Monday, March 9, 2015

Keep it Simple

I do what I can to help seniors keep computing simple and therefore avoid complexity and ongoing trouble.

(It should not be necessary for every senior to go through all the hurdles to get on track to keep comfortably connected.)

I talk to a lot of users and work with many and I have experience with every imaginable type of equipment.

Here are some simple guidelines.

If you're at all uneasy about computers, get an iPad and avail yourself of all the help available for it.

If you are very comfortable with computers, you are probably already doing most of your work on a smartphone, as surprising as that might be to many.

Smartphones, and plans, are cheap now.

Despite the glitter of other equipment, the device I use most is my Moto G Republic smartphone. Such phones start at about $100 with plans at $10 a month.

Nicer to use is a tablet and the tablet of choice is the book sized Nexus 7. This becomes your computerized book.

As for phones, Windows 10 on a Windows phone is also impressive.

It is now time to move to Windows. Microsoft is making great strides in making it better, and it is worthwhile to spend a few minutes simply learning the few new navigation commands, which consist of touch swipes and equivalent mouse actions.

Get accustomed to frequent use of the Windows key and swiping down from the top of the screen to the bottom in order to close out applications after you are finished with them.

In the Modern or tiles screen you simply start typing in order to search without further ado.

It is now easy to make backup, recovery, and restore media and avoid patching up things when they go shower by simply reinstalling.

So it is easy now to switch to the newest version of Windows as tablets and laptops are available at under $200. Get rid of that old equipment.

As more and more seniors have more and more devices they need printers to work with them.

That requires Cloud Print, which works in 3 ways.

Cloud Print is an application which works from internet to connect your devices with your printers. The Cloud Print site will find your printers and set them up.

Here is how it works.

An old printer will work but only if attached to a Windows computer. A newer wifi printer can work if set up on a Windows computer for wireless.

Better, a newer Cloud Print printer will work independently of any device. These run as low as $50.

Setting up Cloud Print simply require going to the internet site and following instructions.

Just as important as printing is connecting your device to your TV.

I have all the dongles but recommend the Chromecast dongle for most as a starter. It is cheap.

Headphones are also needed. I use a simple Bluetooth or wireless set. I am evaluating a $7 headset from China which looks good.

Once settled on a device or devices, don't forget to use them to keep learning and connected and informed.

Then make use of the many tools to get information. They are vast.

Let your browser answer your questions. Use Open Library to find books. Use the Internet Archive. Use your local library via Overdrive. If you read a lot of books, be sure to use the Calibre application to access the world of books and publications automatically and in an organized way.

Did I mention using your voice as opposed to typing? Do it. Windows 10 on a smartphone phone is geared to voice interaction with the device.

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