back to article Dell punts germ-free netbook for school kids

Dell is now flogging a series of colorful netbooks aimed at the clumsy, snot-nosed germ-factories affectionately known as school children. The new Dell Latitude 2100 netbook line for the educational sector can be loaded with custom kid-intended kit like an antimicrobial keyboard, rubberized kickball-like exterior, and a …

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  1. Graham Marsden
    Boffin

    special "network activity light"

    and I have a special piece of gaffer tape....

  2. Chris C

    Features

    "...an antimicrobial keyboard, rubberized kickball-like exterior, and a special "network activity light" on the back of the lid designed to tattle to teacher when the kids are trading Pokemons online rather than paying attention to lessons."

    Antimicrobial keyboard -- completely useless. This netbook will still spread germs. That is, unless you believe that kids will not touch the touchpad, touchscreen, or casing.

    Network activity light -- pretty useless. If the kid was doing something they shouldn't be doing, they'll have the window closed by the time the teacher gets to them. At that point, how will the teacher know they were doing something wrong as opposed to the netbook downloading updates (Windows, antivirus, Java, Adobe, Apple, Google, Mozilla, etc). Most programs don't give you the option of specifying when to check for (or, in some cases, download) updates.

    Rubberized case -- might actually be a good idea. Depending on the material, it may provide negligible protection from a drop, but a rubberized material will make it easier to grip and will resist slipping. At any rate, it's better than the glossy, easily-scratched-with-the-slight-breeze materials which seem to be the current fad.

    I have to say, though, a 3-cell battery doesn't sound like much for a computer which is supposed to be designed for educational use (read: used for 6-8 hours between recharges). Dell's website says "3-cell or 6-cell 'Smart' Lithium-Ion Primary battery featuring Express Charge™" and "65W AC Adapter featuring cord wrapping".

    Personally, this is my favorite quote from Dell (when selecting the operating system): "Please note that if you choose Microsoft Vista and also would like Microsoft Office productivity software, you will need to select a hard drive option with at least 80GB of space." That's a lot of space for an operating system and office suite.

  3. Steve Coffman
    Thumb Down

    Re: Features

    Windows XP or Vista Home? So much for connecting to a domain, eh? I work in Educational IT and I think this thing will go over like a lead balloon... for the kind of money they are asking for it after all the upgrades, you could buy a REAL computer with a decent processor, a couple gigs of RAM and a decent sized HD. Also I don't think laptops are all that practical for the age of the students they appear to be marketing this towards, i.e elementary students. They WILL get dropped and abused.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Germy kids..... Ughhhh the little horrors....

    Me thinks the germb free aspect will be severely tested once they reach puberty with their nasty impure thoughts and actions...

    All those previously wet and or sticky fingers...... mastiocating away on the key pads, writing in their most vile of excited thoughts to each other....

    What we need is some good christian dicipline, and a return of the chalk board, and the quill pen.

    We need to bring back the return of daily beatings, and the truth that the sun orbits around the world and that the myth of jesus is not dead.

  5. Christopher Martin

    Network activity light

    Sounds like the most ill-inspired plot I've heard today (although it's only 12:30 am, so there's plenty more room for more bad ideas yet). I bet it will sell wildly to school IT "professionals" who think that the Internet is the web, so if the light is blinking they must be using the blue e...

  6. jake Silver badge

    Scrub away, scrub away ...

    "So much for Germ Free Adolescents"

    ::heh:: Preempted me, Austin :-)

    God save the Queen!

  7. Trevor
    Coat

    @Steve Coffman

    "i.e elementary students. They WILL get dropped and abused."

    What about the laptops?

  8. Ascylto
    Jobs Halo

    WOW!

    Could this be the solution to Microsoft's virus breeding and the BSD?

    Steve Ballmer ... buy Dell immediately!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even being a geek

    I find it sad that we're encouraging schools to outsource all teaching functions to machines.

    It's just a gimmick of course, netbooks, laptops, electronic whiteboards, all complete nonsense. It's just an excuse to waste time looking at fancy graphics and not really learning anything.

    A couple of hours of decent quality IT lessons a week is all you need and with the money schools are throwing at laptops, ipods and other assorted crap you could kit the IT class out with state of the art workstations, on which they could learn how to do stuff that's actually useful.

    Had some gimmicky rubberised toy computer been central to the learning of my class when I was at school I'd have been the first person to try and hack it, just for yucks.

  10. Michael
    Happy

    16gb ssd with windows?

    HAHAHAHA!

    Hope the SSD is under warranty.

    That is all!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    FFS. No wonder educational standards falling

    They do not need to use PCs outside of the IT classroom or very specific projects/equipment and they certainly do not need netbooks. What they need is a pencil, paper, sharpener, eraser, set-square, ruler, compass, protractor. Yup, think that's it. Well, textbooks obviously.

    Up until A-level (or equivalent) there's not even any need for a calculator. If you can't remember tan(45) etc, then you need some serious help. Can't use log tables? Diddums. Chuffing well learn.

    Let kids have use PCs as a hobby/specific projects - but DO NOT stunt their ability to think, innovate and investigate by ramming IT down their throats everywhere. Got to write an essay? Just copy Wikipedia chilblains! FFS. **NO** Get into the library, get your head in a few books and sodding learn how to learn.

    Also, seeing as how El Reg loves to bang on about green issues, NOT giving the kids more equipment means NOT having to power it and NOT having to make it in the first bloody place. When was the last time the batteries died on your pencil?

    There is no need for equipment like this.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Network activity light?

    I wonder if the designers actually know anything about networks at all, or in fact have ever seen an ethernet activity light...

  13. W

    Questionable design decisions

    >"network activity light"

    ...when "lids down + into hibernation mode" would be the more obvious chioce if trying to make sure kids are paying attention rather than sneakily faffing.

    >"cart/docking station that holds 24 of the netbooks"

    ...so a good chunk of classrooms will need to buy two (if each child has a machine each), rather than designing one to hold 30 or so (which would take into account almost all class sizes). That's some sneaky business sense.

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