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Re: laptop/edu-users

Well, here goes....I'm KimBoo (yes, really, that's my name) and I 
have volunteered to help out with the survey development. As I have 
explained to Roger, I'm not a programmer, but a professional writer 
(reporter, editor) and a non-professional sys admin. I've used 
Windows for years and have a hefty background in teaching others 
(co-workers) how to use their systems. I am still trying to learn 
Linux, having just gotten it installed on my drive. As I have told 
others, I'm barely one step removed from the prototypical end-user.

After reading most of the posts of the last month, I have a few 
observations. Concerning the laptop issue....

Laptop use cuts across user definitions. Nearly every user profile 
described has the option of using a laptop (or not) -- opening up, as 
someone else said, "it's own can of worms." In that sense it is like 
most other hardware, and it also certianly does not fit into the 
profile of an independant user definition.

But I think in the survey it would be a valid question. Here's why: 
because it is a completely optional option. Monitors, modems, 
keyboards...users are free to choose which kind they want to use, and 
keeping the survey out of those technical details is important (in 
order to stay out of the "specific needs for specific users" fray). 
However I doubt very much many end users feel they can use or not use 
a monitor, printer, modem, et al, while they *do* have that option 
with a laptop. And laptops are a major money investment which often 
become the main computer for the user. We certainly can't just leave 
this information out when we have to answer for survey results down 
the road.

If nothing else, it must be in the demographics section.  It isn't 
the survey's responsibility to find out how happy they are with it, 
or even what they use it for, so a lot of techie questions about 
"would you like foo" would be out of place. But in the 
matter of getting the total demographics of end-users, it has to be 
there. And I agree that simple language is best as well: "Check if 
you use or plan to use a laptop." Period. That is all the survey 
needs to discover. (Perhaps interoperability might be an issue, but 
this a separate question, in my mind).

My nickle's worth, in any case. Pax.....