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Simplest computer for internet and e-mail - for someone in their 70s


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Old 06-04-2013, 18:35
lucky67
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My mum is 72 and not computer literate at all...have tried to show her and she gets confused, angry and gives up...she did a course at the library for a few weeks but seemed to add to the confusion ...
All she wants to do is e-mail (even the WI do everything by e-mail now!) and look up the odd thing on the internet. I set up a hotmail account for her ...but I have to check for her!
So thinking laptop or chrome book or tablet...
Will have to be biggish screen (eyesight) ....and probably more comfortable with a keyboard ...but maybe not...
They have cable internet access (my brother uses it) but not wireless (walls are two foot thick stone and signal doesn't travel well)
My brother isn't good with computers and I live hundreds of miles away so the easier it is to use the better...
I'm running Windows 7 - but all the new computers seem to be Windows 8 (which I haven't used)...so help over the phone might be a problem...
Any suggestions?
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Old 06-04-2013, 18:43
PrimalIce
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>>My brother isn't good with computers and I live hundreds of miles away so the easier it is to use the better.<<

A little bit on a tangent here so sorry im not answering the primary question. But i have team viewer installed on both my parents machines. So long as they can double click the icon, and read of the numbers I can gain access to their system to respond to software update requests, maintenance, change settings, configure and install new software....everything.

As someone with fairly PC illiterate parents, its a life saver as I too live hundreds of miles away.

http://www.teamviewer.com/en/index.aspx
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Old 06-04-2013, 18:45
flagpole
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Windows 8 is really simple. Big coloured buttons that say things like intent, email, etc.

Homeplugs may be the solution if they don't want to run wires.
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Old 06-04-2013, 19:05
1saintly
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Windows 8 is really simple. Big coloured buttons that say things like intent, email, etc.

Homeplugs may be the solution if they don't want to run wires.
Same as /\

Just strip it back to the basic tiles they need, job done.
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Old 06-04-2013, 19:15
cardbus
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my vote for homeplugs and would go the windows 8 route and defo install teamviewer
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Old 06-04-2013, 19:44
Maxatoria
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I'd recommend an Apple mac as they're idiot proof once set up properly and thats what you'll need if you have to remote support them and you need the interface to be as simple as possible and only one mouse button can be a saver
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Old 06-04-2013, 19:53
Stig
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I'd say an iPad.
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Old 06-04-2013, 20:00
TheBigM
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The iPad is the way to go IMO, there is no simpler OS than iOS though it may feel a bit restrictive if people start emailing her attachments she can't open etc.
It's also pretty much crash proof and idiot proof.

Windows 8 on the metro side is the simplest "full PC" operating system IMO but the principle of hiding menu chrome off-screen will be a bit tricky for her to master.
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Old 06-04-2013, 20:26
lucky67
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Thanks!
Thinking I won't go down the apple route - have been a mac user in the past but I definitely know MS better.
Can someone explain a bit more to me about the home plugs...it is virgin cable and the router isn't wireless ...are they easy to set up and does it matter that the router isn't wireless?
(Wireless would be great - when she has had a problem on my brothers computer (which is on its last legs, slow and full of bugs - doesn't help) - she phones me from the landline in another room and keeps going backwards & forwards)
The team viewer looks good - does it mean I can control her windows 8 -even though I'm on windows 7 ...that would be fantastic...
I'm thinking the cheapest big screen laptop running windows 8 ...and look at wireless ...
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Old 06-04-2013, 20:36
TheBigM
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You can get a good wireless router inexpensively, if you're buying a laptop then just use wireless instead of bothering with homeplugs.

Windows 8 runs pretty much all applications that Windows 7 does so you can use software like remote desktop, teamviewer, VNC, etc etc.

