Monday, January 31, 2011

Skype – Childs Play?

Tonight’s blog is just an observation of the world that I currently live in and a reflection upon what was.

When I was twelve years old we moved into a new house and with the new house came a new bedroom and the most important thing of all, my very own corded telephone line!  I will never forget that pink cored push button phone.  The year was 1987 and there was no internet or Nintendo DS.

Fast forward to my observation of my own ten year old daughter who is now on her laptop computer using the built in web cam to Skype with her girl friend who lives on the other side of town.  The to are using the video feature to explore each other’s bed rooms, look at books together and chat it up!  They are playing dolls, looking at each other’s cat and playing with their Nintendo DS’s.

Isn’t technology grand?  I can not even imagine how far the next twenty years will take us. 

If all this technology seems too much call Simply Seniors Computer Tutors – we can help!  Making computer’s simple for seniors is in our name!  It’s what we do!  More info? 321-431-3866

  • Classes
  • One on One
  • Technical
  • Remote

Call today 321-431-3866

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Looking for a computer designed for Seniors?

Check out what this company is offering for seniors!  Here is a link to their web site and a copy of the front page to tell you a little about the unit.

The cost is close to $1000 and they want an additional $20 a month for ‘tech support’ – read on to learn more – but don’t be shocked when you don’t see this take off!

GREAT idea but NOT what people want to pay. 


Designed For Seniors® Go Computer

If you, or some one you love, has ever said "I’ll never buy a computer" need to read this!

Now you can finally enjoy writing to your family, researching your favorite hobby or important news item, or just relaxing playing games...simply by clicking on a green GO button.

If you can type an email or website address into a have mastered a whole new world of computing with the designed for SENIORS® GO Computer. Backed by nearly a decade of research and development, the GO Computer has been designed especially for you. It takes about five minutes to set up, and no tools or special skills are required. Plus, it is so easy to understand, no computer classes or DVDs are necessary.

But wait until you start to use it...It’s easy to see and use with specially designed features like a large-letter keyboard, an easy-rolling trackball mouse and a zoom feature that magnifies up to 200 percent. firstSTREET’s computer features a whole new operating system based on a "GO" screen concept, backed up by immediate phone access to around-the-clock U. S.-based remote service and assistance.

Finally...a computer you can’t break, crash or confuse; a computer that won’t lose what’s put into it, and that’s protected from viruses and spam!


Welcome to the world of a failure-free and fear-free computer!

Welcome to the New Standard in Computing Simplicity...the designed for SENIORS® Go Computer...bringing a much-appreciated simplicity to senior computing, as well as high-performance technology.

Now you, and anybody who may be feeling a little technologically challenged these days, can start enjoying a whole new world of entertainment, communication, and education...smoothly and effortlessly into the 21st century.

firstSTREET is proud to introduce to you...the designed for SENIORS® Go Computer...sold exclusively through firstSTREET.

Order the GO Computer now for just $949 plus $19.95 per month for access to our unique service and unlimited email and phone support, upgrades, an effortless computing experience and user friendly links to safe websites.


Simply Seniors Computer Tutor understands seniors have special computing needs.  We can alter your current equipment to make it easier for you to work with. Add a keyboard from Zoom Text for the visually challenged.  Cost, about $99

Track Ball mice are available at your local office store for under $30.


We hope you have learned something new! 863-949-0667 Simply Seniors Computer Tutor


Friday, January 28, 2011

Learn your Keyboard!

When I first started using the computer, about 1991, I did not even have a mouse.  I actually entered commands through the keyboard and used keyboard shortcuts to do common tasks, like cut copy and paste.  The following comes form Micorosoft’s web site and you may find these keyboard short cuts will increase your productivity.
Windows system key combinations
  • F1: Help
  • CTRL+ESC: Open Start menu
  • ALT+TAB: Switch between open programs
  • ALT+F4: Quit program
  • SHIFT+DELETE: Delete item permanently
  • Windows Logo+L: Lock the computer (without using CTRL+ALT+DELETE)
Windows program key combinations
  • CTRL+C: Copy
  • CTRL+X: Cut
  • CTRL+V: Paste
  • CTRL+Z: Undo
  • CTRL+B: Bold
  • CTRL+U: Underline
  • CTRL+I: Italic
Mouse click/keyboard modifier combinations for shell objects
  • SHIFT+right click: Displays a shortcut menu containing alternative commands
  • SHIFT+double click: Runs the alternate default command (the second item on the menu)
  • ALT+double click: Displays properties
  • SHIFT+DELETE: Deletes an item immediately without placing it in the Recycle Bin
General keyboard-only commands
  • F1: Starts Windows Help
  • F10: Activates menu bar options
  • SHIFT+F10 Opens a shortcut menu for the selected item (this is the same as right-clicking an object
  • CTRL+ESC: Opens the Start menu (use the ARROW keys to select an item)
  • CTRL+ESC or ESC: Selects the Start button (press TAB to select the taskbar, or press SHIFT+F10 for a context menu)
  • CTRL+SHIFT+ESC: Opens Windows Task Manager
  • ALT+DOWN ARROW: Opens a drop-down list box
  • ALT+TAB: Switch to another running program (hold down the ALT key and then press the TAB key to view the task-switching window)
  • SHIFT: Press and hold down the SHIFT key while you insert a CD-ROM to bypass the automatic-run feature
  • ALT+SPACE: Displays the main window's System menu (from the System menu, you can restore, move, resize, minimize, maximize, or close the window)
  • ALT+- (ALT+hyphen): Displays the Multiple Document Interface (MDI) child window'sSystem menu (from the MDI child window's System menu, you can restore, move, resize, minimize, maximize, or close the child window)
  • CTRL+TAB: Switch to the next child window of a Multiple Document Interface (MDI) program
  • ALT+underlined letter in menu: Opens the menu
  • ALT+F4: Closes the current window
  • CTRL+F4: Closes the current Multiple Document Interface (MDI) window
  • ALT+F6: Switch between multiple windows in the same program (for example, when the Notepad Find dialog box is displayed, ALT+F6 switches between the Find dialog box and the main Notepad window)

Shell objects and general folder/Windows Explorer shortcuts
For a selected object:
  • F2: Rename object
  • F3: Find all files
  • CTRL+X: Cut
  • CTRL+C: Copy
  • CTRL+V: Paste
  • SHIFT+DELETE: Delete selection immediately, without moving the item to the Recycle Bin
  • ALT+ENTER: Open the properties for the selected object
To copy a file
Press and hold down the CTRL key while you drag the file to another folder.
To create a shortcut
Press and hold down CTRL+SHIFT while you drag a file to the desktop or a folder.
General folder/shortcut control
  • F4: Selects the Go To A Different Folder box and moves down the entries in the box (if the toolbar is active in Windows Explorer)
  • F5: Refreshes the current window.
  • F6: Moves among panes in Windows Explorer
  • CTRL+G: Opens the Go To Folder tool (in Windows 95 Windows Explorer only)
  • CTRL+Z: Undo the last command
  • CTRL+A: Select all the items in the current window
  • BACKSPACE: Switch to the parent folder
  • SHIFT+click+Close button: For folders, close the current folder plus all parent folders
Windows Explorer tree control
  • Numeric Keypad *: Expands everything under the current selection
  • Numeric Keypad +: Expands the current selection
  • Numeric Keypad -: Collapses the current selection.
  • RIGHT ARROW: Expands the current selection if it is not expanded, otherwise goes to the first child
  • LEFT ARROW: Collapses the current selection if it is expanded, otherwise goes to the parent
Properties control
  • CTRL+TAB/CTRL+SHIFT+TAB: Move through the property tabs
Accessibility shortcuts
  • Press SHIFT five times: Toggles StickyKeys on and off
  • Press down and hold the right SHIFT key for eight seconds: Toggles FilterKeys on and off
  • Press down and hold the NUM LOCK key for five seconds: Toggles ToggleKeys on and off
  • Left ALT+left SHIFT+NUM LOCK: Toggles MouseKeys on and off
  • Left ALT+left SHIFT+PRINT SCREEN: Toggles high contrast on and off

