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You've Got PC

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the false-economy dept.

America Online 362

freitasm writes "Geekzone is reporting on the AOL Optimized PC, a 2GHz Intel Celeron PC with 256MB RAM and 50GB ATA-100 HDD. It'll cost US$299.99 from Office Depot stores, with a commitment of 12-month AOL subscription. More information on AOL Optimized website." There's also a Reuters story.

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949527)

WOW! who cares

WAWA AND TEH BEAST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949845)

I'm really gassy today. I think it's starting to piss off the guys in the neighboring cubes. I drank a twelver of Beast Ice last night and had WaWa for breakfast.

basic... very basic. (5, Informative)

ack154 (591432) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949528)

$299.99 + (12 months * $23.90/month) = $299.99 + $286.80 = enough to buy a decent PC without having to go with a full year of AOL (it also == $586.79 for those of you adding at home).

Though I suppose it is actually on target, if someone only has $300 and can afford the $24/month payment, it might be a simple way to get a PC a little "cheaper" up front. Just too bad it has to be AOL.

Full list of features:
# Processor: Intel Celeron Processor 2 GHz
# Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (pre-installed)
# Memory: 256MB RAM
# Hard Drive: 40GB, ATA 100, 5400 rpm
# Optical Drive: 52x CD-ROM
# Network: 10/100MB Ethernet
# Modem: 56K v.92
# Ports: Four USB 2.0 Ports (two front, two back)
# Monitor: 17" CRT monitor (minimum 15.7" viewable)
# Printer: Lexmark Color Inkjet Printer
# Peripherals: Standard Multimedia Keyboard, Two-button Wheel Mouse, Speakers
# Additional Pre-Installed Software: AOL Office suite of spreadsheet, word processing and presentation software; AOL 9.0 Optimized Internet service, the latest version of the AOL and AOL Latino services

Re:basic... very basic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949587)

I wouldn't be surprised if it has a PCChips motherboard, can anyone confirm?

That's a poor choice of CPU. Comparable with an Athlon XP at 1.2GHz. They'd have done better to have put a Semprom in there, as the name sounds spunky enough for their target market.

Re:basic... very basic. (4, Insightful)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949632)

Millions of people need SOME kind of dialup anyway.

Now they can get what looks to me like a very good "mom and dad" PC for $300 WITH A MONITOR. No harm in that.

Granted, other ISP's are cheaper.

Re:basic... very basic. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949811)

You can get a shitty computer from Evil Satan [walmart.com] for the same price, without the contract.

Re:basic... very basic. (-1, Flamebait)

skraps (650379) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949633)

[...] get a PC a little "cheaper" [...] and AOL Latino services

Hmmm, are they trying to say something here?

Re:basic... very basic. (5, Funny)

danamania (540950) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949666)

# Keyboard: with LOL, OMG, >_< and WTF keys

Most important feature, that.

Re:basic... very basic. (1)

gptelemann (801687) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949667)

The story claimed a 50GB hard drive. Which is correct?

Re:basic... very basic. (1, Informative)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949770)

RTFA, the article summary is wrong.

Re:basic... very basic. (1)

FrankNputer (141316) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949673)

Er, but...the main reason someone would buy a PC like this is to get on the web. So whether they pay the $ to AOL, Earthlink, Bellsouth, Comcast, etc. is really irrelevant to the total cost.

Re:basic... very basic. (2, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949794)

the main reason someone would buy a PC like this is to get on the web.

You need a minimum of 256M, 2GHz CPU and 50G hdd just to get on the web?? Tell me, how much did you pay that Cray that can go on the web *and* do word processing as well (!!)?

Sheesh, I don't what planet you live on. I use a P1-133 as a secondary computer just to go on the web in my electronics lab and browse technical PDFs.

Re:basic... very basic. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949872)

woah woah.. calm down professor, all the guy said was that the reason to buy this box was to web surf.. he didn't say shit about minimum requirements..

