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PC Setup for Small House with Child? 199

nzgeek asks: "I've been managing with a pokey Windows notebook for a couple of years now, and am desperate to get a decent PC for development and gaming. Problem is, our house is tiny and we have a 1-year-old entropy generator running amok. What's the best recommendation for getting a full-power desktop PC installed in our house? My ideal setup would be a mini-tower case hidden in a cupboard, with a remote LCD monitor, mouse, keyboard, and headphones. The keyboard and mouse can be done via bluetooth, and there is no problem with cable length for headphones. The major stumbling block is VGA connection for the monitor. Any suggestions on how to overcome this problem?"
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PC Setup for Small House with Child?

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  • Simple Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pipingguy ( 566974 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:15PM (#10980121)

    One year-olds are vertically-challenged. Put the computer on a high shelf.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:17PM (#10980143)
      Put the computer on a high shelf

      It's always a good idea to give the heavy items in your house with dangling cords more potential energy by placing them higher.

      • Re:Simple Solution (Score:4, Informative)

        by Rick the Red ( 307103 ) <> on Friday December 03, 2004 @06:11PM (#10991992) Journal
        Seriously, the best solution is to teach your kid what "no" means. We've got an antique shelf filled with delecate family dishes and other valuables, and both of our kids learned not to go near it. Of course, we also gave them pretty much the run of the rest of the house and left lots of un-childproofed drawers for them to explore.

        Frankly, with four working computers in this house (not counting the firewall), the only problem caused by children is their tendency to mimic mommy and daddy and try to type something or click the mouse, problems you're going to have no matter what you do with the VGA cable. As a father I really think this is a non-issue.

    • by GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:29PM (#10980320) Journal

      One year-olds are vertically-challenged.

      Yeah, well so are most geeks. I wish I had a dollar everytime I heard some chick say "Well, you're smart and all and kinda cute but I just can't see dating someone who's shorter than me. I hope you don't think I'm being shallow. But don't worry, I'm sure you'll find someone wonderful out there! Someone who can appreciate all the wonderful qualities you have! No, not me. But someone! Sure! It will happen to you! You're such a great guy! A little short, sure, but you're a great guy! Just don't get discouraged. No, I won't reconsider. Look, there's no need to cry. There are tons of girls out there who would love to date a short, smart guy. What? Well, no, you can't expect me to name them off the top of my head like that. Huh? Well, I don't know! Look, don't get angry. I'm trying to boast your morale and this is how you act? Christ, no wonder you can't get a girlfriend. Your height is only the start of your problems. What are you blubbering about? Well, you shouldn't have freaked out like that. Okay, fine, apology accepted. I'm sure it must be tough for someone as short as you to find a girlfriend. No, I don't want to know how long it's been since you've head sex. There are lots of cute, short girls out there who would love to date someone their size! What? Are you sure? Why would some 5'2" girl want to date someone 6'? No, I haven't looked through the personal ads. Well, I'm sure those aren't typical of most women. Look, I've got to go. I just remembered I have to wash my hair. Maybe you should invest in some platform shoes..."


      • Hahaha....I love being 5'11. And I'm 15, and still growing.

        Your post has given me hope ;)
    • Re:Simple Solution (Score:5, Informative)

      by (H)elix1 ( 231155 ) <> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @08:26PM (#10980971) Homepage Journal
      I picked up a Sun 180 server, complete with 8' tall rackmount, for $25USD. I mounted all my hardware above my child's reach or stashed it behind one of the panels. Not a snowball's chance in hell move the thing, all cables zip tied to the rack, a screwdriver needed to get at the UPS and all the power cords. Granted, I bought it back when my new bride looked at my mess of computers and said - buy one and consolidate this mess. Not sure something larger than the refrigerator was what she had in mind....

