What we did – 14 November 2018

42 people!

Special thanks to volunteers Arani, Cherrieann, Joanna, Sekinat, Tolulope and Yvonne from Boden via Benefacto – plus regular volunteers Derek, Margaret, Michael and Tom.

Dealing with distraction

In an age of constant information and infinite distractions what can we do to pay more attention and engage, online and in real life?

TEDx video talk in the library – Thursday 15 November, 2 to 4 pm

Sociologist Zeynep Tufekci says ‘We’re building a building a dystopia just to make people click on ads’. Jaron Lanier has a solution to this in his talk ‘How we need to remake the internet’. ‘What exactly is attention and how do we reclaim it?’ asks neuroscientist Amishi Jha in ‘How to tame your wandering mind’ and maybe there’s a simple antidote to all of this as Kio Stark explores in ‘Why you should talk to strangers’.

Where and when

More information, booking your free ticket

  • Eventbrite site
  • Do it the easy way — just tell Rick you want to be there.

The 15 November TEDx videos

We’re building a building a dystopia just to make people click on ads

We’re building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren’t even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us — and what we can do in response.


How we need to remake the Internet

In the early days of digital culture, Jaron Lanier helped craft a vision for the internet as public commons where humanity could share its knowledge — but even then, this vision was haunted by the dark side of how it could turn out: with personal devices that control our lives, monitor our data and feed us stimuli. (Sound familiar?) In this visionary talk, Lanier reflects on a “globally tragic, astoundingly ridiculous mistake” companies like Google and Facebook made at the foundation of digital culture — and how we can undo it. “We cannot have a society in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it’s financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them,” he says.


How to tame your wandering mind

Amishi Jha studies how we pay attention: the process by which our brain decides what’s important out of the constant stream of information it receives. Both external distractions (like stress) and internal ones (like mind-wandering) diminish our attention’s power, Jha says — but some simple techniques can boost it. “Pay attention to your attention,” Jha says.


Why you should talk to strangers

“When you talk to strangers, you’re making beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life — and theirs,” says Kio Stark. In this delightful talk, Stark explores the overlooked benefits of pushing past our default discomfort when it comes to strangers and embracing those fleeting but profoundly beautiful moments of genuine connection.

What we did – June to October 2018

We have been busy!

We have had 30 to 40 people, sometimes more, every Wednesday morning. So posting on this blog has not been top priority. And we don’t do as much photography as we used to, mainly because of the extra admin load dealing with the consent forms, and general GDPR-related uncertainty.

But we have remembered to acknowledge all the volunteers from Benefacto — the list is on the Benefacto volunteers page.

A silver lining, ageing in the 21st century

Are attitudes to ageing keeping up with growing life expectancy?

TEDx video talk in the library – Thursday 8 November, 6 to 8 pm

We take a proper look at what it means to grow older today and how we can make ageing more fulfilling.

In her talk Ashton Applewhite states ‘Let’s end ageism’, Paul Tasner explains ‘How I became an entrepreneur at 66’, Laura Cartensen argues that ‘Older people are happier’, and Susan Pinker suggests that ‘The secret to living longer may be our social life’.

Local initiative Hello Hackney has been introducing seniors to technology as well as providing a social hub. Rick Crust joins us to explain how it works. Sarah Douglas and Hector Dyer from Liminal Space will introduce their research-based project about ageing ‘Unclaimed’ in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust.

Where and when

More information, booking your free ticket

  • Eventbrite site
  • Or you can do it the easy way — just tell Rick you want to be there.

The 8 November TEDx videos

Let’s end ageism

It’s not the passage of time that makes it so hard to get older. It’s ageism, a prejudice that pits us against our future selves — and each other. Ashton Applewhite urges us to dismantle the dread and mobilize against the last socially acceptable prejudice. “Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured,” she says. “It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all.”


How I became an entrepreneur at 66

It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Take it from Paul Tasner — after working continuously for other people for 40 years, he founded his own start-up at age 66, pairing his idea for a business with his experience and passion. And he’s not alone. As he shares in this short, funny and inspirational talk, seniors are increasingly indulging their entrepreneurial instincts — and seeing great success.


Older people are happier

In the 20th century we added an unprecedented number of years to our lifespans, but is the quality of life as good? Surprisingly, yes! Psychologist Laura Carstensen shows research that demonstrates that as people get older they become happier, more content, and have a more positive outlook on the world.


The secret to living longer may be our social life

The Italian island of Sardinia has more than six times as many centenarians as the mainland and ten times as many as North America. Why? According to psychologist Susan Pinker, it’s not a sunny disposition or a low-fat, gluten-free diet that keeps the islanders healthy — it’s their emphasis on close personal relationships and face-to-face interactions. Learn more about super longevity as Pinker explains what it takes to live to 100 and beyond.

