Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Keeping a PC Personal At School?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the mine-mine-mine dept.

Education 695

Berto Kraus writes "As one of the most tech-oriented students in my art-oriented institution, I'm usually the one with the laptop. This causes frequent requests from other students to read mail, check some site, or connect it to the projector to display a file from their Flash drive. For the sake of my privacy, the health of my laptop, and my own peace of mind, I'm reluctant. But telling my compatriots to go to our building supervisor and ask him for a desktop-on-a-cart, as they should do, is considered rude and unfriendly. Now, I could dual-boot Ubuntu, or carry around a Linux-on-a-stick. Or I could embed the computer in my skull. For many reasons, none of these solutions is ideal. So I'm asking you, insightful and funny Slashdotters, what would you do to keep your PC personal at school?"

cancel ×

695 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

easy. (5, Insightful)

l3iggs (1108141) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178233)

create a guest account.

Guest account with Fast User Switching. (5, Informative)

tpgp (48001) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178259)

"As one of the most tech-oriented students

Tech oriented? Why don't you come up with a solution then? This is not a hard problem to solve.

in my art-oriented institution"

Aaaaaaaaah, OK. I see where you're coming from.

The most obvious solution I can think of (assuming you're on XP/Vista) is for you to set up a second user and Fast user switch [microsoft.com] whenever someone else wants to use your laptop.

Assuming your classmate's technical competence is below yours, that should be adequate security measures.

--

The Captcha is: Lars Traeger is full of shit [slashdot.org] .

Re:Guest account with Fast User Switching. (4, Informative)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178275)

And if you're not using Windows, both OSX and many Linux desktop environments integrate something similar. ...Though I suppose I'd have to guess your references to "dual booting Ubuntu" means with Windows, and not alongside another Linux distro or on a Macbook.

Re:Guest account with Fast User Switching. (1, Informative)

binarythoughts (1313065) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178361)

Mac OS X (10.3 and higher) does have fast user switching.

Re:Guest account with Fast User Switching. (2, Informative)

holloway (46404) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178479)

Since at least Ubuntu 7.10 (ie 2007 October) Ubuntu has had fast user switching [ubuntu.com]

Re:Guest account with Fast User Switching. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178341)

Love your sig. Nothing like a little Slashdot drama between uppity macFags to cap off the night.

Anyway, my solution would be for the submitter to grow a spine and tell those mooching emo fags to fuck off, politely. If he's too much of a pussy to do it then he shouldn't bring his damn laptop in the first place. If other students don't need one then he dosen't either.

Re:Guest account with Fast User Switching. (5, Insightful)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178515)

Or tell them to go fuck themselves.

Honestly, if they need to use it that much why have they not bought their own?

A laptop costs almost nothing compared to most art supplies, if they complain they don't have the cash... ask them how much they paid for their last photo enlargements? In this day and age not having a laptop is like not having a pen. Sure, once in a while when you forget the tool it's cool to borrow, but not having one and always using others is not acceptable.

One thing I usually find most annoying from art students is the attitude that "art supplies" are more important than the tools they use to learn with. I feel it's more about being able to say "I spent $500 making that artwork, respect it!" than actually creating art. Then again, maybe I'm either too cynical, or my priorities are different.

I've been unemployed for extended periods of time (years), but haven't been without a computer since I was 16 (I bought my first computer myself too) - I'm 29 now. I've always considered being connected with the world at large as a vital part of being human, others don't, then again, why are they asking to borrow your laptop?

Goes back to telling them to fuck off... or harden the fuck up. Which ever is more appropriate.

Re:easy. (1)

Kemanorel (127835) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178289)

"Art-oriented institution" tells me that the submitter is likely to be using OSX. Setting up a low-access guest account and setting a password on the primary account is extremely easy in that situation. Heck, you can even limit the programs that account can access. Even if it's XP or Vista, it should still be fairly easy.

I definitely agree with Biggs. Just set up a guest account already.

Re:easy. (5, Interesting)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178305)

create a guest account.

I agree. Note that if you're running a recent version of Fedora, there's a built-in 'xguest' SELinux profile [fedoraproject.org] which is completely locked down -- that might interest you, along with the fast user switching.

art school (4, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178317)

and give them a nice carebear hug everytime they borrow it.