      As a side note, go with the CRT tube. It takes a hell of a beating and the little one will be unlikely to move the mass of a 21" monitor.
      • You could have wowed her by building a nice fashionable cabinet. It would probably look much better.
      • FFS, NO! (Score:4, Informative)

        by RMH101 ( 636144 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @06:52AM (#10984381)
        a "small house" and you recommend an 8 foot rack unit? only on slashdot!
        seriously, the way to do it is this:

        * a shuttle small form factor PC. put unit in cupboard.
        * an LCD vesa-mounted to the wall with cables cable tied out of the way
        * a cheap wireless kb/mouse (forget bluetooth, it's overkill)
        * nothing else.

        this is the answer. any other suggestions are just plain wrong.

    • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @01:35AM (#10983247) Journal
      My nephew learned that he could get what he wanted from the fridge by opening the freezer compartment first, pulling out its draws one -by-one and using them as stairs so he could reach his goal. His age at the time? Barely more than two years old.

      Don't ever assume that because they can't reach it from the ground that they can't reach it at all. Kids aren't stupid and they learn damn fast.
    • When the one-year old is approaching two, he or she will no longer be limited in altitude. Not as long as there are any moveable chairs or anything else around that they can attempt to climb up on. And what they cannot climb up to reach they will, sometimes successfully, attempt to pull down instead.

      Only thing I can think of that might work is something along the lines of a floor-level locked cabinet containing the PC, the keys to which are in your pocket.

  • Google for "wireless LCD monitor". Note that several manufacturers make such a beast. /is it that hard to use Google?
    • Re:wireless monitor (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cybermancer ( 99420 )

      Check out the Client-Pro All-In-One [] by MPC. I don't have one, but all the reviews I have read have been very positive. The whole PC is in the LCD, and it has wireless connectivity for network, keyboard and mouse. Ultra portable too.

      It is basically laptop hardware in an LCD. You pay a little extra, but it has the smallest footprint you can find.

    • um no, The only wireless LCD monitors I know of are smart displays. How would you like your home PC to be an RDP session on an 802.11b?
  • []

    It works over a wireless network using remote desktop. The downside is that it performs very slowly for things like 3d and movies, limited by network bandwidth. They're expensive too. 2d performance is supposed to be good, but I haven't tried it.
  • Better yet (Score:5, Informative)

    by AresTheImpaler ( 570208 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:16PM (#10980139)
    You could teach him not to touch your computer... Lot's of friends that have children and computer (or other things that kids need to be careful with) teach their kids not to mess with them. I recomend you to do the same.
    • Re:Better yet (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mvdw ( 613057 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @08:34PM (#10981043) Homepage
      I agree with this totally. I have two smallish boys (now 6 and 8); I have never had a problem with them playing with my stuff. And if it does become a problem, make it not a problem by teaching the kid to use the computer! Children are not these little things that get in the way of the rest of your life, they *are* the rest of your life. Embrace and extend, in the best MS philosophy!
      • Re:Better yet (Score:4, Interesting)

        by cliffiecee ( 136220 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @09:52PM (#10981705) Homepage Journal

        It was quite a trip to see my then 3-year-old boy walk over to my computer, close my applications by clicking the close buttons(s), and then clicking on the icons to start his own games.

        Even more fun: watching him arrange those magnet-letters on the 'fridge to 'QWERTYUIOP' etc.
      • Re:Better yet (Score:3, Interesting)

        Hey, my son is about 18 months old, so I wrote him a program that changes the background colour of a full screen window on any input. Bash the keyboard, move the mouse around, click the buttons...

        Only problem is, he likes it so much we can't use the computer without him thinking it's his turn.

        Oh, and he can reach the keyboard and mouse from standing on the floor, so lock your terminal whenever you leave it unattended.

        • by Destoo ( 530123 )
          I need a copy of that program.

          Some creative marketing team could even make a box and think of a name and cook up an instruction manual.

          I smell a software patent!
      • Yeah absolutely, that is definitely the plan. I'm kinda looking forward to having my very own junior l33t h4x0r.

        Having said that, the issue really has more to do with lack of space, than stopping him from messing with stuff.
    • We did that. It works. They are now seven and ten and Never touch dad's computer.