Microsoft Natural Keyboard keys

  • Windows Logo: Start menu
  • Windows Logo+R: Run dialog box
  • Windows Logo+M: Minimize all
  • SHIFT+Windows Logo+M: Undo minimize all
  • Windows Logo+F1: Help
  • Windows Logo+E: Windows Explorer
  • Windows Logo+F: Find files or folders
  • Windows Logo+D: Minimizes all open windows and displays the desktop
  • CTRL+Windows Logo+F: Find computer
  • CTRL+Windows Logo+TAB: Moves focus from Start, to the Quick Launch toolbar, to the system tray (use RIGHT ARROW or LEFT ARROW to move focus to items on the Quick Launch toolbar and the system tray)
  • Windows Logo+TAB: Cycle through taskbar buttons
  • Windows Logo+Break: System Properties dialog box
  • Application key: Displays a shortcut menu for the selected ilog box keyboard commands
  • TAB: Move to the next control in the dialog box
  • SHIFT+TAB: Move to the previous control in the dialog box
  • SPACEBAR: If the current control is a button, this clicks the button. If the current control is a check box, this toggles the check box. If the current control is an option, this selects the option.
  • ENTER: Equivalent to clicking the selected button (the button with the outline)
  • ESC: Equivalent to clicking the Cancel button
  • ALT+underlined letter in dialog box item: Move to the corresponding item


Always hoping that you have learned somehting new today! 


Simply Seniors Computer Tutor!  863-949-0667 www.ComputerTutorHelp.Us

Serving the computer needs of Central Florida’s senior computer users!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Does weather affect wireless connection?

This is a great question!  I live in Florida (thank God!) and we stay warm most of the year with a couple dips down toward the 20’s.  We have very bad rain and thunderstorms during the spring and summer months but not the freezing cold of up north.  Today’s blog question is brought to me by a client of mine in New York … once it drops below 30 F on the thermometer her Belkin wireless G router starts failing; dropping signal and losing her internet connection.  Usually, she can reboot the router and the signal will remain strong for a while and then drop again about every 1/2 hour. 

The first items that need to be cleared up are: YES the router is within her house, she is not borrowing someone else’s signal from a far.  Additionally, it is a G router.  Lastly, the home is a mobile home with very thin, tin walls.

I have been trying to find the answer to this question and here is what I have been able to find from other web sites:

This is yahoo someone wrote in with the question of the day and here are other people’s responses:

Could weather affect wireless connection?

Last week there was heavy rain and the wireless internet connection was fine until a few days ago. All day it either gains or loses signal every hour and I'm not sure what caused it. Maybe it was the weather but I believe there could be other causes. It's getting more sunnier than before and I'm hoping that wireless connection should return to normal.

  • GreyolddaveGreyoldd...

    Yes, it happens that the 2.4 mhz band used by the G type wifi is exactly the frequency that is absorbed by water. Thus if your wifi connection is a little weak then a lot of rain or snow can interfere.

    0% 0 Votes

    • 1 person rated this as good
  • MikesTooLzMikesToo...

    can weather effect wireless networks? Yes
    Should you really be seeing big noticable effects? No.
    Your router could be on its way out. Or there could be some type of interferance like a microwave, neighbor just got a new wifi router, cordless house phones....

    • 1 year ago


Here is another similar question and answer from another Yahoo answers site:

Can snow and cold weather affect internet connection?

i have notice that my internet keeps disconnecting every 10 seconds seriously. i have also noticed that only this happens from evening night time all the way to early morning. IN THE DAY TIME the internet works well. its winter here so night time is freezing.


A Top Contributor is someone who is knowledgeable in a particular category.

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

It could be, but I doubt it, because daytime temperatures in the dead of winter are colder (in most places) than the coldest nighttime temperatures now. If you're using wireless it could be interference. Or it could be that your provider has a problem. (Or it *could* be that one particular outdoor connection is bad, and the *change* in temperature at night is causing a problem. Not likely, but possible.)

Asker's Rating:
3 out of 5
Asker's Comment:
problem with the router most likely .. gotta find a better router


As I read I found over and over people stating that the wireless G router runs on a frequency that is easily affected by weather and humidity level changes. 

I did find a few people chiming in stating that this was impossible – but I tend to want to get more information.  I did a few different Google searches looking for variations on “freezing temps and poor wireless connections” and this is another issues I read about.  The actual cables from the cable company coming into the house and modem may be causing the issues, as they are apparently very affected by the changes in the temp. 

This forum had a great discussion you can read the whole thing at:

One of their readers suggested the following:

“You need to call tech and make sure your wire is good from the drop. I had something like that happen last year and when the replaced the cable they had found a squirrel had chewed partway through it. another way is when you do call tech ask them for your modem test I.P.”

”Then you can check latency when you need too and also record when the modem " sees ". That way you might have a better chance of tracking it down. More then likely they are going to replace the cable from drop to home. The inside stuff is up to you unless you want to pay extra for it. They shouldn't charge you for running from drop to home.”


So how can we improve our internet signal without buying a new router?  I found this helpful information from Microsoft.

10 tips to help improve your wireless network

If the Windows operating system ever notifies you about a weak Wi-Fi signal, it probably means that your connection isn't as fast or as reliable as it could be. Worse, you might lose your connection entirely in some parts of your home. If you want to boost the signal for your wireless network (WLAN), try some of these tips for extending your wireless range and improving your wireless network speed and performance.

Couple at a laptop reviewing wireless channels

1. Position your wireless router, modem router, or access point in a central location

When possible, place your wireless router, wireless modem router (a DSL or cable modem with a built-in wireless router), or wireless access point (WAP) in a central location in your home. If your wireless router, modem router, or access point is against an outside wall of your home, the signal will be weak on the other side of your home. If your router is on the first floor and your PC or laptop is on the second floor, place the router high on a shelf in the room where it is located. Don't worry if you can't move your wireless router, because there are many other ways to improve your connection.

Bad router and good router placement comparison

2. Move the router off the floor and away from walls and metal objects (such as metal file cabinets)

Metal objects, walls, and floors will interfere with your router's wireless signals. The closer your router is to these obstructions, the more severe the interference, and the weaker your connection will be.

3. Replace your router's antenna

The antennas supplied with your router are designed to be omnidirectional, meaning that they broadcast in all directions around the router. If your router is near an outside wall, half of the wireless signals will be sent outside your home, and much of your router's power will be wasted. Most routers don't allow you to increase the power output, but you can make better use of the power. If your router’s antenna is removable, you can upgrade to a high-gain antenna that focuses the wireless signals in only one direction. You can even aim the signal in the direction you need it most. Consider a Linksys high-gain antenna—they’re powerful and easy to install. Or shop for other high-gain antennas.

Standard antenna and high-gain antenna examples

4. Replace your laptop's wireless PC card-based network adapter

Laptops with built-in wireless networking capability typically have excellent antennas and don't need to have their network adapters upgraded. These tips are for laptops that do not have built-in wireless networking.

Wireless network signals must be sent both to and from your computer. Sometimes your router can broadcast strongly enough to reach your computer, but your computer can't send signals back to your router. To improve this, replace your laptop's PC card-based wireless network adapter with a USB wireless network adapter that uses an external antenna. In particular, consider a Linksys Wireless-N or Hawking Hi-Gain Wireless-N USB network adapter. These add an external, high-gain antenna to your computer and can significantly extend your wireless range.