Best Solution: a Fully Loaded Gun (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178321)

A fully loaded gun is probably the best solution. It will get you the attention and the respect that you deserve.

I recommend a 38-special revolver. You can buy one in most "bad" neighborhoods in San Francisco. My favorite 'hood shop sells revolvers from which the serial number has been filed off.

Let them use a virtual machine! (4, Interesting)

Terje Mathisen (128806) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178531)

I've solved this problem by having a Win XP virtual machine: I put this machine on a second monitor (or external projector) and then I don't have to worry at all about the host OS being messed up.

Alternatively I can make it fullscreen on the primary/only screen.

Terje

art school lol (3, Insightful)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178235)

Not take it to class and pay attention instead.

Its all about the wallpaper (5, Funny)

DarkProphet (114727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178237)

I am guessing using goatse as your wallpaper will cut down on the requests.

Re:Its all about the wallpaper (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178489)

This may prove to have the opposite effect you'd expect. We *are* talking about an art school, after all.

*ducks*

Use Dvorak Simplified Keyboard... (5, Funny)

SimonShine (795915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178239)

...and just say "You can try." and smile. :-)

Re:Use Dvorak Simplified Keyboard... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178323)

...and just say "You can try." and smile. :-)

A left handed mouse configuration serves the same purpose for me.

Re:Use Dvorak Simplified Keyboard... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178499)

I use an Icelandic keyboard layout.. that keeps most people off my computer. When they can not find the @ key, they usually give up.

Re:Use Dvorak Simplified Keyboard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178379)

yea then you have to learn dvorak in the first place. God I think the only reason people use that kbrd config is to be an elitist. I taught myself dvorak a few years ago buying into the hype that it was faster...well its not, and this is coming from someone that can do ~100 WPM QWERTY

Re:Use Dvorak Simplified Keyboard... (4, Insightful)

Phil Urich (841393) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178501)

yea then you have to learn dvorak in the first place. God I think the only reason people use that kbrd config is to be an elitist. I taught myself dvorak a few years ago buying into the hype that it was faster...well its not, and this is coming from someone that can do ~100 WPM QWERTY

Uhhhhh....did it never occur to you that your speed and familiarity with QWERTY would be why Dvorak is slower for you? I know my sister types significantly faster with Dvorak than Qwerty; she wasn't terribly fast at Qwerty at the time, nowadays she uses Qwerty about 30% of the time and Dvorak 70% at the time and is at about ~100 WPM on Dvorak but 60 WPM on Qwerty.

Re:Use Dvorak Simplified Keyboard... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178545)

I don't know if it's safe for laptop keyboards - a colleague used to use the QWERTY layout but for amusement he rearranged the keys on his desktop keyboard. A-Z from top to bottom :). I could still use his keyboard, but I think a lot of people couldn't :).

Honestly though, if you don't want to lend your computer to others, you should just say "No", rather than to lend it _insincerely_ and make it difficult.

If you do want to lend your computer, and don't want them to mess up your stuff or read your emails, just create a guest account for general use. Works on WinXP, Linux etc.

Lastly, a paranoid or security conscious person wouldn't want to use an untrusted person's computer - since there could be key loggers etc

Just be paranoid. (4, Insightful)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178241)

I must admit, I've never had this problem. Probably because I have a very long password and I lock my PC whenever I turn my head away from the screen. As long as you're obviously paranoid enough with your PC, chances are, people won't ask you to use it.

Re:Just be paranoid. (4, Insightful)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178285)

This is close to my thoughts. Basically make it visibly and notably hard for them to use. Either use a Linux desktop with things configured in a way that works for you but will confuse them, or use Firefox with No-Script installed so Javascript or other key and important features don't work on their email accounts or anything else that works for you but will make it hard for them. At some point they'll realize it's more of a pain to use your computer than to wait or do something else.

Also, when they complain about some change you've made, like disabling IE so they have to use Firefox, say, "Sorry about that, but I set it up for what works for me and what keeps my data safe. I'm sure if you had your own computer, you'd set it up for you and not other people."

Really? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178245)

Grow a pair and learn the word "no".

It is your property. I don't see the issue here.

