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.

2-Minute Rule to Success

Life is a series of minutes. When a person looks at life in minutes versus hours, days, weeks, and years it is easier to make progress. As a society, we believe we must have large blocks of time to get anything done, yet, what is true is that finding things that can be done in two minutes actually is a very freeing activity; very empowering. 

So, what is the 2-Minute Rule? The 2-Minute Rule is a highly effective method that anyone can use anytime – anywhere.

The 2-Minute rule, in effect, is looking at things that can be done in two minutes. People have a tendency to let these two minute opportunities pass them by because they believe that two minutes are not enough time to get anything done.

Here's the challenge – look around when you have a two minutes as you are waiting to make a scheduled phone call, go pick the kids up from school, finishing cooking dinner – you get the idea – what do you see that you could do that would take only two minutes?

Tasks such as: sort the mail, unload the dishwasher, put a load of clothes in the washer, sweep the front porch, call the groomer for an appointment for your dogs, file, pay a bill or two, clean out a kitchen drawer, listen to a YouTube video on setting up a Twitter account, etc. You get the picture – right?

Getting in the habit of using this 2-Minute Rule is so empowering, energizing, and quickly and easily helps you become organized and productive. As you go through your day, ask yourself "is there anything I could do with this block of time"? If so, do it.

Sometimes the two minutes can become five minutes – that is okay. You can also set a timer if you only have a few minutes and do not want to forget to get on a scheduled call or pick up the kids from soccer practice.

The more you use this 2-Minute Rule (more or less), the more excited you will become about being more organized, having less clutter, having less distractions, etc. Our minds are always nagging us about things that need to get done, fretting about keys that are lost, worrying, and feeling guilty.

When you incorporate the 2-Minute Rule you will hear less mind chatter. People have a tendency to discount the power of this little 2-Minute Rule – believing that doing something for two minutes cannot possibly make a difference in their lives and how they feel. Word to the wise – "try it, you will like it."

Queensland Floods, Jan2011

Flooding in Brisbane & surrounding areas (Queensland, Australia)

floods2

My city is in the midst of the worst flood since 1974. The death toll has reached 14, mostly from the torrent that originated in Toowoomba & swept through the Lockyer valley, upstream from Ipswich & Brisbane, so although we have very serious flooding in the city, we had plenty of warning so little loss of life or serious injury. However, the amount of warning is no compensation for the approx 20,000 people in 30 suburbs whose homes have been inundated with smelly brown, water.

I’m lucky to be in a higher area. My place is 100 yards off  a major road which is flooded down the end about 1km from me. The store I buy my elctronic goods from just down there had water nearly to the roof & it is on a high bit. When I saw that shown in an aerial view from the TV chopper this morning, it really threw me as I didn’t think the water would reach there at all.

floods4They’re asking people not to go sightseeing, so it’s a strange feeling, on the one hand watching the grim scenes on TV but on the other, from where I live and the places I have to go for work, life is seemingly normal.  However, for the thousands and thousands of people with water through their homes or businesses, it certainly is a major disaster. And it’s not just here, NSW and Victoria still have the rain and the water that fell to the west of the ranges.

Especially hard hit are some of the smaller towns in the north and the west who have already had big floods since Christmas, have just cleaned up and now have to start all over again.

The cost of the cleanup for flooding on this scale is massive and many of the victims will suffer severe financial hardship. Any donations you are able to make would be received gratefully. Here is the link to the QLD Govt flood relief appeal www.qld.gov.au. Donations can be made online, by phone, in person, internet banking or mail. Our hearts go out to all who are suffering.

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!

New Blog for Senior Computer Users

Hi everyone, welcome to the new blog.

The purpose of this blog is to create a community where folk of senior years and other beginner computer users can all learn from each other and support each other in our journey towards making more use of our computers and finding ways to earn extra income from them and from the internet.

For those unfamiliar with the word ‘blog’, it is derived from the term ‘web log’ and is basically a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. These entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order.

Blogs are a great way to involve people because they give everyone a chance to make comments on any material posted or to send in helpful answers to problems other members have written in about, so this blog will be replacing the newsletter that some of you were receiving.