      I also found providing an alternative is good. I had some old Pentiums ( < 200 Mhz) laying around. I slapped win 98 on them and they can do what they want with those.

      • Yup,that's my solution, too.

        The 0.916 year old could get at my computer if she really tried, but we manage to keep her paws off with gentle coaxing and mis-direction. That and the cables are invisible, being loomed and ty-wrapped. The bundles are held to the desk with hardware.

        The 4 year old has "his own" computer - an IBM PS2 with a drawing program, and a couple of simple games.
    • Re:Better yet (Score:3, Informative)

      by harrkev ( 623093 )

      You could teach him not to touch your computer...

      Bzzzt. Wrong. but thank you for playing. The problem with this is that then you can get into a "power struggle" with the kids. Below a certain age, they just do not understand, as their brains are not developed enough to have any sort of self-control. Above 1 year you might be able to teach them, but they start crawling around 6 months, so that is 6 months of problems. Also, the less that you tell your kids "no", the fewer problems that you will have

      • Ooops. Sorry to reply to myself. But I forgot a couple of things.

        Back when I had the desktop case (Celeron 466), one time the floppy drive failed. After I replaced it, I tore it apart for the heck of it, and found a penny lodged in the drive. Another time I found a bunch of stickers wedged inside the kids computer (this was afer I built the new one). Locking covers for drives are a VERY good idea.

        I also feel that teaching your kids to respect your stuff IS a good idea. My point is just that it is no
  • by Lenolium ( 110977 ) < minus caffeine> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:20PM (#10980197) Homepage
    Just a quick recommendation from someone with a little nephew. Avoid wireless mice and keyboards like the plague. Sooner or later, those mice and keyboards become intriging targets to play hide and seek with. It's all fun and games until they decide that hiding in their cereal is a good spot.
  • Get an iMac. It's got the form factor you want and you
    can stop spending half your time keeping the system healthy
    and running tired software from the '90s.

    Sure you'll have to learn new things... but itn't that better than spending
    time de-lousing another tired Windows box every week?

    Your only regret will be that you hadn't done it sooner.
  • If you have carpentry skill, then build yourself a small PC Desk with a locking cabinet for the Tower. You should then be able to use a wired keyboard and mouse.

    And if you really want to be secure, you can find a way to mount the keyboard and monitor so they can't move.
    • You don't need carpentry skill. Just get a desk with a locking drawer, or a locking wood file cabinet. Drill one outgoing hole for the wires, add a few extra fans (and air-holes to the cabinet), and you're set. Operating a drill is a lot easier than operating a television.

    • And if you don't have carpentry skill, go 3s2wu from the main plaza, kill rats until you level, and use your skill points at Harold's House O' Wood. There you go! Now you can make a desk!
  • Get an older PC, often sold at computer fairs for $50 or less. I'm thinking a 400-600mghz range PC from Dell or Gateway or HP. Then boot it into the vanilla FireFox liveCD, see []. That makes a kiosk-like web-browsing and email system that is pretty much impossible to break.
    • My daughter was happy with an old keyboard plugged into a cardboard box with a square drawn just inside the edge to make it look like a monitor. She pretended she was 'working on the computer just like Daddy'.

      I had my computer, and she had hers.

      We also kept the computers in another room and closed the door - by the time she could open the door herself she knew that she had been taught to leave the computers alone, unless we were there and had one of her games set up.
  • old-fasioned (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:27PM (#10980291)
    Teach him not to mess with Dad's stuff. I recommend a wide leather belt which makes a memorable sound when snapped. You'll probably only need to wack him with it lightly a few times; at that age, you can make a big production out of the punishment and he'll cry and feel awful without the belt even touching him. Then just leave it hanging up somewhere, and glare at it meaningfully when he's bad.

