Is the Free Laptop worth it?

Big Don

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My mom is winnowing down her possessions as she is moving from CA to Florida. She has given me a 4 (or 5 or 6) year old Toshiba laptop for which she has NONE of the software or documents, or, btw, the password.
A buddy of mine owns a computer shop here in Fresno and said he'd reload it with the proper drivers etc for $85. I think it's now an $85 "Free" laptop.

There is no practical reason for me to have a laptop and no possible profitable resale of a 5 (ish) year old laptop. The question is, is it worth it as a toy?
Possible uses that have occurred to me: Carry along file transfer, look at my BIG Ol Jump drive... Portable DVD player: $85 for a 15" screen is way cheaper than I can buy a 10" portable DVD player retail. Portable game:I can, or my son can use it for games, we aren't serious gamers, we fool around with dinky little flash games, nothing even approaching hardcore.
Computerized Kenpo reference: I could put all my reference materials on it and use it as a study aid
My computer use is 80% internet, of which ½ is basic browsing and 45% is email, of the offline, the majority is normal office type crap with a modest library of MP3s.
So, what do you all think, is it worth it to keep it as a toy or should I just s-can it?
 

Makalakumu

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If you don't take the laptop, how much pollution ends up in the dump?

China makes money off our dumps right now. They buy our garbage and then refurbish it into another form and then sell it. This is actually a pretty good idea until you consider the fact that all of our national resources are going into another countries economy and we end up losing in the end.

Planetary hubris has a limit.

I say keep your old computer until the thing is rotton...

At least you'll have a sense of history...;)

Like Europeans with 1000 year old cities!
 

Shicomm

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As a seller of 2nd hand computer hardware i can tell you that 85 bucks is def'ly worth it to get such a machine :)
 

tshadowchaser

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It is always nice to have a back up machine even if it is old. You can use it to store things that you do not want lost if something happens to your normal use comp. or as you said a travel comp.
I have an old one that someone gave me recently that I will have fixed soon
 

Phadrus00

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It's worth it as a Portable Browser Terminal for your house. It's nice to be able to sit in the Living Room while watching TV and be able to surf the net as well.

Additionally you can get really good office software for free from the open Office project so your son can use it for doing homework and such. Try :

http://www.openoffice.org

It's definately worth the $85!

Rob
 

Sukerkin

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I'd add my voice to the "Aye, it'll be useful" camp. You can never have enough processing power or enough storage {looks up at the rank of five networked PC's on the shelf above me}.
 

newGuy12

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My mom is winnowing down her possessions as she is moving from CA to Florida. She has given me a 4 (or 5 or 6) year old Toshiba laptop for which she has NONE of the software or documents, or, btw, the password.

AH! Then this is a Good Thing! You can now use this laptop as your won without care! Disregard this old data and filesystem and you will have fun with a new install!

A buddy of mine owns a computer shop here in Fresno and said he'd reload it with the proper drivers etc for $85. I think it's now an $85 "Free" laptop.

No, no, no. Please no. Do you ever mess around with other Operating Systems? Perhaps you will like to try out the Ubuntu?

http://www.ubuntu.com/

This GNU/Linux is a very robust alternative to Microsoft Windows, and can be fun. It can expand your horizons if you have no experience with it yet!
There is no practical reason for me to have a laptop and no possible profitable resale of a 5 (ish) year old laptop. The question is, is it worth it as a toy?

It may end up being the favourite toy, you can mess around with it nicely. I say keep it, and even if you do not wish to keep it, someone else may find it very nice.

Haha! To Sukerin, I have many legacy boxes here in this room where I type this. If I were to cite all of the computer hardware that has been freely given to me in my life, you people would likely not believe me!







All the Best!

Robert
 

Sukerkin

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:D They're all for different purposes, Newguy.

- I have a DOS box for really old games and applications
- a Win95 machine for those games that will not work in later Windoze environments
- a Win98 machine that used to be my 'island', isolated from the LAN, for Net access
- a Counterstrike server
- the PC that I built for my missus that she doesn't use now I got her a laptop
- and of course my current gaming platform.

When we moved house, I threw thousands of pounds worth of legacy kit away (including my beloved Amiga's, a Video Toaster and a Z80 mini-computer (with a hard-drive the size of a washing machine motor!)) and I still have umpteen boxes of 'spares' :lol:.

The curse of the Packrat Nerd ROFL.
 

FearlessFreep

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Yeah, I'd skip the $85, rebuild it with Linux and use it for surfing, email, storage, etc...

Matter of fact I've got a 3-4 yo laptop with Win XP and Linux dual booted that I do pretty much the same thing with.
 

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download Linuxa, Firefox nd OpenOffice... you'll have a system that runs fairly quickly with a Web browser and a system that will do most everything you need. I'd first check to see if the system can run Linux though... Check on Ubuntuforums.org first.
 

newGuy12

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Yes, and you will have a second computer, one that you can get rowdy with. You can mess around with it. You can go ahead and hose the system. See if you can crash it, or mess up the configuration such that it does not work right. Then you reinstall, learning more as you go. This is ideal.

To Sukerin, I hope that some of the old Amiga people do not read that you discarded the Amiga, that would be almost like a sin to them!

