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back to article Acer dishing out 16,400 cheap OLYMPIC laptops to schools

Acer plans to flog 500 "Olympic" laptops to school children in North East London after the Games close. The Taiwanese firm has also promised that the other 15,900 computers they put into London 2012 will be packaged up and sent into schools around the UK. The PCs were used for everything from planning athletes' travel to …

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Emo
Meh

No doubt they will all end up on eBay..

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Nice enough but causes headaches

OK, so generous enough, but you got to feel sorry for school IT admins who have to live with yet another influx of random charity goods. Between this and 'free' junk from vouchers for schools, nobody ever considers how difficult it is to actually manage the endless array of incoming consumer grade junk that vendors' need out of the warehouse.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nice enough but causes headaches

Then it's a wonder why California is going broke. One reason is they only buy Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nice enough but causes headaches

So what you're saying is;

"Hey, private sector, stop giving discount computers to the kids in our underfunded state schools because it makes my job a little bit harder!"

FFS.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nice enough but causes headaches

I know a few places that have been offered this stuff that are discussing it on an educational forum. Most of them are really not that impressed or interested. Especially those who've had the misfortune to buy Acer kit in the past.

As someone who works in the educational space myself (albeit in a college, where it's not really a problem), these donations, while sincerely meant to help, can often cause at least as many problems as they solve. Especially as neither desktop or laptop computers are that expensive these days at Educational pricing rates, so it's not quite the manna from heaven the people making the donation might think - especially if it over-strains already creaking infrastructure in some of these schools...

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Bronze badge
Happy

Re: Especially those who've had the misfortune to buy Acer kit in the past.

...?

As an independent consultant I see hundreds of different PCs & laptops each year. Obviously a large proportion of those are Acer lappies & the only issue is with their default software, Acer Empowering Technology' which should be renamed 'Acer Pours Treacle In Your CPU'.

Aside from this crud, & the Acer GameZone, all of which can be removed, Acer kit is solid enough. IME the major fails are VAIOs, which overheat & destroy their RAM if even very slightly mistreated (left resting on a soft surface while on, etc) & Tosh, which tend to blow their Aetheros Wifi cards up with gay abandon.

I've personally bought a few Toshes, Dells, Acers etc & have to say the Aspires are quite nice. Shame they dumped the 'proper' keys in favour of scrabble tiles though...

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Re: Nice enough but causes headaches

Good education comes from good teachers.

Even heating has very little to do with it, let alone laptops.

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FAIL

Re: Nice enough but causes headaches

Aww, poor baby won't get to play on the internet for half the day.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Especially those who've had the misfortune to buy Acer kit in the past.

There are several schools I know of that have had issues with Acer kit that they've purchased that has been far below the expected 'average' for the environment.

I'm not convinced this is Acer's fault - their kit's ok for home use where people take some care of their gear but it doesn't seem robust enough for the battering it gets in education, and the blame lies with the people buying domestic equipment for business use.

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Go

Re: Especially those who've had the misfortune to buy Acer kit in the past.

I must be an odd one out then. Ive bought 40 of the desktops at our school. Specs are 2gb ram and a G630 cpu. 3 years onsite warranty and a screen included. £200 each. Delivery is a bit hazy though I could get them next week or next month, I dont really care as I intend actioning them at the october half term. I wasnt bothered about the laptops though those specs werent good enough.

Since we have a mixture of VDI (off a small embedded W7) and fat client for offices and permanent staff stations mostly I dont really care what the kit is - cheap is good and at £200 for a complete set with screen it is a good deal for us. 3 years onsite seems a reasonable deal too.

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Anonymous Coward

I suspect

That the charge is to pay for the reimaging, postage and 12 months warranty, so they proably have effectively given them away.

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Anonymous Coward

"First rule in government spending: why build one when you can have two at twice the price?" Seems apt.

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Anonymous Coward

Acer no

they make shit gear. I switched to Asus who make good stuff its just that their software used to be a bit shit, they're getting better with drivers and the like and the hardware is still much better than the shit Acer sell.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Acer no

Did/do Asus or Acer (or any other bulk producer) use their own hardware & drivers, or did/do they use RT, Broadcom, etc?

