[VIDEO] 86-Year-Old Gymnast at 2012 Cottbus World Cup in Germany

Written By: Kim Hong - Aug• 01•12

If you’ve been impressed with the gymnasts at the London Summer Olympics, you’ll be floored when you see this 86-year-old gymnast, Johanna Quaas!

Last month, Quaas wowed the audience at the 2012 Cottbus World Cup in Cottbus, Germany. Proud recipient of 11 medals in senior gymnastic competitions, she currently practices gymnastics “just for fun.”

Sign Up for Direct Deposit: All Federal Benefit Payments will be Electronic as of May 2013

Written By: Kim Hong - Jul• 30•12

As of May 1, 2013, the Department of the Treasury will eliminate the need for paper checks and discontinue mailing federal benefit and non-tax payments to citizens, instead, switch over to electronic payments, e.g. direct deposit.

After seeking public comment on the proposed rule issued in June 2010, federal regulations were changed to generally require all federal benefits including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Personnel Management benefits and other non-tax payments to be made electronically. Benefit recipients have the option of direct deposit into a bank or credit union account of their choice or into a Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card account.

So what exactly is Direct Deposit?

Direct deposit delivers your Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit into your bank, savings and loan or credit union’s account quickly and safely. The U.S. Treasury sends an electronic message to your bank, savings and loan or credit union crediting your account with the exact amount of your Social Security or SSI benefit. You can withdraw money, put some in savings or pay bills-the things you do with your money now. The difference is, your check isn’t printed or mailed.

Is this the first time you’re learning about this? Hopefully not.

The Treasury has launched a public education campaign to inform Americans about the rule change and to help them understand what they need to do to get their payments electronically, whether they already receive payments by check or will be applying for federal benefits for the first time soon. Current check recipients will receive information enclosed with their payments, and the national campaign will also include public service announcements, a newly redesigned website, www.GoDirect.org, ongoing financial literacy programming and partnerships with hundreds of national, regional and local organizations.

Make sure you don’t wait until the last-minute to sign up for direct deposit. For more information about how you can switch from checks to direct deposit, visit www.GoDirect.org, or call the U.S. Treasury Processing Center’s toll-free helpline at 1 (800) 333-1795, or speak with a bank or credit union representative.

Video Contest Just for Seniors

Written By: Kim Hong - Jul• 16•12

Cyber-Seniors Inc. and Cyber-Seniors Documentary Inc. (Cyber-Seniors) are sponsoring a video contest (“Contest”) with selected entries hosted on the Cyber-Seniors Corner Youtube channel.

Cyber-Seniors is a Documentary Film that has been following the journey of several senior citizens as they uncover the magic of the Internet (The release date for the Film is expected to be in early 2013). They decided to raise the stakes by sponsoring a Video Competition hosted on Youtube.

How did they come up with this idea?

The contest was inspired by 89 year old Shura, who, with the encouragement of her young mentor, 20 year old Max, created a YouTube video which showed the world how to make a grilled cheese sandwich and corn-on-the-cob with nothing more than a kettle and an iron.  It was such a hit that several of her “80 and 90-something” friends started inquiring about making their own YouTube videos.

So they’ve decided to ask everyone else to share their wisdom, talent, humor, and experiences with the world! Other Cyber-Seniors have contributed to this channel and now the public has the opportunity to flex their tech muscles and showcase themselves on YouTube!

Deadline is July 20, 2012. For complete rules, visit Cyber-Seniors Contest Page. Entrants can win up to $750 each.  And all participants will receive special mention in the Documentary Film, as well as a ticket to the Toronto Premiere.

Quick Guide for Buying a Laptop: What’s Right for You?

Written By: Kim Hong - Jul• 13•12

What you need to know when buying a laptop. Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With a wide variety of products and features to choose from, buying a laptop can be a daunting and overwhelming experience, which is why it’s important to know what you will be doing on your new laptop.

