More lessons From my (now) 84-year-old Uncle

By Sandra Clitter  

A while ago I wrote about some lessons that I’d learned from my 83-year-old Uncle (check it out here). When last we visited, he was deciding between purchasing an iPad or a Kindle, or some other e-reader. My last blog post included a mea culpa that my iPod is from the last decade (and early in the decade, at that). I don’t have a tablet PC. I don’t have an e-reader. Yet.

I’ll set the stage by saying that I was visiting with my uncle and we’d discussed and discussed the relative merits of an iPad or an e-reader. Unfortunately, I couldn’t give very good advice because I didn’t have direct experience with either one. I’m not against any of the technology – in fact, I love it – but its not a part of my personal arsenal – yet. I don’t feel obliged to be an early adopter – despite the fact that I make my living from technology. Sometimes, being ‘first on the block’ is fun…sometimes, it’s painful. I pick and choose…sometimes I have more patience than others.

Anyway, back to the subject…my uncle and I are sitting around discussing the alternative devices available. While he’s terrific at researching various products, he doesn’t like going shopping (he doesn’t know what he’s missing!), so going out to touch/feel each one isn’t high on his list of ‘fun things to do’. I suggested that we go out to one of the big, box stores which have a variety of products available to test out. Maybe actually seeing one ‘in person’ would help him make up his mind. I was sure that my suggestion would fall on deaf ears. Instead, in a flash, we were in the car, heading out to the store. Not only did we ‘touch and feel’, we purchased!!! I was, to quote a dear Aussie friend of mine, gobsmacked. We walked in and 15 minutes later, we walked out with an iPad (Generation 1, but that is fine for his use). The touch/feel part of the process lasted mere moments…he wanted to do his ‘test driving’ from the comfort of his own easy chair! Clearly, he’d already made up his mind when we left the house – he just didn’t share that detail with me :-).

Home we go to begin this new odyssey of experiencing an Apple product and the wide world of ‘apps’. I haven’t been around before when he’s gotten a new electronic ‘toy’. While I know that he reads the directions, it was a little disconcerting to him when there were virtually no directions in the iPad packaging. Granted, the setup was fairly intuitive to me, but not to him. He sat himself down at the old PC Desktop, and searched online for a ‘real’ set of directions. In very little time, he had a complete manual downloaded to the desktop for further study. Me, I just blasted ahead, figuring it out as I went!! Luckily, we came to the same place – an iPad ‘talking to’ the iTunes on the desktop – in a relatively short period of time.

Fast forward four weeks – to my next visit…So, how does he like the iPad? Loves it. He’s explored and ferreted out an amazing number of apps. He’s installed apps that sync certain information between the desktop and the iPad. He’s rediscovered an old passion – following stocks – and has found four or five apps to help him with this hobby. He’s found an app that manages his passwords and can run on the PC and the iPad, so they’re always in sync (eWallet). He’s found several photo editing apps to adjust/update images that he wants to appear on our family tree site ( He’s downloaded all of the main e-reader programs, allowing himself to read books from Barnes & Noble or Borders or Amazon. He’s found an app that allows him to create a more PC-like folder system on the iPad. The list goes on and on and on.

When I asked him how the desktop computer was doing, he said that he didn’t know…he hadn’t been on it for three weeks!!!

So, my 84-year-old Uncle has managed to move virtually his entire desktop presence to his iPad…and in a relatively short period of time. You’d think that I could figure out whether I want an e-reader or iPad sometime soon, wouldn’t you?!?!

My one consolation is that he actually needed me to help him set up an FTP program on the iPad…hooray for small, face-saving favors!!!


  1. Chris Donabedian
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Ah, this story made me smile – as having spent an afternoon with him … and your stories it makes this a very heartwarming story.

    • Posted August 19, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      “A Character” really doesn’t begin to describe, but I learn all kinds of things from him…:-)

  2. Posted July 29, 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink | Reply

    Rock on uncle! Rock on!!

    Charlie Seymour Jr

  3. Becky Michael
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 7:40 am | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyable. Maybe you have him as a regular guest on your blog!

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