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Computer without internet

 
Posts: 3
Location: sherman texas
chicken food preservation homestead
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So I've been looking around the forums and haven't found anything like this topic, but I've been on here for a super long time and know the forums are HUGE so maybe I'm just not using the right key words? Anyhoo I found a commuter that can operate without internet and wanted to know if anyone else had a similar solution to the problem.
Backstory:
I'm cheap. Like really cheap. Like gurl you need to use trash bags you're nuts washing out the cans all the time and I'm like pfft poser I'm not buying something just to throw it away.
Yeah. I have a problem worthy of a few googles...
Anyhoo I'm out in the kinda sticks. Not real rural but it's crazy expensive to get internet service out here. And by expensive I mean like over 20 bucks.
Like I said, I have a problem.
There's dish but pfft no. Did I mention that I'm cheap?
Not a big deal really when you're already adjusted but here's the issue I ran into. I love Microsoft word. And spreadsheets. And invoices. And printable howzit cards. Aaaaaand being able to print recipes transferred from my phone. I bought a computer recently only to find out it wouldn't even operate without a once monthly internet connection. A few operating system files I could, in theory, get away with an annual online update.
But programs? Like "optional" programs? FORGET IT.
You've got to buy a subscription online to operate Microsoft anything.
Ok. No biggie right? I could get an older computer and load up old programs with hardcopies.
...
Except I can't find any.
So I started looking and found an article about a convention of Amish Folk, specifically a seller of an Amish Computer. I laughed because I'm an ******e, and then read the article again. And again.
I zoomed the pic but couldn't get any identifying info.
Long epic search later I found a guy in Pennsylvania who was awesome enough to return my message left on his answering machine. No online presence but he was in the BBB as ok so I was like alright let's give it a go.
He makes computers for Plain Folk, and he was awesome enough to send me a flyer.
Its basically a new word processor. Using Linux he downloads every program you want (for a cost).
I'll attach the flyer but here's the part that made my spinster scroogy heart scream in agony.
The cheapest model without the accounting program in 500 bucks.
It won't ever need to be updated and you won't need to buy anything further, but... Ouch.
If I can't find myself something cheaper I'm gonna bite the bullet and jump in... But...
OUCH.
Any thoughts? Any other solutions?
Help please, I'm so so soooo cheap. I can't. I just, can't. But I got the needs.
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pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: San Diego, California
57
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You can get a cheap laptop for maybe $3-400 that will run just fine without internet(once you download the programs, maybe at a coffee shop or library?)

have it run Windows 7, download Open Office(free software approximating word, powerpoint, excel, etc.) and you're good to go.

Here is a list of free software and the links to download:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_free_and_open-source_software_packages
 
pioneer
Posts: 1157
Location: 4b
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I'm having trouble understanding what you are asking.  I've never seen a computer that needed an internet connection.  You can buy older computers all day on Craigslist or your local buy, sell, trade site for $50-$100.    Any software you want can be had for free by downloading it onto a computer with an internet connection and transferring it by thumb drive to your computer.  If you buy an older computer and the operating system is corrupt or something, you can probably get one for $20 or even free.  You can download a version of Linux onto a bootable thumb drive and load it onto your computer, along with word processors or anything else you like.  
 
Posts: 55
Location: Near Missoula
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do you have internet access available for any temporary amount of time? Like could you use the internet at a friend's house? You could get an older laptop and take it to the library possibly. then you could load all of the programs yourself and save the $500. An older used laptop can't be that terribly expensive, and many types of Linux are free and designed to run extremely well on older machines. I bet if you put a wanted ad on CL for older working computers/laptops you would be overrun with people who had something to just give away rather than throw away. I've had multiple PC's given to me or scrounged from a throwaway pile. with a little bit of googling you can get one running pretty quickly!

As a matter of fact, I have an older laptop that I haven't even tried to boot up in a few years that had linux on it. it wasn't the greatest thing, the battery woudn't connect any longer, so it always had to be plugged in. if you are interested in a non-portable latop, let me know and we'll see if I can't get it in usable shape for you!!
 
