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"This category [science fiction] excludes rocket ships that make U-turns, serpent men of Neptune that lust after human maidens, and stories by authors who flunked their Boy Scout merit badge tests in descriptive astronomy."
- Robert Heinlein

  A standard-issue laptop computer for school use.  

Doctorow takes the ideas about inexpensive laptops for students and schools that insist on providing each student with a laptop, and combines them with the administrator's desire to control and surveil,

I got back to class and sat down again... I unpacked the school's standard-issue machine and got back into classroom mode. The SchoolBooks were the snitchiest technology of them all, logging every keystroke, watching all the network traffic for suspicious keywords, counting every click, keeping track of every fleeting thought you put out over the net. We'd gotten them in my junior year, and it only took a couple months for the shininess to wear off. Once people figured out that these "free" laptops worked for the man -- and showed a never-ending parade of obnoxious ads to boot -- they suddenly started to feel very heavy and burdensome.

Cracking my SchoolBook had been easy. The crack was online within a month of the machine showing up, and there was nothing to it -- just download a DVD image, burn it, stick it in the SchoolBook, and boot it while holding down a bunch of different keys at the same time. The DVD did the rest, installing a whole bunch of hidden programs on the machine, programs that would stay hidden even when the Board of Ed did its daily remote integrity checks of the machines. Every now and again I had to get an update for the software to get around the Board's latest tests, but it was a small price to pay to get a little control over the box.

From Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow.
Published by Tor Teen in 2008
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SchoolBook-related news articles:
  - Doctorow's SchoolBook Computers Created By Australian Govt
  - School Surveillance Via Student Laptop Webcams
  - Woolim DPRK Surveillance Tablet And Doctorow's 'Schoolbook'

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