Re:basic... very basic. (5, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949719)

You're not just getting a PC, you're getting a PC and a 12-month dial-up service. If you're going to evaluate the real value of this deal then price up a similar spec PC and include a 12-month subscription to a ISP on par with AOL in terms of service, etc.

Also, remember that this is the sort of deal that's put together specifically to attract novice PC users. People who've never owned a PC before can buy a machine and not have to worry about where to get an internet connection, etc: it's an all-under-one-roof solution that's perfect for people who know what they want to do (surf the internet, send email, type the odd letter) but have no idea about what to buy when they flick through a magazine or go to a superstore.

In those terms, I don't see what there is to complain about.

Re:basic... very basic. (2, Insightful)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949800)

Things Obviously Wrong:

1. 256 MB. Chalk up an extra $50 to maintain sanity and upgrade to 512. AOL is a notorious memory hog.
2. CDROM-What, no CD-R? No DVD? They're dirt cheap! Yet another thing for the owners of this pc to buy. Chalk up $75 for both.
3. The printer. Ugh. I bought a Compaq a few years ago and it came with a 'free' lexmark color printer. The damn thing drinks ink. Then it throws it away. Then it gives it to special interests. Chalk up $100 for ink cartriges.
4. Honestly, who doesn't use an optical mouse these days? That's more $$ right there when the wheel breaks down or clogs because AOLers don't know how to fix it.
All in all, this is a lousy deal for which one could get a far better PC with far better internet for likely less money.

werd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949530)

This sounds like a good deal for grannys and the like.

Re:werd (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949856)

This sounds like a good deal for grannys and the like.

Really. I have an elderly aunt, whom in December I discovered had a PC and was dialing into the internet, downloading email with Outlook, etc. I knew this was so wrong on so many levels it made me quietly very angry. A better way would be a PC which is totally locked down and doesn't let you run anything but plug ins and verifies with the user each file which is being saved to disk. Her level of sophistication meant she was going to be hit by worms and virii, probably never knowing it until one actually trashed her computer.

Frosty Piss (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949534)

Yeah, Biznitch!

Slashdot Daily Ad! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949544)

Subscribers got to read this ad early.. I feel like my day is now complete.

....and? (2, Insightful)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949545)

No offense or anything, but why is this on the front page?

Re:....and? (1)

vuvewux (792756) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949745)

Yeah - what gives? I don't see Linux mentioned anywhere in the article.

Re:....and? (1)

nanojath (265940) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949762)

Maybe they're selling links now like FARK.

Wasn't this tried already? (3, Interesting)

Hanna's Goblin Toys (635700) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949552)

As I recall we all got the system, cancelled the contract and hacked the P.C. Sounds like this time we do the same thing, but we don't have to hack it.

Any ideas on how to make their contract unenforcable? I'm thinking pseudonym + PO Box personally.

R.I.P. I-Opener (0)

RatBastard (949) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949626)

A cute, if not grossly underpowered little computer.

Re:R.I.P. I-Opener (1)

Dman33 (110217) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949722)

Still got mine from the developer program. I had it hooked up to the CueCat barcode reader and was setting it up so it would track all items in the kitchen and generate grocery lists when items are depleted. I wanted to go a step further and xfef the items on hand with a recipe database so you could quickly figure out what you could make with what you have and also determine what you need to buy to satisfy the requirements for a given recipe.

But alas, I got bored and now the little sucker is collecting dust in a closet.

'cuz it's worked so well in the past (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949561)

Haven't we seen this done at least three times in the past? And hasn't it always been pay cash, give false info, walk away?
It's not a damn cell phone you idjits.

Re:'cuz it's worked so well in the past (3, Informative)

John Bodin (189895) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949693)

The system is not stocked in store but will be shipped to what ever address you give them at the time you sign up for the AOL service. Which is done in the store.

no thanks (0)

justforaday (560408) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949562)

Great! So once I've factored in the cost of the crappy AOL service that I have no interest in using, the thing will have cost me 600 bucks...

