Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Silver connection

My grandfather is now able to surferise the intahweb, as of yesterday. He has my parents’ old computer (a 1999 AMD K6-2 400Mhz box with 128MB RAM and a 10GB HD), along with an internal 56k V.92 modem and a Virgin.Net account. For web browsing he’s been set up with IE (the machine has XP SP2 so it’s got the popup blocker) and Google is his homepage since it loads quicker than Virgin’s home page – which, considering he’s on 56k is probably a good thing. For the amount he’s likely to use it, broadband isn’t worth the investment. He also has McAfee VirusScan (updated yesterday) and various antispyware tools installed, including SpywareBlaster and Spybot S&D with immunisation enabled, so hopefully the machine will stay fresh.
Email, however, is through Thunderbird 1.0.2. I wouldn’t let a member of my family use Outlook Express.
As he is the ripe old age of 83 he’s having a little trouble understanding the concept of the internet but as the day went on he seemed to pick up the general idea, and he was able to email other members of the family to announce his presence.


  1. Any reason why he is using Internet Explorer and not Firefox?

  2. The web site of one of the clubs he is involved in is IE-only. I would have loved to set him up with Firefox but he needs to be able to visit this particular site.
    The site in question would work in Firefox if the markup was cleaned up a bit, but you try explaining that to an 83-year-old who has probably used the internet 10 times in his entire life. IE was just easier in this case, unfortunately.

  3. Ah dammit. That was going to be my question! Maybe I should migrate my dad onto Thunderbird and away from Outlook Express. I’ve forced them to use Firefox already.
    I suppose the concept of the internet is pretty immense. Or did you just explain the WWW and email.
    It still amazes me connecting to computers and doing tasks from remote locations. Also the lack of time. I was speaking to someone who was on a laptop with WiFi in his back garden in Miama beach, while it was raining here!

  4. You should write a detailed email for your grandad to send on to whoever built that club site. 🙂 Fair play though. Embracing technology at that age can’t be easy.

  5. Never underestimate an 80 year old; there is a reason why Asian kultures hold their elders with such respect.
    Of course, the can be so dammed stubborn as well.
    Oh well.

  6. Uneventful Weekend, Old People on the ‘Net…

    …I also noticed that Neil Turner has managed to Get his Granddad on the Internet. I’m very impressed by that. I’d love for my Granddad to be on the internet, he could place bets on the ‘oses without having to walk what I see as the perilous streets…