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178251)

Who doesn't own a laptop nowadays? If the kids are this poor then art school probably isn't the right choice.

Art school is for kids who needn't worry about money thanks to their parents. Otherwise, go get an education that teaches you a marketable skill.

Sharing is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178253)

You wouldn't share needles, would you? Don't share computers!

Re:Sharing is bad (4, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178461)

Get a friend to pass around a rumor that he caught you watching a porn clip and masturbating onto the keyboard. Nobody will ask for it anymore.

Just say no (2, Insightful)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178255)

Be firm. Saying no needn't be rude and unfriendly. Your friends will know where you stand, and stop asking. You don't have to tell them to "fuck off", just explain in a friendly manner. If you're afraid your friends will desert you or stop liking you because you won't give them access to your laptop, I'd suggest you have other issues. Also, if they did that, they couldn't really have been friends.

Re:Just say no (2, Insightful)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178405)

If you refuse such simple, harmless and costless request, you are not really their friend either.

Re:Just say no (2, Insightful)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178481)

How do you know it's costless? Only the OP knows that - clearly the fact he has misgivings indicates that he does not consider this costless. My wife and I don't even allow each other access to our respective laptops in normal use, and I wouldn't say we weren't really "friends".

Re:Just say no (1)

twitchingbug (701187) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178525)

Let me kiss your wife. It's a simple, harmless, and costless request.

Re:Just say no (1, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178485)

This is terrible advice. If you do this, you will garner a well deserved reputation as "that guy who doesn't trust anyone to touch his laptop". You will not make as many friends, and friends you do make won't be as close (since you obviously don't trust them).

I know nerds are not generally known for their social skills (at least not in a good way), but trust me on this one. Just set up a guest account that you can quickly switch to when someone asks. Refusing such a harmless request is anti-social.

Re:Just say no (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178517)

If you do this, you will garner a well deserved reputation as "that guy who doesn't trust anyone to touch his laptop".

Yes? There are a couple of things of yours that you shouldn't trust anyone (or at least not everyone) to mess with. Cars, guns, cameras, telescopes, diaries, boy-/girlfriends/spouses, etc.

Refusing such a harmless request is anti-social.

Not paying for stuff you break is also anti-social. But that's exactly what's going to happen if they break the laptop. You wouldn't believe how careless people are with things they don't own - usually even less careful than with stuff they do own.

Re:Just say no (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178549)

...you just compared using someone else's laptop to sleeping with their wife. WTF?

Some sitting down at your desk to check email for a couple minutes won't hurt anything. Yes, there's an infinitesimal chance that they have an uncontrollable muscle spasm and knock your laptop off the desk. There's also a chance that someone will bump into and knock it off as they walk by... but you still bring it to class.

The only reason to refuse every request is out of an irrational and anti-social distrust of your peers.

Re:Just say no (1)

cybernga (1201583) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178513)

I don't think he's talking about friends - from the OP they sound more than colleagues in the same class...

Re:Just say no (2, Insightful)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178521)

Oh, come on! Giving access to your machine is no big deal... I have no problem with anyone using my computer in a guest account. Obviously they won't get Admin/root[1] rights on it and obviously they won't get access to your files. Running an (installed) app, reading their own data (from USB/CD) is not a problem in a "Limited User" account (to use the retarded Windows lingo... a "user" to me is by definition "limited") . There is no risk to your data (inaccessible folder), no risk of a trojan/worm/virus to hose your system: worst case something nasty might get installed running as that user, but I haven't seen such a thing yet.

If you really don't trust them enough, watch over their shoulder. They shouldn't object to that.

Oh, and he's in art school... Lots of horny sexy chicks... Don't want to close down your options there because you don't let them access your computer...

[1] I don't even run Admin/root myself... Not on Windows XP and not on Linux.

Rude and Unfriendly (4, Insightful)

Cabriel (803429) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178257)

I'm resistant to letting anyone use my laptop. It's password protected and my roommate, the computer programmer, has commented in disbelief that it's not like he'll ever do anything harmful with it. However, I don't let it stop me.

Look at it from the other side: They're being just as rude, maybe more so. It's rude for your friends to impose their whims on you when you've apparently made it evident enough that you aren't comfortable with letting them all at your machine, willy-nilly.

