Tag Archives: tech

Coding and tech comics & coloring books

First posted at https://michigan.it.umich.edu/news/2017/12/19/comics-coloring-books/


We are coming up quickly on the winter break, with families gathered and children out of school. With that in mind, it might be fun to have some some (slightly eccentric?) options for family activities and young folk distractions. Even better if these are options that promote learning, or just understanding more about what the old folks do with their days, eh? Here are a few highlights from my collections of (mostly free) comics, coloring books, and games around the world of geekery, coding, and tech. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find something that tickles your own funny bone!

A FORTRAN Coloring Book

Coloring Books

The first coding coloring book I could find dates from 1978 — Roger Kaufman’s FORTRAN Coloring Book, actually published by MIT Press and used as a textbook, back in the day. I was tickled pink when I found it, in part because I remember by Dad coding in FORTRAN when I was a young thing. (Yes, I have a copy on paper in my office. Honest!) It is robustly humorous for actual coders, and probably not as much fun for kids today. It is, however, available in the fabulous Internet Archive (but you might have to wait your turn to get access, since it is still under copyright).

Another rather amusing tongue-in-cheek (optionally NSFW) geek coloring book comes from the infamous Oatmeal. Check out 404 Not Found (and 404 Not Found NSFW). Not free.

With coloring books about coding going back so many decades, I thought there must be more, and oh my, there are.

ABC++ [PDF] (free)

The Coder’s Coloring Book [PDF] (free)

Kevin’s Python Coding Coloring Book (usually around $7)

Lady Ada’s E is For Electronics Coloring Book [PDF] (free as PDF, or you can buy a copy for $9.95)
(You might want to see also Lady Ada’s R is for Robots, which is not free.)

Programmer’s coloring book (About) [PDF] (free)

The SELinux Coloring Book (Github) [PDF] (free)

Soldering is Easy (free, but no PDF, only individual page downloads)

The Imitation Game, by Jim Ottaviani

Comics, Graphic Novels, Zines, Etc.

– About Coding & Tech-

These include comix for kids and comix for pros, but even those for kids are so well done I get a giggle out of them.

BubbleSort Zines. (Includes zines like “Hip Hip Array!” as well as t-shirts and jewelry such as “BYTE ME!”) (not free)

Code Cartoons (such as A Cartoon Guide to Flux and more) (free)

Google Chrome comic by Scott McCloud (free)

Grokking Algorithms: An illustrated guide for programmers and other curious people (~$17 onAmazon)

Hello, Ruby (for ages 5 and up) (not free, but free stuff available for downloading at the site)

How DNS Works (start here) (free)

Linux comics, a small zine. Others from the same author include “Let’s Learn tcpdump,” “Spying on your programs with trace,” and “Networking! ACK!” (free)

What Makes a Clock Tick (free)

Why’s Poignant Guide to Ruby (free)

– About Geekery Other Than Coding –

We are very lucky here to have Jim Ottaviani on campus as a hard core science geek who loves and loves to make comics. I could hardly talk about comics and coding without mentioning his collaboration with Leland Purvis, The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded! But there are more comics and graphic novels about coders, geeks, and the work and culture they love. This is just a few selected titles, not at all comprehensive (try searching cyberpunk graphic novels to see what I mean). [NOTE: These are mostly NOT free, but for sale at bookstores both analog and virtual.]

Alice in Quantumland: An Allegory of Quantum Physics

William Gibson’s Neuromancer

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer (Pantheon Graphic Novels)

Tom Clohosy Cole’s Space Race

(And if this isn’t enough to keep people busy, you can always make your own, one way or another.)

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New Year Surprises

You know the line “I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing“?

Well, I can’t believe how little I’ve been here. I am absolutely SHOCKED that I haven’t blogged in over a MONTH! Of course, this is because I’ve been so gosh all darned busy, both at work and at home. Just briefly, what all is keeping me away is probably of interest to folk.

* MDMLG
* Opioid Overdose Summit
* Microbes and Mood
* Design Lab & Coloring
* PaGamO (Gaming)
* Graphic Medicine
* Librarians & Artists’ Books
* Sleep Trackers


MDMLG

First, a couple days after the last post, I was a keynote for the November meeting of MDMLG (Metropolitan Detroit Medical Library Group). It was a wonderful experience, a great group. I really enjoyed being with them, and by all reports, they enjoyed my talk. There are rumors that I might repeat it locally, and I’ve been pondering maybe repeating it in a Hangout or something for other folk. Maybe. In any case, here are the slides!

