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Old 01-14-09, 12:21 AM   #1
steveknight
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I need advice on a computer for a complete computer idiot.

my brother inlaw may never learn much about computers. got him a vista laptop and he can't deal with it. all he does is browse the internet and look at pictures from his camera. plays cards too.
he tends to download crap or go onto pages that add crap to his computer.
he used a old xp computer somewhat ok. my sister wants to return this laptop. debating on getting a cheaper notebook with xp or maybe linux. a mac may be the way to go of one could be had for little this laptop was around 550.00
my sister is a return freak so mail order is problematical.
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Old 01-14-09, 12:35 AM   #2
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I can think of no better computer for an idiot than a Mac.
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Old 01-14-09, 12:38 AM   #3
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the only bad part about a mac is getting one thats affordable. locally I don't know if it is possible.
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Old 01-14-09, 03:02 AM   #4
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I'd consider a Linux running netbook for him, if he can't/won't do basic security practices. Netbooks are inexpensive, and most of them allow plugging in an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse, so they can function as a low-end desktop.

A Mac would be ideal because one can have sloppy security practices (download/run stuff) and have a less chance of being bitten by Trojan horses or spyware. Macs also can display Flash and whatnot for the sites this guy visits. Finally, Macs have decent support, even for dumb user questions. However, as you said, Macs are hefty in the pocketbook, especially the laptops. Expect to pay about $1000 plus tax for the low-end white Macbook, $250 for AppleCare (which is worth it for laptops), then maybe $100 for an external hard disk for him to plug in periodically and back up to with Time Machine. This way, even if he scrozzles the machine's filesystem completely, he can reinstall, pull his home directory from Time Machine and have a clean OS.
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Old 01-14-09, 03:56 AM   #5
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Used 1st-gen Intel Mac laptops can be had for $600-750. Check your local classifieds or Craigslist. Otherwise, for the basic stuff that he does, a netbook, like Asus eeePC for $269-299 from Target fits the bill perfectly.

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This way, even if he scrozzles the machine's filesystem completely, he can reinstall, pull his home directory from Time Machine and have a clean OS.
Heck, I even back up and restore my favorite apps folder. Instead of installing it in the default Applications folder, I install it into a separate "MyApps" folder (or drag it into there after installation). Nice thing about UNIX systems is they allow read-only access to running programs and open documents. So TimeMachine backs up "MyApps" as well my documents folder. Then after a clean OS re-install, I just would just need to restore my documents and the "MyApps" folder and I'm back in business. Or restoring to a new computer works just as well, no need to re-install 50 applications one at a time.

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Old 01-14-09, 05:25 AM   #6
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Vista becomes a lot more usable if you switch it to the Windows Classic theme and disable all the crap that takes up your desktop space.
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Old 01-14-09, 06:01 AM   #7
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Used 1st-gen Intel Mac laptops can be had for $600-750. Check your local classifieds or Craigslist.
+1 Used Mac. For what he's using the computer for, there's no need to buy a new machine.
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Old 01-14-09, 08:45 AM   #8
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Just PM UnsafeAlpine and find out what he uses.
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Old 01-14-09, 09:11 AM   #9
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I think UA uses a cray

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Old 01-14-09, 09:48 AM   #10
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ooohhhh, I forgot about Cray. I needed a good 'do it yourself' project
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Old 01-14-09, 11:01 AM   #11
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If you do stick with the computer (or a Windows computer), then google the biggest 'hosts' file you can find (plenty of them on internet) of site-blocking goodness and put that in. It should stop him from hitting many of the crap adding websites. Also, perhaps hide IE icons and install Firefox with popup blocker add-on. Possibly a good virus/spam blocker software like Eset Nod32 as well.
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Old 01-16-09, 12:42 AM   #12
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I had firefox with adblocked but it blocked a few picture sites on him. I don't want to have to go over there and keep fixing it. he will get mad and chuck the thing (G) he really should stay way from computers and stick with mechanical things.
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Old 01-16-09, 01:05 AM   #13
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I can think of no better computer for an idiot than a Mac.
Typewriter.


