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Ask Slashdot: Using a Tablet As a Sole Computing Device?

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the hard-to-play-quake-that-way dept.

Handhelds 417

cashman73 writes "My mother's six year old desktop computer finally bit the dust due to an electrical surge. It's out-of-warranty, and not really worth fixing. Plus, I'm 2,500 miles and two time zones away, so I can't exactly troubleshoot things from here. I recently got a new tablet, and even 80% of the things I do are done easier with it. Plus, she really likes the size, convenience, portability, and the screen. Virtually everything she does is simple web browsing, email, light photo sharing but no heavy editing, and other simple tasks. We're thinking that using a tablet as her sole 'computer' might be the best solution here. What are other Slashdotter's experiences using tablets without a separate desktop computer?"

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Chromebook (5, Informative)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489845)

Buy her a Chromebook. You won't be sorry.

Re:Chromebook (0)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489953)

Sole computing device.

That's where this really belongs. Under your sole. :-)

Re:Chromebook (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490183)

What have fish got to do with it?

Re:Chromebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490089)

Agreed... Go Chromebook.. same cost or cheaper and you'll be better off for it...

Re:Chromebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490309)

Yep. Nothing says 'good' like tied to a single providers cloud.

Fail. (2)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490429)

All the different public clouds have Chrome web apps. Use DropBox or Skydrive or whatever you like.

Re:Chromebook (-1, Offtopic)

hufayasr (2809175) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490519)

my best friend's sister makes $88 an hour on the laptop. She has been out of a job for 5 months but last month her check was $20126 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site http://www.cloud65.com/ [cloud65.com]

One size does not fit all... (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489847)

I'm sure she would like a Tablet. But you can't do everything on a tablet, why not get her a nice inexpensive laptop as well?

Re:One size does not fit all... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489981)

Mmy grradnma-a-a-a hasz Pakrins-s-s-sons disz-z-z-zeaseee andd typpes liikje sthis-s-s-s-s-s. T-t-t-thatt isz wyhyy tablets-s-s-s re a baadd-d-d ideea.

Re:One size does not fit all... (-1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490263)

Mmy grradnma-a-a-a hasz Pakrins-s-s-sons disz-z-z-zeaseee andd typpes liikje sthis-s-s-s-s-s. T-t-t-thatt isz wyhyy tablets-s-s-s re a baadd-d-d ideea.

Let me guess: You're 15 and just discovered Slashdot? Or you're 35 and live in your mom's basement.

One of the two.

Re:One size does not fit all... (5, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490087)

Sure you can't do everything on a tablet, but does the person in question actually want to do anything that's not possible or practical on a tablet?
If not, then no reason to have anything other than a tablet.

Re:One size does not fit all... (3, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490251)

Even writing a substantive email (or I guess facebook update these days) would be painful without a keyboard.

I would be interested in firsthand feedback on how good the bluetooth keyboards are. I had a folding keyboard for my palm pilot 10 years ago, it was semi-ok, but not great. Personally I don't like the compromised layouts that come with mini-keyboards.

Re:One size does not fit all... (2)

aurispector (530273) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490345)

This.

You know, you could possibly get her both...
I like my tablet but I couldn't do without a computer. I'd go cheap laptop as a single device solution.

Re:One size does not fit all... (4, Informative)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490395)

The Asus Transformer line of tablets are great "mini-notebooks".

One of the big advantages is that you can buy the tablet, and if you don't need the keyboard, you don't pay for it. If you do, you can get the Asus dock version, or any bluetooth keyboard. With the dock, though, you get a full-size SD card slot and full-sized USB connectors, so you can easily move data (like photos mentioned in the summary) to/from other devices. The only real negative I have seen on the latest versions (which fix the poor GPS reception of earlier versions) is that they don't support 5GHz for 802.1n.

Re:One size does not fit all... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490403)

I have one of the fullsize Apple Bluetooth keyboards (the one without the number pads). Light, super thin, and since they keys are in the correct places with the correct spacing, nicer to type on than the old Palm fold-up keyboards.

The experience all depends on the app. For mail and word processing, works great: just like typing at a real computer, only difference, obviously, instead of mouse clicks, having to tap at the screen for functions (not much different really). Occasionally, an app is not designed to handle a real keyboard, so things like tab to next field do not always work, gets annoying to constantly being tapping the screen to move to next field.

Combined with a smallish REI Tech Wrap sleeve, I now have a light bag to carry the iPad, keyboard, the charger, headphones, pen, papers, camera connector, phone charger, etc.

Now, most of the time, I don't use the keyboard. I do take the full bag when traveling for more than a few days.

Re:One size does not fit all... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490445)

Full-sized bluetooth keyboards exist. I've seen both classic (rigid) and flexible models, no foldables though.

Re:One size does not fit all... (1)

mellon (7048) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490513)

I have an apple bluetooth keyboard that is really great to type on. I wouldn't want a tablet without one.

Re:One size does not fit all... (1)

NibbleG (987871) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490473)

I used a tablet, with a bluetooth keyboard, for most of my school needs. Taking notes and web surfing. I wouldn't give up my desktop for anything, but I felt the tablet was sufficient for everything else.