Homeplugs send a signal along the mains electricity circuits in the house. The signal is a radio signal so is affected by the quality of the wiring etc. It's like a replacement for ethernet cable, you plug one end into her broadband router and the mains socket there. The second one goes in the mains socket by the PC.
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Old 06-04-2013, 20:52
cardbus
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ebuyer would be a place to look for laptop
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Old 06-04-2013, 20:56
cardbus
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http://www.ebuyer.com/482232-lenovo-...laptop-m848luk cheapest 17" windows 8 does it have to be 17"
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Old 06-04-2013, 20:57
lucky67
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My brother tried wireless a good few years ago now...but the internal (and external) walls are all 2 ft thick solid stone and that seems to kill the signal...at least that's what the installer told him was the problem ...I had my doubts - you can pick up weak signal from the neighbours but they said that was coming through the window!
Anyway looking at home plugs -if you plug one into a socket and the (not-wireless) router (using ethernet cable) and then a wireless 'home plug' into another room that room has wireless?
(Electrical wiring will be just over 30 years old -but had a new consumer unit fitted v. recently and the wiring tested ok... )
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Old 06-04-2013, 20:58
cardbus
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http://www.ebuyer.com/419456-acer-as...t-nx-m18ek-003 229 after cashback
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Old 06-04-2013, 21:04
bspace
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as a dyed in the wool mac user of over 20 years standing i'd say
a mac isn't the answer here
overkill for the usage and i suspect the OP would be happier maintaining a windows pc

i'd go for a win8 laptop - bigger keyboard / screen
and i think it's really important to get wifi working in the room it's mostly used
having it to hand for everyday use (at your chair or sofa)
means that it stops being that special, perhaps frightening thing, in the corner
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Old 06-04-2013, 21:06
lucky67
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Thanks
Might get away with 15 inch - more don't think 10 inch would be ok.....(even I find screens that small irritating as you have to keep scrolling down etc) ...guess another approach would be to get a big monitor and a note book...
Will look around e-buyer - not keen on Lenovo - my dp had one of their notebooks (french one) - a s10 ??? can't remember but hinges broke when it was 18 months or so old - broke connections to screen, looking at internet seemed to be a really common problem but Lenovo were really unhelpful (it was outside 12 month guarantee!)
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Old 06-04-2013, 21:10
lucky67
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Thanks bspace - think that is really good advice...it would break the mystic down ... less of a black art !
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Old 06-04-2013, 21:27
1saintly
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Just to throw a spanner in the mix.

How about

http://www.dell.com/uk/business/p/la...5~0~399477&p=1

All you need is a couple of icons for internet and email.
Also you dont need to worry about them opening iffy attachments, and anti virus up keep.
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Old 06-04-2013, 21:38
PrimalIce
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The team viewer looks good - does it mean I can control her windows 8 -even though I'm on windows 7 ...that would be fantastic...
Yes, I am on XP and my parents are on windows 7 and it works fine. The only difference is they have to click the "are you sure you want to allow this program to make changes to your computer?" thing. But I talk them through that over the phone.

The software itself is actually very very simple, which makes it highly compatible.

It relays your mouse clicks and keyboard presses to the other machine, in return it basically streams a video feed of the desktop to your monitor.

So you can absolutely do anything on it that you could in person with the exception of access to the CMOS or boot menus since windows has to be up and running to run the client.
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Old 06-04-2013, 23:00
lucky67
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thanks primallce -that is really worth me getting
1saintly - 900 -gosh -if I show that to her she'll say she won't be around long enough to get her moneys worth!
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Old 07-04-2013, 00:13
RichmondBlue
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I'd say an iPad.
I'd say that as well. Once you've set it up, what more will she have to do ? She will also have an e-reader, and be able to watch iplayer etc. It really is the the easiest device for non-pc users I've ever come across.
What she won't need is any device that constantly bombards her with messages, security warnings, updates etc, it confuses old (and some young) people.
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:33
cardbus
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yeh but richmond the screen size is going to be to small for her the op wants a screen 15" or above
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Old 07-04-2013, 08:56
TheBigM
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If you are going windows 8, I strongly recommend getting a touch screen laptop, it makes a big difference to the use of metro.

Mentally, much easier to push the tile on the screen with your finger than use the touchpad to move the cursor to the tile and then click on it.
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:27
John259
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If you opt for wi-fi, make sure that all the devices (router, computer, and printer if that's wi-fi as well) are 802.11n (not b or g) as it's more likely to give better coverage.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:12
IvanIV
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W8 won't be that difficult to use. Just set it up that all needed applications are on start screen tiles on the left. And rule #1 for your mum, if you are stuck and don't know what to do next, press Win-key.
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