Hope for the Future

We have had friends visiting from the Netherlands for the past few days, with two early-teen-age children. The children, of course, want to be on the computers whenever we are at home.

We have had friends visiting from the Netherlands for the past few days, with two early-teen-age children. The children, of course, want to be on the computers whenever we are at home. I thought that might be a bit of a problem, since there are very (very) few computers around the house with Windows loaded. After a few days, it is obvious that I underestimated the children.

First, the daughter wanted to play the music from an iPod-like device. It might have been a genuine iPod, or it might have been some other similar thing, I didn't look that closely at it. Anyway, I didn't have time to do much more than log her into my main laptop, running Linux Mint, and tell her to see what they could find and/or figure out. Less than five minutes later, I heard the music blaring from the laptop, and the only thing I had to do was show her how to switch the output from the laptop speakers to the external speakers.

The next day, on the way home from sightseeing, she said that she wanted to watch Spiderman 3 when we got home. I assumed that they had brought some DVDs along to keep the kids happy. A few minutes after we got home, I heard the sound from upstairs as the movie started. I assumed they had done a good job of figuring out the television and DVD player so quickly. But a little while later, when I went upstairs to check on them, I found that she had a portable USB hard drive connected to my laptop, and was playing the movie on that. This time no questions, no pointers, nothing else. I think that says a lot for Linux in general and Mint in particular.

Oh, and last but certainly not least, they had brought a bunch of pictures of a recent trip to Namibia which we all wanted to see - on a USB thumb drive. I connected an HDMI cable from a laptop to our television, configured it as dual monitors so that I could get the best resolution on the television, and in less than five minutes we were watching a beautiful slide show.

When kids are able to do what they want or need, without a lot of fussing about and they don't know or care that they aren't using Windows, I think there is reason for hope that the future will be better than the past.

jw 27/10/2010

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