On my daily walk from the subway to my office in Times Square, I pass a handful of electronic kiosks. The hoards of cell phones in the window usually catch my eye, but not enough to make me venture into the shady stores to check them out. But one store on 39th Street and 7th Avenue with a neon-orange, marker scribbled sign reading “Laptop Sale from $99.95″ gave me a kick in the butt to open the door to a pushy salesman today. Some will say that my love for cheap laptops has gone too far. I say nonsense. What will $99.95 buy you at the small electronics store at West 39th Street and 7th Avenue? A used laptop and we aren’t talking a used OLPC XO or Eee PC. The extremely pushy salesman pulled out an eight year old Dell Latitude LM. The laptop, which is as thick as a Harry Potter book, to my surprise actually booted up without an AC adapter. When we asked what operating system it ran, all we got from our salesman, who we will call Sketch, was “It has Microsoft Office inside!” And he was absolutely right. When the Windows 2000 Professional desktop displayed we found a Microsoft Office suite under Programs. Not too shabby. He wouldn’t let us check the system properties but he told us it had 12GB of space. The CD-ROM drive on the right side of the machine miraculously opened with a splash of dust. We suspect it had less than 1GB of RAM. To sweeten the deal Sketch offered a laptop case which he said would “make the laptop feel like nothing.” It all got me thinking about buying a secondary or a cheap, knock around laptop. Are hand-me down laptops for $100 the way to go until we hit the $100 laptop price point? Do they beat buying a brand new MSI Wind for $499 or Eee PC 701 for as low as $299 which will only compliment your every day PC for short trips and surfing on the couch? Recently Bob O’Donnel, vice president of IDC said that, “Despite its potential, the cheap laptop will not be adopted by consumers worldwide. The price difference with an average laptop is just too marginal. The consumer is probably going to pay that small amount of extra money to purchase a traditional laptop.” But not a used $99 laptop. That is the price of a monthly cell phone bill for most. And then there is the case for educational computing. Used laptops that are actually $100 are bound to be less money than a handful of XO computers or Classmates. We could load Sugar on this old Dell LM and it would probably run quite smoothly. So we ask you readers, should we shell out $100 on this laptop? If we do, what should we do with it? Maybe we can even save it by loading on a flavor of Linux. We did leave a 50 cent deposit. And if Sketch is to be trusted, he is holding it for us until tomorrow.