Article on Blogging

I have plans to post about Second Life when I get a readership on older citizens. Don’t want to frighten them. So spread the word by commenting. Thank you very much.

Older Citizens Blogging

About

The purpose of this hub is to get noticed. As an older citizen I feel marginalised as so many other older citizens do. The purpose of my teaching blog is to help older citizens have a voice. I am 67 years old and feel in many ways to be in my prime.

Spammy?

I write domains as “example dot com” when I want to tell people of a site where there is no need for a link. We sub vocalise when we read which is a memory aid. Of course when we say a web address this is how we say it. It is appropriate when an html link is not appropriate. My first gTLD (global top level domain) is IrishSecure dot com and I have had it since 1998. You can visit it if you like but there is no need for a link. There is also the practice in some platforms and blogs that if you put in example.com it automatically becomes a clickable link. Maybe its idiosyncratic but there seems to be no research on how to remember a web address? It would be easy to set up an experiment to test my theory. Give one group a list of web addresses with words example dot com and the control group example.com and see who remembers more.

Experience

I have an honours science degree in Psychology and I am a trained counsellor. I have a masters degree in Social Work. I worked as a Probation Officer for ten years in inner city high crime patch in London. I had 3 murderers on my caseload. I set up and ran an alcohol abuse training course that the courts could sentence to. I did 14 hour shifts in a secure bail hostel on my own. For two years. My reports were used to train magistrates.

I have been around the world, mostly overland. It took ten years. I went to India via the Nile…true story!

I am bipolar.

I have survived lung cancer.

Computing

I had my first computer in 1981. In 1986 I helped programme and install a networked touch sensitive computer system for Manpower Services Commission a British government body to access a database, in real time, of job vacancies nationwide. In those days the “computer scientists” in MSC were a bunch of psychologists, the only ones to understand the system. It is now (?) used in every job centre in England well that was in the days of MSC now gone *sigh*.

In 1994 I built my first PC from scratch. In 1996 I set us up as an ISP (Internet Service Provider) with two web servers and two name servers which were built from scrap. We had a Silicon Graphics work station as used by NASA to control the Mars lander. In 2000 we offered secure wireless Internet access to the whole town of Tullamore in Ireland. In 2006 we went bust through lack of support and repercussions of the dot com crash.

My YouTube channel which I set up in 2008 has had over 100k views and there are over 400 videos. I have published over 80 documents on Scribd (not written by me) which have had over 60k views. My major sites have a library of select books all out of print copies I have found, including James Joyce Ulysses, Moby Dick etc. available to read online or download. It’s on this site too as I love it so.  My blogs have over 6k subscribers.

Currently I operate a rented web server and name servers and have 25 gTLDs and untold WordPress blogs. The blog linked below took a week to set up including content.

I know what I am doing.

If you don’t blow your own trumpet will someone else? Older Citizens should have a voice, my aim is to give them one.

Our brains still work

“The good news is that far from slowing down in old age, the brain can actually keep growing new dendrites, which are the connections between neurons. Old brains are as plastic as young brains; in fact, the connections between the two hemispheres of our brains become better integrated with age……”

Dr. Natash Josefowitz “On becoming 90” Huffington Post

Yet there are some failings as Dr.Josefowitz points out in the excellent article. I find, myself, memories of 50 or more years ago can be quite fresh but I forget the password I created 5 minutes ago AND I am only 67. I use sticky notes on my computer to remember stuff. So clearly things aren’t perfect. However it doesn’t stop me. My email box is littered with “password reset” notices. No big deal. This has been recognised by the powers that be and I can log on using a one click Facebook login.

You can teach an old dog new tricks

I blog a lot and I find it keeps my brain ticking over nicely. I learn new stuff everyday and the important bits I retain. So the idea that learning stops at a certain age is a fallacy. So with this in mind I decided to teach blogging to older citizens and that it can be done. There is a noticeable lack of older citizens blogging and this needs changing. It helps greatly that with a computer and access to the Internet this is not difficult. It could be done in a library, It takes minutes to set up a wordpress blog. When you are in wordpress dot com “If it doesn’t exist register it” . How Zen! People use their name which makes it easy to remember. Given that there are there are approximately over 150 million blogs on the Internet getting a name may pose some problems however marionjwinslow for example or billwatkinssuperblog are probably available. Just need a bit of imagination.

