3 Cool New Computers We’re Thinking About Buying

Over the last couple of years, technology analysts have been predicting the demise of desktop computers and laptops. The supporting argument for this forecast is that the frenzied growth of smartphones and tablets is redefining the way we approach computing. While it is true that many people have chosen to manage their lives directly from their iPhones, iPads or Android-powered smartphones and tablets, the truth is that desktop and laptop computer systems are far from over.

On the desktop front, we are seeing smaller CPU devices and virtualization; on the portable front, we are seeing innovation and flexibility. For the most part, portable computers these days have greatly improved over the netbooks and laptops of yore; the three modern devices below can really bridge the gap between desktops and mobile devices while providing improved levels of functionality and connectivity.

surfaceproMicrosoft Surface 3

There was a time when Microsoft did not even entertain the idea of producing hardware. These days, however, Microsoft is a respectable brand of video game consoles and hybrid laptop/tablet devices. The first couple of devices launched under the Surface line were impressive in terms of design and durability, but performance was lacking. The Surface 3 addresses many of the shortcomings of its predecessors, starting with the operating system.

What Microsoft has accomplished with the Surface 3 is a truly versatile device that can run all modern Windows programs as either a tablet or a laptop. The battery life and performance of the Surface 3, which accepts input from touch, keyboard, mouse, tracking device, or even stylus, may not be impressive, but they are sufficient for users who need a reasonable portable computing solution for work or school.

mbpApple MacBook Pro with 13-inch Retina Display

Apple is the current dominating force in smartphones, tablets and smart watches, but this does not mean that the company is giving up on the portable computing sector. Apple has upgraded the MacBook Pro to a device that delivers impressive battery life, attractive design, and the best graphics you can get on a 13-inch screen. This Apple portable is powered by OS X, which means a flawless computing experience for all types of users. Business users, students, gamers, and artists will find that this portable machine can easily support their lifestyle, particularly if they use iOS mobile devices such as the iPhone or iPad.

 

chromebookGoogle Chromebook Pixel 2015

Search engine giant Google is still trying to find a comfortable place in the world of portable computing. The Android mobile operating system already powers millions of smartphones and tablets around the world, but the Chrome OS has failed to capture market share in such proportions. With this in mind, the Chrome OS is poised to become the operating system of choice for affordable mini-laptops that are replacing the netbooks of yore, but Google wants to showcase Chrome OS in a more attractive machine.

The current Chromebook Pixel provides the best online experience of any portable computer; however, going offline continues to be an issue for Chrome OS devices. Even though Google has vastly improved the offline capabilities of Chrome OS, the experience is far from ideal when there is no Internet connection. Surface and MacBook devices do not suffer from this issue, and even with an ever-growing selection of apps in the Chrome Web Store, the reality is that Google is still very much an online-only experience.

Learning Online: A New Option for Parents & Students

interneteducationRecently we talked about our grandson and how much he has excelled and succeeded after switching from a traditional high school to done he attends online. For years adults have been going back to school through the convenience of online universities. Now, the tide is shifting as more and more students look to learning online in place of a traditional classroom for high school. Getting your high school diploma or GED online is an excellent alternative for students who are struggling with traditional school or who need a faster paced environment.

It may sound strange, but there are four big reasons why online learning could be the right decision for your high school student.

1.) Less distractions. There are many benefits to the social aspects of traditional high schools, extra circular activities, friends and parties. Unfortunately a social setting has multiple downsides as well. Bullying is becoming more prevalent, peer pressure is on the rise and kids struggle to fit in. All of these things are huge distractions from learning.

2.) Do more in less time. The great thing about learning online is that your child can progress at their own speed. Concepts they don’t understand they can study further. Concepts they grasp quickly, they are able to move on to the next lesson. No more moving at the pace of the entire class. Studies have shown that this method of self pacing enables studies to learn faster, fail less and have more self confidence.

