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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.
    • by tpgp ( 48001 ) * on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:32AM (#28178259) Homepage

      "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 [microsoft.com] whenever someone else wants to use your laptop.

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


      The Captcha is: Lars Traeger is full of shit [slashdot.org].

      • by broken_chaos ( 1188549 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:34AM (#28178275)

        And if you're not using Windows, both OSX and many Linux desktop environments integrate something similar. ...Though I suppose I'd have to guess your references to "dual booting Ubuntu" means with Windows, and not alongside another Linux distro or on a Macbook.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by holloway ( 46404 )
          Since at least Ubuntu 7.10 (ie 2007 October) Ubuntu has had fast user switching [ubuntu.com]
      • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Or tell them to go fuck themselves.

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

          Gee, I wonder why

        • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:27AM (#28178683) Journal
          I agree.

          Art Schools are the worst for whiny incompetent self absorbed losers with entitlement issues. I should know - I've attended three and have an advanced degree in fine arts. The few people that were "real" are to this day some of my closest friends and colleagues. The rest were fucking morons I couldn't stand then and have no time for now.

          If they want something done, they need to take the responsibility to make sure it happens and then GET OFF THEIR LAZY BUTTS and MAKE IT FUCKING HAPPEN.

          You don't have to be nice. You don't have to share. And these people need to learn that they need to depend on themselves and be competent on such self-reliance. When they do that, they become better people.

          That said, if someone's presentation is fucked because their laptop puked blood and died, then: Yes, you would win big karma points letting them use your machine. But if they're bugging you for your machine to check facebook, they're leeches who should just choke on their own tongues.


        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by petes_PoV ( 912422 )

          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 t

        • by Ash Vince ( 602485 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:05AM (#28179823) Journal

          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?

          Or even better, ask them how much they spent on booze last term.

          In fact, the best solution to this is not to tell them they cannot use your PC, the best solution is to start charging a fair hourly rate for laptop rent. This will probably cover the cost of a new laptop just to rent out in next to no time.

          This is perfectly fair as your time in providing a working laptop is probably far more valuable than the laptop itself and they are putting ware and tear on your laptop anyway. If you are going to put in a load of additional time in order to secure it so it can be a shared resource, then you certainly deserve monetary compensation for your time.

          That is how the capitalist world we live in works. It makes sense for your fellow students to learn this as soon as possible since they will all have to join the real world sooner or later unless they plan on trying to find a country that still works on a gift economy.

    • "Art-oriented institution" tells me that the submitter is likely to be using OSX. Setting up a low-access guest account and setting a password on the primary account is extremely easy in that situation. Heck, you can even limit the programs that account can access. Even if it's XP or Vista, it should still be fairly easy.

      I definitely agree with Biggs. Just set up a guest account already.

      • 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.

        • 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: (Score:3, Funny)

            by cashman73 ( 855518 )
            No need to go that far! Heck, just installing your favorite Linux distro on it will most likely discourage most of the Windoze Moochers from even asking! Or, they might ask and then notice that you have "something else" on the system that they "don't know how to use". Problem solved! =)
          • 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 (^_^)
    • Re:easy. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PeterBrett ( 780946 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:37AM (#28178305) Homepage

      create a guest account.

      I agree. Note that if you're running a recent version of Fedora, there's a built-in 'xguest' SELinux profile [fedoraproject.org] which is completely locked down -- that might interest you, along with the fast user switching.

    • art school (Score:5, Funny)

      by RuBLed ( 995686 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:38AM (#28178317)
      and give them a nice carebear hug everytime they borrow it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by tehfly ( 1129653 )
        If you do this, you need to the guest account in a Carebear (alt. Hello Kitty) -theme.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
        If they're anything like the art major girls I went to school with, you might want to get deloused afterward.
    • by Terje Mathisen ( 128806 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:06AM (#28178531)

      I've solved this problem by having a Win XP virtual machine: I put this machine on a second monitor (or external projector) and then I don't have to worry at all about the host OS being messed up.

      Alternatively I can make it fullscreen on the primary/only screen.


    • Re:easy. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TOGSolid ( 1412915 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @04:02AM (#28178853)
      When I was an apprentice in the Merchant Marines, I was one of the few who had a laptop in my dorm packed with games and music and what not. I set up a guest account with a massively long password so that those that wanted to could play the games I had on it while I was out and about on the campus doing whatever. The catch is, is that to use it I charged by the hour and I only let certain people use it so that it didn't get fucked up. Food, soda, and cigarettes were all accepted currency on top of straight cash. I had no issues saying no, and if I was busy saving the day in whatever game I was playing at the time, then too fucking bad. I don't care if you want on, it's my rig.

      Start charging for access to use your laptop and don't be afraid to say no. I'm guessing most of those students aren't the smartest people in the world and you don't want one of those airheads busting your laptop after all so be judicious in who you'll let buy time. Remember, the customer is always wrong.
    • 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.

    • Install Linux with FVWM remove all the menus except for xterm and run all apps threw the terminal. For your own sanity make a bunch of cryptic commands symbolic links and shell scripts to do what you want but you will be the only one who really know and cares to remember the scripts.

      So when they use you computer they will be so perplexed on how to use it as nothing will be intuitive that they just won't ask you to use it.

    • Re:easy. (Score:5, Funny)

      by bdsesq ( 515351 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:37AM (#28181169)

      Better yet. Set up your screen saver with a short delay to show porn.

