More years ago than I care to remember, I was born. My parents have had to put up with my crap since then. As a parent myself, I have a great deal of respect for that, especially when I have a better idea than most what I’ve put them through.
You’re Having Trouble with What?!?
That being said, nothing tries my patience faster than trying to trouble shoot computer problems for my parents from over a thousand miles away over the phone. I’ve tried several different ways of taking remote control of their computer, none of which seem to prevent them from hosing it up so badly that my remote methods no longer work. Unfortunately, when it comes to computers, they’re a lost cause.
Then events led me to my most recent epiphany. HP made a tablet. The TouchPad. It was brilliant. Only two buttons on it, one on the front, one on the top. WebOS is a snap to use, and it would give my parents the ability to do pretty much everything they do on their computer in a device that even my parents couldn’t screw up (so I thought).
The price was a barrier though. Of course, we all know how that story went. HP (probably more appropriately Léo Apotheker) so screwed up the release and sale of the TouchPad that it didn’t stand a chance in the tablet market. It was too expensive and didn’t have apps. Pretty soon the price dropped, and then again, and then again. Finally it was announced that it was being discontinued and the remaining inventory sold at ridiculously low prices just to get rid of them. I stayed up till 3am and managed to get my hands on three of them. One for me, one for my wife, and one for my parents. My problems are solved (so I thought)!
You’re Still Having Trouble with What?!?
I want to reiterate here that I love my parents, and they’ve put up with my crap for as long as I’ve had crap to put up with. I don’t want to give the wrong impression here.
OK, now that I’ve said that, my parents can even screw up WebOS. Well, not so much screw it up, but they can’t even figure out the most basic task on it. Just a few days ago, I spent over thirty minutes trying to walk my mother through checking her email. CHECKING HER EMAIL!
Seriously, I wanted to send her this picture, but I couldn’t think of a way to do it that was less complicated than email that she could actually do. The only thing that came to mind was printing it out, putting into an envelope and snail mailing it to her.
Here’s where the epiphany comes in. It doesn’t matter what OS they’re using, or what hardware they’ve got, or how hard I try to make it easy for them. They’re just a lost cause, and that means that Linux is perfect for them.
Linux for Lost Causes
All this time I’ve been trying to make everything so easy that even they couldn’t mess it up. It led to more and more complex issues for me, but didn’t solve their problems. With Linux, I can easily remote into their computer, their computer is virtually impervious to all of the weird crap that seems to miraculously get installed even though I’m not sure which if them knows how to install stuff, and I can maintain it for them with barely a flip of my wrist at the command line. If my mother can’t figure out how to open her email, I can literally open it for her. Linux is no harder to use than Windows or OSX, so I can’t think of a single reason they shouldn’t use Linux. Really, any one that has a lost cause of their own should be thinking Linux.
Think I’m wrong? Give me an earful.