Category Archives: Blogging

Tech Moments?

Is there such a thing as Technology-Induced Alzheimer’s (TIA)? Because I think I’ve got it and I’m pretty sure some of my friends show symptoms. Even more problematic, TIA seems to come in two forms. I think I have both.

Which button do I press?

The first is the refusal of your brain to remember how to do anything differently. I mastered the original remote controls for televisions and CD players. You had an on/off button, two channel buttons and two volume buttons. If you were going ‘high tech’, you also had a button that allowed you to choose between cable and CD player.

Remotes now look like they belong in a cockpit. There are still the original five buttons, but they are hidden among those allowing you to select a program guide, start/stop/fast forward/reverse a CD or DVD, select a channel by pressing button combinations, save channels you like, password protect channels, tilt your recliner to your preferred position, and ask if you would like a soft drink and popcorn.

Each time I babysit for my daughter and son-in-law, she has to show me where the ON button is on her TV remote since I get totally lost. Worse, they have three of the gadgets. At least now, when I babysit, she hides two of them.

The other form of TIA is the inability to remember how things got done before technology. I’ve been caught sitting in the driver’s seat of someone else’s car and been asked why I hadn’t started it up. Was something wrong? No, I was patiently waiting for the seat to move to my preset preferences. Oh, right, that only works in my own car.

I remember having to pass a test on reading PAPER maps before I could get my original driving license. I’m sure I couldn’t even fold one back up now. Heaven forbid that I have to remember how to adjust outside rearview mirrors manually!

My most embarrassing TIA moment was standing behind a set of doors waiting for the automatic door opener to open the doors. This experience was enhanced when I mentioned to my daughter that stores should put signs on non-working doors. She seemed to enjoy informing me it wasn’t an automatic door. 

So, what do you think? Is there technology induced Alzheimer’s? We’d love to hear your stories.

Carol Smith
Training Manager

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Computing for All

Computers are everywhere. It can be a little shocking to realize how many are incorporated into our lives. Cars, thermostats, refrigerators, ovens and stoves, hot tub controls, toys, cellphones, etc. are all controlled through a silicon chip. The best part?  The alternatively abled have been included in this explosion of technology.

Can’t type? Talk to your computer. Voice control has been included in every version of Windows® since XP. The updated version included with Windows®7 is so slick, I’ve started using it. There are also several very good third party voice control software companies around the globe.

There are left-handed and right-handed half keyboards with keys arranged for people with the use of one arm or hand. There are keyboards with one inch keys for people who have difficulty seeing clearly or for small children.

There are on-screen keyboards that you use with a mouse or touch screen. When activated, the one incorporated into Windows® 7 becomes available during system startup so a user can put in a username and password.

Need help using the mouse? There are mice that can be controlled by a thumb, a head movement, a toe or a knee press, moving your eyes, breathing into a straw or worn on a finger. My favorite is an oversized trackball mouse that uses different colors to identify the buttons. It dissolves the barrier for people with arthritis, or other arm/hand motion issues. It’s terrific for small children and seniors.

Remember, you can always slow down or speed up how your mouse reacts to both movement and button clicks.

Eyesight an issue? There are screen magnifiers for people whose eyesight is impaired. There are screen readers for people who are blind. Website programming includes descriptions of their pictures and graphics so screen readers can tell the user what the graphic is.

Fingers too big to comfortably use the miniature keyboards on smartphones? Bring some bling to your smartphone use with a jeweled-tone capacitive stylus. Even people who hinder themselves with inch to four-inch long fingernails can use touch screens with these clever little items. The best part: no more fingerprints on the screen!!

No electricity? Computers have been designed to work off hand or pedal powered generators.

I’m eagerly waiting for one that will clean my house, cook my dinner and run my errands.

As always, Your comments and ongoing discussions are always welcome.

Carol Smith,
Training Manager

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Your Safety – Technology at your Fingertip

At CS Technologies, we provide security and life safety solutions in a variety of packages. We provide security and video surveillance systems for both businesses and home, in addition we carry a line of 911 life safety pendants.  You can call us any time to see what product might suit your needs.

Below are two simple tips for using common technology (that we may already have) at our fingertips. Some newer cell phones now have “In Case of Emergency” at the top of the contact list.  This is your ICE person.  Be sure you have at least one ICE contact listed.  If it isn’t designated on your phone, simply add a contact “ICE – Dad”.  If you lose your cell phone, the finder could call your ICE contact who hopefully, can quickly identify you as the owner of that phone.

There are also “In Case of Emergency” applications that you can download to your  phone and some of those applications will permit you to add more than one ICE contact. You can also add family members along with their allergy, medication list with basic information about each family member such as blood type etc (information that emergency personnel need during a crises). The application I downloaded on my iPhone allows me to add wallpaper to set my lock screen and/or my home screen or both that identifies my emergency contact name along with my allergies.

An important benefit of ICE is that emergency responders may be able to quickly contact your emergency contact if something happens to you and you cannot make a call.

