We at Laptop Upcycle understand that in the course of normal use, your laptop may fail. We are here to support you.
For any issues with your laptop, we ask that you contact us by email and request an appointment to bring the laptop to our lab. Once we have scheduled an appointment with you, we will either fix or replace your laptop so you can get back to your school work as quickly as possible. When you email us (link above), please describe what problem you are having.
Please note that currently our lab support hours are Wednesdays from 12:00PM - 2:00 and Saturdays 10:00AM - Noon. If neither of these times work for you we will do our best to set up another one.
Many software issues may be resolved by you without our help. Google is your friend - search out the issue and the words Linux Mint, which is our standard laptop operating system. We have also provided a number of general tips and links on this page below.
General Operating Tips and Guidelines
0) Start with our Getting Started Guide which is delivered on the desktop of each Linux Mint laptop we deliver. You may also click the link above to download a copy. If you are more of a video person, please check out the getting started videos we made with our friends from the Dr. Frank Napier, Jr. school in Paterson, NJ.
1) It is a good idea never to drink, or eat anything near your laptop. If liquid gets spilled on a laptop it will permanently damage it. If food, even a little bit from your fingers, gets into the keyboard it will stop working and may be impossible to fix.
2) Laptops don't like to be treated roughly. There are many sensitive electronic components that can fail if this happens. Please make sure the laptop does not get dropped, fall off a table, or banged around.
3) Shut your laptop off when you are not using it by using the shut down option from the main menu. Please do not just hold down the on/off button. This is good for both the hardware, and the software.
4) Backup your data frequently. Some ways to backup your files: a) copy your files to a USB memory stick, b) email the file to yourself, c) copy the file to another computer (a friend). d) store your work on a “cloud” based remote location like Dropbox, Google Docs, or Box.
Linux Mint Laptop Support
The Linux Mint operating system is a stable and dynamic Linux distribution that is an Open Source platform. A great deal of online documentation is maintained by those who contributed to the project. Laptop Upcycle provides links to the resources that can help you solve problems, learn the interface, and get the most out of it.
When you receive your Mint laptop from us, we will give you two or three documents that you should always keep in your laptop bag.
If we can find it online, we will include a hard copy version of the owners manual for your specific machine.
A client agreement document. Basically, we want to give you a letter that describes your acceptance of this free laptop and that you understand how to take care of it. We will take down a contact parent/guardian name and email just in case you have any issues with your laptop.
Once you have taken your laptop home and you have other questions or you run in to road blocks, here are some other pages to help you out. Basically, most every issue you may encounter has already been faced by others in the Ubuntu community. Please learn how to search the web and the pages below for help before you contact the Laptop Upcycle team. By solving your own problems and learning how your laptop works, YOU become the expert. Experts are awesome and we know you're awesome. If you still have issues, don't hesitate to ask though. You can email us at this address.
For more detailed instructions or specific questions, please see the Community Wiki.
Linux Mint - What Else Can I do?
So you've had a little time to use your new Mint laptop and you are an expert on doing the basics - completing your homework, working on projects with others, and exploring the web, but you're excited to learn new things and take on some of the challenges that await you. Here, we will give you a few ideas to get you started.
Start by checking out the other programs that are available in the Ubuntu Software Center where you can customize your laptop and download additional programs in many different categories. The Software Center is on the applications menu on the left of your desktop.
About Games - As you may see, there are many games available for your laptop. We like a good game as much as anyone, but it is important for you to know that Laptop Upcycle has given you this laptop to help with school. Please limit your games to times AFTER you have finished the work you need to do for school. We're parents too you know.
Consider learning how to code! The programming language Python is already on your laptop. All you need to do is a few google searches on "learn to code Python Ubuntu" and you'll find many free tutorials and videos to get you going. Here is an example of what we found.
Explore the command line and see the underlying commands that power your laptop. Linux and Unix commands are very powerful and can damage your computer if you are not careful, but learning those commands open up areas of technology to you well beyond the graphical user interface (GUI). Want to be a hacker? You need to learn how the command line works. Start here.
If you recently received a laptop from us, we would ask that you complete this brief survey. There is no identifying in formation collected. Your assistance in completing this survey helps us in serving more students like you in our community. Thanks!