PC for an old person??

AceHBK

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Hey you guys I would like some advice.
My mother is 73 and wants a pc of her own. She can use them fairly good and all she will do is surf the internet from time to time and play a few games like hearts and solitare.

I thought about a cheap laptop but then the screensize is small (big screen sizes mean way more money and its not worth it). I thought about a iMac G4 which had a 20" screen but I know nothing about Mac's so if something went wrong I would be clueless. And I thought about a regular pc which should something go wrong I can fix myself. Only thing is that I may not be always around to help.

Any suggestions?
 

Andrew Green

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I'd go with a Linux system, providing you know anything about linux. (honestly it's a easier install then windows), you also get a wide variety of solitare and other card games :) Viruses & spyware are non-issues and everything is free.

Mac's are second, personally I'm not a fan of apple products, but they are fairly stable and secure.

Windows would be last, unless you want to teach her about updating regullarly, spyware and virus scanners, trojans, etc.
 

Xue Sheng

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What operating system does she use now? Whatever it is stick with it if she is comfortable already.

Where does she use it? At a desk or does she like to roam around the house to use it.

If stationary go for a standard PC if more mobile go for a laptop.

How is her eye sight? Is the smaller screen going to be an issue?

If she is only using it for is web surfing and the supplied games you do not need the biggest fastest bestest.

It sounds to me, based on what you have told us you are better off with a PC for the bigger monitor and cost and Microsoft Windows since I am betting that is what she is use to. My mom is in her 70s and works well on Windows but if I threw Linux or a Mac OS at her I think she would stop using a PC all together.

If at all possible and you decide to go with Microsoft try hard VERY hard to get a box with XP on it not Vista. IF Vista is your only choice work with it for a bit to make sure it is working ok first.
 

tellner

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My Dad got his first Mac at about that age. He's very happy with it. The ease of use and setup make it well worth the extra money. It does everything he needs to, and with a service contract it's pretty trouble-free.
 
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AceHBK

AceHBK

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Thanks for the advice you guys.

I thought about Linux but then I don't know anything about it so that would be a no go. (guess it is time for me to start learning)

I thought about a Mac b/c as everyone says ...their ease of use. I found some IMac G4's with 20" screens which were around $500 on ebay. I dont want to spend a lot of money on something that which of course would only be used for minor things.

I did take into account her being familiar with windows and would probably like to stick with that.

I have alos been looking at stuff on craigslist as well as ebay b/c u can find a decent price for some stuff.
 

Big Don

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Abacus.gif

Old School... :D
 

Omar B

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An older person is not gonna be doing anything heavy with the computer that needs any sort of power. Get her a second hand Imac, old people find them cute and non-intimidating. If you can find even an Emac you could save yourself bunches.
 

Dave Leverich

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I'd third/fourth etc the iMac recommendation.
Easy to use, no DLL's or anything weird to install, point/click.

Also if eyesight is an issue, there is a Control Panel built in called 'Universal Access' which lets them make it legible easily. (zoom around on the screen, font sizes etc, fully customizable to a person's vision needs).

And, it won't bomb on her if it's OSX, or get virji. If you spend a bit more and get the $1-1.1k MacBook, they come with windows parallels as well. Run OSX and XP at the same time (or Vista if you don't want to be in the will ;p).
 

Omar B

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I'm gonna say no to the MacBook for the old people. It's light enough for them to pick up and I've seen old people get frustrated with technology and toss them across the room. That's why I suggested Imac or Emac, both are all in one, simple and heavy enough that an angry old codger won't be able to really screw it.
 

fireman00

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Unless she's well versed in computer tinkering stay away from Linux. Its a great way to play for folks who don't mind getting under the hood and playing to get all their apps to work but its not going to run "hands free" during the install.

If she's comfortable with Windows get an IBM/ Compaq/ HP or an Apple laptop that's a year old on ebay... if you watch and aren't in a hurry you should be able to get one for a couple hundred bucks.

There are dozens of apps that will magnify the screen - Microsoft has an app "Magnifier" built in that will allow her to enlarge things. No need for a larger monitor.


Good luck!
 