Re:no thanks (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949622)

Don't be stupid. This product is intended for people who would already pay a monthly charge for an ISP and consider AOL a viable option. Obviously, no one would consider using AOL would consider buying this product.

Re:no thanks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949704)

ill buy it just to watch that zany WAOL.EXE go all crashy on me as im trying to retype the url letter by letter because aol's default browser directed me to some assclown site.

WAOL... kinda like saying WOW; only after a couple of lobotomies.

p.s. its all made out of the aol cd material, as they own 94 percent of all the cd material on earth

$299.99! (5, Funny)

T-Keith (782767) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949564)

Why don't they send them in the mail for free like the CDs. Seems like a marketing strategy change to me.

Re:$299.99! (1)

canoe_head (772949) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949772)

CD's in the Mail? Man, and all these years I thought they were coasters.

welcome to commoditisation (5, Interesting)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949566)

$299 for a PC, heavily subsidised by an AOL subscription.

This is like a cellphone plan being applied to home PCs.

I wonder how much of that $299 is for the Windows license? This is linux's opportunity in my mind...if PCs become throw-away items (e.g. equal to or less value than a console system) at what point do the corporate masters figure 30-40% of your capital costs going to Microsoft doesn't make much sense?

Re:welcome to commoditisation (0, Flamebait)

moojuece (661296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949743)

RTFA it doesnt come with windows, it runs a "Sun desktop os" and AOL office....which sounds quite a bit like another SUN offering of open office

Re:welcome to commoditisation (1)

Suppafly (179830) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949807)

Not sure about the FA, but the AOL website linked says it comes with windows xp.

Re:welcome to commoditisation (1, Informative)

jhunsake (81920) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949816)

How about reading the AOL website, dipshit.

"Systemax AOL Intel Celeron 2.0GHz / Microsoft Windows XP Home / 17-inch CRT / 256MB DDR / 40GB HDD / CD-ROM / Lexmark Ink Jet Printer / 1 Year Warranty / Desktop PC"

or further down,

"Of course, the AOL Systemax PC runs on the award-winning Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition operating system for incomparable performance and stability."

or even further down,

"Specifications Operating Systems Windows XP Home Edition"

coincidence? (-1, Troll)

Gropo (445879) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949573)

The people who are fooled in to believing this is a good deal also overwhelmingly believe Bush is competent enough for a second term?

Re:coincidence? (5, Insightful)

Mateito (746185) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949665)

Buy now, pay later.

If its not coming out of your pocket today, its cheaper.

People don't think long-term when making purchases. That's why banks can sell consumer credit at high interest rates with low repayments over rediculously long times.

People joke about "Wogs and Cash", but the concept of never going into debt for a non-incoming generating purchase has a lot going for it.

Worst pun Ever! (1)

Ape_the_Dog (749745) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949574)

They can call it a Home CompAOLter (I meanth it!)

50 GB hard drive to run AOL? (3, Funny)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949575)

I know that their connection software is bloatware- but isn't this a bit on the ridiculous side? Then again- it's been a while since I priced hard drives- perhaps the 10GB models are no longer available?

Re:50 GB hard drive to run AOL? (1)

Deideldorfer (514118) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949716)

I have trouble finding a HD smaller than 20GB at my local shops.

Buy whatever's cheap (2, Insightful)

rdunnell (313839) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949785)

The manufacturers probably aren't making too many 10GB drives these days. So, you get a bulk lot of what's cheapest which is probably somewhere in the 30 to 60 gig range these days for a cheap IDE 3.5" hard drive.

1st post and evil AOL (0, Offtopic)

oktokie (459163) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949576)

Wow~! 1st post!!!

AOL is evil as ever. Who needs their expensive per xkbps download stream compared to high speed dsl or cable!!??

Not to mention that it's very very very hard to cancel AOL account.

Cancel it and call them next day, and call next day to check on them...99% of time your account is still well and alive!

