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Thin Client for Cheap Internet Browser?

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January 3, 2007 12:52:51 PM

Thin Client for Cheap Internet Browser?

Given the plethora of inexpensive thin clients on ebay, is it worthwhile to consider one for use exclusively as a web browser?

I do not have an old PC to dedicate to this function, and my wife’s family insists upon using MS Messenger as a means of communication :? . Given the obvious security issues with MS Messenger, and similar services I have insisted on not installing it on any of our networked PCs. I am going to have to come up with a compromise solution in the interests of fairness, not to mention domestic tranquility.

I desire to put a web browsing capability in my kitchen and basement recreation room, and given the cheap prices for these units, I thought one or two of these units might fit the bill.

Thoughts?
January 3, 2007 2:46:32 PM

Any old crappy PC can run linux fine. They have all IM software built in.
January 3, 2007 2:58:36 PM

Quote:
Any old crappy PC can run linux fine. They have all IM software built in.


Right, but my situation is that I do not have a crappy old PC (or a crappy new PC for that matter) to use as a basis for my project. This puts me in the market for a crappy PC.

Which leads me back to my original question: Is a thin client ($100 or significantly less than that on e-bay) suitable for internet browsing? I am also considering other "appliances" like game consoles etc. A Mac mini would be perfect as they are small and inconspicuous, but even older minis command a significant price.
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January 4, 2007 2:33:29 PM

Depends on what kind of thin client you can get.

Some run Windows CE, others use a different version, a couple use full blown, trimmed Windows XP.

The catch is you have to make sure the Flash memory is enough to support installing your programs you'll want to use.

For example, we use 512MB flash drive in our Thin Clients at work. We can install a trim version of Windows XP Pro, very basic, a company software program, and adobe acrobat 5 (6 and 7 are too large).


Personally, I don't care for Thin Clients because they're more for limited work production, as opposed to something at home. While I'm not aware of the pricing, you may be able to pick up one.

Some also come that you can't change the software unless you have admin privvies. May be nice, but if they have to install an update, or something of that matter, they won't be able to. Small problem at most.

Anyhow, I'd try picking up a cheap PC and going that route unless you can find a newer thin client.


We purchase our thin clients for about $600 brand new.
January 4, 2007 4:32:49 PM

Quote:
We purchase our thin clients for about $600 brand new.


Wow!, that is expensive! Most of the boxes on e-bay are a lot less pricey (<$100) and some run the thin client version of XP.

I was just interested in a cheap box to run MS Exploder and Messenger.
January 20, 2007 2:33:35 PM

Anything the runs an OS is actually a THICK client. A thin client will need some sort of application server to connect to, be it Citrix or Windows Terminal Services on Server 2003. Sounds like an older laptop will be your best bet here.[/quote]
January 20, 2007 4:29:48 PM

Quote:
Anything the runs an OS is actually a THICK client. A thin client will need some sort of application server to connect to, be it Citrix or Windows Terminal Services on Server 2003.

Most of the boxes are running Windows CE or XP embedded.

Quote:
Sounds like an older laptop will be your best bet here.

Possibly, but I do not have one, and E-bay has not been good to me as my last three purchases were not viable (small server that was mising pricey parts like the breakout cable, a switch that was DOA and an SBC that likewise was DOA). :evil: 
January 20, 2007 9:04:34 PM

yep but unless your running a terminal app on a thick box then your going to have issues with.

- Cut down browser that dosent or doesent have good suport for: javascript, flash, css and thouse aprently nonsense things that most people like to have

- No messenger client, and web clients usally require some form javascript, flash, css or a combination, not to mention the prospect of a third party having access to record conversations and personel details

- Plug ins...for when formats get updated at lest...updates are a issue with these things

your better off with low powerd pc or laptops with some linux distrobution...or using a thick box with some form of terminal server. oh and unofficial messenger clients dont tend to have security issues...especially since most IM protocolls are xml based
January 20, 2007 11:28:41 PM

ok, neat, the only thin clients I have experience with at work, and they're running a very, well, thin embedded linux kernel which pretty much just allows them to make a connection to a server that's going to be doing their processing. Sorry I can't help more.

BTW, Trillian is nice. :) 
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