Category: Personal

OpenOffice.org

Sometimes I Feel Stupid Too!  Computer User Feeling Stupid

 

One of the biggest challenges for me in my work is that so many of my clients say they feel so stupid.  No one is stupid!  One of my goals in my work is to help my clients feel better about themselves.

 

No one is born with all the information they need in order to navigate life.   We either educate ourselves or we “wing it” based on what we are told by others (who may or may not have the best information).

 

Even those of us who take the time to do research, study and practice, will make mistakes. It’s part of the learning process.

 

My goal is for you to benefit from my mistakes and those of my clients.

 

Here are some really useful tips based on my work in the field this past week.

 

Great Money Saving Tip

OpenOffice.org

There is a great free office suite called Open Office that looks very much like the apps in Microsoft Office and has many of the same tools.  You don’t need to pay for Microsoft Office suite.

 

The Pitfalls

The address for Open Office is www.openoffice.org not “.com”  There is another site, http://www.openoffice.us.com that looks reputable but will download a bunch of malware programs on your computer.

firefox-os_logo-wordmark_RGB-vertical-300dpiThe Solution    Google Chrome

You should be using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

 

If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer as your web browser, you are at risk of getting add pop ups installed on it and having your home page changed to something you don’t want.  This is called “hijacking your web browser”.

Norton Internet Security

 

If you have installed the W.O.T (Web of Trust) extension on your web browser or if you are using Norton with Internet Security, you will see a notification that http://www.openoffice.us.com  is not safe.
(Buy Norton from Dom at Desert Cow Computers and save $20.) www.mydesertcow.com

 

 

 

Do a Google search for reviews of any app you are considering downloading before you proceed.

The Rules In Review

  • Use the right web browser and search engine
  • Have safety extensions on your browser
  • Do your research
  • Be sure you are going to the reputable site

 

If none of his makes sense to you, just call for an appointment.

The promise of successEverything will be OK.   We’ll do it together.

 

Hope this helps you “make peace with the ups and downs of modern technology.”

 

Thank You To All Our Military Personnel!

This week, I want to express my profound gratitude for all of you, and yours, who have served in our military.  In the past couple of years, I have been privileged to have several new friends and tutoring clients share about their experiences in World War II and Vietnam.  I have been deeply touched and changed by their stories.  Previously, I had no clue about the bravery, heroism and sacrifices of these amazing soldiers.  Now, for me, Veterans Day and Memorial Day are special days for contemplation and thanksgiving.

Iris M. Smotrich, Mayor of the City of Rancho Mirage expressed it so eloquently in her Veterans’ Day Tribute that she will be delivering on Tuesday at Forest Lawn.​More info

“…they leave the love and comfort of their homes to venture worldwide for our independence and the freedom of others.  They return – these valiant warriors – forever changed.  See them now – standing taller, saluting our flag with a snap – perhaps a lump in their throats.  For only they know the true cost of this liberty we so cherish. Only they have walked through hell on earth in order to keep evil at bay for our children.  Only they know the true cost of living up to the declaration that our forefathers so thoughtfully gave to us that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Happiness and war are not compatible.  And war can forever scour the edges off of happiness for a warrior.  How proud we are of you – valiant brave men and women who have given so much.  How grateful we are of you dear Veterans. “

To my heroic friends and clients (you know who you are) and to all the men and women who have stepped up to do the dirty work so I can be free, Thank You!  Thank You! You are my heroes and I appreciate you.

I teach online dating technology

Love is in the air!  Recently, I’ve been honored to help two clients set up their online dating profiles and learn how to use dating websites.

Actually, I’ve done this many times before, including taking photos of clients in various attire and teaching them how to upload the photos to their profiles. (Professional photos are better.  I recommend Jim Oliveri )

I’ve made quite a study of online dating, including taking some online courses and using the sites myself, so I’m able to share some great tips that will make the experience more effective and more fun.

Who do you know that wants to find the love of their life? Let me help them harness the power of modern technology to make it happen.  When done right, it really works.  Forward this email to them or have them call me at 760-3 4tutor.

