I'm looking for recommendations on setting up a new laptop for my 92 year old grandfather. He is essentially a "first timer" to modern computers, having never used a computer with a modern operating system and internet access, so any ideas to make it simpler and safer for him are welcome.
Gramps: He's 92 years old, and the last time he owned a computer was probably in the early 1990's, and it was running MS-DOS / Win 3.11. As far as I know, he's never used anything more "online" than a BBS. He is "aware" of the internet and web, though, as he watches quite a bit of TV. He recently expressed interest in a netbook or similar that he could keep next to his favorite TV watching seat. His eyes and hearing, while diminished a bit at his age, should be up to the task of using the computer we got for him. His fine motor control is a bit lacking, but the keyboard keys are large enough, and we're getting a wireless mouse just in case the touchpad is an issue.
Laptop: Since the netbooks mostly had too small of a screen for his eyes, we ended up with a 15.4" Celeron-based Acer
with a steal of a price from Best Buy ($249!). It has Windows 7 installed, and for now, at least, I think we'd rather keep that than install a flavor of Linux.
My google-fu has mostly failed me, and I haven't found much related on AskMefi (a couple posts about first timer users and children). Essentially, what I'm looking for is software recommendations, tips and tricks, and even hardware and accessories to help him ease into using his first modern computer. A few things that have come to mind:
Browser: What's the best browser and combination of plugins to help him avoid scams, unwanted pop-ups / redirects, and other generally malicious sites, but still leaves the browser easily usable and not confusing? NoScript in FireFox, for instance, is awesome for me, but it seems to boggle many people who aren't aware of exactly what it's doing.
E-mail: Best client or webmail to help him avoid scams and such, but also very simple to use to keep in contact with family and friends.
Security software (antivirus, anti-spyware, etc): Which ones are the best mix of safe, lightweight, and non-intrusive? Basically, what works without getting all up in his (or the laptop's) grill?
Accessibility: Any programs you have experience with that make the computer easier to use for someone of his age? Launchers, desktop mods, etc.
Any other general software recommendations are welcome (or any important areas you think I've omitted), and personal tips and tricks you've seen or used would be great. He has a "lap table" that should be big enough to the laptop with room to spare for a wireless mouse, but if you have a accessory that you think is the bee's knees, definitely link it! Heck, even simple games you think a senior might be interested in would be of interest.
And with that, I've popped my AskMefi question cherry. Thanks everyone! One of these days, I'll get around to doing an FPP too!