As we in the non-profit world look at extending the life of our IT assets at work to be able to leverage Cloud Computing among other interesting technologies, when it comes to our personal choice, we love to splurge on the latest Windows 7 Laptop or the latest and the greatest dumping our personal computers along the way. Over the weekend I was wondering as to how much greener we could be if we could repurpose our devices and extend the useful life of the devices,laptops among others. As I read Google's vision in terms of repurposing the Operating system on the cloud via Chrome OS and essentially attempting to change our computing behavior centered around "save to the hard drive" mentality, a light bulb went on, and while I wait to get my hands around Chrome OS, took my old Windows XP laptop, temporarily backed up the data to a Cloud storage like Box.net and replaced the OS with Ubuntu 10.1 which has a similar Cloud backup called Ubuntu One. Voila, I can use the 4 year old laptop for potentially few more years with the joy of not having to put more money into anti-virus or the standard Microsoft upgrade path.
Now the challenge is how we can translate this at work. We at Volunteers of America Chesapeake are a large Human service providers with a staff of 600 of which 550 of them are Social workers who are'nt tech savvy and while a Ubuntu Linux might be a steep learning curve, many of them have personal face-book accounts and knowingly/unknowningly embraced Linux via their purchasing an Android phone. With 400 XP desktops waiting to be upgraded. Now the million $ question? Do we wait for Chrome OS? Do we look at a Linux Flavor like Ubuntu/Red Hat? or Do we do what most organizations do ie an upgrade. Except most human services organizations dontn have a budget for the license much less the hardware upgrade.