Here is another precaution you can take to be safe:  Most of us carry a security alarm with us and we don’t even realize it.  Our car remote has a “panic” button.  As you are out shopping, walking across large parking lots, have your keys in your hand.  A honking horn gets attention if you need it. Test your car remote to see if it works from your bedroom.  If so, carry that remote to bed with you.  Make a  safe neighbor pact to call police for each other if your horn starts blowing in the middle of the night. 

As we enter into a new year we will blog about tips on keeping you and your family safe. Your comments and ongoing discussions are always welcome. If you have any safety tips that you would like to share with us, don’t be shy, we would love to hear from you.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Holly Lynn Berlin, General Manager

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Has the Tablet Wave Passed?

There was much anticipation in the tech world in the days leading up to Apple Computer’s January 27, 2010 launch event. What would they announce? Much hype had been stirred in the press in anticipation of either a tablet computer or netbook. Whichever it would be, this new device would fill a “third place” between the iPhone and the MacBook. This new device should have a larger screen than the iPhone, yet be lighter and more portable than the MacBook. So, what would it be? …a tablet? …a netbook? …would it be neither?

In his address on that day, CEO Steve Jobs spoke about this “third place” and how, whatever would fill that space would have to do some things better than either the smart phone, or the laptop. He caused the audience laughter as he commented on the netbook. “The problem is; netbooks aren’t better at anything.” Then, he went on to launch the first iPad and the rest is history.

Apple set the bar pretty high with the iPad, which runs on their iOS operating system. The iPad was not the first tablet computer, but it was the first one to catch on in the public eye. This is due in part to Apple’s amazing marketing and in part to the excellence of the tablet that they offered in the iPad.

In the months that followed, other companies answered by introducing their own tablet computers. While there were a few different operating systems presented, none proved so worthy a competitor as the Android OS. It’s growing Android Market (https://market.android.com), while nowhere near as large as Apple’s App Store, is a worthy opponent.

There have been some very good tablet computers introduced over the past year-and-a-half. But, for whatever reason, no one competitor has caught on and moved into the stellar market share claimed by the iPad, although the new Kindle Fire is showing some promise (never mind the fact that it has a “lite” version of the Android OS). Why is that? It’s not for lack of features. In fact, many prefer the competing tablets over the iPad for reasons such as; Apple’s lack of USB ports on the iPad, which the competitors do offer or; Apple’s ongoing disdain for Flash video, which other tablets play seamlessly. Why then, do the competitors just not take hold as the iPad has? My own speculation would be for the following two reasons:

  1. Apple has generated through advertising and savvy, an image of offering quality products that appeal to a hip demographic;
  2. Apple was the first serious offering, and they set a high bar. iPad’s competitors are many, which seems to have a watered-down effect, diffusing any one rising star to dethrone the mighty iPad.

In recent months, we have seen some of the iPad’s competitors starting to fail. Blackberry’s PlayBook has really fallen off and any other non-Android tablets do not seem to stand a chance.

Has the tablet wave passed? No. The ongoing success of the iPad has proven that the tablet computer is here to stay. So, where is a worthy competitor? All I can say to that is; keep your eye on Microsoft in 2012. While Microsoft has taken a lot of heat in the past for inferior products (anyone remember Windows Vista?), they are an innovative giant that should not be dismissed. I believe that we will see rise of a major threat from MS in the second half of 2012 when their Windows 8 (or whatever name it may take on by then) makes its public debut, with an app outlet riding its coattails.

What are your thoughts and predictions for the tablet computer market? I welcome your questions and comments.

~ Randy Kightlinger

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Should you join the blogosphere?

Blogging is becoming more and more popular everyday.  Should you join the blogosphere? Take a look at this list to help you make your decision about blogging.

  1. To Express Your Thoughts and Opinions – If you have something to say, blogs provide a place to say it and be heard.
  2. To Market or Promote Yourself or your business, product or service – Sell……Sell….Sell…
  3. To Help Others – Many blogs are written to help people going through similar situations that the blogger has experienced.
  4. To Establish Yourself as an Expert – Blogging can help legitimize your expertise and expand your online prescence and platform.
  5. To Connect with People Like you – blogging brings like minded people together.
  6. To Make a Difference – Blogs can be issue-based meaning the blogger is trying to provide information to sway people’s thinking in a certain direction.
  7. To Stay Active or Knowledgeable in a Field or Topic – It’s a perfect way to post updated and fresh information.
  8. To Stay Connected with Family and Friends – Blogs can be a simple way for family and friends to stay connected from different parts of the world by sharing stories, photos, videos and more.
  9. To Make Money – You can make money with patience and practice, you can make money through advertising and other income generating activies on your blog.
  10. To Have Fun and Be Creative – Have a passion about your blog topic, so you can write prolifically about it.  Some of the best blogs started out as blogs that were written just for fun and to give the blogger a creative outlet.

To learn more about blogging check out our training schedule http://www.cstechplus.com/training/schedule.asp – we periodically teach a 3-hour class on “How to Create a Free Word Press Blog website”.

Posted by GM Holly

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