Having Fun With Powtoon

Create animated videos and presentations with Powtoon

It’s free and it’s awesome

PowToon is a company wthat sells cloud-based software for creating animated presentations and animated explainer videos.

It is easy to get going quickly and great fun. You can use it for free, just the videos have a “Created by Powtoon” outro on them, and the selection of themes and images is less than for paid versions, but there are still plenty to use to make a good video or presentation

edupowtoon

 

Edu Powtoon is really really cheap – from $1 per month for students, $2 a month for teachers and only $8 a month for a whole classroom! That is a really sweet deal.

 

Why not try it for yourself – start off free – it might be all you ever need.

https://www.powtoon.com/edu-home/

 

 

 

Here’s one I made during a Udemy course “Animation For Beginners: 5 Day Animation Challenge” taught by Anneke Camstra on Udemy https://www.udemy.com/animationchalle…


Here’s one I made for our wine saver promotion

 

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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wireless.
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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Top 100 Senior Living Sites

Although this site is primarily aiming to help seniors supplement their income, nothing about our lives is in isolation. As we age we often face difficulties with housing, memory and other health issues and for many of us, the reality of living alone. Where can seniors find information to help with these issues?

This morning I received an email from Allison Mathison who has compiled a list of the top 100 senior living sites to help people find the info they are looking for. I have copied her email below as she describes it so well herself:

As you know elderly care and senior living industry is always in
demand and always changing as our country grows. I have been blogging about
these topics for quite awhile now and recently just compiled a list of the
best 100 sites that covers everything related to assisted living, aging
issues, caring for our senior citizens. Baby Boomers are retiring left and
right and the need for these topics will continue to rise. Please feel to
check out this blog post http://nursingassistantguides.com/senior-living/

I spent a lot of time browsing each site and organizing them in
appropriate categories. It was really fun to make and hopefully will be a nice
resource for any senior citizens or even the family of seniors looking to find
the best bit of knowledge on the next stages of their loved ones…..

Each entry has a highlight link to a specific issue that older people face and I had a smile or two at some of the stories.

Here's the link again:

http://nursingassistantguides.com/senior-living/

Keeping in Touch at Xmas

Nearly Christmas time again and the end of another year – it's amazing how fast the time goes by.

Christmas is a time for family and friends, for catching up with those you haven't seen for a while and for telling others you appreciate them and how much they mean to you. What better way than to send them a greeting whether as a phone call, a letter, a card in the post or an e-card or perhaps a personal video greeting. 

 

Do not be daunted by some of these ideas as they can be fun to make and your sentiments are appreciated by the receiver. Let's start by examining the options: 

If you want to make your own greeting cards, or just want some festive icons to add to emails or web pages, you can get these great Xmas icons free from Mighty Deals – just click on their "Free Stuff" tab. They come in 3 sizes, 64 x 64, 128 x 128 &  256 x 256 so come in very handy for a variety of projects. Mighty Deals also have Xmas stickers free just now – they are on currently on page 2 of the Free Stuff. There's heaps of other graphics in the free stuff as well, so check them out.  

 

Xmas Icons For e-cards with a unique touch, you can't go past Ojolie.com  –  I first heard about Frederikke's cards way back in 2008 (see my earlier blog post for more information) and have renewed my very low priced membership ever since ($12 for one year and $18 for 2 years). I've lost count of how many cards there are available, but there's a wide selection for all sorts of occasions and the great thing is that the membership area keeps track of that cards you have previously sent to the people on your email list there. They have a nice selection of free cards as well for you to try for yourself. Many of my friends have commented on the delightful cards I've sent them, so check them out at Ojolie.com or on facebook.

 

If you'd like a video to share this Christmas, try Animoto – they make it easy to use your own photos, text & even videos to produce a professional looking video message.  You can make a free one of 30 seconds or less with some limitations on the number of your own photos you upload but the cost is reasonable if you want to a bigger project. The free one below was made in about 4 minutes just as a demo.

The compliments of the season to you all. Trish

Make your own photo slideshow at Animoto.

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

Keeping your Brain Active

Free Gift Membership to “Learning to Earn” see below.

If you’re approaching retirement age and wondering what you can do to enjoy a long and healthy life in your golden years then consider adopting the attitude of a lifelong learner. Most people think of lifelong learning as being confined to academic endeavors however the lifelong learning approach covers all areas of life including spiritual, social, academic and physical.

Lifelong learning is based on an attitude of constantly growing and evolving in various areas of your life. The old saying that whenever anything is not growing it is decaying could be just as true for us as humans. No matter what a person’s age there are great benefits to be gained by challenging yourself in the different areas of your life, physical, mental and self-deveopment.

Physical challenges must be appropriate for your level of fitness, but regular exercise of some kind will leep your body healthier and your brain healthier too. Mental challenges do not have to be academic study, they can be a new hobby or interest, a new caring or chrity venture, more involvement with family. The most growth in personal development will come when you take on something that is currently outside your comfort zone (nasty words those, aren’t they? How we love to stay in our comfort zone, even when it isn’t all that comfortable really).

Lifelong learners live by the motto “you’re never too old to learn” and this attitude is a big part of the reason that people who approach life with this mindset are seen to perhaps live longer but definitely enjoy a better quality of life – is the so-called law of nature known as the “use it or lose it” true?

It does seem to be the case that those who are considerably inactive develop mobility problems as they age, whereas those who are quite active do not develop these mobility problems. A similar effect takes place with anyone who takes no part in any mentally challenging activity or pursuit. After years of mental inactivity

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Senior Kids & Christmas

Hi everyone,

Yes, it’s been a few weeks since I last posted but now I have a few moments to spare & I really wanted to share a fun moment this last week. After lunch with some of the ladies, we spotted Santa sitting on his chair waiting to welcome boys & girls. I turned to my friend Laurel & asked if she was game to sit on Santa’s knee because he looked very lonely on that big chair & no children waiting to see him. Well, 80+ she might be, but she’s always game for a bit of fun. Rather than tell you how funny it was, here’s the YouTube video I took to capture it.

Best wishes

Trish

Brain Training Can Improve Your Memory

banner_brainAll of us, in a certain point of our lives, experienced memory loss. It could be forgetting where we put the keys, if we have locked the door, etc. As we grow older, it is natural for some of our brain cells to age and die which would cause some problems with memory. Over the years, research on brain training showed that it could help in decreasing memory loss.

Dementia is one of the biggest health issues that the older generation is facing. Currently, about 24 million people are suffering from dementia. By 2040, the number could reach about 84 million of sufferers, making us one of the possible patients of dementia.

The same goes for Alzheimer’s disease which is affecting about five million Americans. Health experts project that Alzheimer patients could reach about 16 million by 2050. That is until the current generation would do something to avoid such problems with memory loss.

How does brain training help us in enhancing our memory?

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Managing Time In Your Business

There are many tips on how to create time for yourself and to manage your time in your business. Here are several items that may just help you remember the basics.

Learn to say “No”. Many people find it hard to turn someone down especially if it is a customer or a good friend. You more than likely have your day planned as to what needs to get done in your business and then along comes someone and wants you to “help” them in whatever problem they are having with something in their private life or in their own business. Much of the time, the reason they are having trouble is lack of planning on their part or lack of understanding of your work time. If you stop and interrupt what you are doing, it can impede your progress in your own business, so learn to just say “no” when the time is not right for you and schedule another time that suits you both. Of course, if you are free to help, then that is fine.

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