General Question

Pandora's avatar

Need help in finding a simple computer for elderly novice grandparents.

Asked by Pandora (29652points) March 18th, 2011

Our in laws has been asking for help in finding a computer for their needs. They asked my daughter to help but she said she doesn’t want to get caught up in being called all times of the night for computer questions that are more about the user than the actual computer. Cannot blame her. When they lived with my sister in law we would have to explain how to use skype over and over every time they wanted to use it. Anyhow, my husband has agreed to help and I am praying there is a computer for dummies.
They still don’t even know how to really use the gps. I don’t think this computer thing is going to go well. But, I hope someone can guide us to an easy computer (not lap top) and maybe have some suggestions for how they can learn how to use the computer with step by step instructions they can pop in their tV. So it can play and tell them what to do.

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31 Answers

missingbite's avatar

It depends on what they want to do. I know you said not a laptop and I can understand that. It isn’t the computer that is difficult, it’s the OS. A lot of elderly are using iPads. You can Skype with the iPad 2 just like an iPhone and do most of what a full desktop can do. Just a though.

erichw1504's avatar

Just saw an article about this computer.

RocketGuy's avatar

iPad – push the button and get results. Some seniors have trouble even moving a mouse.

Pandora's avatar

Thanks for the info. Mostly they want something to be able to skype and to store pictures and be able to recieve email and pictures. It is probably all they will use it for. I don’t forsee them using it to do searches or even download stuff or watch movies on it.

kevbo's avatar

There’s a computer called “Go” by FirstStreet that is based on market research. Alternatively, there are the “dashboard” products like the Chumby or Sony Dash.

Another route might be to find 24-hour tech support and have them subscribe to that.

BarnacleBill's avatar

iPad or a MacBook. You turn it on, it goes. There’s some good deals on refurbished MacBooks. Windows systems are great for people who run office or like to tweak their apps. That doesn’t sound like Grandma and Grandpa.

kitkat25's avatar

I am not sure what kind of computer would best suit their needs But I do know that the senior centers offer classes on beginning computer for seniors. Everything is explained very simply so you might want to look into signing them up for that.

Dog's avatar

I am going to second an iPad.

We got my Dad a laptop- set it up super easy- but he never got the hang of it. But for Christmas we got him an iPad and he is loving it.

He reads books on it, surfs the web and uses it as a gps and more. The battery life makes it ideal and it is light weight like a book.

Here is a US News article- one of many if you surf the web.

jerv's avatar

I can see a few problems with the iPad idea. Sure, iOS is simpler than Windows, but it is still more complex than a Garmin GPS. Also, they tend to be not-so-great for people with less than great eyesight; a 9” screen is rather small. If they still have 20/20 then great, but I never had that luxury so I flavor larger screens, at least for any system I use for more than a few minutes at a time.

I would advise against Mac as well since they really have nothing to offer as far as simplicity goes. I mean, Ubuntu’s old Netbook Remix had a great looking Launcher and the new Unity desktop that Ubuntu is switching to is nearly as simple as UNR/UNE was, both of which are simpler than OS X but without the downfalls of iOS, like the fact that iOS and Skype don’t exactly get along

As much as I like Linux though, I think that setting up a Linux box would probably lead to a lot of questions that you may not have the answers to, like ,“Why are there penguins everywhere?”. Linux is easy for those who have at least some level of tech-savvy, but if your grandparents are anything like my wife’s folks then even a cellphone is pushing it (“What, you dial first and then hit the green button? But how do I get a dial tone?”) so I am going to recommend against even the awesome power of the user-friendly penguin and second @kevbo‘s suggestion, the Go Computer. If nothing else the unlimited email and telephone support may save you some hassle.

Pandora's avatar

@jerv, Reminds me of the time my husband used skype to call his mom. It went like this.
MIL- What number are you calling from? The cell-a-phone didn’t say it was you.
MH- Mom, I’m calling using skype.
MIL- What! You can see me on me on my cell-a-phone? How come I can’t see you?
MH- No mom, I’m calling you from my computer using skype.
MIL- Oh, ok, let me get your dad so he can help me see you.
MH- Never mind ma, my camera is broken.
MIL- Oh! I thought my cell-a-phone was broken.

Ivan's avatar

@Pandora @jerv

This is my recommendation:

1. Buy a netbook. Yes, they are small, but most of them have full-sized keyboards. There is just no reason why they would need a big, powerful laptop just to check their email and make a few Skype calls. A netbook would do everything they need it to for a fraction of the price.