Wireless router and wireless repeater

5. Add a wireless repeater

Wireless repeaters extend your wireless network range without requiring you to add any wiring. Just place the wireless repeater halfway between your wireless router, modem router, or access point and your computer, and you can get an instant boost to your wireless signal strength. Check out the wireless-N repeaters from Linksys, Hawking Hi-Gain, ViewSonic, D-Link, and Buffalo Technology, or shop for a wireless-N repeater.

Wireless channels

6. Change your wireless channel

Wireless routers can broadcast on several different channels, similar to the way radio stations use different channels. In the United States and Canada, these channels are 1, 6, and 11. Just as you'll sometimes hear interference on one radio station while another is perfectly clear, sometimes one wireless channel is clearer than others. Try changing your wireless router's channel through your router's configuration page to see if your signal strength improves. You don't need to change your computer's configuration, because it can automatically detect the new channel.

To find your router configuration page, consult this quick reference table, which shows the default addresses for common router manufacturers. If the address is not listed here, read the documentation that came with your router, or visit the manufacturer's webpage.






Microsoft Broadband



7. Reduce wireless interference

The most common wireless technology, 802.11g (wireless-G), operates at a frequency of 2.4 gigahertz (GHz). Many cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, garage door openers, and other wireless electronics also use this frequency. If you use these wireless devices in your home, your computer might not be able to "hear" your router over the noise coming from them.

If your network uses wireless-G, you can quiet the noise by avoiding wireless electronics that use the 2.4 GHz frequency. Instead, look for cordless phones and other devices that use the 5.8 GHz or 900 megahertz (MHz) frequencies. Because 802.11n (wireless-N) operates at both 2.4 GHz and the less frequently used 5.0 GHz frequency, you may experience less interference on your network if you use this technology.

8. Update your firmware or your network adapter driver

Router manufacturers regularly make free improvements to their routers. Sometimes, these improvements increase performance. To get the latest firmware updates for your router, visit your router manufacturer's website.

Similarly, network adapter vendors occasionally update the software that Windows uses to communicate with your network adapter, known as the driver. These updates typically improve performance and reliability. To get the driver updates, follow the instructions for your operating system:

9. Pick equipment from a single vendor

Although a Linksys router will work with a D-Link network adapter, you often get better performance if you pick a router and network adapter from the same vendor. Some vendors offer a performance boost of up to twice the performance when you choose their hardware (like their USB wireless network adapters). Linksys has the SpeedBooster technology for its wireless-G devices, and D-Link has the 108G enhancement for its wireless-G devices. These enhancements can be helpful if you have wireless-G devices and you need to transmit over a long distance or you live in an older house (old walls tend to block the signal more than newly built ones do).

If speeding up your connection is important to you, consider the next tip—upgrading your wireless technology.

10. Upgrade 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g devices to 802.11n

Although wireless-G (802.11g) may be the most common type of wireless network, wireless-N (802.11n) is at least twice as fast and it has better range and stability. Wireless-N is backward-compatible with 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g, so you can still use any existing wireless equipment that you have—though you won’t see much improvement in performance until you upgrade your computer or network adapter to wireless-G, too.

If you're using wireless-B or wireless-G and you're unhappy with your network’s speed and performance, consider replacing your router and network adapters with wireless-N equipment. If you're buying new equipment, definitely choose wireless-N. Linksys Wireless-N routers, for example, are powerful, secure, and simple to set up. So are Linksys Wireless-N USB wireless network adapters.

Find out which wireless technology is installed on your computer:

Windows 7

Windows Vista

Wireless networks never reach the theoretical bandwidth limits. Wireless-B networks typically get 2–5 megabits per second (Mbps). Wireless-G networks are usually in the 13–23 Mbps range. The average everyday speed for wireless-N equipment is about 50 Mbps.

Don’t forget—the security of your wireless network is as important as its speed and performance. Learn about the different security methods.

Help make your network more secure:

This stuff is complicated and we understand.  Simply Seniors Computer Tutor looks forward to helping you with your computer needs however big they may be.  We can find a qualified technician in your area that can help with your home networking issues.  Thank you again for reading and please suggest this to all of your friends! 

Need technical assistance?  Dial 863-949-0667

Help a local small business continue to help our senior citizen clients! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

USB or not to B that is the question!

I see this frustration every day!  You put the USB plug into the computer, nope wait that wasn’t the right direction hold on… you put the USB plug into the other way….

You get the picture – USB’s apparently have been a little issue for many people according to this article.  Ok, this is a little geeky even for me.  But I loved the graphics and the way they broke down a USB adapter and port in this article. You can read the original at: and credit to Michael Gorman who wrote this article:



Maybe there are greater aggravations in your life, but the symmetrical-on-the-outside, asymmetrical-on-the-inside USB connector has been a source of frustration since its introduction. To combat the problem of USB plug rejection, Ma Xi Xuan has developed the Double USB connector that works right side up or upside down thanks to twin spring-loaded plastic connectors on its interior. The design seems more robust than previous solutions we've seen, but sadly the switch-hitting plug is only a design exercise at this point. We can only hope that company will exercise some common sense and make these plugs a reality. Tomorrow works for us.


I am often asked which side goes up and if you take a moment to look at the USB cable you will see a little USB symbol on top of it:

image   I would like to tell you that the picture side always goes up toward you and that is the way to know that you are putting the cable in correctly – BUT that is  not true.  It is dependent upon how the manufacture placed the female port on the motherboard. 

The ‘redesign’ of the USB will probably be years before it actually hits our shelves – if it even does.  Are we really so bothered by flipping over a cable and trying again?

How about you don’t worry yourself with your USB cables – and let the experts at the Computer Tutor help you out?  Simply Seniors Computer Tutors will get down on the floor, up under that dusty desk, and untangle those wires, and put all of your USBs in the right places.  Why not have a Computer Tutor come out and clean up[ your techno-mess?  You can contact Simply Seniors Computer Tutor at our new number 863-949-0667 OR 321-431-3866 

Thanks for reading and PLEASE share this blog with your friends!   We need to make 100 new friends each month!  Won’t you help?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Black Background? White Background?

Light text on dark background vs. readability

You know we work very hard on this blog – bringing info on various computer topics right into your home.  Simply Seniors Computer Tutors work with seniors and their unique computer needs.  One such unique computer need is the ability to find the right ‘screen interface’ for our seniors with visually difficulties.  Because Computer has spent many years working these issues we  have discovered Black Backgrounds and white text are very reader friendly.  The  high contrasting colors make it easier to focus on the letters on the screen. 

Recently, I asked our Facebook friends what they preferred and here is what they said:

Hi guys - I need your advice! As readers do you prefer a screen like this, white with small black text OR a site in black with white text? I work with seniors who tend to have vision problems. A white background is brighter and harder on the eyes so black is suggested.... now my question is what is your call? You can answer with BLACK or WHITE depending on which background you like. THX for your help.

Friday at 6:05pm · Privacy: · Like · Comment

      Margaret Devereux Kile Stacey - I just went to your site - love it! I do think the black background is much easiser on the eyes. I vote for Black background! Hugs to all!

      Yesterday at 7:38am · Like

    • Catherine Beierling Biegler black w/ white

      Yesterday at 9:03am · Like

    • Denise Marie Sinnott-Klenotich I know when Britty did eye therapy, they said the white is BRIGHT and since she was gaining her eyesite back...the dr. didnt want her to STRAIN her eyes, so we did a lot of things w/ black /white and then slowly did white/ black and just adjusted the "brightness" now she is good w/ white/black ;).and well you KNOW that is why I used CAPS for ever :) but I think I am really doing well NOW :) ahhaah...hope thta helps

      Yesterday at 10:58am · Like

  • It looks like most of those polled like black on white.


This from

Does it matter what your users prefer? I would certainly hope so. Does the choice of color matter? I think we all know so: Try reading dark-red text on a dark-brown background, or bright-red on dayglo-green. Some color choices are nearly impossible to read, and others just plain hurt.