      Then when the porn shows up during their presentation blame them.
      They will NEVER ask to use your computer again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DesertBlade ( 741219 )
      Ubuntu already has a guest account built in. Easier then rebooting to a linux on a stick, and allows for fast user switching. If I remember correctly after logging out of the account everything is removed so it was like it was never used. The also have limited user rights so they can't hose up your system.
    • Re:easy. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Vu1turEMaN ( 1270774 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @10:25AM (#28181867)

      You forgot step 2.

      1. Enable your guest account.

      2. Make sure your account has a password on it that is always prompted, so when the fast user switching kicks in and they log off the guest account, they can't get into your account without a password.

      My friend lent me his laptop once with a guest account, and i merely logged off of it and switched back to his account which wasn't password protected. Huge failboat.

  • 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.
  • I am guessing using goatse as your wallpaper will cut down on the requests.
  • by SimonShine ( 795915 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:30AM (#28178239) Homepage
    ...and just say "You can try." and smile. :-)
    • ...and just say "You can try." and smile. :-)

      A left handed mouse configuration serves the same purpose for me.

  • 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.

    • 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."

    • 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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        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.

        Are you kidding? Have you hear how much money goes for paintings by batshit-crazy artists???

        This would be a brilliant move!

      • 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by moranar ( 632206 )

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

  • 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.
    • Re:Just say no (Score:4, Interesting)

      by crazybit ( 918023 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:22AM (#28178635)
      Lending your laptop once in a while is OK, specially when you are truly helping someone who's laptop got infected by a virus or some other problem. Helping others in emergencies is good for friendships and enhancing relations with colleagues.

      On the other side, providing unlimited access to your laptop is dangerous for your data and equipment, and saying "you are rude" if you deny their petition is just a psychological technique to manipulate - "psycho-bullying".

      Say no and explain the reasons politely, and offer them you will help them if they plan to buy a laptop. If they tell you you are being rude after that, it means they don't know what 'Friendship' means.
  • 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 rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:33AM (#28178267)

    I'm pretty sure even Windows Vista will keep your porn stash safe, if you log out of your account, and into a guest account for them.... all of 15 seconds. Just make sure you have to sign into your account and that your files are in your directory.

    You probably also want to edit the bios so that it only starts from the harddrive, and that nothing in the bios can be changed without a password

    Don't remember if XP Home enforces seperate directories.

    (There's also the word "no" when people ask...)

  • As said in the title, install ubuntu and let them use a dedicated virtual machine with windows XP.
    Make a snapshot after the initial installation and always revert to this snapshot.

    Of course, there are other virtualization solutions, so you may have your preferences, but VMWare may still have some advantages over others (dual screens, sync USB, ...)

  • It's art school, so you can boot into Linux or something else that they don't understand. If they can't use it, they won't ask you to use it.

    Use a terminal for bonus evil points. :)
  • don't keep any really personal stuff on your laptop. I take my laptop to work with me all the time to get around the no-internet-on-work-computers policy (I work in a call centre, go figure). There's a couple of Futurama and Star Trek episodes on there and the usual browser and Office installations. It's set up to never remember logins and passwords.
    I do all my computery work on my real computer at home though. My laptop is just a convenience. My data security won't be compromised if it were stolen.
  • VM (Score:5, Funny)

    by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:45AM (#28178369) Journal

    Virtual Machines suggest themselves. Do everything school-related in a VM and reset it from time to time. Also, in my experience, art-oriented institutions are choked full of hot chicks, so stop complaining and try to see this as an opportunity. Computer malware is not the only think that you can interchange with a dumb coed, you know.

  • by Shikaku ( 1129753 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:48AM (#28178411)

    Using VirtualBox. Set it up however you want, then make a snapshot and a save state. When somebody wants the computer, run VirtualBox and load the state (which is very fast to by the way), fullscreen VirtualBox and make the escape key (which will allow you to exit the VM) something much different from the default and only you know.

    It looks like a normal Windows install. Let them do whatever they want.

    When they are done, revert the image back to your to the snapshot. Works as if nothing happened.

  • 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: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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ihlosi ( 895663 )
        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TeknoHog ( 164938 )

        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 mos

  • Ubuntu guest mode (Score:4, Informative)

    by RenHoek ( 101570 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @02:59AM (#28178491) Homepage

    The most recent version of Ubuntu has a guest account that will let people do some web browsing and such, and after that person logs off, everything should be wiped clean automatically again.

    So that seems like it could work..

    Then again, you could just tell them to get their own toys. :)

  • by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) <sirlewk@gmaRABBITil.com minus herbivore> on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:04AM (#28178519)

    Switch to a VT and tell them that only paying customers can use X.

  • Sticky keys (Score:4, Funny)

    by jassa ( 1092003 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @03:18AM (#28178589)

    Open up a bunch of porn sites, and then hand it over to them, but warn them that the keys might be a bit sticky.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • Windows Steady State (Score:4, Informative)

    by MulluskO ( 305219 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:38AM (#28180045) Journal

    Here is a real answer:

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/sharedaccess/default.mspx [microsoft.com]

    This is software from Microsoft which helps prevent unpriveleged users from altering your computer in any way. Install this, enable the guest account, and switch users when people ask to borrow your machine. You'll need a password on your account, of course.

  • by osgeek ( 239988 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:39AM (#28180051) Homepage Journal

    So you're basically saying that you're at a school full of girls that you don't know how to say "no" to but you're afraid that they might accidentally open up your pron folder?

    Is that about right?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Larryish ( 1215510 )

      Girls in schools don't give the niki-wiki to the pushovers and "nice-guy" types. They give it up to the assertive assholes.

      If you want use your laptop to make headway with the girls, refuse (mostly politely) to let them use it.

      Then you (and your laptop) will become the forbidden fruit and every one of those heifers will want a nibble.

  • 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.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault