Thursday, July 18, 2013

Computer Hardware Survival for Seniors

Here are my recommendations for senior computer survival in the digital world as our whole way of using computers changes.

If you don't have an Apple computer then keep your old Windows 7 computer working as long as possible. Sooner or later it will need a reinstall of the operating system. 

Avoid Windows 8 unless you are faced with the need to buy a new computer, and even then consider leaving Windows. Windows 8 takes a lot of learning and it is s full of grief, based upon the deafening cries for help that I hear. In the past it was just a necessary evil. It is no longer necessary. 

So pick up a new tablet in any event.. 

If you need GPS, a good choice would be the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7 or 10. These also have both front and back facing cameras. If not, and you need a camera, then the iPads are an appealing choice, maybe the only choice for a dedicated photographer. 

But if you don't need either, or have a separate device for either or both, then the big 9" Barnes and Noble Nook HD+ is a great bargain, even if it is to be phased out. For some this might be the only device you need.

If you need voice recognition , then the latest Android tablets are an exceptional choice. 

Consider the size of the device. Will you be using it mostly at home or on the go? Then, if you need to use a large screen wirelessly with your device, or a TV, any of the Apple offerings will work with Apple TV. If the small size does not put you off, then the Apple iPod Touch may be your choice. This device does almost everything the iPhone and iPad Mini do without the iPhone monthly fee.

While the ability to stream to your TV is a big plus for Apple, the big iPad is a bit heavy to hold for any length of time, and the Mini can bw a bit hard to read, being downsized from the original---unless used with an AppleTV and a remote display.

And so, in summary, both keep your old Windows 7 computer and add a tablet sometime soon, along with a GPS and/or camera if you need it. Neither of the latter should cost much more than $100 for a fine choice.

If you really need a laptop then consider the non-Windows Chromebook.

If you really need Microsoft Office, you can run it online. Click or tao to get it set up.

Or, consider the Microsoft Surface RT, a tablet which includes Windows Office and can even be used as your sole system by plugging in a display and keyboard.    This is a limited tablet and has limited tablet apps, device support, and will not run many Windows apps to date, either.    Still, if you MUST have MS Office, it is the cheapest way to go and now costs only $350.     Or just subscribe to MS 365 at $100 per year for 5 computers.

A budget not exceeding $400 should do the trick.

Oh, you will need a case or two. A poor case may discourage you from using a device. 

For use around home a "tire tread" rubber skin jacket both protects the device and makes it easier to handle. These cost about $5 or less delivered from eBay. On the go a better case is needed which gives you quick access. You need a case which opens up and gives access quickly. These are not easy to find. Search the online stores, Amazon, and eBay.

Finally, you may need a keyboard case. This choice may determine how well you use any device. Preferably you will find one with a removable keyboard which separates from the case but is included inside it. These cost about $30 from Amazon.

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