Did they use different versions of Windows (apart from cosmetic changes), or different '30 day trial' versions of Symantec?

If not, you're talking bollocks. if they do, it's me that's talking bollocks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Acer no

but asus clearly have smart people to design stuff and acer just make socks probably and laptops on the side

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seems a fair price

They could just stick em on ebay and probably get a lot more than 200 a pop. If its to much of a headache for the IT guys they should find another job tbh.

Schools need more IT at all stages, all I got was the standard 'how to use office' in secondary, then my double A level 'avce' in college was basically how to install a printer in windows, how to put a pc together, some basic html, som VERY basic VB. The only challenge for me was using MS Access (sp?). Other than database design id covered all this stuff in my own time a couple of years before leaving school!

Funny thing us I still don't have a job in IT, so if anyone's offerin let me know!

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FAIL

Re: seems a fair price

Learn to type and use a spell checker, then get back to me...

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Mushroom

Re: seems a fair price

If you were not challenged by the courses you took then does that not tell you that perhaps you chose the wrong ones ?

And schools do not need more IT at all stages, just because technology exists does not mean it *must* be used. We would do better as a nation to spend more money on what are considered the 'basics' of education such as English (Language & Literature) / Maths & the 3 primary sciences of Biology, Chemistry & Physics.

Improving the teaching and retention of that teaching would reap us many more benefits that stuffing schools full of IT equipment that they really have little use for and wont be used to help education along.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: seems a fair price

"Funny thing us I still don't have a job in IT"

I'm not surprised, given the combination of "I know everything" arrogance and complete absence of clue about business IT you exhibit here.

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Re: seems a fair price

Im not saying I know everything, I'm saying that at the time I went to college the most advanced course was a shambles. For instance one of my 'teachers' was doing a powerpoint presentation, clicking the mouse again and again to get the next screen but all he was getting was the right click menu. This guy kept clicking away all over the screen for a solid minute before any of the jaws could be picked off the floor and someone pointed out his mistake.

Maybe it wasn't the course, maybe it was the teacher's, whatever it was, it sucked.

Also, don't knock the spelling etc, I'm on my phone and I'm not proof reading something for a comments section...

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Re: seems a fair price

@KitFox

Now... put your hand on you heart and tell me anything you have produced software wise would make sense to someone who speaks 'English'.

Perhaps you would be better off choosing 'Language and Philosophy'.

Mathematics.. Yes. Physics.. Yes.

Chemistry and Biology, the latter more than the former are guess bollocks.

Oooh Pretty Colours.

Oooh It died.

Probably the latter is more 'useful'.

As for

"If you were not challenged by the courses you took then does that not tell you that perhaps you chose the wrong ones ?"

How does this one work if the courses you were offered turned out to be lies and you have already spent your money?

.....

I'm not very good at the, written, 'English Language' but I think you should not include a space between the end of a sentence and its question mark. No ?

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Go

Re: seems a fair price

we teach HTML to kids in year 8. In year 7 they learn small basic and can work on a closed lab of winXP allowing scripting too if they so choose. Year 9 concentrates on filemaker pro for database, UI, structure and SQL. They also learn robotC lego (controlling lego bots). There is the usual ALICE and Pivot too. For 10 and 11 the iGCSE takes over mostly so it is heavier flash programming which will probably give way to HTML 5 over the next few years and a revisit to the above topics in more depth. Sixth form is usually structured around the databases and programming to produce a project. Some of this IT is done in ICT, some in Technology, some in geography (weather sensors for the lego bots). Even MFL use databases in their lessons too.

Perhaps you were one of the kids who sat trying to break the system thus wasting class time and learning nothing? We are not the only school to run such a wide array of ICT and we arent the only school to have kids who feck about, learn nothing and spoil it for those who want to learn. I have plenty of kids on the "internet whitelist" as they would prefer to find ways around the filters to play flash games.

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Re: seems a fair price

@danny 14

If that's how its getting taught these days then that's fantastic, and fair play to you. I got 5 years of how to use word, how to take screen shots and that's about it.

We got a lesson in programming once, in DT. Can't remember the chip we used but we were making these little LCD displays scroll words across. Once, for an hou

Oh, and for HTML, it wasnt HTML, it was again just how-to use FrontPage. I'm glad its moved on.

