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However, her original motive was to keep in touch with family via email. She knows that we all use email all the time and she wants in on the fun. So I'm thinking about buying her an email appliance.
I see two on the market that look good - the Lundel MailBug and the Cidco MailStation. Are there others that do the job well? No chiclet sized keyboards will be considered!
It also seems to me the service fees are way out of line with what you get. $15 a month if you want to get image attachments. Is there a workaround here?
I have yet to see an email appliance that handles color, attachments, etc. in any manner that a grandomther would be able to appreciate for cute grandkid photos and the like...
Email appliances seem to still be aimed primarily at the "connected" individual who doesn't quite need a "real" laptop, but needs constant email access.
Unless you get her a color PDA with a full size keyboard attachment. You can use modem service with them, so don't *need* to pay for expensive wireless service, but I'm thinking the screen size may be an impediment for someone her age.
But a used CRT iMac would be well under $1000, I'm sure, and if you set up everthing for her with just the email icon on the desktop, used a super-simple email program, and just taught her...
1. How to turn it on
2. Double click email icon
3. How to use email program
4. How to shut it down
...she might be more comfortable with that for a while, and be interested in learning more at a later date. At which point you put a second icon (perhaps a web browser?) on the desktop, and just teach her how to use that.
That would also prevent any confusion that WebTV might cause while running into sites that aren't compatible with it, if she tried to surf the web through her television... and a lot of areas offer cheap or free internet access with certain local & long distance phone service packages.