Do you plan on traveling with your laptop or will it act as your primary computer at home – or perhaps both? Will you be sending emails, uploading photos, checking Facebook, playing games, watching videos, or maybe even Skyping with friends and family?

Here are a few things you need to consider when shopping for a laptop:

Determine which laptop category are you interested in buying.

Netbook: lightweight and good for simple Web browsing or word processing, but struggles with streaming video, photo editing, or running multiple applications simultaneously. Netbooks are perfect for emails, surfing the Web, online banking, and writing documents on the go.

Ultra-portable: a step up from netbooks (and approximately a pound heavier), these systems are ideal for users who need a fuller PC experience, i.e. powerful processor = faster and better performance, more memory, and often a larger screen (around 11 inches to 14 inches).

All-purpose laptop: a system with a screen from 14 to 16 inches, weighing anywhere between 4.5 to 8 pounds, and powerful enough to serve as your everyday computer while small enough to take along on trips to the coffee shop or Bahamas (hopefully, this won’t be the case for you). Just keep in mind that larger screens and powerful processors also means shorter battery life. Playing games and connecting to Wi-Fi will drain the battery life of your laptop.

Desktop replacement laptop: a larger laptop ideal for people who need the performance and display size of a desktop computer but want to be able to move the laptop from room to room easily. Since these laptops weigh from 8 to 12 pounds with screen sizes from 16 inches to 18.4 inches, you probably won’t be traveling with these super laptops, unless you want your back to give out.  This category is ideal for hardcore gamers and professionals who use software programs for video editing, photography, and computer engineering.

How much speed do you really need?

The CPU (central processing unit) is responsible for running the operating system and every application you use. A speedier CPU means faster-running programs, but it also means lower battery life and a pricier laptop. Any CPU over 2.0GHz is fast enough to handle all the basic stuff, like playing music, surfing the Web and playing Web games, displaying online video, and managing e-mail.

Memory, where size does matter.

You will get the biggest performance bang for your buck if you purchase the size of your memory wisely. The higher the number, the faster the RAM (Random Access Memory), but spend the money to get to 4GB first, and then worry about speed. For example, if you have to choose between 4GB of 800MHz DDR2 memory or 2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 memory, go with the 4GB of slightly slower RAM – it will pay off in the long run.

Storage capacity: hard drive space

If you plan on storing lots of applications, data, photos, music files, and presentations on your laptop, make sure you have plenty of hard drive space. It’s tough to predict how much hard drive space someone will use because what may seem sufficient today, e.g. 250GB, could easily change to 750GB in a few months, depending on the user’s behavior.  Luckily, you can always purchase external hard drives or opt to store data on the Internet (a Cloud drive) and access it from there.

Each person has different uses for laptops, which means the specifications will vary across the board. As technology and social media continues to advance at such a rapid rate, our standards and performance expectations will continue to evolve.

For more detailed information regarding pricing, hardware and user reviews, I highly recommend visiting Consumer Reports, CNet and PC Magazine – these are all good places to start your research.

How To: Untag Yourself in a Facebook Photo

Written By: Kim Hong - Jul• 06•12

“Untag Me” – Photo Credit: www.williamstites.net

If you receive a notification from Facebook that a friend has just added/tagged a photo that you don’t like or you don’t want your friends to see (for whatever reason), you can easily untag yourself so that it does not appear on your Facebook Profile. Simply follow these instructions:

1. Login to Facebook and click on the “notifications” button/icon located at the top of the page. (Hint: icon is the world/globe image located at the top left of page)

2. Click on the notification containing information about the photo you were tagged in. If you do not see the notification, click on “See All Notifications”.

3. Once you find the right notification, click on the photo link and it will redirect you to the taged photo.

4. At the bottom of the photo, click on “Options” and select Report/Remove Tag.

5. A pop-up window with a list of options explaining why you want to remove the tag (i.e. I want to remove this tag, it’s harassing me, etc.) will appear. Select the appropriate one and click ”Continue.” Voila! You have successfully removed the tag from the photo and it will not appear in your Facebook Photos.