Pre-purchase Consultation Questions

One of my services is consulting with people to help them choose the best computer or gadget for their individual needs.  So much frustration can be avoided by buying the right product in the first place, and I have already test-driven quite a few of them in order to pave the way for others to have a more pleasant experience.  See my previous posts for the gruesome details.  LOL

Here are the questions I use for my consultations.  Please forward this to your friends and relatives so they will have it when they are considering a computer or gadget purchase.   They will thank you for it.

1. What is your budget?

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

3. What screen resolution do you want?

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

5. How much battery life do you need?

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low, Medium or High)?

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, etc.)

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer, Blue Ray ROM/Writer, etc ?

12. Please tell me about the brands that you prefer and the brands that you don’t like and explain the reasons.

13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell me any additional information if needed.

Additionally… you should consider available support options in your area. If you buy something abroad, will you be able to have it fixed near where you live? Does the warranty apply? How quickly do local accredited technicians fix laptops?

Strike Three and They’re Out

I am without a new computer!  After trying out three machines, I gave up! (For the time-being at least…if you know me, you know it probably won’t last long.  LOL)

I dumped some applications on my trusty, very old, souped up, bionic Dell Inspiron E1505 and it’s stopped whining about it’s memory.  My world is peaceful once again.

The Yog2 Pro 2 was unwieldy.  Darn, double darn!….I wanted to like it so much, but I was just tense all the time, struggling with teeny tiny tabs on the web browser,  my fingers missing the keys on the chicklet keyboard, and the touch screen not working with various programs.  I took it back to Best Buy and they were very gracious.

I took home a Lenovo Idea pad and after much tweaking, customizing, disabling of features and dealing with it dropping my WiFi connection repeatedly….I called it quits.  I took it back and decided to just lay low, let the dust settle and wait for the manufacturers and developers to get their sh**t together.

No one should have to go through all this to get comfortable with a new machine.  And it’s not just me…in my research to find solutions, I discovered that other consumers are having the same issues.  I won’t bore you with all the gory details here, but suffice it to say that “the boys” are going to have to get on the same page and play together nice before I jump into the game again.  If it’s this frustrating for me (the lover of almost all things techie), imagine what it’s like for the average person!

On the positive side, most people are not trying to do all the things I do on the computer, so if you absolutely must get a new machine, talk to me first and let me advice you about the best solution for your particular needs.  I do consultations and shopping trips and I can tweak and disable things to make the transition more comfortable for you.

It’s been a hectic three weeks, but I’ve learned a lot that I can share and that makes me a happy girl.  I took the hits so you don’t have to and it’s my greatest pleasure to be able to help.

In Joy…no matter what,

Mardi

 

My New Computer

My old computer was running out of memory and my web browser was crashing.  I needed “bigger, faster, stronger” badly.  After much research on line and some field trips to Best Buy, I ordered a Dell Inspiron 15″ 7000 Series that was similar to my very, very old Inspiron 1500e.  It was a lot of power for the money ($649 on special) but it turned out to be too big and bulky.  Many companies are making the laptop screens wide for movies and adding number key pads to the keyboard, which I don’t need or want.  It was a little bit lighter than my old one, but it felt heavier because of the size.

The tracking pad was very squirrely and frustrating too.  I have since learned that track pads have been re-designed to allow finger gestures like the motions one uses on touch screens.  So this is partly a Windows 8 issue.  Maybe one can get used to it, but I’ve observed that most of my clients use a mouse.  Now I understand why I have so much trouble with my clients laptop track pads!  So….I’m sending the Dell back…too big, too heavy, disappointing web browsing speed, and a miserable squirrely touch pad.

A part of me wanted a Lenovo Yoga Pro 2.  It converts to a tablet, is small and lightweight, and has all the power (and price, $899 ) of a higher-end laptop.  It also can be put in stand mode or tent mode.  Here is a link if you want to see it.   http://vimeo.com/73485706    I wasn’t sure if I could live with a 13″ inch screen so I went to Best Buy to look at it again (third time’s a charm) and I decided to try it.  I think I can get used to the 13 inch screen…if not, I can get a 20 TV with DVD player for $189 or internet TV for $199 and use it as a monitor.

