Great Uncle Luddite needs enlightening
May 3, 2010 5:55 AM   Subscribe

My old and frugal great uncle needs a music and audio book set up. He's recovering from a heart procedure and needs to walk 2-4 miles every day. He's thinking Walkman. I'm thinking Apple.

He's a bit of a nervous Nelly about money and technology. He has no computer or cell phone and no internet service/cable in his home. I think anything with more than a $100 investment or a monthly fee might scare him. Showtunes is his thing: original cast albums. I can load up an old Ipod for him, but I fear that will just set him on the road to 'driving me crazy'. I'm already his Amazon books remote interface.
How can I wow him and open his eyes to the brave new world? He's got plenty of money but doesn't like to spend it. I need to get him hooked with a capital H. I don't mind putting up initial $ and 'lending' him a device for a while, but I want to be pretty sure he will actually learn to use it and love it. Google, ITunes and Amazon Books would change his life.
posted by Pennyblack to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have any recommendations for music, sorry. My local public library offers audiobooks in MP3 format available for 'checkout' over the internet -- maybe yours does too? If your great uncle is the frugal type, this may be a good initial hook.

If he doesn't even have his own computer and internet access already, though, the price of entry to use the "free" services offered by the library may still be a pretty substantial obstacle for him.
posted by trunk muffins at 7:16 AM on May 3, 2010

He has no computer or cell phone and no internet service/cable in his home.

Jumping to an iPod may be too much of a leap for someone who has no computer. Getting a computer would be enough of a first step and getting comfortable with that would be a huge second step. In the interim perhaps the good old fashioned CD is the technology for him. He can buy a few of his all-time favorites, and perhaps you can burn some mix CD-R's from the library material he finds.
posted by fairmettle at 7:30 AM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

If he has no computer and no internet, he won't be able to do much with it besides what you give him, but you and he don't mind that, it seems like it wouldn't be too much harder to figure out an iPod than it would a Walkman.
posted by asciident at 8:38 AM on May 3, 2010

Especially since you're going to have to be the person to set this up, I'd really go down the cheaper MP3 path. You can get so much for so little, and iTunes is actually really overwhelming to some new computer users. Something little with a little screen and solid, obviously play/stop/pause button has really helped bring my older relatives into the digital age.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:48 AM on May 3, 2010

A portable satellite radio player and XM subscription might be a good alternative, since it works more like a radio and there would be nothing to load.

Also, you might check if the local library has a "playaway" collection. Mine added some last year, they are little mp3 devices preloaded with an entire audiobook. The sound is a little tinny, but they are very easy to use.
posted by susanvance at 10:20 AM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

I got my Mum an ipod nano with a whole bunch of her favourite greatest hits albums and set it to shuffle. We got her an alarm clock with dock to recharge it and she's good to go. Most importantly, I drew out a page with basic on/off, play, pause, skip instructions (with arrows and illustrations). She loves it a thousand percent more that her old walkman or diskman.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:27 AM on May 3, 2010

Sansa Fuze mp3/mp4 player?

Small, durable, very light, FM radio, CHEAP.

I have a 2GB and it is working very nicely. Even records audio.
posted by jstarlee at 11:05 AM on May 3, 2010

If he likes showtunes and you want to get him hooked on the internet, record several hours of AccuRadio's Broadway station, the Maximum Broadway channel from Live365, or Standing Room Only on on weekends. Then stick the recordings on an mp3 player that's easy to use when walking (that is, hardware controls, not an iPod Touch). The only investment for you would be an mp3 player and maybe an audio recording program (Total Recorder is great, though not simple), and then the time to show him how to put it all together when he ends up, as you say, hooked with a capital H.

Good luck. You're a nice niece (or nephew).
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 3:31 PM on May 3, 2010

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