What does one need to squash AOL account to death effectively? If you had any bad experiences in cancelling AOL account, please post here!!! :P

oktokie

Re:1st post and evil AOL (1)

riptide_dot (759229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949664)

What does one need to squash AOL account to death effectively? If you had any bad experiences in cancelling AOL account, please post here!!! :P

My grandfather tried to cancel his AOL account by dying, but that didn't work either. Looks like we might have try an exorcism now.

Entry level and AOL Office == Open Office? (4, Interesting)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949577)

$299 gives you an entry level PC. Looks like its enough to surf the web with and do most day to day stuff. Surprised by the lack of DVD drive, but maybe they figure that most people are interested in download and burn? Certainly not something for Doom 3, but then again I'm not surprised. You also need to be subscribed to AOL for one year. This really sounds like a similar approach as that used for mobile phones.

Reading the FAQ, I see mention of 'AOL Office Writer', 'AOL Office Calc' and 'AOL Office Impres'. Searching the net reveals nothing on the programs, though the closest I could find were matching names in the Open Office suite. Other than the names I wonder if they are one and the same?

Re:Entry level and AOL Office == Open Office? (1)

kayak334 (798077) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949732)

Surprised by the lack of DVD drive, but maybe they figure that most people are interested in download and burn?

I think they are just trying to get the "I want to surf the web and write email" crowd. I think the majority of those people wouldn't want to watch a DVD on their computer. Hell, they probably don't even know that it's possible.

Most of the people in this target group probably own stand alone DVD players for their TVs anyway.

Re:Entry level and AOL Office == Open Office? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949822)

If you go to the FAQ on the aol page it tells you that it is an office product from sun microsystems, so they obviously liscensed staroffice, and put their name on it.

why, oh why? (2, Funny)

whysanity (231556) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949581)

For the love of Christ, that's all we need is more ignorant AOL users on slow dialup connections. Frankly, I'm quite surprised that AOL hasn't gone the way of many other services (Prodigy, MSN, etc.) that abandoned their proprietary software for simple internet access.

Maybe if they encouraged use of standard Internet, the IQ of the average netizen wouldn't decrease every time AOL signed up a new user. It's a real problem when users call tech support because they can't get to a website because they type the domain in the AOL search bar instead of an internet browser. *sigh*

Re:why, oh why? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949734)

You misunderstand the evolutionary niche the AOL parasites occupy- their purpose is specifically designed to lower the IQ of the net by reducing the digital divide- this is simply the next logical step and I'm surprised they didn't do it earlier (like about 5 years ago when EMachines and PeoplePC did.....)

Re:why, oh why? (1)

whysanity (231556) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949787)

I think this problem spills over into other areas besides net access. Just consider education today. In an effort to "pass" more students, we've simply lowered the bar instead of educating them.

Isn't this the same thing that AOL is doing? They're making every effort possible to allow everyone to participate; unfortunately, the "dumb" people don't stay with thier menial jobs while the intellects sit behind a desk. We all have to share the same internet whereby my actions affect thiers and thier actions affect mine.

Re:why, oh why? (1)

Meostro (788797) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949821)

It's a real problem when users call tech support because they can't get to a website because they type the domain in the AOL search bar instead of an internet browser.

That sounds like a failure of technology, not a problem with the people... I want this, give it to me, don't make me pick "search bar" for half of what I want and "internet browser" for the other half. Just make it work like the Google Toolbar [google.com] and everyone would be happy campers.

Monitor and printer. (1)

blanks (108019) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949585)

some info. Systemax AOL Intel Celeron 2.0GHz / Microsoft Windows XP Home / 17-inch CRT / 256MB DDR / 40GB HDD / CD-ROM / Lexmark Ink Jet Printer / 1 Year Warranty / Desktop PC With them including the monitor, printer, and xp, this is a fairly good deal. Yes you end up having to pay the 25 a month for aol, but most people would be spending this anyways on some type of internet conection or another.