But is an Emerging Technologies Informationist a Librarian?


OPIOID OVERDOSE SUMMIT

Dashed away to visit family for the November holiday, dashed back, and immediately was livetweeting the UofM sponsored Opioid Overdose Summit. Another fantastic event! I’ve been working on a big beautiful Storify of the event for the last month, but the Storify platform developed a glitch and ate the whole thing. Unfortunately, the only engineer who MIGHT be able to restore the file from backup is out on vacation for another week, so for now I can offer you links to the UM Injury Center’s agenda, slides in Slideshare, their videos, and the hashtag #uminjuryctr.


MICROBES AND MOOD

The same week, I also livetweeted the seminar, “Gut Feelings: Microbes, Mood, & Metabolism” from the Depression Center’s Colloquium Series. It was a wonderful triple of presenters on how emerging and historic research is revealing connections between our microbiome (the bacteria that live in and on us) impact our own emotions. Powerful and exciting stuff.

I was making a Storify of this, too, but the same glitch (which prevent some content from being inserted and erases other content) has made it impossible for me to finish, so I’m releasing it in the raw form.


DESIGN LAB & COLORING

The following week I worked on various Storify stories in progress and had a bunch of meetings. One of the meetings was with the new Design Lab that lives on the main floor of the Shapiro Library, where we started planning a workshop which will sneakily use the adult coloring craze as a way to teach things like internet search skills, internet security, paper/art/book preservation concepts, some online tools and toys, etc. The workshop is happening next week, and I think it is going to be super cool. Just to whet your appetite, here is an example.

Original image:
Fleming Building at Sunset

Coloring version of the same image:
UM: Fleming


PAGAMO (GAMING)

PaGamO Screenshot

I didn’t livetweet this, but I felt very lucky that I was able to attend the small presentation by Dr. Benson Yeh on PaGamO for education. The lecture was FANTASTIC and was recorded, so I am hoping for a video to be available soon. In the meantime, here are a few links.

Why one professor created the first-ever social gaming platform for a MOOC http://blogs.coursera.org/post/64423209807/why-one-professor-created-the-first-ever-social

ReImagine Education 2015 Wharton Awards: PAGAMO, The World’s First Event Multi-Student Social Gaming, National Taiwan University; Winner: 1st Place E-Learning http://www.reimagine-education.com/the-winners-individual/8/PaGamO

PaGamO: First-ever Multi-student Social Gaming Platform for General Course (SLIDES) http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/pedagogical/website/files/theme/awards/winners/slider/pag/Benson_Wharton%20Award_V2.pdf

PaGamO, the world’s first ever MOOC-based multi-student social game platform https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKAWPqRtIe0


GRAPHIC MEDICINE

The next day, we had the first EVER meeting of the newly formed Graphic Medicine Interest Group for the University of Medicine. I took notes and lots of pictures, but the pictures did not end up in Flickr when I tried to put them there, so I have to hope they are in my hard drive backup for the phone. In the meantime, here is a picture of some of the graphic medicine titles I keep in my office when I have consults on the topic.

Graphic Medicine & Comics

Books included in this image:

1) REAL, by Takehiko Inoue https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_(manga)
2) Graphic Medicine Manifesto, by by MK Czerwiec, Ian Williams, Susan Merrill Squier, Michael J. Green, Kimberly R. Myers, Scott T. Smith http://www.graphicmedicine.org/book-series/graphic-medicine-manifesto/
3) The Bad Doctor, by Ian Williams http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-06754-4.html
4) On Purpose, by Vic Strecher http://www.dungbeetle.org/
5) Neurocomic, by Hana Ros, Matteo Farinella http://www.neurocomic.org/
6) Epileptic, by David B. http://nymag.com/nymetro/arts/books/reviews/10851/
7) CancerVixen, by Marisa Acocella Marchetto http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/14/books/a-vixen-cartooning-in-the-face-of-cancer.html | http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/107478/cancer-vixen-by-marisa-acocella-marchetto/9780375714740/
8) Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, by Roz Chast http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/books/review/roz-chasts-cant-we-talk-about-something-more-pleasant.html
9) Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague, by Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli http://boingboing.net/2014/11/30/second-avenue-caper-when-good.html | http://www.cleveland.com/books/index.ssf/2014/11/joyce_brabner_creates_a_graphi.html
10) Diary of a Teenage Girl, by Phoebe Glockner http://stamps.umich.edu/creative-work/stories/phoebe | http://www.npr.org/2015/08/13/431997207/a-diary-unlocked-a-teenage-coming-of-age-story-put-on-film
11) The Spiral Cage, by Al Davison http://the-toast.net/2014/11/03/disability-and-the-work-of-al-davison/
12) Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud http://scottmccloud.com/2-print/1-uc/
13) Oh Joy, Sex Toy, by Erika Moen http://www.graphicmedicine.org/comic-reviews/oh-joy-sex-toy-2/ | http://www.ohjoysextoy.com/
14) Chop, Sizzle, Wow, by The Silver Spoon and Adriano Rampazzo. https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/chop-sizzle-wow/ | http://www.phaidon.com/store/food-cook/chop-sizzle-wow-the-silver-spoon-comic-book-9780714868202/