I wish that I was "in the scene" back in the day when there were such old computers and technology, but I was not. I only know of them from reading about them and talking about them. My first computer was a 2GHz Athlon processor -- totally insane!
 

Sukerkin

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Aye, Robert, the industry took a wrong turn after the alleged theft of Apples's OS by a certain (now) multi-billionaire and the involvement of the unholy IBM to create the worst of all possible computer futures.

One of my favourite computer tales is how I put my brand new £1000 PC next to my ancient Amiga 500, stuck a disk in each and commanded a format to DOS. Now of course, this was native to the PC and it's hardware and 'alien' to the Amiga. I left the PC to get on with it (mutli-tasking, I don't think so :D) and had a game of Tetris on the Amiga and had it generate images and flash them across the multi-desktop environment whilst it formatted the disk. Guess which finished first?

I still wish I'd kept one of the Amiga's (I had three (500,600,1200)) but I just didn't have the space - the boxes of software I had took up 24 cu ft on their own :eek:.
 

newGuy12

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Aye, Robert, the industry took a wrong turn after the alleged theft of Apples's OS by a certain (now) multi-billionaire and the involvement of the unholy IBM to create the worst of all possible computer futures.

Yes, what a mess! I've read about how the AppleII was such a prize, how Wozniak was able to make one chip do what mortal men would take 3 chips to do.

One of my favourite computer tales is how I put my brand new £1000 PC next to my ancient Amiga 500, stuck a disk in each and commanded a format to DOS. Now of course, this was native to the PC and it's hardware and 'alien' to the Amiga. I left the PC to get on with it (mutli-tasking, I don't think so :D) and had a game of Tetris on the Amiga and had it generate images and flash them across the multi-desktop environment whilst it formatted the disk. Guess which finished first?

I still wish I'd kept one of the Amiga's (I had three (500,600,1200)) but I just didn't have the space - the boxes of software I had took up 24 cu ft on their own :eek:.

That's a good tale! And, its a shame that all of that kit is now missing, but, that is how the cookie crumbles sometimes.

Well, tales of the past are nice, but we can also contemplate the FUTURE of the computer environments. With that said, I can now show the screenshot of the new one to play with. I am talking about Plan9 of course. I am installing it in qemu now.

You can see how terribly geeky and super cool it looks like! This is the ultimate freaking nerd-core 4 life freaking installation program, it looks like some kind of space ship console or something!!!

plan91de4.jpg



Now, if I had, oh, say three hosts running the Plan9 and had guests over for coffee say, and then they asked, "Oh, what are you running on your rig?" I could say with some aire of superiority, "Oh, I am running the Plan9 from Bell Labs!"

!!!
 
OP
Big Don

Big Don

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OK
I got it today.
Plugged it in, fired it up, tried various passwords until I remembered... Windows doesn't require a password unless you tell it to.
6GB hard drive...
64(Smoking)MB of ram
 

jks9199

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OK
I got it today.
Plugged it in, fired it up, tried various passwords until I remembered... Windows doesn't require a password unless you tell it to.
6GB hard drive...
64(Smoking)MB of ram
Y'know...

As unimpressive as that sounds today...

The first computer I bought wouldn't know what to do with 6GB of disk drive. (OK... I never bought the disk drive for it...)

And 64 KILOBYTES of RAM seemed like a lot!

(First computer I had at home was Commodore VIC 20. First one I bought myself was a Commodore 64. I know... I'm ancient. I remember when the TRS80 seemed like a great computer! I know I'm not the only one who remembers the days when you didn't run 2 programs on one computer... EVER.)
 

Kacey

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Y'know...

As unimpressive as that sounds today...

The first computer I bought wouldn't know what to do with 6GB of disk drive. (OK... I never bought the disk drive for it...)

And 64 KILOBYTES of RAM seemed like a lot!

(First computer I had at home was Commodore VIC 20. First one I bought myself was a Commodore 64. I know... I'm ancient. I remember when the TRS80 seemed like a great computer! I know I'm not the only one who remembers the days when you didn't run 2 programs on one computer... EVER.)

Hey, I learned to write BASIC on a TRS80 that was part of a very early network... and my first computer was a Commodore 64 with a tape drive!

But even the Apple IIc I got for college didn't have anything close to 6 gig... I had to load the OS every time I turned it on, from a pair of 5-1/2" floppies, which left about 55K for actual use.
 

Andrew Green

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You could install XUbuntu, or some other XFCE based Linux distrobution and it would be quite speedy and modern. That is plenty of power for web surfing, email checking and document editing.

Given its power it is unlikely to run WinXP, and older versions of windows are not going to be secure anymore, so it's probably your best bet.
 

newGuy12

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You could install XUbuntu

I (and I am sure others) will like to hear how you get on with it if you do this, BigDon!

Also, Not to pour cold water on the XUbuntu running the XFCE, but I want to recommend to you to try the Fluxbox. Some people say it is faster:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=333796

Also, if you take it to the coffee house and wish to impress people, fluxbox can look much fancier. That is my story, and I am sticking to it!!!

Here =---- here is my desktop!

 
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