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PC Setup for Small House with Child?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the not-enough-room-for-the-computer-room dept.

Security 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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Simple Solution (2, Insightful)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980121)

One year-olds are vertically-challenged. Put the computer on a high shelf.

Re:Simple Solution (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#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 (4, Funny)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980320)

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..."


Re:Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980400)

Please keep your (incorrect) generalizations in check! I'm 6'4".

Re:Simple Solution (1)

homeobocks (744469) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980534)

Then you're not a geek. If you were a geek, you'd be 1.92 metres high (+ or - 0.005 metres).

Re:Simple Solution (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980668)

Geek: (noun) - A carnival performer whose show consists of bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.

I guess you're right. Notageek.

Re:Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980817)

You might want to buy a dictionary that was printed sometime in the last twenty years. It would be a worthwhile investment that would keep you from looking quite so silly.

Re:Simple Solution (4, Informative)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980971)

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.

wireless monitor (1)

egomaniac (105476) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980124)

Google for "wireless LCD monitor". Note that several manufacturers make such a beast. /is it that hard to use Google?

Re:wireless monitor (2, Interesting)

cybermancer (99420) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980891)

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.

Re:wireless monitor (2, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981195)

Or the iMac G5 from Apple, which is pretty much the exact same thing. Doesn't run on a battery, though, I don't know if this MPC machine does...

Re:wireless monitor (1)

cybermancer (99420) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981325)

No battery as far as I know. It runs on AC power, which could very well be its only cord.

Re:wireless monitor (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981267)

Not really. []

Re:wireless monitor (1)

JVert (578547) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981854)

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?

Smart Display (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980129) []

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 (4, Informative)

AresTheImpaler (570208) | more than 9 years ago | (#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 (1)

Timmysaw.5 (819837) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980755)

Absolutely! Too many children go through childhood without being taught to respect others and their property. Then society ends up kids too undisciplined to: - go shopping w/parent and not throw a fit - eat in public or a descent restaurant - attend school w/o disrupting the learning environment - complete homework assignments without constant supervision - complete school/college - retain a job - stay out of prision - ???

Re:Better yet (2, Insightful)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982215)


How many 1-year olds do you know?

Re:Better yet (1)

Anonymous Luddite (808273) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980780)

You could teach him not to touch your computer.

It worked for me.

I've had small children and PCs together in the same house so long the children aren't little any more. Put the base on the desktop and bundle the cabling out of reach. When the child is old enough to start climbing, teach him/her not to. You have to teach them not to climb on onto tables, dressers, stoves etc. anyway. Just add your PC desk to the list of "no-go" zones.

Re:Better yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980846)

I use a water spray-bottle to train my cat not to get on the table or kitchen counter. You could try that :)

Re:Better yet (3, Insightful)

mvdw (613057) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981043)

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 (3, Interesting)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981705)


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 ^2 (2, Funny)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982513)

coming to find those letters on the CPU...

Re:Better yet (2, Interesting)

complete loony (663508) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982016)

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.

Re:Better yet (1)

Marillion (33728) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982779)

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.

Re:Better yet (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982966)

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.

Quick recommendation (4, Insightful)

Lenolium (110977) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980197)

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.

Re:Quick recommendation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980494)

Just like the Telvision remote, cordless phone, or having to call your cellphone because ya can't find it... another market for that "push a button and make the gadget beep" sorta thing.

Re:Quick recommendation (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981956)

I have a friend with a $4000 toshiba laptop.

It was brand new when his 2 year old thought it would be a good idea to play hide and seek with his USB mouse; while it was still plugged into the computer. She went screaming across the room and tore the port out of the back of the computer when she ran out of cable! How the whole mess didn't come down off the desk nobody knows.

Good thing it had a few more USB ports and the shock didn't cause any other damage (at least none that's manifested itself).

The wireless mouse and keyboard suggestion does make some sort of sense in this case. It's probably cheaper to replace a mouse than it is to repair your computer.

I do, however, agree with all the posts earlier; just theach your kid that the computer is off-limits. Simple explanations are often very helpful (even to 1-year-olds) at communicating why it is a bad idea to play with daddy's computer.

I'm not looking forward to when my little tacker is running about... I'll have to secure the cable jungle then.

As long as you're starting with something new... (2, Insightful)

presearch (214913) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980201)

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.