LIBRARIANS AND ARTISTS’ BOOKS

A few days later, in between my frantically working on the Storifys and an article deadline, I was doublebooked to livetweet two lectures, and had to pick one. So, I picked the one that was related to the library and was being presented by friends and colleagues. It was incredible, and again I took lots of pictures that are hopefully on that other hard drive. I had been hoping to enrich the Storify with those, but that isn’t going to happen until Storify fixes their bug with inserting links into story streams. So, here is another partially completed Storify, this one on the amazing artists working in the library making phenomenal art books. Beautiful.


SLEEP TRACKERS

Pebble Pals

Last but not least, we finished and submitted our article on sleep trackers for consumers and how they may or may not be useful in healthcare. It was an exciting and rewarding project, but I don’t want to say too much until we hear if the article is accepted. It was a LOT of work, and we compared many dozens of devices and tools. Learned a lot, and I hope the article is accepted. I must confess, I found it ironic that my own sleep tracker (Pebble + Misfit) quit working over the holiday. Color me perplexed.

NOW YOU UNDERSTAND?

So you can see why I was so busy I wasn’t getting blogging done? I’ll be a little absent for a while yet, still, since I have a few presentations next week, and piles of meetings coming up. But I’ll have to tell you all about what I’m doing with comics and hashtags and coloring in a future installment. And the weird Storify glitch that is supposedly only impacting me and one other person. Hope you all had a great holiday and end-of-the-year, with expectations of a Happy (and productive and fulfilling) New Year!

#WHDemoDay and #ADAinitiative — Oh, the Irony


Welcome to Demo Day at the White House! (Megan Smith, the First US Chief Technology Officer) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxGrDsuwCFk

“It’s a tradition in the tech community to show off amazing things that people have built. … All Americans do this. All American are capable of this. And it’s a big part of our future, and it’s always been a big part of our past.”

Yesterday was a landmark day in diversity and inclusion.

Yesterday saw the first ever White House Demo Day (#WHDemoDay), for women and minority entrepreneurs and innovators to ‘pitch’ their ideas to President Obama.

Yesterday saw the end of the ADA Initiative, “a feminist organization. We strive to serve the interests and needs of women in open technology and culture who are at the intersection of multiple forms of oppression, including disabled women, women of color, LBTQ women, and women from around the world.” (Ada Initiative, About Us)

How enormously ironic to see the closing of the one with the opening of the other, and both with such closely related missions. I can only hope that this first White House Demo Day proves to be one of many, and that the effort continues to embrace and support diversity as essential to American creativity and innovation.

White House Demo Day

The White House Demo Day had demonstrations to illustrate the diversity of people contributing to the innovation that helps strengthen the American economy. Most of the companies presenting had at least one woman founder or co-founder. Almost as many of the companies presenting had a founder that is a person of color or who shows ethnic or cultural diversity. The two companies represented by white men were (1) military, and (2) a winner of the XPRIZE. There were a few wonderful presenters from Michigan, including Ann-Marie Sastry of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor talking about her innovations in batteries and power storage. Products presented included new search engines based on cognitive models, medical innovations in cancer / HIV / aging / asthma, parenting tools, strategies for empowering patients, creative ways to repay student loans, several on converting ‘waste’ to profit, and much more. There was even Zoobean, who partner with libraries to recommend books and apps based on children’s preferences.

White House Demo Day

Part of what made this so wonderful (and why I wish I’d heard about it sooner) was the move to encourage parallel events across the country. I wish we’d done this here! Here are some tweets about the high points.

