Christmas Laptop Present Thoughts

Some of the cccSkerries laptops.

Some of the cccSkerries laptops.

Halloween is hardly over, and the thoughts turn to Christmas.

For many, a laptop for the youngster(s) in the house is a consideration. I’m often asked which I would recommend…

That’s a difficult question as it really depends on what you need the laptop to be able to do. Is it general use, bit of googling, research for school projects, some video-watching, bit of not-too-intense gaming? Then you need roughly what I need for my cccSkerries classes, and I find my cccSkerries workhorse computers (which serve me well for general coding purposes) do the trick.

They are Acer Aspires like this one,  £239 currently, and Lenovos like this one, £299. I run them on Windows 10, and I use Google Chrome for accessing the internet.
[Those are not affiliate links, for those who wonder about such questions – I’m only linking to Amazon as that’s where I buy my laptops, to make it easier to find them.]

Edited to include the following paragraph, thanks PH who wrote:

 “Just thought I’d mention that Lenovo themselves have great deals online. So eg The Lenovo G50-30 you mention is only €329.99, whereas through Amazon with Sterling conversions etc £299 could be €425………..so be careful & save yourself €100…………”

And you can find the G-Series here.

Refurbished laptops might be an option, too – I have never used Laptopsdirect.ie but they seem to have an interesting list of refurbished Acer laptops, at very good rates. Worth a look, too.

There is no need to purchase Microsoft Office as you can use Google Drive and the various Google Apps, like Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides, for free once you have a gmail address (which would need to be set up and managed by an adult for under-13s).

Insurance? 

Is it worth adding up to a third of the product price for insurance? Many places offer this at the check-out.

I would normally decline. I find that I am more careful with tech items that I don’t buy comprehensive insurance for. And if the worst comes to the worst… not having bought insurance for four or five items means that I can “afford” the next one to break – and if it doesn’t, I have made a profit, compared to buying insurance! Happy days!

Scratch Competition Studio 2015

2015 Scratch Competition Entries

All these projects were created by participants in our cccSkerries Coding Classes (beginners and advanced). For the National Scratch Competition 2015, we had to pick 10 as we could not enter more than that. Here are our ten contestants! We should know by the end of April how they got on. Fingers crossed! – Sabine

PS: Wait for the page to load (might not work on a phone / tablet), then click into the project you’d like to watch or play. Enjoy!

Scratch Competition Studio 2015

  • draw your own things by destroyer200
  • “green flag to start.r to rub out.space to stop drawing.a to start drawing again.it may glitch at the start.arrow keys to move.press small line for skinny line.fat line for fat line.white for rubber”

  • weather by bazzab
  • “press green flag and see what happened. ENJOY!!!”

  • Purpleman (BETA) by ChikenEater
  • “Arrows to move and space to jump. There may be a few glitches and only levels 1 and 2 are programmed.
    V.1.0: Added this game to Scratch.
    V.1.1: Added Level 2”

  • The Zombie Infestation 1.3 by MrSupreme4543
  • “W = up A = left S = down D = right ( you’ll get used to it once you’ve played it a couple of times) Left mouse button to shoot You can use your arrow keys to select weapons. (To properly play make sure you have a mouse and its best to play this on a computer) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
    Notes and Credits
    V1.3 Added the crosshair back changed the hit marker a bitV1.2 Finallyyyyyyyyyyyyy character selectI have a started a character select but its taking some time so just pick one of the circles.V1.1 Added a high score system (new accounts will only have a personal score system upgrade your account to have a chance to be the best)New people have started working on this with me
    egganiki : http://scratch.mit.edu/users/egganiki/
    space sphere : http://scratch.mit.edu/users/space_sphere/
    but remember i’m in charge and get the most credit (saying that in the nicest way possible) (:

    Added a super secret easter egg

    V1.0 added a main menu

    V0.9 added so when a zombie dies he respawns somewhere else deleted the health pack added health regen but it is very slow edited the hit marker

    V0.8 Added a shotgun press left arrow key to select

    V0.7 Added weapon selection by arrow keys UP = USP.45 DOWN = AK-47

    V0.6 added ak47 no more movement by arrow keys.

    V0.5 Added stuff to randomize where everything spawns and i tried to add a AK47 but its pretty glitchy and you cant use it now i’ll try to get it to work.

    V0.4 just did some stuff readying variables for a time in the future

    V0.3 Added a health bar for the player and loads more zombies and
    in the comments tell me what you want in the game.

    V0.2 Added more zombies and they can now die also changed the survivor to Santa Claus.

    V0.1 The game is made but nowhere near complete.