Archive for Education

Back to School Savings (9/1 – 9/6)

Good Morning! Here are a few items you may find of use from Most of these offers end this coming Sunday, and from what I’ve seen so far, some are running out. So hop to it.

datatraveller112Kingston 16GB DataTraveler 112 USB Flash Drive
Only $29 (Lists for $66). FREE BUDGET SHIPPING. Offer ends 9/6/09
A 16 gigbyte flash drive is perfect for storing all your school files for all your classes this year. The modern classroom isn’t just pens and pencils anymore. Digital cameras and recorders and commonplace nowadays, and you need a lot of storage to hold it all. Plus its great for transferring files from school to home, laptop, to PC, and vice versa. Remember floppy disks? This is equal to more than 11,000 floppy disks. (Did you know floppies last less than one year? One of my flash drive went through a load of laundry once 5 years ago and I am still using it today. It has some nice looking scratches on it.)

brotherlabellerBrother Electronic Labeling System – Refurbished
Only $20. (Lists for $80). FREE BUDGET SHIPPING. Offer ends 9/6/09

This labeling system is great for printing all the labels you need to tag all your kids school gear. The labels are printed using a thermal system whcih means the print won’t run if the tags get wet, so they’ll stand up in the ran on the way to school, or the wear and tear of those gym classes. This beats handwriting with the Sharpie. I’ve had one of these for several years now, and I highly recommend it.

canonpixmaCanon PIXMA MP490 Photo All-In-One Inkjet Color Printer
Only $70. (Lists for $100). FREE BUDGET SHIPPING. Offer ends 9/6/09
Back to school, and back to the printer. Why not get a new printer for yourself, and let the kids have the old printer? Afterall, they’ll have a lot of homework and reports to do. And that means lots of printing. Why not get a reliable Canon printer? Canon is always at the top of my printer manufacturer list. It’s great for printing photos straight from your camera’s memory card, too.

caseloginbackpackCase Logic Lightweight Sport Backpack
Now $35. (Lists for $55). Limit 5 per customer. FREE BUDGET SHIPPING. Offer ends 9/6/09
No matter what level of education you’re in, there’s no easier way to carry all your books and gear than with a nice nylon backpack. (Hmm, a gratuiotous use of the word nylon if I ever read one. Be thankful I didn’t mention it was lightweight, too.) It also has a padded compartment for holding a laptop with a 15.4″ screen. Not an issue if you have a netbook, eh? It’s colors are grey and black, and it features an air channel between your back and the pack so that your back doesn’t get all sweaty before the cold weather sets in.

missileshooterFoam Missile Shooter – Twin Pack
Only $12.99. (Lists for $24). FREE BUDGET SHIPPING. Offer ends 9/6/09
All work and no play yada yada yada. Great for the kids, and great fun for you too. Anyone out there work in an office that doesn’t mind if you bring a missile launcher to work? I work at home, so I don’t think the boss will mind. I know a few guys who work at Google, and theb there are my buddies at the old IT department I used to work in. I think they might like to have one of these at the end of the day. Might be fun at the college computer lab on a slow day.

coffeemakerChambord French Press Coffee Maker (8 Cup, Stainless Steel)
$36. FREE BUDGET SHIPPING. Offer ends ???
It’s not tech, but I drink coffee, too, and I guess some of you do too.  Start or end the day in style with a fresh pot of coffee from this French press style coffee maker. It makes up to 8 cups of coffee. That’s a lot more than my puny Mr. Coffee machine makes. Maybe I should switch?

whitneyhoustonI Look To You – Whitney Houston
Only $9.97. (Lists for $14). FREE BUDGET SHIPPING. Offer ends …
It’s been 7 years since Whitney’s put out an album. What is she? A Vulcan? (That’s a Star Trek: Amok Time reference, folks. Look it up, please.) Once upon a time she was saving all her love for you, now she saves it all up for the occasional CD release. So, come on, Whitney, show us what you got; it’s been a long long time. It’s back to school, old school. Pop the CD in the car when your driving the kids to school. Or pop it into your PC’s CD player and copy it into your iTunes library for your iPod. I personally prefer the sound recorded from my CDs over the ones I download on iTunes.