Read about the presenters here. Listen to the pitches here.


President Obama Hosts the First-Ever White House Demo Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKsxHS5vptM

White House Demo Day: https://www.whitehouse.gov/demo-day

Ada Initiative

“When the Ada Initiative was founded in 2011, the environment for women in open technology and culture was extremely hostile. Conference anti-harassment policies were rare outside of certain areas in fandom, and viewed as extremist attempts to muzzle free speech. Pornography in slides was a regular feature at many conferences in these areas, as were physical and sexual assault. Most open tech/culture communities didn’t have an understanding of basic feminist concepts like consent, tone policing, and intersectional oppression.” https://adainitiative.org/2015/08/announcing-the-shutdown-of-the-ada-initiative/

The Ada Initiative began by trying to change the world for women in STEM and tech. They stopped, but not without having made change, and not without leaving a permanent legacy. You’ll see tributes and comments below to testify to this, but you’ll also see links to some of the content they made open source and Creative Commons in order to help perpetuate their work, as well as work from some of their partners who carry on the good message and work. By the way, their open source toolkits are absolutely incredible and well worth downloading.

HOWTO design a code of conduct for your community https://adainitiative.org/2014/02/howto-design-a-code-of-conduct-for-your-community/
Code of conduct evaluations http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Code_of_conduct_evaluations

Announcing the ADA Camp Toolkit: https://adainitiative.org/2015/07/add-a-little-bit-of-adacamp-to-your-event-announcing-the-adacamp-toolkit/

ADACamp Toolkit: https://adacamp.org/
– Inclusive event catering: https://adacamp.org/adacamp-toolkit/inclusive-event-catering/
– Providing conference childcare: https://adacamp.org/adacamp-toolkit/childcare/
– Quiet room: https://adacamp.org/adacamp-toolkit/quiet-room/
– Supporting d/Deaf and hard of hearing people at an unconference: https://adacamp.org/adacamp-toolkit/supporting-deaf-people/

UofM Student Research on 3D Everything (Except Printing)

#mlibres Students on #3d

Last week there was another of the wonderful Emergent Research Series of lectures sponsored by the University of Michigan Libraries Research Unit (2014 archive, 2013 archive).

Main topics covered were spatial tracking, 3d virtual reality, optical motion capture, holography, optical tracking, acoustic motion tracking. During the Q&A, a major diversion (at least for me) was “Sim-sickness”, in which 3d immersive virtual reality (think of Oculus Rift & Google Cardboard) make folk nauseous, some to the point of actually tossing their cookies. There are videos in Youtube. I don’t need to find them for you. Fun topics mentioned included virtual augmented reality, Hololens, holography for teaching anatomy, biomechanics, cultural preservation, robotics, aerospace engineering, body slicing with the Kinect, body tracking, and DIY arduino acoustic sensors and automated echolocation. There were lots of tips and tricks, what works and what doesn’t. Many interesting links in the Storify below.

Tech Trends VIII (#mlanet15)

Part 2 of a series of blogposts I wrote for the recent Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association.


#MLATTT #MLANET15

The event so fondly known as MLATTT is a gathering of a panel of medical librarians who describe new and emerging technologies in what has become, by a kind of traditional, highly entertaining and engaging ways. For many, it is a not-to-be-missed highlight of the annual Medical Library Association meeting. This year was no different, and if anything topped previous years for sheer blistering hilarity. When the video becomes available, this is a must watch. I plan to watch it again, and I was there!

#MLATTT #MLANET15

Eric Schnell gave a talk that had the older members of the audience guffawing with laughter as he extolled the pleasures of emerging technologies from the perspective of the 1980s and 1990s. There were some younger folk asking, “Mosiac? Atari?” It was extremely well scripted and supported with links and images, and delivered completely deadpan.

#MLATTT #MLANET15

The quantified self section presented by Jon Goodall was great fun for me, and I particularly enjoyed how he engaged the audience in reviews of some of the highlighted technologies. It was interesting to see who had used various tools, and whether they worked for them or not.

#MLATTT #MLANET15

Kimberley Barker was incredibly dynamic, personable, and knowledgeable, as she sprinted through a rapidfire, high energy delivery of examples of tools, technologies, and trends relative to what’s happening with the Internet of Things.