Is There Something Wrong With User Accounts? (3, Insightful)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178261)

What OS are you running? Is there some reason you can't keep a "guest" account with few privileges and no access to any of your personal data, and just log into the guest account before you hand them the machine?

The answer of using different user accounts for different users when you want to have multiple people using the same machine strikes me as so obvious, it makes me wonder if I'm misreading the question?

Re:Is There Something Wrong With User Accounts? (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178483)

If we assume he is running a flavour of windows it is unlikely that different user accounts would be all that handy in protecting his privacy.

Protecting personal data is a pain in the ass to do in windows using permissions. It causes far more problems than it solves in my limited experience.

User accounts in windows (unless on a domain) are fairly borky. I would not trust my privacy to one.

Re:Is There Something Wrong With User Accounts? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178523)

Maybe, but the people borrowing the computer aren't hackers. They're art students. They're gonna look for the internet button, type their webmail URL into google, and be done with it.

Most of them wouldn't even know where to find another user's documents. Hell, most of them probably don't even realize that you can get to "my documents" from "my computer".

Easy reply (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178263)

Sharing laptops is like sharing toothbrushes.

Re:Easy reply (2, Interesting)

Foodie (980694) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178463)

I would give you mod points if I had.

I find it very difficult to share my notebook too, it isn't the security and virus, etc, but more because I'm paranoid and a germophobic. :)

Uh, how about just different accounts? (3, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178267)

I'm pretty sure even Windows Vista will keep your porn stash safe, if you log out of your account, and into a guest account for them.... all of 15 seconds. Just make sure you have to sign into your account and that your files are in your directory.

You probably also want to edit the bios so that it only starts from the harddrive, and that nothing in the bios can be changed without a password

Don't remember if XP Home enforces seperate directories.

(There's also the word "no" when people ask...)

Art school or no... (1)

stei7766 (1359091) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178273)

Even if everyone is artsy fartsy, I'm surprised that there are that many people without laptops. I thought that technology was for art people too these days.

Maybe suggest a nice little netbook next time someone asks?

Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178277)

Just use Ubuntu, it has nice features specifically for this sort of thing. What do you use windows for outside of shoop? Shoop works on wine or in Virtualbox.

Multi-user (1)

sgrover (1167171) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178283)

Modern OS's allow you to set up multiple users - each of which has their own login environment. Set up one account for your everyday use. Set up a second account for your "guest" users. Whenever you need to allow a compatriot to use your system, log out of your account, log in as the guest account. Lock down the guest account as needed. Linux allows this very easily, and both KDE and Gnome have a Switch User option where you don't even need to log out of your own account (running processes keep running). You'll still need your password to get back to your original environment too. I haven't used Windows at this level for quite some time, so don't know if there is an equivalent to the Switch User, without logging out totally and logging in. You can always blow away the guest account if you ever suspect any foul play. This should be relatively safe. Insert your own values for relative here.

Re:Multi-user (1)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178529)

And by "modern" you of course must mean "40-year-old"...

VMWare Workstation (1)

dago (25724) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178287)

As said in the title, install ubuntu and let them use a dedicated virtual machine with windows XP.
Make a snapshot after the initial installation and always revert to this snapshot.

Of course, there are other virtualization solutions, so you may have your preferences, but VMWare may still have some advantages over others (dual screens, sync USB, ...)

What?!... (1)

masterfpt (1435165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178291)

Get your own!

Leave me alone!

Get off my lown!

I can has title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178297)

One word: Dvorak.

This is the real benefit to using an esoteric keyboard layout. People will type, get confused, and then you get to make charming excuses such as "Oi, I bloody forgo' how to pu' i' back. So sorry, bloke."

Guest account Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178301)

You can use the guest account option if you are using Ubuntu. The guest account is very restricted and the data stored is wiped after logging out.

Mess with their heads (1)

Titoxd (1116095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178303)

It's art school, so you can boot into Linux or something else that they don't understand. If they can't use it, they won't ask you to use it.

Use a terminal for bonus evil points. :)

Re:Mess with their heads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178425)

Yes. install svgalib for a very high text resolution, use screen to emulate the look and feel of a windowing system, and install elinks.
If elinks is too easy, write a script combining the features of netcat, less, diff, grep, with a combination commandline/menu-driven interface.

