We asked on the mailing list if people could come up with examples where EOMA68 could be used by people with more computing experience to make it easier and less costly for them to support friends, family and clients. What we weren’t expecting was an actual real-world scenario to occur during the campaign.
The message below pretty much speaks for itself, but we’ll cover it in-depth a bit more, afterwards:
You mentioned earlier that you’d like to have more examples where people use EOMA68 to facilitate tech support. Well, I have such a case for you. I’m the tech support for my parents and brother. They’re in Alabama and I’m in the Boston area. I’ve bought them laptops with Ubuntu, and when I visit them once per year I do whatever upgrades are pending. We also can do desktop sharing.
My brother’s computer is between 5 and 10 years old and we’ve been thinking of a replacement. (My parents’ laptop is fairly new.) So I mentioned the EOMA68 project to him and he’d like to go for it. Coincidentally, his laptop just failed this past weekend. Sounds like an update issue that he didn’t pull me into earlier, and it got worse to the point he can’t log in.
So I asked him to mail the laptop to me, which will probably cost about $50. If this were EOMA68, he could pop the card in an envelope. I could even have a second card on hand as a loaner.
I think I can either get his laptop back to a working state, or find him a loaner, until EOMA68 devices are delivered, so I’ll be signing up for a laptop and one or two cards; he’ll have to pick out a color scheme.
Now, there are some specific additional things worth mentioning. Firstly: in the current scenario where the laptop has failed, J. does not mention the additional cost of returning the laptop, nor the risk of destruction during transportation (insurance costs extra), nor of the inconvenience and down-time of not having a machine. Ordinarily, a business user would at this point already have gone out to buy a completely new $500+ laptop, discarding the other one, because the loss of business earnings would be far greater than the value of the new laptop. Many other people find themselves in this exact situation (students on a deadline to complete an assignment) - being forced to choose between different types of loss because they simply do not have the required technical expertise or the time to investigate.
Here however with the EOMA68 Computer Cards the financial analysis is very very simple: the cost of a 40 gram Computer Card is well below the cost of shipping an entire laptop back and forth. J. can even justify buying two Computer Cards so that he can have one spare ready-to-go in case the first one in his brother’s EOMA68 Laptop stops working. He can even carry out the upgrades on-site, check them out locally without risk of disconnecting the internet during the upgrade, then ship it out to his brother for him to try out. New one doesn’t work? oh dear, put the old one back in.
I cannot truly express how exasperated I am with a similar scenario that I face at the moment, where my clients in the UK are dealing with the complete loss of every single computer that I’ve ever set up for them on-site and managed for nearly ten years for them. As we are still in the middle of the crowd-funding campaign I cannot recommend to them the EOMA68 Computer Cards because we need to finish the campaign first so that we can place the order with the factory. So it is extremely frustrating for me to have to tell them to go out and buy two new computers for $USD 200 each, find someone in the local town to install Devuan, get it connected to my VPN and then and only then can i log in and help them to restore their business. With EOMA68 Computer Cards they could at least have kept the computers in a safe, and one or two off-site, so that they would not have completely lost everything.
The long and short of it is: modular Computing in this kind of small form-factor has real practical benefits and cost savings.