Re:One size does not fit all... (0)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490223)

why not get her a nice inexpensive laptop as well?

Because such devices don't exist.

Re:One size does not fit all... (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490287)

why not get her a nice inexpensive laptop as well?

Because such devices don't exist.

I'm not going to do your Google for you, but of course you are absolutely wrong.

If you're talking about "gamer" specs, sure, you will pay the price.

But remember, we are talking about "mom".

There are MANY reasonably priced NEW laptops, and you can buy last year's model on eBay and elasewhere for dirt cheap - "mom" doesn't need "bleeding edge".

Re:One size does not fit all... (2)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490425)

If you're talking about "gamer" specs, sure, you will pay the price.

But remember, we are talking about "mom".

FYI, there are gamer moms.
I just got trounced by one in GTR2.

Re:One size does not fit all... (2, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490255)

You or I can't do everything we need on a tablet.. but for other people that's not necessarily true.

And speaking from the perspective of a person with several computers already, but who recently bought an iPad Mini - I find myself using the Mini more than I expected, just because its usually nearby and convenient. Heck, even for ssh if I just want to check how something is doing, or to quickly fix something trivial on the server - a tablet is quite adequate.

DON'T get a Kindle Fire though. We recently bought one for my mom (I got talked into it), and she has a lot of trouble with figuring out how to do stuff. If you want to go the Android route, get a Nexus. Trust me, an Apple user can figure out how stock Android works easily enough, and an Android user can figure out iOS; but having experience with both of these didn't help much when my mom has asked for my assistance figuring something out on her Fire.

Re:One size does not fit all... (3, Informative)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490269)

But you can't do everything on a tablet...

I'm not so sure. As a developer its simply not possible to do what I need to do with a tablet, but my wife recently purchased a Nexus 7 after doing most of her computing on a Nook for a couple of years. She has a tower pc but rarely uses it.

To me (4, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489853)

It already sounds like you made your choice, so why are you posting a question that is trying to convince us to agree with you?

Re:To me (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490161)

It already sounds like you made your choice, so why are you posting a question that is trying to convince us to agree with you?

This should not have been modded Troll but Informative (it's too obvious to rate Insightful).

There may be plenty of reasons not to get a tablet, but will this guy really read and consider them? I sincerely have my doubts.
The real question seems to be "I want to buy my mom a tablet to replace her laptop - can I get some backpatting?"
While the real question should have been "Mom, what do you need, want and feel comfortable using?"
Which we can't answer.

Re:To me (1)

kent_eh (543303) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490235)

Maybe there are some ases that he hasn't thought of, and he wants to get some other input?

I notice that printing isn't mentioned. Can a tablet print to a network printer? Or to a USB printer, assuming the tablet can do USB host? ?

If your granny is doing any amount of typing, a bluetooth (or USB) keyboard would be amost mandatory, I'd think. I can't stand typing more than a few words at a time on the virtual keyboard.

Re:To me (4, Funny)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490343)

some ases that he hasn't thought of

keyboard would be amost mandatory

Let me guess. You either typed this response on a tablet screen or a Bluetooth keyboard.

Chromebook. (4, Informative)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489867)

For the cheaper price and the desktop functionality, if all you need it for is web browsing and email, I'd go with a Chromebook. If you want to go 100% tablet, you are almost certainly going to have to buy a keyboard, so it would be very hard to get a decent combo for less than the $249 Samsung or the $199 Acer Chromebooks.

Re:Chromebook. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489925)

I agree that is a great idea, but the recent unavailability of ARM chromebooks has been troublesome. Google released them prematurely without having enough inventory. Though that is the case with most Google products, same thing happened to the Nexus 4, and Nexus 10. Seems to be their strategy to probe the market's interest with low inventory and then create more if people want them badly.

Re:Chromebook. (2)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489943)

Not as much of a problem as you might think. I ordered mine from my local BestBuy store, and they had it delivered to the store for pickup in two days.

Yup (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490297)

Same here. My mom ordered one and had it in a few days. Migrated all her old email over to Gmail and it works flawlessly.

Re:Chromebook. (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490037)

For the cheaper price and the desktop functionality, if all you need it for is web browsing and email, I'd go with a Chromebook. If you want to go 100% tablet, you are almost certainly going to have to buy a keyboard, so it would be very hard to get a decent combo for less than the $249 Samsung or the $199 Acer Chromebooks.

$99 Arnova tablet running ICS, $20 powered usb hub, $15 logitech usb keyboard/mouse. HDMI cable out to flat screen monitor, $135 total. I'm not cheap, I'm 'frugal'!

Re:Chromebook. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490139)

I doubt you will get the performance of Samsung's quad-core Exynos processor, or the excellent graphics performance. But that IS a good deal.

Re:Chromebook. (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490477)

I doubt you will get the performance of Samsung's quad-core Exynos processor, or the excellent graphics performance. But that IS a good deal.

