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Re: list o' importants

Roger Dingledine wrote:
> In message <Pine.SOL.3.96.980703152224.3833A-100000@kanto.cc.jyu.fi>, hvirtane@cc.jyu.fi writes:
> >But we perhaps need a way to group somehow the questions and also group
> >somehow the people who will answer the survey.
> >
> >These two groupings might also be connected somehow. It might be the case
> >that for one type of SEUL-user some group of questions is not so
> >relevant.
> >
> >How would it sound to start asking as a first categorizing of questions
> >the general uses/tasks of computers/OSs of the user (to make the uses as
> >the base of categorizing)? It might be more useful (and easier to get
> >the answers) to know what the people are doing with the computer than to
> Ah-ha! This is what I was trying to think of before. That way the
> introduction page can be "pick which one you use your computer for",
> and then it will provide the appropriate survey, and that survey will have
> both a "personal information" section and an actual survey section. That
> works, except...what about people who use their computer for more than one
> thing? (More than two? More than five?) Maybe "check all uses that apply,
> but you need to specify exactly one as the primary use"?

Excellent suggestion from Pine.SOL and continuation from Roger.  I've
been sitting on my hands during this "list o' importants" discussion
while watching the survey question list grow longer and longer and....

This is also the *only* defensible reason I can think of having more
than one page for the survey -- a leading "what kind of user are you"
page, which clearly states "your stated user category will determine the
questions asked of you in the main survey" -- keep the respondant
informed as to what's going on.


> response later and peruse or modify it. And I was thinking about keeping the
> email address around in case we needed to contact the person.
Email is a reasonable proxy for a personal identifier (not perfect, not
terribly bad).  It also allows validation of recipient (send a
confirmation message to the address -- if it's bounced, the address is
no good, a response is not required).  Other validation methods are
possible.  Slashdot checks IP addresses.  I don't think this is very
effective, given the number of people using ISPs with dynamic IP, and
possibly limiting, given firewalls (see the Slashdot survey page at

> But I still think we should collect data for age, income, etc, because those
> are statistically relevant. And somewhere in there I definitely want to ask
> about current operating system preferences, because I think that's
> extremely relevant.


> I think it will be very difficult for us to figure out "which kind of users
> exist and how many" without some expensive survey techniques to make sure
> we get a fair sample. There will be parts that are hand-wavy because this
> is not a professionally administered survey.
> Figuring out what features are most important to which types of users
> is the goal of the survey, if only because I think it's the only thing we
> can reasonably expect to figure out.

I think you're thinking too hard.  I see the following categories,
basically an extension of the Core/Layers concept, with divisions for
Personal, Workstation, Server, and Portable categories of use.  I get
seven categories, two or three of which may not be of particular

Categories and inclusives:

 - General Home user
   Gamer, Internet browser/email, wordprocessing, schoolwork, personal
   other light tasks.  Possible (but unlikely?) local network.

 - SOHO -- Small/Home Office
   Business applications (wordprocessing, spreadsheet, presentations,
   fax, email, web, small local network likely, possibly specialty
   I'd include graphic artists,  musicians, and other artistic types
   Ease of admin or availability of technical service support important.

 - Development/Technical Workstation
   Heavy duty technical use, programming, hacking, applications
development, etc.
   Local network likely.  Very technical user.  Specialized software. 
Not sure 
   this fits the SEUL target model, though as a technical WS, it might.

 - Business User -- Mid/Large office
   Like SOHO, but more so.  Significant networking -- file, print,
   serving.  Probable use (but not admin of) servers, firewalls, etc. 
   business applications (wp/spreadsheet/presentation/database). 
   applications.  Ease of use, GUI are issues.
   Probably the user we care least about because they don't make
   purchasing decisions.

 - Business User Systems Admin -- Mid/Large office
   Use categories as above, but this is aimed at the folks who
administer the 
   stuff.  More emphasis on capability:cost ratio, ease of admin. 
Again, not 
   sure that SEUL points this way, though many of the questions we've
   coming up with fit this category best.

 - Server Class
   Applications, file, network, Internet, mail servers.  Also possibly
   or dedicated systems.  Aimed at admins or technical types.  Not sure
   fits SEUL target audience.

 - Portable
   This is essentially a hardware repackaging of SOHO/Business user.
   Think laptop, Itsy, handheld.  Keys:  applications, power saving
   speed, compatibility, networking, communications, and data transfer.
   Ease of use, ease of admin, GUI, as for SOHO/Business user.

Just to throw in an off-the wall comment, I think Linux should be
looking to Asia for its next big conquest.  Given the current economic
climate, a high bang:buck solution at very low cost is just what the
area needs.  Conventional, commercial products can't go forth without
risking rampant piracy, really cuts on profits.  

What we need are business apps, an SAP or PeopleSoft (either the real
McCoy, or an OSS equivalent), plus a solid database to put it on. 
Target Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia.  We can offer interoperability
with existing Unix systems, pretty damned good "plays well with"
characteristics for MS (via Samba).  Be a hell of a way to build market
share.  Might even solve the depression <g>.  In the 3-10 years folks
are saying it will take the region to recover, Linux will be solidly
entrenched.  Just a thought.

$0.02 (less in some markets). 

> --Roger

Karsten M. Self (kmself@ix.netcom.com)

    What part of "gestalt" don't you understand?
    Welchen Teil von "gestalt" verstehen Sie nicht?

web:       http://www.netcom.com/~kmself
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