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Hardware Thread, What to do with some old RM tablet PCs in Technical; Hello, We have about 5-6 old Centrino 900MHz Tablet PCs. I'm struggling to find something to do with them. I ...
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    What to do with some old RM tablet PCs

    Hello,

    We have about 5-6 old Centrino 900MHz Tablet PCs. I'm struggling to find something to do with them. I thought about using them as an aid to help pupils with writing skills. Unfortunately it seems they can't even run a simple application (Nelson handwriting?) which is flash-based.

    Even browsing is slow. So, any ideas what can we do with them?

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Burgle some ram from another machine and fill them up - guessing their 256MB - put in a gig and they'll soon perk up. One school I've covered for used a couple of them for roaming SIMS machines, another uses a couple of old ones in reception class - running Tizzy's Tools/Toybox and they're very popular.

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    HodgeHi (27th April 2010)

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HodgeHi View Post
    they can't even run a simple application (Nelson handwriting?) which is flash-based.
    Why can't they run it - are they too slow, or do they require a more reliable network connection? Could the problem be fixed with a wipe-and-reinstall of Windows, or maybe some extra RAM?

    So, any ideas what can we do with them?
    They run Ubuntu Linux just fine, so you can have them boot straight up and start a VNC client to use as remote-control tablets for projected displays - saves buying an IWB. You can also embed them in a door to use as interactive consoles for timetables, bookings, etc, outside classrooms.

    --
    David Hicks

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    HodgeHi (27th April 2010)

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    Burgle some ram from another machine and fill them up - guessing their 256MB - put in a gig and they'll soon perk up.
    The BIOS in many older machines, especially laptops, cannot recognise that much RAM. I have an old RM tablet sitting in the office and while I'm not sure it's the exact model we're talking about here, I know for a fact that the one I have won't take more than 512, and it nicks some of that for the display adapter.

    I haven't really found a use for mine either. Ubuntu sounds interesting... how much faffing will I have to do to make the touchscreen work though? Will also need to see if it can boot from USB as I'm pretty sure there's no CD drive.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Sounds like an interesting plan Did play with ubuntu on a tablet a while ago (a HP one, similar sort of age/spec) and that picked everything up with ease with the addition of a touchscreen addon from the standard repositories.

    Have stuck a gig in a fair few of these with no problems - one did require a bios update though. Obviously need to check the model, throw a serial number into RM's "My Computer" site and see what memory selector throws up.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTechnician View Post
    Ubuntu sounds interesting... how much faffing will I have to do to make the touchscreen work though?
    The stylus was simply recognised as a mouse when I installed Ubunut on one of our Tablet PCs, no extra effort required.

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    David Hicks

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    AngryTechnician (26th April 2010), HodgeHi (27th April 2010)

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    Andrew_C's Avatar
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    If anyone were thinking of throwing one away...

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    We attached one to the wall and I wrote some rudimentary booking software for checking our stock of cameras in and out.

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    HodgeHi (27th April 2010)

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    Thanks for all the ideas. It's quite interesting how many people have these knocking around. The nelson handwriting problem was basically the tablet couldn't keep up with the drawing on the screen. RAM may well speed things up a bit but i don't think I would have that type of RAM around here and don't think it would be worth upgrading it just to use 1 piece of software, although I do think it could be good in Nursery/Reception.

    I also did think of using it for the booking system and even Staff webmail Access. I was thinking of having a 'floating' device in the staffroom that can be passed around. The trouble is keeping it charged up and on. I was thinking a iPad for these roles as well as if it like the iPhone it will be in an always on state making it quick and easy to use.

    The VNC one is interesting as we currently have a projector in the Hall using just a wall so lacking interactivity.

    I will see what RAM it takes and see if I can find some. I will know then what options I have.

    PS. I currently use MRBS for my room booking system. I am thinking about how to make it easier to use on a touch interface. Any ideas? Maybe a new Edugeek project?

    Model number RTAB912-T01
    Last edited by HodgeHi; 27th April 2010 at 09:12 AM. Reason: Model number

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    For old laptop RAM, just ebay it. I've bought tens of GB of various types, for not much money. It'll probably be PC133 SODIMM.

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    I'd take any if they were going! We have one but no PSU for it

    What I'd do is get DT to knock up a wooden case to hold them (so they can't be pinched) and put them in central locations to use as password reset devices. Then we could stop the knocks on the door and just say "reset your password at this terminal and stop hassling us!"

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    I love the idea of things like this^^, especially to run webman's classroombookings, mounted on a wall in the IT suites. I have a very powerful tablet spare, that'll end up with PE though

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    Right. I found some old RAM 512MB. The 256MB is onboard so thats a bit better. The machine is now up to 736MB. However the Nelson Handwriting is still slow to catch up with the writing. The pen is already past the first curly 'C' and the pen is just starting the draw the red line. I have found some updates on the RM website that I can apply. If i had a floppy drive that is

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    Windows 7 works well on these, once you add an extra 512mb.

    I use one for my 'to do' list, saves me having scraps of paper over the desk. I also use it as a test machine for checking projectors and IWB's, wireless access points etc around the school.

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    dhicks (27th April 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by HodgeHi View Post
    The nelson handwriting problem was basically the tablet couldn't keep up with the drawing on the screen. RAM may well speed things up a bit but i don't think I would have that type of RAM around here and don't think it would be worth upgrading it just to use 1 piece of software, although I do think it could be good in Nursery/Reception.
    As pointed out, eBay is good for cheap RAM - £20 will probably get your Tablet upgraded nicely. Windows XP Tablet PC has built-in handwriting recongnition, that might process faster/smoother than the Nelson application.

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