lives

Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. They celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. 
Kiva Loan for a Shoe Business

By lending as little as $25 on Kiva, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy or realize their potential. For some, it’s a matter of survival, for others it’s the fuel for a life-long ambition.

One woman brewing change in Africa, and beyond – Medium  Story by Jessica P. Hansen, photos by Brandon Smith

Vava Coffee, is taking the coffee industry by storm. Upon learning that coffee farmers in Kenya earn less than 35% of the international market value on their high-quality coffee because of their lack of access to better markets and limited knowledge of the quality of their product, Vava set out to shake things up. Get the full ‘scoop’ on how her Kiva loan has allowed her to grow her business and improve the lives of 30,000 farmers in innovative ways

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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The fall in value of currencies, while costs continues to rise is causing millions of older people around the world to fear what their life will be like in their senior years. There is so much uncertainty that retirement savings carefully put aside for all those years will no longer be sufficient to provide the expected comfort in later life. Such questions as what would happen if they developed health problems, what if one partner dies and the other is left, what if they could no longer afford to live in their family home.

It is not all doom and gloom. According to USNews Money department writer, Richard Satran in an article published 5th March 2103:

Fear has motivated people to start saving more, but here are two positive ways to upgrade savings

Older couple reading a document while sitting together

Given a half-decade of economic uncertainty, fear may still be the biggest motivator for retirement saving. The financial crisis inspired people everywhere to save more and hold off on short-term spending. “It shook people out of their complacency and got them thinking, ‘I should save more,'” says Ken Hevert, Fidelity’s vice president of retirement products. “All age groups—young people, too, are showing a tendency to be more conservative.”

New surveys by two leading financial-services companies show how attitudes toward saving have evolved, and highlight a couple of easy steps that can have a big impact on savings.

 These easy steps can be summarized in the following two tips:

“Tip 1: Planning for retirement boosts savings dramatically” – the planning process gives them positive goals for retirement

“Tip 2: Putting eggs in more than one basket produces far higher returns” …. “opening more channels for collecting funds has a positive effect on the amount people save”

Does planning give people a sense of taking control of their lives which helps to overcome the fear factor?

 Click here to read the full article.

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/

Is there a topic that you have become particularly knowledgeable about? Have you had particular challenges in your life that you had to overcome? Do you have a hobby or a craft that you have a compelling interest in? Perhaps, you perfected a skill in a particularly technical area during your career. Did you ever think that you knew a better way to accomplish something, if only you had the chance?

All of us have some area of our lives that we have focused on enough to develop a particular set of skills in or knowledge about. We have come to take our experience, knowledge and skills for granted as we approach or reach retirement age.

What if there was a way that you could set up an “Information Stand” on your own street and have a stream of people arrive at your information stand each and every day. Heck, they each would even pay you a small fee to have their questions on your topic answered! Do you think that this might provide a little extra cash to supplement your retirement income? You bet it would.

Remember your childhood. Did you ever have a lemonade stand on your street on a hot Summer day? Yeah, it was great. Adults would pay 5 cents per cup (some would even pay more) and when you ran out of lemonade, you would simply make up another batch. You could do this until all of the adults had their thirst quenched and then sales would drop off.

Well, you can easily set up an “Information Stand” on the Internet at which to provide answers on the topic of your passion. There are some interesting characteristics of your “Information Stand” that make it better than a lemonade stand:

1. Unlike lemonade, you never run out of Information. In fact, you even gain more and better information as a result of the dialogue and the research that you do in building your Information Stand.

2. You become known as an expert. That’s right, the more activity that you have at your stand, the better you become known as a reliable source of information on your topic. In fact, when this occurs and the perception of your information becomes more valuable, people will be willing to pay more for your information.

3. Unlike the lemonade stand, you can sell the information without you having to be there. You can even sell information while you are asleep or out playing with the other ‘kids’!

4. As word spreads like a virus about your information stand, the sheer number of people coming to your stand will increase exponentially.

5. Instead of being limited to just your street, you can have your Information Stand on the biggest Information superhighway of them all – the Internet!

6. Unlike the lemonade stand, the line of people coming to your Information Stand never ends. In fact, as the word of your Information Stand gets out like a virus on the Internet, you will have an increasing number of people coming to you for answers to their questions. People from all over the world will be coming to your Information Stand all hours of the day and night! If you build it, they will come!

The very best news is that the technology now exists for you to establish your Information Stand on the Internet for an investment of less than $30 and a bit of your time. The software necessary to do this can be downloaded free of charge and the remaining components can be purchased inexpensively (Domain name – $12,  Autoresponder – $20). You can visit my website to view video tutorials that show you exactly how to set up your Information Stand. It could not be easier!

Claim your place on the Internet today. Leverage your experience and knowledge into a stream of supplemental retirement income. You already have the knowledge needed, just carve out your niche and get going. It does not have to be perfect. In fact, it has been said that “Imperfect action is more productive than perfect inaction!” Take your first step today.

 

 

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