Linux for my 80 year old father?

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Habitual
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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by Habitual » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:20 am

MurphCID wrote:The thought of my dad with an iPad fills me with fear.
What will it fill your dad with?

iPad is an excellent choice.

and sometimes it really is that simple.

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Moem
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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by Moem » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:30 am

Habitual wrote:iPad is an excellent choice.
Many people want an actual keyboard with tactile feedback. Typing on an iPad is pretty horrible.

IPads are the solution to some problems, but certainly not all.
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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by Habitual » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:52 am

Moem wrote:
Habitual wrote:iPad is an excellent choice.
Many people want an actual keyboard with tactile feedback. Typing on an iPad is pretty horrible.

IPads are the solution to some problems, but certainly not all.
All I meant to say to the OP is don't impose his "fear" upon his father.
What I heard was "I don't know iPad" so I'm scared of my father using one.
I could be wrong.

Old folks are rather adaptable. That's how they got old in the first place. :)

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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by Moem » Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:24 am

Habitual wrote: All I meant to say to the OP is don't impose his "fear" upon his father.
What I heard was "I don't know iPad" so I'm scared of my father using one.
I could be wrong.
Fair enough! But even if you're right... it might be useful if people can give their parents IT support now and then. I'm sure glad I don't need to help anyone with their iProducts... because I'd be hopelessly lost in the woods. :wink:
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MurphCID
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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by MurphCID » Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:21 pm

I have three of them, and he broke the touch screen computer my brother got him somehow. He hates touch devices. He tolerates computers.
Habitual wrote:
MurphCID wrote:The thought of my dad with an iPad fills me with fear.
What will it fill your dad with?

iPad is an excellent choice.

and sometimes it really is that simple.

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MurphCID
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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by MurphCID » Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:25 pm

He clicks about, fiddles with things, and breaks them. I thought about Chrome, but I just don't know enough about it to make an informed decision. I think that the ideal choice for him would be a Mac, but no way I can afford one.
MintBean wrote:Murph,

As someone with an 80 year old father myself (and having just spent a day handling a backlog of 500 emails he's not read one of 'but was planning to'), a big question to ask yourself is, does your Dad use the computer responsibly, or does he click about, fiddle with things and break them? If the first category, I think Mint would be ideal for him. If the latter, maybe something with Chrome OS would be better (although I have no experience with it).

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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by GoLinux » Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:01 am

A little late to the party, but if you still want to "test drive" several Linux distros I recommend YUMI. It is a pretty cool software (similar to Universal USB Installer and UNetbootin) which allows you to put as many distributions can fit in a single USB Flash Drive. When you boot, you are presented with a grub-style screen listing all of the distribution installed. Pick one and you are a good to go, reboot and pick another one. You can even create multiple casper files to add persistence, so you can even save the changes you make.
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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by pdhunter1987 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:27 am

Definitely recommend Linux Mint for your father.

I find people who don't know much about computers or care much about them are perfect candidates for Linux, and Mint being awesome for that.

Sorry for late reply GoLinux.
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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by MurphCID » Mon Nov 07, 2016 8:32 am

I decided that I will get him that i3 HP laptop and put Mint 18 XFCE and use the docky skin to make it work like a Mac so that all he has to do is point and click. I will also set it up as much as possible to be "Dad proof".

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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by MintBean » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:39 pm

Murph,

A Mac's not all that. My mum has a mac and I'm toying with installing Mint on it as there are a few niggles with MacOs.

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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by MurphCID » Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:42 am

Ran into a small problem. He cannot see the desktop on the 15.6" monitor of my wife's laptop (Mint 18 Mate) since he cannot make the icons and text larger like he can in windows. I took my Mint 18 laptop (13.3") over and he liked it, but he cannot see it, and I cannot figure out how to scale things up like he can in windows. He has HUGE icons on the desktop. He felt that Mint was "easier" than windows, but just cannot see it well enough. So neither laptop worked for him.