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Anthony Cooley wrote:
As a matter of fact, I have an older laptop that I haven't even tried to boot up in a few years that had linux on it. it wasn't the greatest thing, the battery woudn't connect any longer, so it always had to be plugged in. if you are interested in a non-portable latop, let me know and we'll see if I can't get it in usable shape for you!!



The problem is laptops count recharges as well as the date inside the battery! Once you are over the set limit, the battery will stop working, no matter if it is still in a good shape!
 
Andrea stout
Posts: 3
Location: sherman texas
chicken food preservation homestead
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See I KNEW I was posting on the right place!
Nope I can't get a connection unless I go into town and hang out in the McDonald's or Walmart, and I've gotta say I'm so happy to do so right after the three root canals I don't need. I've tried laptops but I think the person noting the system auto destruction awesomeness is a truth teller. You should stop that silly logical truth man don't you know you're on the interweb? 😁
Still tho, everything I've tried was 2015 and on so maybe we have a possibility?
I agree I can find an older computer but if they have windows on them (and I can't find older systems out here- hit Craigslist first and they're all a no) it seems like at some point (and this seems to happen with anything after a year 2015 model, or maybe it's my computer mojo. They really don't seem to like me.) they begin requesting internet connection. Go longer and they begin "your whole world is going to burn to the ground if you don't update" to an eventual and perpetual out to lunch notice.
I didn't know I could download the free programs THANK YOU FOR THE LINK!!! MY COLD DARK MISER HEART JUST BEAT FOR A MOMENT!!!
Or... I have gas. Either way it was pretty joyful.
I'll hit the local library next month on my town trip with a thumb drive as suggested and git er dun.
Sounds like it's a handy thing to have anyhoo even if I've no system for it yet.
Hugs to all and thanks so much for the responses!
 
Trace Oswald
pioneer
Posts: 1157
Location: 4b
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You may want to try out Elementary O/S.  It's a Linux version that is small and fast and runs great on older machines.  And it's free, you little miser you.
 
Posts: 203
Location: NNSW Australia
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You can go linux, you can go open-office. I wouldn't pay someone to download and install them, it's not hard, doesn't take much data.
I prefer the simpilicity of a boring free text editor like q10.
You'll want to download wikipedia (its not so big if you just download the text, people will sell you dvd's of it if you want).

Operating systems like windows sometimes try to force you to update by tinkering with your update settings, but will still work fine if kept offline.
Windows lets you use Win 10 without a license permanently with almost no downsides (tiny watermark) - it's great if you need the latest OS.

Laptop and phone batteries aren't made to fail at a set time, they are prone to failure because they are dense, cheap, highly used power sources.
I've got a few 15 year old laptops still going in everyday use (often running for weeks non-stop), though the batteries didn't last long.
How long computer parts last is mostly luck-of-the-draw, I've had PC's last decades without repairs.

Alternatively, buy a $10 bluetooth keyboard, put openoffice on your phone or tablet and use that as your main computer. You can get an adapter to plug USB drive to phone for $3, you can get an adapter to output phone to your tv for $4.
Put wikipedia on a USB drive for when you need it.
There are very few things that can't be done on an android phone or tablet.
 
pollinator
Posts: 542
Location: South of Capricorn
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you may want to ask if the library has a program that teaches IT/computer stuff, I know where I tend to go there were courses and if you asked really nice you could get set up with a "mentor" to help you solve your problem (baked goods may be helpful in this process).
laptops do tend to have more moving parts that crap out, but the bright side is that you can bring them places like the library if you need to do something (a bit harder with a desktop, but not impossible). about those requests to upgrade, in my area of work some people are REALLY attached to old versions of windows and Word and will set up their computers to only run the old programs, disabling any requests for updates. the problem with older stuff is more that support isn't offered if it all goes belly-up, but if you're not connected to the internet you shouldn't be getting all those OMG UPDATE NOW warnings.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2409
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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CHEAP INTERNET
You can get internet for less than $20.
It is through  Sprint so if sprint cellphone coverage works in your area you are fine.
The internet is actually unlimited not the cellphone internet that caps at 10GB per month.
Here is the link to purchase it. https://www.pcsrefurbished.com/sales/buyInternet.aspx

