[K12OSN] An idea about thin-clients with flash cards...etc....can it be done?

David Trask dtrask at vcs.u52.k12.me.us
Sat Feb 12 07:47:04 UTC 2005

First of all I know there are products out there that can do this...such
as the IGEL, but I'm looking to keep my costs down and either build my own
or somehow get something similar to an LTSP Term 150 and adapt it.  If I
get something like the mini ITX 2677R-Black from www.caseoutlet.com (I
know these work as the guys in Exeter NH have a whole bunch in their new
K12LTSP-based charter school) and adapt it with a compact flash slot or

I'm hoping to replace my entire lab with small thin-clients and LCD
monitors (I have LCD's already, but hoping to replace everything and move
those out to classrooms).  Building on what Sharon Betts has been
discussing on this list...my idea is to have a local boot option using
flash memory for the thin/thick clients....or something similar.  Three
reasons....with my younger students (generally Kindergartners) all they
need to do is a couple of apps...generally Internet browsing with
flash-based games...and simple word processing etc.  My second reason is
that sometime when I am away from school for a lengthy period of
time....(like this week I'll be at Linux World in the LTSP booth)  :-)  I
worry about...what if....the server goes down...then what will my classes
do?  (it happened last week....luckily all it took was a reboot and I was
able to talk someone through turning the server off and on over the
phone...no big deal, but....it happens every now and then...just freezes
hard...I couldn't even ssh in...so...)  Having an alternate boot...even of
a simple OS would at least allow them to access the internet or something.
 Reason #3, and this is a biggie....I've noticed that when my entire lab
uses Firefox combined with Flash plugin...visiting Flash-based web
sites....the CPU usage on my server goes through the roof....and because
it's running from the server...the sites tend to be slow.  If there were
some way for my to run Firefox and Flash locally from a flash disk or
something...that'd be "very cool".  Ideas, thoughts, suggestions....can
this be done?  If so how?  And is anyone doing it?

David N. Trask
Technology Teacher/Coordinator
Vassalboro Community School
dtrask at vcs.u52.k12.me.us

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