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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Mother-in-law needs new computer


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Wedge
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I myself am two weeks away from buying a new iMac (bone stock) and will add 2GB of RAM to it myself. I have my reasons for switching, most have been stated time and again so I won't bother going into them. Basically I like the OS-X experience better than my other options.

My mother-in-law is not one for Change. I know for a fact that she only uses the computer for email and some games (like roller coaster tycoon type of games). My wife and I are trying to get them into the digital age so they can share photos with us (we are 2000 miles apart). I would like her to get a mac since it would require the least amount of admin'ing of any computer, my wife disagrees and says that a mac would confuse her.

I think the bigger issue than the learning curve is the price. While notebooks are about the same price(between apple and PC), the cheapest apple desktop is $600 and no KVM. By the time you get a halfway decent LCD, keyboard and mouse you are up to nearly $900...still cheaper than an iMac but that is so close to the price for a fairly smoking PC (went to newegg and built a nice windows machine for $900 including KVM and OS software).

Here are the options (all four of them) that I would like to present my mother-in-law with.

1 - buy an iMac. $1300 but you are set up out the door.
2 - buy a Macbook. $1100 and you are good to go...but the screen may be too small and I fear that it will be used as a desktop anyways...so a KVM would be purchased and you have a computer less powerful but more expensive than the iMac.
3 - buy a PC. I know a lot of people will cry over this option but for the money and "properly admin'd" they work fine. Unfortunately to properly admin the machine requires a level of computer savvy that I am not sure they have. If she buys while I am up next week I can set up the computer and they can run fat dumb and happy. Basically install adaware, AVG and create a few partions for swap file and documents. An hour or two of work (with a glass of scotch thrown in for fun). I'll bring Knoppix with me just in case.
4 - buy a windows notebook. Same argument as above...with the same drawback that it would be an expensive less powerful desktop.

bonus #5 is I build a PC for her. Upside is it will be of higher quality than anything in the box stores. Downside is that I will have to spend my whole vacation working on building the computer...so that is out.

I think the notebook would be under-utilized so I am ruling them out. We are down to the iMac and desktop PC. Assume that the desktop PC will top out around the price of a mac mini ($900 with everything including monitor).

What are the arguments for and against the iMac and for and against the PC? I want to present the MIL a fair case and let her decide (it is her money). Can you persuade me to pursuade my MIL to buy a mini?
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D3v1L80Y

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wedge
My mother-in-law is not one for Change. I know for a fact that she only uses the computer for email and some games (like roller coaster tycoon type of games). My wife and I are trying to get them into the digital age so they can share photos with us (we are 2000 miles apart). I would like her to get a mac since it would require the least amount of admin'ing of any computer, my wife disagrees and says that a mac would confuse her.
Okay.
This is not a computer for you, but one for your mother-in-law.
Her needs are simple, so you get the best tool for the job. Her needs are simple, the computer should be simple. If she already has a computer,(and from the sounds of it she does) what about it "doesn't work" and makes you feel she needs a new one? If all you are doing is sharing photos via email and such, then ANY computer will do that just fine.
Have you thought about asking your mother-in-law what SHE thinks? Does she even want a new computer?
You should be asking yourself these questions FIRST, before you decide on what computer to get her.
:black:

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Aptmunich

 
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My experience:

Mother in law was in the same boat, except back at the beginning of 2005 & she already had a flat screen monitor.
I suggested going with the cheapest PC we could find (300), simply because I knew if I got her a mac she'd find some obscure software she wanted to run...

Result: Nothing but hassle - she's on Dialup & spends most of her time online waiting for Windows XP & the virus scanner to autoupdate.
It's become so annoying that I've just turned autoupdate off on both.

Then this is working, and now the camera isn't being recognized etc. etc...

I'd get her the cheapest intel based mac you can find, set up VNC/remote desktop so you can help her with any problems she runs into, and throw Windows XP on there as well, in case she really doesn't get along with OS X.
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D3v1L80Y

 
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...just playing Devil's Advocate here....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aptmunich
My experience:

Result: Nothing but hassle - she's on Dialup & spends most of her time online waiting for Windows XP & the virus scanner to autoupdate.
It's become so annoying that I've just turned autoupdate off on both.
Dial up just plain sucks.... she would have had the same issues waiting for OS X updates. :black:

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Wedge
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D3v1L80Y
Okay.
This is not a computer for you, but one for your mother-in-law.
Her needs are simple, so you get the best tool for the job. Her needs are simple, the computer should be simple. If she already has a computer,(and from the sounds of it she does) what about it "doesn't work" and makes you feel she needs a new one? If all you are doing is sharing photos via email and such, then ANY computer will do that just fine.
Have you thought about asking your mother-in-law what SHE thinks? Does she even want a new computer?
You should be asking yourself these questions FIRST, before you decide on what computer to get her.
:black:
It is a 200MHz win 95 box that doesn't have USB, a 14" monitor and 32MB of RAM. 2 or 4 GB HDD. It does have a 5.25" drive in it! It doesn't work.

She has asked me to look into options for her and has been saving up money for a new computer. She wants one, just not sure what to get. She wants to get a camera, DSL and an LCD monitor. I have talked to her, know approximately what she wants and wanted to get the forums opinion before I started to present options to her and let her choose.

We can't even share photos now...they don't have a digital camera since the computer can't even use one.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wedge
It is a 200MHz win 95 box that doesn't have USB, a 14" monitor and 32MB of RAM. 2 or 4 GB HDD. It does have a 5.25" drive in it! It doesn't work.
Hehe, I shouldn't think that it would work. THAT system is in need of an upgrade.
The reason I ask, there have been plenty of other people on this forum and others who feel compelled to get a relative a new computer for no other reason than it would be a Mac. There is nothing wrong with their relative's current computer and the poster just feels like their uncle, gramma, M-i-L ...etc. should have a Mac instead.
In this case, ANY computer would be a new experience for her, be it a Windows XP or a Mac OS X machine.
That being said, I would say that the idea of a cheap Intel Mac would be a good idea. I don't however agree with the idea of putting Windows on it. That is what would open the door for confusion, IMO. In this particular case...just pick an OS... Mac or Windows and stick with it.

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Wedge
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I also don't like the idea of running 2 OS on the machine either.

In either case I will recommend that she get something good - not cheap. Quality components tend to outlast and outperform the bargin basement parts. My wifes laptop has survived 3 of my desktops since her computer was much higher quality to begin with.
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Jeremy W

 
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Check the Refurbished section of the Apple Store Online. You can usually find a better deal there, perhaps a G5 iMac for a little bit better price?

Oh, and, aahh, I'm going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in on Sunday, too...yeah
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