Andrew Pollack's Blog

Technology, Family, Entertainment, Politics, and Random Noise

The hunt for a laptop for Ari - What is the perspective of a 14 year old on this purchase?

By Andrew Pollack on 07/17/2008 at 11:09 PM EDT

The middle school here has a laptop program so for the last couple of years, Ari has had the use of a little Mac laptop. She also has a PC in her room that she's had for some time. Its not a great one, but its sufficient. As we're getting ready for High School this year, we've been looking to get her a laptop. We're willing to pay for what she needs -- enough that it will be a good machine -- but we're not paying for extras. She'd have to make up the difference.

I think manufacturers could learn a thing or two by listening to her.

Question for Ari: Do you like the Mac or the PC?
Answer: What do you mean?

See, for her, it makes absolutely no difference. Either product will let her surf the web, write documents, and make pictures. Beyond that, it doesn't make any difference. The cheapest Mac available is $300 more expensive than the a PC model. Does she care? Surely not enough to work more baby sitting jobs and dip into her savings to cover the difference.

Question for Ari: Dell can make your laptop a different color, but it costs more. Do you want to spend $25 for a different color?
Ari: What color is it now?
Me: Glossy Black.
Ari: Why would they pick black for the standard one?
Me: Because they want you to spend $25 for another color.
Ari: Screw them. Black is fine.

Question for Ari: You can get a regular size one -- about the same size as mine -- or you can get a smaller one like you had. The smaller one costs about $100 more.
Ari: Why does it cost more for the one with the smaller screen?
Me: No idea, but its that way from all the manufacturers.
Ari: That's stupid. I'd like the smaller one, but I'm not paying extra money for it.

Question for Ari: You can get a glossy screen or an anti-glare one. Which do you want?
Ari: What's the difference?
Me: One is glossy, one is not.
Ari: If you move the screen, it changes. Everyone knows that.
Me: Apple makes glossy screens. They're better looking -- at least until you try to use them in daylight.
Ari: I don't care.
Me: Ok, we'll go look at a couple in a store so you can see the difference.

The sad thing is that the PC's all come with Vista, but with processors that just aren't suitable for running Vista. Not at this price point anyway. No matter what PC we buy I'll have to strip it down and load XP on it myself. At least she's asking the right kinds of questions though.

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: The hunt for a laptop for Ari - What is the perspective of a 14 year old on this purchase?By Craig Wiseman on 07/18/2008 at 08:34 AM EDT
"Train a child in the way they should go,
and when they are old they will not turn from it."

It's a real joy to see those years paying off, eh?
No doubt.By Andrew Pollack on 07/18/2008 at 10:16 AM EDT
No doubt. Ari's decision making skills have been right on the money on way
more things than I'd expected from a 14 year old.
re: The hunt for a laptop for Ari - What is the perspective of a 14 year old on this purchase?By Ed Maloney on 07/18/2008 at 08:35 AM EDT
Does she qualify for the student discount and bundled iPod Touch on the
MacBook? That might convince her. I'd go with the Mac (fewer support problems
and it just works better), but I'm a parent so what do I know?
Student Discount? LOLBy Andrew Pollack on 07/18/2008 at 10:22 AM EDT
The cheapest MacBook starts at $1100 and they offer a whopping $100 off for

For $615 I can get her a Turion X2/64 with 2GB ram, 120gb SATA drive, 15"
Screen, dvd/cd-writer, etc. On top of that, for another $120 I get next
business day repairs and full accidental loss/damage coverage for her.

As far as the lower support costs? I call bull. She's used both PC and Mac
regularly and doesn't give a damn about which one. They're a tool to her. She
doesn't have problems with either. If she did, her 9 year old sister could
probably fix it for her anyway.

It comes down to this: By spending 400-500 dollars more for the same kind of
warranty services, she can get the least powerful Mac available.

She's already got an iPod Nano that she likes and that's all she needs.
re: Student Discount? LOLBy Paul Gagnon on 07/18/2008 at 12:43 PM EDT
there's always this approach:

perhaps Dad needs a new laptop more and can offer the "student discount" to
daughter... :)
re: The hunt for a laptop for Ari - What is the perspective of a 14 year old on this purchase?By Lars Berntrop-Bos on 07/18/2008 at 10:42 AM EDT
From slashdot:
"Christopher Null tried to buy a computer with Windows XP pre-installed on it
from the United States' nine biggest PC makers. His findings: You can get one,
but be prepared to fib."

Other Recent Stories...

  1. 05/05/2016Is the growing social-sourced economy the modern back door into socialism?Is the growing social-sourced economy the modern back door into socialism? I read a really insightful post a couple of days ago that suggested the use of social network funding sites like “Go Fund Me” and “Kickstarter” have come about and gained popularity in part because the existing economy in no longer serving its purpose for anyone who isn’t already wealthy. Have the traditional ways to get new ventures funded become closed to all but a few who aren’t already connected to them and so onerous as to make ...... 
  2. 04/20/2016Want to be whitelisted? Here are some sensible rules for web site advertisingAn increasing number of websites are now detecting when users have ad-blocking enabled, and refuse to show content unless you "whitelist" their site (disable your ad-blocking for them). I think that is a fair decision on their part, it's how they pay for the site. However, if you want me (and many others) to white list your site, there are some rules you should follow. If you violate these rules, I won't whitelist your site, I'll just find content elsewhere. 1. The total space taken up by advertisements ...... 
  3. 12/30/2015Fantastic new series on Syfy called “The Expanse” – for people who love traditional science fiction[] “The Expanse” is a new science fiction series being broadcast onthe Syfy channelthis winter. It’s closely based on a series of books by author James S. A. Corey beginning with “Leviathan Wakes”. There are 5 books in the “Expanse” series so far. If you’re a fan of the novels you’ll appreciate how closely the books are followed.TIP: The first five episodes are already available on If you’re having trouble getting into the characters and plot, use those to get up to speed.The worlds created for ...... 
  4. 10/20/2015My suggestion is to stay away from PayAnywhere(dot)com  
  5. 08/07/2015Here is one for you VMWARE gurus - particularly if you run ESXi without fancy drive arrays 
  6. 08/06/2015The Killer of Orphans (Orphan Documents) 
  7. 06/02/2015Homeopathic Marketing: Traveler on my Android is now calling itself VERSE. Allow me to translate that for the IBM Notes community... 
  8. 03/17/2015A review of British Airways Premium Economy Service – How to destroy customer goodwill all at once 
  9. 02/26/2015There's a bug in how @TextToTime() and @ToTime() process date strings related to international standards and browser settings. 
  10. 01/21/2015Delivering two new presentations at Developer Camp (EntwicklerCamp) 2015 in Germany 
Click here for more articles.....

pen icon Comment Entry
Your Name
*Your Email
* Your email address is required, but not displayed.
Your thoughts....
Remember Me  

Please wait while your document is saved.