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Keeping a PC Personal At School? 695

Berto Kraus writes "As one of the most tech-oriented students in my art-oriented institution, I'm usually the one with the laptop. This causes frequent requests from other students to read mail, check some site, or connect it to the projector to display a file from their Flash drive. For the sake of my privacy, the health of my laptop, and my own peace of mind, I'm reluctant. But telling my compatriots to go to our building supervisor and ask him for a desktop-on-a-cart, as they should do, is considered rude and unfriendly. Now, I could dual-boot Ubuntu, or carry around a Linux-on-a-stick. Or I could embed the computer in my skull. For many reasons, none of these solutions is ideal. So I'm asking you, insightful and funny Slashdotters, what would you do to keep your PC personal at school?"
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Keeping a PC Personal At School?

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  • easy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by l3iggs ( 1108141 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:29AM (#28178233)
    create a guest account.
  • art school lol (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pieisgood ( 841871 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:29AM (#28178235) Journal
    Not take it to class and pay attention instead.
  • Just be paranoid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Atlantis-Rising ( 857278 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:30AM (#28178241) Homepage

    I must admit, I've never had this problem. Probably because I have a very long password and I lock my PC whenever I turn my head away from the screen. As long as you're obviously paranoid enough with your PC, chances are, people won't ask you to use it.

  • Really? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:30AM (#28178245)

    Grow a pair and learn the word "no".

    It is your property. I don't see the issue here.

  • Just say no (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:31AM (#28178255) Homepage
    Be firm. Saying no needn't be rude and unfriendly. Your friends will know where you stand, and stop asking. You don't have to tell them to "fuck off", just explain in a friendly manner. If you're afraid your friends will desert you or stop liking you because you won't give them access to your laptop, I'd suggest you have other issues. Also, if they did that, they couldn't really have been friends.
  • by Cabriel ( 803429 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:32AM (#28178257)

    I'm resistant to letting anyone use my laptop. It's password protected and my roommate, the computer programmer, has commented in disbelief that it's not like he'll ever do anything harmful with it. However, I don't let it stop me.

    Look at it from the other side: They're being just as rude, maybe more so. It's rude for your friends to impose their whims on you when you've apparently made it evident enough that you aren't comfortable with letting them all at your machine, willy-nilly.

  • by Phat_Tony ( 661117 ) * on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:33AM (#28178261)
    What OS are you running? Is there some reason you can't keep a "guest" account with few privileges and no access to any of your personal data, and just log into the guest account before you hand them the machine?

    The answer of using different user accounts for different users when you want to have multiple people using the same machine strikes me as so obvious, it makes me wonder if I'm misreading the question?
  • Easy reply (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:33AM (#28178263)

    Sharing laptops is like sharing toothbrushes.

  • by TheWanderingHermit ( 513872 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:35AM (#28178285)

    This is close to my thoughts. Basically make it visibly and notably hard for them to use. Either use a Linux desktop with things configured in a way that works for you but will confuse them, or use Firefox with No-Script installed so Javascript or other key and important features don't work on their email accounts or anything else that works for you but will make it hard for them. At some point they'll realize it's more of a pain to use your computer than to wait or do something else.

    Also, when they complain about some change you've made, like disabling IE so they have to use Firefox, say, "Sorry about that, but I set it up for what works for me and what keeps my data safe. I'm sure if you had your own computer, you'd set it up for you and not other people."

  • Re:Just say no (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zwei2stein ( 782480 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:47AM (#28178405) Homepage

    If you refuse such simple, harmless and costless request, you are not really their friend either.

  • A better way (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:53AM (#28178455)

    "For the sake of my privacy, the health of my laptop, and my own peace of mind, I'm reluctant."

    As you should be.

    "But telling my compatriots to go to our building supervisor and ask him for a desktop-on-a-cart, as they should do, is considered rude and unfriendly."

    But you aren't the community PC guy, are you? You are being /used/. Not even mentioning your privacy or possibility of OS infection, what if someone simply drops the machine? I suspect you won't be able to get anyone to pay for the repair or replacement, as they are unwilling to get their own. If this keeps going on, you are going to have a broken computer /and/ a lot of resentment aimed at your so-called friends. This might sound harsh to you, but it is reality.

