Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Why you should send interesting tech gadgets to my dad for testing

My dad, Horst Mann, turned 70 yesterday. He has an old Canon digital camera, my hand me down 15" Powerbook G4, and talks to his daughter and grand daughter in Italy using Skype and video.

He is an "Old Skool" Flickr member. I kicked him off my home server hosting using Gallery, and he's been a Flickr community member since about March 2004. Yep, that's '04, March. On Flickr, he's known as Opa, which means "grandpa" in German.

As of yesterday, he and my mom both have Facebook accounts. They both use NetNewsWire to keep up to date via RSS with a variety of sites, including this one. Subscribing to new sources is hard, but then clicking through every link in a blog entry and reading every resulting page takes some time, so I'm not sure they have room for more. They blog occasionally, but uploading pictures to Flickr seems the easiest way to tell a story.

Dad has a cellphone, some sort of Motorola from Telus. His phone number is actually set to 100 Mile House, since my parents have a cabin up there, and it lets him do a few things like (painfully) text people and make phone calls using a cell phone antenna on the roof. He's seen me using a variety of Nokia phones to easily take pictures and upload them directly to Flickr on the go using ShoZu. But, we know all about Canadian mobile data rates and how that's impossible for "regular people" to afford. 

70. My dad is 70. Growing up, he knew all about technology. He was the guy that taught me a lot. He taught courses on AppleWorks and the Apple IIe. We got cool tech at home earlier than most (I mean, a Mac Portable, upgraded to 2MB!!! of RAM).

So, on this day after my dad's 70th birthday, I'm throwing out a request. We've got a lot to learn from people using technology, of all ages and backgrounds. I'd like to see my dad get some cool tools or services to kick the tires on. He's going to do the Camino, the pilgrim's walk in Spain, for the second time next year, so perhaps mobile devices would be particularly appropriate.

Leave a comment, get in touch, or even just head over and leave a comment wishing him happy birthday. Happy birthday, dad, and thanks for teaching me so much.