Re: Help Me Buy Myself Stuff


You want an Eee, LB. I think they run around $400.

Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:59 PM
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Well, if you're going the biker route, Mexican tattoos are very dramatic. A Virgin of Guadalupe would look cute on you.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:59 PM
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I don't know anything about motorcycles and immigration, but it sounds tome as if you want an asus ee which is also available has sold out from

A nerdy friend of mine who has played with it says it is extremely desirable. Perhaps unsuitable if your hands are large.

Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:01 PM
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I was going to suggest the Eee, but snarkout beat me to it. Mind you, it runs a linux variant, not Windows, and has 800x600 resolution. But its very small and has a nifty solid-state hard drive.

Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:02 PM
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That does sound like exactly what I want. And my hands are delicate and ladylike.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:02 PM
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Alternately, if you are into bright green kid's laptops, you could get an XO.

Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:04 PM
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You should get a slate computer, mostly b/c I want someone else to play around with one and come back with a Yea or Nay. And the display on the Eee looks like it will drive you mad. Wasn't there a very light Dell (something 400). Those must be thick on the ground on ebay, and v. cheap.

Also, ask Tom.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:04 PM
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The Eee has no hard-drive, so limited storage. No music or the like.

They are cool, though.

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:04 PM
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The latter part of this post reminds me of the ads I saw around campus once when spring break was approaching, looking for someone to be paid to "Drive my car to Boulder, Colorado!"

I wondered what the person who agreed to that offer would be expected to carry back to the East Coast in the trunk.

Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:05 PM
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As Spike notes, it doesn't run Windows, so if you need IE or WordPerfect (or perfect Word compatibility beyond what you'd get from OpenOffice), you'll have to spend a lot more money to get some crazy Japanese computer from Dynamism. Although you can apparently hack it to make it run OS X, if you are a loon who longs to impress people like me w-lfs-n.

Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:06 PM
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a slate computer

Like, made out of rocks?

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:07 PM
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What documentation is required for entry into Mexico? Documentation required for entry into Mexico includes: 1) an original birth certificate or passport, 2) the original motorcycle title or registration in the name of the operator 3) a credit card in the name of the operator such as Master Card, Visa or American Express and 4) a current drivers license. If you are a passenger, the proof of citizenship is all you need.

Source. That's to enter Mexico, of course, and it sounds like what your friend needs to know is mostly what's needed to exit Mexico.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:08 PM
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I assume your friend is not traveling alone, otherwise I'd strongly recommend against traveling on motorcycle across Central America, especially if the friend is of the female persuasion.

That said - yeah, title will be needed, as well as - I think - proof of purchase in Mexico (at least for cars, which I assume is for motos, as well). When you drive into Mexico with a gringo car, they give you a little voucher proving that you brought it in legally that you give back on your way out.

More generally, I'm fascinated to learn more of what exactly your friend is planning here...

Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:09 PM
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11: Type of tablet PC. Seriously, though, the display on the Eee will probably drive you nuts.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:11 PM
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6: Is this XO thing also in the $400 range? Also (and I can't believe LB failed to ask this important question!), can you play Webkinz on these?

Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:12 PM
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There are pretty small offerings from Sony and others. But they are not cheap.

The Vaio-TZ series are small standard laptops. The UX series are even smaller [really really tiny].

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:12 PM
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EEE would make sense only if you have really, really wide feet.

Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:12 PM
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As Spike notes, it doesn't run Windows

It doesn't come with Windows pre-installed, but it is compatible if you want to put it on yourself.

Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:13 PM
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13: Planning would be a bad way of describing what's going on. But he's large and male and has made it to his mid-forties without dying, so is presumably better able to take care of himself than you'd think from talking to him. He got laid off, and has some savings and a new job lined up for April, and has decided to take a long-dreamed of motorcycle trip through Mexico and Central America.

Unfortunately, (a) his current bike isn't suitable (it won't go off-road) and (b) he hasn't actually got valid title to it as such (don't ask). So he needs to buy a new bike. But when you buy a new bike, it apparently takes a couple of months to get the title, and so he's having trouble figuring out how he can get it across a border without the title. I suggested flying to Mexico and buying the bike there, but I'm not sure that that solves anything much.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:16 PM
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not that it helps you any, but once upon a time, Dell had a model called the Inspiron 300m. It weighed just about 2 pounds, and ran Windows.

