Our 97-year-old Geek of the Week on his favorite apps — and his sudden fame

It has been a whirlwind month for Bill Sleeper, after his status as a GeekWire Geek of the Week put him in the national spotlight in a Best Buy ad, which can be seen below and during any number of national television broadcasts these days.

Yes, that’s Bill in the picture at right with the sly grin, getting suited up before filming the ad. He had been dropped off on set by a limousine, after flying to Southern California in first class.

As I told him, he has been living a very good life. But don’t worry, the fame hasn’t gone to his head.

“I’m still walking around over at Merrill Gardens,” he says, with a laugh. “I keep it low key.”

We had a great time talking with the 97-year-old technology enthusiast on this week’s GeekWire radio show. He talked about his favorite apps — including Dragon Dictation and Apple’s Keynote —and explained why he feels compelled to teach seniors about the wonders of smartphones.

“This particular generation of seniors has got left behind a little bit because the smartphones snuck up on em,” he says. “They didn’t realize how simple it was or how easy it was. I think this is a sad thing. … A lot of the seniors tell themselves they can’t do it, which is not true.”

Bill tries to open their eyes to the power and pleasure of having the world at their fingertips.

“In your hand, all that information, and all that knowledge!” he says. Technology is an “evolving miracle, the way I look at it. I can’t believe I lived this long to see it.”

Listen to our conversation starting at the 12:00 mark in the audio player above.

That’s after the news segment, in which we …

Bill Sleeper in the KIRO Radio Studios. (Erynn Rose Photo)

1) Disclose how we really feel about the “reality” show starring Seattle startup Cheezburger;

2) Talk about all the money we blew buying wine on Amazon.com this week;

3) Dish up the latest on Amazon.com’s delivery lockers; and

4) Explain how a Microsoft Research demo made a bunch of jaws drop.

Name that Tech Tune Answer: The song last week was “Don’t Panic,” by Coldplay, and it was the last song played to wake up the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, STS-135 , in July 2011 — on the final morning for any Space Shuttle to be docked to the International Space Station.

Congrats to our winner, Randy Hunt!

App of the Week: Angry Birds Star Wars for iPhone and Android.

Listen to the show in the audio player above or via this MP3 file.

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  • Kezzsim

    Ironically this article isn’t terribly accessible to Seniors; there really should be a link to start the audio player at where the Interview segment starts, because the first twelve minutes will really scare away my mom.