Surprisingly, however, there is some indication that using white on black (or other light-text on dark-background combinations) is actually preferred by those with impaired vision.

The following article was written in 2006 – you can read it at the web site posted below.  The Author shares his dislike for the Black background white test look and discusses his personal eye strain issues while reading text on this type of website.  From some of the words it appears the writer was from over seas.

What’s up with the current design trend of light text on dark backgrounds? Many web designers seem to favour inverted colour schemes, but what happened to readability and usability? I know I am not the only person to find it very uncomfortable to read text on sites with inverted, high contrast designs.

Light-on-dark designs aren’t new. What’s new is that they have been appearing more frequently in the last year or so. Just take a look at the CSS Reboot Spring 2006participants. Plenty of light-on-dark designs there.

So what, exactly, is my complaint? If I don’t like the design of a site, I don’t have tovisit it. Well yes, but there is a lot of interesting content on some sites that use inverted colours. When possible, I read their content in my feed reader. If I can’t do that I just stop visiting. It’s a shame, but my eyes simply can’t take the strain.

It isn’t just about using light-on-dark text in the main content area either. I also find that high contrasts between different areas of the page cause problems. An example is when the main content area uses dark-on-light and there is an inverted sidebar right next to it. It hurts my eyes, and if possible I make my browser window narrow enough to hide the inverted part of the page when I visit sites that have that kind of design.

Note that I am not criticising the aesthetics of inverted designs, just their readability. Several light-on-dark sites look fantastic for a few seconds or even a minute. I just find actually reading articles on them very straining on my eyes, and I hate the way they linger on the retina when I look away from my screen.

Since most of the sites I want to read are quite well-structured and semantically marked up I could just turn CSS off in my browser and gain instant readability. I could also start messing with user stylesheets. I don’t think either should be necessary though.

To me this is an accessibility issue, the same way many people with impaired vision prefer light-on-dark text and may have problems similar to (or worse than) mine when reading dark-on-light text. As far as I know, I am not vision impaired. At least I have never been told so by an optician or an ophthalmologist. I still struggle with high-contrast, light-on-dark designs.

So if you want to use light text on a dark background, please provide an alternate stylesheet that turns the whole design, not just the content area, back to dark on light. You should also consider what Mark Boulton has to say in Five simple steps to better typography:

When reversing colour out, eg white text on black, make sure you increase the leading, tracking and decrease your font-weight. This applies to all widths of Measure. White text on a black background is a higher contrast to the opposite, so the letterforms need to be wider apart, lighter in weight and have more space between the lines.

I haven’t been able to find much recent research or usability testing that compares the readability of light-on-dark vs. dark-on-light designs. If you are aware of anything conclusive, please speak up.

Who else out there is having problems reading light-on-dark text? Who is not having problems and actually find it easier on your eyes? If you have used light-on-dark for a design, did you perform any usability testing? If so, what were the results?


Google thinks that it is important that we consider using the black background.  Have you ever seen this site:

It’s google only high contrast style.  Here is what Google has to say about WHY they made

How is Blackle saving energy?

Blackle was created by Heap Media to remind us all of the need to take small steps in our everyday lives to save energy. Blackle searches are powered by Google Custom Search.

Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. "Image displayed is primarily a function of the user's color settings and desktop graphics, as well as the color and size of open application windows; a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen."Roberson et al, 2002

In January 2007 a blog post titled Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year proposed the theory that a black version of the Google search engine would save a fair bit of energy due to the popularity of the search engine. Since then there has been skepticism about the significance of the energy savings that can be achieved and the cost in terms of readability of black web pages.

We believe that there is value in the concept because even if the energy savings are small, they all add up. Secondly we feel that seeing Blackle every time we load our web browser reminds us that we need to keep taking small steps to save energy.

How can you help?

We encourage you to set Blackle as your home page. This way every time you load your Internet browser you will save a little bit of energy. Remember every bit counts! You will also be reminded about the need to save energy each time you see the Blackle page load.

Help us spread the word about Blackle by telling your friends and family to set it as their home page. If you have a blog then give us a mention. Or put the following text in your email signature: " - Saving energy one search at a time".

Have a look at our energy saving tips page for ideas on steps you can take to save energy or you can followBlackle on Twitter and we will keep you updated with simple energy saving tips.

There are a lot of great web sites about saving energy and being more environmentally friendly. They are full of great tips covering the little things that we can all do to make a difference today. Try Blackling "energy saving tips" or visit one of the many great blogs dedicated to environmental awareness.


Thanks Google!  I have also discovered that a larger font size may help while reading white on back.  We have increased the font size of today’s blog.  Give Simply Seniors Computer Tutor your feed back.  We’d like to know if the increased font size has helped your ability to read our blog.

Remember Simply Seniors Computer Tutor is here to help with your unique technological needs.  You can call 321-431-3866 for more information! 



Since I started this blog I have been asked if I can reverse facebook, making it black with white text.  I have found a web site that shows it can be done and i have installed the necessary software but it did not work – so I will keep working with it and pass any findings along to you. 

Thanks again for reading and please pass this along to your friends!  Click on our little FACEBOK link and become our Friend!  We are looking to meet 100 new friends each month this year 2011! Check out www.ComputerTutorHelp.Us

321-431-3866 Simply Seniors Computer Tutor

Thursday, January 20, 2011

FB Personal Information – Follow Up

The other day i wrote about Facebook getting too personal. Tonight while working with my own account I found this handy tool where you can download a copy of all of the personal information that FB has compiled on you.  I am going to post some screen shots:

Locate this by logging into your facebook account and to the top right of the screen choose ACCOUNT and ACCOUNT SETTINGS


Click on download your information



Next click download and the screen will tell you what type of information it will be collecting from your facebook file. 


Try this on your account today. 

Thought you might like to know about this – I had not run across it before tonight.

Happy Computing!

Simply Seniors Computer Tutor

Let’s Learn about TECHNO-TRASH

Would you throw away your credit cards without chopping them up?  How about your other personal letters and files?  Well then I ask why would you set your unwanted computer on the side of the road?  I never can understand why people throw their unwanted electronics in their local trash.  Not only is is bad for your personal data that may be retrieved it’s very bad for our environment. 

Before you think of throwing away your computer please contact Simply Seniors Computer Tutors. 321-431-3866 www.ComputerTutorHelp.Us  We are in touch with many different groups throughout Brevard County FL, that refurbish what they can and recycle the rest.  If you hand over your unwanted computer to Simply Seniors Computer Tutors you can rest assured knowing your data will be destroyed and will never be seen by any other eyes.  Likewise, the groups we work with will refurbish your unwanted computer and give it free of charge to a person in need. 

For more information on how we can help remove your unwanted computer equipment, including monitors, keyboards, mice, systems and other peripheral equipment. Please call 321-431-3866


Techno trash is everywhere!  I bet you have a drawer full of gadgets that were once the “cool’ gadget.  Let me tell you about some of the ‘treasures’ (my husband calls it junk) that I have collected.  I am currently looking at 4 printers – that work!  I have 14 computer systems – that work, numerous hand held things from game controllers to cameras to palm whatever’s.   But I use none of it.  I have moved on to more advanced all in one gadgets – that I guess will be my techno-trash of the future. 

Check out these blogs I have found on techno-trash and what can be done to recycle and reuse:

FILE- In this April 26, 2005, file photo, piles ...  This photos is from the associated press.  The caption reads: FILE- In this April 26, 2005, file photo, piles of used computer gear fill a waste collection lot in Montpelier, Vt. Vermont is one of twenty-five states that have bans on electronic waste in landfills. Vermont's new electronic waste law took effect Jan. 1.