We got taught how to use certain software, not the skills to learn how to use others if that makes sense. Hope that's changed.

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Silver badge

Re: seems a fair price

This will be the same for near enough any school teaching the iGCSE curriculum. The chief examiner used to be an old maths statistician which is why the old papers and curriculum was spreadsheet heavy with nothing but stylesheets. That changed a few years ago to an engineering chief examiner who wanted a broad curriculum. Introduced sweeping changes and you'll be lucky to see anything on word these days (short of putting evidence files and screenshots). The written exams are HTML page codings, a powerpoint presentation and a database with UI. Project work is mandatory and will have your programming, other OS examples and various bits and bobs with more database UI (we use configurable keyboards to design fast food outlets etc.)

Any technology beacon school should offer this. We use notepad++ for HTML (and scripting). Oddly enough we used to use dreamweaver but the prices were extortionate for what we needed, however we do maintain some legacy dreamweaver suites for flash (I can see this vanishing when HTML 5 is more prevalent). Office 2003 used to use the terrific script editor - shame it was dropped in 2010. There is an introduction to "other OS" that uses ubuntu on derelict optiplex 520s (disconnected from the network but they do have their own switch for people to "play" with). However none of the ICT teachers are terribly linux competent so it is just an install and show rather than in depth.

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flog? FLOG?

I thought there was supposed to be a legacy?

Cheeky buggers.

There are several charities in that part of the world who could do a lot of good with those - and have ways to stop them ending up on Ebay!

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Silver badge

The Acer TravelMate 6593G-944G32Mn?

A four-year-old laptop model—and an Acer piece of cheap and nasty tat at that? Refurbished? And they want HOW much for it? Seriously?

Somebody saw LOCOG coming!

@Phear46: "If its to much of a headache for the IT guys they should find another job tbh."

You've clearly never actually worked in a school. Here's a hint: most can't afford to pay for dedicated, fully-qualified, IT admin people. They often rely on volunteers to do keep whatever cheap rubbish they've been saddled with up and running. Those who were unlucky enough to be forced into a PFI (or PPP) deal with a subcontractor will instead have to deal with "£100 to change a lightbulb"-type price-gouging.

And the amount of warehouse-clearance-grade rubbish that gets "donated" to schools is astonishing. Some of it is crap not even Morgan Computers would touch, and they're not exactly picky.

Don't believe for a moment that Acer are doing this out of the goodness of their own hearts either:

1. Donating electronic goods like this lets them push back their WEEE recycling obligations. Let some future board of directors deal with it while the current CEO can point at all the money they've saved right now! Money they don't have to spend now, but which will likely be needed at some unspecified point in the future is still considered a saving by short-termists like these, so it'll be bonuses and trebles all round.

2. Donations can be set against taxes, saving Acer a lot of cash. As they've already leased this kit to LOCOG, they'll get to benefit from two sets of accounting tricks. (And it's not just Acer either.)

Not that I blame Acer for doing what the rules of the game encourage them to do, but the notion that this is going to benefit anyone but Acer is just naïve. Computers have their uses in education, but spamming kids with a bunch of ageing laptops isn't one of them.

There's not much point in giving a child a laptop if they don't have the support and infrastructure at home to make use of it. That doesn't just mean access to broadband internet—which isn't a given in East London, let alone many other parts of the UK—but also support from family. If you have a large family, it's very likely that the laptop may be the family's only computer. Poorer families will have difficulty justifying buying one for each child. That's going to add to the wear and tear on the machine and reduce its effective lifespan. If it's already four years old to begin with, and is made by a company not known for its excellent build quality, how long do you think it'll be before this token gesture becomes just another doorstop or piece of landfill?

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Happy

Re: The Acer TravelMate 6593G-944G32Mn?

Lighten up mate - one of my kids takes computers to bits and starts testing stuff if it doesn't power up and connect to the interwebs etc. How much learning is that?

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Go

Re: The Acer TravelMate 6593G-944G32Mn?

well the article is partially wrong anyway. I didnt look too closely at the laptops as they are worthless but the desktop kit has 3 years onsite warranty.

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Silver badge

Re: The Acer TravelMate 6593G-944G32Mn?