    There is a solution to this, however. If your group is cohesive enough, maybe each can contribute to the acquisition of a "group computer." This is how the real world works, especially if you are acquainted with the concept of the "office group owned coffee pot and coffee kitty." Same concept. Those who contribute get to use the computer/coffee pot/whatever.

    But if you continue on the current path you are on, it can only end badly.


  • Re:Just say no (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:57AM (#28178481) Homepage
    How do you know it's costless? Only the OP knows that - clearly the fact he has misgivings indicates that he does not consider this costless. My wife and I don't even allow each other access to our respective laptops in normal use, and I wouldn't say we weren't really "friends".
  • Re:Just say no (Score:2, Insightful)

    by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:57AM (#28178485)

    This is terrible advice. If you do this, you will garner a well deserved reputation as "that guy who doesn't trust anyone to touch his laptop". You will not make as many friends, and friends you do make won't be as close (since you obviously don't trust them).

    I know nerds are not generally known for their social skills (at least not in a good way), but trust me on this one. Just set up a guest account that you can quickly switch to when someone asks. Refusing such a harmless request is anti-social.

  • by Phil Urich ( 841393 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:00AM (#28178501) Journal

    yea then you have to learn dvorak in the first place. God I think the only reason people use that kbrd config is to be an elitist. I taught myself dvorak a few years ago buying into the hype that it was faster...well its not, and this is coming from someone that can do ~100 WPM QWERTY

    Uhhhhh....did it never occur to you that your speed and familiarity with QWERTY would be why Dvorak is slower for you? I know my sister types significantly faster with Dvorak than Qwerty; she wasn't terribly fast at Qwerty at the time, nowadays she uses Qwerty about 30% of the time and Dvorak 70% at the time and is at about ~100 WPM on Dvorak but 60 WPM on Qwerty.

  • by sortius_nod ( 1080919 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:03AM (#28178515) Homepage

    Or tell them to go fuck themselves.

    Honestly, if they need to use it that much why have they not bought their own?

    A laptop costs almost nothing compared to most art supplies, if they complain they don't have the cash... ask them how much they paid for their last photo enlargements? In this day and age not having a laptop is like not having a pen. Sure, once in a while when you forget the tool it's cool to borrow, but not having one and always using others is not acceptable.

    One thing I usually find most annoying from art students is the attitude that "art supplies" are more important than the tools they use to learn with. I feel it's more about being able to say "I spent $500 making that artwork, respect it!" than actually creating art. Then again, maybe I'm either too cynical, or my priorities are different.

    I've been unemployed for extended periods of time (years), but haven't been without a computer since I was 16 (I bought my first computer myself too) - I'm 29 now. I've always considered being connected with the world at large as a vital part of being human, others don't, then again, why are they asking to borrow your laptop?

    Goes back to telling them to fuck off... or harden the fuck up. Which ever is more appropriate.

  • Re:Just say no (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Corporate Troll ( 537873 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:04AM (#28178521) Homepage Journal

    Oh, come on! Giving access to your machine is no big deal... I have no problem with anyone using my computer in a guest account. Obviously they won't get Admin/root[1] rights on it and obviously they won't get access to your files. Running an (installed) app, reading their own data (from USB/CD) is not a problem in a "Limited User" account (to use the retarded Windows lingo... a "user" to me is by definition "limited") . There is no risk to your data (inaccessible folder), no risk of a trojan/worm/virus to hose your system: worst case something nasty might get installed running as that user, but I haven't seen such a thing yet.

    If you really don't trust them enough, watch over their shoulder. They shouldn't object to that.

    Oh, and he's in art school... Lots of horny sexy chicks... Don't want to close down your options there because you don't let them access your computer...

    [1] I don't even run Admin/root myself... Not on Windows XP and not on Linux.

  • by fractoid ( 1076465 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:18AM (#28178583) Homepage
    He's an artist. A fairly techy one but an artist nonetheless. Therefore, acting like a rabid dog every time anyone glances at his computer is probably not a valid option for him, because in his quality matrix, interacting with other people has a decidedly positive weight.
  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:18AM (#28178603)
    You obviously don't need a laptop for your studies (or every student would have one of their own), so the implication is that you carry it as a status symbol. In that case having other people ask to use it is part of the status you have chosen to pursue. It's the price of your vanity.

