Resources for Seniors

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I was recently contacted by Kathleen Carter from http://educatorlabs.org/who has put together a collection of resources for seniors and the various challenges we face as we grow older.

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I hope this will be of value to any seniors among my readers or those who are carers for someone with a disability or other health problem.

 

From Elmer George of elderville.org

“As a senior who recently purchased a home and made significant modifications to it, I can’t tell you how much people like me (people of all ages, really) appreciate having easy access to info about buying and maintaining a home.” so here are his list of recommended links.

A Guide to Downsizing for Seniors and Their Loved Ones

Should You Own or Rent a Home in Retirement?

Saving for a Home Post-Bankruptcy: A Three-Step Guide for Families

7 Home Improvement & Remodeling Ideas That Increase Home Value (And What To Avoid)

How to Deter Burglars: Keeping Potential Robbers Away From Your Home

 

The Humble Computer Mouse

The choice of computer mouse is a very individual thing and depends on many factors:

  • How many hours a day you work at your computer?
  • Is your primary computer a desktop, a laptop or notebook or even a tablet; but you won’t be needing a mouse if it is a tablet, will you?
  • How big your hands are.
  • Do you want/need to use wired, wireless or bluetooth?
  • Whether you use the scroll function or not.
  • Do you suffer from wrist pain?

In some of these instances, the cheaper type mouse that comes with your computer will serve your needs adequately, but if you, like me work for about eight hours every day, the comfort and functions of your mouse are particularly important.
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On the left below is a photo of the first mouse I paid in excess of $60 for and never regretted it at all. It was comfortable in my largish hands and I didn’t ever suffer any wrist pain even though I worked at my PC sometimes up to 12 hours in a day. The day I dropped it on the tiled floor and broke it was a very sad day for me.
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Luckily I was able to buy another different model  but with the same profile within a couple of days. That one too has died lately so I’m looking for a new one, the Kensington mouse on the right below might well be the one since I have had a word in Santa’s ear!
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The logitech 2nd from left has served as my laptop mouse for a couple of years – it does look a bit battered, doesn’t it? Very similar profile and quite comfortable. The third photo shows my big hands – imagine my right hand wrapped around one of these tiny mobile models! However, I do carry a retractable one around in my laptop bag, as a backup and the occasions when an extra mouse is needed to test someone’s computer.

 History of the computer mouse

Tracking Technology

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Did you know that the name mouse is derived from “Manually Operated User Select Equipment”? This makes the argument about whether more than one computer mouse should be called computer mouses or computer mice (as we do for the rodent variety). It seems there has been no absolute ruling and generally computer companies avoid the issue by calling them mouse devices. Probably mouses is technically correct, but it sounds awkward and people tend to use mice for the plural form.
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The original design for a mouse was mechanical; the mouse had a ball in a compartment underneath and embedded around the edge were some little rollers. These would clog up from the dust and dirt from the user’s desk and needed cleaning to keep the mouse running smoothly (I did this countless times when clients or friends complained that their mouse wasn’t working properly). There were also four sliding type feet that clogged up as well, but these devices were a boon when the alternative was just keyboard shortcuts.
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Along came optical technology and made our lives so much easier. A small LED on the bottom of the mouse translates the movement of your hand into movement of the mouse pointer. Laser mouse devices work the same way, but using a laser instead af the LED. Laser mice have a higher dpi (dots per inch) which means they are more sensitive. For general users this extra sensitivity is not really needed, but graphic designers and gamers often appreciate the difference and make a laser mouse their choice.

Wired Connectors

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The early mice (see above) had a serial connector plug, see picture below. Serial ports were the original standard for interfacing any device with any other device on a computer. Later, a smaller 6 pin Mini Din was introduced by IBM on their PS/2 personal computer and this led to the connector type being called PS/2. For many years PC’s had PS/2 connectors for both keyboard and mouse.
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Some computers still come with two PS/2 ports, but more commonly they just have one, the USB (Universal Serial Bus) being the most common type of interface on all computers, whether PC or Mac. All USB ports look the same, but there is the original USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 which allows much faster (almost 40x as fast) or increased delivery capabilities. The ports are backwards compatible, so you can plug an old USB 1.1 device into a 2.2 port and it will still go.

Wireless

Originally the mouse device was connected to the computer by a cable using one of the technologies above, but nowadays you have the choice (an increasingly common one), to go with wireless. The early hassles of wireless connections seem to have been ironed out and wireless usually works very easily on any platform. Yay! So much more freedom.

