I am trying to brainstorm options that might help an number of elderly/ severely “technology challenged people" (here after referred to as TCP
) to view photos/video messages, video chat and maybe even receive messages in as easily way as possible. The need has been brought to the forefront given covid19. One family friend’s neighbor has agreed to let them use their wifi if I can provide them with a system. The issue is they cannot grasp how to use the laptop. In fact they are really intimidated by it.
They are not alone. I have about a dozen TCPs in my immediate family/friends circle who missed the technology boat. They do not own a pc, tablet or a smartphone and have really never used a computer. They all have used the television (sometimes a vcr or dvd player), though more than few have had difficulty switching between video sources on their television.
The idea is to set up a system; a laptop or a tablet (with camera) that that somehow helps automate the sharing/connecting that many of us who did not miss the technology boat do with ease. Actually it would be preferable if the system did not need to be navigated at all.
The way I imagine the system operating would be:
After turning on, the system boots into a "friends and family" slide show.
Ability to remotely feed images into a slide show using cloud service (see inspiration below).
Video calling device automatically interrupts slide show with an accept video call except call / decline call button.
Ending call goes back to slide show.
Ability to send a message (text) to system. Closing message(s) resumes family/ friends slide show.
Ability to remote into the system to reset or “help” user use the system.
Of course there are many other functions. This helps the TCP recieve, but not necessarily initiate. The TCP can call a friend and relative on their landline and ask them to video call them. This would mean the TCPs would only need to know how to
a) Turn on and off device
b) accept/ decline and maybe clear video calls/messages.
I feel this could be a good way to repurposed some older laptops / tablets I have in my possession. Maybe installing Linux mint (operating system) + jami (video conferencing) + nextcloud desktop app (to sync a photo video folders with a cloud share for family/friends)+ screen saver program (that pulls from nextcloud desktop app sync folder which pulls from family/friends cloud share) anydesk (for remote assistance) + some sort of launcher.
Linux mint has the benefit that even non Linux friendly friends/relatives could navigate the system should they need to in order to help out while at TCP's home or when remoting in.
Much of the inspiration from this comes from a project I embarked on years ago. I provided a family elder with an android tablet with an app called PhotoCloud Slideshow. It is an app that allows one to turn an older andriod tablet into a digital photo frame. It can connect with a number of cloud services, a personal server and most importantly in my case owncloud/ nextcloud. You can select a folder, I was able to create nextcloud share that family members could upload to. Uploads were automatically brought into the slideshow stream. Its issue was that turning on the tablet and the app were not streamlined for someone who did not know how to navigate it. https://play.google....d=sk.baka.photoframe http://www.android-photo-frame.eu/