Senior Tech Sunday

I’ve been thinking that I should stop
screwing around with the settings on my laptop.

I have been a computer user since 1992 when I went to work for a company that had massive Dell desktops at every workstation. And they scared me sh**tless.
You see, although I was familiar with the how to sell the products our company sold and how to deal with customers, I had no idea how to use a PC.

“PC’s, no problem”, I lied to the HR person with who I had my job interview when she asked if I had “computer experience.”
I really needed that job, and besides, how difficult could it be.

Fortunately, they left me alone that first day “To get myself acquainted with the system.” I used that time to give myself a crash course in “How to use a PC.”

My cubical-mate showed me how to log on and how to use the proprietary software, but the rest was a pure mystery.

I had no idea how to get on the “interweb” or download a program or copy and paste or even how to change the background color of the screen.

Fortunately, I remembered what a friend told me when he got his first PC.

“There’s nothing you can do to break it.”

He was right, mostly.

I found that, while you can’t break it, you sure can screw it up and just because you have 25 years of experience using both PC’s and Mac’s, does not exempt you from doing so.

Such is what happened to me and my laptop this week, just as I was about to begin work on today’s blog.

For some reason, and I still don’t know why, Windows 10 decided that I lived in Afghanistan which, in turn, screwed up my location settings which made it impossible for me to use the “Search” function associated with Microsoft’s Cortana app.

So, being an all-knowing, all-powerful I.T. guy I thought myself to be, I went immediately to the “Settings” screen, clicked on “location”, noticed that it was indeed set to Afghanistan and proceeded to change to “United States”.

Unfortunately, that did not work. The darn thing just went back to Afghanistan.

Not wanting to learn Afghani just so I could navigate the search feature, I looked for another way to change the settings.

I must have clicked on every setting on the screen.

I rebooted a dozen times and even used the “restore” feature to go back to a time when I knew the darn thing worked.

No good. In Microsoft’s eyes, I was a card-carrying Afghani.

Searches on the internet looking for a solution to my problem left me even more confused.

There was only one thing left to do.

The dreaded “Return My Computer To its Original Factory Condition” fix.

For those of you who have never had to do this simply put, it’s the be all and end all for curing your computer ills.

It’s also the most time-consuming thing you will do all year.

After configuring the recovery process and clicking on a dozen different permissions, the process begins with the statement “This might take a while. Don’t turn off your computer.”

After a few minutes, it becomes clear that the term “a while” means a different thing to Bill Gates of Silicon Valley than it does to me, from New York City.

To me, “a while” is 15 minutes.

To the guys at Microsoft, “a while” is 4 hours.

So, that’s how I spent all of Friday. Waiting for my computer to go through with its numerous starts and restarts.

The evening was spent downloading my favorite apps, including the one that helps me edit this blog.

To my dismay, this has left me with little time to post the blog I had intended which mainly dealt with the food here at the ALF and the new direction it has taken. I also must apologize for the abbreviate content.

I will try to get to the food topic in the near future.

But meanwhile, since this dopey machine we call a PC, (a device that we humans have so drastically become dependent on the last two or three decades) was at the forefront of my thinking this week, I decided to take a look at how seniors are relating to the recent advances in technology. Some of the information may surprise you.






As I mentioned, I’ve been a techie for a long time.

For me, it started as far back as grade school when I just had to have the latest in Hi-Fi Stereo equipment.

Names like Harman-Kardon, McIntosh, Teac, Ampex and AR were as popular as HP, Dell, Apple, and Microsoft are today.

And, although I was a little late getting into computers (some of my friends back in the 1970’s were already using Atari’s, Commodore and even IBM machines) I could still hold my head high, because I had, right there in my pocket, a Bomar Brain handheld calculator.

I bought my first PC in 1993 (a Compaq desktop with a huge footprint that took up most of my living room) and was immediately hooked.

The first day I had it I stayed up all night clicking on everything I could find.
Years of using computers for business and at home had me assuming that everybody knew how to use them.

However, my first week here at the ALF mad me realize that the majority of folks my age (and older) had no idea what a computer was for let alone how to use one.

Despite the fact that there were two very nice HP computers set aside in a special area for resident’s use, there were only about 5 (out of 100) of us that used them or even wanted to learn.

Now, some 4 years later, the tide has turned.

With the advent of tablets and smartphones and the free Wifi, we have here, close to 50% of our residents are online.

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Seniors are more tech-savvy
By Angela Moore

The old adage that you shouldn’t post anything on online that you wouldn’t want your mother to see, should now also include your grandmother.

More senior citizens are online than ever before. More than half of Americans age 65 and older have broadband internet at home, 67% of seniors use the internet, and 42% of this group have smartphones, up from 18% four years ago, according to a report from Pew Research Center.

It appears that seniors have embraced technology. Through a series of phone surveys of 3,015 adults conducted between Sept. 29 and Nov. 6, 2016, Pew found that 58% of seniors believe technology has made a positive impact on society, and about 75% say they are online almost every day. So take a moment before you post something in haste on social media, because your parents — or grandparents — might be watching. Pew found 34% of seniors use sites like Facebook or Twitter TWTR, -0.86%  to share news and information and connect with family and friends. And they are avid users: 70% of older adults who use Facebook FB, +0.27%  log in daily.



Conversely….


A third of senior citizens don't use the internet

A third of senior citizens in the U.S. said they don't use the internet, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

They surveyed adults over 65, also finding that about half of them don't have broadband internet service at home.

Researchers did find that 42 percent of seniors have smartphones, a number that is up significantly compared to 18 percent in 2013.

Pew says income, education and age are all factors in how much seniors adopt newer technologies.


