stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Tue Dec 5 01:42:10 AEDT 2006

Hi there,

One could well argue the case, and somebody probably has,
that the main reason the computer became a consumer item
and essential in business and education, was the floppy disk. 

Aye, and a humble yet potent computer expansion tool it was.

So then it's a delight to see some schools saying that USB is
the new floppy. And because they are required booklist items
for more and more schools (and the network re-imaged twice
daily :) imho, we will see parallels in individual empowerment.

For example, here is what one school networker writes today:

USB Memory / MP3 Players 

These devices have been added to the booklist to encourage students to 
have : 

* personal earphones available in class so that they can access the 
growing computer-based resources that include sound and video 

*personal storage so that they can take home information and video files 
to continue their studies at home, as well as bring files that contain 
work from home.  Students can access their network storage from home at 
any time, but it is often faster and more convenient to copy the files to 
a USB storage "stick" immediately. 

* Floppy discs and speakers will progressively be removed from school 

* Use of MP3 Players and Memory devices is subject to the same school 
rules as apply to Mobile phones (i.e. the school reserves the right to 
explore the contents of any device brought to school, and devices used 
without the permission of the classroom teacher will be confiscated and 
must be collected by parents) 

* The school has not recommended any specific product because: 
there is such a variety of suitable products; models and prices are 
changing so rapidly and many students already own products that are 
acceptable (i.e. a cheap memory "stick" and some "bud" earphones) 
* Some possible solutions: 
Preferred: Cheap combined USB/ MP3 player plus bud earphones commonly 
available from many computer discount stores e.g. see Strathfield MP3-USB 
$30-$40.  Many other similar products are available. 
Simplest & Cheapest: "bud" earphones and a USB memory stick.
iPod shuffle:  Old models are ideal. The new model is not recommended as 
it does not have easy USB connectivity. 
iPod Nano or iPod Video:  Effective but costly and includes the 
possibility of damage or loss at school.  The school takes all care but 
no responsibility for loss or damage. 
Most mobile phones are not recommended as USB memory storage at school 
because they require etensive software installations. 
Most digital cameras are able to be used as USB memory devices but 
require stduents to carry cables to as well as the camera. 

Regards all ..
Stephen Loosley
Victoria, Australia

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