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#41387 - 08/05/16 08:35 AM My friend badly needs a new computer
Bensheim Offline


Registered: 08/16/09
Loc: UK
I'm putting this here because it won't be a Mac. I'm hoping for some psychological insights/help in buying someone else a new computer.

Her computer is so old that it clanks near constantly. It doesn't grind or whine, it clanks really loudly. Loud enough to give you a headache after a while and preclude regular conversation in the area. Is the noise the fan? Is it the hard disk? Who cares! This computer should have been replaced YEARS AGO! Please do not suggest getting this piece of junk mended, that will never happen, trust me on that one.

It's a Windows thing with a Tower under the desk. The way I see it, there is no need to have a Tower computer any more; modern computers come with so much disk space and processing power that I reckon we can go straight to a laptop which will have the added advantage of being portable when she goes on holiday.

She's retired but very active. She is the world's worst procrastinator: hence, no new-computer-decision has been made or even approached, despite the CLANKING (I think it's saying "put me out of my misery")

So here's the question. I know not much about Windows kit and would need her co-operation to buy her a new one. (I have the funds, within reason money no object. It won't be that much, say up to £1,000 GB£ or US$ 1,300 or Euros 1180.) Should I:

1. take her to the computer shop when I visit soon, and try to overcome the predictable resistance there and then;

2. explain my plan when I arrive and try to overcome the resistance in advance then go to the shop;

3. Say, this computer is for me, but it lives in your home. Use it as you wish.

4. Say, this is a gift, (boy oh boy do you need it.....) Christmas came early!

5. Just work out what I think will do the job, buy it online and collect it from that shop when we're there!

What would you do? I really don't want to discuss this with my friend in advance; arms would be folded, blank face made, resistance up and running. Stubborn-ness and procrastination do not always lead to an ideal outcome. IMO.

Thanks for any insightful and/or amusing replies.

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#41388 - 08/05/16 09:44 AM Re: My friend badly needs a new computer [Re: Bensheim]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
In my part of the world, Texas, there is and old tried and tested saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make 'em drink."

You are the one that knows your friend the best and are therefore in the best position to judge her reaction but I have a friend whose wife sounds a lot like your friend. I would expect her reactions to be something like this...
Quote:
1. take her to the computer shop when I visit soon, and try to overcome the predictable resistance there and then;

2. explain my plan when I arrive and try to overcome the resistance in advance then go to the shop;
My friend's wife's first response to anything new that she did not originate is an automatic and totally unequivocal NO and I suspect that is what you would run into with your friend. in fact, I suspect either option would serve to increase her resistance. She spent too much time learning how to use what she has and has less than zero interest in learning anything that might be different.
Quote:
3. Say, this computer is for me, but it lives in your home. Use it as you wish.
Unless she has a reason to be curious, and I suspect she would be very resistant to any curiosity, the computer would simply sit there unused or maybe even stuffed into a closet out of sight.
Quote:
4. Say, this is a gift, (boy oh boy do you need it.....) Christmas came early!
As long as the old computer is sitting there the response would probably be the same as the previous one. In my friend's case his wife's table lamp style iMac had to completely fail before she would even discuss the possibility of a new computer and even then she would have put up ore of a fight had it not been Thursday afternoon and she did not have her Sunday sermon written yet.
Quote:
5. Just work out what I think will do the job, buy it online and collect it from that shop when we're there!
I think you are going to have to convince your friend that the new computer is her idea or she will resist tooth and nail. The noise is probably coming from the fan and you might be able to convince her it is about to fail (which it probably is) and ask her what she is going to do when that happens. Let her think about it for a while and then gently bring it up again, and again, and again.... Hopefully, she will decide a new computer is her idea. Don't argue about technical issues, instead focus on reliability, the smaller physical size and appearance of newer computers and how much easier it is to fit them into a room decor. Talk about the extra floor space and desk space a newer machine would create. In other words appeal to her sensate side and not her technical side.

Another question to ask yourself — and eventually your friend — is what does she use a computer for. It may very well be that a Tablet (iPad or other brand) is all she needs. The lower cost and smaller physical footprint and arguably simplified operation might be really appealing to her.

