Saturday, July 3, 2010

What I Do with Computers

    Whatever do You DO at the computer?   I get that question sometimes, though less and less nowadays.

    I know that the person asking the question is often either thinking that I am using it as a calculator or that I am busy with spreadsheets and databases and programming.   Never mind that I do not use it for any of those things, nor have I in ten years.   They may be thinking I am using a Radio Shack TRS-80 from the 70s.

    It is still a legitimate question.    Some of us retired long before I began to do most of then things I do now.    And many of the things I am doing, I have only just begun to do.

    So what ARE they?:

    Here are some of my favorite applications!!   (Nowadays done mostly online and accessible almost anywhere.)

    I do my news reading, now mostly on the iPad.   I use Yahoo, Google News, AP, NYT and WSJ.

    I listen to the radio, especially PBS, nearly any program at any time, and from any station in the country as it is broadcast.

    I watch TV news (ABC, CNN and newspaper videos, YouTube).

    I keep my datebook calendar and notes with Google Calendar.

    I write my letters, and keep my address, contacts, and phone book, on GMail, where available anywhere on my cellphone.

    I keep indexed notes on things I don't want to forget, or keep forgetting, via Evernote.

    I get the papers screened according to my interests, using Google Reader as a selector.

    I do my shopping.  Amazon sells everything; JCPenney has a great online catalog, as does Target.

    I get rid of old stuff (and tech) around the house thru Craigslist (classified) and EBay.

    I get answers to health questions thru Mayo and the National Institute of Health (NIH).

    I arrange for travel with Southwest, Tripadvisor, and Travelocity, checking hotel and restaurant reviews first.

    I find low prices by just searching for items on Google.

    I phone with speaker and free calling, using Skype, though EMail takes much less time.

    I get solutions to computer problems. I just describe them for Google to solve.    

    I print stuff out, like maps, directions, instructions, recipes, cats.  I send my photos to Walgreen's.

    I check out books from the library and even for online reading.

    I keep up with technology via NYT thenTechnology page, WSJ, and others like TWIT.

    I get facts to support my political opinions, and vice-versa, get facts to develop my political opinions, though the latter is passe nowadays.

    I enjoy the challenge of problem solving of all kinds, and internet helps me out a lot.  eHow is a favorites site, but YouTube shows how, too.

    I voice dictate brief notes and searches with Dragon Dictate and Search.

    I maintain my blog: (snrtech), write Tech Notes, and submit comments and items of common interest to share with others on the wider world of Amazon and FaceBook..     

    Generally, Internet and networking not only service computers, but also our two iinternet bedside world clock-radios, Skype connected phones, Netflix, and even network my DISH TV to wherever I am.    Internet lets me use my CD  music library anywhere.   

    The cellphone connects to internet and also gives us driving guidance and traffic reports.  Through it my music collection, and world radio stations, play in the car and in the fitness room through smartphone or iPod.   Smartphones have their pros and cons.   Mine contains about 100 CDs of music, all on a chip the size of a pencil eraser.   I suppose they will soon be able to put them on a head of a pin.    (I don't really care--I must getting older.)    I am about to get the phone to find our car in parking lots---the car doesn't see to know where I am, or is it the reverse?

    I published two books, one with an ISBN and available anywhere in the world.   (I preserved a wonderful old autobiography by my great grandfather.)

    That would just about encompass it?   Right?

    Not at all.  Residents here are using computers to do all sorts of other things: voice recognition, designing web pages, planning social events, preparing slide shows, photos, archiving, converting slides, managing finances, tracking stocks, bird watching, and all the rest of the many activities of our busy lives.   How could we otherwise get it all done and still enjoy retirement?