Recommend an e-mail client/program for my 80-year-old father

I’ve just switched my father from a DOS computer with no network connection to Win7. He’s getting FIOS in a week or so.

I’ve always used MS Outlook as my mail client. Occasionally I use Gmail, but I don’t like the fact that Google scans the content of all e-mails and builds dossiers on users to better sell advertising. Other than those two, I’m not up much on e-mail programs or Web services.

What free/nearly free program or service would you recommend that is simple to use, ad-free, and private (i.e., not scanned like gmail)?


No one at the Dope has a recommendation of a mail program/service?

YaY I think it’s awesome your 80 year old Dad is on the computer.

You might take a look at Fastmail. It has some neat features but also it can be just your basic netmail, easy to use. It’s not huge so getting a username shouldn’t be a problem especially since there are so many domains to choose from on the signup.

I use Gmail for some things, but I’ve had a Fastmail account for years.

I set up my mom with a Gmail account which has free pop access and Mozilla Thunderbird - also free. My mom has difficulty with the most basic computing concepts, but seemed to have some sort of preternatural understanding of Thunderbird. It is a basic and easy to use client, and from my experience can be quickly learned by novices.

The TINSTAAFL principle applies to email. You may not like gmail and google collecting his demographic information, but the alternative is having his email address outright sold to spam companies like you would get with other free mail companies like yahoo or aol.

I use and love gmail. I never get spam there. NEVER. If you want a really great email host that doesn’t sell your address or your demographic info for advertising purposes, you’re going to have to pay for one.

Your father is 80. Gmail would be perfect. It uses the conversation format so if his memory is poorer than it used to be, reminders of the conversational thread would be contained within every email message. Doubleplusgood imo. I also recommend hooking it up through Thunderbird. This combination is intuitive and seriously idiot-proof.

I would never use a Microsoft product in the future; but I have to say that of all the clients I’ve tried Outlook Express was the best client. On linux I finally had to ditch Thunderbird, too many problems, but it may be better on Windows. Nobody in their right mind would use IE and Firefox is the greatest browser evah, but Thunderbird…
For an email provider, I’d recommend vfemail. I’ve been with them for about six years, both free — which is good enough, and then went over to a one-time payment out of guilt. It’s a small outfit, but they don’t seem to do anything bad, and are not Google ( which is rather synonymous ).

You could google “Software for seniors” - there is software out there that makes email/photos/webchat etc. very easy to use.

If he is awesome, what am I at 83? Actually, 83.5. :smiley:

I think Mozilla Thunderbird is the best of the many I’ve tried. I also have Hotmail, Yahoo and Cox, just in case or for when am using some website that wants my email…

My 84 (soon to be 85) year old great aunt not only knows her way around a computer, she’s on Facebook!

Cool! Can I have her number? :wink:

Haha, I almost made that joke! Unfortunately, my uncle Jack is totally awesome, and a sprightly-young 78 or so :).

Dad is 89 and goes to the local library and uses the computers. He doesn’t use email.

Mum is 87 and uses Outlook Express. She has no difficulty.

I agree with the suggestion to show him Gmail and see if he likes it, and can deal with the absence of folders. If not, perhaps he’d prefer Yahoo Mail.

And, BTW, did you see this site that Google put up the other day? It’s a series of videos designed to teach one’s parents the basics of various online technologies. Of course it emphasizes Google sites as you’d expect, but it’s funny in that the Google employees are going through the same thing with having to educate parents that many of the rest of us are as well.

Well, since you are not only online, but on the SDMB, you’re one of the smartest, hippest people on the planet. Or a total dipstick. Your call. :smiley:

That is what I keep telling my wife, to no avail

Hmmm, I had not thought of that. You may be right. But, who cares? :smiley:

If you can set him up with Firefox and Adblock Plus, Gmail’s ads are non-existent to the user. Like others have said, I like the conversation/threaded style.