No Internet! Thank you Vodaphone for demonstrating that digital communication is always inferior to the real thing. So we enjoyed an afternoon of productive conversation, and (for diehard digitalists) offline word-processing. Special thanks to volunteer Fiona from Baringa via Benefacto – plus our regular volunteers Gene, Margaret, Stephen and Tom.
Horrible weather outside, but it’s always sunny inside Whitmore Community Centre on Friday afternoon — so we were full. Special thanks for a great afternoon — to volunteers Paul, Chris, Adam and Ashraf from Financial Conduct Authority via Benefacto – plus regular volunteers Gene, Margaret, Stephen and Tom.
Reported in Hackney Today 28 January 2019 — Over 100 Hackney women were nominated for making a difference to the borough — two of the front-runners are drop-in stalwarts Irene Lewington and Patricia Sim, who both make a massive difference to our Friday afternoons.
Hyacinth — a prominent Hackney wonder woman in her own right — investigates. Watch this hastily-made instant video, shot on an old iPad, handheld by a one-eyed camera person, in an echoey room at Whitmore Community Centre, surrounded by other people banging and coughing.
A woman who lives in sheltered accommodation spends several nights every week riding on London’s night buses in order to meet people. Carol says nobody speaks to her when she is at home so she goes looking for company on public transport.
This is the link to the BBC video – The woman who spends her nights on a London bus
We are not the only drop-in IT help centre in Hackney. The video shows a very successful project run by the Trowbridge Senior Citizens Club. We don’t know exactly when they are open, but they are easy to find on the Trowbridge Estate in Hackney Wick.
- Address: 15 Lavington Close, E9 5HF
- Map: goo.gl/maps/LUajeJ5dzQs
Another way to avoid exploitation
Don’t pay for over-priced software that you don’t need!
This post is about how you can find a cheaper and more appropriate version of MS Office (which includes MS Word), if you really need it.
Recommended MS Office versions
- MS Office Home and Student 2007 — possibly the best deal, but not common now. One license allows you to install on three devices.
- MS Office 2010 Pro — widely used. For example, the current A5 flyers and A3 posters for the drop-in and podcast were edited with MS Word 2010 because that’s what I use to edit complex documents for commercial printing. MS Publisher 2010 is also very useful — and the last version of Publisher that can create documents in the CMYK format that commercial printers require.
More recent versions of MS Word are not superior, just more expensive.
How to buy a retail product key
This is how we got MS Office 2007 or 2010 on the drop-in laptops.
What you need to know about buying MS Office this way …
- What you actually pay for is a licence key — a retail product that can be transferred and traded.
- Always make sure that you are paying for a key, not a recurring subscription.
- The software itself is a free download from the Microsoft server. Your retail licence key allows you to install and use the software legally — and you can move it to a new computer when you need to.
- When you buy a retail licence key, the seller company provides full instructions on what to do with it.
- By the way — if you have bought a Windows computer with MS Office pre-installed, you do not have a retail key. You cannot sell it or move it to a different computer.
There are several UK sellers in this market. I’m not going to recommend any of them because you — as the buyer — must use your own judgement, not mine. I have been satisfied as a customer of Software Geeks (softwaregeeks.co.uk), but they have competitors and it might be foolish to ignore them.
Although this procedure is quite straightforward, digital beginners can easily get lost. However, our drop-in volunteers can probably help you — provided you are already comfortable buying online with a credit or debit card.
If you are a Windows user, our volunteers might also point out that …
- Open-source LibreOffice Writer (libreoffice.org/discover/writer) would probably meet all your word-processing requirements — and it’s free.
- All versions of Windows since 1995 have included a simple word-processor named Wordpad — so if your needs are basic and you don’t need a spellchecker, you already have what you are looking for.
Celebrate survival — one more year
Friday afternoon, 2 pm, 21 December, at Whitmore Community Centre
What sort of party?
Look at some of the party videos on page Blasts from the Past — they just happened naturally — so that is what we have in mind at the moment. Music delivery by Haggerston DJ Sister Teresa.
Who is invited?
- You and everybody else — past, present and future droppers-in, podcasters, volunteers, helpers, friends, family 🙂
Is party booze allowed?
- WCC management say: “Yes – but don’t make a mess, and please take your bottles away with you”.
The DWP have published a flyer for people who have difficulty accessing their services. Here’s an extract …
DWP Partnerships Team aims to develop efficient and effective public services which support the most vulnerable in our communities.
DWP Visiting provides face-to-face contact, through home visits or appointments at suitable premises, for customers who are vulnerable and unable to access the Department’s services through any other channel, such as telephony, post or online.
We are also here to help vulnerable people who are unable to access our services independently. Our officers will quickly check your entitlements and complete all the necessary paperwork and forms.
And here’s a link to the document, which you can download and read yourself …
See yourself as you were then
A Frequently Asked Question
Q: Where are all the old videos and photos?
- A1: Some of them are on this page — Video Blasts from the Past
- A2: Some are on this old Tumblr blog — Agewell Social Network (which might have expired 🙁 )
- A3: Some are offline.
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.
‘Make a website about yourself’
This November course has been postponed 🙁
There is too much going on at the moment. We can’t do it before December.
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
- Dalston CLR James Library, Dalston Square, E8 3BQ (map: goo.gl/maps/cTBhiXx1F242)
Thursday evening, 8 November.
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.
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:
If you would like more information about this idea, please email email@example.com
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.
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.