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Old 02-08-2011, 10:07 PM   #1
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Can I make it work?

Now here is an area I no NOTHING about. Well! I know a little; just enough to be dangerous and get myself in trouble on occasion.
So here goes.
I have an OLD laptop;with 128MB of RAM and a PENTIUM III processor 850MHz. With Windows Me installed. It has a CD drive and USB ports and a 3 1/2" floppy drive. Like I said OLD. I am connected thru a LAN system to the internet with DSL (I think that's what it's called; a modem with a single pair phone line in and an ethernet cable out).
I am using it to type this in.
I would like to use this laptop when we are traveling to do map quest, Google earth and send and receive emails, perhaps to make campground or RV park reservations and surf the net incase I need a part or something. Maybe find a nice restaurant to take my lovely wife out to dinner.

Will this old timer work for those basic things?
I have an extra slot where my wireless LAN card plugs in. If this laptop will work. What do I need to buy to make it work?
Do I have to sign up and pay a monthly fee to use it for the aforemention service?
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:18 PM   #2
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PIII laptop

I think the machine is going to be overworked. How much time have you got to wait on it????? It will be slow and possible insecure as the Operating system is old . Surfing on air I would want at least XP, or better.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:43 PM   #3
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A different suggestion.....

I don't know how brave you are, but if you are wanting to resurrect that old laptop, and learn some new tricks in the process, you may want to think about just reformatting that hard drive and putting a "light" version of Linux on it. You could have a working laptop for free and Linux would get that running no problem.
Linux is really good at making an old machine work like a newer one. I do agree that this old laptop is probably at the end of its useful life as it sits. But with a shot of memory, pumping it to the max, that old rig could indeed do all that you are needing.
BUT - if you really are needing to upgrade things here is another suggestion - donate that old computer to a needy organization and look for a local "used computer" store near you. For a few hundred bucks, you can buy a refurbished laptop that is faster and has a more recent operating system and more memory. I have had a few friends do this as a way to get up and running for not a lot of $$$$.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:07 PM   #4
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New entry level laptops are in the $400 range. How much is your time worth?? With your old rig you are going to be spending lots of time lost in cyberspace.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:40 AM   #5
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Your old laptop probably has USB 1.0 on it, which means the connection may not be fast or powerful enough for plug-in wifi cards. Many programs and those cards will only work with Window XP or newer. If you don't want to give the Linux option above a try, and that still won't fix the slow-speed USB issue, you can get an entry-level laptop, netbook, or iPad that would have built-in wifi, and be a lot more compatible and reliable. I remember Windows ME, and it is an operating system I (and Microsoft) would rather forget. Careful shopping can get you a new laptop for less than $400, and if you keep it as long as your current one, it will amortize out at about $35 a year in cost of ownership.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:04 AM   #6
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You might take a look at one of these - it's small size makes it handy for hauling around. The only thing I've done to mine is load Microsoft Office since we already had that program available. Target also carries them for a few bucks more.

Amazon.com: Acer Aspire One AOD255-2509 10.1-Inch Netbook (Diamond Black): Computer & Accessories=
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handn View Post
New entry level laptops are in the $400 range. How much is your time worth?? With your old rig you are going to be spending lots of time lost in cyberspace.
This makes sense.

On the road you have to get your internet through the air. Because you will be moving around and will want internet everywhere you go, your choices are 1. Mobile internet from a cell phone company. Verizon seems to have the best coverage.

The simplest thing is probably a USB modem. It plugs into your USB port on the computer. It has a piece of software to install along with it. The plan is similar to a cell phone plan. I pay $50 a month for 5G of data. I've gone over the limit once in two years.
Simple and convenient.