3.) Self motivating Who doesn’t want their student to become a self starter? Contrary to what you might think, students become more self motivated in this type of learning environment. To a certain extent, they are in charge of their education and feel empowered. Online learning also offers more elective courses so students can take courses that appeal to their personal interests alongside the required work. This is also an invaluable aspect of learning online. Students are more likely to be diligent in their work when they feel that their learning is personalized and providing them with something valuable that is relevant to them as individuals.

4.) Increased rates of graduation. Because students are engaged, less distracting and getting through their coursework faster, this improves the odds of graduation and possibly even graduating early.

There’s a lot to consider when deciding what is right for your family and your student, but online education is a great option with plenty of benefits.

Maintaining Your Health Past Age 50

healthVery few people are able to get all of the nutrients that they need from diet alone. Fortunately, you can supply your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy by taking a supplement. Below is a list of supplements for maintaining optimal health:

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Many people believe that all fat is bad. However, healthy fats are an essential part of a healthy diet. Omega 3 fatty acids are an example of healthy fats. They have been shown to help lower cholesterol and ward off cognitive decline. They can also help prevent heart disease.

Omega 3 fatty acids are found in salmon, flaxseed and walnuts. However, many people are still not getting enough of them from their diet. That is why doctors often recommend taking an omega 3 fatty acid supplement.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another nutrient that many people are not getting enough of. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to a host of illnesses, including poor nutrient absorption, weight gain and depression. It is hard to get adequate amounts of vitamin D because very few foods contain this nutrient. When the skin absorbs the sun’s rays, the body can produce vitamin D naturally. However, most people do not spend enough time in the sun for the body to produce vitamin D. That is why most people would benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement.

Magnesium

It is estimated that around 80 percent of the population is deficient in magnesium. A magnesium deficiency can affect just about any organ in the body. Tension headaches, heart palpitations and back aches are some of the problems that have been linked to magnesium deficiency.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is a compound that the body naturally synthesizes. The body needs it to produce ATP, which is the chief energy source. If you take birth control pills or Statins, then your Coenzyme Q10 levels may be lower than normal. The natural aging process also causes Coenzyme Q10 levels to decline.

High doses of Coenzyme Q10 have been shown to be effective for treating a variety of conditions, including heart failure and Parkinson’s disease. Coenzyme Q10 rarely causes side effects even when it is taken in large quantities. This supplement can also help remove oxidized low-density lipoprotein from the body. Oxidized low-density lipoprotein can lead to atherosclerosis.

Tips For Choosing An Online High School Program

josephSometimes attending a normal high school isn’t an option. Kitty and I experienced this recently when our grandson decided to enroll in an online high school after experiencing trouble at our local public school. Going to an online high school has been tremendously helpful for Joseph and it’s made me think that more parents should consider sending their children to one. The fact is, there are some really good reasons to attend an online high school.

Issues such as disability and bullying can make looking for an online high school the better option. It is also handy for adults who never completed high school who would like to go back and get their diploma. The complicated matter is ensuring that you choose the online high school that is right for you or your child. Here are a few tips that will help you to make a wise choice in choosing the right online high school.

Special Programs

In cases in which you or your child suffers from a learning disability you will want to make sure you check out potential online high schools for special programs that are made to help individuals in your situation. This is pretty straight forward in many cases as many online high schools cater to such needs. If you are in doubt about whether or not a particular school can meet your needs, don’t be afraid to give them a call or send an email inquiring about certain features and programs that you need to get information about.

What Classes are Offered

While many classes will be mandatory and aren’t really negotiable in your quest for a high school diploma, other classes will be optional. Classes such as home economics, language courses, and others offer you or your child a chance to pick which ones would be the best fit for your needs. If you or your child has a particular interest in one of these subjects, for example if you wanted to take a German language course, make sure you find out whether or not such a class is offered at the online school. Also keep in mind that your choices for these classes can have an impact later when it comes to applying for college if you intend to go that rout.

Teachers vs Automation

In most cases online high schools will provide a mix of actual teachers and standardized lesson plans/tests/etc. You should take the time to consider how much teacher involvement you need for you or your child and how much you can get by with on your own. If you are an adult seeking to get your high school diploma online you may not need quite as much teacher supervision and assistance. On the other hand, a child may require a bit more oversight from a teacher for various assignments.

