I don't quite know how it happened, but my parents finally got the Internet / computing bug. Last year, my Dad bought a Dell Studio and my Mom bought an HP Mini. For the longest time, they went largely underused -- my Dad used his to play pinball, and my Mom, well, she hasn't been using hers at all. For the most part, the HP Mini fell into my hands.
But not anymore. Slowly, my two senior citizens have been getting the hang of things. My Dad has moved up to web browsing and photo management, and he's added Chromium BSU to his game repertoire. He's using Windows Vista, though, so his story isn't of much interest here (the Dell Studio came with the operating system, so it felt like a waste to wipe it out.)
My Mom, on the other hand....
Because I've been using it, the HP Mini also runs Ubuntu through Wubi. When my Mom decided she wanted to use the HP Mini more regularly, I wondered whether to let her use Windows XP or Ubuntu. In the end, I settled on Ubuntu as I thought it would be easier to use for her purposes.
To simplify things for Mom, I've set up the HP Mini to automatically log in to her unprivileged account and immediately bring up Firefox. The HP Mini also automatically connects to our Wifi access points both at home and in the office. That means after she boots up, she's ready to go.
For her home page, I installed TiddlyWiki, set up with her favorite links to online newspapers and telephone numbers.
So far, no complaints, and she's happily reading her favorite opinion columns.
All told, this makes for an interesting experiment over the coming months. One parental unit on Windows Vista, the other parental unit on Ubuntu. I wonder how they'll fare.