Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Put Sneakers on Your Fingers & Stroll Along With Me

I haven't done a technology entry in a long time. I am not going to attempt to teach anything here today about technology. Rather this is an overview of changes which are going on in high tech and online which might make a senior's life better. Think of these as tips so keep them in mind for the future. These are in no particular order so just skim through them looking for ones which fit you.

If you have a subscription to the New York Times, it now has a recipe box for you (mine is shown left). You have access to its backlog of thousands of recipes and can put as few or as many as you want into the recipe box. This is a very nice new feature. Prior to this I was putting them into my Paprika Recipe Box App but this is much nicer and easier to use. Go to the Cooking section of the NYT, under the Dining Category, to access your Box.

I also subscribe to the NYT Crosswords, which are excellent. However, you do have to pay for those. If you want free Crosswords, there are a number of stops online for those.  These are: USA Today's , Los Angeles Time's , Universal , Jonesin' (join his Google Group and he sends you his free puzzle).

Your public libraries are also now making magazines available digitally. Instead of using Overdrive though, they are using Zinio, which already is in the magazine distribution business. My library has a button to click on which takes you to the Zinio sign up and check out page, also shown. 

Amazon Prime now is carrying all of the earlier HBO shows for members to watch free. HBO will not give Netflix the right to show these.

Quibids is after some of eBay's and Etsy's business. It has a new auction model which is very different from theirs. I signed up and then was asked to buy my first $60 worth of bids. Even though the prices are fantastic, I didn't want to spend $60 when I did not even have any merchandise. But there are a ton of new followers and all the major groups and publications endorse the site. Check it out.

I have been a long time user of Google Chrome and suddenly began having problems with it. First, my crossword puzzles would not load, then weird ads started popping up, then my New York Times arts section would not load, etc., I checked it out and apparently the problem is the extra stuff Google is letting advertisers load into the browser. I could only partially solve this as it is now a big flaw in the browser itself. My best solution was just to start using two browsers. I still use Chrome the most but on those features which I know act up, I now use Safari instead. If I was not on a Mac, I would use Opera or Firefox. Also, both Chrome and Safari are being paid by Yahoo to load its search engine. I've changed the preferences to not allow that but it still doesn't stop it from loading Yahoo search if I restart my computer.

I needed to buy some new bras. I bought direct from the manufacturer online. Before I completed the sale, I went to Google search and entered the name of the manufacturer plus the word coupon. The search results showed various places where I could use coupons to reduce my cost. One such coupon was at Retail Me Not which gave me a two bras for the price of one coupon. It worked great so I got my bras for half price. If you find this too involved, just go to the Retail Me Not website and look for your deals there directly or use its App on your phone or tablet.

This is a blog I recently found which features recipes to match the produce being offered at your Farmer's Markets. Go to Seasonal Eating here.

Apple's iTunes now offers iMatch where you can store 25,000 songs in the clouds for $25 bucks a year. This means you can access all of these songs with your phone, tablet or computer for $25 a year. You must be connected to the internet to hear them and they take up no storage space on your computer devices since they are in iCloud. Both Google and Amazon also have cloud services for your music since this is a new, competitive service.

The Google search engine is amazingly versatile. I was writing the entertainment recs and needed to figure out an actor's age. I just typed into the browser window:
I then hit the enter key and the answer came up on the next screen:
Yes, the Google search engine is a calculator. Google's founders were math students at Stanford, not computer science majors. 

My childhood friend Mary was asking me how I found our old haunts online and once again it was Google doing all the work, this time the Google Image Search Engine. Notice the camera icon in the search box and also the word Images turns to red and is underlined. Either bookmark the link given or just look for the word Images whenever you use the general Google search engine. Click on Images and you are ready to start hunting.

Apple is about to have some huge updates to its operating system platforms. It seems like we haven't had Mavericks all that long but a new one is coming our way soon. Use App Store on any Mac, which is on your dock and in your Applications folder. Increasingly, it can make updates on its own so that you don't even need to be bothered. But you must use App Store. Eventually Apple will have App Store take care of everything on your machine and you can forget whatever you once knew about installing and updating software. We're already quite close to that state.

The App Store is also on the iPhone and iPad, with the same above icon. You can also set your preferences on your device so that it updates from the app store automatically so that you no longer have to go into the app store to do your updates. Now I only go into the App store on my devices when I am looking for a new App. Your iPhone and iPad are also getting a new operating system quite soon, IOS8.

I have been quite happy using Mavericks on my Mac Air and IOS7 on my iPads. Apple's reliability is its biggest plus. I hope these new systems do as well. I will state it once again: if you don't want to fuss over your computer systems and you also want the most idiot proof computer devices on the market today, buy Apple.

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