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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by Habitual » Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:16 am

MurphCID wrote:"Dad proof".
Been there.

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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by Petermint » Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:07 am

Only 80? I had a 96 year old on one of my Web development workshops. Age is not the deciding factor. Read "Aging with grace" by Dr. David Snowden.

On several computers, I replaced Outlook with Thunderbird and almost nobody noticed. There was never a failed email. The same with replacing MS Office with LibreOffice.

From what I can see today, MS Project is the only Windows application without a direct replacement. Skype has a workable Linux version and an operating system independent version on the way to replace all existing versions of Skype.

Screen readers, magnifiers, and all other assists work the same. Filezilla is now on Linux.

When someone is using Windows, you can replace all their applications one at a time by open source applications until there is nothing left that is specific to Windows.

The one thing I would check on a cheap computer is Bluray playback. Can your father watch Hardcore Henry in full resolution without artefacts from video breakup?

HDMI output is all you need for using a larger screen. Add a keyboard and mouse. Your 80 year old will have the best desktop type usage and still be able to take the laptop when walking the Freycinet Peninsula.

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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by phd21 » Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:07 am

Hi "MurphCID",

It is very simple to scale (increase or decrease) icons, fonts, and practically anything else in Linux Mint KDE, and there are other "accessibility" options like easy to use screen magnifiers, etc...

There is probably a way to scale the icons in Linux Mint's other editions, like Cinnamon, Mate, etc... I just do not know how at the moment, but perhaps others in the forum do.

You can also easily reduce the screen size in the Display Options to increase the size of desktop icons and such. For example, if you have a screen resolution of 1024x768, and you reduce it to 800x600, etc ... then everything appears larger (but, you actually have less screen real estate).

With Internet browsers, and some other applications, you can hit "Ctrl +" to increase font size, "Ctrl -" to decrease, and there are many browser add-ons as well, sometimes "sliders" too.

Also, they do make laptops with larger screens, and you can always use an external monitor as well.


Hope this helps ...
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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by Petermint » Sat Nov 12, 2016 7:19 pm

Cinnamon -> Preferences -> Accessibility. Everything you need. Most desktop distributions of Linux have the same accessibility to comply with an agreed standard, a project that started back in 2004.

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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by MurphCID » Sun Nov 13, 2016 8:10 pm

Thanks for that information. I am going to get his computer this next weekend, and I think that I will go with the regular cinnamon desktop.
Petermint wrote:Cinnamon -> Preferences -> Accessibility. Everything you need. Most desktop distributions of Linux have the same accessibility to comply with an agreed standard, a project that started back in 2004.

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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by samriggs » Sun Nov 13, 2016 9:41 pm

I just went through this with my mom who is almost 80 herself.
Tablets are good for older folks but it all depends what they want to do with it, my Ma is used to old school windows 98, I've had her on xfce for years now and loves it.
I just gave her an acer I had because she could not afford much and kept aiming at 4 gig ram computers because of the price which is going to be to slow soon for pretty much anything, it's still ok but not as good as 8gig ram so I finally talked her into taking my acer I bought last year and shoved mint xfce on it and gave it to her this morning, no problems with it she loves it better then xubuntu which I always had her on before.
She now has a 17 inch laptop big enough for her tired eyeballs.
She did her own grub upgrade/update one day, a couple of years ago, which kind of freaked me out :lol:

What I do is set everything up for her to make it as easy as possible, I set up the firewall, all the security stuff, then make everything one click away by adding icons on the desktop and panel for everything she needs, set up firefox so there no cache (0 so nothing remains when she closes the browser) clear cookies and passwords automatically and all the other fun stuff in firefox so she doesn't have to worry, then set up the toolbar with all her online links so again everything is one click away, add her favorite themes, icons and wallpapers.
Also set google as the hompage so she can have fun searching the world over for who knows what.

The main and easiest way for her is to just put all links to what she wants on the desktop, set up the update manager for level 3 and under or level 2 and under, 3 and under should be fine, explain how to update, add xfce goodies for the panel plugins like brightness, weather, shutdown etc etc.
I also add a link to libre office writer for her to write in and added a link to a folder I put in the home directory to add any documents into onto the desktop.

