Google, tech support, and your parents

Google has entered the tech support arena: http://www.teachparentstech.org/watch The short help videos are slick, and they’re appealing, at least to the target audience: a younger generation that is very tech savvy with parents or grandparents who are not.  One of my sons came across them and asked if I thought they would be helpful for his grandparents, who are in their 80’s.  I went to investigate. The Tech Support care package is a set of quick videos intended to make using Google products easier.  It makes sense.  You have a product.  You do a market analysis.  Where can you expand? Continue reading Google, tech support, and your parents

The Digital Age, Books, and Libraries

There’s a lot of flag waving (especially by alarmed librarians) about the imminent demise of the book and libraries.  Actually, that’s not true.  The librarians are trying to fend off those who are buying into the idea that printed books, and libraries as we used to know them, are pointless vestiges of a prior era.  The debate has been picked up by the New York Times, which is getting a lot of press (sorry) lately. The biggest issue, which is only obliquely hinted at in the arguments floating around, especially those in the Times opinion piece, is accessibility. I have Continue reading The Digital Age, Books, and Libraries

Too much marketing and not enough meat

A message to the SeniorServ list from Allan Kleiman alerted me to BigScreenLive. Since I’m always interested in what’s available for older adults, especially the ones with limited computer experience, I had to instantly check it out. Now, the upfront disclaimer here is that I haven’t actually tried it out yet, but I do see a few problems right off the bat. The first problem, which instantly affects their credibility with me, is when they state, right on the front page: Our goal is to make computing effortless and enjoyable. While our software runs on any PC, we also recommend Continue reading Too much marketing and not enough meat

Connecting the Disconnected: Tip #7

The older we get, the more we know. But sometimes that gets in the way of learning (see Tip #5). The process of learning, of itself, becomes more difficult due to factors in aging. Learning new concepts for familiar terms inserts a certain level of confusion into the process, enhanced by the declining ability to exclude the prior associations with those terms in order to learn the new associations. Frequently combined with this is a decline in hearing, caused by both physical and cognitive factors. The physical factor is the declining ability to hear sounds. The cognitive factor is the Continue reading Connecting the Disconnected: Tip #7

How to do that visual stuff in handouts (OpenOffice.org)

Here is an example of a handout created in OpenOffice.org Writer, using screenshots: The post on how to do this in MSWord is here. This particular post applies to OpenOffice.org 2.0 on Windows. Although most of the handouts on the ncrlab eSnips page were done in MSWord (a few are in WordPerfect), I actually use OpenOffice.org for handouts now instead of MSWord. It’s just more portable. It’s also easier in some ways (although there are a few minor gripes I have). Since this is Windows, get screenshots using the Print Screen key and the Paint program, as described here. Once Continue reading How to do that visual stuff in handouts (OpenOffice.org)