Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Helping my parents into Open Source world

My parents are non-technical people, but they just purchased a nice new HP laptop while out visiting us.

Before they left I set them up with a bunch of new F/L/OSS software,
a TheOpenCD V3.1 disk and free web-based services.

I just sent them list note about what we setup:

I installed the following software on the new HP laptop -- they are
all from the CD that went home with you.

  • OpenOffice V2.0 -- This is a complete, free replacement for
    Microsoft Office tools like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It will let
    you open documents that people may send you that those tools.

  • GAIM -- free alternative to AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, etc's own version of
    IM or Chat programs. You still need free accounts on those services
    (and you already have them for Google, Yahoo and AOL), but you don't
    need to have 3 different programs running to chat with people on
    each of those IM servers. GAIM connects for your to each of them.

  • FireFox -- free alternative to using Microsoft Internet Explorer
    (also known as MSIE, the blue E that I removed from at least Dad's
    desktop). MSIE has a history of being plagued by virus, spyware,
    etc. Firefox is not completely immune, but much less of a risk.
    You may hear people refer to Mozilla browser, Firefox is a version
    of that.

There are other free programs on the CD -- it is called TheOpenCD
(http://www.theopencd.org) and you can pass it on or give copies to
your friends -- to look at the other stuff on there to to see if there
is anything interesting to you on it. You can install them on the
office PCs or the desktop PC at home.

I also setup a number of free accounts for both of you.

  • Email -- Instead of using Microsoft Outlook and getting your mail
    from Roadrunner or Frontier (which ever you end up choosing for
    email), just get your email from google's free GMAIL service. Use
    any computer and go to http://www.gmail.com/ and log to do your
    email. (Account info below)

  • IM -- Dad and I got accounts for IM Chat accounts on AOL (sometimes
    you see it referred to as AIM), Google Talk and Yahoo!. (account
    info below) The GAIM program is all setup for each of those account.
    Just go to the menu Tool s then Account and click 'Online' for your
    accounts. It already has the password information set there. This
    will let you chat with my kids who use AOL, Lori that uses Yahoo!
    and me who actually has accounts on all of them.

  • Photos -- You already had an account on Flickr (now part of Yahoo!,
    http://www.flickr.com). You used your old AOL.COM address to create
    an account. and there is a way to change the email address to match
    your Yahoo! account. Dad and I also installed FlickrUploadr and
    there should be a link of the desktop. Double click on it to start
    it and then use the file explorer to drag and drop photos from your
    hard drive (or CD or Camera) to FlickrUploadr. Then press the
    Upload button and the photos will be copied to
    http://www.flickr.com/ where people can see them.

Account info that you can pass on to your friends:

  • Email

    Mom: XXXXYYYYYY@gmail.com

    Dad: XXYYYYYY@gmail.com

  • AOL IM (if your friends use AOL pay service or free chat only, which
    my kids use)



  • Yahoo! IM (which Lori uses)



  • Google IM (sometimes called Google Talk -- anyone with a google
    email account can IM using the same account info)



  • Photos -- tell friends to see your public photos here:


    There is a way under 'Your Account' to pick a better address,
    similar to what I have:


    You are currently using a free flickr account. For $25/year you can
    store many many more photos on flickr.com. If you start using
    flickr, that would make a nice start of a xmas gift from us.