[IAEP] Implementing Sugar in Medical Schools?

Stanley Sokolow overbyte at earthlink.net
Fri Jan 2 22:02:28 EST 2009


I have to put my 2 cents into this dialog between David and Silas.
First, regarding sterilization of an XO, David wrote:

David Farning wrote:
> Did I mention that once I soaked my xo in bleach for five minutes when
> someone wanted to know if they could take an XO to their child who was
> in the Hospital.  The child was a long term patient in a sterile ward.
>  Any item in the ward needed to be able to withstand frequent
> sterilization:(  The child and the xo are both doing fine -- although
> the xo is a lighter shade of Green:)   And yes, the parents purchased
> some XOs through the G1G1 program to give to the hospital for future
> use in the ward:)
I don't know if David was serious about this, but if he actually was, 
c'mon, there are better ways to sterilize delicate electronic 
instrumentation.   Although the XO is rugged and somewhat moisture and 
dust resistant, it is not water-proof.   Just look at all of those gaps 
and orifices where water can enter.   Bleach is highly caustic to 
metals, since it is a strong oxidizer.   If an XO were actually soaked 
for 5 minutes in bleach strong enough to bleach out some of the green, 
the interior was severely damaged.   Don't do this, folks.    Hospitals 
have alternative ways to sterilize sensitive things, such as gas 
sterilization.   Moreover, the XO could have been sealed in a plastic 
bag and sterilized that way.    When I had my house fumigated for 
termites, the company provided special transparent nylon bags that were 
not penetrated by the fumigation gas.   I'll bet that there are similar 
bags available that can be used to protect the device inside them while 
the exterior is gas-sterilized, maybe even the same nylon bags sealed by 
a heat-sealer that is commonly available in sterilization rooms.

> Quoting Silas:
>> My question(s) to you are:  Is Sugar being developed specifically for elementary education?  Would a deployment in a medical school in Honduras distract Sugar Labs from it's mission and core values?  Do you think this would be something Sugar Labs would be interested in having further discussions about.
Unless these medical students are about 12 years old or younger, they 
are going to be very frustrated trying to type on an XO keyboard.   The 
keyboard was designed for and intended to be used by children.   On my 
XO, I had to plug in a USB full-size keyboard because I could only do 
hunt-and-peck typing on the XO's membrane keyboard.   Moreover, there 
are many medical-related software packages that run on Windows or that 
require a more hefty Linux computer, so I'd say the little XO just isn't 
an appropriate platform for general use by medical students.  It might 
be useful with specialized software as a tote-around computer on 
hospital rounds, but again, there are better alternatives.
>> I think this could work out nicely because my uncle is planning on retiring in March and could possibly devote a considerable amount of time to developing the medical curriculum and everything that entails.  He also has his own medical non-profit (HHF) to fund the work and connections in Latin America to implement it.  I also told him that I didn't think that the XO is the proper choice of hardware for a project like this. (med students and doctors have normal hands...) 
I agree -- adult hands don't like the XO keyboard and there is better 
hardware for medical use.   If I were starting from scratch to buy new 
small, cheap computers for use by medical personnel in Latin America, I 
would give serious consideration to the "netbook" computers and a 
desktop server.   The information technology world seems to be migrating 
toward smart thin-client computers like these netbooks running 
applications inside a browser, with the database and some computing 
being done on the server.

>>  This would diversify the hardware usage of Sugar Labs and make you guys less dependent upon OLPC. (which would be a good thing...I think.)  HHF also collects and ships used computers to medical facilities in developing countries and a lot of their computers get stolen and sold to internet cafes.  If all of their computers had Sugar loaded on them when they were shipped they would be less likely to disappear.  Basically, they have the entire organizational structure in place to cover every aspect of the project.
It's not hard to load an operating system on normal computers, even if 
they have a different system already installed.   That's not a deterrent 
to theft.   Moreover, I've tried to use several computers as pseudo-XO 
computers by running various Sugar emulators on them, including the 
LiveCD, the Ubuntu/Sugar release, and the Sugar emulator for Windows, 
but none of them performed correctly and couldn't detect my real XO 
laptop in the same room.   Seamless integration of XO and non-XO 
computers in an all-Sugar environment is not ready for prime time yet, 
from my brief experience.


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