    Or, you can just let him fuck over your whole life for 18 years, and his for his entire lifetime, which may well be unusually short if someone else puts an end to his nonsense later on.
    • Re:old-fasioned (Score:3, Insightful)

      by poningru ( 831416 )
      or instead of being a complete asshole to your kid, why not try teaching him about respecting others belongings, or heres an idea when he reaches that certain age teach the kid about the computer, so that he will grow up liking the thing. This kind of fear instilling punishments may actually work but it does nothing for the kids emotional developement apart from developing irrational fear for a belt and/or a computer; oh and this will certainly help him develope love and respect for his parents.
      • Re:old-fasioned (Score:2, Insightful)

        by NRP128 ( 710672 ) were either a pain in the ass who never had a hand laid on you, or you were beaten severely. My dad was 6'5", 220lbs when i was growing up. I rarely ever needed more than a look, and the only times i ever remember having a hand laid on me i deserved it and it wasn't like he knocked me out. He would do one quick whack with whatever he had handy, belt, switch, hand, one time he poppped me real hard with a wet shop rag, THAT hurt. My mom was the same way. it's not abuse when A) you get caught in
        • oh. yes. it. is. in the UK, it's actually now legally defined as abuse, and you can be charged for it.
        • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @10:51AM (#10985893) Journal
          So I'm sitting on a bus listening to these two middle-aged moms sitting behind me.

          One says: 'My son gots in trouble yesterday at school. He hit another kid.'
          The other: 'Dats terrible. Wadya do?'
          First one: 'I tolds him hitting is bad. It's wrong. Never ever hit anyone. Den I slapped him upside da head so hard he spun aroun'. I learned him to NEVER hit anyone'.

        • Re:old-fasioned (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MrResistor ( 120588 )
          You've got the right idea, but hitting them is totally unnecessary.

          The key is consistency. You tell them what will happen if they keep doing what they're doing, and then you actually do it. Time out or taking toys away is just as effective as spanking as long as you're consistent, and don't carry the negative side effects, such as: it's easier to dislocate childrens joints, which you might want to think about next time you pick your nephew up by one arm; sharp jarring, especially from being hit or slapped
    • Re:old-fasioned (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dousk ( 829088 )
      If I were your kid, it's YOUR life that will be unussualy short. Soon as I could get the power to do so, I'd make you pay. And it would probably include a wide leather belt, for fun. Remember, not all kids are the same. Consider that, the next time you think about using that belt.
  • by cliffiecee ( 136220 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:30PM (#10980327) Homepage Journal
    With a 0-1.5 year old, 'up' often equals 'out of reach'. Besides, there's FAR too many interesting things near the floor that mum & dad don't want her to reach- why look any higher? So, your average computer desk should be fine. Make sure it's off when you're not around and it probably won't seem so interesting, for a while :)

    All bets are off once they master climbing, though. That's where distraction comes in. Sacrifice that laptop to the gods by installing programs like flabbergasted []. Give the tyke her own computer, so she'll be less interested in yours.

    Caution: kids learn computers quickly with this method. My 7yo boy tried to social-engineer my Linux password the other day.
    • Sacrifice that laptop to the gods by installing programs like flabbergasted.

      I may know precisely jack about little children (other than once being one), but I do know that laptop LCD screens are rather vulnerable.
    • All bets are off once they master climbing

      For the love of... Please get to them before they master this on their own. Teach them, and let them know it's not allowed. Or make sure you don't have any sets of kitchen drawers where the drawers are all on top of the other. (As a 2 1/2 year old I learned that you could pull the bottom drawer out all the way, and each higher drawer a little less to make stairs. I still have the burn scars from getting onto the kitchen counter...)

  • The inexpensive answer is to lock whatever PC you buy in a wooden cabinet/desk/drawer/whatever, then using a 2" wood bit drill a hole for a cable passthrough. If you are worried about the rug rat tugging on the cable, secure it on both sides of the hole with standard clamps. Make sure to vent the cabinet too.
    • You sir, should NOT recommend drilling a 2" hole through a child simply for passing a cable through it.

      However, it should be noted that a recommendation like this does make sense when trying to secure the child to the floor or a nearby railing.