Capitals are ok

The web treats capitals as lower case so when you are writing the name of your blog you can write it as MarionJWilson or BillsSuperBlog which makes it that more memorable when people read it. They don’t have to write it in capitals as a link BUT IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE! So be imaginative and you can write a short but memorable sentence. MaybeOldButWhoCares is a potential blog address, it is memorable and that is the important thing. When chatting with friends you can say “MaybeOldButWhoCares dot wordpress dot com” and they will remember it. (By the way the teaching blog I have set up on wordpress is 100% free and there is no reason to spend any money).

Imagination

So I registered it. Any Older Citizen who wants it let me know in the comments and I'll give them a login

 So I registered it. Any Older Citizen who wants it let me know in the comments and I’ll give them a login

Research

After an extensive trawl I can find no research that has investigated cognition and blogging in the older citizen. Nor the potential impact on feelings of isolation and exclusion. Nor on the potential impact on family life. If a persons mother starts putting up pictures of when they were a child or writing about a holiday they had in 1965; anything that gives the son or daughter an historical perspective will bring families closer.

I have a very old family album which goes back to 1949 – 1952 and I used my camera phone to take a picture of the photograph. I then uploaded it to my computer and added it to my blog. Any family picture can be put in a blog.

A free wordpress blog is there in perpetuity not so people. If you have left a blog as a legacy how uplifting it can be. There needs to be research on the impact of blogging on mood. As the population ages, older citizens are a potential resource that shouldn’t be ignored.

Me and Mum 1949

 

The good old days

I read an interesting article on Facebook by an 86 year old who was lamenting the passing of an age in England that was post WW2 a time of the creation of free health care, a boom in affordable housing, education blossoming and freely available work. Its on my blog. After watching I, Daniel Blake it makes you wonder about the value we put on citizens today. Older citizens can take the values of yesterday and resurrect them for today’s generation and demand a return to things we hold dear. Compassion and honesty being the watch words. Daniel Blake received no compassion.

Older Citizens on WordPress

So I have set up a teaching blog for getting older citizens blogging. I have used video extensively with text support; a complimentary oldercitizens dot com and a quick start dot org. I am in the process of propagating it globally (why not?) and have plans to set up complimentary country sub domains on the dot com. It took me a week to set up the three sites including content so not much reaction yet. This is a free service not a business. No profit is being asked for nor made. Below is a video I made for adding your first post. Please watch full screen.

First Post

The Blog

There are four main sections to get you started

  1. Setting up and registering your blog
  2. Your first post
  3. Inserting an image and embedding a video
  4. Changing the theme

There are also sundry pages:

  • Contact
  • Useful Programs including the free Microsoft Expression Design image editor
  • A page on Widgets
  • And a Library of books (pdfs for online reading or download) which I love and put on all my sites including this one.
  • About Me

Yes a weeks work indeed…..

High hopes

This may take some time but having retired I have time, its a hobby as well as I hope a valued service. Getting noticed on the Internet is not easy and I know this. I put up my first web page in 1996 (its still there in Archives) and during a five year period as an ISP (Internet Service Provider) I am no stranger to the web. I rent my own web server and name servers so I know what I’m doing. The cost is minimal, a few Euro a week. What I am doing now is spreading the word so please visit the site leave a comment or fill out the form provided. I need feedback so I can improve. Nothing is set in stone and I will respond to both criticism and praise but I have high hopes. Hope you enjoyed this hub, there is a poll……

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New Stuff

I have neglected this site for about a couple of years since I got sick……

So I will be updating it. Meanwhile here are some links to the work I have been doing.

We have OlderCitizens.com which does what it says on the box. Then you have my teaching blog on OlderCitizens.wordpress.com and then half a dozen wordpress sites that I needed to make a video. I love the Zen of “if it doesn’t exist then register it”

maybe old but

Older Citizens on WordPress

So I have set up a teaching blog for getting older citizens blogging. I have used video extensively with text support; a complimentary oldercitizens dot com and a quick start dot org. I am in the process of propagating it globally (why not?) and have plans to set up complimentary country sub domains on the dot com. It took me a week to set up the three sites including content so not much reaction yet. This is a free service not a business. No profit is being asked for nor made

There is a quick start on OlderCitizens.org too.

