What should I install on my granfather's new computer?
February 1, 2007 1:05 AM   Subscribe

I just got my grandfather a new computer. How can I make that computer useful and fun?

I just got my grandfather a dual core computer. His old computer was a celeron with windows 98 and was full of malware and viruses. He has had a computer for 6 years, which he uses for email, basic digita photography, word processing and accessing his bank accounts online.

My grandfather cannot see very well, and has very hard time with computer screen. Because of that - he's slow with his mouse and reactions on the screen and has hard time understanding complicated visual information.

I want to get some computer games. I'm looking for suggestions - they must be pretty straight forward, without too many complicated visual options. Turn based if strategic, no time limit otherwise. No fast reactions and simple interface. I'm also looking for 3d enverionemnts he can explore to enjoy the full processing power of his computer - but without fast monsters of foes. Also, malware-free card games from the net are most appericiated. I could not find any.

I also want his new computer to be intresting, amazing and useful. So far I thought of the following options:
- Shortcuts to online tv stations
- Shortcuts to online encylopedia
- Copying music, movies and tv shows to his machine
- Installed anti virus and firewall, picasa for photography.

What else can I install to wow him and makle his computer experience better?
posted by ye#ara to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Searching Metafilter for Flash Friday or just the Flash tag will bring up a whole host of very simple, addictive games which are also free.

You could also try installing Google Earth and Stellarium which are quite awe inspiring programs to fool around with for those not familiar with them.
posted by fire&wings at 1:54 AM on February 1, 2007

The firefox extension reveal
has a magnifing glass that might help him with his sight issues.

This looks like it might do a similar but more general job
posted by Touchstone at 3:00 AM on February 1, 2007

I'll pass on the games, as this is a very personal and subjective subject. If he likes WW II games, there are plenty of turn based "Battle of Europe" type games in the old school Avalon Hill vein.

My father (in his early 70s) is endlessly fascinated by Encarta, which I buy him new every year. The interactive nature of the encyclopedia, where you can explore maps, link to other things, see video, listen to famous speeches, etc... is simply amazing. My father becomes a small child and will sit for hours getting distracted by new things every day.

My father also finds the National Geographic DVDs entertaining. (I've bought him the maps and the back issues of the magazine on DVD).

For me though, nothing is better than email from my father. He only lives about 150 miles away, so I can see on weekends, but it's a real pleasure to actually have a conversation with him. I feel that as we've both grown older, we appreciate the ability of the internet to keep us, and other members of my family who live far away, close.

I wish both you and your grandfather well, and hope you both find some fun software.
posted by kungfujoe at 3:32 AM on February 1, 2007

Sorry, one more suggestion. If you can afford it, get a large monitor and run it with a low resolution. Helps my father's failing vision as well.
posted by kungfujoe at 3:34 AM on February 1, 2007

Nethack. Turn based strategy, hours of fun. Not complicated visually at all. Whack up the resolution and make the letters nice and big.
posted by corvine at 4:34 AM on February 1, 2007

(er, whack down the resolution, I meant)
posted by corvine at 4:34 AM on February 1, 2007

I bought my dad SimCity 4 for Christmas when it came out, and he still plays it daily. The last time he really played video games was the Legend of Zelda for NES.
posted by Loto at 4:49 AM on February 1, 2007

+++ For Google Earth and Stellarium.

Stuff that is basic to us is so impressive to someone new to the Internet. My grandfather was very impressed with various news websites -- ABC [US] and the BBC in particular -- and the Library of Congress website.

Zombie City Tactics. A great game for everyone, but especially your grandfather (the zombies like elderly brains best).
posted by Rock Steady at 7:28 AM on February 1, 2007

Get him a keyboard with BIG LETTERS - you can order stickon letters. Crosswords, sudoku, etc. Get the family to send him their favorite youtube links to things he'd enjoy. Email, esp. with pictures, got my Mom to use a pc.

If you could show him how to set up a blog, and post stories about his life, maybe even with pictures, it would be a fabulous family treasure.
posted by theora55 at 8:46 AM on February 1, 2007

Celestia is fun, or fun to watch in demo mode (press D). Its free too.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:25 AM on February 1, 2007

Ha! A blog!
I should have thought about it.
I will totally set him up one. He started writing some life experienece, he should post them online.

So far he liked Google Earth and Magnifier. This weekend I will try Celestia, the Zombies and Stellarium. Will my grandfather appriciate YouTube? It is going to be intresting.

I don't think there's Encarta in Hebrew, and reading English from the screen is a bit harsh, but I'll set him up with the Hebrew wikipedia link.

I thought about SimCity, but I'm a bit reluctant - I remember the interface as very busy with each button with its own submenu and multiple options. I wish Rollercoaster Tycoon was slower and not as complicated too. These are two awesome games. I'll give it a try though.

Thanks for your suggestion!
My grandfather is going to have fun.
posted by ye#ara at 11:31 PM on February 1, 2007

« Older My dryer no longer heats up!   |   So, What is that Sneaky Music, Anyway? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.