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Live CD for Grandma

Discussion and questions about hardware for LiveCDs, LiveDVDs, and LiveUSB devices, such as media, optical drives, and USB flash drives.

Live CD for Grandma

Postby a__l__a__n » Tue Apr 04, 2006 11:05 am

My mother has been using the VTech Postbox email machine for a few years. Unfortunately the support for those devices went belly-up at the end of March, so she's left with a paperweight, and no way to send or receive email. I'm looking for a viable replacement.

It seems that a dirt-cheap laptop booting from a live CD, with the home directory on a USB drive, would be a cheap and reliable alternative. However I'd like the machine to boot up as an email machine, hiding from her all the ways she might "mess things up" (as much for her peace of mind as mine). I guess I could live with web-based email, though I'd much prefer a pop mail client with as much stuff hidden from her as possible.

Has something like this been done before? Any recommendations would be appreciated.

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Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:54 am

Postby anony » Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:02 pm

My suggestion is bluetooth keyboard (with bluetooth LCD): ... NTID=10776 ... 8W,00.html

You need a GSM cell phone with bluetooth, blackberry / Research In Motion, Microsoft Magneto or similar product.

Please check the bluetooth keyboard compatibility with the cell phone.

LiveCD distro:

A. Wolvix with slypheed e-mail client:

B. Vector Linux with slypheed e-mail client: ... 4d62ffe5af

C. Knoppix 4.02 with USB data storage / fllash: ... pix402.xml

"One of the annoyances of KNOPPIX is that all your work is lost when you reboot. You can get round this by storing your home directory (which includes things like configuration files for email, browser bookmarks etc) on a disk somewhere. This could be your local hard disk, a floppy disk, or (probably best) a USB memory device. If you store your configuration for email and such on a USB drive, you could happily travel about carrying your entire computing environment on just a KNOPPIX cd and your USB drive."

You can also use Barebone (console only) LiveCD without X-Windows: ... zation.htm

(run as single user/root, without login/password)

".bashrc" file customization on home directory:

1. If the internet connection is Cable Modem/ADSL with dhcp, you can use dhclient, pump, dhcpcd etc.

2. If the internet connection is dial up, use wvdial or pppd scripts.

3. For webmail use lynx, links or elinks.
Make sure the webmail is compatible with text browsers.

4. For POP, you can use sendmail + Pine.

5. Shutdown -h 0 (turn off computer after sending/receiving e-mail).

Note: without any local storage/hard disk/USB, no image/attachment.
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Postby a__l__a__n » Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:26 am

Another option which I'm currently exploring is boothbox

It boots up kiosk-style into a browser and won't let you out of the browser. I think some customizations would be needed but it looks like a pretty good place to start.
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Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:54 am

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