Andrew Green

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Unless she's well versed in computer tinkering stay away from Linux. Its a great way to play for folks who don't mind getting under the hood and playing to get all their apps to work but its not going to run "hands free" during the install.

Depending on what distribution you choose, Linux installation goes a lot smoother then a windows install nowadays. And once installed, requires far less maintenance.
 

FearlessFreep

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I was at a coffee shop the other day working late and overheard some people (men and women) that looked maybe in their 50s or 60s. I didn't hear much of the conversation but I overheard a bit of talk about using Javascript and Ajax and some other similar topics.... kinda opened my eyes :)
 

fireman00

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Depending on what distribution you choose, Linux installation goes a lot smoother then a windows install nowadays. And once installed, requires far less maintenance.

I'd disagree 100%... when I loaded Vista on my HP it took 20 minutes and as soon as I entered some WEP info on my router I was up and running.

With Linux the the installer will hopefully understand the diff between loading the live CD and installing to drive or they'll be setting up defaults over and over.

And the issues with video cards, wireless cards, digital camera connectivity, web cam issues.....

Linux is at least two years away from being the "works out of the box" OS that Windows/ Apple have become- we might not like it but they are relatively easy to get up and running with little tweaking needed.

I know of no one that has been able to load any distro and be up and running without doing any tinkering. The volume of questions asked on any linux board is an indicator of this.

Maintenance? After installing Gutsy Gibon I had over 180 upgrades to install and when I gave Fedora a try it had over 132 updates.

I'm not arguing against Linux, I'll be installing it 10 seconds after a distro is compiled that will work with my wireless card, but its not on par with the stablity of Apple or Windows.
 
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AceHBK

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Thanks for all the useful advice you guys.
I looked around a found a used iMac G4
- 20" screen, 1GB RAM, 160GB HD, DVD Burner, speakers
- incl photoshop, iLife, MS Office and other apps
-$550

Is this a good deal? I have no idea of what a good deal is for a Mac.

I love my mother but I swear she drives me nuts.
Im only 30 but I swear when i turn 70 and can barely use electronics...someone please shoot me.

Me: Mom I may find a pc around $500 for u
Mother: I want a Mac
Me: *biggest eye roll on earth* Why do u want a Mac?
Mother: B/c they are not overpacked with stuff like Microsoft computers and they are better.
Me: Well you can take off what you dont need.
Mother: Oh....well Mac's are good for storing my photographs and for me to touch them up.
Me: Mom, so is a pc. And at 74 years old you will not be really touching up photos...it's not like u know how to use photoshop.
Mother: Well they are better than microsoft. Everyone wants a Mac. It would be better for me. I also want wireless internet too..I hate a lot of wires.

After that I rolled my eyes so hard i suffered vertigo and walked out the room. My mother can barely sign up for a email account but wants to tell me how she "needs" a Mac. I swear I heard the Mac commercial jingle in the room somewhere.
 

Omar B

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Sounds good, if you could find one without the DVD (just a CDR drive) it could save you more too. Old poeple are not gonna be watching DVDs on the computer ... my parents didnt even know their computer could do that, it's a wasted feature.
 

Kacey

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Sounds good, if you could find one without the DVD (just a CDR drive) it could save you more too. Old poeple are not gonna be watching DVDs on the computer ... my parents didnt even know their computer could do that, it's a wasted feature.

My father watches DVDs on his computer all the time; he lives in Israel and his Hebrew isn't up to watching Hebrew-language TV, and since his laptop came with a DVD drive, he didn't see any reason to buy a separate DVD player. He's 74. My mother lives on her computer, as does my step-father; they're both 65... and oh, yeah, my step-father is a computer engineer. I taught my grandfather how to use a computer, for email, to view CDs and DVDs with pictures on them, and to type letters instead of using his old manual typewriter, when he was 90 - so please don't generalize about "old people" and what they do and don't do, with computers or anything else; generalization will blind you to reality that is not within the generalization. :)
 

Dave Leverich

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Heh, it sounds like a decent machine for her.
At 74 if this is her first computer, awesome. I gave my grandpa his first computer in the 90's, my old C64, it was the coolest thing on earth for me to see him actually learn how to use it.
 
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