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Journal Chacham's Journal: Chronicle: Worked on another computer issue 9

Call #3 of the bunch came an. An elderly lady has a laptop that stopped working, she wanted to connect to the Internet. Her son told her to get an iPad, so she did, but is finding it confusing. She wants to know what to do. I told her to return the iPad.

It's an iPad 3G 16G and it's just past the 14-day return period. She said the store wanted a 10% restocking fee, which would be ~$70. I said i'd look on ebay. I'll wait for a few to end and see what they go for. This is nearly new and with the box and all.

Her needs are to get onto the Internet mostly for studying and research, which means a a few websites. She goes to Florida during the winter, so it and it's Internet connection should be portable. She has used a laptop for some time, so a laptop seems optimal.

Her laptop is over ten years old. It's a P3 (iirc, 600 MHz or so) with 384MB RAM, and a 4GB HD. The laptop has a key for 98/98SE but it's running XP. There's less than 100 MB free on disk, the battery looks like it's shot, and the power cable is a bit loose.

Freed up some 800 MB by deleting, uninstalling, emptying the recycle bin, and lowering the system restore space. With just under a GB free, she ought to be able install an aircard (she had a problem with that in the past) and the low disk warning will go away. That was last night, i'm going to have to get back to her.

I think she needs a new laptop. Her current laptop will work, but it's probably worth a small investment to have a lighter laptop with a working battery. Dell's cheapest new laptop shows $399, same at Newegg. Is there anything cheaper?

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Chronicle: Worked on another computer issue

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  • ...that new mobile Internet device she already has just won't do, and has to be replaced with another new mobile Internet device.

    • by Chacham ( 981 )

      that new mobile Internet device she already has just won't do

      Yeah, she says it's too confusing. My original comment to her was that it'd be perfect.

      and has to be replaced with another new mobile Internet device.

      The key word here is familiar. For a lady i'm guessing is in her i'm seventies, familiar has a lot of value. She also mentioned the repeat rate, but i'm sure that a setting somewhere. Also, i'm a bit afraid someone will just walk off with the iPad because it's less bulky and it's the new hot item on

      • Nothing actually on the market NEW springs to mind- but an older-model netbook might work. One that runs XP (or at least, that you can put XP on), combined with a USB Cell dongle, should do the trick.

        I personally use an Acer Aspire One at home for this level of work- but that might be too small of a screen for her (my wife's is the 10" model, mine's the 11", but for a woman in her 70s, you'll need to crank the font size up, and that really eats the screen real estate).

        The Dell may be your best bet after al

  • Avoid Atom laptops at all cost, they will perform worse than her current machine.

    The Acer Aspire 1410 [anandtech.com] is an excellent machine, with a 7 hour battery, it is light weight and has a powerful CPU. Depending on how comfortable she is with a small screen, she might want a model with a larger display.

    Since this is a long term investment for her, it is worth while to spend the extra money ensuring that she can go another 5 years before having to buy a new laptop.

    • by Chacham ( 981 )

      Thanx for the advice and the link. I ought to be taking a closer look at that.

    • by Chacham ( 981 )

      Getting ready to make a recommendation to her and surprised she hasn't called me yet. This one looks nice, the low weight and full sized keyboard are great, but the shorter screen may be an issue. Maybe the higher resolution isn't for her. I have no idea.

      The walmart one is sold out online, but froogle found it elsewhere for nearly the same price (after shipping). The problem is, she can't check it out beforehand.

      It could be the weight isn't that big of an issue. Maybe she'll rarely move it, like only when s

      • by Com2Kid ( 142006 )

        and keep it plugged in.

        Unfortunatly this is a great way to kill a laptop's battery. :( My last mini-laptop, a 9" Acer back when those things cost well over $1000 (small was premium!) had its battery go from 5 hours down to about thirty minutes after being used for a server for ~6 months. Being constantly charged and being in a hot environment ruins LiON's really fast. :(

        • by Chacham ( 981 )

          Good point. I remember reading about that, but i never had need to practice it. thanx for the reminder!

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