November 04, 2009

Gratuitous Llama Cyber-Blegging

Yesterday afternoon a minor brush war erupted among the Llama-ettes over who was going to get to use the computer in the basement of Orgle Manor to finish her homework first. This wasn't the first such scrap and Lawd knows it won't be the last.

As much of a Luddite as I am, I freely admit that in this day and age it is virtually impossible to keep up with either work or study without the proper electronics. My question is: What is the best way to wire in the entire family? Should it be laptops for birthday presents? Do I need to rig up Orgle Manor for WiFi? And how the hell much is all this gonna cost, anyway?

Any thoughts, ideas or experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by Robert at November 4, 2009 10:48 AM | TrackBack

Netbooks seem to be a cheap solution. But don't you want them in the habit of using computers only in a room where you can keep an eye on things? Not that they aren't perfect little angels, but still. . .

Posted by: rbj at November 4, 2009 10:55 AM

Good thought, rbj, about supervised use of infernal machines. Maybe you could work out a schedule of shared use of present equipment which would also laterally inculcate notions of co-operation and (EH)
sharing and that it is after all a PRIVILEGE (dread word) to have such a thing as a computer at one's disposal. Yes, I know, it would also add fuel to the already raging brush-fire of guerilla warfare at home, but that's going to rage for the next fifteen years anyway. Just a thought. I'm not only Luddite, but cruel to children, as you well know.

Posted by: mothe at November 4, 2009 11:11 AM

We make the boys share a computer. You don't want anyone with their own 'puter in highschool, they don't sleep and too much unsupervised usage. They get a timer and I kept the timer, There was no "I'm not done yet" because you would be amazed how slow they would be! They had to learn time management. Plus it was a great "grounding tool" mouth off and then you're doomed! It made the oldest appreciate getting his own when he graduated high school, the other two are looking forward to the same gift. It's too easy to give the kids all the crap to eliminate the arguing. Oh, we also used a rotating schedule so that everyone could be first. We also had a password on the computer so there was no "unauthorized usage". It was tough but it worked. We maintained a modicum of control in our home, a tazer does help!!! Oh and when the oldest thought he would be slick and buy his own to circumvent us, we told him he would be charged $150 a month for HIS contribution to the electric/cable/broadband bill. It ticked him off, but he didn't buy a 'puter either! Heh, I am a Cum Laude graduate of the Joan Crawford School Of Motherhood!! Yes, we are that strict, there is no "parental warning" music allowed in my house, and if the video game isn't rated "E" for everyone it did not enter either.

Posted by: cheri at November 4, 2009 11:25 AM

Have you considered just getting a second one to set up next to the first? More to go around...but still parental control..

If they do get their own, I would suggest setting them up as "users" and a parent as "admin" so that the little dears can't download every program that looks cool but slows everything down with spyware and such.

Posted by: April at November 4, 2009 12:33 PM

Wireless is the way to go. Almost all laptops now come with built-in wifi receivers, so there is no extra hardware to buy after you get the wireless router. If you already have a modem, the modem will feed directly to the router. If you think you need a new modem, I recommend getting a combined modem/router. It will have 4 ports for land lines and the wireless transmitter. That means you can still use whatever rig you currently have and add wireless units as you need them.

What sort of computing devices you get will depend on the purpose for which the llama-ettes will be using them. The Young Master (who turned 14 yesterday - God help us!) has been increasing needing to use Microsoft Word to complete assignments begun in school. If you will need to use Word, or Powerpoint, then a netbook-class machine will *not* cut the mustard. You will need a laptop with a hard drive to carry the program. It is possible to use Google docs or similar online word processors, but moving back and forth between platforms will be confusing for the gels. Besides, the low end laptops are going to be more competitive with netbooks this year, so the temptation to go with a netbook will be easier to resist.

Cost for a wireless router will be around $50.00. A decent gel-friendly laptop will be $300-$500. Of course, that also means that you can take the laptop and retire to your study without having to fight gels for access.

Security is always going to be an issue, but you can always just shut the router down and prevent all access, if it comes to that. Otherwise, you can do creative things with passwords and restrictions at the router level, but that may get complicated.

Posted by: the gripping hand at November 4, 2009 01:01 PM

You will definately need to make friends with a techno wizard, because no matter what the gels do, the flaming computer crash will be spectacular!! Comping well is the key to a happy 'puter

Posted by: cheri at November 4, 2009 01:17 PM

Feel free to get in touch with my husband, Robbo. We have wireless Internet and four laptops, one for each of us, all on the dining room table.

Anyway, my husband can be your tech wizard friend. That's pretty much what he does!

Posted by: GroovyVic at November 4, 2009 06:51 PM

At the risk of igniting an OS war:

We got a MacBook for the the daughter. At the same time I bought a copy of Apple Remote Desktop. I showed her how it would allow me to remotely take control of her computer, and how it would allow me to observe her activity without her knowledge.

Paranoia can be your friend.

When she wanted to get on Facebook, Twitter etc is was with the condition that I was going to be one of her Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

I have complete faith in her. I also have a complete understanding of her 14-year-old I know everything about everything naivete.

She knows that I'm not spying on her, but watching her back.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at November 5, 2009 08:19 AM
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