#MLATTT #MLANET15

Jason Bengtson gave a candid, rollicking walk-through of some of his thoughts and experiences while creating the engaging information skills tutorial, Zombie Emergency. I was really impressed with how clearly he described the challenges of integrating education goals and content with gaming. Rachel Walden expressed well what I was thinking, when she commented on how impressive it was that Jason coded this, and is giving away the code for free in Github, as CC-licensed. You can find the actual quotes in the Storify, listed at the end of this post.

#MLATTT #MLANET15

J. Dale Prince might have been last, but far from least, as he wittily recounted his tales of being a new Apple Watch owner, pros, cons, and maybes. By the way, if you decide to buy a gold Apple Watch, Dale is willing to trade. 😉

Here’s the Storify, with much much more detail.

An archive of the tweets is available here, through Symplur. Almost 400 tweets in one hour?! That should tell you how much fun folk were having!

http://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/mlattt/

Choosing a Tablet Computer for the Elderly & Technophobic

Grandpa

From the “Drafts Pile” post, some folk commented and others emailed, but this was the most requested topic, which made it top of my list for writing the next blog post.

INTRODUCTION

It wasn’t that long ago that we were picking out a tablet for my dad. Back in the day, my dad was a hard core computer geek — programmer, hacker, build-your-own. My childhood was chockfull of tickertape and punchcards and Tandy home computer kits being assembled in the basement. My dad was anything but technophobic, but even for him the new world of the Web was confusing. I remember when he and I were talking on the phone, and he was having a small rant about how he and his tech cronies at the local college had spent hours trying to figure out how to download an image from a web page. They were SO frustrated (this was about 10 years ago). I said, “What?! Right click didn’t work?” and he replied, “Right click? What are you talking about?” I suddenly realized that I had outstripped my father in the realm of technology. I think it was quite a shock for both of us.

When I heard that my dad was still trying to get by using a >10 year old Windows machine, flatbed scanner, and a 2400 baud modem, my heart ached. We kids talked it over and went together to get him and iPad. Why an iPad? Mostly because that’s what other folk in the family had already, and there was built in family assistance for him if he needed help. Not to mention, I could also add the charge for his Internet access to my account, and he never needed to worry about it. But that was us, and that was a few years back.

I cannot imagine how much MORE frustrating and intimidating it must be for people who were never strong with “The Force” when it comes to computers. In my family now, I am the tech wizard and my (ahem, adult) children are the ones who come to me with questions about how to do things. And I go to my geek-squad friends and sister when I get stuck with mobile tech. And someday, I will be like my dad, uncertain in the face of tech that has evolved so quickly it has outstripped my ability to keep up. What are the options now for you and your loved ones?

BACKGROUND

Being a senior doesn’t mean you are technophobic, being a technophobe doesn’t mean you are a senior, and you can still have challenges with technology without falling into either group. In addition to the elderly, there are others, such as children or persons with certain disabilities, who benefit from making tech simpler to use, more self-explanatory, and more durable. Ultimately, making computers easier to use benefits EVERYONE, just like curbcuts for wheelchairs help bicyclists and parent pushing strollers. That’s how accessibility works. What’s important is to not assume that “they can’t do it”, or it can’t be done. Everyday we make progress making computers better, stronger, faster, smarter, and, yes, EASIER. So, while this post focuses on the motivating idea of elderly folk who are struggling with computers, don’t limit your ideas of who might be helped to just those groups.

Seniors and Technology

The Pew Internet Research Center has been tracking how seniors use and work with the Internet since 2001, when only 15% were online (my early adopter dad being one). Now, 14 years later, it’s roughly 60%, and even within those seniors who use the Internet, there is a lot of variation in how well they are able to use it.

“Two different groups of older Americans emerge. The first group (which leans toward younger, more highly educated, or more affluent seniors) has relatively substantial technology assets, and also has a positive view toward the benefits of online platforms. The other (which tends to be older and less affluent, often with significant challenges with health or disability) is largely disconnected from the world of digital tools and services, both physically and psychologically.” Pew. “Older Adults and Technology Use,” 2014.

These two groups aren’t necessarily stable, either. People shift between them. Fifteen years ago, my dad fell into the first group of tech-savvy elders. By the time of his passing, earlier this month, he had shifted largely into the second category, but still wanted to check his email. For others, it might be that a new treatment, supportive living situation, or even a techy gift might actually bring someone MORE into the realm of using the technologies around them. While I was traveling home from my Dad’s funeral, an older woman stopped me in the waiting room at Union Station. Her 82-year-old boyfriend (her words) had given her an iPhone, and her girlfriend was texting her, but she didn’t know how to read or answer the texts. Our conversation ended with, ” … and when it turns green, that means it’s been sent? Oh, thank you!”