    BTW, I wouldn't buy any justification based on the idea that you do other things while supposedly studying which mean you "need" to have it. Hopefully the course you have decided to take is sufficiently interesting and rewarding - otherwise maybe you're in the wrong place, studying the wrong subject.

  • Re:A better way (Score:4, Insightful)

    by itsme1234 ( 199680 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:19AM (#28178609)

    The hardware part is a VERY good point. Unless your "friends" break something that can be easily replaced for 5-10$ forget it, you'll have to replace the machine or live with it (if it's only partially broken). Many people couldn't care less about hardware or computers (if they would they would have their own netbook probably); they poke your screen, push the keys sometimes like you would push some broken elevator button, lift the device from a corner despite screeching noises and so on. It's a very nice thing to help other people until you end up with the short end of the stick; you get let's say some broken pixels and you have to live with them for 1-2 years and they get to check their email 7 times instead of 6 times today.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:20AM (#28178615)

    Or tell them to go fuck themselves.

    I've been unemployed for extended periods of time (years)

    Gee, I wonder why

  • Re:Just say no (Score:3, Insightful)

    by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:20AM (#28178617)

    It's not even comparable to kissing someone's wife. The fact that you think it is tells me just how much you value possessions compared to people.

  • Re:A better way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ihlosi ( 895663 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:23AM (#28178639)
    The hardware part is a VERY good point.

    And then there's the whole issue of school firewalls and such. You know, who will that access to a porn site be attributed to - you or the person who was using your laptop at that time?

  • Re:easy. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Macrat ( 638047 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:23AM (#28178643)

    Just set up a guest account already.

    Or just tell them NO.

  • Trade! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:33AM (#28178699)

    Ask something in return. I'd suggest sexual favors from women, and money from guys.

  • Re:easy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by supernova_hq ( 1014429 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:57AM (#28178811)
    Or do what I do. Make your machine super-efficient but very hard to learn. Using my machine is sort of a keyboard-mouse hybrid of vi!
    • Use "scale" for app switching, bind it to a hot-corner and disable your taskbar.
    • bind another corner to "show desktop"
    • bind another corner to "expo"
    • launch ALL your applications from gnome-do (using docky in hidden mode).
    • put your last remaining panel on the side (vertical)

    After a couple days, the shortcuts (especially the hot-corners, trust me) will speed up your efficiency. At the same time, others will be baffled as to what the hell happened when they touched the mouse!

    Hint: For fast desktop-switching, you can set it so when you "click" on the left/right of the screen, it rotates.
    Note: hot-corners do not need to be clicked, just mouse-over, this makes them very fast and easy to use, but also easy for a newby to hit by accident ;)

    Now I know this is all compiz stuff, but MacOSX has some features that are pretty much exactly the same, I know it has hot-corner activated "scale".

  • Re:A better way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @04:18AM (#28178943) Homepage Journal

    Many people couldn't care less about hardware or computers (if they would they would have their own netbook probably); they poke your screen, push the keys sometimes like you would push some broken elevator button, lift the device from a corner despite screeching noises and so on.

    Good points, I've had similar experiences. For example, I've let people play some quick action games on my laptop (while I'm near, of course) and some of the rubbet feet came off as they ended up pushing the laptop around on the table. On another occasion, my supervisor pointed out some things on my laptop screen, using a ballpoint pen. Took me hours to clean it up, as I was careful not to scratch it further. And this was a pretty technically oriented person after all.

    I find it appalling how careless most people are with electronics. Perhaps it's just a symptom of the wider throwaway culture. I hear people getting new laptops after a year or two, as the old one has become physically unusable. Whereas I sold my previous laptop after six years of usage in good condition. Another laptop I sold was nearing 15 years of age, and the collector who bought it paid me some unexpected extra for the nice condition.

    Naturally, if you're a road warrior I might understand the wear and tear, but most people manage to ruin their machines in everyday home and office conditions. For example the rubber feet issue, which has led me to keep my laptop generally in one place, while at home. I do have mobile uses for it, but it doesn't mean I would like to bump it around every day.