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Radio Frequency – this is the most common type of wireless interface. A generic mouse operates on th 27MHz frequency and the mouse is powered by batteries. More expensive models can come with rechargeable batteries or charging docks for the mouse. They may use higher frequencies and have a longer range.
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bluetooth.
Bluetooth was useful for lower speed devices like a mouse and was common on early laptops. They are also battery powered and use the 2.4GHz radio frequency to communicate with a receiver/charger supplied with the package or some other Bluetooth adapter...
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RFIDRFID (Rapid Frequency Identification) technology uses radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data to automatically identify and track tags, which for a mouse is movement. Developed by a company called A4Tech, the mouse must be used in conjunction with the included mose pad, but the advantage is that it is wireless and no batteries are needed.
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Wheels and Buttons

Nearly all mouse devices nowadays have three buttons, with the middle button also being a scroll-wheel. This scroll wheel is essential in my opinion to navigate up and down your screen and on web pages. Any other buttons, typically on the left hand side for a right handed mouse or on the RHS for a left handed mouse, can be programmed by the user to carry out different functions.

 

Buying a computer mouse

A quick search on eBay will show just what a variety of choice there for buying a new mouse – some are fun, some are fancy, some for serious gamers and some ergonomic models for users like me. So how do you choose?

Narrow down the options with these requirements:

  • Do you want wired or wireless?
  • Do you need laser or will Optical suit your needs?
  • What size – full-sized, medium or small (also called compact,  mini, mobile, laptop etc)
  • PS/2 or USB? USB is more common but if your computer does not have many USB ports, but does have PS/2 ports, using a PS/2 mouse (or keyboard) will leave an extra USB port available for other peripherals.
  • Scrolling – do you need left and right as well as up and down?
  • Buttons – does your work (or play) require advanced features?

A great place to see what is available is on eBay, even when you want to shop locally. The wide variety of mouse devices listed there will give you a good idea of all the functions and help you narrow down your choice.
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I have a mouse collection on eBay, just for the fun of it – see some of my pics

See my Collection here http://www.ebay.com/cln/plfbus/Fun-Fancy-Mouse-Collection/66866785015

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Low Cost Home Business Income from Affiliate Marketing

There are many ways to earn money online but one of the simplest methods is to use affiliate marketing. Probably the biggest advantages of affiliate marketing is that it is not necessary for a person to own a unique product and the process can get underway very quickly. An affiliate marketer makes money by earning commissions when they recommend and sell other peoples’ products.

The Affiliate Process

There are a number of different affiliate marketing strategies, but here is a good specific strategy that is relatively simple yet utilizes several current sophisticated features. The first step is to pick a niche (a sub-category of a larger category) in which there are numerous information products, such as ebooks, e-courses, or reports, available. A good idea is to pick a popular niche of personal interest and then to check the categories in the Marketplace of Clickbank.com, one of the top information product resources for affiliate marketers. Select a few products in the niche to promote and follow the steps to become an affiliate of each of the products and to gain access to the author’s affiliate tools, emails, images, and banners.

Next, use a keyword research tool, such as the highly regarded tool offered freely by Google, to find some ideas for a website domain name. Then, purchase a domain name from one of the many domain name registrars and select an affordable web host that allows easy installation of a WordPress blog.

The reason to use WordPress is that WordPress offers a huge variety of themes and functionality, and the blog platform will allow one to write interesting reviews and articles. Additionally, there are article directories and private label article sources that offer good articles that can be freely included on the blog site.

Now, select an autoresponder system from among the numerous reasonably priced autoresponders that are available. This step will provide the system for creating a series of emails to be sent to prospective customers and to allow follow up marketing to those valuable prospects.

Next, using the tools provided by the autoresponder company, create an opt-in box that will enable the collection of email addresses from prospective customers. Offer the customer a free e-course or series of reports that will provide free and useful information to the prospect. Research private label rights ebooks in the chosen niche online and use one to create a multi-part email series that can be loaded into the autoresponder and sent to the prospect at regular intervals. The benefit of this step is that in addition to getting the useful information the prospect can also receive a short promotion about an appropriate affiliate product that may interest them.

facebookLastly, open an account with Facebook and create a business page. The business page should reflect the blog site’s domain name. This Facebook page can then be used to offer bits of information, advice, pictures, and fun personal notices. The page can also direct the reader to the main blog site where larger articles and product reviews can be found, along with the opt-in box and affiliate product offers.

One of the great things about this specific affiliate marketing strategy is that once the pieces are in place the strategy can be easily repeated to create affiliate marketing opportunities in other niches, as the old saying goes, rinse and repeat!

