On 11/15/05, Mike Miller <mbmiller at taxa.epi.umn.edu> wrote:
> My wife is from Quito, Ecuador, and her (far from wealthy) parents,
> siblings and their kids still live there.  We would like to buy computers
> for them and I'm trying to come up with a good way to do this such that:
> (1) The computers will be respectable, current machines,
> (2) they won't cost too much money, and
> (3) shipping costs will be kept to a minimum.
> I will be going to Ecuador one of these days and I think I'll bring parts
> with me and assemble the machines there (probably 4 or 5 of them).  I'm
> hoping that I can buy main boards, drives and such here, but buy the cases
> and monitors in Quito.  I think I can fit the parts into a carry-on bag
> and thereby avoid any S/H costs.

Have fun going through airport security.  I've been hassled before
just carrying a bunch of ethernet cables.  You'll probably be best to
ship a complete system or purchase it locally once you are there.

Have you considered just ordering from a vendor, like Dell or IBM? 
The machines would have a warranty and support for when you're not
there.  I don't know if they ship to foreign countries but I'm sure a
quick call to them would provide an answer.

> The next issue is software.  I would love for them to run Linux or a dual
> boot system.  Everything has to be in Spanish.  Do all Linux OSs allow for
> Spanish language installations?  Same for Windows XP?

I think several Linux distros have supported installs in foreign
languages for quite some time.  I seem to remember someone at an
installfest installing RedHat and selecting "redneck" as the default
language.  I'm fairly certain most current distros will support and
install using Spanish.    I'm fairly certain you can install Windows
using a different language too.  Google for the answer...

Before buying new, consider recycled hardware.  Most people's needs
(email, web surfing, word processing, finances, etc.) don't require
bleeding edge hardware.  You could find some very servicable PII or
PIII class systems that folks are "throwing out".  For example, Win2k
runs respectibly well on an old PII-350Mhz w/256M RAM, and Linux (of
course) is blazingly fast.

You could check MPC for reclaimed/recycled hardware:

Another concern would be the A/C power.  Check to see what voltage and
style of plugs they use in Ecuador before you invest anything.  The
world doesn't operate on 120V like we do here.  This might be another
good reason to order systems specifically for that country or to
purchase them locally.  Sure you can get adapters, but that will only
be a hassle and you'll need lots of them.

Good luck.