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Silicon Pines

The latest and best in Assisted Computing Facilities!

Should my loved one be placed in an Assisted Computing Facility?

It is often the most difficult and painful decision family members will have to face: whether or not a loved one a parent, a spouse, perhaps a sibling is technologically impaired and should no longer be allowed to live independently, to come near a computer or other electronic device without direct supervision. When the answer is "Yes!," the time has come to place your loved one into the care of an Assisted Computing Facility like Silicon Pines.

What exactly is an "Assisted Computing Facility"?

Also known as "Homes for the Technologically Infirm," "Technical Invalid Care Centers," or "Homes for the Technically Challenged," ACFs are modeled on assisted-living facilities and provide a safe, structured residential environment for those unable to handle even the most mundane everyday multitasks. Most fully accredited ACFs are an oasis of hope and encouragement that allow residents to lead productive, technologically-relevant lives without the fear, anxiety, and possible danger associated with actually having to understand or execute technology themselves.

Who should be in an ACF?

Sadly, technology is advancing at such a dramatic rate that many millions of people of all ages will never truly understand it, putting an undue burden on those friends and family members who must explain things to them over and over. But unless the loved one is suffering from a truly debilitating affliction such as Reinstallzheimers, the decision to commit is entirely personal. You must ask yourself:

      "How frustrated am I that my parent/sibling/spouse is unable to open a simple email attachment?"

      "How much of my time should be taken up explaining how RAM is different from hard drive space?"

      "How many times can I bear to hear my father say, 'Hey, can I replace the motherboard with a fatherboard? Ha ha ha!'?"

To make things easier, we have posted a list of "Seven Warning Signs" on our web site. We encourage you to return there often, or if you can't figure out how to bookmark it, print out. Also, please take a moment to read "I'm Glad I'm In Here! (A Resident's Story.)'

Must it be family, or can I place anyone in an ACF?

Several corporations have sought permission to have certain employees, or even entire sales departments, committed to ACFs. At present, however, individuals may only be committed by direct family or by self-internment. The reason is simple: there are simply not nearly enough ACFs in the world to accommodate all the technologically challenged. There are less than a million available ACF beds, while there are 30 million AOL users.

How much does it cost?

ACF rents range from free up to $12,500 per month. The disparity is currently a point of contention in the ACF industry. Many residents are covered through government programs such as CompuAid or CompuCare, but reimbursement rates are low and only cover a portion of the fees.

Exacerbating the situation are the HelpDesk Maintenance Organizations, which often deny coverage, forcing residents to pay out-of-pocket or turn to expensive private tech-care insurers like Blue Cache or Blue Screen. Offsetting the costs are technology companies themselves, many of which subsidize ACFs. Firms such as Microsoft, Dell, Qualcomm, and America Online will pay up to 100 percent of a resident's monthly bill, but with a catch. ISPs, for instance, require residents to sign service contracts lasting a year or more. Microsoft, meanwhile, prohibits the installation of any competitive software, while Priceline requires that residents buy shares of its stock, which seems onerous but saves residents on lavatory tissue.

How old must I be to have someone committed?

Until recently, you had to be 18 or older to legally commit a family member. However, the recent British court case Frazier vs. Frazier and Frazier has cleared the way for minors to commit parents. In that case, 15-year-old Bradley Frazier of Leicester had his 47-year-old parents committed to an ACF in Bournemouth after a judge ruled Ian and Janet Frazier were a "danger to themselves and the community." According to court records, the day after Bradley told his parents about the "I Love You" virus and warned them not to open email attachments, his parents received an "I Love You" email and clicked on the attachment anyway because, as they explained, "It came from someone we knew."

What should I look for in an ACF?

First, make sure it's a genuine Assisted Computing Facility, and not an Assisted Living Facility. To tell the difference, observe the residents. if they look old and openly discuss bowel movements, it is probably assisted living. On the other hand, if they vary in age and say things like, "How was I supposed to know that? I'm not Bill %$#*&@ Gates!," then it is probably assisted computing.

Also, at a well-run ACF, residents should lead full, independent lives and should be allowed the use of some technology devices, like telephones, electric toothbrushes, and alarm clocks. However, only a facility's Licensed Techcare Professionals should perform such tasks as installing software or saving email attachments. And LTPs should never answer a resident's question because studies have shown that answering their questions only makes things worse. Instead, LTPs should simply do things for them, relieving them of the pressure to "learn" or "improve."

Can a resident ever get out?


OK, This sounds promising. How can I learn more?

For your enlightenment, we offer extensive information on Silicon Pines and the ACF lifestyle on our website. Just use the link in the nav bar on this page. If you can't find the pages, perhaps you are a candidate for admission yourself.

But whatever you decide, remember that demand is fierce. ACFs have long waiting lists. It will take years just to absorb all the WebTV & AOL users alone!