2. Buy a mouse. Old people don’t do well with track pads.

3. Put some netbook-friendly distro of Linux on it (Like Ubuntu NBR or Jolicloud). Get one with the custom home screen/desktop with the giant icons. Set it up so that the first thing they see when they log in is a bright, colorful display of the shortcuts to the programs they’re going to use. That way, all they have to do is turn it on and click Firefox of Skype or whatever.

It might take a little bit of set-up and maintenance on your end, but as far as they’re concerned, it will just be plug-and-play.

Buttonstc's avatar

If you don’t want them calling you and your husband constantly (as you stated) there is one HUGE advantage that Apple products offer which seems to have been overlooked.

FREE TELEPHONE SUPPORT (NOT OUTSPURCED TO INDIA)

Their product specialists are extremely friendly and helpful and they are all based right here in good ol’ USA.

And they own and use the products. They are also used to dealing with clueless people.

I have not encountered a rude one yet. And the average wait time to speak to someone is well under 5 mins.(usually more like 2 or 3) This is in sharp contrast to the horror stories from folks dealing with other computer companies.

Consumer Reports (based upon feedback surveys from their users) has consistently rated Apple first on the list for support services year after year.

I can’t imagine elderly folks bring able to cope with any form of Linux no matter how simple it appears to computer
Geeks.

And it’s not as if they can call up Linus Torvald if they have a question.

One can take an ipad out of the box and begin using it immediately. And when ready for more, there’s a ton of mostly free Apps (which are safe from malware) that can be downloaded to do tons of other neat stuff.

And they can do that being guided through it in real time with a phone call to a friendly and competent Apple tech person at no charge.

If there were an elderly person in my life whom I wanted to introduce to the Internet and comp. usage I’d get an ipad first thing.

Years ago, the closest thing available for simplicity was getting a Sega Dreamcast with a keyboard and browser disk but it was limited to dial-up.

But the ipad is so much better. Why not visit an Apple store where they have them set up for people to try out. I don’t know of any other store selling computers where you can do that. In other stores They have them sitting there but you normally can’t actually do anything on them.

But the clincher for me would be the excellent phone support. There is nothing like it offered anywhere else afaik.

If you don’t want a zillion calls from them, this will be worth its weight in gold. Basically someone else is being paid to do the hand-holding and guidance for you.

rooeytoo's avatar

I would get them an entry level iMac with Apple Care. Then they can call apple whenever they have a problem or question. If they are lucky they will get a techie whose english is understandable. Mac’s are so user friendly, anyone can use one.

Tell you daughter when she was little she asked a lot of annoying questions over and over so have some respect and compassion for the oldies and give them a hand.

jerv's avatar

I agree that Apple has the best customer service in the industry. They sometimes fall a little flat when things get highly technical, but I seriously doubt your folks will be asking the same sort of questions I do in the rare occasions that I call Tech Support. The sort of things that Ubuntu has a whole forums to answer, a section of their website devoted to answering questions in a more straight-forward, less “forumy” fashion, and optional phone support

However, if a person cannot handle Linux then OS X is also out. I mean, OS X is basically a BSD kernel with a fancy UI; in other words, it is close enough under the hood that arguing otherwise would be an argument based more on semantics than merit. And if you throw Mac4Lin into the equation, the line pretty much disappears from an end-user standpoint. There are kids in Africa who are also computer illiterate (and often illiterate in general) who seem to be able to use Linux (specifically, the pared-down version of Fedora that the OLPC XO-1 uses) just fine.

One thing to bear in mind is that many people do not maintain their own systems, and many don’t even set them up. I am going to guess that even with a Mac, you are going to have to walk them through the setup, how to handle the icons, etcetera, especially if they used something else. I can’t get my stepfather to upgrade from MS Office 2003/WinXP and he is a smart guy who actually is rather tech-savvy except when it comes to computers. No matter which way you go, you are going to have to set it up for them. However, I think that an OS that already has Skype and Firefox pre-installed might be quicker to set up than one that doesn’t.

And I beg to differ about the iPad’s reliability and freedom from malware. Maybe I’ve seen too many underhanded things that are technically legal to trust the “no malware” claim, or maybe I’ve seen too many app crashes under iOS4 to agree about stability.