Fair warning: After my friend's wife finally gave in and agreed to a new computer every glitch, every change, if the battery in her cordless mouse ran down, everything that is different is automatically my friend's fault and he is solely responsible to make her computer do everything exactly the way she wants it to, if that means his writing and new word processor or changing the standard internet protocols. Good luck!
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#41395 - 08/05/16 04:18 PM Re: My friend badly needs a new computer [Re: Bensheim]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
I'll suggest that if the noise doesn't bother her enough to drive her to make a move then you should just wait for her PC to fail and force her to make one.

I further suggest that in the meantime you subtly attempt to scope out what she'll really need from a new computer so when it all hits the fan you're ready to move forthwith.
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#41397 - 08/05/16 04:29 PM Re: My friend badly needs a new computer [Re: Bensheim]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
If your friend exhibits such behaviors and you can foresee major downsides in your attempt to assist, you should sideline yourself (if only for the sake of your own sanity and friendship with her) before you get your hat handed to you (at least).
No matter what you do, you're not doing yourself or her any favors.

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#41401 - 08/06/16 09:41 AM Re: My friend badly needs a new computer [Re: joemikeb]
Bensheim Offline


Registered: 08/16/09
Loc: UK
I think you're absolutely right, Jo, and I am very grateful for your long and thoughtful response. I am also pleased to see other responses.

Take a horse to water rings many bells. You are right.

After an overnight despond on my plan here, I have with your help, decided to change tactics. I've also checked Mister Internet. It's almost certainly the fan in that big Tower Thing under the desk which is CLANKING "Help Me!"

If sleek slim modern computers have fans nowadays, I am unaware of them. These Macs are completely silent!

So I think I will instead of being an eager early Christmas, be a mournful doom-merchant. As in "I've (taken the time to) look this up. Your computer fan is about to fail and you're lucky it's still running at all, by the sound of it. I hope you keep backups! because when it fails, that Windows Tower is TOAST."........there is a computer shop near here, I'd offer to help you source some new kit but you're probably not interested right now........seems a shame when you rely on that kit so much to keep in touch with your family and friends/file tax returns/research holidays/check on your team's results/watch TV (etc.)

(Her TV is shot too: she watches TV on that computer, such as it is.......)

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#41402 - 08/06/16 10:10 AM Re: My friend badly needs a new computer [Re: Bensheim]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Most Macs still have fans but thanks to clever mechanical, industrial, and electronic engineering they are seldom heard. in fact they are almost 👻

(that emoticon is supposed to be a ghost in case you didn't recognize it.)

I wish I had thought of this yesterday but from what I have absorbed from being a preacher's spouse, I will offer an improvement on my original suggestion. Rather than harping on the dire consequences of your friend's reluctance to move on, tell her about your experience: how quiet your computer is, how safe you feel with your Time Machine backups that take place automatically, how you enjoy watching a video or UTube with the Retina display that is so crisp and sharp, how nice the fast response time is. No one likes to be told about anything negative about themselves or their choices and will immediately and inevitably throw up defenses. She can't feel defensive when you are talking about yourself and your experience. Then with her guard down, hopefully she will begin to listen and even ask you for advice. ‼️


Edited by joemikeb (08/06/16 10:11 AM)
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#41413 - 08/08/16 05:02 AM Re: My friend badly needs a new computer [Re: Bensheim]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
My mother is very stubborn. She's got experience using computers, but hasn't made the effort to become "computer literate". So she knows word processors and web browsing but never leaves her comfort zone. She'd always used PCs at work before she retired, and was very strongly against mac for no clear reason. "It's different than what I'm used to", and so it appears to not be able to do anywhere near as much, and she didn't have the patience to leave her comfort zone. This is the most common issue I see.

