a PC without Windows

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  #1  
Old 02-18-02, 05:23 PM
rhhjr
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a PC without Windows

Hi all. I'm looking for an easy to use, slimmed down version of a PC. I want something that will allow the user to access the Internet and send/receive Email and that's it. (It would also be handy if this device didn't force you onto one specific ISP). I have an elderly person in mind who won't be able to master Windows. Does some manufaturer make a box like this ? I remember reading about a device called, I think, "Audrey", but a search of that name on this forum found nothing. Any info would be appreciated and I'll keep you all posted as to my findings and especially how the product works out if I buy something.

PS: Mom thanks you in advance.
 
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Old 02-18-02, 07:02 PM
bigmike
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Cool Web TV

Web TV would be your choice...
 
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Old 02-18-02, 07:51 PM
mikejmerritt
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I fixed my father up with a WebTV setup for the same reasons you give and it has been perfect. I set the ISP up on my BellSouth phone bill and Web TV gives a discount for using your own ISP or you can use the Web TV ISP service. It works out about the same on the money but Web TV stays a little more clogged traffic wise than the BellSouth account....Mike
 
  #4  
Old 02-19-02, 05:35 AM
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Earthlink also has an e-mail only system:

http://www.mymailstation.com/
 
  #5  
Old 02-19-02, 05:55 AM
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Juno And NetZero does also.
 
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Old 02-20-02, 06:22 AM
rhhjr
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OK, thanks for the ideas - now I've got some research to do. (I was surprised by the positive comments on Web TV. I had heard that a lot of Web pages didn't display correctly on a TV). Also looking at a Compaq IPAQ IA-2 and would appreciate hearing from anyone who has one or has checked them out......thanks again.
 
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Old 02-21-02, 12:06 PM
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How come you press harder on a remote control when you know the battery is dead?
Because it works!!
 
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Old 02-22-02, 08:32 AM
The Soulgirl
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Originally posted by rhhjr
OK, thanks for the ideas - now I've got some research to do. (I was surprised by the positive comments on Web TV. I had heard that a lot of Web pages didn't display correctly on a TV). Also looking at a Compaq IPAQ IA-2 and would appreciate hearing from anyone who has one or has checked them out......thanks again.
Aaargh.. never buy a Compaq - they have very bad reviews this side of the world.

If you didnt want windows especially, you could always set up a little linus or unix box. They are pretty barebones.
 
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Old 02-22-02, 02:18 PM
jlbos83
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This is going to hurt to say.....
But if that's all you want it for, what is there to 'master' to use Windows? Set it up so that doing anything else is difficult. Most of the other solutions are probably harder to use.
 
  #10  
Old 02-22-02, 06:15 PM
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I wasn't going to go there, jlbos, but I agree; really what's so mystifying about Windows? Worst case you dump everything non-essential, delete all the icons on the desktop and install AOL (of which I'm not a fan or user, but it works for a lot of people). When you turn on the computer it boots to desktop and you have one icon to click on to access the internet and check your email.

I helped my own mother shop for a computer (a Toshiba laptop) two years ago and she does fine (she's on the high side of 70) with AOL.
 
  #11  
Old 02-22-02, 06:59 PM
The Soulgirl
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Originally posted by the_tow_guy
I wasn't going to go there, jlbos, but I agree; really what's so mystifying about Windows? Worst case you dump everything non-essential, delete all the icons on the desktop and install AOL (of which I'm not a fan or user, but it works for a lot of people). When you turn on the computer it boots to desktop and you have one icon to click on to access the internet and check your email.

I helped my own mother shop for a computer (a Toshiba laptop) two years ago and she does fine (she's on the high side of 70) with AOL.
Oh my god.. delete all icons and install AOL? Are you on drugs?

That is the last thing I would install.... I would rather config a ****ty dial up than install that! Luckily I have adsl so dont have to but never advise someone to install AOL!!!!! LOL
 
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Old 02-22-02, 08:09 PM
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Soulgirl, you will note that I qualified my remarks by saying I was neither a fan nor user of AOL, I simply used it as an example because the concept was to make the unit as idiot-proof (no slam intended there, rhhjr) as possible for internet/email. I started to say 1 icon for dial up, 1 icon for IE, and 1 for email and then remembered that 1 aol icon would suffice for all three. Would I actually do this? What are you, on drugs??? ROFLMAO
 
  #13  
Old 02-22-02, 08:33 PM
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Good intentions, risky results.

Hi,

Last year, Best Buy sold specialty boxes that resembler phone answering machines, marketed by several well know competiting companys. They are offer varying degrees of access, but center around a simple email box but often without graphics capability I think.

They all require an ISP thought, however most of them include the setup and overhead cost with the cost of the machine. It's as simple as you can get. Look for them in the palmtop department or ask for them, since they don't have a department of their own.

They are pricey and may cause you to hestitate to invest in something out of the mainstream.

Like you, I know older people that could use a simpler system. I am concerned that they may not even use the new device if they are unable or resistent to using a pc. So your money may be wasted. For a fact, it happens all the time.

On the other hand, older persons that really want to get email, are more capable than we want to give them credit for. We remember our own difficult learning curve with PC's, which never ends, and we don't know where or how to introduce this techology to older persons.

Try the obvious. Set her up with a vanilla pc, no modications nor added software. Show her how to turn it on, hand her a 20 page store bought booklet on how to use it, and come back in 6 months. Chances are they will either learn to use it, or they will not have used the $200 email machine you bought them either.

The email machine has the disadvantage, that you now become their sole tech support personnel, which you cannot perform because you do not own nor use one. You will get the blame for obstructing their learning or access to the net. In a mere week, you will deeply regret your actions after each phone call from them. You might overload yourself with guilt, because you might be able to help them, if you went to their house. The first visit is glorious, you do all the talking, they do all the listening, we feel good. It pretty much gets worse from there.

"Hello, aunt Sally,...did you try this.... .... that...hmmm... I need to come over to see what you are doing.... I'm busy tonight,.... next week, no wait, uh....Im sorry...."

If they want an email machine, give them the money and let them buy it. If they cannot do that, then reconsider your good intentions. You are not the first to want to bring the net to someone in the dark, but throwing a few hundred bucks their way will not get the job done.

In the end, they must performed the minimum desired needed actions to enter the internet/email world.

Goodluck.

Lugnut

As a footnote, elderly people with poor vision may struggle to see the small buttons on the machine, and their even smaller labels, not to mention the small screens that the email are displayed on.
 
  #14  
Old 02-22-02, 11:38 PM
mikejmerritt
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This could go on forever.....

.....but I still stay with Web TV for this purpose. AOL....NEVER....Maybe easy but still Windows, OE and its identities to set and maintain, pop3, da de da forever trouble. On the subject of Windows nothing is easy from a "keeping it running" standpoint. Who is going to train for the maintainance, the blue screens, freezes, virus problems and AV updates, program clashes, heck it clashes with itself sometimes. Web TV-plug it in, very simple setup, fulproof mail system, no virus worries and get as big a TV as needed to see it. True some dropdown menus don't work right and some graphics get scrambled but these are far and few between. My father swore if we got this for him he would put it in his next garage sale. He now logs over 200 hours a month, has updated his TV size, has his own webpage, does his AARP on a national level now and is very curious about the next step which a PC. Web TV, what a steping stone its been for him....BTW, I think all of these thoughts in this thread are great ideas (well maybe not the AOL thing..LOL) and should help....Mike
 
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