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One Useful Contact List

How many contact lists (address books) do you have? If you have more than one list (email in one list, phone numbers in another, etc.) consider consolidating all that information into one electronic address book you can access from your smartphone or tablet. Now use this one list to store addresses, phone numbers, and more.

More?

The Contact area of many email programs, smart phones, and tablets has a “notes” field for each entry. Enter information here that you might be glad to have with you.

Like what? Here are some ideas.

Vendor Information
Account numbers. Case numbers. Membership numbers! Enter this information in the notes field of the contact for easy reference.

Service Information
If you enter your lawn company’s phone number, you might also want to enter the services and prices you discussed. When you get the bill, you can compare it to your notes.

Medication
Use the notes section in the contact entry for your pharmacy (or veterinarian) to remind yourself of the names and doses of meds you need and might have to refill.

Restaurant Information
If you have the phone number for a restaurant, you might also enter the hours of operation or the name of your favorite waiter.

Birthdays
Some contact programs have a designated birthday field. If you enter a contact’s birthday, it might show up on your calendar … with a reminder!

and my favorite:

Passwords!
Store your passwords in your contact list under the company to which they apply, but be sure to encrypt your passwords so that only you know what they are. (Example: If your Amazon password is Baseball123, enter “B123” in the notes section of your Amazon contact).

Just think how organized you’ll be!

The Best Book?

I am often asked to recommend books for learning how to use computers, smartphones, software programs, and for navigating social media.

I wish I had a specific recommendation. The fact is that when I want to learn a computer-related skill — from a simple question to a new operating system — I don’t look it up in a book, I look it up on the internet.

Helpful books do exist — and I encourage you to find one that works for you if that is how you best learn.

But before you invest in a book, try to find the answer(s) on the internet.

 Here are some helpful tips:

  • Start your search by typing the name of the program and, if applicable, the version of your program: type “Word 2010” and then your inquiry. Without the program and version, your search results might not apply to you.
  • Answers can come in the form of text, screen shots (pictures of screens), or even videos. Some videos can be extremely helpful, others .. not so much.
  • If you find the perfect set of instructions, print them so you can follow them on paper while you follow them on the screen.
  • Create a folder on your Bookmark (or Favorites) list to save your computer help pages for future reference.
  • If you click on a link and a “chat” screen pops into your computer asking if you want free help, move on. It might not turn out to be free after all. And never let anyone assume control of your screen, even just to demonstrate something.

In addition to free search results, professionally presented and comprehensive subscription-based video tutorial programs are available. These plans are best of you need to learn one program in depth or if you are curious about, well, everything!

Happy learning!

Movie Night!

If you subscribe to Netflix and stream movies on your tv, computer, tablet, or smartphone, you don’t have to rent or buy the movie. Netflix owns it — you just watch it at your convenience.

But if you wish to watch a movie that you find on iTunes, or Amazon or Roku —  or other non-subscription based companies — you need to buy it or rent it.

Buying a movie is a one-time purchase; you own the movie and you can watch it any time. Renting a movie requires a rental fee that allows you 24 hours to watch the movie. (You don’t have to watch it all at once, but after 24 hours, it is no longer available to you unless you rent it again.)

You have another decision to make: should you rent or buy the movie in Standard Definition (SD), or pay the extra dollar to get it in High Definition (HD)?

My best advice: HD if you are planning to watch on an HD tv, SD if you are planning to watch on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Apparently the benefits of HD are wasted on the smaller screens.

Click here for a detailed article about the HD/SD choice.

I hope you take advantage of some of the really fun movie (and TV show) streaming opportunities. Here’s hoping you find good things to watch!

Event-Specific Apps

Most of us have downloaded apps that we use all year long. I use my favorite apps regularly to check the weather, read the news, follow my pro sports teams, play a few games, check airline flight times, and keep track of my fitness workouts.

But I also download apps that are event specific, and short lived.

Today begins the second week of Roland Garros, also known as the “French Open” tennis tournament. Last week I downloaded the “Roland Garros 2014” app. Throughout the two week tournament, I check the scores, upcoming schedules, tournament news, and player bios. Next week I will delete the app.

The week of June 12th, the US Open Golf app will be available. For those of you who might enjoy the “3-D” fly-overs of each hole along with the leaderboard updates and in-depth analysis, this app is for you. After Sunday, June 15th, delete the app.

Wimbledon starts on June 23rd. The Tour de France starts on July 5th. The British Open starts on July 17th. The PGA Championship and the US Open Tennis Tournament start in August. Each has its own app.

And, while you are marking your calendar, the March Madness app comes out in, well, March, and the next Summer Olympic games begin on August 5, 2016.

Even if your favorite sporting event (or cultural, educational, philanthropic, or community event) doesn’t have an app, but has a website that will be regularly updated, save the web address shortcut to your favorites list or home screen.

Just don’t forget to delete these apps and shortcuts when the event is over to make room for next year!