Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What a Mess

It is not too much to say that most computer users here at Willow Valley are limited by too many factors in their ability to take advantage of the great benefits of computers for their future as they age

most prominent is the use of an older and slower and limited computer, such as an old Windows computer or even a new Windows 10 computer with a slow hard drive, who often they think a smartphone or tablet is a subset of a PC or Mac, whereas these are supersets with more new user friendly

next is the outdated cabling system in the North which SeniorTV has found faulty and inadequate for the job (by using more appropriate testing equipment that has been used locally by IT)

then there is the altogether complete absence of a tech support help desk, or even an online service

further, there is the somewhat “in-your-face” approach that says in writing that if anything goes wrong with your internet that is your problem,  as stated in the internet hook-up policy here

indeed, many users are indeed quite limited in what they are able to do, more with Windows than any other system  as compared Apple, for which there is plenty of help both here and from their local store

so consequently residents operate under a great handicap and are nowhere near prepared to deal with the great promise for seniors as they become more and more isolated and disconnected

there is also a lot of fear of computers based on misplaced concerns about privacy and security

not to mention the difficulty installing a printer for many devices

and too many simply do not know what a target of opportunity and efficiency computers can present

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Chromebooks & Printers

(Update: If you are using a chromebook, the options for printing are to use a new cloudprint printer with a programming touchscreen, OR, with newer printers share using a Windows 10 computer, OR with older printers share using Linux. I needed to use all of these.)

Chromebook laptops are fast becoming the cheapest, easiest, and fastest computers for seniors. What about printing?

Printing requires some special measures.    Basically, you cannot print directly to a printer from a Chromebook, same as from tablets and smartphones.  You cannot plug them in.

You can print of course, but you first must go through an intermediary.     There are a number of choices, with the cloudprint technology being the most popular.   That technology enables you to print through Windows and a connected printer, or other alternative OS.

Ideally, though, you don't want to go through the agonies of setting up your Windows computer as a so-called server.  Why?  You may simply want to avoid loss of function when the Windows computer goes to sleep.  Or you may very well just want to  get rid of Windows altogether.    

So wireless computers make it possible to do without Windows altogether for tablets and smartphones, even without cloudprint, using simple applications from providers like Brother and others.   Chromebooks can also be setup to print through cloudprint wirelessly without Windows.

HP and Epson offer the ability to print via email  technology through an application designed especially for Chromebooks.    HP's app is called eprint and Epson's iprint. Your printer gets its own email address, and prints from sending it an email attachment.

The last is recommended, though a bit fussy to install. (Easier if you have a touchscreen control panel.) To activate HP's Direct Print, during installation the HP printer will print out a sheet with a Direct Print Name (SSID) which you will then enter into Chrome HP Print Extension (installed from the Chrome Store) with any surname you give it. You will then get a printout showing your printer's email address with instructions. Add to your contacts just like any other contact and send attachments right to your printer wherever it may be.

Now you can avoid Windows and cloudprint, too!!! You print direct!!

What's more, you can avoid all of Windows' problems and enjoy the ease and simplicity of chromebooks!!

Note: with CloudPrint, if you have more than one email address, the next address must be shared from the CloudPrint control screen.

Monday, March 7, 2016

New Stuff for Seniors

Seniors especially can benefit from some new stuff for seniors:

. the Amazon Echo computer without keyboard or display which executes voice commands

. the Flux Blast 3000K LED Light Bulb with Bluetooth Speaker for Apple iPhone, iPad and Android Phone, Warm White, which turns on remotely 

. Y bulb sockets to hold two low brightness LEDs in one lamp socket

Keep it Simple or Go Bonkers

Computers are a tool to get things done more efficiently, but you need to keep it simple!!

. don't put up with delays due to bad cabling, too many web routers nearby, or non-responsive servers, in other words an unreliable internet provider

. use a password app like LastPass to remember your passwords

. make those passwords SIMPLE, just use the first letters of the words of a memorable quote plus a number and/or symbol

. organize bookmarks into folder categories by headings, such as accounts, reading, listening, buying, cloud drives, writing, or amazon apps, google apps, news, and so on

. put in words what you want to do and google all the options

, solve problems with a query to google and reject complex "solutions"

. keep the equipment simple and portable

. be proactive in your reading, choose the sources you trust

. read the handbook or guide online before you buy anything, also Amazon customer comments

. do it the new way, even if it takes some learning, such as a new smart cell phone

. get to know who can help you best

. search here for help!!

. have more than just one device, such as a phone and a tablet or laptop