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Microsoft watch named Emma
quiets Parkinson's tremors

By Marco della Cava

The Emma Watch, a prototype that was shown at Microsoft Build 2017, can still the trembling arms of those suffering from Parkinson's.

Working with graphic designer and Parkinson's sufferer Emma Lawton, 32, the researchers developed a watch — which they named Emma — that, according to Microsoft, "vibrates in a distinctive pattern to disrupt the feedback loop between brain and hand."

Emma Watch remains a prototype, Microsoft says, but the developers are working with a neuroscience research team to undertake trials with a small group of Parkinson's sufferers.

The watch works through a combination of sensors and AI (artificial intelligence) techniques to potentially detect and monitor symptoms like tremors, stiffness and instability, among others, according to Microsoft. "Once these symptoms can be identified and measured, it’s possible to develop technology and devices that help humans manage their symptoms. AI is used to classify the sensor information and elicit real-time responses on small devices like wearables."


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Wearable Tech Can Detect Life-Threatening Heart Problems
By Richard Adhikari

Cardiogram last week announced that it has developed a preliminary algorithm to use with the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices to detect atrial fibrillation with higher accuracy than previously validated detection methods.

Atrial fibrillation, or AF, affects about 2.7 million Americans, and increases the risk of stroke by five times. Overall, it causes about 15 percent of strokes.

The company sent 200 AliveCor mobile electrocardiogram devices to people diagnosed with AF. The test subjects recorded 6,338 mobile ECGs, each associated with a positive or negative atrial fibrillation label generated by the devices.

Cardiogram's algorithm was able to detect atrial fibrillation with 98.04 percent sensitivity and 90.2 percent specificity.

"The convenience and personalization that wearables provide can increase the appeal and drive participation for consumers," said Amy Simpson, industry principal for healthcare at Pegasystems.


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Study: Old People Are Finally Getting
the Hang of Technology

ByConor Cawley

The joke is as old as time itself: old people are bad with technology. When cars became the primary means of transportation in America, elderly folks were still strapping feedbags to the bumper of their Ford Model T. When microwaves made cooking easier, senior citizens could be found attempting to preheat them before every meal. And when smartphones landed in everyone’s pockets, old people tried to flip them open. But with the digital revolution evolving faster than ever, it appears the greatest generation is catching up to our technologically focused lifestyles.

According to a brand new study from the Pew Research Center, old people are finally getting the hang of technology. The study found that 42 percent of older adults (age 65 and older) currently own smartphones, compared to 18 percent in 2013. Additionally, 67 percent of seniors use the internet, a 55 percent point increase in less than twenty years, and for the first time in history, half of older Americans now have broadband at home.

Simply put, it means you can no longer write off senior citizens when it comes to your digital marketing campaign. Yes, Millennials represent an unprecedented amount of purchasing power, particularly in the coming years. But these elderly adopter are behind the curve, eager to catch up, and are flushed with cash. Do you really think it’s a good idea to ignore them when it comes to your target audience?


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11 Apps That Will Change Your Life in 2017
By Jessica Dysart

Every year that passes, more companies are creating helpful and easy-to-use apps. And in 2017, developers are finding ways to help us shop smarter, find our cars faster and remind us to take our medications on time, every time. Click through this slideshow to find the top apps (that can be found for your iPhone or Android) to keep your life in order.

This classic moment has happened to all of us — you come out of the mall and you just can’t remember where you parked your car. Never forget again with the Follow My Car app for iPhone. After parking, tap the car icon and the app will remember where you parked. When you’re ready to return, the app will calculate the shortest walking route to your spot for you. You can also take notes about the location of your spot, take a picture and use the parking meter timer to remember when your meter expires.

Created by a registered nurse, Pillboxie is an app that will make sure you never miss a dose of your medication again. Input your medications and when you need to take them, an alert will remind you when it’s time. No network connection is required, and it will always remind you on time, even if your device is asleep.


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While it’s been a while since I have posted anything here I have not been idly biding my time.
For weeks now I, along with my fellow diners, have been evaluating the food that our new Food Services/Head Chef and director has set before us. And it has been very interesting, to say the least.
Now, while I planned to do an extensive review of what has expired during the last couple of weeks, a series of computer problems and time restraints made that impossible to do right now. I will, however, make a concerted effort to do a more extensive assessment of our dining situation in the near future.
As for now, here’s a little something that I consider to be an indication of where we are heading as far as innovation and attitude go.





This is a dish that I haven’t eaten in, perhaps, 40 years.

For some reason liver, as well as most other organ meats, have gone out of favor with American diners.

Therefore you can imagine my (and my fellow diners) surprise when this appeared on the menu last week.

And, while there was a smattering of negative comments made, most of the residents were actually looking forward to this meal.

Perhaps it was just because it was something different, or perhaps it reminded people of a time gone by, there were very few people that did not order this dish. And, for the most part, we were not disappointed.

The liver (beef, not calves) came to me slightly overcooked, but other diners said that there’s was done to perfection, so I will let that pass for now.

The generous amount of sauteed onions were tender and properly translucent.

There was even a nice gravy which brought the whole effort together.
The corn and the mashed potato were, if not exciting side dishes were, at least, appropriate.

But, even more than the way it was cooked, plated, or presented was the effort and courage that went into offering the meal in the first place.

This is far from the usual fair served to a group of seniors in a mid-range assisted living facility.

We hope that this “about-face” from the normal and mundane will continue in the coming months………………ff.

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Four years ago I started this blog as a service to my fellow residents at the Westchester Center for Independent and assisted Living in Yonkers, NY.
Over the years I have expanded the posts to encompass all aspects of Senior life including health, finances, housing, food, and more.
The material herein includes both original and non-original items gathered from various forms of media from around the world.
It is important to remember that everything here is presented for entertainment purposes only……………………BWC

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This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.


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