So which states ban electronic waste in landfills?  Though I could not find a complete list and I could not find an exact # – recent news reports from January 2011 state between 24 –27 states now ban throwing aware the old TV. 

i did find this – it was back when there were only 11

Check out these blogs:

The Environmental Protection Agency estimated in 2007 that the U.S. generates about 2 million tons a year of e-waste, which can contain lead, mercury, cadmium and other potentially harmful chemicals. If those toxins leach from landfills into the environment, risks to human health can include cancer and nervous system damage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The EPA estimates that in 2008, 13.6 percent of e-waste generated was recovered. Scott Cassel, executive director of the Boston-based Product Stewardship Institute, which promotes such recycling, said it's believed the percentage has grown significantly since then, as more states have passed and implemented laws.

Read more from this Tulsa World article at


So what can you do with your techno trash?

First, call Simply Seniors Computer Tutor, we know many different organizations that can put your out dated computer equipment to use.  Secondly, I recommend AERC recycling in Melbourne. 

AERC is one of the leading full-service recycling companies in the nation. We are committed to developing and utilizing the recycling technologies of tomorrow, for a cleaner, healthier environment today.

And they are located RIGHT HERE!  How about that!


This web site by the EPS have a few links to other places you can donate your equipment.

Here are some examples of what you’ll find (maybe make money with your old stuff?)  Try this:

Instantly compare cash offers and recycling options
from across the web in one easy search.


This web site has too many choices for me to relist just go check it out your self:


Did you know about the Waste Expo?  Phew, me neither! 

Now entering its 43rd year, WasteExpo is North America’s largest solid waste and recycling tradeshow serving both the private and public sectors. Whether you come from the public sector, a small, medium or large private sector waste management company or a manufacturer or supplier, WasteExpo is your once-a-year event!

----  This article was updated in march 2010 first written in 2007 but has some amazing statistics:

The global production of e-waste is rapidly increasing, and many experts believe it could double by 2020.

An estimated 235 million tons of potential e-waste is sitting in garages, drawers, and storage spaces in the United States. When finally sent to the landfill, these unused electronics have the potential to leach harmful chemicals into our air, soil, and groundwater, according to environmental groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These toxins include lead, known to cause brain damage in children and reproductive problems in adults; mercury, known to cause neurological problems; and arsenic, a known carcinogen.

For example, an average computer monitor contains five to eight pounds of lead. Consumer electronics, as a whole, contribute an astonishing 40 percent of the lead found in landfills throughout the U.S., according to the nonprofit Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.

Plastics in computers pose other hazards when disposed. Each year, computers contribute to the 630,000 tons of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic that ends up in the U.S. waste stream. PVC releases highly toxic, carcinogenic dioxins both in the manufacturing process and when disposed of through incineration.

Televisions, monitors, and computer circuit boards also use flame-retardant chemicals known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs). PBDEs, suspected hormone disruptors, may interfere with thyroid function and have affected development in laboratory mice. Most alarming, some studies have found that levels of some PBDEs double in human breast milk every five years, and that levels are highest in North American women. PBBs are considered probable carcinogens by the U.S. National Toxicology Program.

"Unfortunately, it's legal in many states to simply dump this waste in landfills or burn it in incinerators," says Barbara Kyle of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, a nonprofit that promotes environmentally-friendly design and responsible recycling of electronics.

The good news is that companies are becoming increasingly aware of problems with the electronics recycling stream and, due in part to consumer pressure, have started creating products with fewer toxic materials. Some companies are phasing out PVC plastic and PBDEs, but many major electronic companies don’t have an incentive to make products with greener lifecycles.

Recycling, however, doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. A significant percentage of recycled electronics ends up in China, India, and developing nations in Africa, where there are fewer regulations controlling the disposal of toxic substances. The electronics are taken apart improperly by untrained workers without protective equipment, according to many environmental groups, including the UN Environmental Program. The toxic substances workers and their families can be exposed to also end up in neighboring waterways. Most countries have banned the export of e-waste, but the United States has not ratified the international treaty that enforces the ban.

E-Recycling Certifications

Several standards under development would address the irresponsible export of e-waste. The EPA is developing the Responsible Recycling (R2) program to provide guidelines for voluntary recycling certification programs. The R2 program allows for responsible exports.

The Basel Action Network and Electronics TakeBack Coalition, which believe the R2 standard doesn’t go far enough, have developed a separate voluntary standard, called the eStewards program, which takes steps to prevent the export of electronics waste, protect recycling workers, prevent the use of prison labor, and prevent landfill disposal and incineration of e-waste.

Japan and European Union member states require manufacturers to take on the costs of disposal in an effort to encourage companies to think differently about the life cycle of their products. E-waste campaigns in the U.S. are looking to those countries as they try to move the U.S. away from the current system in which consumers pay to recycle their own electronics. This modal doesn't give producers the same incentive to implement greener design and responsible disposal, says Kyle.

Except for an EPA rule classifying broken TVs and computer monitors as toxic waste, no other national laws exist to regulate e-waste in the U.S. State governments sometimes pick up where federal standards are lacking, but states can’t regulate international trade, including exports of e-waste. Twenty states and New York City now have mandatory electronics recycling laws or bans on e-waste in landfills, with all but one requiring producers to take responsibility for recycling their products.

Another nine states are considering recycling laws. The Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse, sponsored by nonprofits, was established in 2007 to coordinate the efforts of different state agencies responsible for regulating e-waste.



That leads us to 


The Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC) was launched in 2010 by two leading non-profit organizations advancing recycling efforts across the country - the National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER) and the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC). The ERCC is a forum for coordination and information exchange among the state/local agencies that are implementing electronics recycling laws and all impacted stakeholders.

The ERCC is divided into two basic types of membership. The first are the voting members, who are states and local governments that are implementing electronics recycling laws. The ERCC also includes an affiliate, non-voting membership consisting of industry and other organizations. The ERCC is modeled on the successful organization currently managed by NERC known as the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH). TPCH has demonstrated over the years that providing this type of coordination can provide benefits to and reduce costs for state governments and the regulated community in addition to providing consistency to the impacted industry.

The ERCC is administered by NERC, based in Brattleboro, Vermont, and managed by the NCER, based in Parkersburg, WV.


If you want to learn more go to the above referenced web site – they have a list of resource such as states with current legislation.  As well as info on Federal E-cycling regulations.