Whether your USB port is too old (is compatible or not) I have no idea.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:00 AM   #8
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You can do all of that with an IPhone and it includes a camera that takes stills and video.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:15 AM   #9
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Your old laptop will work fine for emails and surfing the net. Your software will not cut it. You will need Windows XP to load the drivers for the wireless devices. Also, the memory is too small to support Windows XP. It will run, but very slowly. A memory upgrade and Windows XP will set you back almost as much as a cheap (but new) computer. Check WalMart and Best Buy to find a cheap laptop. All you need is the most basic laptop with Windows 7 installed.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:30 AM   #10
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That laptop will make the perfect boat anchor...use it for that and get yourself one of the new laptops mentioned in the posts above. The frustration level alone dealing with ME and a slow computer will add years to you very quickly.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:14 AM   #11
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Darn

I don't own a boat so I guess I'll have to find another use for it. Thanks everyone. It sounds like I need to start shopping.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:31 AM   #12
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Laptop PIII

I would not throw it away! (I never throw anything away. I try to find a use for it.) It just is not suited for Wireless. As long as you are hard wired it can still be used for many things, especially those sites with little advertising. If you watch the market, use it on a stock program like "Stockwatch", Stockwatch or similar program, along with your newer computor. (Don't do banking on the old one.) It is the advertising and graphics that uses up the capability of these older units. BUT THEY STILL DO NUMBERS WELL.
A second computor comes in handy for many things, including reading instructions while cleaning up virus or other problems on you new machine.
I still have a W98 upgrade from W95 (it would not upgrade to W98se so never got the info to the newer Operating systems, although I updated it to P200) and still use it many times. It will run Stockwatch with no problem.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:37 AM   #13
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No way

OH! I won't throw it away. It works fine for stuff like this. It's faster than my typing. I'm using it here. I can be on the laptop when my wife is on the desk top. The desk top is really hers anyway.
Thanks
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:46 AM   #14
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Can I make it work?

Greetings TG Twinkie!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
I have an OLD laptop
  • 128MB of RAM
  • PENTIUM III processor
  • 850MHz
  • Windows Me
  • CD drive
  • USB port
For surfing the Internet, your computer still has adequate power for most situations. If your RAM memory hasn't been maxxed out, adding RAM memory to the maximum that your system will support should significantly improve its Internet performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
I would like to use this laptop when we are traveling to do map quest, Google earth and send and receive emails, perhaps to make campground or RV park reservations and surf the net incase I need a part or something. Maybe find a nice restaurant to take my lovely wife out to dinner.
  • Will this old timer work for those basic things?
  • I have an extra slot where my wireless LAN card plugs in. If this laptop will work.
  • What do I need to buy to make it work?
  • Do I have to sign up and pay a monthly fee to use it for the aforemention service?
What you propose is possible through use of a wireless modem. A wireless modem does present you with a monthly service plan - - I haven't done much investigation, so don't know whether there are plans that permit you to purchase minimal minutes some months with greater time other months. You would be looking for a wireless modem similar to these offered by Verizon -- see this link.

When shopping for wireless modem service some questions that you should ask of the representative include:
  1. Will your device work with the Windows Millenium Edition installed on my laptop?
    1. If the device won't work with Windows Millenium Edition, the probability is that the cost of upgrading your Laptop to permit utilization of Windows 7 is likely going to be cost prohibitive if it is even possible.
  2. Are there any minimum RAM memory requirements?
  3. Does your device require USB 1.0, 2.0, or 3.0?
    1. Your Laptop probably has either 1.0 or 2.0, but may be upgradable - - the cost may be a consideration.
  4. What plan options are available for your Wireless Modem?
    1. The cost of plans can vary tremendously as can the minimum duration of the contracts. Sometimes the contracts can be piggy-backed or combined with your existing cell phone plans, but this can vary tremendously according to carrier.
You may find that it makes more sense economically to seek out free Internet hotspots and utilize your wireless antenna. If you find that your computer doesn't have the power to run a needed operating system upgrade, it is possible to buy remanufactured computers from Dell and HP that allow for a comparatively reasonable entry into a newer system.

If the route of utilizing the laptop and wireless modem becomes cost prohibitive, upgrading to a modern cell phone such as a blackberry that supports both Internet browsing and voice communications may be a more economical alternative.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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