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Dell Inspiron Mini 9 software and RAM

by spuddy83 / September 4, 2008 11:24 AM PDT

What application software will run on this? Word processors- which ones? I am thinking of buying this for our special needs son (whose writing is hard to read) and he will mainly use it for typing papers. Will we be able to save the documents like we do now without having to be connected to the internet using outside storage? If we put XP on it will it still have enough available RAM and hard disc space to run other applications as well. These questions apply to other minis like the Asus Eee PC 901 which we are also looking at. THANKS!

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Dell should talk here.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 4, 2008 11:39 AM PDT

I see Windows XP, up to 16GB of solid state hard disk so that means that office from Microsoft or Open Office should be fine.

In closing, don't buy from companies that won't talk to you about such details.

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Dell mini 9 (no word)
by dietvan / September 7, 2008 5:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Dell should talk here.

Oh just btw. If you went through the configurations of building the mini 9 then at the order confirmation page click "configuration details". You'd see that this system comes with " Microsoft Works 9 DOES NOT INCLUDE MS WORD" as per the website order entry. That would mean someone will need to install their own version or use something else.

ick -V

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Linux might sound scary, but Acer has an excellent choice!
by neverforgetJeff / September 10, 2008 6:57 AM PDT

For someone with special needs I would recommend the Acer Aspire One with Linux Linpus Lite. It has a very easy interface and comes with Firefox, Open Office, Instant messaging and email clients all pre-installed. It boots in 20 seconds too. It comes with 8gb of ssd, but has 2 memory card slots, one of which can be used as a hard drive extension. With 16gb sd cards dropping unding $50 you can have a lot of ssd very cheap. The best part about flash/ss memory is it is a lot harder to break, quieter, lighter, and cooler running. The open office suite that it comes with includes alternatives to MS word, excell, and powerpoint, but they all are compatible with windows as well (meaning you can transfer your open office document to microsoft word and back again without headaches). The Acer Aspire One is said to have a better keyboard than the Dell mini 9 as well.

The biggest issue is price. The Dell Mini 9 with XP, 8gb ssd, and 512 ram will run you about $450.00 after tax and shipping. That is not including any office software you would buy seperately. The Acer Aspire One with Linux Linpus Lite, 8gb ssd, and 512 ram will run you $319.99 from (free shipping). You can add a Kingston 16gb sdhc card for memory expansion (something you can't do with the Dell) for an extra $49.99.

Bottom line:

Dell with Xp, 512 ram, and 8gb = $450.
Acer with Linux, 512 ram, and 24gb = $370

Side notes: XP takes close to 4gb of space. An office suite would take a couple more gigs. Linux lite takes close to 4gb with the office suite installed. Both netbooks will save documents straight to the hard drive with no problems, or even save to memory cards or usb keys if needed. I hope this helped, good luck with the choosing. Here are the links to the items. (prices change almost daily)

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Linux might sound scary, but Acer has an excellent choice!
by spuddy83 / September 10, 2008 11:36 PM PDT

Thanks for all the advice and help. I will definitly be looking at the Acer and other options out there. I saw an Asus Eee PC 901 at Best Buy that also seemed nice. It seemed a little smaller (more square) than the Acer Aspire One, but the salesman seemed to like the Aspire one better. And some reviewers are saying wait a few months because they are hinting at new products or price drops (I don't know what) for the holiday season. Either way I am excited about these computers. My husband is the tech one, and I usually could care less, so if I am excited then these may be very popular in the coming months.

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portable laptop for students
by notinkansas / September 11, 2008 1:29 AM PDT

I'm also exploring small, portable laptops for my 4th grader w/ motor-planning issues.... besides the basic word processing software, do you use Inspiration or any of the Don Johnson products for writing & editing? Dictation software?? If your son attends a public school, see if you can speak with your school system's assistive technology folks to see if they have any recommendations regarding models or minimal specs. If he's going to be taking the laptop to school, you may also need to be sure that it is configured to allow him to connect to the school network.
(at least that's what I'm doing)

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portable laptop for students
by spuddy83 / September 11, 2008 1:53 AM PDT

I haven't heard of Inspiration or the Don Johnson product. I will look into them. Our school also talked about getting him an alphasmart to use at school. It seems interesting, and they would provide it which is a plus. I am concerned about him losing a laptop or having it stolen. He is in highschool and sadly because of his special needs, he could be taken advantage of. We are still trying to figure things out so this forum is very helpful.

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AT software
by notinkansas / September 11, 2008 2:15 AM PDT

If he has an IEP, see if you can ask for an assistive technology consult, if they haven't done that for you. Schools may be reluctant to suggest products to you, however, for fear that many parents then demand that the school purchase them. I'm personally not wild about the alpha-smarts & their ilk bc the screen is so small that it makes on-screen reading, tracking, editing, etc., difficult (and especially for kids with poor working memeory), tho security's clearly a real concern when you get into larger & pricier systems. The Don Johnson software looks terrific - includes graphic organizers, word prediction, editing, read-aloud features, etc., but it's pricey. Our school system here in MD has it in the schools, and parents can purchase it thru the school system for home use for about half-price but it's still a few hundred dollars - here, too, your school AT folks may be able to offer assistance. You can also ask if there's a state-wide AT co-op that will allow you to purchase things at a discount. Good luck!

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AT software
by spuddy83 / September 11, 2008 2:59 AM PDT
In reply to: AT software

Our son does have an IEP, so we will look into it. I know his IEP has assistive technology as a support. I do agree that the Alphasmart screen is small. We live in Howard County in Maryland, so they may be familiar with the software you are talking about. They seem to be receptive to try things, it just takes a long time.

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