So work in progress. What do you think of this theme? Got it on eCollege.me too, another site that needs updating.

I have registered Older Citizens as a business name too. I have high hopes of it. As one person it is a full time job to keep up. Fortunately I am on a bit of a high at the moment so bags of cerebral energy.  Got one splendid review from my friend Seren. She loves it.

I am also making an effort to document my life did 1965 today. My first holiday alone with my school mates. Ahh memories. OMFG I have so much to write about:

  • Tour of Italy when I was 10
  • Years 17 to 21
  • Bartending in Spain for six months aged 22
  • Squatting in Elgin Avenue 1971 – 73
  • The Great Journey (have done a bit)
  • University
  • Tibetan Buddhism with HH Dalai Lama
  • Theravadin Buddhism a monk for a year
  • Teaching English in Japan
  • ………and that just takes me up to my early thirties

Sigh but my memory is quite fresh.

Wrestling with Hub Pages at the moment – they don’t like me…..

Here’s my favourite video, the gasometer reminds me of behind Kensal Green cemetery as a child by the canal with the gas works behind….hmmm Kensal Green another blog post…

 

 

 

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Smart Phone

newphoneTo complete my technological revolution thought i better get a new phone. I had had my old phone since my daughter broke my Nokia and I subsequently lost it.  It was a good phone and I had had it for about 5 years. Strapped for cash I bought a postfone from the post office which cost €10.  It didn’t do much more than send and receive calls.  So a new phone. I went to the eircom shop in the mall and found a Nokia Lumia 625 which looked pretty good. Went home and researched it, hmmm the Nokia 925 had a wonderful camera.  It takes ordinary pictures with its 8 megapixel camera, takes multiple pictures of the same scene and a panorama, I’ll do a better one outside.

WP_20140717_06_36_11_Panorama

It also takes excellent videos even of the screens:

Very impressive. The music capabilities are likewise awesome. It connects to my Bluetooth speakers effortlessly. It has great features for making mixes.  Its a Windows phone so its just a question of plugging it in to the computer via a USB and it appears in File Explorer.  I am having problems with Bluetooth connecting to the computer. This is the computers fault.  Been having trouble with connecting Bluetooth devices.

So, I seem to be well set up; tablet, computer, phone. AND I haven’t spent much money with regular affordable repayments.  AND I’ve started going to the gym so will get healthy to  use it all. My next step is getting glasses. Got eye test today and its free. Celebrating my 65th year on this planet and thanks to my UK pension which I get as a right I can afford stuff.  I get my disability and next year this will convert to an Irish pension.  Can I help? As an elder of the village I will use my skills as best I can for free. Use Me!! ( http://UseMe.biz ) It’s not so bad being old  :)))

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Sigh

Been having a troublesome day so……..

I thought I would cheer myself up with some Art. I am more ignorant of Art than I care to mention but I know what I like. Perhaps the most famous paintings I have seen were in the Uffizi gallery in Florence my favourite city in Europe. Of note there is Botticelli’s Venus on a Half Shell:

Botticelli's Birth of Venus reworked on the website annautopiagiordano.it Florence is so beautiful, the square with the statue of David ie wonderful. To sit in the square in an outdoor café, a little stoned, sipping Campari Sodas. Yes sipping because the point is to be with the ambiance without breaking the bank. to be smartly dressed is a must otherwise you will be given a table inside. You have to look cool. You should look like one of The Beautiful People, aging perhaps but aging gracefully. The fact we were camping on the side of hill 5 miles outside town need not be mentioned. The thing is wherever you go you have to blend in. Myself with my 25 year old slim, leggy Japanese wife (well she won’t read this but one of the reasons I married her not because her dad was a millionaire, nor that she had an IQ off the scale but because John Lennon had a Japanese wife; the coolest man ever. ) blended.

Oh dear aren’t I awful. Ooops. Back to Art. You do realise that all Art is generally available on the ‘net? So there is no excuse. Of course, if you must and the fact you are a technophile, you can make it a technology. So I love Kandinsky and below is a slider of his work.