Join us from where you are, next Saturday

An experiment in online gatherings and workshops

Saturday 20 Oct, 2 to 4 pm

An online drop-in?

This is something we have been thinking about for several years. We don’t like the fact that our inclusive drop-in sessions do not include some of the people who most need it – people who are housebound, always or occasionally, for any reason.

What can we do about that?

Can we create an online drop-in that is tied to the real drop-in, so that everybody feels that they belong, everybody feels more connected, and everybody gets help and support if they want it?

Online gatherings with video and sound are not new. Businesses have been doing it for at least 20 years. The technology already works well. It’s available to anyone who has an Internet connection (at home or anywhere else) and a device with a video camera and a microphone. That’s a lot of people. The challenge is learning how to make it work for everybody who visits the IT drop-in, and everybody who cannot.

Right now, it’s not obvious how we could include housebound IT beginners. That’s a goal we should work towards, from where we are now – a plausible starting point, which we think could be Hangouts Meet.

Piloting Hangouts Meet

Learners on our recent mini-course G Suite apps helped to test Hangouts Meet, which we can offer as a free resource for chat, information and learning. Of course, we couldn’t test it fully because we were all in the same room! But it seems to have everything we need: business-level privacy, designed for regular scheduled sessions at which everyone can get to know everyone else, good sound quality over wifi (reasonable video too), the ability to break out to smaller group chats, participants can create their own sessions if they want to, and even the possibility of running online workshops.

So the next step is to pilot it — schedule a date and time for an open online session in which nearly everybody will be somewhere else, probably at home. We hope you can find time next Saturday to join an experimental session. Details below …

Help us test an online drop-in

  • Sat 20 October, 2 to 4 pm (it’s a drop-in, so start and finish as you please).
  • It should work on most smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.
  • If you have an account at gmail.com, seniors.org.uk or bold.org.uk – sign in to that first.
  • Then follow this link: meet.google.com/efr-jqdz-coi

More information?

If you would like more information about this idea, please email helpteam@hellohackney.net

If you would like help with your equipment, or maybe even try a dummy run, please come to one of our four drop-in sessions this week.

Computer courses for beginners at Kingsland Hub

These free IT courses might be exactly what you are looking for

The courses will be at Kingsland Hub in Kingsland Road — very close to Whitmore Community Centre.

They will be run by Peter Bedford Housing Association (PBHA), who have sent us this information …


1. Introduction to Computers – Taster

‘This short taster course is for people who have not used computers before and wish to sample what computers are about before pursuing the next step. The course runs twice weekly’

  • Duration: 3 weeks (Tuesday and Thursday)
  • Dates: 25 September to 11 October
  • Time: 10 am to 12 noon

2. Next Steps into Computers

‘This course is for people who have done the Taster course and wish to continue learning’

  • Duration: 6 weeks (Tuesday and Thursday)
  • Dates: 23 October to 24 January
  • Time: 10 to 12 noon

Do it now!

We cannot answer any questions about these courses — so for more information or to register for a course, please contact PBHA as soon as possible …

  • Email: learn@peterbedford.org.uk
  • Phone: 020 3815 4100

Update

These Kingsland Hub courses have already started, so this post is now out of date.

Cloud for Community (working title)

A course for adventurous oldies

Every Wednesday morning during September

Learn how to use apps for communication – slides, flyers, poster, video calls, messaging (and maybe improve your email skills).

You will be using our classy new laptops, exploring ways to be useful with the help of simple and free software.

At 3 of the 4 sessions, we will be joined by teams of young volunteers from the City.

Finish with a sense of achievement, knowing that you have learnt something new, and a certificate to prove it.


Update 26 September

  • The course was full, and has now finished.
  • We dropped the working title in favour of a title that describes what we did — an introduction to G Suite apps (everybody with a Gmail account has most of them already, and some of you have more).
  • We might repeat it.

Laptop Workshop in the Community Room (29 August 2018)

How to use our Chromebook laptops

Our new laptops are Chromebooks, providing very safe and very fast access to the Internet. So far, people using them have logged in as Guests.

But we can offer you a better way to use our laptops. A User login would allow you to personalise your Chromebook experience and save your workspace, so next time you log in (from any computer), you can carry on where you left off.

If you have an email address at Gmail, seniors.org.uk or bold.org.uk, you are ready to be a User now. If you have an email address somewhere else, we can give you a free G Suite account at either seniors.org.uk (if you are retired) or bold.org.uk (if you are still in the job market). Or, if you prefer, you could just create your own standard Gmail account. Either of those options would allow you to add yourself to our Chromebooks as a User.

So the workshop on Wednesday morning, 29 August, will be about claiming a G Suite account, adding yourself as a User to our laptops, understanding how everything works, and maybe exploring G Suite features. It’s really very easy. The workshop will be short: 10 am to 11 am. Of course, afterwards you may continue using the laptops until 1pm.

When and where