The physical setup
Fred Olson came over to Roosevelt after school on a Friday and we worked for a few hours. He worked on making a few additional Pentium 3's thin-client ready--removing the hard drive, disconnecting the CD and Floppy drives. No more disconnecting the main fan--it looks like I might have been wrong thinking that the thin clients operate well w/out them. Time will tell.
Additionally, there were several thin clients which wouldn't boot, and after a while we figured out that the problem was that they were set to use 220 volt systems and not 110 Volt! Upon flicking the small red switch they worked great.
Fred also made an improvement in how we affix the TC boxes under the tables. W/out immobilizing them they migrate quickly and wires get all over the place and there becomes no good place for the mouse/keyboards. Anyway, he screwed down the back lip of the box and put down a few strategically placed screws and, simple, quick, affixed!
The Plone Front
Jack Ungerleider Has put in two appearances over winter break in efforts to load plone onto the virtual machines (VMs) on our server at the district office. Of course this is all done remotely and there isn't a GUI to fall back on (I'm the one who wants it, not the pro's). Also, district IT people only allow VPN connections (then ssh or vnc), so Jack can only work on this at Roosevelt, my house where I have VPN or... through me via e-mailed instructions!
He's twice dealt with insufficient size limitations on the VMs on the server and with Brian Dolan-Goecke's help over the phone the 2 of them were able to set up disk quotas on all 5 VMs. Next, Jack tried to run the "buildout" file he had written--it basically contains a couple of hundred lines of instructions telling the computer to down load this and put it here then download that and put it there etc until the plone instance is all set up. Well, he ran that script and it should have been somewhat straightforward but alas... it hicupped. He has been researching stuff on the web, getting me info and I've been VPN/ssh-ing into the server and maybe it's up and running, but because of firewall issues I can't yet access it. I wasn't able to go to the site and of course have not been able to migrate the present site. The current site looks quite boring as anything worth looking at can only be seen if one is logged into the site. In conclusion, a few silent steps were made in this component of the GCoS project.
Lots of details on the server
Joyfully, I've been studying the book that Conner gave me, Linux Pocket Guide (by O'Reilly), much more understandable than I'd thought it would be. I've used knowledge that was pulled together by reading that book to do many little things like successfully install CmapTools and add java plugins on the thin client, to understanding better how to navigate using Terminal and how to use -options on a command, and where to guess that things might be located on the Linux system. Also, I now open and edit files using "vi", an editor, within Terminal. Really, I've done quite a few other things too, like trying to figure out how to edit the edubuntu_menus config files that Conner installed. This last effort is really the last major hurdle in the thin client server setup that is stopping a full scale classroom trial of the CESC. Soon, I hope!
I just found laserjock's blog which lead me to joining Edubuntu User and Developer mailing lists--better late than never as my dad used to say :-). This community I need to join!