DIRECT PHONE to PRINTER CONNECTION
The new sets of printer actually allow you to print directly from your phone without a computer so you don't have to get a computer just for that


CHEAP COMPUTER
$399 https://www.amazon.com/Acer-Portable-Desktop-Pentium-AZ3-700-UR12/dp/B076H5X39R


$130 https://www.walmart.com/browse/electronics/desktop-pc-towers-with-monitor/3944_3951_132982_1231068_1172201?page=1&sort=price_low#searchProductResult

 
Andrea stout
Posts: 3
Location: sherman texas
chicken food preservation homestead
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Anything at Walmart requires online updating to keep us systems current. I've actually looked at that model already and it was a no go.
Terrible cell phone coverage out here, basically it's at&t (or cricket) or nothing. I thought about using my phone as a hot spot but it's not financially feasible, it'd be cheaper to go dish with internet, which is also not in my budget. Ty for the suggestions tho.
 
master steward
Posts: 2683
Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Where I used to live in Texas there was a guy who taught at the community college that worked on computers.  He also sold used computers that the college had retired.  We bought one from him for $150.00.

Is there possibly someone in your area who works on computers?  Not Best Buy Geek Squad.

If so maybe this person could fix or build you a computer to fit your needs?  

There are also a lot of kids that like to tinker with computer related stuff.  My son in law built his own computer.
 
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unrealmobile.com will sell you a SIM card that gives a certain amount of 4G data and unlimited slower data on the AT&T network for $10/month. You can install the SIM card in your phone or if you prefer into a 4G router to provide internet to your computer and phone. If reception is really poor, you can build a high gain directional antenna. My yagi antenna build was not a great success built from an old 2x4 and some wire I had on hand. The bi-quad antenna I built worked and is still working much better. I used an old piece of stove-pipe for the reflector and a rifle shell casing for the center support and scrap plastic to help support the antenna element and keep it parallel to the reflector. One gotcha with unrealmobile that you may from time to time run into is their suspending your account for "unusual activity" which is just high usage in a short time or something like that. If you can live with less data and more gotchas then freedompop (unreal's sister company) is zero dollars per month. You could have one SIM card from each and swap them out when one is suspended so you can use the other to access the internet to re-activate the suspended one. You could even have several freedompop SIM cards and be careful to not go over and swap between them when one is low on data.
 
Posts: 155
Location: Jacksonville, FL
30
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I think what you were describing was a Linux operating system that has everything on hand, so if you want to install and run any program available for it, you can do so without an internet connection. You can go in to town or wherever to download it and install it on your computer once and you are set. No need for the computer to ever have an internet connection, yet have all of the provided free programs available.

Specifically, there is EndlessOS. It is geared towards people in the same situation that want to be able to use their computer for practically anything without needing an internet connection. The download is rather large (~16GB) for the full version, but then you have all of the standard software packages from the free Debian repository on hand vs downloading individually as people with constant internet connections would do.

The common free office software used in Linux is Libre Office. It can work with files saved in Microsoft formats, and is based on the same code as Open Office mentioned above. I guess at some point there was a split (fork), and more resources are being put in to the Libre Office fork. I don't have a need for that software myself, so I don't have much to say about it. I believe if you try to save a file, it defaults to a file type that won't work on MS Office, and you would have to choose the appropriate file type at the time of saving your work if you want to share it with people using Microsoft.