No, it sure isn't a quad core (where's the jealous emoticon, dammit!). It's got a 1ghz A4 processor, 32gb sd slot too. Arnova sells better (1.5ghz) in the $179 range. Mine runs most emulators, runs all the Mame roms no problem. Not enough power for Nintendo64 and Playstation1, though. I think tablets are the way to go, if you aren't a power user. Stream movies, book reader, and no 'major' security updates to perform every other time you turn it on (I don't miss MS).

Re:Chromebook. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490499)

Chromebook seems to update in the background, like the Chrome browser. Sounds like a great tablet though! But - for $20 more ($199), you can get an Acer Chromebook with an Intel processor, 320 GB hard drive, USB ports, 100 GB free Google Drive space, full HDMI port...

Re:Chromebook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490049)

I go for that as well. Not me Mum, but a lady of a certain vintage. The Nexus tablet is a bit weird; the Chromebook does it all, is familiar but simpler.

Re:Chromebook. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490471)

With the updates to Chrome OS this past summer, where you can resize windows and run side-by-side windows, and where you've got tons of offline apps now, the Chromebook really seems to handle all the basic needs.

Get her a keyboard (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489873)

Older people have worse eyesight and often require the tactile feedback of a keyboard.

Re:Get her a keyboard (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489929)

Plus, tablets are a bit shit.

Re:Get her a keyboard (4, Interesting)

esldude (1157749) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489961)

Actually, despite the eyesight and other issues, from what I have seen, older people, especially older women love tablets. Even some that type enough I wondered how they could prefer them. Not sure I get it, but I have seen that to be the case in several instances, and most of them had/have a desktop or laptop. So they aren't people new to computers. I think less dexterity is needed to poke the screen in your hands than moving a mouse, along with the OS being set up for touch screen interaction. Those who get comfortable dictating longer emails and notes do seem to need nothing else. Their other computers seem to sit idle. If the person in mind needs only a desktop device a chromebook might be the better choice. But I have also seen older folks once they have the portable tablet, make much more use of it all over the house when they didn't spend as much time actually computing at a desktop. So despite lots of things saying a tablet is under-powered and not best to interface with for all purposes, something about it seems to get along with older people better.

Re:Get her a keyboard (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490019)

I mostly agree, but I haven't personally met anyone older who's been happy with dictating to a text-to-speech program unless they literally can't type. But most of the people I know who tried tried it a while ago, so maybe the programs are better now?

One of my relatives uses a tablet for most things: web browsing, reading emails, writing short replies, making notes, watching videos, etc. But she still goes up to an ancient desktop to type out longer emails.

Re:Get her a keyboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490157)

Actually, despite the eyesight and other issues, from what I have seen, older people, especially older women love tablets. Even some that type enough I wondered how they could prefer them. Not sure I get it, but I have seen that to be the case in several instances, and most of them had/have a desktop or laptop. So they aren't people new to computers.

I think less dexterity is needed to poke the screen in your hands than moving a mouse, along with the OS being set up for touch screen interaction. Those who get comfortable dictating longer emails and notes do seem to need nothing else. Their other computers seem to sit idle.

If the person in mind needs only a desktop device a chromebook might be the better choice. But I have also seen older folks once they have the portable tablet, make much more use of it all over the house when they didn't spend as much time actually computing at a desktop. So despite lots of things saying a tablet is under-powered and not best to interface with for all purposes, something about it seems to get along with older people better.

They like them because they're light, which makes them easier for older people to hold. Tablets also have adjustable text sizing, which makes print easier to see.

Re:Get her a keyboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490187)

I got my grandmother an ipad for her 80th birthday and she absolutely loved it. Used it all the time with no issues whatsoever. She had a laptop in addition, but once we got her the ipad she never really used her laptop again, and actually increased her time online with the ipad. She had no problems with the virtual keyboard either once she got used to it (which didn't take long).

Just my 2 cents.

Re:Get her a keyboard (2)

OneAhead (1495535) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490337)

Then I'd think something like an asus transformer pad would be the best of both worlds...

Does she type a lot? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489879)

I think typing is a big issue when you consider a tablet as your primary "computer". If your mother just browses the web, a tablet is fine, but if she types a lot (writing comments, writing notes, texts, long emails, long messages), then the tablet typing experience is sub-optimal, she will get tired of poking the screen.

Why not just buy a laptop?

Re:Does she type a lot? (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490013)

A simple bluetooth keyboard addition to just any tablet solves your major objection.
Often these come as part of a case, and the portability is much better than even a small laptop.

Many people would be fine with a chromebook, where nothing is lost when the device itself dies.

Requirements (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489887)

Why do you suppose the manufacturers' requirements include a separate PC w/ specs that support an appropriate connection to the tablet. You don't really believe it's just to sell more hardware, do you?

Ipad and Keyboard (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489895)

You said it yourself. iPad, possibly a keyboard for her and you are done. Every person I've met that didn't have an iPad has said, I don't know what I'd use it for. Every person who has an iPad has said, how did I live without it? I've seen a lot of conversions, so I just bought iPads for my family and now I don't do tech support.

Re:Ipad and Keyboard (1, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489937)

iOS still requires a computer (with iTunes) to do some things. For example, if you want to add new music files to the library. So it's not an optimal solution if it's supposed to be the sole computing device.

