Gramma's got a brand new tablet.
April 11, 2013 11:18 AM   Subscribe

The family got my grandma a Kindle Fire HD for her birthday, and I have the weekend to load it up with apps before mailing it off to her. I know positively zip about the Kindle, and I'm looking for recommendations and tips.

Gram is 89 and has a computer for about a decade. By "using" I mean she knows that if she clicks on the FACEBOOK icon, it goes to facebook (which stops and ends for her at the news feed) and that if she clicks on the EMAIL icon, it goes to gmail. She knows how to click on a link. For a few weeks we had her up on Skype using a webcam, but then something happened (I suspect she unplugged the camera) and that doesn't work anymore. She has an old dumbphone and knows how to text. She has played Angry Birds on my mom's ipad. THAT IS OFFICIALLY ALL THE COMPUTER KNOWLEDGE SHE HAS.

So, what I want to do is set this Kindle Fire up to do the following:

1) Facebook, permanently signed in
2) Gmail, permanently signed in
3) Skype (or similar, something the rest of the family can use with her), permanently signed in
4) WiFi (she's got it at her house, 1200 miles away from me) already signed in, permanently signed in, and set up for multiple networks so she can use it when she goes to my Uncle's house.
5) Games that are set at her own pace that aren't terribly challenging. (Catapult games, word games, card games are all good.)
6) Some sort of unfuckupable protection over the whole thing so that she doesn't accidentally delete everything. (Is there a child lock or something?)

I'm pretty confident she won't be using it for reading, movie watching (for anything other than the occasional youtube clip), or music.

Can you guys point me to good apps and resources for this kind of thing?

posted by phunniemee to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Actually, you know what, I think I will set it up with some books and stuff. She'd probably like that. Sorry, thinking out loud here.
posted by phunniemee at 11:29 AM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We gave one to my MIL, and she LOVES it!

So load on some movies, books, etc.

I love my Scrabble App! It was .99, and well worth it.

I think that the Kindle itself has a protection, so explore that. (I see toddlers on planes playing Angry Brids on them.)

Upload pictures of the family, that's always nice. My Mom is forever saying, "Want to see a picture of my GrandDog," to strangers in line at the bank.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:32 AM on April 11, 2013

I have a feeling Grandma won't be using the new device too much no matter how much time & energy you spend on it this weekend. Don't kill yourself here.

What you might want to do is, after she receives the gift, a) let her know what the heck it is she's receiving b) point out some of the stuff she currently uses (walk through it with her) and c) ask her if she wants further help getting it set up and using it. Let her know you're available for help with the device going forward. Watch for signs of impatience or fatigue and end the session if you see them. Then walk away quietly. :-)
posted by Currer Belfry at 11:33 AM on April 11, 2013

Response by poster: Currer Belfry, you make some good points, but I need to stress that I live 1,200 miles away from her and no one is going to be there to walk her through it. I need to turn this thing into a Prepackaged Grandma Device so that all she has to do is turn it on--her stuff will already be there. (I'll obviously try as best I can to walk her through it over the phone, but something as simple as "type in your password" is just going to be completely lost.)

Is there some sort of app that would work like texting over a phone? (As in, my brother and I can text from our iphones and it would show up on her kindle and she can text us back from the kindle?) Is that a thing?
posted by phunniemee at 11:37 AM on April 11, 2013

Best answer: If you set her up with a Google Voice account, any text messages sent to her (free) number will be displayed in the app.

Disclaimer: Not sure Google's own voice app works with a Fire, although somebody probably has a third-party program that does the same thing and hooks into the same system.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:54 AM on April 11, 2013

Best answer: You can get her the TextNow app or another texting app.

The Tulsa library sometimes has e-reader workshops. You could check her local library's website if they offer a similar class.

I would spring for a gift card for her account so she can add her own content if she is interested.

Set up the favorites section (the STAR on the opposite side of the HOME icon) with her go to apps.

A must have for me is a battery meter app. Otherwise, it's hard to tell how long I can keep using the darn thing.
posted by dragonplayer at 11:58 AM on April 11, 2013

I always recommend photo tutorial if possible. Print it out and send it with the kindle.
posted by Jacen at 12:15 PM on April 11, 2013

Best answer: Do both yourselves a favor and install
GoToMeeting (or, similar control my computer app) on it - will make life and instruction much simpler for you.
posted by Kruger5 at 1:01 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If she reads books, check to see if her local library has Overdrive or some other kind of ebooks subscription. There's a small setup involved.
posted by bentley at 2:35 PM on April 11, 2013

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