Info from our own state – I don’t really understand

Solely as a service to the public and Florida businesses, the Florida Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) maintains the following list of Florida organizations that accept used (and new) electronic
equipment donations.  Many of these organizations have minimum requirements for the donated electronic
equipment, i.e. they will only accept computer processors with Pentium capabilities.  These organizations
may do some repairs, upgrades, or demanufacturing of the equipment, but generally they are not full
service electronics  recyclers.  If they receive unusable equipment they should send it to a
recycler/demanufacturer or properly recycle as much of it as possible.  The information was voluntarily
supplied by the organizations and is not necessarily a complete list of available services.  An organization's
absence from the list does not imply prejudice or impropriety.  The DEP does not endorse specific
equipment or organizations.  The DEP, by providing this list, does not imply that the organizations are in
compliance with applicable laws.  Users of this list are responsible for ensuring that products, equipment,
or services comply with the requirements of local, state, and federal law.  The DEP cautions users to
personally evaluate the services and compliance status of any organization they use.  The list is updated
periodically and subject to change without notice.  The DEP welcomes information from other
organizations who wish to have their services or stewardship programs listed.
1) Alachua Freenet Recycle Program 
Contact: Joel Bridges, Program Administrator
2603 NW 13th Street #315 
Gainesville, FL 32609 
Email:  Web page:
The Alachua Recycling Program is part of Alachua Freenet, based in Gainesville, Florida. Volunteers
collect, repair, and redistribute used computers from individuals and businesses. The refurbished equipment
is made available (at no charge) to non-profit organizations, school groups and under-privileged individuals
throughout the community. Some equipment has even made its way to the Ukraine through an exchange
student program. Local community businesses serve as drop-off points for computer donations. 
2) Advanced Technology for Challenged Kids (ATCK)
Contact: Phil Yon
Phone: (850) 671-1599
Florida State Rural Development Council established a computer recycling project in June 2000. The
project reconditions donated computer equipment and distributes it to physically challenged children, their
families, and non-profit organizations that serve them. The primary project goal is to enhance physically
challenged children’s capacity to achieve a maximum level of independence, through the utilization of
computer technology on the information highway.
3) Citibank Family Tech
Dade Public Education Fund
Contact: Terry Pittser, Computer Program Coordinator
4299 N.W. 36
St., Suite 203
Miami, FL 33166
Phone: (305) 884-2172
Fax: (305) 884-5633
Email:  Webpage:   
4) Computers For the Disabled 
Charles Babbage Memorial Foundation
Contact: Dr. David Rafky, Executive Director
Box 16-1443 
Miami FL 33116-1443 
Phone: (305) 274-0099 phone 
Fax: (305) 271-8904 
A non-profit, tax exempt, foundation fostering leadership through high technology and computer literacy,
Computers For The Disabled is funded by the Charles Babbage Foundation. The Charles Babbage
Memorial Fund collects, refurbishes and distributes computers along with instruction to the physically
challenged; promotes public awareness about the utility of personal computers for the physically
challenged and other "disadvantaged" groups; and when resources are available, provides computer
assistance to other nonprofit groups. They assist individuals and groups including schools, paraplegic
associations, correctional facilities, and other nonprofit institutions. They also place used computers in their
Computer Thrift Shop, to promote computer literacy.
5) Computers for Florida Kids
Contact: Sheila Logue
Phone: (850) 410-4305
Email:    Web page:
Computers for Florida Kids is a program which repairs and refurbishes donated computer equipment
through an inmate vocational education program and donates the refurbished equipment to organizations
serving Florida’s children.  Computer equipment is donated to the Foundation for Partnerships in
Correctional Excellence, Inc., the tax-exempt non-profit direct support organization to the Florida
Department of Corrections. Offenders in an inmate educational program repair and refurbish the computer
equipment that is then donated to schools and community organizations for the benefit of Florida children.
The program will expand soon to include TV donations.
6) Computer Recycling Program of Miami 
3260 SW 18th Terrace 
Miami, FL 33145 
Phone: (305) 461-1481 
The Computer Recycling Program of Miami upgrades and repairs donated computer equipment and then
redistributes it to needy individuals, including both adults and children. The equipment ranges from
serviceable 486 systems to Internet ready Pentium class machines. A team of volunteers provides ongoing
technical support to clients who are often being exposed to technology for the first time in their lives.
7) Disability Advocacy & Access Network
Contact: Pat Kennedy, Computer Program Coordinator
4630 North University Drive
Coral Springs, FL 33067
Phone: (954) 690-2253
Email: 8) Lutheran Social Services of North Florida, Inc
Computer Refurbishing and Technical Assistance Center
606 W 4th Avenue, Suite 11, Tallahassee, FL 32303
Phone: 850.575.4309
Fax:   850.576.0696
The CR-TA Program is a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher receiving private, corporate and government
donations of computer of Pentium II or higher grade and most computer peripherals.  Computers are
refurbished, repaired, upgraded where necessary and loaded with licensed Microsoft Windows and Office
software. The refurbished systems are provided to 501(C)(3) human service agencies in the Big Bend of
Florida for use within the agency and distribution to income qualified clients.
Lutheran Social Services of North Florida, Inc. is an IRS recognized
501(C)(3) tax exempt corporation (EIN: 59-2939507) and donations may be tax deductible.
9) Senior Safety Phone Project
Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas, Inc.
9887 4
St. N., Suite 100    St. Petersburg, FL 33702
Contact: Gabrielle Wiechec, Victim Advocate
Phone: (727) 570-9696 Ext.279    Fax: (727) 217-7615
Email:    Web page: 
The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas, is a private, non profit organization which has a 30 year history of planning, developing programs and advocating for the needs of the elderly.  The cell phone donation program is coordinated by the Senior Victim Advocate Program.  Many different sites in Pinellas
& Pasco Counties collect and distribute no longer used cell phones to seniors (60+) who feel their safety & sense of security are at risk. Phones may also be mailed directly to the agency.  Phones which are not usable for this project are responsibly recycled through Shelter Alliance.  Any funds generated by this program are used to help support the work of the victim advocate program.  The Agency strongly feels that every cell phone that can hold a charge can be a life saver for our seniors.
Revised June 20, 2008


Before you think of throwing away your computer please contact Simply Seniors Computer Tutors. 321-431-3866 www.ComputerTutorHelp.Us  We are in touch with many different groups throughout Brevard County FL, that refurbish what they can and recycle the rest.  If you hand over your unwanted computer to Simply Seniors Computer Tutors you can rest assured knowing your data will be destroyed and will never be seen by any other eyes.  Likewise, the groups we work with will refurbish your unwanted computer and give it free of charge to a person in need.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Facebook gets too personal?

First, it always surprises me when someone is shocked to find that their personal information is so very easy to locate on the internet.  If this is a shock to you as you are reading this, try googling your home address.  I think you will be floored by what you see.  The first time I did this I was faced with a 360 degree walk around of my house!  Wowee!  Talk about feeling invaded.  Now, I completely understand that my personal information is out there for others to see – even if I had nothing to do with putting it out there to be seen!  My personal information being made available is beyond my control.  My phone and address are out there just as yours are.  Why are you shocked this information has been published for years in our local telephone directory.   

Facebook is a leader in finding out stuff about people and ‘putting it out there’ for the world to see.  The other night I googled the name of a child and what I found were the child’s facebook comments. 

I think a very good rule of thumb is that if you don’t want someone else to read it or look at it (such as posts and personal photos) then do not post it on the internet.  Know who you are talking to and do not just accept just anybody’s friend request. 

My daughter uses FB.  She is young and we are very watchful of how she uses her account.  One of the first things she and I did together was to create a FAKE facebook account.  One where the name  was that of a popular kids star, with their picture and information about them from a magazine.  Now WHY on earth would we do something like that?  Because I used it as an educational tool to show my daughter how easy it was on FB to present yourself as anyone you wanted to be.  With that the knowledge that the person she was chatting with is not at all the famous actor she thinks she is friends with – in this case it’s really her mom proving a point.  The scary point is that it might not be the famous person or you mom but the scary person that wants to prey on little unsuspecting people.  

BTW we deleted out fake account but parents need to be sure that their children understand the stranger dangers involved in the FB community.  It is not just FB, your children need to be taught to think smartly and safely wherever they are interacting with others on the internet.

Simply Seniors Computer Tutors 321-431-3866


Regarding child safety and facebook I have found the following article from

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California May 26, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Facebook launches child safety application:

The application, which follows a long campaign by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), appears on a user's profile page when they add or bookmark it and allows children and teenagers to report suspicious or inappropriate behavior.

Particularly aimed at users aged 13 to 18, it also provides help, advice and support about staying safe online.

"We know from speaking to offenders that a visible deterrent could protect young people online," said Jim Gamble, chief executive of CEOP, adding that the application should provide reassurance to parents whose teenagers use the site.

An automatic message will appear on the Facebook homepage of all teenage users, inviting them to add the application.

Pressure to introduce such measures intensified toward the end of last year after 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a man posing as a teenager whom she had met through Facebook.

"Together we have developed a new way of helping young people stay safe online," Joanna Shields, Facebook's vice president for Europe, Middle-East and Africa, said of the link-up.

"It is only through the constant and concerted efforts of the industry, police, parents and young people themselves that we can all keep safe online."

This article was dated: Mon Jul 12, 2010

Simply Seniors Computer Tutors 321-431-3866


Let’s look at some ways to be safe on FB:  This information comes to us from It gives a very good explanation of what FB is – for anyone who may be reading this and wondering what we are talking about.  Additionally, it discusses some known issues and ways to make your children's FB profiles private.

