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  1. #1
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    Jun 2012
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    Lightbulb Stripped Down Keyboard Driven Win 7 - Advice?

    I am trying to configure my mother's Win 7 laptop (Toshiba Satellite C660-220) for maximum ease of use and would welcome advice.

    She needs one clear way to "do things" - she learns procedures rather concepts. Her sight is reasonable but she has a slight tremour. My mother struggles with pointing devices - be they mice, trackpads or track balls. Hence the desire to do as much as possible through the keyboard (which has the familiarity of a typewriter).

    She wants to:
    • Read and write emails, maintain an addressbook and calendar - currently Thunderbird (and Lightning with birthdays picked up from the addressbook)
    • Write letters (and work on her auto-biography) - currently Word Starter Edition
    • Browse websites like the BBC, Daily Mail and RSPB - currently Firefox (with adblock etc.)
    • Skype video-call relatives
    • Watch iPlayer and similar

    To date I have:
    1. Switched to a Basic Desktop - to get rid of the confusing Aero look
    2. Switch to Medium (125%) Display Resolution
    3. Removed all desktop icons - except the waste bin
    4. Cleared out most items from the notification area - except those needed for trouble-shooting over the phone
    5. Pinned the key items to the Start Menu
    6. No items pinned to the Task Bar - so if something is in the start bar it is "running" - all programs started from the Windows Key
    7. Renamed items in the Start Menu to describe their function rather than just their name
    8. Removed all "right hand side" items from the Start Menu
    9. Switched on Mouse Keys to make the numeric key pad act as a means of positioning the cursor - I would like to "lock" this setting so that finger trouble cannot switch it off, I would also like to find some good stickers to put over the numeric keyboard with arrows to hide the numbers.
    10. Selected the Windows Standard (large) (system scheme) for the pointer
    11. Switched on pointer trails
    12. Increased the size of the blinking cursor (to 3)
    13. Started to prepare cheat-sheet laminates for Windows, Word, Thunderbird, Firefox etc., describing how to drive them using the keyboard only (Ctrl-tab, F6 etc.)
    14. Put fablon (sticky-backed plastic) round the trackpad and trackpad buttons so it stands out from the otherwise all-black top surface - this also helps define the actual keyboard
    15. Experimented (unsuccessfully) with Sticky Keys - keep the shift keys working as on a typewriter
    16. Experimented (unsuccessfully) with Voice Control (my mother chats to herself whilst using the computer)

    Is it possible to disable the scroll function of the right hand side of the trackpad (which can be confusing)?
    I would also like to find a Thunderbird Theme that makes the three panes very distinct.

    Any other ideas? (If necessary I am prepared to be pointed to a specialist linux distribution)

    Last edited by dsf; 2012-06-29 at 04:24.

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