Best wishes
Trish

Free ebooks for personal development

Here is a collection of eBooks that you may be interested in, more about personal development than computer related, but might still be of interest to many of you. They can all be downloaded from:

ttp://www.trishfindlay.com/sharepage/   (link will open in a new window)

Titles are:

Life Perspectives
I Can, Therefore I will
Think and Grow Rich
The Prophet
Motivation
Laws of Success Lesson1 Master Mind
Parables For Life e-book
Mastering The Art of Retirement-v2

Best wishes
Trish

For e-Cards with a difference try Ojolie.com

If you are looking for some high-quality, imaginatively clever eCards, take a look at ojolie.com. Their moving works of art capture the sentimentality and creativity so often missing from the free eCards that abound on the net. Although they don’t have as wide a range of cards as the free sites do, the quality more than makes up for that.

Ojolie is pronounced as O-Jolee. The name “Jolie”, as in Angelina Jolie, means cheerful and pretty in English and beautiful in French. The site is run by Frederikke Tu, the Artist and her husband Timothy Tu, the IT guy. Their e-cards are artistic and moving with very tasteful music. Frederikke says “the inspiration for my animated e-cards is largely drawn from my passion for wildlife and the abundant beauty of nature”.

Of the cards I have viewed so far, my favourite is called “Love Dance” which is based on the graceful dance of the Japanese Red Crowned Cranes. It is a great choice for weddings, valentines, anniversaries or simply to say “I love you”. If I had to pick a second best, it would probably be ” Paper Snowflake” from the Christmas/Winter collection, but there are so many excellent cards that choosing any kind of “best” is not an easy task.

This is a membership site but very affordable at US$10 for a year’s worth of access to high quality cards. Alternatively, you can save with a two year subscription for US$15. With Christmas approaching, you might consider giving a membership to Ojolie.com as a gift with a difference – one that is sure to be appreciated all year long.

eCards are easier and cheaper than buying cards at the store and they help the environment by reducing paper waste, but the real reason to go to Ojolie.com is because their cards are different from the usual run of the mill freebies and certainly well worth taking a look.

To give you an extra incentive to visit, Timothy has very kindly offered one year’s free membership to the first five subscribers to this blog who sign up for membership using a special promotion code.

Just go to http://www.ojolie.com click on membership, join now and enter the coupon code 2008FINDLAY (it is case sensitive) at the top, complete your details and if you are one of the lucky first five to claim the bonus membership, the total will come to zero.

Happy eCard viewing!

How to Make A Great Flyer

Flyers are a great way to advertise something for yourself, for an organisation you belong to or for marketing both online and off. There’s no need to be a genius to create a great one, either; if you have some basic tools and follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to design your own flyers in no time.

1. MICROSOFT WORD – Begin with a basic software program like Microsoft Word or Publisher. Open up the program, then look under “File” then “New” to see if there are already existing flyer wizards for documents or templates. If so, start there and adjust one to suit your needs.

2. COLOR – First take a look at your project budget. Is there room for full-color printing of hard copies to distribute? If not, don’t worry. Regular black ink on colored paper produces nice looking, professional flyers. Coordinate the paper color with a theme for the month, like green paper for St. Patrick’s Day or red or blue for the 4th of July.

3. TEXT / FONT – Don’t have too many different fonts, text sizes and styles in one document. Just choose a couple of complimentary fonts and sizes. For ideas on which to use, start a collection of flyers that are stuck on your door, around your mailbox and placed on your car’s windshield. Search your favorite industry web sites for ideas, too, by looking at their online documents for downloading. Print them out and check to see what you link and don’t like about them.

4. PULL TABS – Add pull tabs to the bottom, so that if the flyer is placed on a bulletin board, passersby can pull off a tab and take the info home with them. Check the Help menu for directions. Basically you add a wide text box along the bottom portion of the flyer. Then you insert one row of columns. Click on the first column and write what you want to say – not much fits here so take care! Maybe use your URL or website address and phone number. The text will run horizontally like normal, reading from left to right. So what you do is highlight it and click on “Format” from the top menu, then “Text Direction” do make it run vertical and fit in your tabs. Do the same for each tab.

When you’re finished, print flyers for local distribution or email to others to print as needed.

For business building, you can also turn the document into an Adobe .pdf file to distribute online. Upload it and include links to it in your emails and forum posts. Attach the pdf to emails when you know recipients accept attachments and can take a look, too. Reach out online and off with great looking flyers and grow your business one step further!