In an article "How Far Behind Is Linux" in the Wall Street Journal, Lee Gomes interviews Linus Torvald and learns that his own family members in his native Finland don't use Linux.
Among Microsoft's customers, concedes Mr. Torvalds, are his father and sister, though Mom has managed to resist the allure of the dark side.
The mom bit was interesting to me. We have all heard the saying that software should be made easy enough even for Mom to use, but it was only a few years ago when I really begun to appreciate the mom phenomena.
Back around 2003, when I visited my parents back in New York, I resolved to teach Mom how to use the computer or more specifically the Internet.
I showed my mom how to use AOL to access the Internet. I found websites that I thought she would be interested in, like switchboard.com(?) for searching phone numbers for all of her friends around the country. The people search feature piqued her interest, but I never succeeded in getting her to befriend the computer. Instead, when Mom is interested in knowing the whereabouts and contact number of someone, she calls me so that I can look it up on the Internet.
Later, I discovered how much of an extreme technophobe my mom was. She never even used an ATM machine. She always meets with the bank teller to deposit and withdraw money. Everyone else in the household uses a computer, and I always assumed that she encountered computers when she used to work.
I wonder if there is still an hope for her. Perhaps, something like WebTV (now it's called MSN TV) would help. AOL still has too many steps for beginners.