Making Due On Social Security & Medicare

medicaressWithout a doubt, when a person has to survive on Medicare and social security, he or she is going to face an uphill battle. Yes, while it can be done, especially in low cost of living areas, one will have an uphill battle when they want to get by. With this in mind, here is a short guide on what it’s like to survive solely on Medicare and social security.

Only basic medical care: Sadly, even in a wealthy country like the United States, a person who is only getting Medicare and social security is going to have to forego some medical treatments. While he or she will obviously be admitted to a hospital if there is a serious problem, they may have to skimp on medications and checkups. Simply put, if you are only getting by, you are not going to have the best medical care. For this reason, anyone with a lot of money will rush out and buy private insurance as a way to cover themselves in case of more pressing and serious issues.

Housing: Now, if a person bought a house a long time ago, they probably have some equity in it. But, while this is true, when owning a house, a person will often have to pay high property taxes. In some areas, one can get a break, but it’s still not easy when living in high cost of living areas like New York or California. Simply put, when receiving little money outside of social security, one will have to make a tough decision and either sell the place or get a reverse mortgage.

One incident away from serious financial problems: Many seniors are one bad incident away from losing it all. For example, if you are on social security and Medicare, you are going to be out of luck if you have a disaster at your home and don’t have insurance. Or, if you lose any savings you have, you will struggle to get by. This is becoming more common, and many seniors are returning to the workforce, even if they have to struggle to compete for jobs.

Problems getting access to food: Believe it or not, a lot of people who are retired don’t have enough money for food. This is hard to believe, but it’s true as many retired people simply can’t get everything they need to enjoy healthy meals. For this reason, many senior citizens rely on family or friends to help out. Others go to local churches to collect free food. Finally, when looking to cover the food bill, plenty of senior citizens resort to food stamps to get some food so they don’t starve.

While a lot of people retire in comfort, plenty of [people live off social security and only have Medicare to cover their health. This is the sad reality that people face and will continue to face in greater numbers. Even when trying to live a frugal life while on social security and Medicare, most still have serious issues.

Working Out Past Age 50

elderlyexerciseKitty and I make it a point to exercise everyday. Whether that’s just taking a walk around the neighborhood or doing yoga together in the evenings. We’ve learned in order to stay feeling healthy, we need regular exercise. Not only does it improve our overall health, but it also makes us both feel more empowered and strong even though we are approaching the final leg of our life.

Several individuals make the mistaken assumption that aging means they cannot be active anymore. However, for the elderly, working out is one of the most beneficial things they can do for their body in order to keep it healthy. While a senior citizen may not be able to do the same exercises that they could do when they were young, there are several exercises that are custom made for a senior workout routine.

Building Up Endurance

Endurance exercises are essential to keeping a strong heart and circulatory system. These exercises can be taken slow for someone who moves with difficulty, but can also be stepped up a notch for those in better shape.

  • Walking
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Dancing

These even more strenuous endurance exercises can be used for seniors who are in excellent shape.

  • Hiking
  • Jogging
  • Tennis

Establishing Strength

In order to reduce the risk of weakened bodies or fragile bones, establishing good strength-building exercises are ideal for any senior citizen. As a person ages, their metabolism slows down but, by using these exercises, it can reduce the risk of a weak metabolism, osteoporosis and bone loss.

  • Lifting free weights
  • Using resistance bands
  • Squatting while holding onto a side chair
  • Push-ups against the wall

Daily Stretching

Stretching keeps the body limber whether it is young or old, but an older body does not fight against a lack of stretching as well as a young body does, therefore, it is important to stretch before any workout in order to prepare the body for strenuous activity.

  • Sit close to the front end of a chair and lean back on the hands
  • Stretch legs out straight in front
  • Stretch the feet and ankles by extending the foot toward the stomach and then away from the body

Other stretching venues, such as yoga or Pilates, can be entire exercise routines that involve stretching the whole way through.

While getting old often has to mean making some sacrifices, a healthy body does not have to be one of them. With the right exercises, seniors can run right alongside the young ones without one thought of a broken hip.