Many of you don’t know me, so I’d like to introduce myself. I am a baby boomer, living in Queensland, Australia at present, but thanks to the internet, am in frequent contact with people all over the world. I have two daughters and three grandchildren living on the other side of Australia and the rest of my family living in New Zealand or scattered all over the globe. Naturally I am a frequent user of email & Skype to keep in contact with them. (For those who don’t know about, or use skype, it uses the internet to make long distance phone calls that are free to other skype users or allow you to ring someone’s regular phone very cheaply. We will be doing an article about skype and other similar systems – so stay tuned. If you register to receive email notification of new posts, you’ll get the news immediately this topic is posted.)

I have been a computer buff for twenty years or so after buying my first home computer. Believe it or not, it didn’t have a hard drive at all, just 2 single sided 5.25″ floppy disks and just a little amber screen about 150 x 100mm!

While not an expert in any area, over the years I have helped many, many people to learn how to use their computer better and about eight years ago I started giving structured, one-on-one computer lessons, mainly for seniors.

During this time, I came across a great number of people who had acquired a computer by various means, some by being given an outgrown desktop model from family members who had upgraded, or buying a cheaper PC (personal computer), new or second-hand for themselves or even, as my own mother has done, buying a laptop for the convenience of being able to use it anywhere (like in a warm room in winter!).

One of the things that saddened me was to find that many of these owners would like to get more use from their PC, but were scared to do much in case they damaged something; they didn’t know how to do more than just some of the basic tasks and in many cases, ended up only using these marvellous tools for email and playing patience (or solitaire, if that is how you know it). If this is you, don’t worry – playing solitaire is a great way to become proficient with your mouse!

Now that’s fine if you are happy to be just using your computer for email because it certainly allows you take keep in touch with distant relatives and friends almost instantly. However, for those who would like to take advantage of other functions and features, I’m hoping that the information in this blog, and the comments from others, will inspire you and bring you information and tools to assist you as you learn to make your computer work for you.

Learning can be great fun or it can be a drag, it all depends on how you approach it and what you want to get out of it. Naturally the reasons for people wanting to learn more will be many and varied so the plan is to present some projects/information for beginners and some in varying levels for more advanced users. I won’t be re-inventing the wheel, but will be bringing together ideas, games and projects devised by others into this blog, so that you have a base to work outwards from.

Working along alone is sometimes hard and we lose momentum and hope. I’ve found from personal experience that by belonging to a community of like-minded people, there’s nearly always someone ‘out there’ who can help with something you’re stuck on, or just to say ‘hey, I know what it’s like. I nearly gave up, but hang in there, try this and you’ll soon have the hang of it’.

Do you know that studies have shown that the point where most of us give up is when we are nearly there? I’m sure this resonates with some of you, it certainly did for me when I first heard it. So, hang in there, ask a question, make a post – just don’t feel isolated as there are thousands of people our age out there getting a great deal in so many ways from our PCs.

There will be articles from other senior clubs and forums, ‘how to’ articles, reviews of products and also a special area devoted to using your computer and the internet to earn money. I doubt that there is anyone, not matter what age, who would not find it useful to have another stream of residual income, so there will also be links to information, programs and products that could be helpful on your journey.

I would love to hear suggestions from readers on topics they’d like to learn about so please write your ideas in the ‘Suggest Ideas’ area. You also have the opportunity to make comments after any post. Perhaps add extra ideas or methods that have worked for you and would help others. If you think what is written is rubbish, you are free to say that also, but please abide by the rules, no spamming, no personal attacks and no offensive language.

It is my hope that by coming here often to check out what is on offer we can become a community that shares and grows together.

If you would like to be sent an email whenever there is a new post, enter you name and email address in the form on the home page.

Please be assured, this site is not primarily to push you to buy anything. I would be happy for you to join in, contribute your ideas and never buy a single thing, but please respect the position of others who may want to do so, especially if they are building an on-line business. I would not be where I am today without buying products and mentoring along the way so there will be space for featured & recommended products as well as helpful hints, ideas and general information here on the site. If any readers wish to contribute original articles, please email me.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes, Trish