Which ipad & apps should we give Pops?
December 2, 2011 3:35 PM   Subscribe

Which ipad and apps for an easily bored father with few interests?

My father-in-law is a man of few/no hobbies. He's always been tough to shop for. His preferred ways to spend his time are working (home repair), channel surfing (I've seen him watch a complete movie maybe twice in the 20+ years I've known him), going to garage sales and finding "good deals", and driving around on excuses which basically just give him reasons to be out and driving around. Previously, we've generally given him tools, toolboxes, or gift certificates to tool supply places. Oh, and lottery tickets. He likes those.

Recent heart & lung issues have forced him into a retirement for which he is not prepared, and very little driving around can be done. He's got more tools than he can conceivably use. We'd like to give him a Christmas gift that would be at least a little distracting, so we're thinking about getting him an ipad. He enjoys playing solitaire and other card-type games on his desktop. He does a little net surfing, but isn't really into social media. Our thought is that an ipad would at least let him wander out onto the porch or into his garage hideout with something engaging; he could also take it with him to his (numerous) doctor visits.

He won't be using tons of memory; I'll preload some Elvis and a few game apps for him. I thought we could get away with the low-end ipad, but my son cautions me he's heard that a good portion of the available memory is already consumed by non-removable apps that my f-i-l won't use. I'm leary of spending too much on something that could be dropped. I'd considered a low-end laptop, which would be a bit cheaper, but husband thinks the touch functionality of the ipad would be engaging for f-i-l. We're probably going to start him off with Solitaire, Mah Jong, and Plants vs. Zombies. I can't see him playing Infinity Blade... I'm going to look for webcasts featuring RV travel, since he'd like to learn more about that. Searching through askme showed me book reader apps to get, so I'm good there.

I'm looking for your suggestions as to which ipad to get, and also suggestions for best self-contained apps/games for:

--- stopping smoking
--- anything fans of garage sales would like
--- car repair/ classic car interest
--- easy to learn but fun gambling games (with no real money involved)
--- slot machines?
--- casual games for casual gamers that don't require a lot of sharp vision skills (eyes aren't so great anymore either) and won't be too frustrating for an older guy to learn.
posted by theplotchickens to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Ticket to Ride is a great boardgame that was pretty recently made into an app and it's so so good. It takes (literally) a minute to learn and games aren't too long/drawn-out. I think he would like it.
posted by kate blank at 3:42 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If he likes garage sales, does he know about eBay?

Angry Birds. The only other game I play on my iPhone (or anywhere, actually) is solitaire, but I am addicted to Angry Birds.
posted by MexicanYenta at 3:55 PM on December 2, 2011

Best answer: Throw in a year's netflix subscription, since he liked channel surfing...
posted by tomswift at 3:59 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think the 16gb is fine, unless he's going to be putting a ton of movies on there. I've got a ton of apps on mine, and still have 12gb free (haven't put any movies or music on there)

We got my dad an iPad and he absolutely loves it (we weren't sure he would - it's his first ever computing device). He sounds similar to your dad. He liked links for Craiglist and Kijiji, so he could find cheap deals.

He likes Words With Friends (mostly so he can play against his kids and my mom).

He loves using google maps satellite map to explore. Your dad might like having a 3G model for the GPS, if he is able to start driving more.

I got him the iPad For Seniors for Dummies book, and he liked that.

Get him a case. My dad didn't seem to be a big fan of the smart cover, but your results may vary.

There's a Crosswords app (called Crosswords - by Stand Alone Inc - this one) that he likes. And Sudoku (can't recall which app he has).

He still needs a decent calculator app. Calcbot or Soulver were my suggestions.

You can give him some e-books. Heck an ebook on an Arduino, and an actual Arduino Starter Kit (if you want to spend a bit more money) might be something he likes if he's a tinkerer. His eyesight might be an issue, though.

Oh, and my dad loves weather apps. THere are plenty to choose from.
posted by backwards guitar at 4:10 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just set up my mom with an iPad, and it really helps to show apps to newbies that teach what is possible with the device. If he loves tools, than he will appreciate some of the apps that are actual tools!

First, get one of the many simple Bubble Level apps. It will be familiar, and may surprise him that this computer-thingy can also be a real level! But then some of them can also be surface levels, and plumb lines, etc.

If he is into woodworking, there is an app called I.D. Wood that is a cool reference guide for working with wood, and could be a good supplement to his real shop!

As backwards guitar mentioned, Google Maps is great, but Google Earth really wows people and can teach them how to use multi-touch.

I have a calipers app, and another that can convert units.

I also have an app in my Toolbox folder called My Measures, that allows you to take a picture of something and fill in measurements. For example, you could take a picture of your living room, and fill in ceiling heights, width of the room -- might be a good reference to have if he is buying large pieces of furniture at garage sales!

Of course, there is ebay and a number of craigslist apps, but one helpful thing may be to get an RSS Reader app like Reeder. Then, set up several RSS feeds that monitor craigslist for sales of things he is interested in. Then, when somebody posts something he might want, it will appear in Reeder! It is is like a robot constantly hunting garage sales for him! And if you can do the initial setup for him, it will just work invisibly for him!
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 6:10 PM on December 2, 2011

Best answer: Some of these turn based boardgames are amazing, but check the graphics first: http://ipadboardgames.org/
posted by craniac at 7:09 AM on December 3, 2011

Best answer: I should add that the iPad has some decent accessibility features for those with poor vision. The zoom feature would be particularly useful, I think.
posted by backwards guitar at 7:31 AM on December 3, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, mefites! Pops was really hesitant about the iPad at first, but I've been informal tech support for the last couple of days, and have high hopes. I think the ability to Skype with long-distance family from the holiday table is going to be a big win!
posted by theplotchickens at 3:19 PM on December 29, 2011

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