Re:Ipad and Keyboard (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490143)

But what's the chances that his mom has a huge music collection that needs uploading?
The requirements were:

Virtually everything she does is simple web browsing, email, light photo sharing but no heavy editing, and other simple tasks.

Many Android tablets support USB OTG, so other devices (even CE/dvd readers) can be plugged into them. That includes cameras or smart phones.

Re:Ipad and Keyboard (3)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490217)

The requirements were:Virtually everything she does is simple web browsing, email, light photo sharing but no heavy editing, and other simple tasks.

E-mails can be pretty long. Sometimes they include attachments.
Web browsing often means entering passwords and other intformation. And print receipts for filing.
And what when she wants to do her taxes? That's a simple task that is beyond most tablets.

By all means, get her a tablet - after you replace her PC.

Re:Ipad and Keyboard (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490335)

E-mails can be pretty long. Sometimes they include attachments.
Web browsing often means entering passwords and other intformation. And print receipts for filing.
And what when she wants to do her taxes? That's a simple task that is beyond most tablets.

By all means, get her a tablet - after you replace her PC.

Nonsense.

With any random bluetooth keyboard even book length emails are not a problem.
Browsers remember passwords, enter it once, and done.
Printing receipts (or anything else) is simply NOT a problem. My tablet prints over wifi. Hell it will print from anywhere on the planet with an internet connection. Even cheap printers these days support CloudPrint [google.com] .
Emails? Attachments? Seriously, you must be joking, either that or you've never actually used a tablet.
Taxes. No problem. Intuit/Turbo tax have BOTH web based tax programs and install-able APPS that will work just fine, or you could use H&R Block's apps for Android or ipad. Many seniors have their taxes done professionally anyway.

Obviously you've never used a modern tablet. so I respectfully suggest you weight in on the subject.

Re:Ipad and Keyboard (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490147)

iOS still requires a computer (with iTunes) to do some things. For example, if you want to add new music files to the library. So it's not an optimal solution if it's supposed to be the sole computing device.

The guy can ask his mother if she wants to add new music files to her library. What do you think the answer is going to be?

Re:Ipad and Keyboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490207)

Small nitpick. No it doesnt. It requires iTunes to add non-iTunes purchased music to the library if you dont have a match account. That still leaves a lot of people out... But i havent used itunes on a pc to add misic to my devices in a long time.

Re:Tablet and Keyboard (1)

vettemph (540399) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490067)

Please replace ipad with tablet. It's all the same really.

I replaced my mother inlaw's e-machine running Linux Mint 10 with an Acer Iconia Tab last year. She loves checking email from the living room chair.

Don't do it! Your asking for trouble. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489905)

While it is a nifty idea your going to run into lots of problems. Be it due to the lack of support from your bank, an inability to print, or some fallback mode that your email provider forces on you all of the sudden.

When I initially did it everything seemed to work perfectly. Then disaster struct. I actually started using it in place of my computer when I went on the road. There are so many problems with tablets it isn't funny. Even for just consuming content.

Re:Don't do it! Your asking for trouble. (1, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489921)

Do people really print? I haven't owned a printer in 10 years, and I used to write firmware for them.

The real problem will be typing. Whether its inputting in a form or sending an email, eventually you want a physical keyboard and not an onscreen one. My limit before I get annoyed with onscreens is about 200 characters- anything longer I wait until I'm at home.

Re:Don't do it! Your asking for trouble. (4, Informative)

zandeez (1917156) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489997)

We still print quite regularly. Things like e-vouchers and booking references. Sure there are ways around that, but a printed piece of paper can't crash on you or run out of battery.

Re:Don't do it! Your asking for trouble. (2)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490043)

iPad and iPhone print fine with a wifi printer that's less than a year old. There are good apps for cheap that help support nearly all doc types from images to PDF, word, excel and ppt formats.

Add Dropbox to save things from email or the web and you're good to go.

Not sure about printer support on Android. Have a Nexus 7 but haven't tried to print.

Re:Don't do it! Your asking for trouble. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489999)

I agree. If you want to do some serious work then you need to fall back on a keyboard. I have found that kids using tablets use them as toys, but when they have a keyboard attached they see the device as a real computer that they can do school work on.

Re:Don't do it! Your asking for trouble. (3, Interesting)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490003)

yes, people have requirements that may not be the same as yours

Re:Don't do it! Your asking for trouble. (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490237)

If you are typing 200 characters on the screen, you are doing it wrong.

The predictive keyboard apps that come with tablets or are added as Apps to tablets mean that in most cases you tap a couple characters then select the word. Swiftkey will predict entire words you are likely to want to type BEFORE you type a single letter of the next word. It does this by analyzing your language style over time.

If you have to type tons of text, a cheap bluetooth keyboard built into a carrying case for the tablet will pretty much remove all typing problems.

Re:Don't do it! Your asking for trouble. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490245)

Well... my aged mother uses her printer all the time.

When someone sends her an email with a photo attached, she often wants to forward the picture to others. She came up with a way of doing this that involves printing out the picture, then scanning it in to the computer and emailing the resulting scan.

