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From: Tom Morris on 30 Nov 2008 18:37
On 2008-11-27, Ian Rawlings <news06(a)tarcus.org.uk> wrote:
> Wotcher all, talk of the Asuses has got me wondering. Is the linux
> install fairly granny friendly? My mum's in her 60s and not
> particularly adept with computers (to put it mildly), I was thinking
> of getting a linux version of the Eeeeee and seeing if it's suitable
> for her, and if not, using it for myself. I get the impression it
> comes with a front-end that's fairly captive and simple to use,
> probably more so than a standard windows desktop. Her needs are very
> simple, web browsing, copying photos off a camera and printing them
> (rarely), emails (using pop3) and writing the occasional letter. Can
> this be done without much faff on the basic EEeEeE user interface thing?
I'm using an Acer Aspire One. The keyboard is lovely, but the trackpad
is rather horrible. My usage profile is rather different from the
ordinary: mutt, slrn and vim, programming in Ruby (and Python, Java
etc.) and watching video. Most of the time, I'm running a full-screen
terminal window. I shall make the presumption that your granny will
probably not be doing likewise. ;-)
The primary reason I bought the Acer over the Asus is that the keyboard
is much better at the same size and price point. I can touch type, but
I've tried a few EEE machines belonging to friends and prefer the Acer
keyboard. I could use an EEE 7xx/9xx keyboard to touch-type on, but the
Acer one is a lot more comfortable.
As for software, I have tried the built-in Linux on both the EEE and on
the Aspire One. They both suck. The first thing I did with mine was to
install Ubuntu off a USB stick and put the Ubuntu netbook remix on it.
Here's a screenshot of Ubuntu 8.04 Netbook Remix running Firefox:
The GUI has changed a little bit (for the better) for the Netbook Remix
of Ubuntu 8.10. If you think your granny is more of a KDE person, have a
look at the KDE Netbook Plasma Theme.
The downside of installing Ubuntu is the boot time. I haven't spent any
time changing the boot settings (apparently, some people have got their
boot times down pretty low) - but if you compare the boot time for the
built-in Linux distros on the EEE or the Aspire One, you'll find that
they are much, much quicker than a self-installed Ubuntu.
From: Ian Rawlings on 1 Dec 2008 04:02
On 2008-11-30, Tom Morris <tom(a)tommorris.org> wrote:
> The primary reason I bought the Acer over the Asus is that the keyboard
> is much better at the same size and price point.
Unfortunately she's decided she definitely wants a full-sized laptop,
so any of the small ones are out.
> As for software, I have tried the built-in Linux on both the EEE and on
> the Aspire One. They both suck.
The Eee's interface is OK in quite a few ways, and for email plus web
browsing it was granny friendly. Another task she had was getting
photos off a camera and printing them, but sadly the photo manager on
the Eee is a woeful piece of trash that even makes me recoil in horror
at the fiddly, unintuitive user interface. I had to experiment to
figure out what to do with it, she has a mortal terror of
experimenting for some reason! I've never seen anyone quite so
fearful of trying things out on a computer despite reassurances that
her house isn't going to get burnt down if she hits the wrong icon..
Blast off and strike the evil Bydo empire!
From: chris on 1 Dec 2008 04:42
Martin Gregorie wrote:
> On Sun, 30 Nov 2008 16:17:28 +0000, Daniel James wrote:
>> Now that just about everyone has access to a PC and needs that skill
>> they don't seem to teach it anyone any more.
> Does that mean that touch typing is a dieing art?
Probably so. Which is a bit perverse as the majority of people use PCs
to write documents and therefore would benefit greatly from learning to
> I taught myself to type, initially on ASR-33 Teletypes and a Flexowriter
> since those was the only keyboards available at the time, and in
> consequence am a strictly two finger typist. I believe this is pretty
> common among self-taught typists, with touch-typing being almost a hall-
> mark of people who have attended typing classes.
> I'm really curious to know if this impression is correct.
I don't think so.
Like Whiskers I don't touch type, but I do type fairly quickly using
most of my fingers and thumbs. I have tried to teach myself to touch
type in the past, but as I do a lot of coding, accessing a lot of the
top row keys (!, %, &, etc) is not easy when you need to keep your hands
at the 'home' keys. That's no surprise, of course, as the layout is
designed for writing in English, not Perl! ;)
From: Geoffrey Clements on 1 Dec 2008 05:10
"Ian Rawlings" <news06(a)tarcus.org.uk> wrote in message
> On 2008-11-30, Tom Morris <tom(a)tommorris.org> wrote:
> The Eee's interface is OK in quite a few ways, and for email plus web
> browsing it was granny friendly.
Having now used my SO's eeee 1000 for a while I'd say that for someone who's
not interested in the item and just "wants to do things" it a reasonable
interface. For anyone who's used Linux and wants something similar it's a
sucky POS that should be replaced immediately.
> Another task she had was getting
> photos off a camera and printing them, but sadly the photo manager on
> the Eee is a woeful piece of trash that even makes me recoil in horror
> at the fiddly, unintuitive user interface. I had to experiment to
> figure out what to do with it,
I've not tried this yet but noticed that picassa is on there, is that what
you're talking about?
> she has a mortal terror of
> experimenting for some reason! I've never seen anyone quite so
> fearful of trying things out on a computer despite reassurances that
> her house isn't going to get burnt down if she hits the wrong icon..
Now this I can totally relate to. Having coached similarly aged people on
how to use a computer it seems they live in fear of breaking it which seems
to be reinforced by doing things they can't recover from without help. IME
they seem to want a list of instructions of how to do things rather than
trying to understand the basic principles and letting everything else flow
from there. Is it possible that education styles through the different
decades have an influence?
From: Ian Rawlings on 1 Dec 2008 05:24
On 2008-12-01, Geoffrey Clements <geoffrey.clementsNO(a)SPAMbaesystems.com> wrote:
> I've not tried this yet but noticed that picassa is on there, is that what
> you're talking about?
No, it's called "photo manager", looking at the task list I think its
real name is gwenview or something like that. The list of faults in
it is pretty large, mainly centring around it being of no use for
someone who needs the computer to do the majority of the thinking.
> Now this I can totally relate to. Having coached similarly aged people on
> how to use a computer it seems they live in fear of breaking it which seems
> to be reinforced by doing things they can't recover from without help. IME
> they seem to want a list of instructions of how to do things rather than
> trying to understand the basic principles and letting everything else flow
> from there. Is it possible that education styles through the different
> decades have an influence?
Maybe, I've been told that older people have problems with things like
video recorders because they've never come across the idea of modal
buttons before, a button that changes its function depending on the
mode that the vide recorder is in, so a button that does one thing one
moment then does another thing in another moment. The things the
computer can do seem amazing to someone like my mum so she can't grasp
quite how dumb they are!
Similarly I suspect this whole ID card thing will become a non-issue
in 50 years time as young people these days (oh how old do I suddenly
feel) appear to actively want to publish as much information about
them as they can to as many sources as possible so privacy becomes an
oddity. I don't understand things like facebook because I don't want
to be telling people everything about myself, so I'll be the weirdo in
10 years or so..
Blast off and strike the evil Bydo empire!