Re:Monitor and printer. + more info. (1)

blanks (108019) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949655)

Link to pictures of machine, along with many details about what you get. http://www.aolcheckout.com/applications/searchtool s/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1032073

Will AOL still... (1, Funny)

tuanjim_2001 (534921) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949593)

be sending the unlucky user a dozen AOL cds a month?

From the department of redundancy department.

50GB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949595)

and 50GB ATA-100 HDD

How did they get ahold of 50GB disks? That's not a standard size. Perhaps it's a 60GB disk with 10GB of pre-installed AOL crap?

Antithesis (2, Insightful)

nlawalker (804108) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949605)

Here it is, the exact antithesis of the Linux vs. Windows story about a half hour ago, and the reason that "Linux vs. Windows" is not a reality yet. Plug it in, turn it on, and you're on (a poor imitation of) the Internet.

Re:Antithesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949868)

Concidering this is an aol pc using aol for internet access they why would it be even remotely difficult for them to port thier software over to linux and use that as the underlying OS? It's using staroffice for office apps, which already run on linux, and seems like they are using some sort of aol desktop that comes up on boot, which should be easy to do in linux.

Looks Like Open Office Is The Default Office Suite (5, Interesting)

cbowland (205263) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949618)

From the article: "The AOL Optimized PC also comes bundled with the AOL Office suite, a version supplied by Sun. This suite of productivity applications consists of: AOL Office Writer, AOL Office Calc and AOL Office Impress." This is a nice step for Open Office in terms of exposure to Windows users.

Re:Looks Like Open Office Is The Default Office Su (0, Flamebait)

vuvewux (792756) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949672)

Are you sure it's a good idea to be exposing mainstream users to software that's still in its infancy? Once they have the idea that Open Office isn't any good, they'll probably stay with the idea - even after it's improved to Office 97 quality.

Re:Looks Like Open Office Is The Default Office Su (1)

FrankNputer (141316) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949747)

Infancy!?! StarOffice was available about 6 years ago! And, I'd hardly put Office 97 above it today.

Re:Looks Like Open Office Is The Default Office Su (1)

BoneFlower (107640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949781)

Open Office isn't any good? My mom, who I have to go up to tell her how to read a CD-ROM with pictures on it repeatedly, finds Open Office better than Office 2k. For the typical home user, Open Office can be better and easier than Office.

Re:Looks Like Open Office Is The Default Office Su (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949759)

It is, though I have to admit that I shiver and my heart begins to race like mad when I read AOL Office Writer, AOL Office Calc and AOL Office Impress.

Lord have mercy on us the end is nigh!

MS Tried This Before Through Best Buy (2, Insightful)

geomon (78680) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949621)

And other outlets. You bought a rock-bottom priced PC and you were obliged to use MSN for 3 years.

After calculating the high cost of MSN service versus using a local ISP, you could have spent the difference in the contract price and bought yourself a really nice PC.

Great! (3, Funny)

GP (16519) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949624)

Does it come pre-loaded with spam? Because if not, no sale, bucko.

The Racial Target (-1, Offtopic)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949629)

I live in South Carolina, and one of the spectacles that I have to deal with every year is that of the NAACP protesting at the state border. What they protest about anymore, not many people are really sure of, since the flag they were protesting is down and out anymore. Anyway, my point is this - why has no one complained yet about having companies take advantage of this "low income, minority" range? I mean, I don't mean targeting certain groups is bad (although it does continue on annoying stereotypes and such), but I just have this funny feeling like this is going to turn out to be utter bullshit, and will end up making a lot of people look like a lot of fools. Well, at least that's my two cents.

Re:The Racial Target (5, Funny)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949680)

"The computers will come configured with a simple desktop with large icons that send users to specific areas of the AOL service or applications loaded on the computer. They can also be preconfigured for Spanish language speakers."

Say it. You know you want to. You know it's coming. The best case mods. Ever.

