Tech Tips for Retirees

For retirees interested in learning more, making life easier and staying connected with distant friends and family.


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Simplify Travel with Your Smartphone

image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you are planning a trip and have not yet become best friends with an app store, it is definitely time. The number of apps out there is growing at an astronomical rate, and if you are in need of assistance in an unfamiliar major city, chances are that there is an app for that.

There are now apps available specifically for using all modes of transportation, finding restaurants, seeking out the best coffee shops, exploring museums and identifying the building in front of which you are standing! Did you know you can now get a cab in London with the GetTaxi app. It claims to be able to send a cab and then to make it possible for you to track it’s progress to your location, and pay with a credit card with no extra charge! I haven’t personally tried this one, but it’s user reviews are great.

So much free help right in our pockets!

Do you have a favorite travel app. Please share by commenting.


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Using Your Computer for Creative Inspiration

image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Expressing our creativity, plays a key part in retaining youthfulness. I pursue many hobbies, and find that they change over time. When feeling the need for a new idea it is easy to find inspiration as close as a computer. There are numerous sites with detailed how-to instruction, and blog sites where individuals share there own particular take on a skill. Be it painting, woodworking, needlecrafts, sculpture or photography, help is always at your fingertips.

Because my favorite pursuits are so visual (quilting, embroidery, and multimedia art) I especially enjoy finding inspiration in the photography of others. This works just as well, however, when you are looking for writing inspiration. A picture can set off a new idea for for a quilt pattern, color scheme, or story line. Try looking in such places as Google Images, photography blogs, Pinterest and clip art sites. In no time you’ll have a mind full of inspiration and will be excited about beginning your new project.

Please comment if you have found inspiration for your creativity on-line.


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New Car Technology Blues

Chevy CruzeIt had seemed that this would be the logical year to give up leasing a new car and to pick a nice used vehicle. Most of my driving is around town and I prefer to fly when going long distances. I had even picked one that seemed perfect for my needs. My mistake was chosing a car (on-line) from a dealer. Next to all those beautiful new cars, it looked worn and ran as if tired. (Hmmm…just like me.) And, there was a big shiny sign promising low down payments and incredible monthly lease fees. How could I resist? Upon asking to see this beautiful machine, however, I learned that there was no “similarly equipped” car on the lot. As I turned to leave, the salesman said, “Do you like computers at all?” And the next thing I knew, I was driving away in the pretty little car you see above. It has the “electronics package” with a back-up camera and more features than anyone could ever safely use on the road.

I took my new car home, parked it in the drive and 30 minutes later was unable to unlock it with my key fob. When I submitted to using the key to unlock it the alarm went off, and now I am waiting for the part needed to restore it to rights. So while waiting I am driving around town and leaving it unlocked to avoid the embarrassment of that alarm. If you see it, please don’t hotwire it. (Is that still possible?) If I ever figure out some of it’s new tricks, I will let you know if they’re helpful.


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VRBO for Unique Vacation Experiences

image courtesy of mapichai/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

image courtesy of mapichai/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I long ago gave up booking vacation lodging through large resorts or planning services, in favor of having the fun of searching out my own choices. I have used VRBO (http://www.vrbo.com/) for years now and have not had a single bad experience. It is very easy to navigate and allows you to view multiple pictures and read users reviews of properties all over the world. The process is so much fun, all in itself, that you might find yourself viewing properties in countries you had never before considered visiting. And you will definitely enjoy some great daydreams as you visualize yourself in the photos you view.

Closer to home, you will find hundreds of listings in your own state. Rates are clearly listed and by taking advantage of lower rates in off seasons, which retirees are free to enjoy, your vacation dollar will be well spent. When ready to book, you are required to make a down payment, with the remainder due prior to travel, as specified by the owner. This feels a little strange to us oldsters, who are used to seeing the product in person before purchasing. But VRBO stands behind the reputation of their listers, and you will not be disappointed.


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Microsoft Word Tip for the Forgetful

image courtesy of bweddinginvitations.com/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

image courtesy of bweddinginvitations.com/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


If you are like me, you will find this tip very helpful, but will need it so infrequently that you will forget it. So this is one you might wish to post near your computer.

This is for those annoying times when you have been typing for several seconds, or even minutes, and then find you have had your Caps Lock on. Arrgh! By selecting the area and pressing shift and F3, you will magically reverse all the letters. Presto! All better. One of my favorite fixes.


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Phone to the Rescue

Melt

Butterfly 3

Butterfly 1

Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Garden


As you can see by the first photo, we are still snow covered here in the middle of Michigan. I followed my own advice (per yesterday’s post) and headed out the door anyway, leaving behind all technology except my phone. It was almost left behind, as well, but made it into the coat pocket at the last minute. It was still chilly in the morning, so I listened to the call of the mall and opted for some clearance sale treasure shopping. Of course, the coupons had been left at home…but wait! I could access them through my e-mail on…the phone. It earned it’s place in my pocket.

By afternoon the day had warmed and it was time for a walk to the Dow Gardens greenhouse for the butterfly exhibit. A very nice way to bring on summer, at least for a bit. There was my phone, still in my pocket, so I could share the butterflies with you. Enjoy!IMG_20140314_132450484