Sort of like a ipad tablet where everything is on one page to get to with one click

This method has served her well for years now on linux and she would never go back to windows again.

Hope it helps out.

Sam
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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by Petermint » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:20 pm

Cinnamon, LXDE, MATE, and XFCE are all good for people converting from real Windows, the pre Vista Windows, when Microsoft were leading Google and that other mob. The only good thing Microsoft did recently was to introduce flat design. Apple and Google's copies of Microsoft Metro added nothing. Unfortunately Microsoft mixed flat design with truly weird user interface design.

Back at the start of Linux Mint 17, I found LXDE, MATE, and XFCE more difficult due to less refined development. I use LXDE on Raspbian because the Raspbian developers made LXDE work cleanly. Cinnamon was the only clean install on Linux Mint.

I see people recommending KDE for conversions from Windows. I tested several releases of KDE on my 16 GB i7 desktop and have never continued using it. If KDE was the only choice, I would have stuck with Windows.

Apart from reliability, the choice of applications is more important. People spend most of their time inside web browsers, email, Skype, and Facebilge. You want the menus inside the applications to look the same.

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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by samriggs » Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:53 am

Ya I wouldn't recommend any environment to an older person used to windows where you can't add stuff to the desktop, my Ma loves to mess up hers with files
One reason I added a folder link on the desktop to a folder I created in the home directory to keep it somewhat clean for her and everything is in one folder.

Gnome and unity are to much like a tablet and confusing for older folks as is kde with all the bells and whistles.
Tablets are a good choice in some cases but for ipad not computers for older folks, my Ma just looked at gnome and went "what the heck is that"
I took that as a no.

I tried cinnamon once and even though to me it's my choice to use, she preferred xfce basic interface, the same goes for my wife.

LXDE and Mate would also be good choices, the ole KISS method seems to work best when dealing with older folks, the least confusing and easier the better.

They know if they press this button it goes here, anything more gets confusing for them and gets them flustered and the phone calls will come in :lol:
I kept my Ma happy for more then 4 years now on xfce after trial and errors with other DE's
I got it down to a science now 8)

My Pa when he was alive and Alzheimer was kicking in he knew with 3 clicks he would get to solitaire on windows 98, I got that down to two clicks now, One to log in and one to start the game with xfce.

Just remember tech supporting them is fine but you also don't want it to be a 24/7 job.

DO NOT TALK about viruses and worms or anything of the sort cause they will look for it and worry about it and more phone calls will come, just tell them it's all good, I did learn that the hard way, and it wasn't me that mentioned it but I got the calls about it for quite a while until her mind was set at ease again.
Just make it as safe as possible and what might help is to keep all the passwords and logins on a usb key so they can just copy paste them into the right places without having to remember them all and as an added security so nothing is on the computer itself.

Just to give an example of this, when I went over to hooked up to a hidden connection today I set up on her router a couple of years ago I asked for the username and password and got a book with pages of usernames and passwords and no clue which one was which :shock:
Ya shes getting a usb key :lol:

Sam
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Re: Linux for my 80 year old father?

Post by curtvaughan » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:45 pm

Well, as a dithery old 64-year old who got my first data processing/computer job at age 22 mucking around on a CDC 64/6600 after getting out of the navy (communications rate) in 1974, I was hired by some rather computationally astute people in their late 30s or early 40s at the time. If folks like them are still dithering around at all, I'd guess them to be in their mid-80s by now. People in their 80s were in their 30s in the sixties, at which time mainframe computing was in full force. Assembly language, Fortran, and Cobol were the lingua-computerie of the day, and some guy named Ritchie, who'd be 75 if alive, was getting the itch to invent a language called C. My point, I guess, is that you should perhaps avoid generalizing 80-somethings as computer illiterate, though as with younger folks, illiteracy can be found.

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