However, to avoid this in the future, I highly recommend updating your Privacy Settings so that if someone tags you in a future post, you have to Approve it before it is posted on your Facebook Profile.

To learn how to review posts/tags before it is published on your Facebook Timeline, click here.



How To: Review Tags and Posts Before They Appear on Your Facebook Timeline

Written By: Kim Hong - Jul• 02•12

Each person has a different level of comfort when it comes to social media usage and privacy concerns. I am relatively open about my whereabouts and actvities, but some of my friends prefer to keep this information private, while others opt to share practically anything and everything but the kitchen sink.

To help you manage what is and isn’t posted/tagged of you on Facebook, you should update your Privacy Settings immediately.

Follow these simple steps to ensure that you review tags/posts before they are published on your Timeline:

1. Login to Facebook and click on the “down arrow” button located at the top right of the page.

2. Select “Privacy Settings”

3. Click on “Edit Settings” next to Timeine and Tagging

4. A pop-up window will appear. Make sure “Review posts friends tag  you in before they appear in your timeline” AND “Review tags friends add to your own posts on Facebook” are both turned ON. If it’s OFF, simply click on it and select “Enable.”

5. Once you have enabled this feature, click DONE.

What this means is that when a friend tags you in a post or photo in the future, you will be prompted to review and ”Approve” it before it appears on your Facebook Timeline.

The Dos and Don’ts of Social Networking

Written By: Guest Contributor - Jun• 21•12

We teach you the unspoken etiquette. Ignore our insider tips at your own peril.

  • Do set up privacy settings for your online profile, so the intimacies of your life—your battle with the bulge; an impending divorce—don’t become public when people find you in a search. Facebook, for example, lets you decide who can see your info and photos. You can limit exposure to “friends” or even just a few people on your list.
  • Don’t rush to friend your teen or college-age kidson these sites; wait to see if they reach out to you. There are some things you really don’t want to know about your little angels. Plus, they probably like having their own parent-free space on the Web.
  • Do use LinkedIn and Facebook to stay in touch with former colleagues. These days (unfortunately) you never know when you’ll need a reference for a new gig.
  • Don’t post boring status updates on Facebook to comment about every single second of your day. If you must share, save those comments for Twitter (and please don’t have your Twitter feed post to Facebook—even though you can). Trust us, your associates don’t want a dull rundown of how you overslept this morning, are having tummy issues, and can’t find that missing sock.
  • Do think twice before friending your employees on social sites. They don’t want to offend you by saying no, but they also don’t want you to see their wall posts outlining over-the-top (and super-sketchy) happy hour activities.

For more “Dos and Don’ts of Social Networking”, visit AARP The Magazine.

About the Author: 

Leslie Quander Wooldridge is an award-winning writer and editor based in the Washington, DC, area. She has worked for print and online outlets, and often writes about health, style, trends and careers. She is currently the senior associate editor at a national consumer magazine.

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Webcam

Written By: Guest Contributor - Jun• 07•12

[Source: About.com, "Before You Buy a Webcam" by Lisa Johnson]

Webcams are not unlike computers — there is a tremendous amount of models available, with prices ranging from the extremely affordable to the very high end. Since you don’t want to pay for features you’ll never use, it’s a good idea to nail down exactly what you need and what you don’t.

What You Definitely Need

A webcam with a high resolution is imperative — the lower the resolution, the grainier your image will appear on other’s screens. A decent resolution starting point is 640 x 480.

Likewise, a high frame rate is crucial. Webcams without high frame rates produce images that stutter and periodically freeze on the viewer’s screen. Frame rates are measured in frames per second, so look for “fps” on the webcam packaging. You must stay above 15 fps in order to stream video, and you’re better off staying closer to 30 and higher.