  • Re:Appropriate? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sortius_nod ( 1080919 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @04:45AM (#28179063) Homepage

    I think you've missed the point. These people are asking to use his laptop in class. If I'm not using my machine at home I don't expect some random I barely know to rock up and ask to use it. Why should it be any different at university/collage/school?

    It really is a case of people learning to deal with either not having the tool or getting their own (fuck off or harden the fuck up).

    Turning this into a "socialise with physical beings" debate is very silly, kind of like telling someone who doesn't want to lend a pen out to spend more time with their lecturer.

  • Re:easy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @04:58AM (#28179117)

    you have a perfect opportunity here to capture passwords.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @06:12AM (#28179523)

    Honestly, if they need to use it that much why have they not bought their own

    Deep down he likes it. Maybe it's the only way to get women to talk to him - I don't know.

    The thing is that he wants people to keep using his stuff, if he was too inconvenienced, or the risk was too high to balance the benefits he gets (or at least, thinks he gets) he'd stop doing it. What he wants though, is to prevent them from screwing up his stuff (or planting viruses/backdoors - either inadvertently or maliciously). What he should be more worried about is physical damage - like someone he's lent it to dropping it.

    There's no remedy for that, as if these people can't afford a lappy of their own they won't be in a position to pay for the damage they do. The guy should think about that as a bigger problem.

  • Personally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @06:36AM (#28179645) Homepage

    Do I know you? If not, bugger off.
    Do I trust that you know what you're doing enough to not click Delete etc. ? If not, bugger off.
    Do I think that you'll lend it on again, let anyone else use it, or are using it where it's likely someone will "steal" it for a laugh or take it over or pass it around or make off with it? If so, bugger off.
    Do you understand the importance that the use of that laptop, and the data on it, means to me? If not, bugger off.

    I'm wary of lending my PC to even family, it rarely comes back the same way it was given and 99% of everybody has a laptop in the big colleges/universities nowadays - it's one of those "Mum and Dad bought me this for college" items.

    And the magic word is "No". If you don't want to do it, just don't do it. Of course they'll whinge and moan, but then that's up to THEM to get their own laptop and guess what? When people borrow theirs and start breaking it, they'll whinge and moan too. And when they then refuse to lend it, they'll get whinged and moaned at.

    I never lend personal laptops except to a (literal) handful of people, I *NEVER* lend work laptops at all. If someone wants to be left *unsupervised* with a laptop of mine, I have to *know* that it'll come back in the same state it left. And if a guest wants to use a laptop, I have old, crappy spares - enough to load a webpage, not enough for them to be happy using it for anything other than the essentials (e.g. checking for *vital* emails).

    Hell, I've got a previous post on here about how I lock down my wireless so that guests staying with me *can't* use it unless I specifically let them (not just a WPA key or similar) and when they *do* use it, they know that everything is monitored and filtered.

    Call me unsociable, or uncooperative, or untrusting, I don't care. It's *my* property, it's *incredibly* expensive property, it's incredibly fragile property and it's loaded to the hilt with data that's important to me and will cost me a lot of time to recreate (even if it's only the icon layout, or a particular set of settings).

  • by cstacy ( 534252 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @06:51AM (#28179725)

    "As one of the most tech-oriented students

    Tech oriented? Why don't you come up with a solution then? This is not a hard problem to solve.

    in my art-oriented institution"

    Aaaaaaaaah, OK. I see where you're coming from.

    The most obvious solution I can think of (assuming you're on XP/Vista) is for you to set up a second user and Fast user switch [] whenever someone else wants to use your laptop.

    Assuming your classmate's technical competence is below yours, that should be adequate security measures.

    I find it ironic that someone would get snarky and denigrate the technical competence of an art student by suggesting that the security of their Windows computer is primarily related to the skill of the guest users. The main security threat does not come from a malicous guest who may or may not know anything about cracking computers. The threat comes from pre-packaged intrusion software, in the form of easy-to-click cracking tools, or more likely from viruses introduced from thumb drives and web sites.