The touch pad doesn’t have all the gesture features and feels more like my old computer’s but it’s a little sensitive and I keep making mistakes.  Apparently this is partly a function of applications not being re-designed properly for touch screen use.  That will be changing in the near future.  Thanks again Microsoft for rocking our world with Windows 8. I’m telling the “honest to gosh” truth when I tell frantic clients, “I’ve been there and I feel your pain.”  My life has been upside down this past week with all the research, set up, customizing, downloading, and getting used to all the changes.  Playing with new gadgets makes me a happy girl…except when I’m in a hurry and need to get some work done.

So far, I like it…very fast, only 3 lbs., and small enough to fit in a large purse. I plan to take it everywhere, so you’ll be able to see it next time we get together.   “Stay tuned folks, we’ll have film at 11:00” LOL

I”m praying for the patience and strength to get through the return process with Dell.  May it be better than the ordering process which was a freaking nightmare.  I do not recommend doing business with Dell.  Their call centers  have no integration of departments and apparently there are no customer files for reps to access.   I feel sorry for the customer service reps who try their best to please, but are handicapped by the primitive call center infrastructure.  Be kind, it’s not their fault and I’ll bet they take a lot of abuse from irate customers.  If you ever want a Dell computer, buy it from Best Buy in Palm Desert.  I always get great service there.

Don’t assume that you have to spend this much money on a computer or tablet.  As I always say, it depends on what you plan to do with it.  I do a lot of research and web based work and need considerable power .  There are many less expensive gadgets available for the less intense user.  You might want to make an appointment with me for a consultation and/or field trip to Best Buy.  I can usually help people save a lot of money.

If you still use Windows XP you will need to upgrade before May.  Microsoft will not be doing anymore updates after that and your computer will be a big security risk.  So start planning and budgeting for a new machine now.

Your computing life will be much more enjoyable when you have up-to-date equipment that can handle the demands of modern applications.  So go for it.  You’re worth it!

Hear Me on 1450 AM Radio

My interview with Dominique Fruchtman on “The Most Interesting People in the Desert” on 1450 AM was so much fun! I hope you will enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed sharing about my work.

1450 AM Radio Interview

Radio cropped

Which Websites Are Sharing Your Personal Details?

This is very interesting information about common websites that are sharing information about us. I don’t worry about it too much because I don’t seem to have much in the way of unwanted advertising showing up in my email or anything. As a business owner, I know how challenging it is to reach a target market now. I’s like to think that most of this data sharing just aimed at helping businesses pitch ads that are relevant to people so businesses can get customers at an affordable price per customer. I don’t see it as an extreme security issue to be worried about. That’s just my perspective on things, you may not agree.

Click here to see report

The American Soldier | Chris Martin Writes

Chris found my Desert Computer Tutor blog and signed up to to receive notifications of new posts. I checked out his blog and found his gem for Veterans Day. He’s a writer and shares my love of technology. Technology puts us in touch with new friends and brings the world closer together. Thanks Chris! You Rock!

The American Soldier | Chris Martin Writes.

A Prayer for My Country

My Prayer for My Country – Ernest Holmes

Believing in the Divine Destiny of the United States of America and in the preservation of liberty, security and self-expression for all, I offer this, my prayer for my country.

I know that Divine Intelligence governs the destiny of the United States of America, directing the thought and the activity of all who guide its affairs.

I know that success, prosperity and happiness are the gifts of freedom and the Divine heritage of everyone in this country; that they are now operating in the affairs of every individual in this country.

I know that Divine Guidance enlightens the collective mind of the people of this country, causing it to know that economic security may come to all without the loss of either personal freedom or individual self-expression.  I know that no one can believe or be led to believe that personal freedom must be surrendered in order to insure economic security for all.

The All-knowing Mind contains the answer to every problem which confronts this country.  I know that every leader in this country is now directed by this All-knowing Mind and has the knowledge of a complete solution to every problem.  Each is impelled to act upon this knowledge to the end that abundance, security and peace shall come to all.

And I know that this Spiritual Democracy shall endure, guaranteeing to everyone in this country personal liberty, happiness and self-expression.

Originally published in Science of Mind Magazine, July 1953.

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