As happens to many seniors, our household recently expanded to include one of our daughters and two grand-daughters. This increase of population forces adaptations on everyone, including many who are not residents.

One unexpected adaptation is that we are a PC family and she is an Apple user. She was able to logon onto my wireless easily enough, but we ran into some immediate problems with her accessing my printers. Okay, we can fix that, but in general we still have some issues. Then she said, “Oh, by the way, I have this ASUS netbook.” It runs XP and is much happier mingling with the household computers and peripherals. She does not seem to be confident on it. It was a gift from someone who knew of her troubles.

So now I have a moral dilemma: should I encourage my daughter to convert to PC simply so we can all be on the same page, or should I assume the role of generalized IT manager and accept whatever comes at me? I know that sooner or later, an Apple problem will arise and I must fix it now or be faced with a dissatisfied customer.

While asking her to convert is attractive, I cannot hide the fact that my favorite computer is a Linux-only box, and it has no trouble associating with PCs, which probably says more about me than either Linux or Microsoft.

Then there is the question of the girls. They are toddlers and love their iPad. The three-year-old can power it on and navigate to her favorite videos much more quickly than I can. She loves the tip and turn it.

While all this seems to be a moral dilemma, it might be solved by simple economic considerations. I have two spare PCs that are working. One of them could be moved to the guest part of the house. Then we simply wait and see what happens.

How do other people solve the mixed-mode dilemma?