Re:As long as you're starting with something new.. (1)

austad (22163) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980239)

Plus, if you're looking for educational software, there's tons of it for the Mac.

I was going to suggest just using a cable (they make them over 30 feet long and they work fine with LCD's), and then screwing the base of the monitor to the desk.

However, the iMac makes more sense, especially if a kid is going to be using it for educational stuff.

Re:As long as you're starting with something new.. (1)

presearch (214913) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980244)

explain why this is a troll.

Re:As long as you're starting with something new.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980308)

actually have to agree grandparent isn't a troll.

dumb mods today I see... any other day this post would be lifted on high...

today we hate Apple I see... I missed the memo.

GP made a very good and useful suggestion as did the post under it.

Re:As long as you're starting with something new.. (2, Insightful)

HawkingMattress (588824) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981227)

It isn't a troll ? I guess you had bad scores at text explanations at schools, heh ;) ?

Question: How can I refrain my child from messing with my computer ?
Answer: Buy a mac, and you won't have to deal with 10 years old software. You'll have to relearn a new things blah blah you'll ask yourself why you didn't do it sooner...

The question is not i'm bored with my current OS, what could I try next ? It's how can I physically lock a computer to be sure the 1 year old kid won't hurt himself with it, or hurt the computer. Explain where a mac would even remotly help more that any computer with that... It's not like the one year old kid is gonna surf porn and root the box with spywares It's not really a troll, but as offtopic as a post can possibly be...

Re:As long as you're starting with something new.. (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980411)

I'm considering an iMac (or eMac, but the iMac is spiffier) as a "family" computer, too. My wife and I use laptops, and our daughter (now 5) has, for the past 2-3 years, grown up with laptops, but something with a discrete keyboard and mouse would probably be more durable in the hands of a child I've nicknamed "Stitch."

Re:As long as you're starting with something new.. (2, Funny)

Mawbid (3993) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980422)

No no no. He should get a recumbent exercise bike instead.

None of the hassles of computing, and his body will thank him for it. And don't forget, exercise promotes mental well-being too.

I like recumbent exersise bikes more than iMacs, so my suggestion is better.

Re:As long as you're starting with something new.. (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980594)

He could get This one [] . IIRC- Behemoth II had Mac, Linux, PC, Solaris boxes, as well as a ham radio, GPS, nifty heads-up water-cooled wearable monitor, cell phone, dockable laptop, batteries, and a lot of solar panels. "Only Too Heavy" indeed.

Re:As long as you're starting with something new.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980888)

I think you got modded as a troll because you seem to have ignored the fact that he wanted a PC for gaming as well as development. Now he didn't specifically say Windows development, but neither did he say Mac development, which any Mac user would certainly have said, so it can safely be assumed he meant Windows development. So since a Mac is not useful for Windows development, and is quite inferior in terms of available gaming software, your post contributes nothing of value, and manages to tick off a few people with tired old potshots at Windows. I hope that explains it.

Use laptop as a thin client (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982820)

Your current laptop getting long in the tooth?

Get a faster PC, and once you have it up and running, put it and the monitor in a closet somewhere.

Use a wireless networking to remote-control your "big iron." I'm thinking remote-X-apps, or some flavor of VNC if you must, or if it's MS-Windows XP Pro, "remote desktop" (there are clients for Mac, Windows, and of course Linux, and probably other *n*x's as well).

Just be sure to secure that wireless network against drive-by's looking for a free ride or to snoop on you.

Re:As long as you're starting with something new.. (2, Funny)

nlindstrom (244357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982252)

Get two PCs, a powerful one to act as the backend server, and an all-in-one-with-monitor kind to act as the semi-dumb terminal. Install Gentoo Linux on both, and use FreeS/WAN to secure the connection between the two. Run X on the terminal, and connect to the backend server to run your desktop and apps. You can make the whole thing wireless.

By the time you're done compiling and installing Gentoo, and have finished getting FreeS/WAN and the related software to actually work, your child will be at least 18 years old, and you can kick them out of the house a buy a real computer -- like, say, an Apple eMac or iMac.

Absolutely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980211)

Get a vasectomy for you, tubal ligation for the missus, and put the tyke up for adoption.

Re:Absolutely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10981844)

Get a divorce!!! She'll get the kid, the house and everything else.

The up side is that now you don't have a wife, kid, and are back to true geek status.

Oh, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10982776)

> back to true geek status.

