Microsoft to punt pensioner-proof PC
Slippers, pipe not included
Miss Daisy will soon be able to drive herself around a PC, because Microsoft has announced plans to build a senior-citizen friendly PC.
Microsoft's US arm already sells the so-called “SeniorPC", which is an “HP computer that comes equipped with user-friendly software specifically geared to senior living”.
It isn’t clear if Microsoft’s just expanding the US scheme at this stage or creating a new SeniorPC with another computer manufacturer, but the software giant is planning to work with charities Age Concern and Help the Aged to bring the concept to the UK.
Oldies will get some software allowing them to manage their medical prescriptions and simplified versions of existing applications, such as photo management packages, will be included. A Microsoft spokesman refused to provide any further details about the scheme in the UK - or perhaps he just didn’t have his hearing aid switched on.
In the US, Microsoft’s cheapest SeniorPC costs $1175 (£595/€760) - or around six weeks of basic UK state pension payments for a single person. The 3.2GHz HP PC runs on Windows Vista Home Premium, has a 17in display and comes with the aforesaid prescription software, which reminds users when to take their medication - provided the PC’s turned on of course.
Several gadgets have already been redesigned with the elderly in mind. For example, a US firm has designed a slider mobile phone that’s compatible with hearing aids and which can also magnify on-screen text - in case you lose your glasses.
Microsoft’s first UK SeniorPC is due out within 12 months.
Blue screens for the bluehairs?
Re: Does this mean
Nice one Stu. We pensioners might get a little tired in the afternoon because some of our brains have degraded from having to invent a lot of this computing stuff.
I can only sleep on a few afternoons, as I spend the rest of them teaching other retired people computing. No, I do not recommend anything from Microsoft.
Fortunately, I don't need to remember to turn on our home computers so that they are ready for use. Two of them are energy efficient Debian servers (<10 watts), and are on all of the time. The other two can be easily awoken from OS X's 'Sleep' mode.
As an aside, most of us oldies know the difference between "their" and "there".
Giving Vista the keys to the medicine cabinet?
Are they mad? I have Vista set up to record Doctor Who on a Saturday. Sometimes it does it. Sometimes it decides to completely ignore it, and other times it goes completely berserk and records it about six times.
Anybody else seeing a problem with trusting it to tell you when to take your medication?
Linux for pensioners
The PC would need to be cheap, so 2nd hand. Virus proof so Linux and hard to fiddle with so Linux again. It should not run MSN Live messenger but an IM chat compatible with MSN. It should be impossible for the grandchildren to install comet cursors and Limewire, so Linux again.
It would need to handle all the Supermarket websites because pensioners love home delivery. Need good photo software as pensioners love taking pictures of the family. Simple email program with a good ISP to handle loads of attached photos. It would need a good printer, preferably a colour laser for prining all those retirement club news letters and mailshots. A really big screen so the text is nice and large.
So an old P4 running Mepis with a 21" CRT screen being given away by the local graphic design company.
A 'state' pensioners viewpoint
First, I live on a state pension. this means my rent and 'community' tax is paid out of your taxes along with health,dental and optical care. As is usually the case of us oldies, I have no savings to fall back on. This general overview is typical of my generation but I'm not complaining because I now have all the time in the world to do the things I really want to do. (finances permitting).
Second, my hobby, interest, past-time, obsession (delete as suits) is computers both inside and out. Basic economics dictate that I build my own computers. ATM a 3Gb machine hopefully soon to become a 3.2Gb dual core machine. Last year I installed Ubuntu because I couldn't keep up with Micro$hafts OS's so with the advent of 6 flavours of Vi$ta I decided enough was enough and thought I'd try Gnu/Linux. What a wake-up call that was. I still have problems with the learning curve but I'm happy with that, (gotta chase the braincells around now and again even if there is only two of them left). I only know two people, both almost half my age, who know as much or more than I do and they're both M$ orientated, in fact it is their field of work, so help can be a bit limited there.
Back to the point. The idea of a 7th? version of Vi$ta makes me cringe, especially as the cost will be way out of my income bracket, besides I don't want a sawn off version of an OS. I want the real thing. ATM I dual boot with M$ XP Pro and Ubuntu ver:8.04. I've managed to find all the programs I need in open source with the exception of games so I keep XP. I could waffle on but I must shuffle along. I still need to worry about the obscene necessities of life, you know, like food, clothes etc. Anyway I'm determined to beat that snail to the corner of the road this time as I've now got 'go faster' stipes on my walking frame. Tata for now.