VM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178313)

I would just use a VM in full screen mode. Keeps your stuff private from the non tech savy, and people still like you.

subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178325)

Run everything from a console in linux using screen, graphical lynx, etc. No one will have a clue how to use it.

I was the only person in my high school to take notes on a laptop (literally). Back then, I used one of those windows ce notebooks. They really didn't do a whole lot... about the only thing interesting any one else could do on it was play solitare.

Works for me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178331)

Install Dvorak, and put black stickers on all the keys.

simple (1)

unfunk (804468) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178335)

don't keep any really personal stuff on your laptop. I take my laptop to work with me all the time to get around the no-internet-on-work-computers policy (I work in a call centre, go figure). There's a couple of Futurama and Star Trek episodes on there and the usual browser and Office installations. It's set up to never remember logins and passwords.
I do all my computery work on my real computer at home though. My laptop is just a convenience. My data security won't be compromised if it were stolen.

Re:simple (1)

BungaDunga (801391) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178553)

But if he's at school, chances are this IS his "home" computer as well. The guest account/virtual machine options seem like the best.

just say no (1)

sofar (317980) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178339)

don't be afraid to say no. Only give hot chicks access ;)

Keeping PC safe (2, Informative)

ErikPeterson (912282) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178343)

You could let them play inside a virtual machine: http://www.virtualbox.org/ [virtualbox.org] If you cant say no to people using your system having them trapped in a virtual machine may keep you from reloading windows on your box. If you use windows lock down Internet Explorer to unusual with an admin kit and force them to use Google Chrome, preventing some of the common nasties from eating your computer. The real question is why not just be rude, a laptop is a tool that you use for education most students I know don't have unlimited resources to replace laptops that are damaged by people who are borrowing them.

Re:Keeping PC safe (1)

ErikPeterson (912282) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178357)

errr I meant to say unusable not unusual

DVORAK (0, Redundant)

kkrajewski (1459331) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178347)

They'll never ask again.

Art student? Paint the keycaps. (1)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178353)

It won't stop everyone, but you'd be surprised how many people can't type on a keyboard that doesn't have the letters printed on it. Do you know DVORAK? Paint the keys AND switch the layout, and you're golden!

VirtualBox if you are using Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178363)

If your laptop is capable of running a virtual OS in it, whenever they ask for such things, simply run a light-weight linux (e.g. Puppy) and make it full-screen. They will not even know what's the difference to a normal OS and unless they don't come out of the virtual box, they wouldn't mess with your files etc. This is one of the fastest things I would do in such a situation.

VM (5, Funny)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178369)

Virtual Machines suggest themselves. Do everything school-related in a VM and reset it from time to time. Also, in my experience, art-oriented institutions are choked full of hot chicks, so stop complaining and try to see this as an opportunity. Computer malware is not the only think that you can interchange with a dumb coed, you know.

Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178371)

Learn dvorak.

Try windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178381)

You could install Windows7 and use the PC Safeguard on a guest account. That way when they log off, any settings they've changed are reversed, files they've saved are deleted and your harddrive is returned to its original state.

Re:Try windows 7 (1)

NervousNerd (1190935) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178451)

You do understand that they removed [winsupersite.com] that feature, right?

Re:Try windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178537)

:( I was most looking forward to this feature...

Just say it straight (0)

grimsnaggle (1320777) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178387)

I had this problem for a while at school. Ultimately it went away when everyone else got a laptop or an iphone.

In the interim, I just said very straightforwardly, "I'm not comfortable letting other people use my computer. It's part of my personal space and deserves to be respected that way." Most people understood and let it go. Some people were not understanding and pushed it and got nasty about it. Luckily my friends were in the first category.

recent documents and browser history (1)

spandex_panda (1168381) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178393)

are a couple of dead giveaways. I know a guy at school (Pattie) who always checks folks laptops for recent documents. Very funny sometimes!
So my advice is to a) use a browser with 'incognito' or similar mode for 'privacy'.
Of course there is always having multiple user accounts! Ubuntu has a 'guest' account by default I understand. I usually have a "user" account on my laptop, no privelages, default browser etc.