What You Should Get

The type of lens will affect the webcam’s performance. Some entry-level webcams feature plastic lenses, but it’s wiser to stick with a glass lens since they dramatically improve performance without significantly raising the price.Auto-focusing and automatic light-adjustment technologies are useful in webcams, especially if you’ll be using it in a darkened room (e.g., a bedroom for video chatting).

A built-in microphone and the ability to take still images are increasingly becoming standard features. Look for a webcam that can take images that are at least 2.0 megapixels.

Bells and Whistles

Motion sensing can turn your webcam into a veritable security system, and some models come with this feature built into it. If yours does not, don’t fret – you can download software instead.Depending on the type of video chatting you do, you may want to include special or video effects, and many webcams come packaged with these abilities. But, as with motion sensing, you can also download special-effects software if yours does not.

High-Def Considerations

The ability to capture high-definition video is now a popular feature in webcams. If you plan to frequently stream video to social-networking sites, this technology may be for you. But note that high-def recording will most certainly drive up the price of the webcam, so feel free to skip it if you just want a webcam for video chatting. High-definition refers to a model that captures 720p video or higher.


Webcam prices range from the extremely affordable to the high end. You tend to pay for what you get, so be sure to weigh your feature needs and budget needs carefully.

About the Author:

Lisa Johnson is a writer and editor who has been covering computer peripherals and other consumer electronics for About.com since 2004.

[Source: About.com]

GrandMentor Program: Make a Positive Difference and Read a Book to a Child via Skype

Written By: Kim Hong - May• 24•12

SeniorNet recently partnered with GrandMentor, an intergenerational literacy program that offers senior volunteers the opportunity to read and discuss high quality children’s picture books with underserved elementary school children over Skype. This is a quintessential example of the power and influence that seniors can demonstrate in helping our youth and a great way to give back.

The mission of this partnership is to improve reading level/literacy (vocabulary, passage comprehension, story sense, love of reading) for underprivileged students grades K to 3rd through one-on-one reading and mentoring. The program aims to promote healthy aging and senior integration in the community through socially-responsible volunteering.

GrandMentor was formed to address two important issues,  low literacy rates among underserved children in America and seniors in need of meaningful human interaction.

Literacy is a predictor of academic success. One in two Latino and African American 4th graders read below grade level (34% of U.S. 4th graders) (NAEP 2009). Many children lack access to crucial one-to-one reading at home or even at school (Moody et al. 1997).

By 2030 about 1 in every 5 Americans will be 65 years or older and about a third of their life will be spent in retirement. Seniors need to engage in meaningful activities for successful aging and avoidance of isolation/depression.

Watch the video below for more information and if this program sounds like something you’d be interested in, enroll for free today!

The GrandMentor program provides a one-hour training session over the phone.

Requirements include:

  • Age 55+
  • Fluent English
  • Access to computer with Internet
  • Web Camera (for video)
  • Commitment of 45 minutes a week

To enroll, send an email to seniornet.grandmentor@hq.seniornet.org and register!


Two “Old Birds” Took Over KRAFT’s Social Media

Written By: Kim Hong - May• 02•12

KRAFT hired two octogenarians to manager social media for two days in honor of KRAFT's 75th anniversary!

To celebrate KRAFT’s 75th anniversary, they handed over their social media duties to “Frankie and Dottie,” two octogenarians who’ve been eating mac & cheese for 75 years. Frankie, 87, and Dottie, 86, were in charge of managing KRAFT’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for two days.

And here are a few things Frankie and Dottie did during those two days:

What is planking? (YouTube)


Sample tweets (Twitter: @kraftmacncheese)


Facebook updates (https://www.facebook.com/kraftmacaroniandcheese)


It looks like this macaroni-loving duo had a blast with KRAFT’s social media channels. By the end of the social media reign, Frankie described the experience as mind blowing and heartwarming. She especially liked having all those nice young ad agency people hanging around her California home. [Source: Today's THV]

How do you feel about social media? Could you do what Frankie and Dottie did for KRAFT? Do you think they did a good job?