    A computer expert would know better than to propogate the myth that computers are breached by teh haxx0rs with elit3 knowledge. Those kind of exploits are available to anyone who can point and click. And the most likely threat is not from your friend in the art class, it's from the viruses he's got on that thumb drive he wants to stick in your computer.

    The reason to provide a guest account is to keep someone from accidently deleting your files, messing up your settings, accessing email and the web with your credentials or accidently replacing them, and of course to keep them from reading your personal files.

    I let my friends use a guest account on my Mac for the same reasons, even though the exploit and virus factor there is practically nil.

  • by pz ( 113803 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:14AM (#28179887) Journal

    He's an artist. A fairly techy one but an artist nonetheless. Therefore, acting like a rabid dog every time anyone glances at his computer is probably not a valid option for him, because in his quality matrix, interacting with other people has a decidedly positive weight.

    This is perhaps the most insightful comment on this thread.

    And it leads to the real issue: the OP, out of his or her own good heart, is sharing a valuable resource with others. Kudos to them. But the burden of this altruism is becoming worrisome. Fundamentally, this person is providing a service that the institution provides, but badly. The OP needs to speak not with Slashdot, but with the host institution to work out an equitable solution, likely including more readily available institution-owned hardware that resists physical attack (read: theft).

    I had a similar situation when in college, as I had a van. One of those huge full-sized vans without windows, a big sliding door, and nothing in the cargo compartment but a thin carpet on the floor. Everyone wanted to borrow my van. Refusing wasn't a morally acceptable option for me. So, what I did was to charge a nominal fee that benefited me, was not onerous to the borrower, and was well below market rates, so I could still feel good about being nice to my friends. For the van, the rate was either one case of beer, or a full tank of gas upon return (depending on the gas level and anticipated travel involved).

    If the OP cannot convince the institution to pony up to provide a necessary service for its students, then he should start charging some nominal fee for use of his laptop. Better if it is a barter-based fee, rather than a monetary one. Say, lunch the next day. Or the price of a couple of beers after school. Or a dollop of some important art supply (guache or something). My advice to the OP is to be creative in figuring out what to charge, but charge SOMETHING for the service they are providing, even if only a nominal, token amount.

    Finally, since someone is borrowing something of value, the OP also needs to be entirely explicit about the rules surrounding what happens when something goes wrong and the item returns broken. For my van, it was simple: the borrower agreed to cover all costs of repair or damage, period, fully understanding that it was an old van with a relatively high probability of failure. For a laptop, repair usually means replacement, so the borrower needs to understand the liability they are undertaking when borrowing a delicate and expensive bit of kit and explicitly acknowledge it. If not on paper, then verbally, in front of witnesses.

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:20AM (#28179925)

    Considering how often I would need to be fast typing and how often I type and then re-read, I could not be bothered. Even when writing an email or this here, I stop and re-read and correct and re-write parts.

    Imagine I could double my typing speed, I would not double my efficiency, just the part where I am typing and I do more non-typing then I do typing. When I look at other people, they use the keyboard even less and do much more with the mouse.

    I know there are people that will be much more productive if they could increase their typing speed significantly and are at the limit with QWERTY or AZERTY. I also think that that is only a minority.

    I think you should not look at the WPM, which is from the time of the typewriter, but at the whole task. Say answering a long email. Some rough guessing. Say the answer is 100 words. So answering with Dvorak would take 1 minute. With qwerty 2 minutes (bit less). Now getting the email, reading it, understanding it, looking for what to answer and perhaps taking action on what to do takes up 20 minutes. So with that specific mail, instead of 22 minutes for the task I would take 21 minutes.

    So it depends heavily on the task as to the usefulness of the training time. I just pick and type with basically three or four fingers yet I am often faster with a task then somebody else who is much faster at typing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:55AM (#28180169)

    All your really saying is Don't bend for a friend or you'll get it in the end!

    speaking of which...
    Make the guy your screensaver and/or wallpaper image as a warning to this effect. That should keep most reasonable people the hell away from your laptop. if you run it through a red filter and make sure you only ever wear blue glasses, you should be safely protected and it'll hopefully just look like a black background.
    No liability for retinal damage this solution may cause.