Re: your Sig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949755)

Using FireFox .93:

http; http# http] http[ http'

all result in http://www.microsft.com

This does not happen with Mozilla

Looks to me like somebody somewhere is having a quiet laugh.

Re:The Racial Target (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949768)

This helps me recall an NAACP outburst last year, about Coca-Cola marketing "not-as-fresh" wares (though apparently still as safe as the usual) at a reduced (80-90% of original) price to low-income neighborhoods.

It is `wrong' on many levels, but in order to accept that, you have to deal with the "They don't have to drink it anyway" argument among others.

the future is obvious.... (1)

Tactical Skyrider (249625) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949631)


how long till we start seeing these [slashdot.org] emblazened with the AOL running man in our mailboxes?

"Honey! The new AOL computer is here!"

"Oh good, now we can finish this beowulf cluster..."

AOL Optimized (1)

christbe (804968) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949638)

AOL Optimized ? With a "Me too" key ?

Re: AOL Optimized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949778)

Get with the times - now it's "Me to"

=)

This is GEEKzone?? (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949641)

Microsoft JET Database Engine error '80004005'

Unspecified error
/i_utils.asp, line 29



You call this geekzone?

They've finally gone and done it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949642)

Made physical the badge of shame that went with owning that ...@aol.com. Maybe they'll start sending them unsolicited in the mail.

with a commitment of 12-month AOL subscription (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949647)

I don't know how expensive AOL in the US is, but if the prices in Europe are anything to go by than this offer is actually quite expensive.

DO NOT PAY FOR INTERNET SERVICE! (4, Funny)

Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949656)

As Confucious Say:

If you pay for month of AOL, you give yourself net access for month.

If you buy neighbor cheap wireless linksys router and offer free setup, putting your MAC on it and retaining usr/pwd, you give yourself net access for life.

Services cost more than hardware (4, Insightful)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949660)

So. We've reached the point where the software is increasingly becoming free (beer and freedom), and now the hardware is increasingly becoming so cheap that it becomes the after thought in a transaction. The services part of this deal (12 months of AOL) is "worth" just about as much as the cost of that PC.

Free software. Almost "free" hardware (throw-ins to a deal). Free wireless access. How long before we see ubiqituous computing? I guess the bigger question is how long before we see a PC included in a cereal box instead of those DVDs I've seen advertised on the boxes of Fruit Loops (or whatever it was)? "Hey! Check it out! This box contains a coupon for a free PC! (just send in 20 box tops, plus $39.95 shipping and handling)"

System needs to be designed better (3, Interesting)

abkaiser (744418) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949681)

Regarding the 256MB of RAM...

I still can't figure out why today's PCs are still shipping with 256MB as the standard. Windows XP behaves much worse with 256MB versus something like 512MB.

It's like when I purchased my car a few years ago. With like 1000 miles on it, it handled horribly in snow and bad weather. I thought the car was designed poorly, until I realized it was the tires. I had a very important part of the package slowing everything down.

My point: Who cares if it's a 2gHz CPU? With 256MB you'll be paging to that 5400RPM drive too much to notice the benefit.

Why is this news? (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949684)

Are the submitter/editors trying to make a point that a PC is available for Walmart has been selling PCs for under $300 for quite a while now. Those with Windows preloaded [walmart.com] routinely cost about $298.00 or similar (without a monitor, mind you), and the ones with Lindows [walmart.com] sell for about $20 less.

The specs are similar or even higher in some cases, and they don't ship with the crippled Celeron processors. I'll take an AMD processor over the yucky Intel Celeron processor any time.

Sorry, but this story reads more like an advertisement than a story.

You have got!!! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949689)

That annoying phrase is not proper english. One can not "have got" something.. I word "got" does not belong in that statement.

Office Depot? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949698)

I thought WalMart was the official outlet of cut-rate PC's. Office Depot may work around cities, but it sure isn't going to get the rural areas, for that matter not many people visit Office Depots, unless it's office/business related.