I have one, and love it. Of course, they don't sell these things any more, which means I'm fucked if my trusty little 300m dies.

Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:17 PM
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The XO is $400 but that actually buys 2, one of which is sent to a third world kid, and you can take the $200 as a deduction. That offer is through Dec. 31, I don't know if you can just buy one for $200 after that or if you can't buy them at all after that.

Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:18 PM
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ah... #16 shows me my next laptop! Sony TZ here i come!

Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:20 PM
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I still don't think it's a great idea, especially if his español isn't good enough to talk his way out of a lengthy stay in a Honduran jail. There are also encouraged and discouraged (anything away from the Pan-American Highway) routes of travel down the isthmus. The Pan-American has the added advantage of being paved.

And I'm not sure that whatever holds up getting a title in the US (and I can't imagine why you don't get the title with the bike at the dealer...) will go any quicker in Mexico.

All that said, it sounds like an awesome idea... why can't he compromise on his dreams and just take a car?

Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:22 PM
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I think the category you want is "ultra porable." Wiki offers a list of recent models.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:23 PM
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23: Oh, I'm firmly expecting the "Send lawyers, guns and money," call. I was just hoping someone around here was wise in the ways of buying motorcycles and moving them immediately across international borders, so I can faciliate the production of good stories when things go horribly, terribly, wrong.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:26 PM
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Have you actually had a chance to tinker with one hands on, SP? Rory's been begging for a laptop, will very definitely rake in enough Christmas loot for half an XO, and I'd be all over telling her I'd pay the donation $200 if that's what she buys. BUT -- is it too basic? If it's significantly lower capability than a "normal" laptop, she's going to notice and gripe.

Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:29 PM
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19: a couple of months to get the title sounds a bit pessimistic, although that might be one of the things that differs wildly by state. in any case, if he hasn't ridden dirt and the roads in mexico are anything like they are in india, he should go buy a used xr400 or something similar and go dirt riding three days a week until the title arrives.

when i rode rented motorcycles in india, dirt riding experience was the single most useful thing in terms of ensuring survival, much more so than the type of motorcycle or lack of legal hassle.

Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:30 PM
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oh, he would also probably get much better advice if he registered and asked this question at ADVRider.

don't listen to mike when he says it's a bad idea. what's the worst that could happen? ending up in jail seems unlikely, so either death in a motor vehicle accident or having his motorcycle stolen or "confiscated by police" and having to take the bus back to the US. with a bit of experience and a bit of caution, dying seems unlikely.

Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:33 PM
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Should I look into getting either of these? I'd still like a refurbished macbook, but they're too expensive.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:33 PM
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26- The grandparents are getting one for my kid (3 years old!) for Christmas so I'll let you know in a week.

Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:40 PM
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a brief search of advrider shows that you can frequently get by with just the registration certificate. at least in california, they give that to you on the spot at the dmv. but asking this question there will get you much more information than you could possibly want.

Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:42 PM
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BG - I'm looking to unload a G4 with a burnt out logic board (or something). When I took it to the Apple store, they said it was $280 to repair it, and I was on deadline, so I just got a new one. I'll let you have it cheap (cost of shipping or something) if you want it. Email me if you're interested.

Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:50 PM
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Moccasin - to be blunt, I'm mostly concerned about being held up at gunpoint. A gringo alone on the road on a motorcycle is a pretty inviting target. Doing the exact same thing in a car gives you most of the same bennies (albeit car not as cool as the moto) with a much lower risk profile.

Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:56 PM
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You could probably smuggle an untiled motorcycle into Mexico inside a large bale of cocaine.

I'm also getting an XO for my, uh, eighteen month old. Thats mostly so he stops pulling the keys off of Daddy's laptop.

Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:23 PM
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If your friend is motorbiking through Mexico and Central America, but him a diary. One never knows.

BTW, check out the EEE warranty. It states "within the warranty period" but doesn't specify what that interval is.

Posted by: swampcracker | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:49 PM
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The solid state drive on one of the Eees is 8Gb, so... definitely could put a bit of music on it, depending on the size of the OS (of course that mostly makes you not want Windows anyway).

Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:53 PM
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I'm made leery by the EEE site's copy: "• The Eee PC includes the documents and the e-mails software, and a suite of other productivity software to help keep you on track."

It includes the documents! That sounds like a privacy concern.

Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:22 PM
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The eee sounds like a great idea (and, selfishly, I've been wanting to hear a firsthand account of one). There was a superb review of it over at Ars Technica a while ago. They came away with a very favorable overall impression and three caveats: the built-in OS is not optimally configured out of the box (also, if you want something other than Linux you'll be installing it yourself); the keyboard is small; and the screen is only 800 pixels wide.

DO NOT buy an XO. We had one kicking around the office for a while; it sucks. Well, alright, maybe that's too harsh: Ed Felten had a 12 year-old review it and it seemed to work great for him. I've read some other accounts of kids figuring them out, too. But I was too dumb for it -- its OS is based on an experimental UI research project, and not at all in keeping with the desktop metaphors we're all used to. I couldn't even figure out how to get to the web browser, I'm embarrassed to admit. Also, much has been made of how the screen looks just as good in sunlight as indoors. Edited out of these sentences is ": like shit". It's a toy. You can find more of my OLPC crankiness here if you're so inclined.

If you don't get the eee, you should consider a Lenovo (carefully), and then, if you don't go for that, get a macbook. Going the cheap route is fine for desktops, but it's worth the premium to buy a well-made laptop.

Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 5:18 PM
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Actually, scratch that: I forgot that I did make it to the web browser. But only after watching a walkthrough video. It's really, really weird.

Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 5:20 PM
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I like my Panasonic Toughbook CF-17. They don't make that model any more but they make a newer model about the same size (with a four-times faster processor) called CF-19. It's pretty expensive but if you have to carry a computer around a lot, take a look at one of these.

It's compact - smaller than the 12" MacBook - and it will survive blows and spills that would destroy most laptops. It's got a watertight magnesium case and the hard drive is in an anti-shock gel pack, and you can read the screen in direct sunlight. It runs Windows or Linux and supports wireless WANs and LANs and Bluetooth and all that stuff. The CF-19, like the CF-17, has a touchscreen, and unlike the CF-17, it unfolds so you can turn it into a tablet computer, which you can hold in one hand while ticking away at the touchscreen with the other.

Shortly after I bought my CF-17 I left it out, running, on the hood of my truck where it got drenched in a rain storm. The keyboard is slightly recessed below the top surface of the lower half, so when I got back to the truck it was full of water level with the top. When I turned it upside to pour the water off the keyboard I nudged the touchpad and the screen lit up; it was still ticking away just fine.

Posted by: W. Kiernan | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 6:17 PM
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38, 39: Thanks, Tom. We will stick to the original plan of deferred gratification and saving up for a real laptop.

Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:56 PM
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We got PK an eMac for $200--you can find them refurbished online. It lacks a mouse, but that's easily handled, and we have the software disks (which it also, inexplicably lacks). It's not a laptop, but I figure for a kid, that's probably best.

And it isn't going to live in his bedroom.

Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:01 PM
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eMacs are very nice. I know a few people who use high-powered Macs at work who have an eMac for home. Cheap but functional.

I have an old 12" iBook on loan from work which is still a great machine. Bit slow but great battery life and portability.

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:25 AM
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Well, I just got my kids XO in the mail last night, and I have to say, its friggen' awesome. It has all sorts of great things that kids will love - great built in software, camera, sound, microphone, wireless networking, etc.

The applications were really neat from an educational standpoint. My gripe about computers these days is that its too difficult for kids to learn the basics of programming on, due to an overwhelming array features and complexity. This machine cuts through those issues, and I think it will spawn a new generation of third world software developers.

I though the UI was just fine - its different, but the learning curve wasn't steep at all. Certainly less complicated than a desktop paradigm. The screen and keyboard are small, but, its for kids, who are small, so that shouldn't be a problem.

If you are looking for or expecting an adult computer, this machine is all wrong for you. But as a learning tool for kids, the XO just rocks.

Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-19-07 9:42 AM
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