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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    Dedicated email device for Mom (90)

    My mother-in-law, 90, is probably going to move from her house into a small (studio) assisted living unit in the next few weeks.

    She has used a Windows PC (XP or 2000?) for E-mail only, via AOL, for about 9 years. She mailed regularly,
    but was not comfortable going beyond what she knew how to do.

    Her new place doesn't really have room for a desktop computer, and I don't know if she's up to the
    (admittedly not super-steep) learning curve of an iPad.

    Is there a dedicated laptop-like device for E-mail that has a physical keyboard and that would allow her to bypass Windows?

    Thanks!

    Joel

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I'd go for the iPad, it's simplistic enough for such limited needs.
    But better still, she'd have a hard time fudging it up, much much more than any windows device.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2013-09-01 at 13:23.
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    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I second Clint's recommendation but you will have to learn the new interface. One of the odd things my wife ran into when writing emails was the Ipad's auto correction. You have to hit the space bar to accept the correction or keep typing to ignore it. Drove her crazy until we found it. If you go the Ipad route, I would definitely download the user guide from here:
    http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_us/ipad_user_guide.pdf

    For now at least, malware isn't much of an issue with the Ipad. We've had one for a couple of years with no infections and do not run any anti malware apps.

    Jerry

  4. #4
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Joel,

    How about a Kindle Fire HD with a bluetooth kbd. A lot less than the iPad and once setup for email pretty easy to use plus if she is into reading one more plus.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  5. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Price might be it's only downside, but...
    There isn't too much to learn on the iPad. When I first got mine I was ordering pizza on it at a poker party the same day I received it.
    I'm sure your 90 year old mother-in-law will do fine with it. All you'll have to do is setup her email on it.
    You can even delete the iCloud crap afterwards, if you wanted to.
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  6. #6
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Price isn't too bad either if you go for a refurb. The ones from the Aplle store come with a new battary and the same warranty as a new one. You can pick up the latest Ipad for $419:
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD...4th-generation

    or an Ipad 2 for $319
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC...2nd-generation

    Good free support is available at any local Apple store.

    Jerry

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    You can pick up a refurbished Surface RT for $379 from Microsoft with a touch cover keyboard or $299 for the RT tablet alone. Once you setup the email all you need do is move the mail icon to the top left. All she has to do is hit enter or touch the icon when the system boots. You can even remove all the other icons from the start screen.

    Joe

  8. #8
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    My recommendation is a Windows netbook or small laptop.
    Refurbished even, and XP or Win2k preferred!
    Slow processor and small hard drive should be an 'asset' (aka cheaper).
    Besides the screen size, all are the same as before.
    Mom-in-law does not need to learn anything anew.

    If mom-in-law never/seldom screws up Windows XP/2K, then the chance is small that she'll screw up the 'new' PC.

    To help further, install remote access software (on demand type that does not need local permission).
    To prevent screwing up XP, may even lock down XP/Win2k. XP and 2K still have it.

    I would keep it simple. Use only Windows anti-virus and silent auto-update. In fact, all updates should be silent and auto. Or not to update at all.
    Remember, she does email mostly, not to roam the wild wild Internet, or to click happy in the browser.
    Bring a disc or USB flash drive and do a full virus scan when visiting. Or do it via remote access.

  9. #9
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    Another factor to consider in a 90-year-old, besides cost and (in this case) volume occupied by the device, is readability. Whatever device you choose, make sure you adjust the settings in the browser/e-mail reader so that the font size is PERMANENTLY set at a magnification she can read easily.

    If she doesn't have "bionic eye" mutifocal implants from cateract surgery, she may need a fairly large font size to read easily. If the screen is too small, she may only be able to get a few words per line, which makes reading anything difficult for continuity, especially for an older brain. So if her current desktop (I assume) has a 15-inch or larger monitor, consider what the screen size of her new device will be, and the limitations it might impose. If this might actually BE an issue for her, then I think scaisson's recommendation of a refurb XP laptop is great. You can find 15" laptops for less that $200 online, the OS wil be familiar, and the free Microsoft Security Essentials/Windows Firewall should provide sufficient security even afte XP support disappears next year. She can fold up the laptop and even store it on its side to save space when she's not using it, and hook it up to the power source wherever she can find the space, and open it up there, when she needs to use it.

    Finally, if money's a very tight issue for her, but not so much for you, and you opt for one of the somewhat more expensive other options given by other posters, consider giving it to her as a gift- birthday if hers is still to come, or an "advance" Christmas gift.
    Last edited by Comedian; 2013-09-05 at 08:00.

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