Learn Computers from Four Year Olds

Kaitlyn on computer at age 3Reminiscing, going back in time to when my almost 21 year old granddaughter was 3 years old – Computers were very different then, very basic and no games.  In the picture to the left, Kaitlyn was sitting at the computer, but she was merely posing for me. There were no games or activities that she could be doing.  I barely knew how to use the computer myself.

Fast forwarding – At a breakfast social yesterday I was talking to some seniors at my table about if and how they use computers.  One grandmother said the only reason she uses the computer is that her grandchildren insisted she be there, especially using Facebook so she could keep up with them.

She went on to tell a story about how, several years ago, her then-two-year old grandson, climbed on her lap and asked to use the computer.  With a nod from his mother, the grandmom asked what he wanted to do.

He said he wanted to play a game and asked her where the “floppy disk” was.  The one with whom I was speaking related that she was completely puzzled, never even having heard that term (this was some time ago). She got the needed help from her daughter. For the rest of the story, click here to see the short video.

In the meantime, in another video I share the comments of another grandmother at the same table. When I commented that my mentor states, “If you need help on the computer, wake a 6 year old up from his nap,” another grandmother stated that at 6 years of age children have already lost their patience for teaching their grandparents about computers.  She said to catch them at 4 years old.

Have you had any computer experiences with your grandchildren? Please share in the comments section below or write to me directly. Go to the very bottom of this page to click on my email address, easyseniortechnology [at] gmail.com.

I look forward to learning about your stories.

Starting 2013 – Introducing Self and the Site

Saying, “Hi”, to start the year. Thinking out loud as I start planning an introductory video for “newbies” on how to use web blog sites.

The SEARCH box on the side is mentioned and I invite visitors to go to the e-mail link at the bottom of the page to send questions.

The “Down Below” video mentioned is actually on the Home Page where the intro/explanatory video will be.


How to Take iPhone Self-Portraits and Videos – Maintaining Eye Contact


I’ve been assuming you know how to direct the iPhone lens to flip and face you when you want to take a self-portrait or self-video AND that may not have been a fair assumption. I’ve also assumed that you know how to video on the iPhone.  In fact, both assumptions could be wrong, especially since this site is designed for “newbies.”

So, if you are one who needs this, following are the 4 steps illustrated in the image above:

  1. There is a tiny button here. When tapped, it will slide from the camera image to the video icon or back, if already there.
  2. The camera icon that’s on the top right every time you open the camera. Tap it once to reverse direction so the lens sees you.
  3. The little red record button.  Tap to record and tap again to stop.  As you’re recording the time will be noted in a bar on the top right of your screen.
  4. To be most effective, make sure to keep your eyes directed here toward the camera lens.

Sometimes I forget to go back in Camera mode. The same may happen to you.  So as a quick check:

  • When you’re in video mode there will be a red button bottom center.  Put the slider back on the camera icon and
  • When you’re in camera mode the camera icon will be showing bottom center.

The tendency when we are photographing ourselves is to look at the image on the screen, especially when we are talking.  More than likely, as we go along, we want to check our appearance, making sure we are looking good.

In the process we’ve lost direct contact with our audience. Thus, until it becomes habit, make a concerted effort to keep your eyes focused left, if you are photographing horizontally. If you are holding the camera vertically, keep your eyes focused on the top of the camera.

Have fun and may your audience have fun with you.

iPhone Videos – Using a Stand to Support Your Phone

Sturdy iPhone / iPad StandI’ve set up a new video series of very short conversational videos on why I love my iPhone and some things to note when using yours.

The more detailed instructions and visuals that you may need will be in posts on this blog stream or on separate pages that will develop.

Today I videoed with my iPhone on the easel, or “stand” as the company calls it.  For the video itself see the 5th photo on the new page – Videos – Why iPhone

On the left is the stand on which I had my phone rested as I videoed. I talked about the stand and the holding space at the bottom which is deep enough to hold my iPhone that’s always in the Otter Box case that I love. The case is solid and resilient to occasional falls on hard surfaces, something that happens to mine from time to time. And sensitive parts, such as the camera lens are protected.

Speaking of the camera lens, I also mention “maintaining eye contact.”  Those of you, especially who might have been in some kind of sales or people-serving profession or business, I’m sure are well aware of  the importance of that.  People feel most connected to us when we are connected with them eye-to-eye.


The iPhone image on the left is a reminder of where the camera lens is located.

I am assuming you know how to direct the iPhone lens to flip and face you when you want to take a self-portrait or do a video of yourself AND maybe that’s not a fair assumption.

If you aren’t sure, see How to Record Self-Videos Using Your iPhone. It’s the post just above this one on the blog. I go through the various steps, including the reminder of maintaining eye contact.


iPhone App Enhances Vision After Cataract Surgery

Susan excitedly shares how she has perfect vision after having cataract surgery, with one exception.   Everything is clear and sharp, except for the fine print on bags and boxes. So when she goes shopping or when reads recipes in her kitchen she happily pulls out her iPhone.

