As I noted in the previous post, I gave up looking for a cordless, Bluetooth keyboard after learning that it cannot work at the same time as a Bluetooth mouse purchased separately.
As I was mulling over my options, the FutureShop flyer came out, and there was the answer for much of the equipment I was looking for:
-- the 1GB triple-interface LeCie hard drive was back, priced at $329.
-- an Acer bundle with computer, 19" monitor, keyboard, and throw-away mouse for $429.
My wife's computer needed replacing; I wanted the monitor and keyboard. It was perfect! Checking the computer model online, I found that FutureShop (and maybe Acer) were essentially throwing in the monitor for $29.
Or, as I explained sheepishly to my wife, the computer was "just" $200, because the monitor is normally $200, and the keyboard-mouse combo $29.
I also learned that this was an ultra-cheap mode produced by Acer for low-income parts of the world. The specs are modest, but good enough for my wife, who just does email, Web browsing, and some word processing:
-- 4000+ AMD 64-bit CPU
-- 160GB hard drive, split into two equal-size partitions (curiously enough)
-- 1GB RAM (256MB shared with the integrated ATi graphics)
-- card readers, USB ports, and sound connectors on the front panel
-- super DVD drive that burns dual-layer DVDs
Missing was any sort of backup for the Windows Vista Home Basic operating system. No spare copy on the partitioned drive, no ability to make a restore DVD, no discs included. Instead, you have to pay Acer $40 for the discs.
I did want to replace Vista with Windows 2000, since (1) that would be a speedier system; and (2) it would let my wife run her "German for Everyone" language program. Naturally, Microsoft cannot conceive of anyone wanting to backgrade their WOW-inducing OS, so after several attempts to fool the system, I gave up.
My wife was ready to keep the old computer just to run the German program, but that would defeat my master plan: grab the "free" 19" monitor and keyboard for my notebook system.