This is actually easier and more effective than trying to train her to do it in a more reasonable way.

Re:Don't do it! Your asking for trouble. (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490199)

Printing is no problem, as long as your printer supports either cat5 or a wifi connection. I print from my tablet every couple of days.
Bank sites are no problem either, SSL is just about all any bank uses, and Android tablets (as well as IPads I suppose) support many
different bank apps that allow you do do anything from the mobile device.

Email? Seriously? Tablets thrive on email.
Typing long emails or documents can be made easy with a simple Bluetooth keyboard. Cheap, and often built into the case
that you might want for the tablet anyway. Documents (word processing) on the device is also not a problem. If Google Documents can't handle it there are apps that will.

In short, you haven't put forth even one convincing argument.

Tablet +1 funny (4, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489913)

Get her two tablets, gift-wrapped.

First, present her with one of those small personal-sized chalkboard tablets 1st graders use (with a piece of chalk for a stylus). Demonstrate how to use it as a word-processor, reader, and calculator. This shouldn't cost you more than $10, assuming you don't get the "Monster Cable" brand piece of chalk.

Once the laughs are over, present her with a real tablet.

Post the video of her using the "old school" tablet to YouTube.

Untethered iPad (1, Interesting)

rogueippacket (1977626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489917)

For the past year, my iPad has been entirely untethered from my Mac - it can self-update and self-backup to iCloud. Can't speak for other tablets, but historically you had to have a Mac or PC to tether your iPad to.

You are asking the right crowd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489933)

After all, we are all older mothers, so our experience counts a lot.

Keep dexterity in mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489935)

My older brother had a very tough time with the dexterity needed to operate a tablet. Web browsing with tablet is challenging for a person who has no possible hand shake and failing eye site. Not sure it these apply, but something to keep in mind.

Using a tablet... (4, Interesting)

zacherynuk (2782105) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489939)

...Can really strain the hands... and the neck. And the eyes.

In fact, tablet use in general goes against 30 odd years of human interface ergonomics. I wouldn't wish it upon myself for extended periods of time, let alone an elderly loved one.

Buy her a sensible chair, 24 inch monitor at the correct height and a correctly fitting keyboard and mouse in a neutrally lit space. I don't care what you connect to those peripherals.

Re:Using a tablet... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490133)

Dear sir, I'm an organic farmer from Idaho. My colleagues and I are currently looking for reasonably priced fertilizer for our fields and I've noticed from your post that you have an over abundance of Bull Shit. Will you be interested in selling some of it to us? We will pay for shipping. In fact I believe you are so full of Bull Shit that there will be enough for the entire state, and if you're looking for a distributor I'd be happy to discuss that with you.

Put in another way, there's nothing un-ergonomic about tablets. They're no different than books, paper pads, or chalkboards: you can hold them up, lay them on a table, on an angled stand, any way you like, while sitting, standing, or lying down. And since you're not forced to use them in any particular place or position, there are absolutely no ergonomic issues with tablets.

Re:Using a tablet... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490241)

Oh I didn't know that.

Im going to throw my iPad in the garbage right after this post and switch to a chrome-book. I didn't realize the iPad was so horrible until you enlightened me. Thank you so much.

Re:Using a tablet... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490355)

In fact, older people are using them all the time and like them.

In fact, regardless of your opinion of human interface ergonomics.

In fact, reality doesn't agree with you.

In fact, you're a pompous moron.

iPad may be more than enough (5, Interesting)

TheoCryst (975577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42489949)

My mom is the very definition of computer illiterate -- my sister and I have been trying to teach her to use a computer (first a PC, later a Mac) since the mid '90s, and she simply cannot grasp the basic concepts. She can sort of work a keyboard (it looks like a typewriter), but mice constantly thwart her. Add to that the fact that she has trouble discerning "windows" on a desktop as being discrete items, and you can see why we finally gave up trying to teach her once we had both gone away to college.

About a year ago I managed to acquire an unneeded iPad, and made the decision to gift it to my mother. For a woman who has literally never used a computer without assistance, never mind owned one, she took to it immediately. She's now able to browse the internet, send and receive emails, and even navigate the app store when she wants additional functionality. And after a full year, I haven't received a single "oh no, I think I broke it" call.

That being said, my mother is not your mother (AFAIK), so your mileage may vary. If you think her needs can be satisfied by an iPad (web browsing, shopping, email, media consumption, and no more than light content editing), I highly recommend it. There's just no beating its ease of use. An external bluetooth keyboard would be nice for longer writing sessions, however.

Re:iPad may be more than enough (4, Interesting)

esldude (1157749) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490005)

My mother was a little more capable with computers than you describe yours, but didn't like them or use them all that much. Yet, the story is just like yours. Once she got a Samsung Galaxy tablet, she uses it so much it is almost constantly with her. And she doesn't need my assistance other than what I showed her the first couple days she owned it. Two of her friends have also gotten them having seen hers. They too went from minimal computer use to being regular enthusiastic users of the tablets they own.

