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 Post subject: Best OS for 94 y/o non-computer user
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:53 pm 
8086
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Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:56 pm
Posts: 68
Started talking about this on Ubuntu forums here: LINK
Thought I'd take it here because this isn't really a strictly Ubuntu topic for me anymore and you guys are the best of the 'net.

Long story short.
My wifes grandpa is 94, WWII vet, widower, living in a lodge. He is using some social networks to keep in touch with his family. Wife is teaching him how to use Facebook, he's previously used MSN for video chat etc. Uses outlook for his email. Occasionally watches a few saved videos on his HDD.

The problem: Windows XP. For an older person who doesn't use computers and has little time left in his life to care about becoming adept at them.
His family (my wifes aunts and uncles) "set him up" with an older computer. or I should say a succession of older computers that suck, get bogged down by malware, email viruses, etc. He needs a computer that doesn't suck that he does very few distinct things with. Facebook, Email, Video Chatting, Media player. That's basically it. His sight isn't really good either so here is my plan.

I have a complete P4 build ready to give him.
P4 HT 3.0 GHz
Asus P4C-800E mobo - revision 2.0 from Compaq (i know i know)
1 gb ddr
120 gb hard drive.
Sapphire Radeon X1950 pro (AGP) <--- way too much for him but it's all i got in AGP, and I'm not using it for myself

I just need to figure out what OS. I'm staying away from Windows. It's a death trap for a guy like him. I've been thinking of using Ubuntu 11.10 for him to take advantage of the ease of the Unity desktop. But I'm worried about the icon size. UNR would be good, but I can't find any up to date version. But I suppose 9.10 would not be bad ( I used it for a year ). Also I'm thinking Joli OS, but I don't know much about it. I just tried the Live CD and it looks good, but I'm concerned about the whole "musthaveinternetoryoucan'tuseyourcomputer"-ness of it. I don't know if that's just because I was using the live-cd, or what.

All I want to do is get rid of everything that he doesn't need. No extra menus, no system prefs, no terminal, all I want is 6 gigantic desktop icons. Browser, FB, Skype, Youtube, Media Player, Thunderbird, Chat, and a Shutdown button somewhere. Nothing else. Of the 3 OS's I mentioned, which would you use, or would you use something different? Please share.


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 Post subject: Re: Best OS for 94 y/o non-computer user
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:53 pm 
SON OF A GUN
SON OF A GUN
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Here are my comments, trying to put it all out there. Might help you to think of other things:

1) How is Windows any more of a "death trap for a guy like him" than any other OS he hasn't used? At this stage it is no different than anything else, usability wise. I would actually argue that XP would be easier. Assuming you set it up properly there shouldn't be any issues.
2) Malware and Viruses don't just happen. I refuse to accept Windows as the reason for this. 99% of the time the user has to be involved in some way.
3) Skype on Linux, at least in the past, has been poor at best. Development always hit Windows first, Mac 2nd, and Linux last.
4) Put at least two GB of memory in that machine. If you don't have enough, I can probably round up some spare ram here to send you.
5) What is so special about Unity? To me it looks nothing more than GNOME with an extra taskbar with large shortcuts/buttons on it.
6) You mention his sight not being good and haven't mentioned anything about your monitor plans. My Grandfather (also a WWII vet, say thank you to him for his service for me btw) uses Windows XP on a 19" (I think) monitor, with high DPI and a high contrast theme. You have to be careful with the high dpi though, as it causes display issues sometimes. My grandfather is a little more technically inclined though. A monitor with a built in web cam might be nice.
7) Why is always having internet a concern? If the whole point is to do FB and Skype?!?!


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 Post subject: Re: Best OS for 94 y/o non-computer user
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:25 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:56 pm
Posts: 68
Thanks for the reply, you've got some good points.

1 & 2 Death trap for him because he doesn't know how to avoid mal-ware and viruses. I'd find linux to be less of a death trap for him if I set it up in a way that he can't get into anything he doesn't need. I know windows will do the same, but I've never set it up that way, and 'nix is much faster on bootup. You can't install a thin windows.
3. Good point. I'm just using Skype as an example for something he can video chat with. He's used MSN in the past, I was just thinking of something that would be accessible.
4. I'll see what I can scrounge up. I have 4 256 Dimms handy. It's worked well for my friend who used the computer for much more than 'net browsing.
5. Large shortcuts / buttons. < this is what I"m looking for.
6. I'm not sure of his monitor. but hes already got one and has been using it so I'm assuming it works well. On of his nephews gave it to him. I have yet to see it.
7. Yeah... I know.. you have a point and I was thinking it myself. He has a few movies on his Hard drive he likes to watch periodically, It'd be nice to know he can still view them offline if he can't sign in.

