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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Finding My Technological Comfort Zone

image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

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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.