Having Fun With Grandchildren

At my age, having fun is an important part of my life. Living in Panama prevents me from having many memorable fun experiences with my grandchildren. I would like to think that when I am gone that there will be a few, “I will never forget what my grandpa did when he…” moments.

I have tried to create one of these experiences for one of my grandsons today. After setting up the situation, and writing him an email, I decided to share it with you.

It has been one of the lighter moments of this week.

My email to my grandson Noah follows:


I never got a response from my last email, when I asked you to take time and watch the 2014 Apple Keynote address. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w87fOAG8fjk

I am not one to wait until the last moment to do something and I am going to try to raise your technology awareness before you graduate. If I provide a graduation gift costing over $1,000, I want to understand how the money is being spent.

I know you have mentioned to me, to your mom and to others, that you do not want an Apple laptop. I know you are a very intelligent person, but I doubt that your statements are really based anything other than emotions. Kind of “Don’t confuse me with facts, because my mind is made up” thinking. I may be wrong.

Don’t misunderstand me. You can make your own decision, but I want it to be an informed decision.

Now your graduation is still about a year off and technology will change between now and then. However, what you should learn, while doing this exercise, will assist you in making the decision in 2015.

Here is what I am going to require you to do in order to make a more informed decision. It may be that you want something other than a laptop for graduation. If you do, I will simply give you $1,000. However, I am still going to require the same thing for you to receive the $1,000.

Here is the deal. In today’s world, you have to be technology proficient to get by. I don’t care what your chosen profession will be. To do a good job you have to be able to use technology and use it well. To graduate from College will require technology competence. Those, that are technology illiterate, are going to fail or at minimum never reach their potential.

In order for you to get up to speed, so you can make some intelligent decisions, here is what I am going to require. Consider this a term paper to receive a graduation present. The deadline is June 1, 2015. You get to decide how to present the information. I will evaluate it and possibly ask for missing information, if required for me to make my decision.

The topic is “Choosing a Laptop for College”.

The topic may sound simple, but it isn’t. Technology is entering more devices everyday. Apple will most likely deliver a smart watch later this year. Other manufacturers have already come out with “Smart” watches, but I expect Apple’s to be the equivalent of wearing a health monitor. As with all of Apple’s devices, it will talk to all other Apple products, one of which will be the Apple laptop.

The point is that a laptop is no longer a standalone device.

So here are the things I want you to consider and include in your discussion.

  1. Will the laptop be used for note taking in class. If so, how long should the battery last before recharging?
  2. Will you be using a different technology product in class and transferring class notes or recordings to a laptop or desktop later?
  3. Will you be using a smart phone and want contacts, notes, reminders, etc. constantly synced? How will that be accomplished using the technology you choose?
  4. What are the specific applications that you consider necessary for college and why.
  5. What do you know about Scrivener? “I know nothing” is not an acceptable answer.
  6. What OS (Operation System) do you want? I.E. Apple OSX, Microsoft Windows 8.1 Home Version, Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional, etc. Realize this will have to be based on the systems available in 2015, so these are merely examples.
  7. How much memory will be required? 2GB, 4GB, 8GB or more. Why did you chose this amount?
  8. How much permanent disk storage will you need? 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or more? Why did you chose that amount?
  9. Should it be spinning media or solid state? Why?
  10. Why is a data backup plan important? What is your plan?
  11. Laptops get stolen (Talk to your cousin Chaz). How are you going to protect it?
  12. How are you going to protect the data on the laptop if the laptop is stolen?

Lastly, I will give you extra credit if you identify other important considerations that I have omitted, such as Internet security.

Based on your submitted term paper, you will receive one of the following.

  1. A laptop, based on your specification, however, not limited to your specification.
  2. $1,000, if a laptop is not wanted.

If no term paper is received by June 1, 2015, then I will send you a $250 check and congratulations for graduating. I suggest you set a reminder for this term paper in your current smart phone. I have set a reminder to email you one week before the term paper due date.

If you remember nothing else about this grandfather, maybe you will remember this exercise.


Grandpa Williams

7 thoughts on “Having Fun With Grandchildren

  1. Wow, tough but nice grandpa! I seem to remember getting a clock radio for high school graduation 🙂

  2. I have given a laptop to all of my college bound grandchildren. To this point it has been two Apple Macbooks and one ASUS Windows 7 PC.

    I remember getting a Bible when I graduated high school. I actually still have the same Bible here in Panama.

  3. Kudos to you! So many young people today just expect to be given “hand-outs” without so much as acknowledgement or a thank you. You will learn a great deal about Noah come graduation day. Life is choices and the resulting consequences. I gave my nieces and nephews the choice two years ago of continuing to receive birthday. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter etc gifts(which they had since their birth until teen years) but now I was insisting their appreciation must be shown in the form of a thank you note. They knew if I did not receive a thank you for that particular Christmas gift all gifts from me would end. A nephew who happened to be the oldest was the only thank you I received. He is the only one out of six! This year he will be a sophomore in college and he continues to be remembered with gifts. I am saving substantial money but my heart would so much have preferred simple thank yous. I retired sixteen years ago from the teaching profession.

  4. My grandson did reply to the email. I had no expectation of what his reaction would be, but I was not disappointed. His reply follows:

    Thank you grandpa for taking the time to type this up and send it to me. This is going to be very interesting, and I’m acually excited to do my own research! I will answer all of your questions and beyond, hopefully well before June 1st of next year. Believe me I am going to take everything you’ve said into consideration and we’ll see where I end up by the time I graduate. This should be fun and a great learning experience. I’m extremely blessed because most grandparents would never do this because they simply don’t care. I’m blessed that you do. Again I’m really excited to do this… it’s game TIME!!

    Love you Grandpa!

  5. Hey Don Ray,

    If I do the report, can I get a lap top? LOL! Just kidding. You got me thinking about my OS. After reading your post, I,m going to conduct some research of my own and start by looking up info on “Scrivener.” I think we’re going to need to conduct a set-down, so you can impart some of your OS wisdom on me. Take care and be blessed.


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