Maybe if there were an Apple desktop system that were available for cheap then I might think otherwise. But a Mac Mini (the cheapest Mac desktop) starts at more than I paid for a better PC and doesn’t include a monitor. The $1100 lowest tier iMac stilll costs a few hundred more than I paid for my more powerful PC plus a 31” LCD flatscreen. In fact, the price difference is about what I paid for my car! More powerful computer + much larger screen + a Toyota Corolla… sounds like a better use of $1200 to me :D

@Ivan There are some inexpensive, low-powered laptops that run about the same price as some people charge for a netbook. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my old Aspire One (a first-gen with an 8.9” screen), but I have to admit that many things are much better and easier on my 13” T135 thanks to the larger screen and keyboard.
You are dead-on about the trackpad, though some people find trackballs easier; some mice require a hand position that some people may find uncomfortable or impossible. At the very least, most mice require you to grip them between your thumb and pinky, and that can be tricky if you have arthritis or other dexterity issues.

missingbite's avatar

@jerv Have you ever used an iPad? As far as eyesight, all they have to do is pinch and expand to get font as large as they need. Then a finger swipe to read.

Simplicity is what the mac platform is based on. No need to open terminal or anything else. Especially on an iPad.

If they live close to an apple store, purchase one to one. Practically unlimited training sessions with an apple geek. Take your husband out of the picture.

Set up on a mac can be done by a monkey. Turn it on and answer a few questions with help over the phone with your husband if need be.

Email, Web, Photos, Skype,...couldn’t be easier for a senior on an iPad. No need to go farther.

jerv's avatar

@missingbite Yes, and I have also used Ubuntu without opening a terminal.

Setup for Ubuntu is pretty easy as long as I remember three things; I speak English, live in the Pacific time zone, and my name is [redacted]. Unlike my friend’s MacBook Pro, Ubuntu saw and connected to my router with no issues; the auto-configuration in Ubuntu is pretty damned good these days and the wifi tools are better.

Simplicity is what the Ubuntu platform (as well as many other Linux distros) is based on too. Many Linux distros operate on the assumptions that many people are technologically illiterate, and that former Windows and Mac users are scared of change. They are designed accordingly. If you think Linux is a bitch to use then you haven’t seen what has happened in the last few years. My wife found UNR super-simple, my kid cousin loved it better than Windows… basically, I have seen too many counter-examples and too many Mac users with questions to agree with you.

But let us not resume an eternal flame-war; there is an OP looking for an answer. My point is merely that iOS and OS X do not have a monopoly on ease of use, and there are other easy-to-use OSs out there that come with email, web, photo, and skype preinstalled. Apple isn’t the answer to everything; it is not the new 42. If I can save the OP a thousand dollars or more to get something that will fulfill their needs just as well and possibly better then I will try very hard to do so.

missingbite's avatar

@jerv No arguments here. I have just never seen Ubuntu and I would guess most seniors haven’t either. I do like apple products because they are simple and tech support is great.

Thanks for the info on Ubuntu. I will look into it.

jerv's avatar

@missingbite The first two links in my first post above have screenshots of a couple of variants, and even the current version of the stock Ubuntu has a desktop that is pretty similar to Windows.
I had a friend that used to install Linux on his customers systems, configure WINE, and skin it so that they didn’t even know they were running Linux. And if you look at Mac4Lin, you will see that Linux can be just as user-friendly as OS X.
The differrence is that most Ubuntu support is at the forums by members of the Ubuntu community rather than by a company. Sure, you can get professional help if need be, but it’s a far different thing from, say, Apple or Dell. It’s almost like the difference between Fluther and Wikipedia.

rooeytoo's avatar

@jerv – I am not ashamed to admit I have no idea what you are talking about ^ up there, hehehe. I have been using Macs for 12 years and never knew if I was a linux or a lucy!

I still vote for iMac, you gotta pay for quality and it doesn’t have an unsightly tower or box, just the graceful monitor and keyboard.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo If I had money to burn then I might agree. Then again, there are some not-bad looking PCs out there, and if you build your own which I have been known to do then there are many options for custom cases.

As for the all-in-one designs like the iMac and some PCs, I prefer desktop power as opposed to underpowered laptop components and modular systems as opposed to ones that must be replaced in their entirety if anything goes wrong. Techs generally do too, so better hope and pray that nothing goes wrong with your hardware… and if the stats I’ve read are correct, then your Apple is barely any more reliable than many brands of PC.