Facebook, a popular social networking site, provides people with a chance to get in touch with old friends and meet new ones. Reconnecting with old friends allows you the opportunity to catch up with each other. However, be careful not to share too much information online, especially if your Facebook account is visible to everybody.

You may have heard about “Facebook stalking”, a problem that came about as a result of individuals posting private information on their Facebook pages and not making their pages private. Setting your profile to private and making your pictures private as well will also protect against online stalkers.

When you set your pictures to “Friends only”, Facebook surfers can’t access your pictures. There may be instances where they can see pictures of you on Facebook but this is usually because you are tagged in some pictures that are from another person’s profile. As long as you set all of your pictures to be viewed by “Friends only”, they’re safe from the prying eyes of strangers.

Another reason why people often set the security level on their pictures to “Friends only” is to prevent potential employers, or their current employer, from viewing private photos and using the pictures against them. People have lost their jobs because of incriminating pictures posted on the internet. Whether you’re partying and having a good time, drinking or participating in risque behavior, protecting your privacy by setting your pictures to privates is best.

There are some other things you can do to keep your personal information and your pictures private on Facebook. Here are some suggestions keeping your Facebook profile and pictures private:

  1. Never accept a friend invitation from a person you do not know. You can report the person to Facebook as “spam” because you do not know them. This helps the social media site to weed out a few of the accounts that are from spammers and should not be on Facebook.
  2. Increase your security level so only your friends can gain access to your profile. While some internet surfers will be able to see that you do have a Facebook account, they won’t be able to find out anything else about you because your profile is set to private.
  3. Use a generic profile picture. You don’t want to have a picture of your children on Facebook if you are concerned for your safety or their safety. Try using one picture so people can find you and leave it the same. Changing your profile picture often will spark people to comment on it and it may spark online surfers to take notice of your account. Keeping a boring profile picture is a simple way to protect yourself and your children.


Here is a blog posted today on a favorite web site of mine named: This is their take on FB Apps:

Just when you thought things might have settled down, Facebook has once again taken a step that could put more of your personal information at risk. Going forward third party app developers will now have the opportunity to access your home address and mobile phone number information.

Photo by Facebook.

fb access

The first thing to keep in mind is that this access is not automatic…anyone installing an app will need to allow said app to access that information. So if you are someone who keeps their privacy settings locked down nicely and are careful about the apps that you install, then you should be fine.

The real problem comes in when you consider app developers who are unscrupulous and seek to spread malware and/or gather as much personal information as possible through trickery.

From the Sophos blog post: Facebook is already plagued by rogue applications that post spam links to users’ walls, and point users to survey scams that earn them commission – and even sometimes trick users into handing over their cellphone numbers to sign them up for a premium rate service.

Now, shady app developers will find it easier than ever before to gather even more personal information from users. You can imagine, for instance, that bad guys could set up a rogue app that collects mobile phone numbers and then uses that information for the purposes of SMS spamming or sells on the data to cold-calling companies.

The ability to access users’ home addresses will also open up more opportunities for identity theft, combined with the other data that can already be extracted from Facebook users’ profiles.

Now combine the unscrupulous app developers with people who do not take the time to think about the implications of installing questionable apps simply because they are in a hurry to start “enjoying” those shiny new apps. It is not a pleasant thought when you think of the number of people who may have their personal information compromised over this.

Many of us know someone who seems to attract trouble like a magnet due to unsafe internet practices. If you do, then pass this information on to them with the advice to be more careful. You just may save that person (or people) a lot of headaches later. And if you have not reviewed the settings in your Facebook account recently, then this is a good time to go back through and check them.

Something to keep in mind: Neither post mentioned how this is handled with apps already installed to user accounts, so you may be asked for permission by them going forward. There is also the possibility that if you already have an app installed, then permission is considered as “automatically” given.

This article came from – I suggest you give them a read if you enjoy what you see here. 



Simply Seniors Computer Tutors 321-431-3866

Like this example I found on a fellow bloggers site, he writes:

Did you know Starbucks is all about dating? Neither did I. :)

See, I use Facebook. And I go to Starbucks often. Awhile ago I signed up for a Facebook app related to Starbucks. The other day I was informed of the following:

Thanks for using My Starbucks. We are excited to announce that, as of next week, My Starbucks’s name and functionality will be changed to SpeedDate. Data entered into the original app won’t be used anymore. Soon you’ll be able to try SpeedDate, the fastest way to meet new people, so stay tuned!

My Starbucks

It’s for reasons like this that I have trimmed down the use of Facebook applications to 0

If you’d like to read the entire blog you can find it here:   


Need help setting up your Facebook account?  Simply Seniors Computer Tutor is here for you.  Meet people you have not seen in years, share photos and video with your loved ones.  Computer Tutor is here to help!  Call Simply Seniors Computer Tutor 321-431-3866

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tweet Tweet – Do you use Twitter?

I have had a twitter account for some time now but I have not been a very big fan.  Being a technology specialist I am very late in jumping on the social networking band wagon – I have only been doing this for about three years.  I am a big fan of Facebook.  I have always like the way it is laid out – even in the 1st versions.  I can even put up with the fact that it is always changing, constant improvement is not a bad thing.   Twitter seemed too constraining only allowing me so many characters to post. 

Today, I am still a bigger fan of Facebook over Twitter but I do understand why some would prefer the Tweet over the long winded status report. Here at Simply Seniors Computer Tutor we have recently started ramping up the activity on out Twitter account and I can see I have a lot of tweeting to do to catch up with the big Birds.  I have been learning new ways to save myself time; I write a blog that goes to one web site, a Facebook post that needs to go to that site, a google calendar, and tweeting, how can I connect them all and have them updated at the same time?  Well I have found many great solutions to my problems and today is just one of those solutions. 

If you are a fan of Twitter you will like this information on advanced Twitter settings. This comes to us today from a personal friends educational blog site.  If education is your thing than you should give this blog a read: thanks to Mr. Byrne, for the following:

How to Use Twitter's Advanced Search Options

First, this is not one of those "Twitter will save education" posts. That said, Twittercan be useful for finding resources that can help you as a teacher. The first step in using Twitter is to develop a nice network of people that you interact with, commonly referred to as a personal learning network or PLN. Here are eight ways to develop a PLN. Once you develop a PLN you have a great place to ask questions and share resources. But even then sometimes you won't get quite what you're seeking. In those cases you can turn to Twitter Advanced Search to see what people outside of your PLN have to offer.

Mashable recently produced a video demonstrating how to use Twitter Advanced Search. This three minute video covers what you need to know in order to take advantage of all the information shared on Twitter.

Also have you ever thought about using these same social networks to find a job?  Mashable has also posted a youtube video that will help you use the Twitter Advanced search features to help find your new job!

We hope that you have learned something new today.  please pass this information along to everyone and help us grow our readership.  If you have a topic Simply Seniors Computer Tutor can help with please feel free to drop us a line.  Our email address is you can visit our web site a learn a little more about our company at www.ComputerTutorHelp.Us

Remember, we are the computer consultant for seniors, Simply Seniors Computer Tutor, making computers simple is in our name – it’s what we do!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Seniors & Gaming – We’re not playing Solitaire!

This Christmas Santa delivered a Nintendo Dsi hand held gaming system to my 10 year old daughter.  Apparently, this was something he had an over stock on because the kids next door, and her other friends all received one as well!  The Nintendo DS is a very popular gaming system.  After my daughter wore the battery out I was finally allowed to play with it and I discovered I really like it! 

When I arrived at the Wickham Park Senior Center to teach our Simply Seniors Computer Tutors class last Friday I noticed a flyer asking for anyone with a Nintendo Ds to meet and play Brain Age together.  That lead me to thinking “Did Santa deliver these to the older big kids on his list as well?  It seems that he did!

