Mike Linksvayer

Mike Linksvayer at

Going through an elderly relative's stack of newspapers, I saw an ad for a "WOW! Computer", supposedly easy for seniors to use. The ad was in Parade, a Sunday newspaper insert. Much slimmed down, but same content as I recall as a kid: about as lowbrow as one could get in a newspaper without subscribing to a separate newspaper dedicated to famous people and highly questionable advice, paid and otherwise. Apparently the computer in question is also advertised in AARP publications.

Anyway, I was mildly curious as I still don't understand how most people manage to keep their computers in a non-broken state. It seems versions of WOW! have been sold for several years, sometimes under the Telekin brand. They apparently run a very limited and proprietary UI on Tiny Core Linux. (Since 2010 according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telikin.)

The Telikin computer also contains other software libraries and programs covered under various other licenses. These licenses and copyrights are available on the Telikin in the license agreement presented to the user the first time the Telikin is turned on, as well as on the system information screen. The source code for all GPL and LGPL covered software distributed on the Telikin, including the Linux kernel, as well as all modifications made for proper operation on the Telikin are available here:
Hopefully they distribute or offer the source in some other way, because the link above is non-responsive.

I wonder if anyone has tried to fund (crowd or otherwise) an (for lack of better description) ethical computer for vulnerable people with barely any ability to use a computer, let alone maintain one? Or phone ... I see from ads that simple phones for seniors must be a big market.

By the way, a little longer ago I observed another elderly relative make a Chromebook practically unusable. It seems they kept getting confused about how to log in and created a bunch of Google accounts, which they didn't understand how were paired with passwords (or even understand passwords at all: at one point they tried to tell someone over the phone their password, because they wanted that person to email them), and they seemed to increase the font and other display sizes beyond a point that had been tested for, because lots of navigation was barely usable. Of course they had no idea how to reset the system.

Ideally, an ethical computer for vulnerable people would protect such users from these and many other pitfalls (eg if AI were any good, surely it could protect people from scams), not to mention run free software.
DebConf18 is coming up. This talk on July 29 may be of interest (presumably streamed live):

"Debian Desktop, for the elderly"

Tyng-Ruey Chuang at 2018-07-24T10:38:58Z

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