Re:iPad may be more than enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490081)

wow if what you are saying is true and you are not some shill it sounds like a real win/win situation

Re:iPad may be more than enough (1)

esldude (1157749) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490437)


No shill I assure you. Here is how it started out with my Mom.

I got a second hand Galaxy Tab for half of new price from someone needing the money. I wasn't sure if I wanted a tablet or not, but figured I could use it a couple weeks and sell it for a small profit if I didn't like it. On the way home from picking it up my Mom called asking me to come by her house to climb up a ladder and do a small repair on the roof. I left the tablet on the kitchen table after I showed her what I had picked up. When I came back in she was using it already. Somehow got the idea I had gotten it for her. I typically buy her computers, but had no idea she even knew what a tablet was. And other than seeing commercials she didn't.

It was clear she really liked it. So I left it with her still thinking the new would wear off in a few days. I did show her a bit about how it worked that first couple days. Well that was back in the early summer, and she still uses it all the time. As I said, two of her friends have gotten tablets as well though neither are Samsung brands ( I am no shill for any particular tablet).

I also have an Aunt who separately got a tablet and it is her favorite computing device. And know of two older fellows with a similar story. These people are all in their 60's and 70's. So I don't quite get it. I wouldn't want one for my only device. A powerful laptop would be the least computer I would want if it were my only one device. But looks to me like somehow the combination of touch interaction and OS's built to do most stuff for you without your knowing much have passed a big hurdle in intimidation of non-techy people.

Myself on the other hand, and others with considerable computing experience at least initially feel uncomfortable with some of the automatic functions of tablet OS systems. We don't trust it is doing the right thing.

People just give them away! (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490349)

About a year ago I managed to acquire an unneeded iPad

If I had a sandwich everytime that happened..

Is typing long notes required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489951)

I use a tablet quite a bit and for most things they are great. But I find it annoying to type long missives. On the plus side my reply emails from the tablet are short and to the point.

think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489975)

I don't know I don't have a tablet but I would want to do a systems analysis which is basically having a long conversation to find out exactly what are the things she uses the computer for. Not just what she can remember but everything. Then you study up on the tablets functionalities. Probably easier to do it in reverse, find out what the tablet can't do and start from there and see if her tasks and her needs include doing things that the tablet doesn't do. And the best part is your interface with your mom and finding out her life and how she is conducting it in detail, what do you do with your computer ad infinitum. Good to find those things out and it shows you care it shows you made the time to find out and thereby expresses your love so then it's going back the other way which is always how it's suppose to work. That's fair, that's the whole person being who they are meant to be. She already did her part giving you life and caring for the life millions of times, never a small feat. Now it's your turn. Enjoy!

Still need a PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42489993)

Why wife's computer died around the time I got her an iPad and she tried going with just it, but after about a month she was frustrated enough to ask me to buy her new computer as well. And that was with using it primarily for Facebook, email, and browsing. She still uses the iPad a lot (when the kids don't steal it), but she uses the PC daily too.

iPad works ok (2)

G-News.ch (793321) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490007)

My Mom, she is 68 this year, has just switched from a 15" MacBook Pro as her only computer to an iPad 4 as her only computing device. She really only does e-mail, browsing, some e-banking and the odd video/movie every now and then. The MBP was clearly overkill for her in the first place, but the iPad does pretty much everything she ever needed with much less bulk, weight and cost. She certainly uses the iPad more than she used the MBP before that, so she must be satisfied with it.

I've Got All Three (1, Interesting)

Whuffo (1043790) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490039)

I've got a laptop, tablet, and a desktop computer. I've been going back and forth for a couple of years now and I've discovered what matters to me and how I use them

I use the tablet a lot - and the desktop gets used a lot, too. The laptop just sits around collecting dust; it's been powered up once in the last three months - and only because I needed a file from it.

Those who recommend a Chromebook - they don't consider that there will be times when you have no internet connectivity and want to use your tablet. This, and the availability of tablet apps that meet your needs will point your way to the correct tablet device for you.

Perhaps you need to think (3, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490325)

Those who recommend a Chromebook - they don't consider that there will be times when you have no internet connectivity.

You should read the reviews on Amazon where the Chromebook is the best selling computer. In short it does not require a permanent internet connection :).

MS Surface (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490075)

The Microsoft Surface would seem to be a perfect choice in this scenario. It acts like a laptop when you need a laptop, a tablet when you need a tablet, doesn't require any other computer for setup/maintenance, and can actually hook up to most usb devices like printers and hard drives so that if you mom takes pictures and wants to store them somewhere she wont be stuck. $.02

ASUS Transformer (2)

CeePhour (978089) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490093)

My girlfriend was in roughly the same boat a month ago. Her 8+ year old P4 desktop hasn't been turned on in many months. She planned to replace it soon.

I bought myself a Nexus 7 to take with me for my computing needs (video games, video watching, IRC, eBook reading, remote access to my home network, etc.) while at her place. She saw how much I could get done with it and quickly changed her mind about buying a new desktop/laptop.