Right now the biggest thing I can think of that makes Joli so appealing is that I can fix anything he might mess up from my own home, since he lives an hours drive away. Assuming hardware isn't an issue.


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 Post subject: Re: Best OS for 94 y/o non-computer user
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:52 pm 
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Location: Home Sweet Home
I would stick with XP updated all the way with Microsoft Essentials for anti-virus and Malwarebytes as anti-malware as backup to the anti-virus. I have been using Zonealarm in XP since it came out and have had no problems, so I would think it will serve him well as a firewall. If he has cable, use a router in between the modem and pc for the extra security it gives.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/wind ... essentials

http://www.malwarebytes.org/

http://www.zonealarm.com/security/en-us ... eeFirewall

The above apps are all free and work well.

Setup a User Account with no install privileges, that will kill a lot of invited malware from being introduces in the system.

Don't show the system files, keep them hidden...it is a default when you install windows...leave it that way for the user account.

For the Admin account...password it so no one but you can get in.

Microsoft made a neat little app called Clear Type:

http://www.microsoft.com/typography/Cle ... erToy.mspx

Download, install and run it with him watching the app. Have him choose the words that are the clearest as you go thru the various "next" buttons and it will make the font very clear on the monitor if you are using a LCD type.

For Remote help use Logmein:

https://secure.logmein.com/

You have mouse and keyboard control using this app.

Use WOT as a plugin for your browser, it works very simply and will stop him from clicking on bad sites. It uses colored rings to determine how bad a site is, green is ok, yellow is be carefull and red is NO CLICKIE!!!

http://www.mywot.com/en/download

I would definitely put 2 gigs of ram minimum in the machine! Introduce him to You-Tube :mrgreen:

Nasty


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 Post subject: Re: Best OS for 94 y/o non-computer user
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:43 pm 
SON OF A GUN
SON OF A GUN
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Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 5:41 am
Posts: 11605
Advoc wrote:
Thanks for the reply, you've got some good points.

1 & 2 Death trap for him because he doesn't know how to avoid mal-ware and viruses. I'd find linux to be less of a death trap for him if I set it up in a way that he can't get into anything he doesn't need. I know windows will do the same, but I've never set it up that way, and 'nix is much faster on bootup. You can't install a thin windows.
3. Good point. I'm just using Skype as an example for something he can video chat with. He's used MSN in the past, I was just thinking of something that would be accessible.
4. I'll see what I can scrounge up. I have 4 256 Dimms handy. It's worked well for my friend who used the computer for much more than 'net browsing.
5. Large shortcuts / buttons. < this is what I"m looking for.
6. I'm not sure of his monitor. but hes already got one and has been using it so I'm assuming it works well. On of his nephews gave it to him. I have yet to see it.
7. Yeah... I know.. you have a point and I was thinking it myself. He has a few movies on his Hard drive he likes to watch periodically, It'd be nice to know he can still view them offline if he can't sign in.

Right now the biggest thing I can think of that makes Joli so appealing is that I can fix anything he might mess up from my own home, since he lives an hours drive away. Assuming hardware isn't an issue.


MSN on Linux? o_O. I can't imagine that would work super well. I actually don't know of anything for video chat that works well under Linux. Back when I was doing a lot of skype stuff, we actually bought a Windows PC just for that purpose. Otherwise everything probably would have been Mac (wasn't my call on the tech at first btw). We did a lot of recording and sound editing for web shows. Anyway, just imho fwiw.

I think bootspeed is going to be pretty irrelevant on that system. You'll be talking about trading 15-25 seconds? Probably not worth worrying about.

Just trying to put those things out there for you to consider. With Nasty's advice I think XP might still be the best bet. You can strip down XP pretty easily too. Install only the essentials. Check out this: http://www.nliteos.com/

Set up remote desktop, logmein, gotomypc, VNC, whatever you choose. As long as the router has the ports forwarded you'll be fine. Windows XP remote assistance is built in and works pretty well. We used it at my last job to help people whom were in remote locations (Alaska, Wyoming, Illinois, etc. Our office was in Ohio).


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 Post subject: Re: Best OS for 94 y/o non-computer user
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:42 pm 
Bitchin' Fast 3D Z8000
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Location: Far away from you
CrashTECH wrote:
I actually don't know of anything for video chat that works well under Linux.


I was under the impression that google voice worked fairly well here...

I'm questioning the MSN deal too, but I'm also wondering if we're just talking about use of the IM, in which case, there's a few options there.

eh...I'm like the others...Unless there's something compelling, stick with XP. Even getting an XP style theme isn't going to make the experience any better.


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