August 30th, 2010


Computer for Elementary School.

I used to have a protege on "The Island".  We were very close for a few years after her son was born, and she named me the godfather to her kid. Along the way (2003) , her parents (the grandparents of the son) concluded (wrongly) that I had given the protege bad advice and cut off all contact with me.  A couple of years later in 2005, she stopped talking to me, too.  But the father of the kid kept in contact, and I still talk to him monthly or so, and visit once a year.

During my last visit, the father admired the computer I had just purchased (very used) for $100 and told me to keep an eye out for a suitable computer for his son.  Apparently the son will need a laptop computer for school (grade 1 or 2?) in September.  The father knows nothing about computers (bought a 2001 generation computer that turned out to be defective).  The son is reasonably familiar with his net-enabled game machine and knows a bit about basic web searches.

Anyhow, I have no idea what kind of computer his school will want for the fall.  I picked up a second $100 6-year-old laptop, but my wife wants to keep it as a spare -- her laptop has been flakey lately.

So, what is better for an elementary school student?  A used full-service laptop such as the one I'm on now (13"  1300x800 screen, XP, at least 1 GB RAM, at least 40 GB drive) occasionally available for $100, or an XP netbook (1024x600, 9 or 10 inch screen, 1GB RAM, 40+ GB drive), or a flash-drive netbook (specs unknown, probably an 8GB or 16GB drive).

I'm thinking of recommending Tiger Direct's Asus EEE at $240 or $299 (two chioces).  I like my Acer XP netbook, but the 600 pixel screen is limiting on some web work.  The price is right, for a machine with 1 GB of RAM and 160 GB of drive and XP for $240.  He's hoping to get one for $100, but I'm not sure a five or six year old computer at $100 is really all that much cheaper than a new one with warranty at $240.