Technophobia

Technophobia is a far more important concern than simply one’s age. The fear of the technology can be isolating, keeping people apart from loved ones and friends when this is how they communicate and connect. This is such a problem, that people are actually building tech solutions to address such very specific issues such as sharing baby pictures on Facebook, and how do you include family members who are not ON Facebook? [Check out Kidpost, if you have this challenge in your family.] AARP recommended the Presto Printing Mailbox for seniors without a computer, allowing friends, relatives, and caregivers to send anything from family photos to medication reminders. AARP went on to fund a major white paper on the topic, Connected Living for Social Aging: Designing Technology for All (2011).

The phrase “digital isolation” has been adopted to describe this as a significant social issue within society, with titles like “Digital Isolation Plagues Those Who Need Internet Most” and “What Will Become of Britain’s Digitally Isolated After Martha Lane Fox’s Resignation?” Digital isolation is blamed as a contributing factor to poor outcomes in disaster response and health (especially in diabetes). The origins of technophobia may or may not lie in the technology itself, but the impacts are surely heavily social in nature.

“… rarely, if ever, is technophobia based just on the happenstance of technical ignorance. It almost always has its roots in … a sense of estrangement from the world into which one is cast. Here common sense cannot help, for it is from the prevaling common sense that one is estranged. To the technophobe, the technological world seems alien; to common sense, the technophobe seems foolish.” Burch, Robert. Confronting Technophobia: A Topology. Phenomenology + Pedagogy 1986 4(2):3-21. https://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/pandp/article/download/15013/11834

Solutions to technophobia need incorporate that social aspect of the presumed problem. Sarah Maurer recommends that technophobes can get past the fear by starting slowly, taking a class, try a touch screen, get the same types of devices your relatives are using, and ask your kids and grandkids to help you learn your way around.

Maurer, Sarah. 10 Tips to Beat Technophobia: Seniors can conquer their fears and start enjoying online technology. WCCTA WebsiteCompass Spring 2012.

The National Legal Aid and Defender Association recommended in 2004 that you start out by playing Solitaire, using cheatsheets, and don’t make the mistake of asking a true geek for help (because they may not be the best communicators). They also recommended “reverse mentoring,” where you learn something and then teach it to someone else who knows even less. These are still good idea, although some folk might prefer to replace Solitaire with Candy Crush or Trivia Crack or one of the other hot new games.

NLADA. Overcoming Technophobia

More

If you are interested in tracking this area, I have two recommendations. One is Senior Tech Insider, a truly marvelous news tracking service from Karen Heyman which shares news and alerts about telemedicine, accessibility, policy and regulatory issues, and emerging technologies that touch on the lives of the elderly. The other is a counter to the argument I hear so often of, “I’m too old to try.” Me, I’m only approaching 60, so perhaps I’m not a persuasive case. So check out John F. McMullen, who is older than me. I’m not sure how much, but I know he was around for many of the tech events that shaped my youth, and he was tied right into them, knows the folk involved, and still writes about them and how the issues have progressed over time. He’s everywhere online (blogs, BlogTalkRadio, Facebook, Flickr, Google Plus, LinkedIn, OpenSalon, Podbean, Twitter, Youtube, …). He is enormously more engaged in multimedia production than I am. And he still writes and talks about technology. Never say it can’t be done. Heck, did you hear the one about the 114 year old woman who couldn’t register for Facebook because their age verification form didn’t go that far? It’s true.

TECH OPTIONS

So, even with recognizing there are some pretty significant social aspects to working with a loved one to help them get online, and assuming that they don’t have a philosophical opposition to the very concept and are willing to try, what happens next? Where do you go, what factors are most important in your decision, what are the choices? Do you go with a ASUS VivoTab, RealPad, In-Touch, iPad, Kindle Fire, or … what?