So she kept having problems with her computer. I'd try to walk her through a fix or fix it when I got over there (300mi) but there was little to nothing I could to do to fix it. I never badgered her to get a mac. I would remind her sometimes that "if this were a mac I would know how to fix it", or "I'm not familiar with this problem because it can't happen on a mac". She broke her HP, her Compaq, and her Dell, each lasted about 2 years and went through ~3 wipe-and-reformat (with 100% data loss) before being unsalvageable. (I didn't work on her computer, she often had techs make house calls to fix things, and techs onsite-by-the-hour to fix malware is very expensive because of how long it can take)

Finally I got a call, "You're coming down here for your birthday right? Good. I've HAD IT, I can't stand these windows computers anymore, I'm getting a mac! And you're going to set it up!" It was almost cute how she made it sound like that was going to be a hard thing to do and that she was somehow sharing her frustration with me. OK sounds good! "BTW, you're going to hate it for the first week. Everything's going to look different, be named something different, and be in a different place. But everything you need will still be there. You're just going to have to re-learn it. So you're going to need to spend a few weeks getting used to it before you stop hating it." She was OK with that.

It went pretty much as expected. The first week she hated it, because everything looked different, everything was called something different, and everything moved around. She already knew WHAT to do, but had to re-learn HOW to do it. I installed remote control software, which she referred to as "the hand of god that comes to my computer and fixes it". I'm ok with that I guess. First week was lots of calls she hated everything about it. But I was able to remote in and show her where things were or make adjustments that would be difficult to explain over the phone. I could look at her screen and decode what she was saying because she was also having problems describing her issues. Second week, not so many calls, and she'd calmed down quite a bit. By the third week she had reached the "well this isn't so bad after all" point.

It took about two months before she finally admitted this was a really good change. "Why didn't you tell me to get a mac sooner?" "I did, a few times, and you were very much against it, so I decided to let you make that decision entirely on your own." She's now one of the biggest mac advocates I know, and has convinced more people to switch than I have. That was in late 2006, when the first G5 iMacs came out. I've since replaced her computer twice with some bargain newer ones. She has yet to actually break her computer, and it's gone from the most unreliable necessary-evil in her life to her rock of stability in a crazy world.

I'm not going to say a mac is the best computer for everyone, or even the best computer. But there's a lot of people that could really benefit from one. I like to say, "If you're looking for a new computer, and you ask someone what computer you should get, and they immediately have an answer for you, you're not going to receive good advice from them. They're going to recommend their favorite computer, the computer that's best for them, not what's best for you. They're only truly going to give you a good answer if they ask you a lot of questions about how you use your computer and what you need to use it for."

So don't be that person that recommends someone get a mac based only on how well your mac is working out for you. Make sure it's the right computer for them.
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#41415 - 08/08/16 07:06 AM Re: My friend badly needs a new computer [Re: Virtual1]
MacManiac Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
GREAT POST!!!!!!

I had a very similar process to go through with my wife's Mom (passed on now, but tremendous fun to be with while we had her....) - she was not the least bit comfortable with ANY form of personal computer when she started.

We tried her on a Win98 laptop to start with and that effort went into the toilet pretty fast! Her battle cry was, "I'm gonna pitch this stupid thing out the window and see if it flies!".....and she meant it. Next was a G3 PowerBook on OS9 and that went somewhat better, but the hardware was pretty worn by the time she had it and it too was threatened with "Flying" more often than not.

Her ultimate computer was the 2009 iMac....the larger screen and full sized keyboard helped a lot. I still got many calls about how she had "killed the damned thing", but mostly it was simply an issue of how she had changed something in the Mail window that she couldn't figure out how to get back her "normal" view....."HELP, I've lost ALL my emails!!!!"

Her progression went from being totally in fear of the whole thing, to ultimately being able to surf and research topics across the net, send and receive emails with friends and family all over the country (and the world while I was deploying), and recognizing when there was a REAL problem with the computer before calling for help....she was able to analyze network issues and reboot her DSL Modem and router to regain connectivity when it went down, however, it DID take three hard drive replacements before we got her to shut down the system during thunderstorms wait for the electrical service to come back on steady before going back online.

Calling her from Afghanistan using Skype out in order to walk her through a computer problem remotely was one of our favorite topics of wonder among the rest of the family.....all were amazed that we could get her IT hiccups resolved so simply.

She's been gone now for nearly a year and I miss her, but it wouldn't surprise me to get a call late one night just to let me know that her new system seems to be working just fine.

They say that no good deed goes unpunished, so for all my efforts described above over the past 15 years with her......my reward was LOT'S of email forwards.
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