He can never regain his virginity, tho.

lock it up! (1)

m0ok (564372) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980220)

keep it in a room (the computer, not the child) and lock the door? or how about, tidy/hide your cables away so the kid can't get to them? I have a couple of friends who have small children and their computers etc seem to exist in harmony with ankle-biters.

Build a PC Desk (1)

Knetzar (698216) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980240)

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.

Re:Build a PC Desk (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982803)

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.

Re:Build a PC Desk (1)

Teancom (13486) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982805)

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!

why not? (0)

bradly f (766751) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980268)

just put the cabels in some conduit like this [] ? -bradly

Not sure about hardware, but I know the software. (1)

ubiquitin (28396) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980275)

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.

Re:Not sure about hardware, but I know the softwar (1)

m0ok (564372) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980405)

just so you know, that link doesn't work. but i'm interested, I want to set up something similar (kiosk style, firefox/email only live cd)

Re:Not sure about hardware, but I know the softwar (2, Interesting)

bakes (87194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981163)

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.

Huh? (1)

mike13down (513643) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980280)

I thought entropy was when you have an amount of thermal energy not available to do work, or a measure of disorder in a system. Like when you have a pan that is really dirty on the bottom, when you cook with it , there will allways be a loss of heat due to the extra gunk on the bottom. That loss of heat adds to the entropy in the universe.

Re:Huh? (1)

stoborrobots (577882) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980653)

From the article:
... 1-year-old entropy generator running amok ...

You said:
I thought entropy was ... a measure of disorder in a system.

Yes, it's completely unscientific, but a 1-year old child does a great job of increasing the disorder in any given system...

Re:Huh? (1)

rogabean (741411) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981210)

"when you have an amount of thermal energy not available to do work, or a measure of disorder in a system"

you just defined small child perfect. ;P

(speaking as a parent of a now 5 year old)

old-fasioned (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#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 (3, Insightful)

poningru (831416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981653)

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.

Height, and Distraction (3, Funny)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980327)

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.

Re:Height, and Distraction (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980414)

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.

Drill, drill, drill (1)

klausner (92204) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980355)

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.

Re:Drill, drill, drill (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982568)

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.

Re:Drill, drill, drill (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982651)

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?

VGA? (1)

Kickasso (210195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980389)

Make it a DVI. You will thank me later.

Newegg (1)

Apreche (239272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980417)

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

SVGA extension cords (1)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980464)

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 piece of wood in front of the cables that is glued to your desk (or screwed in, or nailed, or however you feel like attaching it) to protect them from access from your 1 year old. I babysitted a 3 year old, and it's when he gets older you gotta be careful, because they start to learn how to take things apart. But kids are wonderful, so cheers!

Go digital (1)

kinema (630983) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980490)

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.

Set Screen Saver Password (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980519)

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.

Get your child involved (4, Insightful)

neitzsche (520188) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980521)

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!

Re:Get your child involved (1)

humblecoder (472099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981777)

Funny you should mention kids doing things their parent's do...

I have a 11th month old who often watches my while I work on the computer. One day he came over and started expressing an interesting in what I was doing. I decided to give him one of my spare keyboards to "bang" on, and he immediately got to work. Now whenever I am working in the office, he wants to come in, bang on his keyboard, and work too!

Re:Get your child involved (1)

nlindstrom (244357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982330)

I have a 11th month old who often watches my while I work on the computer. One day he came over and started expressing an interesting in what I was doing. I decided to give him one of my spare keyboards to "bang" on, and he immediately got to work. Now whenever I am working in the office, he wants to come in, bang on his keyboard, and work too!
Is that you, Mike? Hey asshole, that was my keyboard you gave your kid. Now, to finish the project that is due in less than a week, I have to use a keyboard that is missing a bunch of keys and is covered with spit!

My $0.02 worth (1)

Jorkapp (684095) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980560)

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.

I would suggest (1)

cuteseal (794590) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980577)

I've been in that situation before, and would definitely recommend sticking with a notebook. Upgrade if you need the extra grunt, but I find using a notebook with a cable splitter to connect a wired keyboard and mouse is the best solution.

When I'm done working, I just pack up my stuff and lock it away in a cupboard. No mess, no fuss, no space taken up by a tower/monitor etc.


You need to think furniture, not computer. (2, Insightful)

Murphy Murph (833008) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980584)

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.

PC Setup for Small House with Child (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#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?