COMPARISONS & SELECTION CRITERIA

Checklist

COSTS
– Device Price
– Network Access (is included, or is extra?)
– Monthly fees?
– Carrying case or protection (optional)
– External keyboard (optional)
– Security or registration (optional)
– Training or courses (optional)
– Tech support (included or optional extra?)
HARDWARE OPTIONS
– Display (resolution, crispness, color, screen size, enlargement, zoom, etc.)
– Buttons (size, visibility, clarity of purposes)
– Keyboard (built-in, optional add on, external, on-screen, in-case, …)
– Battery life
– Wall or plug-in charger
– Weight
– Memory card slot (optional)
SPECIAL & PERSONAL FACTORS
– Tech Support available, what kind, does it match person’s preferences?
– Interface & appearance
– Accessibility & font enlargement
– Background Skills
– Special health concerns that may impact on how device is used
– Apps available for personal interests
– Apps available for hobbies & games
– Apps available for special health needs or tracking

More resources

For Dummies: For Seniors: Buying the Right Tablet: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/for-seniors-buying-the-right-tablet.html

My Ageing Parent: Computers or tablets for older people? http://www.myageingparent.com/computers-or-tablets-which-are-better-for-older-people/

My Ageing Parent: Are there better tablets for elderly than iPad? http://www.myageingparent.com/better-tablet-ipad-elderly/

New York Public Library: Tablet Buying Guide: A Primer for Technophobes, Luddites and the Just Plain Confused (2013) http://www.nypl.org/blog/2013/12/20/tablet-buying-guide

Senior Planet: The Best Tablets for Technophobes (2014) http://seniorplanet.org/the-best-tablets-for-technophobes/

TechRiggs: Best Tablets for Seniors and Elderly Senior Citizens (2015) http://www.techriggs.com/best-tablets-for-seniors-and-elderly-senior-citizens/

HARDWARE OPTIONS

These are currently the best known and available tablet computers which were either designed explicitly for seniors or which are being promoted as useful for that demographic. Several of these were designed in collaboration with seniors, such as the AARP RealPad and the Senior Touchpad. Some of these have been around a while and have a lot of pre-existing support resources, like the iPad, Chromebook, and Kindle. Others are brand new, like the GrandPad, just announced in February 2015.

MORE:

Best Tablets for Seniors and Elderly Senior Citizens http://www.techriggs.com/best-tablets-for-seniors-and-elderly-senior-citizens/

Don’t waste your money on AARP’s RealPad http://www.modern-senior.com/dont-waste-money-aarps-realpad/

Great deals on tablets for seniors: http://www.modern-senior.com/great-deals-tablets-seniors/

In My “Drafts” Pile

M-BLEM Workshop at UMich

This winter has been a rough one for my family. Lots of family crises, illness, injury, etcetera. What that means is that the blog slows down, projects slow down, I get way (WAY) behind on things I wanted to do and wanted to share. In the past month, my collection of unfinished (“draft”) blog posts has exploded. What normally happens then, is that I actually finish a couple that someone asked for, whatever else is most fresh in my mind, and the rest never happen. I thought it was about time to give folk a chance to comment on what they want, so that I do write up things people have asked about. Also, several of these were planned to be brief expansions of Storifys or Slideshare decks that I made or found and wanted to share, so for those, I’ll just put links in for now, and will expand on them later, maybe, if you ask.

#a2wiad – Ann Arbor’s Stake in World Information Architecture Day

Anonymous Social Media Overview, Part Four: More on Risks, Opportunities, Benefits, Ethics

Biobanks & Biobanking

Comics & Healthcare

Cool Toys U: September 2014 Notes

Cool Toys U: October 2014 Notes

Designing a Tablet Computer for the Elderly & Technophobic

Design plus Business [NOTE: There is a LOT more I need to add into this story! Cool stuff!]

#HCSMCA on “Is Academic Peer Review a Dead Man Walking?”

Infographic of the Week: Public Attitudes to Science 2014

“Live Long & Prosper”: Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught? #HCLDR [NOTE: Linked is Joyce’s Storify on this, but I wanted to do one with a different focus]

MBLEM Workshop

MEDLIBS on the Horizon Report 2015

My Physical Therapy & My Tech

Peer-to-Peer Sex Education in Social Media & Games

Phoebe Gloeckner

Random Round-up: Cool Things Tech is Doing with Poop

Report Out: The Happiness, Health, and Stories of Populations (#umcscs)

Selecting Online Resources for MOOCs

Sexpertise 2015

Should She? Or Shouldn’t She? Sharing YOUR Pics

Strategies for Better Science Blogging, Part 2

Symposium: Thirty Years of “Thinking Sex”