    • If you are worried about the rug rat tugging on the cable, secure it on both sides of the hole with standard clamps.

      I almost forgot to ask, what kind of "standard clamps" do you recommend for securing the rug rat?
  • I alwasy reccomend computers be built from parts. If you care about saving money and getting high quality stuff, that is the only way to go. I have also discovered this Mini ITX case made by antec which might be good for your situation. It is very small and can be easily placed anywhere without being intrusive. sc ription=11-129-146&depa=1
  • I've seen a few SVGA extension cords before, I'm sure they're still around. But if you're going high tech, don't waste quality with a VGA connection, buy a DVI screen, most ATI graphics cards come with one, not sure about nVidia's. DVI transfers a digital signal, instead of having a digital signal converted to analog for the SVGA and converted to digital again by the screen. And I'm sure you can find extension cords for those things too, but my suggestion is, put all the cables behind a desk, and put a piec
  • Using a DVI repeater/booster will allow you to place your LCD in excess of 25 ft (~7.5 m) away from the box. Beware though, these devices aren't cheap, they typicaly cost US$250 or more.
  • So far- that's all I've had to do with my 18-month-old entropy generator- once I set the screen saver passwords, he can bang all he wants to on the keyboard and it just goes "beep" after a while. He loves it. Later on, I'll be getting him something small and ruggedized.
  • by neitzsche ( 520188 ) * on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:45PM (#10980521) Journal
    Before each of my children were one year old, they were familiar with Jump-Start Teddy. Before they (each) were two, they were able to start the computer and get JST running so that they could sit in a favorite aunt/uncle/parent's lap. My oldest sister did not know how to turn that particular PC on, but my 11 month old son did it for her one day. (I had a link for JST to start as soon as that computer was on.)

    Children are looking up to you as their role model. Just like putting on daddy's shoes to tromp around the kitchen, they want to do things their parents do. The sooner they understand what they are and aren't allowed to do on your computer, the sooner you will have respectable uptime on your home web server.

    The last thing I want is for my children to follow me into the computer industry. But they each have a solid understanding of how a computer is used as a tool. They also have a healthy respect for electrical dangers.

    Take LOTS of pictures when they are young!
  • A door with a lock.

    A toddler cannot reach the knob, thus making it a quite effective defense. Even if they can somehow reach the knob, their small hands will likely not have the dexterity to manipulate the knob.

    Once they get to about age 2 or 3, its probably time to let them use the computer. If you want to use the computer in private, lock the door.
  • You don't need anything fancy as far as your computer is concerned - what you need is a computer armoire. They need not take up any more floor space than a desk, and can hold (keep away from little fingers) so much more.

    Everything - keyboard, mouse, monitor, and all the wires can be kept safely behind closed doors when not in use.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:55PM (#10980626)
    Here are my suggestions for a very PC household:

    1) make sure both parents work on alternate days. that way the youngster won't form any stereotypes.

    2) if you have african-american friends, be sure not to ever refer to their skin color

    3) when holidays come around, be sure to say "festive seasonal greetings" rather than "Merry Christmas" or any other specific religious holiday.

    4) if you have any gay or lesbian friends, be sure to invite them over to play with the child so he or she doesn't make assumptions about gender

    5) Remember, evolution is a THEORY, not FACT. See if you can come up with some of your own theories of life and teach them to your child so that he gets a well-rounded view. My favorite: life was created by a giant walrus.

    6) make sure to watch network news every night, so that both sides of every issue are explored, even those where one side is universally accepted by most intelligent people

    Oh wait.. did you mean a different PC?
  • So I have a similar problem.

    I have one of those assemble-yourself wooden utility shelves that I keep my computers and routers and stuff on. On the bottom shelf is my mail server and UPS. I went to the hardware store, bought some of that board with the holes in it (I can never remember what it's called) measured it, and enclosed the bottom of the shelf. I put a hinge on the front part and a little latch.

