Of course, the ubiquity of high-speed wireless and four-pound laptops make it much easier these days.To that I would add the increased availability of small, low(-ish) cost digital projectors. Sitting in circles, with a dozen folks, all of whom have miniature media centers on their laps, passing around the projector cable its interesting to see the standard “presenter with slides” model turned on its head.
StoriesMost interesting to the storyteller in me was seeing people’s lives leak through around the terminals, and web browsers. The handful of Windows users gave very little away about themselves, Windows was Windows. Linux users were aggressive in their distinctiveness, being handed someone else’s laptop to do a quick show and tell, inevitably kicked off a mini-skillshare on window managers, terms, and Debian arcana. But Macs told people’s life stories in strange, almost uncomfortably voyeuristic detail, a snapshot of the person’s mental state scattered over a background image of favorite trips and significant others.
The 6ft by 6ft baby picture slideshow was probably the winner in the “street finds its own use” category, but I think my most distinct memory is when the screensaver kicked in, and we all sat, for minutes and minutes, watching Electric Sheep, nobody wanting to startle the laptop back into its mundanity.