I have also noticed since the Nintendo Wii gaming system came out a real increase in the senior populations use of gaming systems.  This is a good thing. With games for the Wii like Tiger Woods golf, you can get a game in (physically-less driving the cart) when it’s 20 degrees outside!  The Wii and now the new Kinects gaming system it is even easier for seniors to play sports games in the comfort and safety of their own living room.

I have done a little research to see what others are thinking about seniors using these new gaming systems and here is what I have found.  From a web site named: this is an article discussing seniors and their connection with the Microsoft Kinects gaming system:


Who would have thought that growth opportunities in the game console industry would be in the 50+ market?  Well, this Christmas the console wars are heating up for the senior demographic and it’s not for the faint of heart.  Last month Microsoft last month released its Kinect system for motion gaming and has its sights set clearly on the senior demographic as part of its overall marketing and advertising strategy. Microsoft’s Kinect visual recognition technology allows the player to stand six feet in front the of the television to play games.  Rather than using a controller to monitor motion, the Kinect system tracks individual user movements play the games and responds to voice commands.  The Kinect system is an add-on for the Xbox gaming system and retails for $150 and comes bundled for $399.  Microsoft’s games for Kinect are designed to promote community gaming and fitness programs similar to the popular Wii Sports that has caught the attention of the senior living industry.  Many families are looking at the Wii System and Microsoft’s Xbox/Kinect as a gift ideas that are entertaining, promoting activity and group interaction this Christmas.  While 2.5 million Kinects have been sold since its release in early November, its numbers fall short in comparison to the Wii consoles out in the market.

Will Kinect knock-out Wii?  Probably not right away but Microsoft historically continues to chase and catch the competition.  At least the Kinect will solve the issue of a flying controller breaking the television screen…let’s hope seniors don’t propel themselves into the television.

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Next I found an article dating back to 2006, guess I am a little late with the DS craze, talking about seniors and the Brain Age game.  You can read the whole article at Here are the highlights:


I opened up this little unit with trepidation, prepared to give it a fair try and put it away forever. Another flashing, squealing thing that had no appeal. I was wrong.

DS Lite is light-weight, comfortable in my hand. I can see every image and follow fast action with no problem, even at low light. The resolution is spectacular, graphics most satisfying (We’re boomers, not teenagers – the teens can form their own conclusions).

The game cartridges range from $12 to around $50 - seems reasonable. Nintendo is pushing the series created to help us exercise and improve our brains as we age. OK. So they gave me Brainage, the first in a series aimed at us.

The hype claims Brainage, created by a doctor, will re-train the brain to be more cognitive and responsive and all that. I can’t say, but experts are learning that stimulating your brain regularly makes a big difference in how well it functions.

What We Found

I passed the game to a group of friends and family – age range 7 months to 58 years. Male and female. All education levels and diversified career tracks. Some had prior game addictions, some didn’t.

They fought over the thing.

Brainage is more an activity pack than a game. One component calculates your brain’s age through three randomly selected skill tests. One component exercises the brain with a selection of puzzles. There’s a memory activity that shows you dozens of words for two minutes, then asks you to write ones you recall. There’s one that has you do simple calculations as quickly as you can. One requires you to follow time changes on a clock and say how many hours elapsed. The package also has Sudoku puzzles at various levels.

We found the voice recognition to be greatly lacking and somewhat frustrating. It has real trouble being consistent and is harshly affected by background sound. When user needs to write information into the software with the stylus, Brainage has a terrible time interpreting more than a few letters. Perhaps patiently working through these frustrations will help improve the brain, who knows, but Nintendo could take a second look at those factors.

The puzzles are all engaging – challenging to one extent or another. The system, WI FI enabled, can communicate with other players, so maybe you'll start a group or something - maybe challenge your family long-distance? Deal is, you’re supposed to do them once a day – the process takes as little as 10 minutes or as long as you want. You’ll have to set your own boundaries.

Bottom Line

Nintendo DS Lite is appealing for our age group. Its stylish looks (in several colors) remind me of a Palm Pilot or something – very sleek and unobtrusive. Can slip into purse or carry-on bag. Truly, Nintendo thought through design and visual parameters so seniors can enjoy using the system with or without grandkids. They need to rethink the stylus gadget, a slim stick less than half the diameter of a standard pencil.

The stylus is essential for play and, with mild arthritis or any motion problems at all, you’ll find it limiting. It causes me to have some aching or twinges after half an hour or so. Maybe that’s a good thing – if your hand tires, you can’t spend half your day trying to reduce your brain age just a little more. I’m down to 28 years old. My first brain age was a scarey 80!

Senior family members enjoyed others of the games, too. Being a puzzle fan from way back, I am very drawn to the brain teaser series they’re aiming our way. I’ll leave you with this comment – if you like puzzles, if your doc has mentioned you need to do something active with your mind, if you are a current or ex-gaming fan, this device is reasonably priced enough so you can give it a shot. If you don’t become a fan, you can always keep it on hand to entice grandkids to visit more often.

And yes, Tetris is available for this system....

Read more at Suite101: Nintendo for Baby Boomers-DS Lite: A Review - Train your brain to be healthier and more active?


I am a huge fan of Tetris and really happy to be able to play my 1998 Game Boy game cartridges on my Nintendo DS Lite. But for me the screen is a little small and if you feel the same way there is now a Nintendo DS XL and yes the XL stands for extra large.  I really think Nintendo saw the growing older population using their gaming unit and decided to make it a little more adult.  Compare the two:

image In this photo the XL is on the left and the DS is on the right.  In addition to offering a larger screen I understand that the XL comes with certain games like Brain Age pre installed on the system.  Additionally, this unit comes with a larger stylus, one that is the size of a common pen.

Read on to find out how the two compare spec wise:  This information comes to use from www.tiny

Full Nintendo DSi XL vs DSi comparison, new colors, and larger stylus. Facing lower than expected profits for the past six-month period, Nintendo formally announced an updated DSi model with 4.2 inch screens, releasing in Japan on November 21st and in the U.S. and Europe some time in the first quarter of 2010. Across the Pacific, where it’s referred to as the DSi LL, the handheld will sell for ¥20,000 ($220).

The new system’s launch colors include Dark Brown, Wine Red, and Natural White. Each new handheld in Japan will include several pre-installed applications like the DSi Browser, Flipnote Studio, A Bit of Brain Training: Arts, A Bit of Brain Training: Science, and Kiyou Akira Rakuhiku Language Easier.

As its name implies, the XL/LL represents a significant size increase from previous designs. Let’s compare!

Screen size:

  • DSi XL/LL - 4.2”
  • DSi - 3.25”
  • DS Lite - 3.0”

Body (width x length x thickness):

  • DSi XL/LL - 161.0 × 91.4 × 21.2mm
  • DSi - 137.0 × 74.9 × 18.9mm
  • DS Lite - 133.0 × 73.9 × 21.5mm

Stylus length:

  • DSi XL/LL - 129.3mm (also comes with smaller stylus)
  • DSi - 92mm
  • DS Lite - 87.5mm


  • DSi XL/LL - 314g
  • DSi - 214g
  • DS Lite - 218g

Battery life (minimum brightness):

  • DSi XL/LL - 13 to 17 hours
  • DSi - 9 to 14 hours
  • DS Lite - 15 to 19 hours

Battery charge time:

  • DSi XL/LL - 3 hours
  • DSi - 2.5 hours
  • DS Lite - 3 hours



Simply Seniors Computer Tutor would like to let you know that we can help with your questions about hand held gaming units and home gaming consoles. Asking your friends what they think of their units is also a good way to find out if it is the right one for you. 

Happy Gaming!

For more information on Simply Seniors Computer Tutor check out www.ComputerTutorHelp.Us

Thanks for reading and please pass this to a friend!