Now, the OP may be able to get away with a computer that has specs that are a few years behind the times and pay tomorrow’s prices for the privilege, but even if I could, I wouldn’t. You may be willing to pay for pleasant voices on the phone, but I prefer not having to call tech support in the first place. That is also much of the reason I educated myself about computers… and cars too, since I don’t like (or trust) mechanics. You may be willing to pay 3–5 times what something is worth to make it look fractionally sexier, but I am willing to tolerate a little ugliness in exchange for a 50–80% discount.

I am not surprised that you are unfamiliar with Linux since they don’t advertise the way Apple and Microsoft do. That may be because they are not profit-driven, but rather motivated by providing the best product they can; if they advertised then they would need to charge money. How good is Linux? Many servers run it, over 90% of the fastest supercomputers in the world run it, many governments run it…. that sounds like quality to me.

However, they don’t run cutesy eye-candy ads. In fact, it is fairly recent that they even decided to go mainstream at all. Of course, now that they have, they are doing what they can to make it more accessible to people who don’t know about computers. People who don’t know the difference between USB and IBS.

Now, do you like systems that are powerful, reliable, and easy to use, or do you prefer to follow the logo and base your decision on marketing? And how much extra money are you willing to pay for it?

For purposes of full disclosure, I am a reformed Mac-fanatic who went to the PC side when I had to start paying for my own hardware and who was impressed by how much faster and more powerful PCs were. Over the years, the evolution of Windows and the rise of Linux have shattered the notion in my mind that Apples are the simplest systems out there. I still respect Macs for what they are, but they are not nearly as great as some people seem to think. And in today’s economy, I cannot sit idly by while people spend more than they need to to get what can be gotten for far less.

Buttonstc's avatar

@jerv

I seriously doubt that newbie senior citizens are going to need tons of power the way that a computer geek as well versed in technology as yourself.

I really think you way way underestimate how difficult it can be for some people to adapt to new technology.

If they have difficulty using a GPS system, realistically I can’t imagine them searching all around a Linux Forum, can you? Honestly?

And they don’t need to spend major bucks. For THEIR purposes (NOT YOURS) an ipad can meet their needs just fine with far less outlay than for ANY KIND of regular computer, tower or laptop.

I understand completely why its “walled garden” approach could never meet your needs. But let’s face it, your needs are totally different from theirs.

You spent considerable time and energy to educate yourself about all the nuances of various operating systems and probably saved a boatload of money in the process.

But it’s pretty obvious that’s not high on their priority list. They want to enjoy their golden years and stay in touch with family and friends in the easiest way possible. These are exactly one of the groups of people for whom the ipad was designed.

It’s not designed to appeal to a technologically sophisticated user such as yourself. They just want something that works without a whole lot of hassle (according to the OP)

I don’t think they would even need a regular Mac. It would be far more than what their needs would seem to be at this time.

And if they master the ipad in a year or so and are eager to expand their capabilities, they can easily upgrade to a regular computer of any type.

From what the OP described, I just don’t think that would be happening all that soon, if at all.

YOU might want more for them. But it’s their life. If they are happy with the capabilities of the ipad (walled garden and all) who are we to look down our noses at them (or at the son and daughter who are delighted that a company with EXCELLENT tech support can take their place hand holding them through how to use the dang thing)?

Sometimes the easy way is the best way for some people.

And, I have absolutely zero idea what you are talking about regarding malware through the App store. (I am NOT referring to stuff from Cydia and apps for jailbroken phones).

I have downloaded tons of the most popular free apps from the app store and never encountered any malware problem nor read of anyone else encountering such.

I suppose it’s possible but it is CERTAINLY NOT as widespread as using any of the other computer OS in existence.

And if they inadvertently download an app with crap on it which somehow managed to elude the sharp eyes of the techs approving apps, it will certainly be known to the folks on the support line or at a (hopefully) local Apple Store.

How many other companies offer similar? And the Geek Squad at Best Buy doesn’t count because they aren’t free.

jerv's avatar

@Buttonstc True, but by I think they would want something powerful enough to respond to command inputs in a timely manner; something some computers these days cannot do, often due to bloated software. maybe my experience is unique, but I have seen iOS4 hesitate, hang, and crash often enough that I do not… cannot see it as the responsive, stable thing that others claim it is. In that respect, it is just another OS.

