A little while ago, I was facing a very classic dilemma. I had two distinctly useful but equally important options:
- I need a netbook for traveling. A compact netbook, with a battery life of 8 hours or more suited my requirements perfectly. I could use it for surfing the Internet on WIFI when I am out and about.
- I also need a desktop that is permanently attached to my printer. Whenever I need to print something, I don’t want to boot up my laptop, take it to the printer, plug it in, and print a few pages. I want a permanent kiosk-type setup where I could quickly surf the Internet when required and never have to wait for my laptop to boot up.
The dilemma was: which one should I get first? If I got the netbook, I would still have to go back and forth between the printer in the den and whatever room I happened to be in. If I got the desktop first, I would not have a computer when I travel. Obviously, I would not be using both at the same time.
After a lot of deliberation, I hit upon an idea: why couldn’t I have both? And so I set about putting together a custom-designed kiosk setup.
After buying the appropriate netbook, I set about collecting the remaining items:
- An old monitor that I bought at a charity auction for $5. Finding a slim LCD monitor at that price point was the icing on the cake.
- A new USB Keyboard and mouse that I bought from the local electronics store.
- One of the many ethernet cables from the big box of wires in the attic.
Because I plan to leave the netbook plugged in at all times, I did not want the battery to die. To stop that from happening, I removed the battery from the netbook and stored it safely for use when I travel. I then plugged in the power directly to the netbook and attached the USB mouse, USB keyboard, and Ethernet cable (to the router). I finally connected the monitor to the VGA port.
Just like that, my kiosk was ready. The netbook is always on and serves as a printing or surfing station at home making it just like a desktop. When I travel, I just unplug all the wires, snap on the battery and take it with me.
With a little creative thinking, I finally have one computer that serves two purposes – netbook as well as a desktop.