It’s Outdated!

Jul 19

I watch entirely too much HGTV. It seems every house is “outdated” in some way. Homes that were perfectly good for us now need granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, space for a “man cave,” and at least two sinks in the master bath.

Web websites need redecorating too. Have you noticed the websites of your bank or shopping site has changed over the years? So has my website. I have tried many different themes over the years. I don’t get enough traffic for people to notice. At least they are kind enough not to notice or mention it.

So in my quest of “redecorating,” I have tried a new theme, Divi, that allows me to build the site visually and has “drop and drag” abilities. It promises me that I don’t need to know programming code. My site is a work in progress as I experience with the new theme. Thank heaven my livelihood is not dependent on this site.

Why go to all this work you ask? It’s my hobby. It helps that both the ccicharlestown.org and the maccra.org site use the Divi theme. I work on both as a volunteer webmaster. It is easier to be using the same framework working on WordPress websites.

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Four Years with Apple CHUG

Mar 29

The Apple Charlestown User Group also is known affectionally CHUG marked its fourth anniversary this month. It is hard to believe that I have been organizing programs, doing the website, and sending out notices for four years.

Our little group has grown from the first meeting with 25 people in attendance to a mailing list of over 100 people. It has been interesting to see the shift from computers to iPads and iPhones. The iPad users dominate the membership. I set up a website using WordPress.com as well as a Google Groups private email list used for meeting notices and communication between meetings. Meeting flyers are designed every month for posting on bulletin boards as well as announced on the closed circuit TV station.

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Beacon Newspaper Features Bloggers (Me)

Jun 19

I didn’t make the front page but I am included in an article about senior bloggers. Mel Tansill, Erickson Living PR manager gave the reporter my name. I had forgotten how long I have been blogging counting our Westy Travels blog started in 2003. The article starts on the front page but continues on page 20 of the Style section. It is on page 33 of the 36 page online issue. Here it is embedded on the page.

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Wordcamp Baltimore

Oct 12

SASS, GULP, GRUNT, CVS, GITHUB were new terms I heard at the September Wordcamp meeting in Baltimore. I attended a WordCamp in Atlanta in 2009 that I really enjoyed.

WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.

The Atlanta conference include sessions for beginners as well as advanced sessions targeted to web developers who make a living designing websites. I learned so much. I consider myself an intermediate WordPress user after using it for 7 years. This co Nyerere was aimed toward developers. The Baltimore conference was over my head two-thirds of time. It was very advanced as least for the sessions I attended. I did find one session that I did understand and will be able to use content.

They did serve a nice box lunch. It was nice to see many women attending. The Apple Mac seemed to be the computer of choice. I think I was the oldest person attending.

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Apple Watch Two Months Later

Jul 21

apple watchI have had my Apple Watch since May 13. As an early adopter, I know there may be an issue or two in its use. All in all, it does more things than I thought. Some of these include:

  • Directions. When I set the map app on the iPhone to find a location, I get taps on my wrist for right and left turns.
  • Control Apple TV. It is easier to swipe the watch face to do a search and select the channel or movie I want to watch.
  • Motivator: The activity app signals me to show my progress of standing and walking throughout the day. I like to see the red and blue circle close at the end of the day. I can set the calorie count I want to burn. I have a stretch goal, so I don’t always make it. I make the standing goal. Sometimes I have to get off the couch to do it.
  • Photos: The iPhone has a self-timer that works very well. Now it works even better. I set the iPhone on a flat surface, open up the camera remote app on the watch, see the image that the phone sees, and tap my wrist. Magic!
  • Weather Report: I have a metrologist on my wrist with the Dark Sky app. I get the temperate, the forecast, sunrise and sunset times, the wind, visibility, humidity, dew point, barometric pressure and UV index with two swipes.
  • Notes and Reminders: The Siri function works very well to add reminders and dictate short notes. I don’t need to carry note paper or pen anymore.

Of course, the Apple Watch has a calendar, contacts, texting and phone call features that you would expect. Several iPhone apps are available on the Apple Watch, so a tap of the Digital Crown gets me access to:

  • Evernote
  • Photos
  • Passbook for Apple Pay
  • Music
  • Twifferrific
  • Keynote
  • MyFitness Pal

WatchesI think I am the only resident that has one. I did see two other watch owners when we were in Las Vegas the same evening. One was an Apple  app developer, the other was our server when we ate after a show.

All in all, I have pleased with my purchase. By the way, it does tell time with a variety of changeable watch faces. I will match the color to the clothes I am wearing when I use the modular face.

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Seniors and Technology

Dec 07

Everyone has a different learning style. But what gets me is the people that don’t seem to know how to learn about new devices whether it be a new computer, reader, tablet or smartphone. These are people who have been in careers needing smarts. Where is their curiosity? I know highly skilled people in crafts, sewing, bridge, woodworking, you name the hobby, they can do it. But when it comes to an electronic device, they feel overwhelmed and don’t seem to want to try. They want to have their hand held and be shown everything step-by-step. How do they expect to learn how to use it.

Part of my reaction above is the many requests I get to help people. I do like tutoring and helping but I do not have enough time for the personal 1:1 that is required. I steer people to video tutorials on YouTube but some folks can’t do that. I feel for the folks who get off to a good start and can do some basics but if the computer acts up and a new message comes on the screen that they haven’t seen before, they get frustrated and stop. I don’t blame them. I get frustrated too sometimes when I have to troubleshoot.

It seems to be the fear of technology that is holding some people back. I am not talking about the poor design and physical limitations people may have to use some devices. Granted the design of devices and software is not necessarily user friendly for many older people. The iPad is great but if you have a hand tremor, it is hard to use. You do need good eyes to use a smartphone, and arthritic hands make using a keyboard difficult. I am not the only one who has noticed this. AARP has weighed in with an article  on Seniors and Technology.

The children mean well passing along their older phone, computer or iPad, but they don’t spend the time with the one-to-one help that is needed. The gift that children and grandchildren can give is their time and patience with technology. Forgot about more “stuff.” Sit beside the learner and coach them through email, YouTube, how to download an App, etc. Let them do it and be very, very patient.

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