It's not rude to say no! (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178395)

I wouldn't ask to use someone else's computer so I don't expect them to use mine. Regardless of what a lot of people seem to think a computer is a very personal thing. Asking someone to use their computer is like asking to write in their Diary.

Finally a use for it! (0, Redundant)

Rib Feast (458942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178397)

Learn to use Dvorak and they'll pay you not to use your laptop.

Politely... (1)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178399)

... inquire as to whether or not they are familiar with the concept of self-fornication?

Just install... (1)

NervousNerd (1190935) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178409)

Just install Windows ME on the thing. The sight of Windows ME will make even the most seasoned IT professional run away in fright.

Install a VM of Windows (2, Informative)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178411)

Using VirtualBox. Set it up however you want, then make a snapshot and a save state. When somebody wants the computer, run VirtualBox and load the state (which is very fast to by the way), fullscreen VirtualBox and make the escape key (which will allow you to exit the VM) something much different from the default and only you know.

It looks like a normal Windows install. Let them do whatever they want.

When they are done, revert the image back to your to the snapshot. Works as if nothing happened.

Re:Install a VM of Windows (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178423)

Oh, and you definitely want to make it clear everything they do on the computer will COMPLETELY DISAPPEAR.

Re:Install a VM of Windows (1)

ericdujardin (623023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178437)

+1. Especially since memory is nearly free these days.

Stand up for yourself. (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178413)

Stand up for yourself. It's honestly that easy. Do you ask them if you can use their bed? Do you ask them if you can use their kitchen? Do you ask them if you can use their art supplies?

They obviously don't respect you. The're just using you. Not to mention, being very rude to expect that you'd just let them use your computer.

So stand up for yourself, and just say no.

cli (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178415)

hand it to them as a cli login prompt and say "go for it"

Install a keylogger (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178417)

1. Install a keylogger
2. Let others borrow your computer
3. ???
4. Profit!!

I'll leave step 3 as an exercise for the reader

Stick a sticker on the back... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178419)

that says "l33t h4ck3r". They may be the ones fearing their privacy then. Oh wait, they're art students, they'll probably compliment you on 13375p34k

terminal (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178453)

Well- depending on how mean you want to be. Set the computer to default to booting to a terminal window and let them have it. If they can figure out how to open OpenOffice, Gimp, FireFox or whatever other standard GNU/Linux application that comes with the computer they won't be asking you for it any more. If by some miracle they figure it out they probably just forgot their own GNU/Linux notebook at home and you have nothing to worry about.

Ok- now what I'd really do. Install Ubuntu on it and use these situations to show off GNU/Linux, free and open source software, and so on. When they get done using it hand them a business card so they can go buy their own notebook. I might also suggest handing them your own business card as well so if they need any assistance you can make a buck off them.

A better way (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178455)

"For the sake of my privacy, the health of my laptop, and my own peace of mind, I'm reluctant."

As you should be.

"But telling my compatriots to go to our building supervisor and ask him for a desktop-on-a-cart, as they should do, is considered rude and unfriendly."

But you aren't the community PC guy, are you? You are being /used/. Not even mentioning your privacy or possibility of OS infection, what if someone simply drops the machine? I suspect you won't be able to get anyone to pay for the repair or replacement, as they are unwilling to get their own. If this keeps going on, you are going to have a broken computer /and/ a lot of resentment aimed at your so-called friends. This might sound harsh to you, but it is reality.

There is a solution to this, however. If your group is cohesive enough, maybe each can contribute to the acquisition of a "group computer." This is how the real world works, especially if you are acquainted with the concept of the "office group owned coffee pot and coffee kitty." Same concept. Those who contribute get to use the computer/coffee pot/whatever.

But if you continue on the current path you are on, it can only end badly.

--
BMO

Re:A better way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178509)

Yeah. Buy a "group netbook" for $250, where five to ten people evenly contribute $25-50. :-)

Then have a lottery at the end of the semester to decide who gets to keep it. Repeat next semester.

