Building my dad a computer - software?

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by Boomhauer, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer New Member

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    I built my dad, 52 years old, a computer which I'll be able to give to him in March (lives a few states away). Got it running just fine and the system specs will more than suit his needs, Win XP and middling specs, the usual.

    I was wondering if I could get some software reccomendations. As far as I know he only uses his current computer (which has 32 MB of EDO RAM and no sound, and runs Windows 98) to sign onto dialup and check his e-mail occasionally, play solitaire, and a few other things. He used to listen to music when the sound still worked, too.

    He's not going to be doing any programming, autocad, or anything of the sort, but we're sort of out of touch and I have no idea what kinds of things someone in his generation might find useful/enjoyable. Any ideas?
     
  2. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    - MS Office 2007 Standard Edition (2007 has huge improvements in usability)

    - MS Money 2004 Standard Edition (I use 2004 and I can do my bills in 10 minutes a week; 2006 might also be good, but 2007 sounds like a waste of time)

    - Adobe Acrobat 7 Standard Edition (It's incredibly handy to be able to print shit to PDF files instead of wasting paper, which then has to be filed)

    - Mozilla Thunderbird (free email program, much more user-friendly than Outlook)

    - Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition (if you can find it -- the subscription never expires)

    - Norton Utilities (improves on the Windows defrag tool and scandisk tool -- don't bother with the SystemWorks suite, just keep it simple)

    The standard stuff that comes with Windows should suffice for anything else he's going to do. Maybe buy him a strategy game or two for his free time?

    Set him up with a Windows Messenger account, so he can easily send you Remote Assistance requests so you can help him without having to do it over the phone.
     
  3. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer New Member

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    Good suggestions, I'll hook him up with ESET NOD32 instead of Symantec/Norton though. Money's a nice idea and I think I even have a copy of it somewhere.

    I was going to give him Microsoft Works because I thought it was free, but looks like I was mistaken. I don't know if I want to pony up for Office though because I have a couple extra copies of Corel Wordperfect Suite. I'll think about it.

    Acrobat, done! :)

    Also installed The GIMP, 7-Zip, Winamp, VLC, Express Burn/Rip, Pac Man, DX-Ball, Snood, now I'll have to work on getting some kind of strategy or adventure game like you suggested. Thanks!

    Wonder if I can find my old copy of Eric's Ultimate Solitaire. . .
     
  4. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    DON'T give him Works. It's garbage, and it's not compatible with anything anymore.

    WinAmp is a good program, but Windows Media Player is easier to use. You're better off keeping it simple for him. As for Express Burn/Rip, WMP and Windows Explorer can both burn and copy CDs, both data and audio. Unless he's going to be doing some kinky shit with his digital media, he doesn't need any third-party burners.

    Get rid of 7-zip and replace it with ZipGenius. (do a google search for it.) It reads every archive format known to man -- ZIP, CZIP, CAB, RAR, 7Z, and so on -- it even lets you make self-extracting and self-destroying archives, and you can open ISO files too, so you can pull files out of CD images without having to waste actual CDs to burn them first. And it's free, and it has no ads, and it's made by an Italian guy.
     
  5. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer New Member

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    Thanks about ZipGenius, I hadn't heard of it before. 7Zip is a good program but this looks great.

    Only reason I got Express Burn/Rip is because it's an extremely simple program and I have the default rip directory set to "My Music." Based on what you said though I think I'll get rid of Express Burn and just keep Express Rip. I'll show him how to do it with Explorer, WMP, and Exp.Rip and he can choose the one he likes best.

    I have some Office 2000 licenses, hopefully I'll be able to upgrade those to 2007 for cheaper than buying 2007 outright, because I checked Office 2007 out and you're right, I wouldn't mind having it myself.

    update: Wow, just checked. The upgrade for Office Ultimate 2007 costs more than I spent on the rest of the computer, including WinXP. Looks like he can have Office 2000 and if he needs to upgrade, that can be his expense.

    Put on Firefox, Thunderbird, a MahJongg game, Tetris, Sierra Ultra Minigolf, Also installed Java, Flash, DirectX, etc.

    I guess I have a few months to think of other stuff, and find him a nice strategy game, though that should just about do it. Thanks for the input!
     
  6. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    He'll only need the basic Office anyway, which even for 2007 I'm sure doesn't cost a hell of a lot. What's he really going to be doing that he'd need Ultimate for? Standard comes with Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and I think maybe Access -- even Access is pushing the envelope of usefulness for Joe User.

    EDIT: Oh, don't forget to install a DVD decoder. Windows Media Player doesn't come with one.
     
  7. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer New Member

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    He only has dialup, but now that he'll have a computer worth putting DSL on, who knows.
     
  8. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer New Member

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    Should the Divx codec pack do the trick, or am I better off with the PowerDVD software? Yeah, I guess he wouldn't need Access, but Frontpage might be nice. I could always just set him up with NVu.
     
  9. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    DVD is not DivX. DVD is MPEG-2, plus encryption. You need purpose-built DVD decoding software to play DVDs.

    If he's going to do any website development, he's probably not going to want to futz around with maintaining online and offline copies. If he shows interest in that, buy him a GeoCities or MySpace account so he can build a website using pre-tested components.
     
  10. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    You don't need that. You just need for you both to have Windows Messenger accounts. Remote Assistance can handle traversing across multiple routers and firewalls -- it's more than good enough for tech support.
     
  11. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer New Member

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    Ok, I just wasn't thinking right yesterday. Got the K-lite codec pack installed, as well as the codecs that came with my PowerDVD software.

    As far as the website stuff, you're right. I'll either set him up with Geocities or Angelfire.
     
  12. Ractoon

    Ractoon Shibumi in progress...

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    Have you looked into Open Office 2.x ?

    http://www.openoffice.org/

    Forgot what MS Office 2000 was like, but Open Office may be a decent solution if he's not going to be doing anything too fancy.
     
  13. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer New Member

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    OpenOffice is a decent suite, to be sure. But Office is such a familiar program, even for an old version like 2000.

    Plus I hate that the programs are called "OpenOffice Writer", "OpenOffice Spreadsheet," etc.
     
  14. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    It pays the precious what it can afford to pay, and the precious gives it its email...
     

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