I haven't actually used EndlessOS myself, although I did download and save a copy should I need software to perform a task when there is no internet, such as could happen after a hurricane. It appears to only be available in 64 bit version (AMD64), but most computers in the past 10+ years are 64 bit, and AMD64 also works perfectly fine with Intel 64 bit processors. If you hunt around, you can find many cheap or even free computers that can work with it, or for ~$100 you can find computers several years old with very useful amounts of resources to perform most tasks short of high end gaming or advanced video editing. More than likely you would be able to install it on that computer you bought that gave you problems with demanding updates. You would just need a way to download the 16GB+ ISO file and install it on the computer. The easiest way would be to find a cheap 32GB USB stick, or if you already have a sufficiently large (micro)SD card, a USB card reader could be useful. I see some 32GB sticks as low as $5. Or maybe you know someone with one you could borrow.

It appears that EndlessOS Forums is a thing, so they can help if you have any questions or problems. There are also other computer forums with large Linux communities, or post here if you need some direction.
 
Posts: 89
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Wow y'all.

I am impressed by all the resourcefulness, creativity and diversity of your solution oriented responses. Brilliant.

Andrea - I don't think you mentioned which operating system you are running. If you are running Windows 10, MS disabled the option to turn off, or control the installation of updates. And we don't know your level of expertise around installation of operating systems. If you are reformatting and doing a clean install, you need drivers and all kinds of little bits of software to create a new harmonious union of software, firmware and hardware. Can be tricky. If your one computer is part way through a clean install and you need tech support or to look something up on the internet, and you don't have access to the internet, that's a tough place to be.

And you boldly own your cheap(?), stingy(?) frugal(?) mental posture, which is so curious. I get the impression, please correct me if I am wrong, that you are not impoverished, you have the money and could pay for X, just don't want to, which is something I'd be interested in exploring, don't know if you feel the same way. Are you as generous with others as you hope others will be with you? Do we have a forum on the mindset behind cheap(?), stingy(?) frugal(?).

Does everybody know about Freecycle.org? Great online resource to post your "offers" and "wants" out into your local community. You can request a working laptop or desktop. Post things you no longer need or want and give them a second life.

Another option is your local computer geek club. Your library can help you find them, or a community center. Might be a good place to get technical support if you need help installing an OS, finding someone who might be willing to do an install of their software on your computer without giving you their only disk.

Look for a PC or a Linux Meetup.  Try Meetup.com

Go to your local college or university, they can point you in the direction of a computer club, and/or an IT department. Or a computer student who could get credit for putting his newly acquired skills into practice.

Are you a senior or on disability? Some communities give away reconditioned/refurbished/used computers to those in need.

This is link for free antivirus software, which would be useful if you are not getting updates. (i am not affiliated in any way with any of these. Please check them out for yourself.)
https://www.lifewire.com/best-free-antivirus-1356634

Here is a search for Linux software:
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=download+and+install+linux+os+and+software&t=ffsb&ia=web

And here is a search to find sites to download software for free;
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=sites+to+safely+download+free+software&t=ffsb&ia=web
 
Daniel Schmidt
Posts: 155
Location: Jacksonville, FL
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Lee Gee wrote:Do we have a forum on the mindset behind cheap(?), stingy(?) frugal(?)



Yup, right here - Frugality Forum

One thing about computers is that people who aren't very well versed with them tend to think that someone who knows more than themselves just "knows about computers". In reality, if someone dedicated their whole life to learning about computers they likely wouldn't have learned half of all there is to know. And particularly with the no internet aspect, there are adults who don't ever remember experiencing a time without it and may not be able to fully understand why anyone would consider doing such a thing. It may be wise to look in numerous places for different perspectives.
 
Posts: 201
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
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I held onto my old Windows 7 laptop for ten years, that's how hard I fight against planned obsolescence!

I do not currently have home Internet. I can go to public places that have WiFi and connect my laptop that way for whatever updates I need. I know you said you don't like hanging out in McDonald's or Wal-Mart (me neither!!!), but if you do it once a month, would it kill you? I don't like going to work, either, but I bite the bullet and do it because I have not figured how how to make life work without it.
 
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