Fear-No; Respect-Yes: Simple Technology Tips for Those Over Sixty (or Under)

Lynnelle here:

(yeaaaaaa! I get to go first!)

Technology.  As if we didn’t have enough to deal with hurdling into <cough> our senior years.  

There was a time when one could go about life as usual and not give one hoot to the newest technology development. Today, unless you live in Westeros with The Mother of Dragons (or better yet, her nephew Jon Snow) you have to stay up with a lot of technology just to live day-to-day in normal life. 

Remember when we thought programming the clock on the DVD was hard? Now we have to program most everything to use it - phones, watches, thermostats - entire houses, even. There are really refrigerators that will text you your grocery list.  Writing this makes me want to go lie down.

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Seriously, our phones aren’t phones any more. They are computers; as are the watches we wear, thermostats in our homes, the cars we drive, etc. Technology is integrated into the way we live and we HAVE to keep up with at least some of the ongoing (and frequent) developments and changes. Because when technology changes now, it changes our lives.  

To get started, here are three tips for those of us NOT digital natives and not living amongst direwolves/

Lynnelle's Technology Tips for Those Over 60 - Or Under 60, all the same.

#1. Don’t be afraid of technology. You can’t escape it, so don’t be afraid of it. I stop short of saying ‘embrace it’ but, if you first overcome the fear I’ll bet the embracing part would follow along. Baby Steps. 

To calm some of the fear keep in mind that technology is a tool - not a thing. Even though it’s not tangible in the same way, technology is a tool like your hairdryer or your car, helping you do day-to-day things easier, better, and faster. That’s the goal, anyway. Understanding what it is you want to do easier, better, and faster - and to what extent - is key to making sure you have the right technology. 

#2. DO be respectful of technology. “What you don’t see won’t hurt you.” Does NOT apply here. You can see the person crossing the street, so you put on the brakes. You see the smoke coming out of the hairdryer, so you unplug it. With technology you can’t see the code in the “My Goofy Cat Picture” website that makes your identification and personal data visible to that company’s IT group (much less the bad guys who broke the code and are lurking around for your ID and personal info) without your knowledge. 

You can’t see all the people who will see and share your FB post beyond your known friends. If you don’t want your Mom, your spouse or your kids to see what you’re posting or reading online, make sure you understand the privacy settings, cookies and history captured from all the sites you visit and postings you make.

#3. DO use different passwords for each membership/ID online account; ESPECIALLY if there is financial information shared or stored on that account. I know I know, it’s a pain in the butt. But it is important. 

No questions. Just do it.

If the number of passwords you have exceeds your memory’s management capacity, then a password management tool will be important. No - don’t store your passwords on an Excel file or a Word doc. No. Don’t do it. Don’t store them on a hand-written ledger in your desk drawer. And NO POST-IT NOTES STUCK ON THE SIDE OF YOUR MONITOR!

Seriously, no. If you HAVE to use Excel or Word, store HINTS to the passwords, not the passwords themselves. 

There are several apps for managing passwords out there; many free. Here’s a couple of PC Magazine review articles: 

Today I use the AgileBits 1 Password. Until last Thursday when I got my foxy new MacBook Pro, I was using a 2008 iMac, almost a decade old.  I am on version 3 of the 1 Password when version 6 is the latest. It secures the passwords for me. That’s about all it does and, until now, it’s been enough. Now, with all the accounts and sign-ons I have with managing the website and blog, I need to upgrade. The jury is out but I'm thinking about going with either Dashlane or LastPass, the paid version. When I decide I’ll let you know, if you’re interested. Leave a comment below.

So there you have it. #1. Do NOT be afraid of technology.  #2. DO Respect technology. And #3. Securely store and manage your unique passwords

Barb and I talked about technology being an important topic to introduce on HaT, because of all of the above. I’m not an expert, by any stretch. However, I’m not afraid to jump in and learn and will share what I do know and what I learn. Heck, I think a podcast or video could be cool.  Maybe someone in the HaT Tribe is a technology guru! For sure, reach out to us!


Barb here:

Oh, man, I hardly know where to begin. 

First, when Lynnelle says that we, the Divas are building this website all ourselves, do understand that Lynnelle the Heels Diva is truly doing over 75% of the technical stuff. While that was part of our plan it isn’t fair to her because (as you can see) she’s a pretty good writer, too. I, however, am not a pretty good technical person—unless you are comparing me to my sister-in-law, my late mother-in-law, or EW. 

Barb's Technology Tips for Those Over 60—and a few other issues.

So let me address a few of my issues, concerns, and personal failures as they pertain to Lynnelle’s Top Three Tech Caveats for Seniors.

1. Game of Thrones. For the record, I have never watched anything more than 10 minutes of the first episode of Game of Thrones, couldn’t pick Jon Snow out of a line-up, and don’t know his aunt.

2. Passwords. I remember the first time EW and I had to come up with a password and (like a whole bunch of you) we used our dog’s name and a couple of numbers that meant something to us. And that is why those trolls want to know a whole lot of things about you and me and why we should NOT answer those hooker name quizzes and such on Facebook. 

I have since resorted to a system I found online: I write a sentence about the tool for which the password will be used and then do creative things with the first letter of each word. For example, if the password is for an account with Marine Midland Bank, I might say: We Love Marine Midland Bank For Watching All Our Millions. WLMMBFWAOM becomes “3Lmm64Wa0!” Pretty much whenever I do this the little password robot is very happy. (For the record, we do not have an account with Marine Midland and, unfortunately don’t have millions anywhere.)

3. Storing Passwords. Sometimes I can remember the sentence, rarely can I remember the password made from it. (And when I can, it’s time to change passwords.) I came up with a less ingenious way of storing them: Yep, the Excel Password Worksheet that Lynnelle damned above. To make things worse, I have a copy of that worksheet in a thumb drive for when I have to use someone else’s computer. So yes, I can carry my Password Worksheet in my computer and in an easily lost thumb drive. (I can see Lynnelle’s face now; this will not go down well. Yes, by the time you read this, I will have my own Password App. Dang.

4. One additional thing that should be a concern to every adult with an on-line presence, but is definitely more important the older and/or more adventurous we are: Make sure that someone you trust (in our case Favorite) has an up-to-date copy of all of your social media personas, their passwords, and your financial passwords. Yes, this is a pain in the ass. Pull up your big girl pants and get it done. Also, one of the free password sources mentioned in Lynnelle’s link has the option of including a “survivor” who will receive your passwords. 

Wasn’t this a fun post? Yeah. Not so much. We didn’t promise you a rose garden every day.

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