Too bad that feeling the pulse means the flow's already passed... I pulled my old email codebase out of mothballs yesterday during a six and a half hour trip to Meineke and started putting together something that might make my grandfather's attempts at emailing a little easier. Gotten far enough that I'm trying to talk myself out of calling it Señor Email. Then today I find this:

Easier E-Mail for the Older Generation - The New Old Age Blog -

Mr. Hughes realized the e-mail project had reached a dead end when his grandfather, Paw Paw, turned his keyboard into a letter holder and designated the row between 1234 and QWER for bills.


They named it PawPawMail and created a Web site, Anyone can use the software for $5 a month and run it on virtually any P.C. or Mac, including old clunkers gathering dust in the back of closets.

Nice. I'm already a month behind. Much of the obvious stuff is there, like displaying picture attachments easily. Breaking with the inbox paradigm and displaying pictures as a slide show are the two biggest improvements I think needed to be made.

I think there are still some areas for nosing in -- $5 a month isn't a big deal, but isn't something I think is necessary. And this system assumes that a caregiver will be there to help out... not a bad idea, but something that can be improved on. Using Flash seems to have its limitations (let's face it, this and this just look bad), and they concentrate more on the new elderly email user, rather than someone who has been using email a while but might now need larger fonts and a simplified interface. We'll see.

(An interview with the programmer of PawPawMail is here.)