Gateway login program for kids

Daniel Fussell dfussell at
Mon Aug 6 15:31:47 MDT 2012

On 08/06/2012 01:13 PM, Alan Young wrote:
> My son is *way* behind on his spelling words. I'd like to force him to
> do some spelling words whenever he logs in to the computer.
> E.g., he logs in.  Instead of his regular window manager he's
> presented with a spelling test program where he has to spell all the
> words correctly before he can continue.  Once he's spelled all the
> words correctly he can then go on to whatever he was going to use the
> computer for.
> Can anyone give me any pointers on how to do this?  I have some ideas,
> but I'm not confident in how valid they are, nor how to implement
> them.
I have a similar problem with my kids not wanting to do their daily 
reading before playing on the computer.  Something like this that asked 
multiple-guess questions about the story based on where in the book they 
should be on that date would be great.  Then if they read ahead and 
finish the book early, or improve their reading speed, comprehension, 
and retention, they get some discretionary leeway incentive in reading a 
particular day or not; like reading credits.  But if they fall behind, 
they are forced to catch-up before being allowed to play (Mua-ha-ha-ha!).

Now I'm _really_ liking this idea as it removes the parent from position 
of bad guy, and repetitive password entry troll (like when they go to 
the bathroom or lunch and the screen-saver re-locks the computer).  And 
it keeps track of their reading progress by way of syslog events ( 
Johnny logged in on "date" => Johnny read to at least the part where 
Harry gets the girl.  It would also be nice to query a 
community-submitted list of questions and page mappings so parents 
everywhere could offload the homework enforcer role.

Since I use MythTV, I might be able to use it to enforce 
homework-before-tv rules as well (ignoring the eventual problem of older 
sibling-assisted circumvention).

The general idea feels a little like a form of multi-factor 
authentication, and I'm wondering if a PAM module (maybe pam_script or 
pam_exec) would be able to do this.  I haven't messed around with my PAM 
config much, so there's also the question of if it could be used for 
this purpose.  If those didn't cut it, maybe a new "pam_quiz" module 
could do it.

;-Daniel Fussell

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