I have kittens (1)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980679)

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 to stay cool.

Start 'em young (2, Insightful)

mech_knight (748354) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980738)

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 Daddy or Mommy was around. He quickly learned to use the mouse and keyboard by playing around with it.

Forward 6 years later, and he now helps his 2nd grade teacher teach the other kids during his computer class (although he tells me that they use Mac's).

I think having a "yes" environment, instead of a "no" environment fosters discovery and learning. (Just my 2 cents.)

Drill a hole in the cupboard? (2, Interesting)

aralin (107264) | more than 9 years ago | (#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 :)

Two words: (1)

typhoonius (611834) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980838)

Pavlovian conditioning.

Laptop (2, Insightful)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980859)

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.

Easy AND profitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10981072)

The easy and profitable solution is to, simply, sell the child.

Re:Easy AND profitable (1)

Bozzio (183974) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981155)

the horror!

Re:Easy AND profitable (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981569)

Then make another and double your profits!

Install /usr/bin/discipline (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981736)

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 benefit of their respect (and fear) which will come in handy when they become teenagers.

Re:Install /usr/bin/discipline (1)

mmaddox (155681) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982613)

Mmmmm....such a well-adjusted man you've become. I'm sure dying alone will be fun for you.

Re:Install /usr/bin/discipline (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982705)


Now if you'd be so kind as to tell my girlfriend, our 3 dogs and the cat - I think I could live out that dream.

VGA Cable lengths (1)

spencerogden (49254) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981760)

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 could be worth looking into.

Simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10981834)

Lose the kid.

Voice of experience (1)

a9db0 (31053) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981872)

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.

Get the kid a computer... (1)

slittle14 (234639) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981967)

We have 4 computers in the house for my wife, my child, and me. One computer belongs to my 18 month old son. Yeah, it is the computer that is 5 years old... Instead of spending lots of money on a fancy setup to keep the kid away from the computer find a cheap old machine and turn him lose. He can learn how computers work and if he screws it up no big deal. My son really isn't very interested in the other computers in the house when he knows he can go and play his computer. He learned early on via good old fashioned discipline that he doesn't touch the computers that don't belong to him. He is currently satisfied with using his own computer. That may change, but it seems to be working for now. Good luck...

No Wireless. (1)

fwittekind (186517) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982180)

Having my own 2-year-old entropy generator running amok. I recommend against anything wireless for your input devices. That is if you ever want to be able to find them, and you don't want them to take baths.

Wireless? (1)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982182)

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* (2, Informative)

jordie (604519) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982188)

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 the way to the paint program. My 1 year old can only do minimal so far, opening and closing random applications and such. Works great, try it. Stop trying to keep them away from computers; give them one they CAN play with! Cheers.

laptop? (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982301)

Laptop with wireless internet? You put it under a chair or in a cabinet when not in use?

Our Solution (1)

m_evanchik (398143) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982311)

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 point of view, the biggest hurdle that I can think of is the monitor/PC connection. I know of no wireless alternative to the vga or dvi cable. Another possibility is putting everything too high for him to reach, as in putting the case high above the monitor on a shelf or something, but even then he is eventually going to learn to climb up and fiddle witrh things.

Your biggest concern is danger of a physical shock and then him damaging your equipment.

I wish I had an elegant solution, but what we do is just physically bar him from the comoputer area. Having a nanny or grandparent around to get him out of the apartment works wonders as well : )

Been there myself (1)

MikShapi (681808) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982384)

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 the box is working.

The kid doesn't bang harddrives with rigid objects when the former are spinning

The kid doesn't stick his fingers into fans and fan grates.

It's a tomb-league-quiet setup :-)

What bluetooth peripherals will do is force you to into a battery-hassle (same as traditional wireless ones), and will allow your child to stash your wireless peripherals where you won't be able to find them. I don't recommend that.

LCDs are especially child-prone, because applying physical pressure to their surface breaks them.

The solution I ended up implementing is simple:
I bought a kid-proof gate to the study, which is off-limits to anything that generates too much entropy.

Good luck!

VGA over Cat5 (1)

stinkydog (191778) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982633)

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.


Laptop (1)

Hardwyred (71704) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982670)

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 (2, Informative)

InfinityWpi (175421) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Effective yet cheap (4, Funny)

eyepeepackets (33477) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.


As with the rest of your.. (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#10982959)

...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.

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