Maybe I do underestimate the difficulty others may have with stuff I do intuitively. I could fill a book with stuff I thought/think people know that they don’t. I mean, I understand them not being able to edit an FSTAB file, but I think that popping in a CD/DVD, answering a couple of questions, and looking at the pretty pictures is easily graspable by most people. BTW, how do you get an iPad to hook up to anything if you don’t do a bit of configuring? I actually had to do a bit more to get an iPod Touch (same thing, smaller screen) onto my home network than I did for WinXP, Win7, Ubuntu, or Android 2.2 which should tell you how simple some non-Apple stuff is.

My current (and quite powerful) computer cost less than an iPad. A system that could meet their rather meager needs could be had for next to nothing. I was under the impression that the iPad was for people that wanted a slim, lightweight system with basic functionality and were willing to pay quite a bit for that. Now, if you jsut want something that works without a lot of hassle, Apple fits the bill, but they are not the only ones that do, though they are the most expensive.

As for the malware, let me put it to you like this; I know for a fact what sort of access the apps on my Android have to my personal information and system functions. Granted, it takes a bit of skill to decipher what is what (a skill I don’t expect everyone to have) but I don’t have access to that information on Apple’s apps. So tell me, which is worse; a virus, or a piece of software that is designed to do something else but has code in it that sends your personal information somewhere you don’t want without your knowledge and/or consent? To my mind, they are functionally equivalent.

FYI, most Linux folks stick with the stuff in the repository that is known-good, tested, stable, etcetera. Ditto for the Android people. Those who go outside of those trusted channels for software (like most Windows users habitually do) may run into problems just as quick as someone with a jailbroken iPhone. However, that is a non-issue in this case since they will probably only use what comes in a basic install of Ubuntu, iOS, OS X, or Win7 anyways. Also, Unix-oid systems are inherently difficult to infect compared to other systems. Linux and OS X are pretty close to Unix, and iOS and Android are related, but Windows is something entirely different.

As for your last comment, all I have to say is Canonical.

*

I think we all want the same thing here; for the OP to get a system that is adequate but not overkill, that is easy for them to setup and their grandparents to use, and that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It seems that there is some disagreement on that last one, though that may have to do with the fact that I have a different definition of “too expensive”.
Despite the way I come across, I am not trying to blast Apple; I just feel that they are not the best solution to the OP’s situation. I honestly do, and I get a bit disturbed when many people recommend that the OP spend more than they need to for a product that is no faster, easier, more reliable, or otherwise better than less expensive alternatives.

Ivan's avatar

@Buttonstc

Geesh, fanboy much?

Look at the screenshot of Ubuntu Netbook Remix that @jerv posted. (Here it is, in case you missed it). Is there any reason to believe this would be any less intuitive or more difficult to use than an iPad? I know that Linux has this reputation (especially amongst mac fans) of being some sort of incomprehensible OS that only operates via the terminal and can only be used by those with PhD’s in computer science, but that’s never been true; there hasn’t even been a grain of truth to that since about 2005. Ubuntu (and its derivatives) are as easy to use and set up as any other OS.

Remember: that desktop in @jerv‘s screenshot can be customized in any way. All of the icons they’ll ever need to use can be placed right on the home screen, as big as you want them, with the title renamed to be as obvious as possible. Want a giant Firefox logo labeled “INTERNET”? No problem. Want Skype to have its logo changed to a phone with the label “Click this to call people”? You can do that, too. And did I mention that this route would save them hundreds of dollars?

Oh, and they would have the luxury of using a keyboard and mouse, too. Can you imagine a set of elderly, technology-illiterate people trying to type on a touch-keyboard? My young, computer-literate, gadget-loving self can barely type on those damn things.

jerv's avatar

@Ivan I agree that the inability to customize or even rename the icons is a failing for iOS (and thus the iPad), as is the lack of a physical keyboard. In this case, I think that the first flaw is fatal and the second depends on whether they actually replay to emails or just receive them. I know that I vastly prefer the large, spring-loaded keys of my laptop and desktop over the small spots on a hard pane of glass that my Droid X calls a keyboard, or even the relatively larger but still undersized spots of the same glass used by the iPad and Xoom.
As for customizations, Mac4Lin is classic :D

rooeytoo's avatar

If they are elderly, an iPad just doesn’t have a big enough viewing screen, a 27” iMac on the contrary is just about right for my old eyes!