Re:Office Depot? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949863)

for that matter not many people visit Office Depots, unless it's office/business related.

Will this AOL deal draw parents into Office Depot stores to buy school supplies for their children?

Aren't those terms mutually exclusive? (4, Funny)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949700)

AOL Optimized? Oh shit - the peg just broke off on my cognitive dissonance meter.

Re:Aren't those terms mutually exclusive? (2, Informative)

g00z (81380) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949861)

It's even funnier than you think.

For those that aren't aware, this whole "optimized" craze is a reference to something real evil that AOL has been doing for years: having dial up users connect to proxy servers that compress the living fuck out of any image requested from a web page.

Sound like a good idea, no? Make all the images smaller in size so pages load faster. As a friend of mine put it, "Doesn't AOL realize that people like to look at porn?"

If it was some light compression it would be one thing, but images look like something my cat hacks up on the floor after getting in the garbage once AOL "optimizes" them.

Enforcement method? (1)

pla (258480) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949708)

Since they plan to offer this in retail stores, where you can realistically pay cash, any idea how they plan to enforce the subscription terms? Or will this turn into another NetPC(? The similar deal MSN tried a few years ago) fiasco, where they end up losing huge amounts of money because no one actually follows through with the subscription?

Though, it really doesn't look like they stand to lose all that much. For the machine they offer, I expect $300 comes pretty close to their actual costs. For less than the total contract (just under $600), you could get a better-equipped eMachine, or even a Dell or HP.


(And yes, I RTFA, all three of them).

Re:Enforcement method? (2, Interesting)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949844)

Yeah, but you also get internet service. That is at least $120 a year if you count the cheapest provider. These PC's aren't geared for anyone who frequents this site. This idea was meant for people who don't have a PC and can't afford to drop $600 on one. Instead, like cell phones, you pay over time. Yeah, eventually they'll end up paying more, but that's the same with any contract of this type that extends to many other businesses.

AOL Office suite? (1)

techstar25 (556988) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949709)

Anyone notice at the website it says it comes with "AOL Office powered by Sun"? Is that a special version of StarOffice? It would be cool if it was. I don't want to speculate though.

Reminds me of the old Q-Link trick (3, Informative)

g00z (81380) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949712)

Not that there is anything new to the whole "Get a serious discount on hardware if you get a subscription to [fill in blank] online service", but for some reason this one is interesting coming from AOL, since back when they we're Quantum Link (The old commodore 64 online service back in the 80's) they did a similar thing.

Back in the Q-link days, not to many folks had modems or could really afford them, so Q-link's hook to get you to sign up with them was that they would offer you a heavily discounted 300 baud modem when you signed up for Q-link. This seems like a no brainier these days, but back then it was really something because most online services like Playnet, GEnie, Compuserve, etc all charged you a setup fee AND charged you like $30 for their software.

So, like I said, not that this is new, it's REALLY not new for AOL.

Man do I ever still pine for the days of Q-link and Club Carribe.

Isn't this going to (1)

bob670 (645306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949714)

choke out the cheap Linspire/Lindows boxes now? Damn, another year with no Linux on the desktop!

Fallout (5, Insightful)

Nuttles (625038) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949724)

The fallout from this offer may very well be the annoyance of techies everywhere. If the target audience are the people who have yet to buy a home computer then a lot of those people will be pretty much clueless with it. So it will follow in a lot of cases, these people will download or otherwise get viruses galore and/or adware. Since these new people only spent what was it 299 on a new computer, they aren't going to want to pay some tech 60 bucks an hour to fix their computer. Their tech friends will be used and abused. We will be called in to fix their problems. If the problem is software and we fix it for free than all is right with the world. The fallback on fixing a computer once is that forever more that person can say that, I think what you did 6 years ago is screwing up my computer now. Also, there is a hardware issue. These computers have the cheapest possible hardware, parts are going to die in them a lot. Well, back to the poor techie that got stuck fixing there computer. If you find out that lets say their harddrive is pooched, then they will ask how much it will cost. You will tell them and they will give you the look, like I told them that they have to hand over a years salary to fix it, then they will say well, could it be this or is there a way I can get by not using this right now...I can go on

