Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Toshiba Lemon Returns

The old broken down Toshiba computer has finally arrived back from Toshiba's far away repair center. The diagnosis: another system board failure. That makes (by my count, though I've admittedly lost track) five system boards that have been in the unit.

To Toshiba's credit, they repaired the computer at no cost to me -- including shipping -- even though the warranty expired some 3-1/2 months ago. I expected no less, however, because during the warranty period the computer spent more time in Toshiba's repair centers than in my own hands (a slight exaggeration, but only slight).

As I explained some time ago, I have already replaced the computer with a new Sony Vaio VGN-NR220E, and have no intention of going back to the Toshiba. Which left me with the dilemma of just what to do with this old lemon of a notebook until the next system board failure. I have a friend/coworker interested in it, but the last thing I would do to someone that I like is curse him with that old Toshiba. I could sell it on eBay, but I'd hate to see the bad feedback I'd get when the next owner runs into the same problems I've had.

Which is why we have opted to give it to my four-year-old son. That's right, my son is probably the youngest kid in the neighborhood with his own laptop computer. Thanks to the quite thorough Parental Controls of Windows Vista, we're able to provide some serious restrictions to what he can do -- both online and off -- and when. It may seem a bit out of line to give such a young child his own laptop computer, but if you saw him on the computer, and how quickly he has adapted to the technology, I'm not so sure that every young toddler shouldn't have access to this great technology. I honestly believe that my son will be advanced beyond many others his age, as far as deductive thinking, hand/eye coordination, and technical thinking are concerned, because of his time allowed on a computer.

Of course, the amount of time that he spends on the computer each day will continue to be limited, but now he and his mother won't have to be limited by the fact that they both are using the same computer. My wife can now freely work on her laptop without my son asking if he can play on the computer.

My wife had one other possible option -- which I immediately vetoed -- sell the old Toshiba and put the proceeds toward a Nintendo Wii. I understand that there are many active games on the Wii, but the last thing I want to encourage is having my kids spend all of their time in front of the television, either watching TV or playing games on the TV. My son has a V-Tech V-Smile, which allows him to play somewhat more educational games on the TV, and is much more suited to his age than a Wii, and we've hooked up my wife's old Atari 2600 to a small television in the play room that my son and I can spend a little goof off time on when we want to play nonsense games. Frankly, the nostalgia benefit of it is unbeatable.

The only family member now that doesn't have her own laptop is my two-year-old daughter. Maybe by the time she's four, her mother or I will be due to upgrade again, and she can have our next hand-me-down. We'll see.


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