Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

Stuff Your Dad Likes: (Senior-Friendly) Technology

Posted in Stuff Your Dad Likes by Jacob Zinn on February 27, 2012
Jacob Zinn can’t give you fatherly advice, but he can eat your share of the leftover pizza.

There is often a generational gap when it comes to understanding high-tech gadgets.

Generations Y and Z have mastered touchscreens, state-of-the-art video game consoles and lightspeed texting. But the older you go, the more computer illiterate people become.

Most everyone born during the Reagan years knows how to surf the Internet (or, at the risk of sounding dated, even how to program a VCR), but there are curmudgeonly Baby Boomers who don’t even know how to use a microwave.

The truth is, my dad is a rather tech-savvy individual. As an engineer, he uses a powerful PC for the array of drafting software required for his day-to-day assignments.

Except he has the resolution set to 800 x 600.

Even with his prescription glasses on, he likes the large, easy-to-see desktop icons. He magnifies the text on websites, awkwardly stretching and skewing the images.

He doesn’t have time to squint at smartphones, either. It’s not to the point that my dad’s cell phone is a Jitterbug, but it’s a near-future possibility. The tiny keys on a Blackberry just weren’t designed for his stubby, stubborn fingers.

Set the default text size to 20 points, with a legible font like Helvetica! (Maybe that’s why so many seniors are using iPads – to them, it’s like a jumbo-sized iPhone.)

I fear that as my dad gets older, he may need more 65-plus technology. I picture him flipping through Sears catalogues from the ‘80s in search of LifeAlert or the Clapper, quoting the original prices over the phone and giving the customer service representatives a headache. To stay active in retirement, he may buy a Nintendo Wii and only play Wii Sports – the game that came with the Wii.

But at some point, my parents won’t be able to look after themselves, and there’s no amount of readily available senior-friendly technology to enable their future lifestyle. So allow me to sign off with a quick letter to my father:

Dear Dad,

Sorry you had to find out this way, but if you become incontinent and there’s no technology to help that, I’m putting you in a home. (One with a Nintendo Wii hooked up to a Clapper.)

Your Son,

Jacob Zinn


Money Talks: Viacom sues Harmonix over Rock Band losses

Posted in Business, Money Talks, Music, Video Games by Jacob Zinn on September 21, 2011
Adding Up Viacom v. Harmonix

Amount of money Viacom is suing Harmonix shareholders for to offset losses from poor sales of Rock Band

$175 million
Price Viacom paid to acquire
Harmonix in 2006

Additional money Viacom invested
in Harmonix in 2007

$13 million
Amount of money Harmonix is suing Viacom for over unfair business practices

Price Viacom sold Harmonix for to a
New York investment firm in 2010

$50 million
Viacom’s 2010 tax write-off

Overall Rock Band sales for PlayStation 3,
Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 2

Rock Band (2007): 6,911,185 units
360: 2,374,348 Wii: 2,025,033 PS3: 1,484,821 PS2: 1,026,983

Rock Band 2 (2008): 4,710,622 units
360: 2,097,781 PS3: 1,336,301 Wii: 975,010 PS2: 301,530

The Beatles: Rock Band (2009): 3,721,126 units
Wii: 1,586,827 360: 1,177,067 PS3: 957,232

LEGO Rock Band (2009): 1,271,634 units
Wii: 586,741 360: 431,296 PS3: 253,597

Green Day: Rock Band (2010): 873,643 units
360: 306,184 PS3: 285,333 Wii: 282,226

Rock Band 3 (2010): 1,434,449 units
360: 650,482 PS3: 392,095 Wii: 391,872

Series Total: 18,922,659 units

Sales Information from VGChartz

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