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re: laptop/edu-users

Ok. I am convinced on the laptop issue. While it's still the case
that I don't care about them, I will grant that we as a group should
pay attention to them. :)

I am picturing something like the following:

Primary         Check all       
User type       that apply      Description
o               |_|             General (Home) user
o               |_|             SOHO
o               |_|             Specialty User

[_] Check here if you would like to use a laptop.

And then the laptop question will put in another section for people
who check it. (Note that I ask "would like to use", not "currently use".)

I am not yet convinced that we should add in Omega's other suggestions
from this category:

>[ ] Road Warrior

What is this?

>[ ] K-12 student
>[ ] College student

I think these are not separate issues. I think that from the 
demographics section we will figure out that that's what they are,
and from their answers to the survey questions we'll figure out
what they want. Simple enough, if it works. :)

> - Academic / Scientific User
>     Use categories as Specialty / SOHO, maybe development. Used by
>     folks with wide range in understanding / capabilities. Use is
>     varied. Need to be able to store / backup / transfer large files,
>     esp. to a laptop. May or may not have access to net admin; may
>     have access to small lan or campus network.

My main goal is to get as many people as possible to choose one of
the "basic" user types -- general home user, or business user. In
contrast to that, I want to make sure everybody has something to pick,
so they're interested in filling out the survey.

I think that this academic/scientific user will fit well either into
the general (home) user or the specialty user, depending on the

>I guess the distinction between Specialty and Developer/Technical is
>that we would assume a greater knowledge of hardware.  Excepting this,
>I'd argue mildly for possibly combining the two categories -- we're
>talking about groups with specialized needs, customized setups, and
>significant expertise in an area.  Also probably interested in raw
>performance of the machine, whether for graphics rendering, whatever is
>done with music, compiling, simulations, data processing.  What I
>suggest is that we develop questions for the two groups independently,
>then review to see how much overlap there is, combine if significant.

The main difference I had in mind was intent for using the computer:
developer/technical is the standard CS hacker -- somebody who has a
complex hardware and software setup and uses it to create more of it.
On the other hand, the specialty user has an unusual hardware or
software setup, but that's only because they need it to do whatever
they're trying to do. Their computer is plain and simple just a tool
to get their job done, not a "cool toy" for its own sake. Ok, that's
nice rhetoric, but I guess it's not entirely accurate.

Somebody who owns an Amiga because he absolutely needs to have the
split-screen abilities qualifies as a specialty user. Somebody who
has a computer sitting in the basement attached to his half-cannibalized
ham radio set and uses it to forward packets qualifies as a specialty
user. Somebody who uses a computer entirely because it has a nice
digital-to-analog converter that he can use to synchronize his
electrolysis experiments qualifies as a specialty user.

Developer/Technical users tend to have a more general knowledge of
their computer, a more generally useful setup, and the desire to
expand both simply because it gives more power.

It would be nice to word things such that most people *don't* choose
specialty user unless they really qualify. But yes, we should develop
these categories separately and then try to merge as many as possible
later if we think we can get away with it.

>     I don't see why this wouldn't work for the 'adults' - though I'm a
>bit unclear about what should be done about the K-12 group, given the
>potentially wide discrepancies in knowledge and aptitudes. Any ideas?

I still claim that k-12 is not a "user type" -- it's a "user age",
sure, but even though they're younger they're still going to behave
like one of the main categories. Either they're technically oriented
and they're interested in Linux, or they use their computer for
word processing (writing papers) and presenting matlab-based reports
for their math class, or they're the systems administrator for the
local branch of IBM. The fact that they're younger will show up in
the demographics section, and I'm sure it will color their survey
answers, but that doesn't mean we need to put them in a separate
section just because we expect to get different answers from them
than from the 40-year-olds.

But argue with me. :)