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THE TGB ELDER GEEK: Keeping Up with Technology

EDITORIAL NOTE: Virginia DeBolt (bio) writes the bi-weekly Elder Geek column for Time Goes By in which she takes the mystery out of techie things all bloggers and internet users need to know to simplify computer use. She has written several books on technology and keeps two blogs herself, Web Teacher and First 50 Words.

The fascinating thing about technology is that it's always changing, always new. The terrifying thing about technology is that it's always changing, always new. If you'd like to keep track of current news in technology - at least have a glimmer of what everyone's talking about - how do you do it?

Follow the News
The easiest way is to follow the news, just the way you follow news on any topic. In The New York Times, columnist David Pogue publishes a column called Pogue's Posts that deals with all sorts of topics. Recently, Pogue has written about Twitter, cameras, Blockbuster, Skype, Google, and PDF. You can look at the archive of all his posts or look for posts on a topic of interest using the Tag List on the page.

At The Washington Post, writers Rob Pegoraro and Brian Krebs write in the Technology section and take on topics like GPS, computer safety, social media, games, software and everything else in technology news.

Read the Blogs
I post a variety of news stories related to technology each week myself on BlogHer. In the past month or so I've talked about financial websites, the argument over Kindle 2's read-aloud feature, the Pew Generations Online study, donations sites and Twitter.

There are blogs that are nothing but technology news. Two examples are TechCrunch and Techmeme. These two sites provide a constant stream of information about the business of technology, new technology, new startups, and rumors in the industry about everything from Steve Jobs health to whether or not IBM is going to buy out Sun.

Both of these sources publish between 10 and 25 articles a day on tech topics. I read both of these blogs, but only about 10 percent of the articles get my actual attention. The rest just flow on by. Technology topics cover a vast landscape. It's okay to be interested in only individual pieces of the overall jigsaw puzzle.

Many readers of Times Goes By are bloggers. Where do you find information to answer your questions about your blog? A blog about your blogging tool is a great place to start. A good place for those using Blogger on Blogspot is Blogging Basics 101. If you use WordPress, Lorelle on WordPress has tips for about everything. Most blogging platforms have similar helpful sites.

If you have a particular interest, it's a good bet that there is a blog about that particular thing. You can use Google to search for blogs. As an example, suppose you are interested in iPods. You go to Google and search for iPod. In the initial search, you get Web results, like these showing links to the iPod store and Apple.


Google will search more than just the web. Above the Google logo you see links for Images, Maps, News, Video, Gmail and More with an arrow beside it. That little arrow means that there are more ways to search. if you click on it, you see Blogs as one of the places to search.


If you click on the words Blogs, Google will search blogs for whatever you have in the search box, in this example "iPod."


The first thing you see is a list of blogs devoted largely to the topic of iPods called Related Blogs. Under that you see a listing of current blog articles about iPods on all sorts of blogs. If you are looking for a complete source of iPod information, try one or all of the blogs in the Related Blogs list.

Remember print? Paper, ink. You know what I'm talking about.

Plenty of print publications have regular features to keep you informed about technology. The AARP Journal usually has some excellent tips for web sites that will help you solve everyday problems. My local newspaper always has technology articles. I'm sure yours does, too.

Look around. Technology information is everywhere. All you need is a modicum of curiosity and you will be up to date in no time.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine explains What I Really Know About Summer Nights.


Thanks for the info. One of my favorite tech sites is Slashdot: News for nerds.

Thanks again Ronni for so much helpful information. Really cuts down on "search" time when you know "the ropes!" BTW, remember not too long ago doing research for papers & such? How did we wade thru all those library books? Makes me feel ancient! :)Dee

Ah, but if you can't use a search engine the right way you don't get what you need. I've learned from you today. Thanks.

And.....if you don't have a techie friend, you are still missing information that will keep you up and running. For instance,neither my husband or I knew that even high priced computers came with low end products in $35.00 mother boards. We learned that one when a new, high end game blew out his mother board. We learned how Quad 4's work through this experience too.

Change doesn't just happen, it happens at such light speed those of us with older computers are left far, far, behind. Life isn't boring in the computer world either. :)

Information 'fire hose' can be intimidating, and there are days when I begin to think I'm too dumb to own a computer. It is my treadmill of life, and I'd be lost without it. Thanks Ronni, I appreciate your helpful blogs.

RSS readers (such as Google Reader) are an incredibly efficient (and relatively easy) way to keep up with all your favorite blogs and websites. The web comes to you in one single place rather than you having to go out to the web.

That little square "orange sherbet" icon you see here on and most other websites means you can subscribe (for free) to the website and have it delivered to you - much like newspapers except electronically.

Some youtube video tutorials:

I've been teaching seniors here in the Talkeetna area to use an RSS reader and once they get the hang of it (a few days or weeks) they love it.

I follow Pogue on Twitter and read his column occasionally too. I like him! Also follow TechCrunch. I find that Twitter acts for me like an RSS feed, only faster ;)

i like him too. but i havent followed him yet on Twitter. You just gave me a top Claude. Thanks! :)

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