So my assertion is cheap PCs are only a headache for techies. Any techie who finds out that someone has one of these type of computers, run run away, very fast even

Nuttles
Christian and proud of it

advertisement spam (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9949735)

this is hardly a news story

What an offer! (1)

Akimotos (747459) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949757)

Buy this crappy threesome (provider + OS + computer) for nowhere near $600

And as a special bonus we will provide you with an endless supply of spam, virusses and spyware.

Believe it or not, this offer will surely keep you off those dangerous streets for the next few years! Wouldn't it be nice if you neighbor went out to purchase one? Oh yes....

No, it costs $587. (1, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949765)

No, it doesn't cost $299. It costs $587, and they throw in an AOL disk.

This looks like a way to unload a glut of small CRT displays. CRT displays smaller than 17" now have negative value. Try to sell one. [ebay.com]

aol pc (1)

bendsley (217788) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949766)

who gives a shit?

Dear God, Why? (4, Informative)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949799)

Is it just me or does this seem equivalent to signing away your soul to Satan?

I do tech support for HP. AOL uses their own drivers to connect to their network, and also block off the Properties page of their connection. Thus, we cannot enable the Windows XP firewall, so God help someone who hasn't patched their machine (luckily I can get around this by installing Norton Personal Firewall, which is usually included with our machines). I've also heard that if you want, AOL will sell you a firewall for $3 extra a month or something. So to sum up: Block free included product, sell own (probably inferior) product.

Not to mention that AFAIK their entire technical support division is stationed in India, and I think they have a 3 minute call length limit or something. Whenever people call me and say they were referred to us by AOL, I roll my eyes and ask what AOL actually did before referring them to us. 90% of the time, they did NOTHING. They didn't have them click on anything, they didn't check any settings, and they most certainly did not reinstall their own software. "It's a problem with the modem." "It's a problem with the computer." I've actually heard from customers where they had to hand up on the AOL tech because they didn't take the referral to us and he actually started yelling at the customer! And this service is worth $20+ a month?! God help the person who buys this PC and is RELEGATED to these people...

Please, if you use AOL, consider switching to another provider. You're worth more than what they give you.

AOL Optimized PC? (5, Funny)

gotem (678274) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949806)

I wonder if the keyboard will default to Caps Lock turned on

Now people can finally pin down their tech-support (1)

tempest69 (572798) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949823)

This keeps the techies from saying that it's a hardware issue. I bet all their tech got the procedure change form, that lets them say its a microsoft issue, or a wall power irregularity. Damn I can wait to see what happens once all these AOL-pc's get bonzai buddy et all on them

Storm

Another one... (1)

Merovign (557032) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949825)


Great, now Office Depot are about to be introduced to their own September That Never Ended....

I don't think we'll really see a statistically significant change online... I mean the clue ratio will go from 13.2 to 12.9%. Who cares?

Random semi-on-topic AOL rant.. (2, Informative)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949837)

My Casio PDA had a large AOL setup program built into the ROM. Even in the unlikely event that i would have needed it i would only have ever used it once! Bloody idiots wasted all that space instead of including some useful software.

Wasn't this found unenforcable? (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949843)

Back a few years ago, didn't they find that 12 month commitment not enforceable in California?

Cut-throat? Don't be so sure (3, Insightful)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 10 years ago | (#9949864)

Sure, AOL sucks. But the target range here isn't the Linux geek with the 3MB/Sec connection. Like it was stated in the article, the target consists of A) retirees, but B) mostly minority and minimum-wage groups. In this case, they'll be happy just to have a connection - since they'll be paying for it anyway (if it didn't ship with AOL for a year, they'd still have to get a connection somehow), this really is a good deal for them.
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