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So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: deckeda
Date: November 06, 2019 09:02AM
The kids only need online access for school. Office 365, that sort of thing. The days of carrying USB sticks to school are blessedly over.

They're sharing an old and heavy laptop PC running Ubuntu. It seems to have enough power (some kinda i7) but of course, the hardware is falling apart. Battery is trashed, and the replacement was no better. The keyboard and trackpad are chintzy to use. WiFi sometimes needs a do-over.

The wife asked about a Chromebook, but a quick glance at those appears to be just another PC, albeit running Google software instead of MS software. And after I went through their online guide to help me "pick" one ... I knew none of it mattered once I got to the screen that asked me what I'd like to spend. Between $180 and $1000. How about $0? Is that a good choice?

At that point, I'm back to Square One.

******************************

Twice now, missus deckeda floated the idea of a hand-me-down for them. She has a fairly recent MBP (just the USB-C port) but buying her a new one isn't really in the cards. Even my Late 2013 MBP could be great for the kids but I'm not ready to give 'er up to anyone just yet ... perhaps I need to rethink that however.

Sorry, no, I don't have a stated budget actually. $400, $750 at most? Have no idea what that buys today. BONUS points are awarded if it'll play Minecraft without getting "laggy" like the old PC does.
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: pinion
Date: November 06, 2019 09:23AM
What ages? My 10 year old uses a cheap Chromebook. I think I paid $180 for it 2 years ago. It won't run Minecraft though. Most of what he does is in the google world. Google sheets and docs and google email through his school. So it works great for us,



---“What you permit, you promote. What you allow, you encourage. What you condone, you own.”
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: 3d
Date: November 06, 2019 09:28AM
Wait. Please state again why a Chromebook is not a good fit for your kids' needs? (The kids only need online access for school.)
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: November 06, 2019 09:35AM
Quote
3d
Wait. Please state again why a Chromebook is not a good fit for your kids' needs? (The kids only need online access for school.)

Office 365 beyond the most basic use is going to immediately disqualify the Chromebook.



C(-)ris
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: 3d
Date: November 06, 2019 09:53AM
Quote
C(-)ris
Quote
3d
Wait. Please state again why a Chromebook is not a good fit for your kids' needs? (The kids only need online access for school.)

Office 365 beyond the most basic use is going to immediately disqualify the Chromebook.

Ahh.. Got it. That's a shame. My wife uses a Chromebook for work. And kids' school are all-in with Chromebooks. They love them.

Is this one of those "Pick Two" situations?
Cheap, lightweight, Office365.
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: November 06, 2019 10:09AM
If you want a mac, the trusty mid-2012 MBP can be had for around $350. It will run Office, photoshop, etc, qualifies for Catalina, can be upgraded as well.

For a PC - a refurbished Dell Latitude 7250 can be found for around $250 or less. I buy those for high school kids all the time. Very solid unit with a 14" screen. There are other Dell choices with smaller screens as well.

Either one should get a high school freshman at least through graduation, possible longer.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

"WE CALL BS!" -- Emma Gonzalez
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: jdc
Date: November 06, 2019 10:40AM
School as in middle and high school, or college?

Just to be sure, do they really use Office 365? Mine are high school and everything is Google docs...

My kids have the infamous 2012 13" MBPs like Ombligo mentioned (Got mine for $300 each) and they work fine with everything they throw at them. Upgraded with SSDs and 3 GB ram. I cant give you a review on how they run Office 365 tho...



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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/06/2019 11:48AM by jdc.
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: November 06, 2019 11:05AM
Theoretically this is an Apple related forum...so we would be remiss if someone did not mention an iPad as a possibility. They don't need the latest and greatest, just something that can do iOS 12 or 13 as MSoft says they support the 2 most current versions of OS.

Kids have no trouble typing on non-tactile keyboard. There's probably a "Okay Boomer" meme in there somewhere.

Chromebooks are terrible for doing any sort of creative work: painting, drawing, design, video, etc. Kids NEED that other stuff.

Part of my early retirement was driven by my "new" school choosing to adopt Chromebooks after I had spent a couple of years showing how much more power a kid could get out of iPads.



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/06/2019 03:55PM by Markintosh.
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: November 06, 2019 11:07AM
What's the current laptop?

Minecraft can be laggy because of your internet connection. Have you pinged different servers, and verified they are still the best?

Lots of companies make Chromebooks. Don't feel like you need to buy one from Alphabet. Anything with a 75xx or 85xx Intel processor should be fast enough. I don't know enough to say if it's worth trying to find one with discrete graphics.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: WHiiP
Date: November 06, 2019 01:12PM
Chromebooks will NOT run M$ Office!



Bill
Flagler Beach, FL 32136

Carpe Vino!

Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire.
— David Rains Wallace
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: Z
Date: November 06, 2019 01:19PM
Quote
Markintosh
Theoretically this is an Apple related forum...so we would be remiss if someone did not mention an iPad as a possibility. They don't need the latest and greatest, just something that can do iOS 12 or 13 as MSoft says they support the 2 most current versions of OS.

Kids have no trouble typing on non-tactile keyboard. There's probably a "Hey Boomer" meme in there somewhere.

Chromebooks are terrible for doing any sort of creative work: painting, drawing, design, video, etc. Kids NEED that other stuff.

Part of my early retirement was driven by my "new" school choosing to adopt Chromebooks after I had spent a couple of years showing how much more power a kid could get out of iPads.

I just got little Z set up with a Logitech Create case for our 'older' iPad Pro 9.7" unit to tackle this very problem - [www.youtube.com]
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: November 06, 2019 01:28PM
Woot has refurb MacBooks all the time. There's a 11" 2012 Air for $299 right now, which should be more than enough for grade school work.

[computers.woot.com]
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 06, 2019 02:21PM
Does it have to be a laptop?

I really like Raspberry Pi 4 ($55) and more recently Nvidia Jetson Nano ($95). In both cases you need monitor, microSD card, Power supply, Keyboard and Mouse. Pi comes with WiFi, Nano needs Ethernet or WiFi card add-on.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/06/2019 05:18PM by space-time.
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: pinion
Date: November 06, 2019 02:27PM
Is Office 365 not the offering that is entirely in the cloud? I use Windows and office at work but none of it is 365. It's just the normal desktop apps. I would think if it's all in the cloud a chromebook would work. But dropping a bit more on a 2012 MBP sounds a lot more tempting if it were for my own use. For my kid though... chromebook all the way.

EDIT: I found this- [support.office.com]



---“What you permit, you promote. What you allow, you encourage. What you condone, you own.”



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/06/2019 02:29PM by pinion.
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: November 06, 2019 02:59PM
Just a sidenote -- if you are planning to send the laptop to school with them, make sure they will be allowed online access. Many schools are now limiting access to school wifi to school-supplied devices. We issue students iPads that are locked to the school. While they may access wifi at home, the device will still route through the district and face all district restrictions. It is the same with Teacher's Dell laptops. I am not aware of any student using a personal laptop during the school day at our school due to the restrictions.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

"WE CALL BS!" -- Emma Gonzalez
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: gabester
Date: November 06, 2019 08:40PM
"O365" is a weird fusion app suite that has both local binary execution components on Windows and macOS as well as a cloud-based browser accessible portion. The cloud manages the licensing, and there are likely some functions that can only be accessed through the locally executed binary software (as opposed to the cloud's javascript components).

However, for most use cases the Chromebook is probably sufficient. And just about any modern Chromebook released in the past year can load/run linux apps giving you access to things like LibreOffice.

Me, I'd get them a $200 Chromebook. It won't, however, run MineCraft...

There are plenty of used options in Windows world. Set a budget and pick. I'd say set a lower budget and save your money for whatever unanticipated upgrade comes up in the nearer future.
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: pinion
Date: November 07, 2019 10:27AM
Quote
Ombligo
Just a sidenote -- if you are planning to send the laptop to school with them, make sure they will be allowed online access. Many schools are now limiting access to school wifi to school-supplied devices. We issue students iPads that are locked to the school. While they may access wifi at home, the device will still route through the district and face all district restrictions. It is the same with Teacher's Dell laptops. I am not aware of any student using a personal laptop during the school day at our school due to the restrictions.

My son uses a school chromebook when he is there. What's interesting is when he comes home and uses the one we own he logs into his google account created by the school and it seems all his traffic is routed through the district with all the same restrictions as if he was on their network.



---“What you permit, you promote. What you allow, you encourage. What you condone, you own.”
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Re: So ... a computer for the kids (homework, mostly)
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: November 08, 2019 11:25PM
Quote
pinion
Quote
Ombligo
Just a sidenote -- if you are planning to send the laptop to school with them, make sure they will be allowed online access. Many schools are now limiting access to school wifi to school-supplied devices. We issue students iPads that are locked to the school. While they may access wifi at home, the device will still route through the district and face all district restrictions. It is the same with Teacher's Dell laptops. I am not aware of any student using a personal laptop during the school day at our school due to the restrictions.

My son uses a school chromebook when he is there. What's interesting is when he comes home and uses the one we own he logs into his google account created by the school and it seems all his traffic is routed through the district with all the same restrictions as if he was on their network.

Correct. Chromebooks are managed by deploying Chrome extensions in Google Admin and are applied to the Google Account logging into the device. The filtering software runs as a browser extention on any Chrome instance(either a Chromebook or Chrome on a PC or Mac) that the user logs into.



C(-)ris
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