Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Interview with the Editor

 Q Which computer do you recommend for most users?

 A The Nexus 7 2nd generation, especially for its speed. The iPad Mini to project to large screen or TV. Click here for a Chinese device which enables projection on the Nexus 2nd (worked well for me---best yet).

 Q What about Windows 8?

 A I recommend Windows 7. For a very old computer I recommend Zorin Windows Linux fast "look alike".  The question to ask is whether Windows 8 offers anything new or special for your use.   Residents have either found it difficult, limited, slow, and non-intuitive and/or have simply returned it for such a computer with Windows 7.    It is possible to run Windows 8 for the old desktop only and avoid what is new.

 Q Why the Nexus?

 A Price, size, functionality, speed, display, upgradability, ease of use, having it right there when and where you need it, GPS.

Q. And towers and laptops?

A. Sales are falling as tablet sales rise, with Google Android taking 67% in the 2nd quarter, iPad 28%, Windows 8 under 5%..   The Samsung Chromebook at $250 is the leading laptop on Amazon---I love mine, but mostly I do not need a laptop with the Nexus 7.  Click for tablet sales.    Instead of a tower, consider also the Mac Mini.

 Q What do you recommend for word processing?

 A I recommend any of the following: the Write app, Google Docs, the Office Pro app, QuickOffice, iPad Pages, SkyDrive (MS Office). I recommend your choice of apps which work with dictation to text, but (only) using speaker independent technology with no training or prep required.  Many apps use MS format files.

Q. And spreadsheets?

A. Nowadays there are better and simpler ways to do things than spreadsheets. but Google Docs does them beautifully, such as for Christmas address labels.

 Q What is the future for the big players?

 A Excellent for those who innovate new technology and content. Good for (new and better) systems and devices. However, innovation gives anybody an edge... including small players.

 Q What do you see in the future?

 A What we do not see now. In the development of radio and TV, the prime movers were not the providers of devices or systems, but the broadcasting companies. The driving force, and the revenue, was advertising, as it is with computers (Google). I see innovations which bring them closer to us, such as computer watches and glasses and driverless cars. We need to remove obstacles, such as time and place, between the computer and the user, as simple as that. We just don't have the time to use old or less accessible technology. Advertising needs that too and will pay for it. Consider how the smartphone removed obstacles.

 Q You cannot believe that people will adopt driverless cars!

 A I think the costs of traffic accidents, poIicing the highways, lost productivity in driving, and a need for transportation efficiency, will force them on us. What a boon for seniors! Driverless cars will create a lifestyle change.

 Q And computer glasses?

 A We need computer help at all times and not just when we pull out a smartphone or tablet. Again, what a boon for seniors! We can never have too many facts at our instant and immediate disposal. We need those facts right in front of our eyes.

 Q How soon will these changes occur?

 A The technologies are already available now.

 Q What is the biggest obstacle?

 A Paranoia about the new and not taking the time and trouble to understand that there are better ways of doing things. For example, we now know cancer to be a result of mutations which cause about 30 genes not to be able to control their own growth. What a shame not to be able to fund solutions in gene therapy to eradicate it, not to mention the huge dollar payback through cost savings in care.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Switching Emails

Getting up to date often means switching to a new email carrier. But what are we to do with our contacts? 

The usual reaction is:"I don't want to switch". Maybe we are just afraid of "losing our contacts" in the process. We do not want the hassle, either. Indeed, switching, converting, and transferring can be difficult and time consuming.

The alternative of typing them all in again usually will be quicker and easier than converting or transferring them, but it is still a nuisance. 

So there is a better way, a simpler way. It works like this. First, set up the new email provider. Set up the account and the password. From your old email address send a group email to everybody advising them of your new email address and ask them to email you back that they have received it. Then send another email back to them. 

Your contacts will now appear in your new email contacts directory. 

Here is the process in more detail. 

Search Google for the provider registration instructions, then complete them. Just filling out the instructions might be the worst part of the job. It is important to get the login and password right. I have noticed about half of users get it wrong and thereby get in deep trouble.

Most users are going to Gmail now. Gmail has some security questions and a block of letters and numbers you can hardly read for you to input. Get out your magnifier. Don't worry, if you got it wrong you will get another chance and another and another. Gmail has the enormous benefit that they are not kept locally where you could lose them. 

Now that you're signed up and you have a new email address, and be sure to get that right, go back to your old email and send a group message to everybody that you are about to change your email email address. All the old email carriers have their own way of sending out a group email so that you will need to check out how that is done if you do not know already.

The idea is that you'll be sending a single email to all of your contacts at a one shot. This will be a short email. 

Tell everybody that you will be switching to a new email address and would like to have them email you back to confirm that they have received it and will be using it. You might also ask them to update you on any changes in their address and so forth. Then give it some time and go back to your new email. 

As messages come in confirm back that you have received them. This will automatically place them in your new contacts list. Those who do not reply to you will not be included in the new list, so that your list is automatically updated for only active contacts.

After a few days print out your new contact list and compare to the old one to add any old contacts you still want to include. You may also want to adjust the Gmail settings to forward any mails going to your old address. When you receive them your response will go out with a new email address. Anyone replying to your email will automatically be redirected to that address.