Omron HEM-790IT Blood Pressure Monitor
Only $74. (Lists for $130). FREE BUDGET SHIPPING. Offer ends: ???
Too much coffee, too much chasing the kids? Too much late night cramming? Well, make sure you’re not overdoing it with this blood pressure monitor. I’ve read these things work better that the one by the counter in your local CVS or pharmacy, and my doctor has started recommending I get one, too, because of my cheese and salted pumpkin seeds diet. You’re saving more than $50 on the price here, so snatch one up while the offer lasts.

That’s all I have for today, folks. Hmm, I cannot resist throwing in an offer for the Sookie Stackhouse Novels. After all, it’s not about me. “It’s all for you.”  That’s not Whitney. That’s not Star Trek. That’s a Janet reference. Where’s my coffee?

Buy your kid a computer, and save on your tax return

recovery-dot-gov-actHere’s some great news for anyone who wants to cut the costs of sending their kids to college!

Under the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, taxpayers who buy PCs for their children in 2009 and 2010 can claim those Desktops, Notebooks, and Netbooks as qualified higher education expenses.

The Act defines computer-related qualified expenses as “any expense incurred for buying any computer technology and equipment”, as well as Internet access and related services as long as the equipment and technology is used by the student and the student’s family during any of the years the student is enrolled at an eligible educational institution.

1040aAnyone with college-aged kids knows that tuition costs are skyrocketing, so this additional perk will be a welcome benefit for many. Be aware that this tax break is only in effect through 2010, so anyone who will have, or has, children in college need to start shopping for a new PC today.

This post is not to be construed as tax advice, so please consult your tax professional for more info. Applicable to U.S. Tax Filers only.

Need some ideas for new computers for the kids? Take a look at our recommendations in our previous post.

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Back To School NoteBook PC for Kids

If you still need a computer for your kids as they return to or enter into grade school, then you might want to take a look at the lightweight and inexpensive Dell Mini 9 Notebook.

First off, it runs on XP.  Yes, that’s Windows XP.  Didn’t think you’d see that for a new computer, did you? It weighs less than 2.5 pounds, and all it’s dimensions are under 10 inches. Just look at the picture at right.

It also has a solid state hard drive instead of a traditional hard drive, so there are fewer moving parts to get damaged by not-so-careful kids.

On the hard drive you get Microsoft Works which allows your kids to do some typing for school.

The starting price for this computer is $349 though you can add a larger hard drive for an additional charge. Just remind yourself that the computer is for them to take to school and do their homework, and with all that moving around you don’t want to worry about it getting smashed, or being so fancy that some other kid takes a liking to it. Plus you don’t have to worry about the kids wasting time playing games on it because the unit wasn’t built with that in mind.

Other features include wireless (WiFi) Internet capability, three USB 2.0 ports, a VGA out (to connect to a larger monitor at home or in the classroom), an Ethernet port (for wired Cable or DSL internet access), an SD Card slot for working with music or photo files, and headphone and mic jacks. Bluetooth and a 1.3-megapixel Webcam are extra-cost options.

For more information just check out the Dell web site: Introducing the new Inspiron Mini 9 starting at only $349!

Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

New Computers for K-12, pt. 2

In yesterday’s post I started discussing some new ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs) for K-12 students as many school districts across the nation attempt to increase access to computers and the research sources on the Internet. In 2003, the U>S> Census bureau revealed that 5% of high school juniors and seniors hadn’t used a computer, while 20% hadn’t used the Internet. (See the report)

Yesterday, I showed you two UMPCs: the Intel Classmate and the Asus Eee PC series. Today, I have two more computers which are being used in one-to-one computer ownersehip programs in school districts across the nation: the HP Mini-Notebook, and the Everex Cloudbook.

HP 2133 Mini-Notebook (, Product page)

Hewlett-Packard has 5 models in the UMPC line priced from $499 to $849.They weigh in at about 2.5 pounds and are just slightly more than an inch thick. The screens are 9 inches wide with a good sized keyboard, two USB ports; connections for microphone, headphone, and external monitor; with wired and wireless Internet (WiFi). Most models use a standard hard drive (moving parts), but the $499 model uses a Flash drive (no moving parts). The higher priced models are suitable for older students and non-students alike.HP Services includes a one-year standard parts and labor warranty, pick-up or carry-in, and toll-free 7 x 24 hardware technical phone support (depending on model). On-site service and warranty upgrades are also available.