    I've got almost no handyman skills at all, but this was easy, and the computer still gets enough airflow
  • Start 'em young (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mech_knight ( 748354 )
    I was in the same situation when I had my first son. When he was about 14 months old and was starting to explore as humans tend to do at that age. I decided that the best way for him to not mess up the computer was to show him how to use it correctly instead. It was the software, Jumpstart Toddler that actually began my son's introduction to using the computer. To avoid messing up my settings, I created a separate acount for him. I then taught him that it was ok to play with the computer only when Dadd
  • by aralin ( 107264 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @08:13PM (#10980834)
    So what is the problem with the cable? Just drill a hole, its just wood. Or better yet, buy one that already has a hole and maybe also rails for sliding the computer in and out. Computers are with us for a while, the furniture manufacturers managed to notice already, take advantage of that :)
  • Pavlovian conditioning.

  • Laptop (Score:2, Insightful)

    I do a reasonable amount of gaming on my IBM T30 all the time. When i wnt it secure, I can lock it away easily too.
  • Try parenting and keeping a close eye on them.

    When they do something bad, do what my parents did - discipline/beat the shit out of them (I grew up in a Military household). Also, don't try to "reason" with a 4 year old (or even a 7 year old). A good old fashioned beating is the only thing that will help a young child know the difference between right and wrong. Until they develop the skill of "reason" they need to be taught right and wrong by spanking/harsh negative reinforcement. You'll get the added
  • Lots of good advice so far about how to deal with kids and computers. But it sounds like the origional poster was interested in how to have the tower tucked away, and how far away.

    As far as I know, VGA can go about 25ft. Although there will be signal degradation since it's analog. I'm not sure about DVI.

    If you need to go further, or the signal quality is bad enough, many KVM manufactures have Cat5 based solutions for going much much further by doing Analog->Digital->Analog. Probably not cheap, but c
  • I have a 2.5 year old. Here's some ideas:

    -Start with "Don't touch". Works for awhile, but by age 2 is pointless.
    -Mini-ITX system. small, so it can fit up high or generally out of reach. Just set your screen saver to start quickly (short timeout) and require a password.
    -Get one for them. My daugher is getting an old PII400 from me in a week or so. I'll set it up with a couple of her favorite educational games and teach her to use it. She already mouses well, and that's good enough for now.

  • Wireless monitor maybe, but I think that a wireless mouse would be the first thing that would be picked up and made into a new "Car", "Friend" or (shudder) "Boat". Same for the headphones. A tether to the machine might not be such a bad idea after all.


  • He said *GAMING* (Score:2, Informative)

    by jordie ( 604519 ) *
    Am I the only one that read this?!? I have a one and two year old. I find that moving the power and reset buttons to INSIDE the case help. All cables are hidden away behind the computer, and clamped to the computer desk. To keep them away from the computer in general, I have given them THEIR OWN to play with. It's the most amazing thing to watch your kids play on the computer. My 2 year old has known for at least 6 months how to open and close applications, even successfully NAVIGATE the start menu all t
    • LiveCD for kids? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheLink ( 130905 )
      Hey is there an equivalent of a Knoppix for little kids?

      Don't want it super watered down, but something that doesn't involve too much typing would be good.

    • I did exactly the same thing with my daughter - got her a computer of her own. At first, just an old Mac LC III with an application that made noises when she hit the keys. That was at about six months old.

      Now, she's four, on her second CRT iMac, logging in by typing her name, firing up her own games, watching movies (and learning to read by recognising the file names), calling her mother via iChat's voice chat and browsing the web from a start page we made for her.

      It sits in my home office, at a desk righ
  • Laptop with wireless internet? You put it under a chair or in a cabinet when not in use?
  • My wife and I have a one year old. Our lazy solution is to put a barrier that blocks the part of the room where our computers are.

    It's pretty much impossible to get anty work done when he is around, since he takes computer work without his assistance as a personal offense and loudly protests while shaking the barrier. However, the barrier has kept him away from the wires.