She picked up an ASUS Transformer TF300T at a recent sale from Best Buy and has since used it more than she ever would have used a full blown PC. She previously used her iPhone to get her basic tasks done (tons of email, casual games, web surfing, YouTube, Pandora) but since having the tablet she only uses her iPhone as a phone (and no longer suffers with that tiny screen).

Posted laying in bed from my Nexus 7 with her playing Zen Pinball on her Transformer. :)

...Until the malware creeps in... (0)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490095)

The thing about Windows that is most annoying for users at all levels is the malware threat. Some threats can be easily identified and avoided (depending on the user) and others remain unpatched by Microsoft such as the more recent absent fix in the last patch Tuesday. This is not a problem EXCLUSIVE to Windows. But it is the one which has tarnished Microsoft's reputation and prevents it from being taken seriously in new markets.

The words "Malware" and "Android" have found themselves together in many headlines and stories in the recent past and it's no accident. Presently, most malware on android has been "self-inflicted." A few things have slipped through the Google Market (now Play Store) in the past, but Google is careful to work against the freedom of developers so as not to make their platform unattractive, but this means the threat is still present. But that doesn't prevent future threats from being discovered or developing in new updates.

And so I say, even though things are presently "better" than using a WinTel desktop or laptop, no one should depend on this always being the case and so when they move into new platforms, they should take the experiences of the past with them as lessons for the future.

Tablets can be reset to their factory condition pretty easily in most cases, but data is lost and without a way to back it all up... the cloud is an option I suppose though I don't generally approve of the idea. I'm old school though. Others are seemingly more comfortable with the idea. So contingencies seem pretty obvious for now... until malware installs itself within protected areas used for restoration.

What I am driving at is the question of whether or not a PC is needed in order to use a tablet. To me, it's not quite possible but for others, it's 'ready' as the main device so long as data backup and storage isn't really an issue.

These are all just thoughts to consider. I'm not really making a recommendation for anyone's particular case though I do say it wouldn't work for me for reasons indicated above.

Finally, someone commenting above mentions one thing that is a pretty sticky issue for some users -- keyboard input. There are devices out there. Be sure any tablet has bluetooth support AND the tablet will allow it to be used. I know it can be done with iPad and with many Android tablets but not ALL of them... read the label and ask quesitons. Cheap android tablets which do not have bluetooth are litering the shelves in discount stores everywhere.

But since we're talking about a device for an older person...? Is screen size an issue or consideration?

Blah Blah Blah (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490301)

Seriously let me break that long post down for you Android is "prone to Malware" and "Nobody wants it.". Wow Android has several layers of protection, cloud storage and is set to replace Apple so if it hasn't already. Advantages over Apple are not only price; better hardware/software, but also options with a real keyboard.

At the end of the day the only similarity between Android and Windows is market share. The fact that you use the boogeyman of malware to try and scare users *here* where the vast majority here have a great deal of familiarity with malware is just a nonsense..I don't think it works with the less technical either...who probably own an Android phone.

Its OK mister salesman (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490111)

we realize you've never taken a time out of your trickery, debauchary and entertainment time to learn electronics. Let me put your mind at ease. I've got a friend who didn't, until very recently, get a smartphone let alone know how to use a computer. He has no idea how to create a directory (folder) by simply right clicking. The first time he saw a window being drug across two monitors was like seeing a bootiful woman for the first time. I'm serious - he had half a pack of rolaids in his pants.

You should be able to do all your business with just a tablet. If you need to do something complex, you're at the mercy of finding someone else who knows the device really well, or using that brand new youtube thing to get a tutorial. Be careful using that though, because if you find the dark side of the internet, you won't be able to leave, and you'll lose your 6 million dollar account that hangs on you jumping through a hulu hoop immediately after beer-bonging a six pack.

Best of lucky, and always come back to get unbaised, unsarcastic, and completely true advise

iPad (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490121)

Automatic backup. Lots of people of her own age group with reasonable experience if she needs help. If you're lucky a store nearby with employees who will actually help her when she needs it.

I don't understand the obsession with tablet only (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490125)

This is a frequent discussion among people in tech situations. My only question is when you can easily find a used laptop for 100 bucks or less, why bother?? A 100 dollar laptop will handle the occasional tasks needed by 90% of users. A decent tablet will run at least 300 bucks, plus a nice case, plus paying for needed apps(many of which have quality free alternatives on a desktop) and so forth. In the end going tablet only is both more expensive and less convenient. Why bother?

Depends (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490129)

.. on what you want to compute.

To the OP : Did you post using a tablet? (2)

vawarayer (1035638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490137)

To the OP : did you post your slashdot question using a tablet?

Not if you do serious typing (3, Informative)

bytesex (112972) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490179)

Or serious processing.

But if the stuff you do at home consists of watching youtube or playing games - I couldn't for the life of me imagine an existance so boring - go for it!

Like the iPad does not get enough advertisements. (1, Insightful)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490227)

Seriously...another post PC debate to advertise the iPad, my favourite part is the fact that its out of warranty!? If that sort of thing is a major issue. Do not go near an Apple product. The have got in trouble in both Europe (http://apple.slashdot.org/story/12/04/02/123207/apple-is-forced-by-eu-to-give-2-years-warranty-on-all-its-products) for breaking the law by offering year instead of the statutory two years for returns, and in China(http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/xinhua/2012-07-26/content_6549444.html) for putting used parts in new products that fair under warranty.

