Sunday, February 10, 2019

Checking Community Events (in Our Community)

Our community publishes a monthly calendar and a weekly newsletter on events.

So how do you get this information when you're away from the paper, but you have your iPhone or iPad.

(IT has been working on easy access for a year or more but no results to date.)

So here's a workaround.

Go to the resident website for our community on your iPhone or iPad.   Like


Go to Resident Life and Wellness.

Tap.      (see * below)

Then tap on the document you want.

Tap on that up arrow at bottom and save it to Notes.

Now go to Notes.

Select the document.

Use your two fingers to magnify what you want to read.

*For easier access in the future, tap the down arrow and add a shortcut to the home screen.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

New Help for the Hard of Hearing

Now the hearing and the deaf and hard of hearing can have conversations easily, with just an Android phone.

Tap or click for the app.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Resurrecting an Old Tablet

As time goes by, older tablets  can start to lose functionality.   Some of this functionality can be restored, sometimes with impressive results.

At best an older tablet can mirror from a smartphone in such a way as to perform like a new one.  My minimal iPhone SE mirrors to a tablet much as if the tablet were an iPad, just remotely operated.   I am able to use the tablet for Virtual Active exercise bike videos.

Typically the older tablet suffers from problems which first need to be addressed: memory problems, too advanced an upgrade or apps, and/or slow browsing.

The last of these can often be resolved simply by using the browser supplied with the tablet or Opera Mini.   I have found Chrome not to be satisfactory on an old device when synced. Wi-Fi also tends to run slowly on older devices. For YouTube I needed the Dolphin browser.

The original Nexus 7, not the 2013 upgrade, requires reverting to the Android 4.4 release and wiping of the cache at a low level to do away with congestion from many upgrades.   Browse YouTube for both solutions, especially to restore the Kit Kat version of Android.

At the point where mirroring is employed, the proper mirroring program needs to be found.     AirPlay is the first one to try, but I have found another one necessary for some tablets. I needed an Air Receiver by felix.long to work with an Asus EEEpad TF101.

I also revived an old Samsung tablet to work reasonably well, as well as a Nook tablet.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Speakers are Changing with Fewer Wires

It once was that you needed a bulky amplifier for quality PC speakers, with power(1), amplifier input(2), and output(3) wires. 

Then, speakers came out with builtin amplification, but they still needed power and output wires.

Now USB speakers are more and more USB self-powered, and even the cheapest are often excellent.   Just combined power/output via USB.

PineBook Linux "MacBook Lookalike" Update

The $89 (plus shipping) PineBook Linux Laptop, and MacBook lookalike, gave problems until I realized that WiFi and audio problems could be solved by using USB devices instead of the built-in Wifi and headphones jack.

The Panda USB Wifi adapter and USB headphones and speaker did the trick.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Hearing Aid Solution

 Faced with new problems in hearing over the past 6 months, it was a hassle to arrive at a resolution.

With this posting I may be able to help others avoid at least some of the hassles.  It is frustrating to be faced with up to a $7,000 cost for something tiny which may or may not work.

That may or may not be necessary

The high cost results from regulations requiring qualified experts to fit hearing aids and the support which is sometimes necessary and for those with limitations

The cost also reflects the ability in digital hearing aids to deal with sound issues using digital programs in many different ways, and the cost of those efforts.
The effect is that most of the 50% who are hard of hearing at 75 simply do not get hearing aids.

Now that it is understood that dementia goes along with loss of hearing,  this is unacceptable

Regulations are now therefore loosening  through bipartisan effort.

At the same time new players are entering into provision of self-programmable hearing aids at low cost, such as Bose and Zounds

The hardware for a hearing aid is very inexpensive.    Again, what is expensive is the programming logic which is Incorporated in it and the fitting to a particular customers needs

I went to an ENT physician and four hearing aid providers,  all of whom were most helpful and gracious in trying to help me find a solution.

Surprisingly, all of them indicated that Costco's least-cost Kirkland KS8 Signature hearing aid ($1,600 for two) should be able to restore my moderate to severe inability to hear most normal conversation.

This Costco hearing aid, which is essentially the Signia NX,  is the basic hearing aid which is sold elsewhere for as much as $7,000.

It took me a while to learn that.

The problem is that there are no metrics (numbers) for us to compare the functionality of various hearing aids.There is no Consumer Reports evaluations in lab tests.

The only way to compare was to visit four major hearing aids vendors.

One of them said  “it hurts me to say so”  but the Kirkland hearing aid is the best of them.

Here in this community we have an audiologist who can support this hearing aid at a fee-for-service cost for those who are not able to get to Costco.   That is invaluable.

Costco can be intimidating.     It is often crowded. It is large.      Getting around might be difficult for those with mobility problems.     Parking can be a problem. Costco does have motorized carts.

At the prices that Costco offers, Costco does not have the ability to assist you before you buy,  but it offers a 180-day trial once you buy the hearing aid. So you go there and purchase up front.    A short demo will prove nothing anyway. (Costco does everything possible to keep prices to a minimum and does a major business in hearing aid sales.   You need to become a member, and you will save by getting a Costco credit card and thereby exrend your warranty from three to five years.)

Now those with severe to profound hearing loss may do better to go to a provider who can offer more bells and whistles than come with the Costco hearing aid.      Such providers may offer service where you live or on a walk-in basis at any time.

Costco will supply the minimum start up for you but with ongoing but limited support.

Inpurchase considering the Kirkland hearing aid, it first seemed to me that the ability to use the iPhone was really just a frippery.     I learned very quickly that it is absolutely essential to have an iPhone to support their hearing aid

The price of the iPhone at $175 plus $25 a month service from Consumer Cellular is trivial compared to the cost of the hearing aid

Monday, October 15, 2018

Cloud Printer Offline

 Let's say that you set up your printer as a Cloud printer and now suddenly find it's offline.     You make sure it's turned on, but when you go to print, it's still offline.

This is a bug. It happens especially when a printer has not been used for a time.

The solution is to delete the printer and reinstall it

To delete the printer, initiate a print job and click on “change” to display printers and print jobs,  then click on “printers”and delete the offending printer.

To reinstall, go to the printer and get the IP number, such as

I also use a utility called “fing” to provide me that number from my network without going to the printer.

With the IP number in hand, simply type that number into your browser and re-register your printer.