Lynx (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178467)

When they ask to use it, quickly start up Lynx and deny you have any other web browsers

Let them have the laptop ... (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178471)

... right after they sign a a couple of hundred pages of legal paperwork detailing how they're liable for any damage to it, whether physical or digital, etc, etc, and that you are, in no way, liable for any damages they incur by using the laptop (e.g. stolen passwords/privacy/identities, etc).

(Sorry, I thought these guys had better sense than asking to borrow something that's a) highly personal b) kind of expensive and then consider a "No, sorry." rude. WTH? Can you borrow one of their diaries?)

Give them a falcon punch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178487)

That will teach them

Ubuntu guest mode (3, Informative)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178491)

The most recent version of Ubuntu has a guest account that will let people do some web browsing and such, and after that person logs off, everything should be wiped clean automatically again.

So that seems like it could work..

Then again, you could just tell them to get their own toys. :)

Guest Account and Fast User Switching (1)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178493)

For this very reason I've always had a Guest account and enabled Fast User Switching (XP and Vista).

I can quickly press Windows+L and give them the laptop and they can click Guest and go do what they wanna do.

It has the added benefit of not letting them use my files, see my browsing history, or mess up my settings.

And, whenever I'm doing a presentation w/ a projector, I always use the guest account for mostly the same reasons.

If I need to exchange files between Guest and Me, I use the Shared folder. Piece of cake.

I am a coward ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178495)

Since you hate everyone i see and dont want to help your fellow students. Where i cant really see where the problem is ... i mean are you that secretive ?

Anyway, you can always install Ubuntu ( if you dont already have that ) and always run on a text base.
If you need a broswer just install http://www.vordweb.co.uk/standards/download_lynx.htm

That will detter everyone away from that. If a hot chick comes up then re boot into windows and get her phone ..eh ... i meant help her out :D

If you have TPM enabled hardware... use Bitlocker (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178511)

If your laptop has a TPM, I'd highly recommend BitLocker. This way, you can allow people their non administrative user to do what they need to do in a guest account, but if they decide to try getting around the protection by booting an OS CD, they will be faced with an encrypted hard drive.

Of course, TrueCrypt is good as well, but the main advantage of BitLocker is that with a TPM, it requires no boot passphrase, and in a multi user environment, there is likely someone shoulder surfing in hopes to get it.

Virtual Terminal (4, Funny)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178519)

Switch to a VT and tell them that only paying customers can use X.

Slasshdot or Dear Abby? (0)

TechnoGrl (322690) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178527)

For many reasons, none of these solutions is ideal. So I'm asking you, insightful and funny Slashdotters, what would you do to keep your PC personal at school?

You're problem is that you feel uncomfortable saying "no" to a request to borrow a personal item? And you're looking for a technological solution for that?

Well I could talk about setting up a virtual machine sandbox for your your friends but the reality is that your question is not a technological one that belongs on Slashdot but rather something better served by Dear Abby because, T1000s excepted, there is no technology that can replace a lack of spine.

A computer is a personal item and the information on it valuable if destroyed. Do you let your friends have your car whenever they ask? Do you give them ten bucks whenever they ask? Can they use minutes on your cell phone at will?

Same thing.

Just smile and politely say "I'm sorry but I am not comfortable with anyone else using my personal machine" and that's really the end of it. If anyone thinks it "impolite" then it;s their issue and not yours.

Re:Slasshdot or Dear Abby? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178539)

You're problem is that you feel uncomfortable

you are problem is that you feel uncomfortable

CAPTIALISM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178533)

Put a sticker on it that says "rent me for $1/hour, $5 minimum"

For pete's sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178541)

Stop being a wuss and just tell them "no". People are so afraid to hurt other people's feelings. You cannot be responsible for how other people feel.

Grow up and grow a pair already.

well, if you don't mind paying: (1)

shellster_dude (1261444) | more than 5 years ago | (#28178551)

You could look into some sort of program, such as Deep Freeze http://www.faronics.com/ [faronics.com] .

Get some help, you need it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178555)

These people [codependents.org] should be able to help you

My Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28178559)

Personally, i would not let anyone on my laptop, and would just tell people that this is my laptop, and is not for use in those situations
If there were no way that this would be able to happen nicely, i would either use a guest account for that person, or, keep all of my own work encrypted, using truecrypt - and dismount the volumes before you let someone else on.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>