Posted 09 May 2005 - 10:13 AM
Hi, Thanks for the replies/feedback. I think we're making good progress on our end, and your laptop question helps. From a big picture perspective, let me describe what I think we want in layman's terms with the hope that it will elicit more feedback and help us to plan accordingly.
We have two kids 4&7 who use the PC for CD-ROM and some web-based stuff, and I expect their use will grow exponentially over time. For now, though, they'd be fine on a modest PC so I'm thinking they might ultimately use the Dell machine that we've been discussing.
Our main PC is in our home office (a second floor bedroom) and it is attached to our DSL service, a wireless router, a printer and a scanner. My wife and I often work there simultaneously at night -- with her on the PC and me on my laptop. The only networking is that we have the wireless router attached to the DSL service/PC; and my laptop uses the router to access the internet.
Ultimately, we would like to actually have a network so that, in addition to the internet access, any computer in the house can print to the printer (printers) that are connected to the main PC. Can you tell me how hard this is to do and whether it can be done with the same equipment we have now--meaning the PC and wireless router. Another challenge might be that my work PC is locked down to some degree and may not be able to participate in a real home "network." In fact, I'm waiting for the day when they say I can't access my firm's VPN from my laptop if I'm doing so via a wireless connection--that would be a big problem when I'm traveling.
As to the laptop, we thought we would get a thin little laptop for my wife to use downstairs in the kitchen, out on the deck, in bed etc. The goal is to leave the laptop running and connected to the internet via the wireless router (and maybe to have it truly "networked" with our PC, printers, etc.)
So, here's what we're thinking:
1. rejuvenate existing Dell 4100 with two cards of 256 RAM and a new larger hard drive, reinstall Windows ME and only the software we really use and live with that for a while.
2. figure out how to create a real network for PCs and laptops in the house.
3. buy a small but competent laptop for the house.
4. Build/buy a nice system running XP Pro to replace the old Dell as our main PC and use the Dell for the kids. The new system should do music, games and basic stuff well and have lots of space for music, video, etc.
Thanks for reading all that--any reactions/suggestions regarding the general plan, hints to creating a real network, recommendations for laptops etc.?