  • Re:A better way (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NeoSkandranon ( 515696 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:47AM (#28180669)

    "I find it appalling how careless most people are with electronics"

    I think many people simply don't think of the cost of an object unless they bought it themselves.

    I've been asked why I don't let anyone else hold/use my DSLR, to which I reply "are you prepared to replace the body for $800 or the lens for $400?" The realization that it is a somewhat delicate, pretty expensive piece of kit usually shuts them up.

  • Re:Appropriate? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:51AM (#28180697) Homepage

    You can do a bit better than that.

    If they want to check the email ask them for the user name and password and read it out to them, if they don't trust you with that why would you trust them with your PC.

    If you are fussy about bad files on strange usb drives get them to wait while you scan the usb with anti virus software, they will likely give up before it has finished, claim it is auto configured that way.

    The other one of course is simply make busy with your PC and claim that unfortunately you don't have the time.

    Turn off all auto play features on the USB drive, plug in the USB drive and when they don't see anything come up, like typical end users expect, claim it temporarily isn't working, bugger.

    Checking web sites, only turn on wireless access when you want to use it the rest of time, eep no access, bugger.

    Of course the catch all on notebooks, sorry battery is way down wish I could help but, by the time we get to a power point you could most probably use a computer from one of the labs or library.

    Art types can be very manipulative implying that if you do not serve them you create negative connotations in the supposed relationship, so when they ask you for a favour, have some favours you need in reserve and, request that favour first, should they refuse, discus the reason for their refusal of your request and imply they are fostering a negative relationship, continue to discuss until they give up and go away.

  • by Ihlosi ( 895663 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:54AM (#28180729)
    In other words it's exactly like business school

    Maybe, but in art you still need to create _something_.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:04AM (#28180817) Journal

    All of ye have given good technical answers, and they would most-likely work, but I think ye overlooked the most practical solution:


    It's the same answer I give if someone asks if they can drive my $15,000 car, or if they can borrow my $5000 diamond ring, or if they can wear my $1000 suit. No, no, no. A laptop is not a toy; it's a huge investment in both money and time (approximately 1.5 months of hell, err work). And I would explain that to the asker: "If it breaks, are you willing to give me two thousand dollars to get a new one?" Probably not. If it's something trivial like checking then sure I'll share my laptop, but for something major like doing a presentation on the projection screen, forget it. Let them use the school-provided resources and/or buy their own laptop.

  • by moranar ( 632206 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:07AM (#28180851) Homepage Journal

    Part of the problem is programmers who don't care about international use (often Americans) and start using symbols that are easy for them to type but uncommon in other countries. That said, lots of European layouts feature gratuitous layout changes; for example, the German keyboard swaps Y and Z for no apparent reason.

    That was a hilarious couple of sentences, rebutting in the first one the assumption you make in the second...

  • by moranar ( 632206 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:09AM (#28180883) Homepage Journal

    I didn't know that "interacting with other people has a decidedly positive weight" only for artists.

  • by Macrat ( 638047 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:15AM (#28180939)

    The moral of the story is,

    ...that you are a wuss controlled by your peers.

  • by morari ( 1080535 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:24AM (#28181037) Journal

    You just described any school, not just those focused on "art".

  • Re:easy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by psnyder ( 1326089 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:53AM (#28181357)
    I know you were modded funny, but I actually just followed your little "guide" step by step; installing gnome-do, and setting up all the bindings in compiz.

    Not because I wanted to obfuscate things for others, but because I'm still fairly new to Linux and it's actually a pretty nice setup. Thanks for the ideas (^_^)
  • by watanabe ( 27967 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:56AM (#28181399)

    The most practical solution probably won't get you many friends, commodore64_love. I think that the original question asker wants to, you know, have people who like and appreciate him at his art-oriented school.

    Since you seem like a black and white sort of dude, I'll say it in nerdish black and white: refusing to participate in social 'gifting' if you are not an alpha male guarantees that you will drop to the bottom of the social pecking order. Most non-outcast-y people get this intuitively, and it's one reason they have more friends. Outcasts can learn to do this, along with other social niceties and reintegrate, if they choose to.

    Or, they can, you know, keep their laptops to themselves.