I just reread the question and it doesn’t say they are looking for a “cheap” anything, they want simplicity and clarity, again I come up with Apple Care, always there and always ready to help. No midnight calls to relatives who are trying to sleep. And the older you get the more you use your puter at night, cuz you can’t sleep anymore!!!

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo True, and that was actually my first and biggest thing against the iPad in this instance. Now, if money is no object and/or the customer service is worth almost a grand to you, then a 27” iMac makes sense. But it makes less sense (to me) than a lesser computer with a larger screen and a lower price tag.
I am running with a 31” screen that I picked up for $350, and a Mac Mini, while still overpriced to my mind, would be more than adequate while still having the cure for cancer (a.k.a. OS X and Apple Care) and run $650 less. The savings would increase even more if the Apple stuff is less important to you. I’ve seen “nettops” for $200; only as powerful as a netbook, but tiny like the Mac Mini, powerful enough, and dirt cheap.

Regardless of the manufacturers customer service, the grandparents are still going to call the OP for help, so I consider Apple Care a non-issue. As I keep saying, Apple doesn’t have a monopoly on simplicity or clarity, and sometimes lack those qualities. I guess what it boils down to is whether it’s worth the added cost for something that may not see as much use as our computers, doesn’t reduce the number of calls to the OP, our doesn’t deliver as well as less expensive options. To me, its less about how much you can spend and more about getting the right tool for the job. Yeah, I mention price a lot, but only because of value. If I felt Apple actually offered something worth the prices they charge, I would’ve shut up long ago. But I don’t gold-plate everything I own and wipe with $100 bills; even if I had the money, gross displays of excess wealth (like over-spending just because I can) are not my style.

rooeytoo's avatar

(@jerv – I don’t believe you would ever shut up, heheheh smile, smile, smile! But no worries mate, I always learn something interesting from you. Really though, gross display of excess wealth just because you buy an iMac, that is a stretch.)

missingbite's avatar

If this 2 year old can find his way though anything else I’ll be sold. Until then, I believe a senior can figure this out. Even if they need glasses.

jerv's avatar

@missingbite If you can use a mouse, you can use UNR. If you can use Windows or OS X, you are over-qualified. KDE and Gnome are about as complex as Windows at worst, and you can skin them to look however you want, including OS X. The automatic updates of not only your system files but your applications as well is just a bonus.

@rooeytoo Bear in mind that you are talking to someone who has never earned more than $21k in a year and has spent most of their life where rents run $800+/month with nothing included. You might see how that affects my views, and how it forces me to learn skills. For instance, if you blew you cars head gasket, would you pay $700+ to take it to a garage, $500 to get a new car, or $50 and a weekend to replace the head gasket yourself? (Assume that you only have $100 in the bank and you still need groceries for the week before you answer that.) Do you see where I am coming from now?

rooeytoo's avatar

@jerv – I see that we all have choices and yours are different than mine. Not better, not worse, just different, so the results and expectancies of our lives are different. I admire your abilities, probably wish I had some of them and the others could care less! It’s what makes the world go round. Cheers matey!

To keep this on topic, we attend a monthly MUG group (Mac Users Group). I was astounded to see that most of the members in this particular group are almost all retirees. I have been in some groups where the members are all young graphic designers and assorted geeks. So Macs have wide appeal. And the MUG groups are great everywhere I have lived, very helpful and social.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo I can understand the appeal, especially given the cutesy ad campaigns. I am sure that if Canonical spent that much time, money, and effort on advertising, they would also have the same appeal though; I don’t see it being based solely on merit. I have lived in places that had LUGs (Linux User Groups) and seen people of all ages and stuff there so again, I fail to see a difference aside from exposure and coverage. But that is just my thoughts.

@Pandora If you still are considering going the Mac route, consider my suggestion of a Mac Mini hooked to a large 1080p flatscreen TV. While I still maintain that OS X is not the simplest OS to use, it seems that I am outnumbered by people who never tried Linux insisting otherwise and I tire of arguing. An iMac isn’t worthwhile unless you can get a steep discount, though aside from price, it is tolerable. I’d still rather spend less for a larger screen, but some people are willing to pay hundreds more to do away with the need for a monitor cable. C’est la vie.

If you want something that would be considerably easier for them to use and/or more affordable, you already know where I stand and will recommend specific hardware if you care, though it may require an hours worth of work from you. Still, I think its worth an hour to save hundreds of dollars and get better results in the process, but I also think that that makes me an aberration.

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