Just a quick Barre answer.  I did an analysis for the Barre Town school 
board last year, and found that laptops are 1/3 to 1/2 more expensive 
than desktops over their lifetimes.  The cost/benefit ratio is still 
hard to figure, however, since I do not know how to factor in mobility 
and whether that feature offsets the higher costs.

We buy extended warranties ONLY for laptops.  Our history is that they 
are damaged or faulty more often than desktops.

--Tommy Walz

On Feb 1, 2007, at 3:02 PM, Rick Hege wrote:

> Ditto on the maintenance plan being another profit point for the 
> companies that sell you the equipment.  "We will be happy to finance 
> that for you too."
> We have not opted for anything beyond the original warranty on any of 
> our computers. The only problems we have had were with the newest 
> Dells we bought and so far they are still under warranty. Hopefully we 
> get all the bugs taken care of before the year is out. Otherwise, 
> nothing that has been done to them is anything a service contract 
> would pay for anyway as it is always software related. I think we have 
> replaced one CD Rom and one hard drive in the past 7 years. However, 
> as yet, we have not had anyone dump coffee in/on a lap top. If anyone 
> did it would probably be me (and I guess I would have to pay for it) 
> as no one else is allowed to have food or beverage when using the 
> computers. Truth be told, with what Dell makes you go through before 
> you can send a laptop back for service, I am getting very comfortable 
> with ripping them apart and putting them back together.
> As for the additional time required for lap tops I would also have to 
> agree that half again is probably a good estimate. Just dragging them 
> all out, and setting them up takes a lot longer than turning on a 
> batch of desk tops. Then you have to put them all away when you are 
> done.
> Given the increased use in the classroom, despite the battery 
> predicament, I would have to say that they still are better in a 
> cost/benefit analysis.
> Rick
> At 11:49 AM 2/1/2007, you wrote:
>> Whether it's computers, cars, or toaster ovens, "maintenance plans" 
>> are
>> not set up to lose the manufacturer money.  On the average, end-users
>> lose money, but it's a crap shoot.  While I never buy the extended
>> warranties on personal electronic devices (or cars, for that matter),
>> I'm more risk-averse when it comes to school situations. I would 
>> rather
>> take the chance of losing a little money on a support contract that I
>> don't use than suffer a catastrophe such as Steve mentions.  Even if I
>> wanted to do it, I wouldn't have the funds to replace a cartful of
>> laptops in the middle of the school year.
>> That said, I would be interested in seeing a study on cost-benefit in
>> this area.  The key, though, may be the "self-insuring."  The way our
>> budget gets trimmed every year, I don't think we could get away with
>> budgeting a significant amount of money to hold in reserve waiting for
>> the above-mentioned catastrophe.
>> BTW, another issue to consider in the laptop vs. desktop decision is
>> the extra amount of time it takes to support laptops.  Our experience 
>> is
>> that they require at least half-again the attention of desktops.   
>> Even
>> if you've got a support contract, when something goes awry, you need 
>> to
>> do some troubleshooting and then get on the phone with the
>> manufacturer's support people to confirm it's their problem (and we 
>> all
>> have war stories about that process).   You may not want that to be 
>> the
>> deciding issue in which way to go, but if you are converting from
>> desktops to laptops, you'd better factor in some added support time.
>> -Vince
>> >>> On 2/1/2007 at 9:43 am, in message
>> <[log in to unmask]>,
>> [log in to unmask] wrote:
>> > It would be very interesting to see a true cost analysis of Complete
>> > Care from schools that have had computers for the life of the
>> covereage.
>> > The gut feeling is that it's well worth the cost, and certainly 
>> there
>> is
>> > a safety net aspect to it, but it would be very useful to see the
>> actual
>> > cost of the repairs that would not otherwise be covered by standard
>> > warrantees, versus the total cost for the Complete Care coverage for
>> all
>> > the computers bought that year. Businesses sometimes discover when
>> they
>> > do the cost-benefit analysis that self-insuring saves a significant
>> > amount of money when the entire fleet is considered. Of course, the
>> fact
>> > that you have coverage in the event that someone sends the entire
>> cart
>> > down the stairwell has to be considered. Still, one measurement is
>> worth
>> > a thousand expert opinions.
>> >
>> > --Steve Barner, South Burlington High School
>> >
>> > ________________________________
>> >
>> > From: School Information Technology Discussion
>> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Todd Ponto
>> > Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2007 8:36 AM
>> > To: [log in to unmask]
>> > Subject: Re: How Low Will You Go?
>> >
>> >
>> > Here at ONSU all of our schools have at least one 16 unit laptop
>> mobile
>> > lab some even have three labs.  They are all Dell laptops with 4yr
>> > warranty with complete care to cover accidents.  We have had staff
>> spill
>> > coffee on two units, we have had staff drop two units and break the
>> > screens, and a few students that broke keys off from keyboards.
>> > According to dell the keyboards would have been covered under normal
>> > warranty but the rest is only covered under the complete care which
>> is
>> > the accidental warranty.  They have replaced the units or sent new
>> parts
>> > within a few days at the most.  Great service so far would not get a
>> lab
>> > without the accidental coverage.
>> >
>> > Todd Ponto
>> > Orange North SU
>> > Director of Technology
>> > voice: (802) 433-5818 x318
>> > cell: (802) 318-3748
>> > fax: (802) 433-5825
>> > [log in to unmask]
>> >
>> >
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> Tech Support
> Townshend School District
> PO Box 226
> Townshend, VT 05353-0226
> 802-365-7506
> Fax 802-365-7955
Tommy J. Walz
Technology Coordinator
Barre Supervisory Union