  • Model KR922UT for $499: Linux operating system (OS) (instead of Windows), 4 GB storage, 512 MB RAM (memory) with digital camera.
  • Model KX868AT for $599: (Shown in video at right) Windows Vista Home Basic operating system (OS), 120 GB storage, 1 GB RAM (memory), integrated camera.
  • Model KR939UT for $729: Same as KX868AT above, but with Windows Vista Business OS (or downgrade to Windows XP Pro), and Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Model KR945UT for $749: Same as above with slightly faster processor.
  • Model KR948UT for $789: Same as KR939UT, but with 2 GB of RAM (memory), and 160 GB hard drive (storage). Weight: 2.6 pounds.

HP 2133 (KX868) – $629
Click image for more info or to buy

HP 2133 (KX870) – $849
Click image for more info or to buy
Other models available direct from HP

Everex Cloudbook (

The Cloudbook has a 7 inch screen, weighs only 2 pounds, has a 5 hour battery life for surfing the web, sending email, blogging, IM, Skype, and computing. Based on the latest gOS Rocket operating system, the ultra-mobile Everex PC comes with popular applications from Google, Mozilla, Skype, and more. Also 512MB RAM (memory), 30GB Hard Disk (storage), wired and wireless (WiFi) Internet, 2 USB ports, 4-in1 Media Card Reader, webcam, headphone/line-out and microphone/line-in connections, and stereo speaker. Price: $349 at

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New Computers for K-12, pt. 1

A 2003 U.S. Census survey found that among school children, ages 3 to 17, 14% didn’t have computer access at home or at school, and similarly 44% didn’t have Internet access. Among students ages 15 to 17, 5% hadn’t used a computer, and 20% hadn’t used the Internet.

Since then, more schools have adopted one to one computing programs to provide each student with their own portable computer for use at home and school.

The computer of choice for function, portability, and low cost has been the “ultra-mobile pc” platform. Ultra-mobile PCs began appearing in 2006. These PCs are:

  • about the size of a large paperback book
  • smaller than the typical laptop
  • screens are 7 to 9 inches wide
  • weighs less than 3 pounds
  • shockproof to withstand drops and bumps

In January 2008, the third generation of ultra-mobile PCs began to appear. Many of these run on either Windows or Linux, have wireless Internet access, and word processing and spreadsheet applications (like Excel). Many sell for less than $390.

Intel Classmate

This computer is designed with students up to age 14 in mind. It has WiFi (wireless Internet), a water-resistant keyboard, a built in microphone, and an optional digital camera. It also has a special feature called “mesh networking” that allows it to connect to other Classmate PCs within 300 feet. This allows students to work together on projects and share information. Price: About $350. View photo gallery

Asus Eee PC (

Asus’s entry into the ultra-mobile PC market is available in 5 different models ranging from $300 to $550. This shock-proof device has a screen that measures 7 inches wide, and it is preloaded with either Windows or Linux, WiFi, 3 USB ports, built-in card reader, speakers, and microphone. Some models include a camera. Available in white, blue, black, pink, and green.

Linux models:

  • 2G Surf: 7 inch screen, wireless and wired Internet, 512 MB RAM (memory), 2 GB storage, weighs 2 pounds with battery.
  • 4G: Same as the 4G Surf below, plus a webcam.
  • 4G Surf: Same as 2G Surf with 4 GB storage.
  • PC 900: 8.9 inch screen, 1 GB RAM (memory), 20 GB storage, webcam, and weighs 2.18 pounds with battery.

Windows models include the PC 900, and the 4G with specifications as shown above.

Check back in the next few days for additional information and models in the ultra-mobile PC line. All the models discussed are ideal for school students. As always, comment or ask questions with the links below, and subscribe by email or RSS news feed.

Asus Eee PC 900
Windows, Black

Asus Eee PC 900
Windows, White

Asus Eee PC 900
Linux, White

Asus Eee PC 900
Linux, Black