Sometimes it’s what you don’t know

* Meant to post this months ago, Sorry ! *

Today has been an interesting day in tech from an outside point of view …

For some time my mother in law has been asking for help in buying a computer. Part of the difficulty of this was that the requirements were somewhat conflicting. She wanted a machine to learn on that would be similar to those she may use at work (windows/office), but alternatively it’s primarily for web browsing and should be as simple to use as possible.

This is really two points that are at odds with each other.

For the budget she had in mind it’d be a pretty low end windows laptop, probably running Windows 8 (which shes never seen before), with a further cost for buying Office.

Instead, for the same cost we could get a fast laptop, almost instantly wakes-on-open, that covers 90% of her requirements. We found this in an HP Chromebook.

Now a few months down the line she’s really gotten to grips with Google which does the bulk of what the laptop gets used for. She’s ordered tickets, bought new blinds, checks train times, and is all set up for internet banking. Exactly what it was intended for. The biggest hurdle has been getting over that every site seems to need its own login, perhaps it needs some sort of KeyPass / LastPass integration (or some sort of OpenID ?).

As for office, we’ve shown her Google Docs (Drive), but she’s yet to actually make use of the service (probably best we didn’t pay the extra money for it then !)

I must admit, I quite fancy one for myself, although I’d probably end up trying to put Ubuntu on it for a small fast dev laptop.