    If it sounds harsh, sorry. I'm just trying to engage with you on the level and tone you did. Maybe it will help your social life.

  • Re:easy. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Beezlebub33 ( 1220368 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:57AM (#28181415)
    That's my experience too.

    It seems like art students view laptops as toys, media devices, and gaming rigs. I and my co-workers view it as a vital tool. You would not sit down and use someone elses computer unless you are showing them something. It would just be weird to ask someone to use their computer for personal stuff.
  • by pyrr ( 1170465 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @12:09PM (#28183653)

    I'm not sure that "friends" is the appropriate word here. People who are kind enough to beg the OP to use his stuff because they're too lazy or stupid to buy their own are generally not "friends", they're sponges. What's the likelihood they'd do him favors in return when he's in need? Do they hang out with him after class and help him with his work a lot? Or are they just cordial to him and his best pal in the world when they need something from him and otherwise he may as well not exist? If so, they're sponges. If the willingness to be used by sponges is a mark of good social graces, I don't see a problem with being at the bottom of that social pecking order. There are only certain situations involving social politics where it might be to one's advantage to do so.

    That said, there's a place for social gifting. If someone has a desperate need and you help them out, that's an entirely different thing. Your generosity is still a scarce resource that will be appreciated and not assumed or taken-advantage of. If someone really is a friend, it's appropriate to share since generosity is mutual. But for people who just want to take advantage and use your stuff so they don't have to buy and maintain their own, "Sorry, can't help you there," is an appropriate answer, especially if there's --any-- chance you'd lose a non-trivial amount of time and money due to what might someone might do to the item they wish to borrow, and you don't have a reasonable expectation that they'd make it right in such an event.

  • Mod parent up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MythoBeast ( 54294 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @12:11PM (#28183685) Homepage Journal

    This is a question of who is being more rude - the person with the laptop, or the person asking to borrow it. Laptops are a personal resource, not a community one, and I somehow doubt that anyone is providing you with any benefit for using it, short of "not hating you for life."

    There are lots of reasons for not letting others use your laptop. School resources get pretty beaten up over time, and you don't want your laptop to wind up looking like one of those. Battery life is a limited resource, not just the charge, but also the number of times you can charge the battery, and they are EXPENSIVE. My laptop now has three ports that have just given up the ghost from regular plugging and unplugging.

    Let's face it. Nobody in high school NEEDS to check their email during school hours, but you do need to keep your laptop working. Damage caused by casual users is inevitable, not just to the OS, but to the hardware itself. Asking you to allow that damage simply because you're supposed to be nice is RUDE, and shows no respect for your property.

    So, unfortunately, it's not just a matter of saying no, but of educating them regarding why borrowing your laptop is unacceptable. I hope this provides you with a good start.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @12:59PM (#28184333) Homepage

    Every time I go to some big conference, there's a clusterfuck as someone tries to get their laptop to talk to the projector.

    If you lend your machine out for that sort of thing, make very sure that autorun is turned off for all external media. Someone is going to put in a CD or a USB stick that has something on it that will try to autorun.

    Incidentally, if you're giving a talk, have everything set up in advance. When the projector turns on, your first slide should be up. Not a Windows desktop. Not a PowerPoint slide tray. Not "New updates are available for your computer." And especially not "Low Battery". That's amateurish. I used to have a housemate who was a roadie for rock groups, a stage rigger, and also did event setup at Stanford. She insisted presentations run like theatrical performances; any prep work takes place out of sight of the audience. If you're in art school, definitely learn to do this right.

  • by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:06PM (#28185287)
    To be honest, it would be more polite to just say "no." The people who won't graciously accept a simple no are not going to act any better if you tell them you want a few hundred dollars first, so that idea really doesn't solve this guy's problem.
  • by blhack ( 921171 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @10:21PM (#28191005)

    *DING* you win.

    This is a problem that I'm sure most of slashdot is familiar with: coworkers wanting you to give tech support to their home machines.

    For me, the answer is relative to "how many times have you grabbed me a coffee on your way in to work".

    If the answer is "none", then the answer is "none". It goes up from there until it reaches "do a reinstall"

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats