This post is part of a three-part series of roundups dedicated to finding apps for your home and family life. Today, in part two, we’ll focus on fun and useful apps that your grandparents might enjoy. Reread part one here.
Switching to a Mac-centric household can be hard on certain members of your family, particularly the ones who might tend to be a little more traditional in their technology usage: your grandparents. Fear not, though, for today we present you with a list of 10 apps, both useful and entertaining in variety, that may be just the thing you need to ease any old-fashioned users of any age into using your fancy new computer. Hit the jump to read on!
My grandmother, when she’s not burning through a case of Diet Pepsi and seven full length novels a day (good god does that woman read!), will sit for hours on end solving Sudoku puzzles of a difficulty level that I can’t even begin to imagine solving.
Aside from Freecell, Sudoku is probably the most addicting thing she does, and if she told me she was buying a Mac, Enjoy Sudoku is probably one of the first apps I’d set her up with. Of course, any of the countless number of sudoku apps on the app store would do, but Enjoy Sudoku remains one of my favorites.
Developer: Jason Linhart
Converse to my grandmother, my grandfather will spend hours pacing between the living room recliner and the kitchen table solving the New York Times Sunday Crossword, which is one of those puzzles that makes me (a crossword lover) hate crosswords.
Crosswords are admittedly difficult to port to a screen-and-keyboard setup, but Red Sweater did a great job with Black Ink, which continues to be one of the best functioning and most attractive crossword apps I’ve ever used.
Developer: Red Sweater
Alright, so the first two suggestions I made may have been somewhat stereotype-drive, but I certainly don’t intend to limit all grandparents to word and number games. Heck, my grandparents play a whole assortment of Wii games! Whether or not your grandparents are into hardcore console games, or whether they show signs of wanting to move beyond pen and paper ports but aren’t quite ready for a game the likes of Skyrim, there’s solid chance they’ll enjoy Angry Birds. You’ve played it, I’ve played it, and we still talk about it. So have them give it a try!
Reading & News
If I had to guess, I would say your grandparents are probably pretty fond of reading. They’ve got a shiny new Mac (or they come over to use yours) and that’s a great step, but you might not want to overwhelm them with an assortment of mobile gadgetry like a Kindle or iPad.
That’s where Kindle for Mac comes in. Kindle lets you set up an account with Amazon’s bookstore and purchase and read books right on your Mac. Plus, when grandma is ready to upgrade to an actual Kindle, all of her books can be synced to it and she’ll be good to go!
My grandparents (especially my grandfather) love to read the news and keep up to date on what’s happening in the world. Despite my countless attempts to convince my grandfather that the Internet is a place where news travels much faster and be consumed much more efficiently, he remains steadfast in his love of print media and periodicals.
Reeder is one of our favorite Mac apps here on AppStorm (as I’m sure you’re aware), and perhaps being able to collate several news sources into one clean and easy to use interface is just the nudge my grandfather needs to begin consuming his news like a true netizen.
Developer: Silvio Rizzi
After putting all that thought into including Reeder on this list, it occurred to me that while we might find Reeder clean and easy to use, my grandfather (who still uses Windows 95, I’m sure) might find it completely foreign.
For that reason, I suggest trying your grandparents on Pulp, in the event that they don’t immediately take to Reeder. Pulp serves the same purpose–aggregating several news feeds–but displays them in what may be a much more welcoming format: a newspaper-like interface.
Lifestyle & Finance
I discovered SousChef a long time ago when I received it as part of the MacHeist bundle. I immediately fell in love with recipe app, even though my cooking skills are such that the printed directions on the box don’t guarantee a good pot of mac and cheese. However, for those who cook (and in my experience, that includes grandmothers), SousChef can be a great and fun app for finding new recipes, storing old ones, and learning how to try out new things in the kitchen.
Developer: Acacia Tree
Who doesn’t like to travel? If I were retired, you can bet I’d be spending as much time as possible seeing everything the world has to offer. But back in the day, grandpa had to spend hours on the phone or meet with a travel agent to explore vacation options and book trips.
Today, we have services like Kayak. Kayak’s Mac app Explore will find you trip information, flights, hotels, and destinations based on whatever parameters you input, so finding the perfect trip is a piece of cake.
Assuming your grandparents have done away with the checkbook register and the spiral bound ledger they used to use to keep track of their finances and have taken that big step to digital financial management, there’s still a good chance they use something archaic like Quicken, or even an Excel spreadsheet.
iBank is one of my favorite Mac apps for finances, and I think it would do a splendid job introducing your fiscally meticulous grandparents to the usability and gorgeous interfaces that Mac software has to offer. It’s a little on the pricey side, but it’s well worth the expense.
Developer: IGG Software
Last But Not Least…
Messages (formerly known as iChat) is one of my favorite apps for keeping in touch with people. I can discuss things with coworkers while I work via text chat, audio chat with my friends while we game together, or video chat with my family when I’m away. And if your grandparents are anything like my grandparents, nothing will blow them away more than seeing your face on their computer screen and conversing with you in real time. So fire up Messages and give them a call–they’ll like it (Skype is an obvious alternative they might already be familiar with).
One last thing about Messages: it supports screen sharing. So if it so happens that your grandparents can’t figure out how to use a Mac app, or can’t find a file they downloaded from the Internet and don’t understand what you mean when you say “dock,” you can take control of their computer and show them.
So there it is. A list of apps that I would set my grandparents up with (if they bought a Mac). But we might have missed some. Let us know what your grandparents (or you, if you’re a grandparent) use on the Mac!