I have had similar experiences with my parents, except for one thing, my dad acually learns stuff, tinkers, and reads the online help. When he asks for help it is rest assured that he has at least tryed the function for himself, and hit a point where he just doesn't know what is supposed to happen next. I can give him vague instructions that would apply to most any program (unless it is ultra specific) like typing a URL into a web browser. He is getting handy with Office and Photoshop. He started out on Punch Card driven machines back in the 60's.

My mom on the other hand, is another story. I am surprised she hasn't killed herself using her computer. I can give her exact instructions, and she will not follow them. Single Click the X up in the very upper right hand corner of the screen, allllll the way up in the corner. And she will sit there utterly perplexed as to what to do. Move the mouse around for a little bit, and after explaining it to her a few times, it will dawn on her that i wanted her to click the X up in the right hand corner of the screen.

My favorite is the whole idea of the task bar. "To get to a program that is covered up by another, like here where netscape is covering up aol (pointing at her screen), you have to go down here to the task bar, and click on the bar for the program you want. Now you try, you want AOL up right?" Now, it seems to me that a lemming would be able to follow these instructions. This is one of those time when it will dawn on her that at some point i told her to single click the X. "Up here?" (Very excited) "nononono.." "Where did netscape go?" (in a mildly downtroden voice) Until she realizes that now AOL is the foremost thing on her screen. I can show her things step by step, and she won't even listen to me. But whatever, i get money and favours out of it, especially when big things go wrong. grin.

tftv256: Hehe about your dad using a UNIX machine. However, you let your dad sit at a #? I know he seems mostly harmless, but there is the possibility...