ashitaka asks: "One month ago my father-in-law died leaving his wife to live alone for the first time in her life. She lives in a somewhat rural part of Japan, north of Tokyo, in an area with few neighbors. My wife is her only daughter and we live in Canada; her only son is an engineer for Fujitsu and spends many days on the road. We know she misses our kids and we try to get over to Japan as much as possible, however more than once every year or two is a stretch." What ashitaka is looking for is a simple device that can be used for video conferencing or instant messaging, that can be controlled with a remote and administered remotely. Assuming something like this doesn't exist, what would it take to bend a PC to this task?
I'm looking for a device which can be administered remotely, has 6-8 large 'quick-dial' buttons and an emergency button which will try to connect through a list of contacts if required. It shouldn't look like a computer but should support connecting to whatever IM clients would be appropriate. It would be nice if it could turn on the TV when a particular Universal remote button or buttons were pressed to save Obaachan an extra step but I'm not sure if current signaling standards for TVs would support that."