Case in point: not everyone needs the latest PC

By on February 18, 2012
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My parents use an old PC and they’re perfectly happy with it.

I admire my parents for many reasons. From how they at a very young age moved to a foreign country, set up a home, raised a family, and worked hard at making a good living for themselves, to how they take such pride in the very simple things in life.

More recently I admire them for putting up with what is by any reasonable standard a very old and slow PC, using it to read news, play games, and even do some email.

My dad, who worked in construction for all his life, took some evening classes in computing 101 many years ago. He learned how to use Windows, Office, web, and email, which were great accomplishments, since he had hardly touched a computer up to that point. Then my sister managed to get them an old computer. It’s a Pentium 4, with 1 GB of RAM and a 14-inch fat CRT display (yes, not even a flat LCD display).

It runs Windows XP and has Internet Explorer 6. I’m not even sure there’s any sort of anti-virus program on it, something I really should rush right over there and fix right now. To me, it takes forever to start up, and even just opening IE is an exercise in patience. Even though my parents have a broadband connection, you can’t really tell with their PC because it’s so slow – they might as well have had dial-up.

But what is amazing is that they use this PC. They are on it pretty much every day, reading the news, playing Solitaire, and now also even doing some emailing. It may not sound like much for regular Tbreak readers, who do more in an hour on their smartphones than my parents do in a week with their PC, but it’s a huge step for them.

Being in their seventies now, and retired since quite a number of years, my parents have all the time in the world to take it easy, do some gardening, take care of the grand children, and just have a good time. It’s nice to see that they also take the time to experience a little bit of what the modern times have to offer in technology. Besides the PC, the most high tech in their house a DVD player, which they hardly ever use.

I guess if I had no other choice but to use a PC like theirs, I’d be using it. But as long as I have some kind of choice, it’ll have to be a dark day in – you know what – before I try my patience on something like that. As I said, I admire my parents for many things, and being able to happily use this old PC on a daily basis is one of them, right up there at the top of the list.

Photo by ThreeHeadedMonkey.


I write and talk too much about tech. You can find my personal blog at, my radio shows at, and me on Twitter as mnystedt.

  • Michael Fahey

    Nicely written! Every time I tell my parents I need to upgrade their computers they tilt their heads like dogs hearing a strange sound. 

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