class. When I don't have kids abusing it, though, I'm trying to make it my primary computer, continuing my cloud experiment and further determining just how useful netbooks (and now, a netbook tablet) can be to adults and kids.
For today, I'm just going to keep updating this post as the netbook accompanies me to a couple of schools, meetings, and wherever else I end up. It has a handle, after all. Check back once in a while (I'll tweet when I update, as well) to see the Classmate's adventures today.
5:57 AM Time to wake up kid #3...just finished a few blog posts and kids #1 and 2 have finished showering. Kid #3 is not a morning person, so I won't videotape him waking up with the built-in webcam that my 6-year old (aka, kid #4) discovered yesterday. I installed TweetDeck this morning, by the way.
9:04 AM Diagnosing network problems at one of our schools. Snow days are always bad for the network here for some reason. Just found out that the wired ethernet is not enabled on the Classmate. I wish I had time to figure out why (it's not even appearing in the hardware profile). Oh well - it's a pre-production unit. I'll sort it out tonight.
10:50 AM Emailing like crazy and getting ready for a budget presentation tonight using the Classmate while I wait for a class to come and stress test the lab/network connectivity in the building. Back to fully touch typing on this little keyboard. Now I'm slower on a full keyboard when I jumped onto a secretary's desktop a few minutes ago.
12:31 PM It took me a while to make it down from our school out in the boonies (also known as the arctic tundra), but I was cornered by a principal who happened to hose her computer but has countless files she hasn't had a chance to back up. Fortunately, I have my trusty Classmate to keep working (database maintenance for a couple of student web applications) while I run various utilities on her computer.
This is me having fun fixing her machine (picture taken with the integrated webcam).
3:05 PM I'm sitting at Speedee, getting my Honda serviced, lacking in Internet service. I haven't had a chance to install Google Gears on the Classmate either, so I'm kind of dead in the water, but I can still write, so I figured I'd toss on an update and upload it the minute I have WiFi.
It has USB ports; if only Verizon was a little cheaper on their data plans, I'd pick up a cellular modem for it. Oh well.
The point is, this is a perfect little machine to whip out and get some work done, no matter where I am. This anytime, anywhere computing, though, certainly shows how much the utility of a computer is often tied to its Internet connectivity. Living in the cloud? Make sure you have Google Gears.
While I was waiting I imported my picture above into ArtRage 2, the art program bundled with the Classmate, and used the Trace function to trace my picture as if it was on a lightboard. This program is incredibly powerful. I'll be exploring it a lot more with some folks who have vastly more artistic talent than me.
7:06 PM So here I am, working away on my Classmate (budget revisions after a meeting tonight), minding my own business, waiting for one of my kids to wrap up drama practice, when a 9-year old completely schools me with Art Rage. Her name is Mackenzie and her dad just happens to be the Regional Manager for Mature Markets for Classmate PC Ecosystem Enabling at Intel. It's a big title, but what it boils down to is that he plays a big part in putting together some very cool software and hardware combinations that make the Classmate far more useful than just a glorified netbook.
She grabbed the picture above, imported it into Art Rage on her Classmate (my dad just worked for Boeing; it's not like he ever brought me home an airplane), and whipped out the following:
What's more disturbing? My face or the fact that a 9-year old ginned this up in less time than it took me to trace my face in Art Rage?
By the way, the disabled wired connection was actually a feature of some networking software installed on the Classmate. It can be disabled, but the idea is to have the wireless or the wired connections enabled, but not both to prevent kids from bridging networks.