Giving My Mom an Edge

My dad is an avid user of his ThinkPad.  Some time ago I got him a 15” T61p on sale and he’s been thrilled with it.  He surfs the web almost nightly while watching Fox News and sometimes doesn’t go to bed until the battery runs down, which thanks to Power Manager, can be a long time. Other than surfing the web and writing email on Eudora (He calls it Endura), the only other thing he really does with it is use it as a presentation machine to give pharmaceutical talks about twice a month.  I regularly use Crossloop to remotely take over his PC and help him with something PowerPoint related.  He’s also the type of person that stores EVERYTHING on his desktop.  The concept of directory folders or My Documents just eludes him.  I don’t know how he can find any of his files, but somehow he does.  Now and again he completely surprises me.  I was floored when I found out that he has a Paypal account and regularly buys and sells on eBay. Because that PC is “his” PC, my mom does not want to mess with it.  She sees that crowded desktop and gets confused.  Plus, my dad always seems to be using it when she wants to check her pay stubs online or look for a recipe on food.com. She asked for a notebook and wants it to be “as simple” as possible.  (No “get a Mac” jokes, please.)   So I’ve decided to let her borrow a ThinkPad Edge 14” to see if she likes it.  If she does, I’ll buy her one for Mother’s Day.

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I recently put one of our Vice Presidents on a red Edge 13 and after a few hiccups, mainly due to Windows 7 not yet being an officially supported internal Lenovo preload, he’s been running without major incident and seems to like the machine a lot.  Thus, I have a high degree of confidence in the Edge machines. Simplicity There are a lot fewer status lights on Edge.  The keyboard layout is simpler, and while I don’t like switching the Fn combinations (e.g. volume up/down, brightness) and F1 - F12 key functions, I have to admit that for the casual user, it is a simpler way to do things.  My mom definitely is a touchpad user and hates the “red dot.”  We live in a touch dominated world and I fear for long-term market acceptance of TrackPoint pointing technology.

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Unlike my dad’s PC which has XP, this one is going to be loaded with Windows 7.  Most people I know have found it rather easy to use, but I wonder how she is going to make out with it – probably just fine.  The machine has Office 2007 with its ribbon interface, but she’s not likely to use Office anyway. One thing I definitely will be setting up for her is Password Manager.  She can’t remember her many passwords and likes the idea of everything being stored for her. All in all, I’m excited about getting her set up on this machine.  I think she’ll like it.

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