She quickly selects the flashlight app she downloaded and then the Magnifier setting, points it to what she reads. With the ability to enlarge it up to three times its size, it always winds up “perfect” for her.

NOTE:  Although Susan is using an App on the iPhone, there are similar apps for other Droid phones.  Simply Google “flashlight app with magnifier” or “flashlight” for your particular phone, or do the search for apps on your phone. Check the description to see if a magnifier is included.

The App Susan uses, and I’ve since installed, is Free. There are others that range from $.99 to $4.99.  Happy reading and  clear seeing.

FINAL NOTE: To find the magnifier in the flashlight App (green icon)  shown in the video, simply slide the home page, with the whole Menu listing, to the right.


Renewing Registrations Online – Saving Time and Gas and Laughing at Ourselves

Sometimes the best thing we can do is laugh at ourselves. We can complain, beat ourselves up for not doing or knowing something, or chalk it up as a learning experience. Today was such a day for me.

My  car registration was past due, given the expiration date is our birth day in Florida as well as in other states. I was sure I had sent in a check and my registration had yet to come in the mail. I spent several minutes, a couple of times a day, for the past week checking with my online banking to see if the check had been deposited.

Nope. So finally today, I took the time to travel the 20 plus minutes, one way, to motor vehicle registration, waited on two lines. When my turn came, the process was quick. I wrote a check, got the paper work and then, rather belatedly, asked if I could have done this online

A resounding, “Yes!” Wow, did I feel small. Here I am teaching Technology for Seniors and I NEVER thought to Google for this service. I am pretty sure that I did look at the paperwork before I sent it in to see if I could register online. I didn’t see anything so didn’t pursue it.

So, when I got home.. too late for me this year, I did Google, “how to renew my car registration in Florida”. Any combination of words will work. Several links came up and I clicked on one the official dmvflorida.org links to test it out, up to the point where I already was updated. (DMV for Department of Motor Vehicles). I  Googled this for other states also and similar links came up.

Bottom line to this story is to remember to SEARCH the WEB for the easiest, most cost effective (time wise anyway) solutions to renewing licenses, paying bills and any other action you are about to take.

How to Open Web Pages on Your iPhone

Safari is the Internet browser used on your iPhone. To get to the Internet, start from your main screen.

1 – Tap on Safari icon

2 – Your phone will open the last web page opened, or a new one if all have been closed. You can have up to 8 pages open at the same time.

3 – To go to a website that you know, tap in the large white area at the top on the left.  Your keyboard will open. Start typing until you have the URL that you want. Click on Done.

4 – To search the web, tap the white area on the top right.  When the keyboard opens, type in your search word or phrase. Then click done, lower right.

Click on the Arrow to Play the Video

5 – If you wish to keep that page open and visit a new page, simply tap New Page on the lower right.  You can have up to 8 pages open on your iPhone.

6 – To see all of the open pages, tap on the number in the lower right.

7 – To close a web page, simply tap the X in the upper left corner of the page.

Happy searching.

NOTE – Sites mentioned and shown in the above video are: 1.http://TechnologyMadeEasyforSeniors.com. See have to use the links on the Navigation bar to get to the blog. The page with links to the posts is now inactive.

2. http://sheilafinkelstein.com which links to several of my sites.

How to Use Controls on YouTube Videos

A friend of mine recently said it took her many months of watching videos on YouTube before she realized how she could exit, once she got to full screen viewing. Therefore, I thought I’d give a demonstration should you, too, have that same challenge.

The tutorial video below will show you where on the YouTube site to do a SEARCH for people or categories, including “how to’s”

Click on the arrow in the center of the image to start watching. To watch the video Full Screen on your computer click on the little 4-corner icon at the right end of the black bar on the bottom.

To get back to view the full web page you were on, simply click the ESCAPE button on the top of your keyboard, the last button on the left.

Next to Google, YouTube is the site that has the highest frequency of searches. It’s a great source for “how-to” videos, some very professional, others rather amateurish depending on who uploads them.  Anyone can upload a video to YouTube.  I will cover that in another post and video.

One senior I know is ecstatic now because he discovered that he could be watching one of his favorite musicians listening to the music, while watching the pianist play.  When he discovered the ease of using YouTube he simply did a SEARCH on the site.

If you like to know in advance what to look for, covered in this tutorial video:

1. How and where to search
2. Using one of my Video CHANNELS, http://www.youtube.com/InspirationalSheila

a. Viewing a PLAYLIST where videos have been organized by a category or theme. The link for Ocean Sunrise and Sunsets PLAYLIST was used for demo purposes. This playlist has been set up so it will automatically feed to the next video in it.