All equipment used in the olympics has to be at least 3 years old.

This proves stability, this is ALL I.T. kit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Acer TravelMate 6593G-944G32Mn?

For some reason my post yesterday didn't get published. Try again.

Travelmates are business laptops and my wife's, of the same vintage, is very solid. I have a six year old one still acting as a test server somewhere after a life of on the road abuse. These ones have high res screens (1600 by 1050), good enough for school CAD, and separate numeric keypads. Most schools won't be able to afford anything like that spec on current kit. It may not have an I5 or I7 processor but, face it, schools won't be rendering airframes or compiling Slackware on them. If I was offered one for £200 on those terms I would buy it and find a use for it later, probably for BI development.

We buy Acer, Asus, Dell, Sony and HP, and I reckon that all of their business stuff is much of a muchness.

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WTF?

Acer flogged off old stock from 2009

Good idea to put them in the hands of school kids.

What Acer did here, is flogging off old stock, this is a laptop from 2009. It ain't worth £827 anymore. 3 years is a loooong time in IT. The cynic in me wonders how much LOCOG had to pay for these.

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Mushroom

I wonder if they include they OEM Windows licences too?

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FAIL

RE: OEM Licences

They do. Windows VISTA! There was an article about the PCs and IT in general for London 2012 a few months back.

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Thumb Up

oh come on, they aren't *that* bad! a 2.5GHz C2D with 4GB of RAM is plenty enough for most things and they've even got screens that aren't the usual 1366*768 crap.

Hell, that's a lot higher spec than the computers I used at uni for my engineering degree, they were new in my second year (2009) and had 1.8GHz C2Ds, 2GB RAM and we had to use Solidworks on them. At least after two terms we got new screens for them, up to that point we were stuck with the old CRTs from the previous generation of computers that struggled with more than 1024*768 at sensible refresh rates.

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Re: they aren't *that* bad!

Bad, no, but to say £145 is "at 17% of their normal price"? It might have been in 2009.

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Thumb Up

At least the schools are getting a good deal...

and not getting ripped of by spending £1000s on crappy Fujitsus or Dells.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: At least the schools are getting a good deal...

Yes. If it wasn't for donations of random old crap like this where would we be...

Oh wait, spending £300 per desktop and £450 per laptop on computers from a UK supplier that actually fit into our IT strategy, that aren't already 75% of the way through our replacement lifecycle, and can readily be supported by our helpdesk.

No. Can't think why I'm glad my college is not being offered any of this tat at all.

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Joke

There is a joke here somewhere about an Acer contractor forgetting to wipe a hard-drive leading to a bunch of kids getting their hands on some secrete info about something related to the Olympics. I am not quite sure what it is though...

Bolt's porno collection? Boxing ref's Swiss bank account details? Steamy video diary of a Beach Volleyball team in action? Boris's secrete raunchy IM chats with the North Korean wrestling team?

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Anonymous Coward

Acer powered the Olympics, Really?!?

"The PCs were used for everything from planning athletes' travel to supporting broadcasters zinging out footage of the dressage to the world"

Olympic broadcasting relied on that cheap tat? I really hope not.

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Pirate

Anyone want to take bets...

... on some (or all) of them going out with un-wiped hard drives?

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Coffee/keyboard

Didn't it have to be old kit?

This is one of those damned if they do/don't moments...

As I recall weren't LOCOG etc insisting that all IT kit had to be "at least 2 years old" in maturity on the basis it would be more robust, issues would long since be addressed etc - if my recollection is right, then Acer couldn't rock up with some bang-out kit because it was outside the rules.

Of course this does now mean some kit is gonna end up being sold cheapish but still also oldish. That's legacy for you. Although in reality I wouldn't mind betting that the kit will be pretty sound - it sounds like it is still better spec'd than a lot of customer equipment I see arrive here!

Given schools are quite happily having iPads chucked at them and from what I've seen 90% of the time the teachers nab them, and they don't really get used for education, perhaps some less than "bling" kit will actually find its way to help the students it is intended for...

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They're doomed!

From http://www.acerdirect.co.uk/Acer_TravelMate_6593G-944G32Mn_LX.TPX0Z.100/version.asp

Operating System - Microsoft Windows Vista Business

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