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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The Smartphone and Air Travel

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

As promised, after having use of a smartphone while traveling, for the first time, I will share my thoughts. The app for my airline was helpful for having my travel info at my fingertips. It is also possible to download your boarding pass onto your phone, which was efficient for those using it. I am a senior, though, and old habits die hard, so I was more comfortable printing a paper version. If you are in circumstances where a printer is not available, this feature would be very helpful. I did not rely on my phone for the available info regarding locations of gates as the readily available schedule boards and floor plans of the terminals are so plentiful and large. It is likely that the airline apps will continue to improve in their usability and features, though, so overall, “thumbs up” on the helpfulness of the smartphone for air travel for the novice user.


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Keeping in Touch with Young Grandchildren

Mini fun copyIt’s been a while since the last post, due to the extremely important business of making a trip to see my youngest grandchild. She now has the rapidly expanding vocabulary and grand scale emotions of the two-year-old she has just become…a wonder and a joy to behold. So, of course, it was with great sadness that I left her, thinking of all the changes she will have made by the next time we meet, in July, and wondering if she will remember anything of our last few days. With that in mind, I began to think of ways to make use of all the communication tools we now have available, to keep in touch.

First, I did some internet searching to find fun things to entertain a child of 2. There are any number of songs, stories, coloring pages and poems to forward.

Second, I made a video using my tablet. Reverse the camera toward yourself and observe the angle and lighting. (I have terrified the poor child on Skype when I don’t pay attention to those things.)

Lastly I addressed an e-mail to her mother with the video attached, and told them that I was also sending a video “gift”. If you have chosen a You Tube story video, as I did for my first message, you could send directly from there using the sideways V icon in the top right corner of the video. For coloring pages or poems, copy them and send as an attachment. You might even wish to read a chosen poem in your video, next time.

I’m guessing that there may be a way to attach both your selfie video, and your “gift” in one message, but I have not yet made that discovery. Please post a comment if you can help us out or have other ideas.

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Create Your Personal Garden Resource on Pinterest

tulips After having perused many of the available gardening apps, I continue to find that creating my own gardening files on Pinterest is the most satisfying and useful way to have a readily available gardening guide. This will be filled with ideas you truly love and will have all the information you could ask for, to meet all of the needs of your particular garden.

If you have not yet set up a Pinterest account, it is simple to do, and free. Follow the instructions on that site, then you are free to search for the ideas, photos, plants, designs and how-to’s for your garden beds. When you see an item you wish to save on your “board” you touch the “Pin-it” button. A pop-up will ask where you wish to save it, and you may start a new file or choose an existing one. You will soon have your own beautiful, photo rich selection of ideas that inspire you. Happy gardening!

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Cell Phone as Document Saver

Don't forget you have a powerful copier right in your pocket!

Don’t forget you have a powerful copier right in your pocket!

Today I witnessed a cell phone being put to a use I had never before considered. (This is definitely the result of technology not being a part of my life since childhood. Younger folks probably reach for their phones much more frequently without giving it a thought.)

I was in a group situation and a new recipe was offered up. I reached for pen and pencil as my neighbor grabbed her cell phone and took a photo! What an obvious solution to any situation where you want a quick copy of something and there is no copier readily available. She keeps a file of such recipes on her phone, but it seems more practical to me to store it elsewhere and not clutter my phone.

In the same meeting a schedule was shared on a handwritten flip chart. How simple to take a photo and e-mail it to all! Don’t you love it when you find ways to simplify life with technology?!

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Rainy Day Fun with the Grandchildren

Many months ago I discovered Google Images as a wonderful resource for crafters and ran across paper dolls, such as the wonderful retro ones above. But I have since found that there are a wealth of paper toys available on-line: air planes, pinwheels, origami, paper figures to assemble and almost anything you can dream up. (I guess it’s true…there really is very little new under the sun.)

When confronted with a rainy day you can print up a few activities of your own choosing, or, especially with an older child, show them a search of “paper toys” in Google Images. (Go to Google, click on the word “images” on the Google page, then enter your search in the box.) I like this method as it essentially provides a visual links page. If you click on the image you are interested in, it will take you to the site it came from, which often has even more fun ideas. Your grandchildren will soon be thinking of their own searches and you’ll soon be off-line having some good old-fashioned rainy day fun.

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Finding My Technological Comfort Zone

image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

We seniors have a different perspective on technology than our predecessors who have grown up steeped in computer technology.

This morning, I breakfasted at Big Boy, where seniors in Michigan tend to gather after the “youngsters” have gone to work. Behind me I heard the waitress kidding with a man who was texting, and then heard his wife comment that she is puzzled by her aversion to electronic devices. She told the waitress that her previous employment was tied to new technology, so she is surprised with her lack of interest now.

The usefulness of technology in our lives is no longer about work related issues. I’m all for anything that simplifies my life, helps me continue to learn and use my mind, shows me new ways to look at my hobbies and keeps me connected to family and friends. But I feel the pain of my restaurant neighbor’s position. There is definitely a learning curve with each new development out there, and we have no interest in needless complications. When researching for relevant material to share here, my head swims with ideas presented for security, storage, interacting between devices and getting the best deals.

My plan for this site, then, will be to try to glean ideas and new technology of use to my peers and to present it in small, easy-to-use doses. User interest will provide a guide, so please comment freely.