While we are talking advertisements...and while I'm with Linus wanting higher pixel density on all his (and mine) electronics devices...lets not push another shitty marketing term from Apple, who ironically have lower pixel densities than the opposition offered at half the price (and as for the mini *rolls eyes*) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_displays_by_pixel_density [wikipedia.org]

The reality is having another article where iPad users, dutch rudder each other, everyone else I went out and bought a tablet (A Nexus 7)...and know exactly where the smaller more portable (capacitive) screen fits into my life, rather than the larger screen with the keyboard & mouse. Are we really meant to believe the author of this too lazy to search for "another post pc flamefest". Thank god Apples market share (down to 50%) in tablets is dropping like a stone, so we are not constantly bombarded with this nonsense.

Seriously while the incompetent mother in the suspiciously convenient scenario , who if she can't afford a new computer more than every couple of years...an Apple product is not happening...give her a good value Chromebook...and a $2 surge protector....and visit more.

iPad only (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490277)

More and more I am encountering people who only use an iPad. For instance, they use the spreadsheet iSpread for their business.

I've tried it, with an iPad. (3, Informative)

Above (100351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490331)

I have a desktop, laptop, and iPad, and would consider myself a power user. In an effort to travel lighter I've tried taking the iPad only on some trips to see if it can fit the bill. The answer to me is a resounding maybe, and depends entirely on what you want to do.

Tablets are terrible content creation devices. Writing an e-mail, editing a picture, cutting a movie, or even filling in a web form to buy something are all much more difficult. The lack of a keyboard is a big part of it, and can be mitigated with a keyboard for the tablet, but that's not the whole story. The lack of screen space, and the touch interfaces also make things less efficient.

However, they are excellent content consumption devices. I prefer reading e-mail and browsing the web casually on my iPad. I grab it for simple apps like checking the weather, or my portfolio. On trips it offers a vastly better interface for things like Yelp or UrbanSpoon. For older relatives, things like PhotoStream can be huge if you have other family members with the small children willing to use it.

As a geek, if I'm going away for a day or two and just want to casually stay in touch it's a winner. Smaller, lighter, better battery life. However if I need to do any work, it's right out as an option, more of a nuisance than a help.

So at the end of the day, it really depends on what your mother does online. Does she just want to read some e-mail and get pictures of the grandkids? A tablet may be an excellent choice. Does she make her own electronic scrapbooks? A tablet would probably be a horrible choice.

Replace her power supply (3, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490367)

I would bet that it's just a power supply that died. It's a great excuse to buy a new computer, but all in all, I'd give it a 90% chance it's the power supply that died.

Acer W500 + Win8 (3, Interesting)

caywen (942955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490493)

A while ago, I had bought an Acer W500 as I was developing a specialized touch screen type of app for Windows 7. That project kind of died, so I ended up with a useless piece of hardware for almost a year. After Windows 8 was released, I upgraded for $40 and put that on there.

Recently, my MBP and Acer netbook both died, leaving me with nothing but this W500. My first reaction was to whip out the CC and go to apple.com. However, I gave the W500 a chance. Here's what I found:

- It works quite well as a desktop. I plug in my USB kb/mouse and 24" 1080p monitor. The traditional Windows desktop is perfectly responsive
      - As a Putty client, it's great. I can easily have 4 big terminals open on the 24", and a browser open on the tablet.
      - Demanding desktop apps can run a bit slow (it's only an AMD C-50), but it depends on what you're doing.
- With only 32GB, it's pretty space limited. Fortunately, I have a 64GB SD card which mitigates it a bit. Also, I can plug in my external 500GB.
- I'm also able to plug in my printer, scanner, camera, and external DVD, and they work for the most part.
- As a tablet, it's OK. It's no iPad, but there's already been endless discussion on that.

Overall, it's actually impressed me in that there's no way I could do this efficiently with an iPad. I give it a B for desktop productivity, and a B- for tablet functions. For reference, I'd give an iPad an A+ for tablet functions, and an F for desktop productivity (not intended as a knock). My guess is that an Acer W700 (core i5) would be an A for desktop tasks (since it's way faster and more capacious) and a solid B for tablet (since it's faster and has higher resolution).

In short, at the risk of getting attacked as an MS shill, I'd actually recommend one of the newer hybrid tablet-top Windows 8 thingies if you're looking for a single device. If you can, I'd wait until after CES and the market to settle down a bit before buying anything.

Can do nearly everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490511)

My bf's laptop broke and he was given an ipad from his school. This was several months ago, and there is very little he cannot do on the iPad. I say go for it. He hasn't even thought of replacing his laptop since he got the iPad.

The elderly (1)

itof500 (239202) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490521)

We got my 89 yr old mother an iPad a few years ago and it was a huge success. I believe she used it for 80% of her computing. Quicken was the big lacking functionality. What she really liked was not having to sit at the desk to play Scrabble with my brothers in California.

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