Happy Birthday Dad. Sorry GMAIL about the Multiple Accounts.

September 22, 2011

Earlier this week we celebrated my dad’s 77th birthday over a sushi dinner. Great – but what place does my dad’s birthday have on a blog for a technology public relations firm? Glad you asked. Well, there is the last name thing. But beyond that Morgan Barokas represents all that is humorous about seniors and technology. It’s hard for me to type those letters, seniors, because my parents in so many ways are not seniors. They’re active, my dad still works at the same job after 59 years, and it’s rare that you’d find Mom and Dad Barokas at home most nights; they are busy. Morgan starts his days at 5am at 24 hour fitness – and doesn’t hit the pillow until well after 11pm – my mom’s choice not his. You get the picture.


So two years ago to the day, my mom bought my dad a MacBook Pro. He had never used a computer but was always very curious about them. Along with his MacBook she also bought 3 years of Apple Care and 1 year of One to One tutorial at the Apple store which entitled him to as many training sessions as he wanted (those poor people). Ideally my dad would’ve used those sessions to enhance his computing abilities, or at least to do more than figure out how to look at his favorite site http://www.mynorthwest.com, but no luck. When Morgan got his laptop we set up a Gmail account for him with address moba@gmail.com – this was to represent his first name combined with my mom’s first name, Barbara. He was sure this would be an easy one to remember, but alas – he forgot. So… off to the Apple store he went to set-up a new Gmail account. After 4 or 5 new accounts he ended up on morganbarokas@gmail.com – which he remembers. But the password has been a problem, something else the friendly folks at the Apple store helped him with.

Dad had heard a lot about Facebook and thought it would be an interesting thing to have if he could “get it on his computer.” So we set him up with a Facebook page – but there are some issues. First it’s the password problem. Next he hasn’t grasped that his Gmail inbox is actually NOT his Facebook page. A few weeks ago he was expressing frustration with how many Facebooks he had. I asked him to show me and he pointed to his Gmail – which had emails from Facebook about activity on his page. The conversation went on to include how he’s not interested in hearing about people’s grandkids and how good they’ve become at T-ball.

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns Morgan has about his computing experience is around photos. I’ll paraphrase but essentially this is the conversation we had:

“People keep asking me to send them pictures of the family, grandkids, and trips me and your mother go on.”

Me: “So do you need help with attaching photos?

No the guys at the Apple store do it for me but I’m going to stop sending.

Me: “Why?”

Because every time I send someone a picture they never return it. If I keep sending all those photos I’m not going to have any left.”

Apparently the sharing concept was lost in translation for my dad. Another concept that puzzles Morgan is the whole ubiquity of the Internet – which is likely the cause of him asking me if I can “get” a website on “my Internet.” It’s awesome to see him so happy when I’m able to bring up a site that he could also get on his Internet. We’re still working on him gaining clarity that his email can be on a machine other than his laptop. “How can it be that my email can be on my machine, but also on your machine?”

Over Labor Day weekend my dad asked me if I had heard of this “new thing called GeekWire?“. He had heard something about it on the radio and wanted to know if I knew it, and could get it on my machine. Speaking of radio, on Monday Morgan asked me to explain tweeting and how he could do it. He has a news-crush on @TheNewsChick, Linda Thomas from KIRO radio and wanted to “send her a Twitter.” What Morgan probably hasn’t realized is that Linda Thomas sent him a Happy Birthday note on Facebook. Guess he’ll discover this at his next Apple store One to One session. My mom re-upped him for another year.

Happy Birthday Dad.


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