Unfortunately this site doesn’t support Hi Slider so here is a replacement:


Here is a video of the eCollege site you can see the slider in action.


Nota Bene

I know how to be buy a computer. Probably I got used to people ignoring the box that did all the work but calling the monitor the computer, anyway I bought my first proper computer in 1994. It cost a fortune because i spent half the total price on a 17 inch monitor. You see you spend all your time in front of your monitor, the fastest and biggest computer need not be viewed through a 15 inch monitor. I have a 22 inch wide screen monitor and I run at resolution of 1920 x 1080. Makes sense to me. I live in front of my computer as my environment is not conducive to perambulations. You might find my graphics a tad large but to me they are normal. For example my signature is 36pt.

 

philipBut to me its ok. A signature should be a tad flamboyant. I have said in Essential Free Graphics how important it is to have a good graphics program without spending months or years on Adobe Photoshop. All my stuff comes from Expression Design from Microsoft. The studio was selling a good few hundred euro but I don’t know why they stopped selling it but now its free. It does the job.

I created :

pennypedestalsign

I did it all except for photoshopping the background of Penny the cat. you can get the rest of the story  Not Another Kitten dot com.  ” Tails from The Kitten Shop” a damn good read.

Thanks

philipsm

See? (I can do small!!!!)

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MOOCs

Infographic: How Many Students Are Completing Free Online Courses?

(that are open to anyone) are more popular than Justin Bieber right now, but, as is to be expected from such a new medium, these online courses have their own share of issues. One puzzling problem is the low completion rates almost across the board. Is the lack of price causing low commitment among students? Are these courses not engaging enough? Are they too long?

MOOCs are too young to have enough real data to figure out this mystery completely. Thanks to education blogger Katy Jordan, however, enough data exists to show that it’s not about course length or number of students enrolled, as shown in our newest infographic: how many students are completing free online courses or MOOCs?

free-online-course-MOOC-completion-rate-infographic

So what is causing students of free online courses to stop short of finishing? Only time will tell. Until then, MOOCs will remain an attractive educational opportunity that few actually take full advantage of.

My view: I have done two online courses using Moodle via FÁS in Ireland,  Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Word both of which have been certificated by Microsoft.  Moodle offers a structure that you complete at your own pace, there are no lectures or teachers, however online mentoring is available. There was an exam at the end of the courses taken at an examination centre. . With MOOCs you can only get a certificate of completion. I have a love of learning and if I do not learn something new every single  day I feel the day is wasted. It would be interesting to see the gender and age demographic to throw more light on this. Online courses are definitely the way forward and distance learning has been with us for some time.

Do a Google search to find a course in your country.

Source: http://www.katyjordan.com/MOOCproject.html

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Free Stuff

Re Posted from Family Blogs dot me Family Blogs dot info is the main site.

You might be temptied to get a free site, weebly, webnode and WordPress all offer free sites and will let you register a gTLD a generic top level domain like dot com for a price. BUT you will find drawbacks. How many email addresses do you get, with forwarders? How much disk space? Can you have sub domains? You might get a dot me from wordpress like this one. i got this site to add to my SEO but the real site is Family Blogs dot info. Why? A big big reason compare the twp pictures below:

selfhostedI registerd a domain with freehosting.com to discover it did not have an up-to-dare cPanel and that half the utilities were missinng. It took nearly three weeks, a dozen emails and the threat of a court action to get it to a paid hosting like it is on today. I get 24/7 support from my service provider. Anything I don’t know about domains and servers I can find out immediately. I have been using WordPress since 2008.

FamilyBlogs.info is a web site. blog.FamilyBlogs.info is the blog in a sub domain. The blog is set up as a family blog. I do the same with IrishSecure.com the blog is at sl.IrishSecure.com this is an individual blog.

I use the connumity / family plugin on two sites GodKnows.info and SecondLife.HostsLikeMe.com . both these allow others to contribute.

A guiding principle for me isL “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he will never starve.” The days are gone where techys rule the web. Millions are doing it for themselves.

You can do it. Set yourself up as administrator, practice your skills. It will take up very little of your time BUT spend some cash as FREE things should be looked at carefully.

N.B. I make graphics animations and videos. I charge €10 about $6 an hour. Below is one of my favourites. It was made on my island in Second life.

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