3. Symbols in the black bar at the bottom

a. Triangle starts “play”
b. Double vertical lines “pause” the video
c. The tiny megaphone symbol with two curved lines regulates the “volume”, or mutes the sound.  You can also control the level of sound with your computer controls.

How and Why to Setup Online Banking for Bill Payments

Today I physically went into the bank to resolve a fee that I had been charged. Crediting it back to my account could only be handled on the branch level. It turned out to be the result of an entry error (mine).

Over the years, I’ve gradually grown less and less fearful of paying bills online.  At first I set up an online account with my bank so I could keep track of my balance, seeing my deposits and payments. Then I discovered that rather than traveling to the bank I could do account transfers online.

Taking those steps made it easier for me to consider setting up an online log-in with a credit card company to also follow my expenditures.  This led me to paying some of the bills online, which meant entering bank numbers and my personal account numbers, when using the “Pay Bill” option on the service site(s).

A very helpful assistant at the bank, determined to find out the exact reason for the charge, stayed with someone on the phone in corporate until she had an answer.  While I was sitting there she continued on with an interesting, informative  conversation on how I could better and more safely be making payments by initiating then from the bank website. She pointed out that our checking, and other, account information is the the most vulnerable of all sources of information we put out online.

She went on to describe how I could  set up “Bill Pay” directly from the online banking service they have as part of their service.  This way the bank is the one sending out the payment and I no longer will have to enter my bank info on 3rd party sites where any employee might have access to it.

I had seen the link before and I always assumed that it had to be used for regular, automatic payments. Given that my bill amounts vary, I shrugged it off.

I now see what a pleasure paying bills is going to be. I’ve entered the accounts to which I want to make online payments and created a list. The plan now is, when I get my bills, I’ll simply go into that list, pull up the account, enter the amount I want to pay and the date on which to pay it.

No more late fees AND my checking account is more secure.

1 – If you are one who walks into one of the branches of your bank, go in and ask for help. I would expect that someone there will be more than happy to walk you through it and help you set up your online account.
2 – Do a Google, or other, search for your bank. Then click into it.  Confirm it’s the correct one. Once on your bank’s site you will find plenty of information, along with the option to register with your account.  You’ll most likely find several layers of security questions that you’ll be setting up for your protection.

3 – It may be that the site has videos explaining the services and “How-to’s”. I’ve had an online account set up for some time and today is the first time I paid attention to the video demo that’s been there.

4 – Remember, if you have a question, ASK – customer service in the bank or by phone. You’ll save a lot of time, energy and possibly wasted effort,  when you don’t think you have to figure it out for yourself.

5 – ALWAYS CHECK and make sure that ANY SITE on which you enter personal information is a SECURE ONE.  Look for the “s” in the web address, i.e. https://www. name …..

As always, please share your experiences in the COMMENTS below, including asking any questions you may have.


How to Search for a Word or Phrase on a Web Page

NOTE – Pages from different Web Browsers are shown here. Scroll down to see examples on the computer and the browser you use.

Despite my presence on the Web for many years, AND the fact that it’s always been on the Edit Menu, it was only recently I woke up to the search or “Find” option and command on web pages, documents, and PDFs.  I was looking a web page directory with a listing of recorded phone calls. There was a summary of each call on the very long page. Someone pointed out that we could search specific topics simply by clicking on the Control Key, plus the letter “f” (on a PC) or the Command Key, plus “f” (on a MacIntosh computer). What a revelation for me!

Below are screen shots of where you will find the spaces to type in your desired word on three of the browsers most commonly used.

On Your PC
“Find” in Internet Explorer on a PC

When on a page in Internet Explorer on a PC, clicking on Control key plus “f” brings up a FIND section under the address bar top left. Once you type in the word or words for which you are searching open, your selected word(s) that are on the page will be highlighted in blue.

“Find” in Firefox on PC

In Firefox the Find space that opens up is on the lower left.

“Find” in Google Chrome on the PC

In the Google Chrome Internet Browser, Control plus f brings up a blank rectangle in the upper right, with NO identifying name.   Yet, it is waiting there for you to type in your desired search word or phrase.  Then you’ll note, the first of the words on the page is highlighted in orange. Scroll down the page to check for others, highlighted in yellow.

On a Mac
“Find”  in Safari

In Safari on a Mac, Command f, brings up the Find space in the top right of the page, under the URL bar.  The word(s) you searched for get highlighted in yellow. Clicking on the Return key, takes you through to the next words.

“Find” on Firefox on a Mac

In Firefox on the Mac, Command f opens the find box in the lower left corner of your page. Click on Next or Previous, links after the Search space.

Note –  “Find” highlights all requested words that are in text form in the body of the page, comments (if a blog) and any text menu listings on the page.  It will NOT “see” words that are part of an Image, i.e. a photograph with words within.  Examples of the latter, where the words will not be seen, are in the right sidebar in the above pages.