The rule of “ninety – fifty – ten” 

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This CRT TV, with composite video inputs, served us well for many years by running PS2 and PS3 games. It’s since been replaced with a heavily discounted 1080p HD flat screen.

Next time a tempting new phone or tablet is released, don’t stand in line.

Remember the rule of “ninety – fifty – ten.”

Few things lose value (devaluate) faster than new gadgets. In some cases for a highly hyped toy, tablet or game console you can get 90% of the functionality for about half the cost, simply by waiting about 10 months. It’s your fair payment for a bit of delayed gratification.

This rule has served us well in our town’s public library, where we had extremely limited funds to set up a technology center/maker space.

By shopping around and choosing Chromebooks, donated PCs and older game consoles (in some cases still using “old” CRT TV sets) rather than the latest shiny iMac, we could provide our town with access to many more flavors of interactive media. Last summer, we purchased  five $200 Chromebooks for about the cost of one iMac.  Both types of computers run Scratch 2.0 equally well.

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We turned a donated Dell PC running Windows 95 into a flight simulator. The screen was also donated. The controller was the biggest cost ($35).

Here’s the formula applied to the latest iPad. Don’t buy one for $800 when you can buy two iPad Air tablets, that has now been reduced $100 in price. You get 90% of the functionality. The same is true for 3rd generation Apple TV (currently down to $65) now that the 4th generation has been released.

The specifics (as of Fall 2015):

• iPad Air (16 GB, Wi-Fi only) $394 at http://bhpho.to/1Ri4tHL

• Add in a Big Grips Slim case, $30 at http://www.biggrips.com/slim.html and spend the money you save on apps.


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