Anyway I vote on OSX since he can't learn to behave with the internet.
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Old 01-16-09, 01:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveknight View Post
my brother inlaw may never learn much about computers. got him a vista laptop and he can't deal with it. all he does is browse the internet and look at pictures from his camera. plays cards too.
he tends to download crap or go onto pages that add crap to his computer.
he used a old xp computer somewhat ok. my sister wants to return this laptop. debating on getting a cheaper notebook with xp or maybe linux. a mac may be the way to go of one could be had for little this laptop was around 550.00
my sister is a return freak so mail order is problematical.
Two options:

1. Macbook. Quickest and easiest solution.

OR

2. Install XP on his laptop, and set him up as a user instead of an administrator. He probably won't need to install anything anyway, but if he does, have him call you for the admin password and then change it. (If you want to be lazy about it, you can hide the admin from the Welcome screen. If he doesn't know how to manually enter a username, then he'll never know how to log into it.) Make sure that you have good antivirus and antispyware solutions installed. That should keep him at bay.
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Old 01-16-09, 05:37 AM   #15
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Another option without spending extra dough is to download Ubuntu and install that on the laptop. With basic functions like Firefox web-browser and OpenOffice, it would fit the needs of 80% of the users out there. No ActiveX or host-scripting weaknesses to worry about.

Only issue is Linux doesn't have as complete hardware-support as Windows. Especially with proprietary hardware on laptops and a lot of wireless adaptors don't work. Check the HCL to see if your laptop fits.
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Old 01-16-09, 06:56 AM   #16
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I can think of no better computer for an idiot than a Mac.
To underscore this, I've had Macs for 25 years.
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Old 01-16-09, 07:10 AM   #17
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A two year old could operate a Mac with complete independence.




Except for the CD changes...

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Old 01-16-09, 07:18 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Another option without spending extra dough is to download Ubuntu and install that on the laptop. With basic functions like Firefox web-browser and OpenOffice, it would fit the needs of 80% of the users out there. No ActiveX or host-scripting weaknesses to worry about.

Only issue is Linux doesn't have as complete hardware-support as Windows. Especially with proprietary hardware on laptops and a lot of wireless adaptors don't work. Check the HCL to see if your laptop fits.
Danno have you heard this story

http://entertainment.slashdot.org/ar...9/01/15/158216


I vote for the used mac to. Even though at home I run Ubuntu, XP, Vista, and OSX.
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Old 01-16-09, 11:26 AM   #19
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One idea that comes to mind is installing DeepFreeze on the laptop and having a thawspace for the person's files. This way, you can do a clean XP or Vista image with all the apps needed, install DeepFreeze, "freeze" the system drive, and then, any subsequent malware infections will be rolled back with a reboot.

Only bad thing is that every month, the drive will need to be temporarly "thawed" to install patches on it come Microsoft's Patch Tuesday.

DeepFreeze is great in computer labs, even if one has to have the lab user run as the computer administrator. A rampant spyware infection can be dumped with just a single power cycle.
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Old 01-16-09, 11:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Another option without spending extra dough is to download Ubuntu and install that on the laptop. With basic functions like Firefox web-browser and OpenOffice, it would fit the needs of 80% of the users out there. No ActiveX or host-scripting weaknesses to worry about.

Only issue is Linux doesn't have as complete hardware-support as Windows. Especially with proprietary hardware on laptops and a lot of wireless adaptors don't work. Check the HCL to see if your laptop fits.
The more I think about it, Ubuntu probably is the best and easiest option. Though if he has a laptop, make sure it's a decently supported one. Ubuntu (and all Linux flavors) don't support laptop hardware all that great. You'd be better off with a desktop computer if you switch Linux.
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