    To a certain degree it is a lost cause as any barrier is surmountable eventually, but this has worked for us so far.

    From a technical
  • Here's my 2 cents.

    I have my own entropy-generator, 20 months old, and he climbs everything.

    I have my two unix boxes and high-power gaming PC in a server cabinet in the garage, with USB and DVI cables stretching to the study. Peripherasls, such as DVD drive, kb, mouse, sound etc. are on the USB hub.

    This is by no means child-proof. It creates more widgets on the desk for him to play with.
    The Pros however are:

    The kid does not lay a working (open) box on its side and gets in, thinking its a bath tub, when t
  • Here [] is a Video over Cat5 device that should work. Or add keyboard and mouse [] for a few more bucks. Or you could try this 100' VGA cable []. I have used their 50' cable [] to a video projector with great success.

  • I just ordered a new laptop for 580 bucks from tiger direct (melt down sell on an acer travelmate) I like it, it's linux friendly and portable. Why bother with a tower anymore?
  • From Experience (Score:3, Informative)

    by InfinityWpi ( 175421 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @12:03AM (#10982691)
    Given the tendancies of my own 13-month-old chaos machine, you ma want to reconsider the wireless keyboard and mouse. They're more magnetic to little ones than shiny objects. Especially if you're seen using them. Your best bet is a desk with some sort of roll-down top or closed doors, like a hutch, so that everythign can be close and latched. Then you don't have to worry about the cords for the monitor.

    Oh, and keep power cords off the floor. They don't get shocked easy, but they like to press the switches on the power strips and UPSes.
  • by eyepeepackets ( 33477 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @12:34AM (#10982882)
    Consider getting one of those electric fence devices used to keep little dogs in the yard: They use low amps, high volts and junior will understand the concept of "stay away" with the very first lesson.

    These can also be effective on door knobs when wired correctly (keep wifey out!) but should be used on toilet bowl flush handles with much caution unless a man slaughter charge isn't a concern.

    Other devices can be useful for keeping pesky children in line whilst teaching them the concept of survival but you should check the laws in your area as some certain methods and devices are frowned upon.


  • ...potentially breakables.

    Teach the child a) not to, and b) how to (when appropriate). You can't 'childproof' the whole house, so you do the parent thing, and teach them.

    My various PC's have survived 4 of my own kids.

  • Thanks for all the suggestions - as I expected there's a lot of good stuff here mixed with the flames and trolls.

    For more info, the main issue really is more with lack of space rather than the little guy. He's pretty good at playing with his own toys rather than the adult stuff (helps that he has is own (dead) phone and computer mouse!). The main issue is that he keeps switching off the powerpoint that powers the ADSL router in the cupboard (we have switches on all wall sockets here in NZ).

    So yeah, spa
  • When my daughter was extremely little like that, I lived in an apartment. A passworded screensaver was more than adequate to keep the machines running.

    Back then, I worried a lot more about the racks of PA gear that I call a stereo. There were way too many interesting button and knob combinations, many of which could easily have led to expensive fireworks or an eviction in a big hurry.

    The solution to that issue was just to show her how to use it. She's been operating it since she was 2, without a single
  • Cage (Score:3, Funny)

    by skinfitz ( 564041 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @04:40AM (#10983994) Journal
    Simply place it in a cage that only you have the keys to. When you want to use the PC, unlock the cage, go in, lock the cage.

    Problem solved.

    You could always substitute 'cage' for 'room'.
  • Note, this won't answer poster's question but...

    With today's computers, is it possible to MPEG encode an entire 1600 x 1200 video + sound and pipe it wirelessly to a client with a MPEG decoder chip? I've got some strange (as in rosy) figures here.

    Here is the supply side of the picture... top of head figures for effective throughput in various wireless standards (including some less-than-standard standards). :

    5 Mbps == 802.11b (11 Mbps)
    10 Mbps == 802.11b+ (22 Mbps)
    20 Mbps == 802.11g (54 Mbps)
    35 Mbps == 8

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972