old computer for mother

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Postby Red-guy » 2007-05-29 02:24

I am reading my way through openssh...there is little chance for me to do anything in person (thanks Air Canada) She said that she knows someone there that is computer savey. So if I need to I can call him to do what I can't with SSH....I hope.:-)

Running into a few problems...having to re-install several times. Also started reading the howto by Lou
viewtopic.php?t=14129&highlight=speed+debian

Am planning to do all her updates that way (ssh) will test the stuff on a second computer here...then update her's....we don't want it to break! LOL
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my experiences

Postby joeyh » 2007-05-29 03:43

I suppose that parents vary, but both of mine, in their 60's have each been using Debian and gnome on their individual computers for years now.

(Other day I finally discovered vino, which should be really useful in those situations where you wish you could see what's on Dad's screen 500 miles away when he has a problem.)
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Postby Red-guy » 2007-05-29 04:47

Unfortunately, my mother will require very detailed instructions on just how to turn the computer on. She is looking to retire from her nursing job because they are going to add computers for the patient's charts.
Hence my need to try to get her computer literate in a hurry.:-)
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Postby joeyh » 2007-05-29 05:38

FWIW, when I first introduced my mother to using the WWW, she had a really hard time with it. Simple things like clicking on links with a mouse required more coordination than was easy for her, and websites were awefully complicated (just look at all the stuff on the sceeen on this one).

My solution was to set her up at a text console running lynx. And tell her to think of it as a typewriter. :-) Worked really well. She's since moved on to epiphany.
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Postby llivv » 2007-05-29 05:45

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Postby rbochan » 2007-05-29 09:52

nopposan wrote:AgenT said:
...Maybe you could teach me a thing or two, rbochan. I'm going to be setting up a "trailing edge" computer for our neighbor; I'm using it with Kubuntu Edgy right now, but I'd prefer to give her Debian as she won't be able to tweak and isn't computer savvy at all. Also, I'm still planning the laptop renovation & rental enterprise. So far I've installed Linux on four different laptops. Pulled one from the trash and made it usable with Debian and Xfce4; sold it instead of renting, but that's just because I don't have time right now to get the rentals going.

I'll be monitoring how this goes. Good luck.

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what's asked

Postby nopposan » 2007-05-30 03:19

'Sorry. No specific questions yet. 'Just letting you know I'm tuned in as I will soon be facing a similar situation setting up a computer to give to a senior neighbor who says she's been wanting to learn more about how to use the internet.

Cheers.
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more specifically

Postby nopposan » 2007-06-11 02:38

O.K., so I met another person today who might benefit from Linux. He's having trouble with a Windows XP setup that won't let his Firfox software connect to the internet. This guy's a senior citizen whom I met whilst unofficially demonstrating the powers of DSL at a resale shop. He's got poor vision and he really likes Firfox's <ctrl><+>,<ctrl><-> feature.

If there's a way to install Debian on a machine in a way that would be mostly hands off with regard to further maintenance then please let me know. All this guy needs is e-mail, web surfing, word processing, and maybe a little arts and graphics software. (GIMP and Scribus, I guess. He's a retired graphic artist.) Rob, maybe your script can help out? Or, do you have a package list for me? I was thinking I'd give this fellow a Debian Live CD to try out, and if he likes it then maybe I'll go ahead and install Debian Etch for him as dual-boot with his Windows XP.
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Re: more specifically

Postby Bulkley » 2007-06-11 02:54

nopposan wrote:If there's a way to install Debian on a machine in a way that would be mostly hands off with regard to further maintenance then please let me know.


"Live" CDs are one possibility.
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Postby Red-guy » 2007-06-11 04:51

Well, if you install plain Etch with the bare basics it should be fine for a long time. I don't think there are many changes through the year to it....just don't add any extra repositories.

In regard to my mother's computer, I needed to be able to SSH into it do help set it up as she needed. She has little computer experience, and never owned one before. I have tried Fluxbox and Gnome-core now...and Gnome-core seems to work better. light and fast enough on the 400Mhz.

Like was advised earlier light browser (epiphany), Abiword, webmail, and Gaim in my case so I can talk with her through the problems.:-) (oh, and OpenSSH)

Now if you have the time and "skill" you could create the live CD of the setup once you are done...and then if there was ever any issues, it is as simple as popping the disk back in.
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Postby llivv » 2007-06-11 05:32

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Re: more specifically

Postby rbochan » 2007-06-11 11:43

nopposan wrote:...Rob, maybe your script can help out?...

Check your PM's.
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Postby seshomaru » 2007-06-11 14:17

Pobega wrote:The easiest thing to do in my opinion would be to put Debian testing on her machine, and make a weekly anacron job for apt-get dist-upgrade, so that your mom doesn't fall far behind in updates. Most Debian breakage happens when you upgrade 5~6 versions of a program (Stable to stable), so long as your mother stays with testing she should have an easy time (And don't forget to open SSH access in case you have to fix something).


Why will she need updates?
Why not install Debian stable and disable updates altogether?
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Re: old computer for mother

Postby e1even1 » 2007-06-11 14:37

Red-guy wrote:I have a 400Mhz computer lying around with 256 RAM and 5 gig drive...
I thought it would be a nice choice for her..she can e-mail, write, surf the net and chat
...etc.:-)



on that machine , XP home will run more than well enough to provide her applications. give her an install cd. turn off unneeded services. turn off auto updates. add spybot and ccleaner and then give it to her.

her chances of being able to get support when you or your friends aren't available are greater.
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Re: old computer for mother

Postby rbochan » 2007-06-11 16:56

e1even1 wrote:on that machine , XP home will run more than well enough to provide her applications. give her an install cd. turn off unneeded services. turn off auto updates. add spybot and ccleaner and then give it to her.

her chances of being able to get support when you or your friends aren't available are greater.


So, unless I'm mistaken, what you're saying, is to take older, underpowered hardware, and spend upwards of $50-100 USD purchasing a license to install proprietary software that won't run particularly well on that hardware, configure said software considerably and set what's well known to be as full of holes as swiss-cheese not to update itself, then add necessary 3rd party applications that will take even more resources from the aforementioned underpowered hardware and basically render it not much more than a doorstop. And you're saying that this is a good idea?
Sorry, but I could argue for days how mistaken I think you are on that.
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