Macbook configuration advice for 60 yr old...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by desertdweller, May 6, 2007.

  1. desertdweller macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2007
    My family is going in together to buy a laptop for my mother for her 60th birthday.

    She will probably use it for internet stuff, Excel, and Word mostly, and I think she'll like the camera and iLife in general. She's never used a Mac and is always complaining about bugs, popups, etc. on her desktop PC. That said, she's not the most techno-savvy and has that older-person steep learning curve problem. She doesn't like trackpads, can't really trouble-shoot if things don't work as they're supposed to, etc.

    I feel like the basic configuration for the Macbook (512/60) would be more than sufficient for her and would last her a long time. That said, I'm a newer (2yrs) Mac user myself and have never used a system with less than 1GB... what do you all think? Are the basic Macbooks just fine as is?
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    I would get the 1 GB RAM - it'll make her experience much more enjoyable.

    Other than that, the default config should be fine.

    Happy Shopping. :)
  3. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    Personally I would bump the RAM to 1GB, but if you don't mind doing it yourself you could start with the 512MB and if it is running too slow add more then you also will get a better price on the RAM. Other than that the base system should be great for her.
  4. Reflow macrumors 68000


    Mar 30, 2005
    I would get her a MM since she does not like the trackpads
  5. Andrew D. macrumors 6502

    Apr 17, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    QFT. I would also recommend having atleast 1GB.. sometimes 512MB can be slow.
  6. Derald Lary macrumors member

    May 6, 2007
    I agree on at least one gig of ram, two if you decide to go with the MacBookPro

    I bought my first G 5 at seventy followed by a MacBookPro a year ago. I am using Photoshop and have already had two books of photos printed. I would also get her the Robin Williams book on MacOS X 10.4 Tiger.

    You better hope that she dosn't discover this thread. I doubt that she would appreciate that old person learning curve bit.
  7. WillJS macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2007
    I'd make a set of instructions in PS as her background.

    "Use SAFARI to use the internet"

  8. hulugu macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    the faraway towns
    I think you're better off just buying 1GB from Apple. Because of the way the MacBook handles memory, you have to add RAM in parallel configurations, thus since the MacBook comes with 2 x 256 to properly upgrade it to 1GB you'll need 2 512 chips meaning you have to toss the original chips.
  9. RaMaz macrumors regular


    Apr 6, 2007
    1 GB and a Bluetooth Mighty Mouse should be good,
  10. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    definitely 1GB.

    maybe an external mouse and external monitor

    Older people REALLY struggle with trackpads. Dragging on a trackpad is a real struggle for older people. Definitely a 4 or 5 button mouse (to make good use of Expose)

    If you have a retail ? Store close by, spend the $99. 1-on-1 training for her to go along with her computer would be more helpful to her than any book.

    Purchase the computer, lend or charge up her battery and go into her first training session with her. Spend the first training session in 1-on-1 just setting up her computer. She can make a list of questions and have the trainer/Creative answer them for her.

    Knowledge is always more important than equipment.

    That said, don't skimp on the RAM. Bad idea.

    Perhaps wait a bit for the new iMac? Does she really NEED a computer right away? Does she really NEED a laptop? I know that surprising her on her birthday is important, but she might like having a large beautiful 20" screen and an external mouse. If you REALLY loved her, you'd pick up the stunning 24" just for the beauty, size, and knowledge of gettting her the BEST available for her needs (what she'd do with a Mac Pro is beyond me). It'll be a nicer experience for her (also to show off to her friends how much her family loves her- important for older people whether they openly admit it or not).

    Happy 60th Birthday to your mother. The important thing is that her family loves her and that she feels/knows/experiences it. Making older people cry tears of joy is something we should regularly aspire to do.
  11. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    respectfully disagree

    Although some people LOVE the Mighty Mouse. I personally hate ? mice (mouses?).

    At least 3 buttons, preferably 4 or 5. Adding Expose functions to your mouse will do wonders for productivity and efficiency if you don't use them already.
  12. desertdweller thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2007
    old folks rock, and thanks everyone

    I guarantee you she will not discover this thread!

    I did not mean to imply any inherent limitations on the part of older people. My mom is an exceedingly intelligent woman, and 60-70-80 aren't so old these days anyway. She's just increasingly intimidated by new technology as she gets older so it takes her longer to get new things. Anyway -- she does have a sense of humor, so she'd more likely roll her eyes and tell me that I'm not so young myself than be angry at my characterization.

    Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions!! Much appreciated.
  13. Coops46 macrumors member

    Aug 8, 2006
    Well, i'd say the 2.0GHz MacBook, because of the DVD burner. It seems like the kind of scenario that your mum would like to make dvd's in iMovie and the like, and you'll get the 1GB of RAM that way too included.

    Happy Birthday
  14. Dustman macrumors 65816


    Apr 17, 2007
    where 512mb of ram probably would be sufficient, 1 gb will add to the longevity of the notebook.. other than that, basic config should be fine. processor speed probably wont mean much to her.
  15. dmaxdmax macrumors 6502a


    Oct 26, 2006
    My 84 y/old father is on his 5th or 6th computer since (about) 1985 so I have some experience in senior-assistance. He's a very smart guy who gets very easily confused by acronyms that didn't exist a decade ago. (anything he doesn't understand he puts DVD in front of - I'm still not sure if he's kidding) It's safe to assume that your Mother won't want to upgrade her hardware every 2-5 years so buy a machine that could last 8-10 years or more. This means at least 1 Gig of RAM since who knows how much we'll need to run Simple Text in 2015.

    I suspect processor speed will matter nothing to her but screen size will.

    I'd advise I good wired mouse. On more than one occasion I got a "tech-support" call about the computer not responding only to discover the mouse batteries were dead. Give her the fewest things to worry about. If she uses the right-click button in Windows then get her a 2-button mouse. If not, she can use a standard Apple Mouse.

    Tell her that Macs are not foolproof or perfect. Apps do sometimes close w/out warning or reason and she will occasionally see the beachball. She shouldn't have unreasonable expectations.

    Set up automated back-up. If she ever loses more than 1 day of work she'll wonder why she bothered to switch since this "never happened on her old machine".

    Remove every item from the dock that she doesn't want to use right from the beginning. You can always add features or upgrade complexity (new mouse or keyboard). If I had it to do over again I'd consider giving him simple finder.

    Good luck! You are giving her a great gift!
  16. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Why a macbook and not an iMac? Aside from the trackpad problem, there's also the problem of the small screen and older eyes. 60 is not very old, but that tiny type can be a problem. How much moving around is she going to be doing? If the answer is "not at all"/"not very much" then get her a 17-inch iMac.
  17. Diatribe macrumors 601


    Jan 8, 2004
    Back in the motherland
    My mum loves her iBook. She loves sitting on her couch or her balconee surfing, writing emails, etc. I asked her what she wanted and she wouldn't go back to a desktop.

    But you are correct, if one only uses the computer at the desk you don't need a laptop. The only problem is that most people only find out how nice a laptop and its mobility really is after trying it out.

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