Teaching my Grandmother Typing

At 92 years of age, my grandmother has seen a lot of things in her lifetime.  She has lived through wars, seen the rise in technology, and experienced more changes than I have in my short time here on this planet.  Her real strength comes from adapting to these changes and I have seen her do so again and again over the four short decades of my life.

But the one thing that she had never shown interest in was computers.  I don’t know what it was about them, but she really didn’t get into them at all.  In some ways I had not thought about it for some time now, but when she was over on the weekend, she expressed some interest in learning computers and learning how to type.

It put a smile on my face.

In order to get the most of our short time together, I enrolled her in a touch typing course that she could do online.  It started her off with the basics and I sent her home with my spare laptop so that she could practice at her leisure.  I was amazed at how quickly she caught on to the lessons and I feel that it will take less than a week for her to become just as proficient as I am when it comes to typing.

She makes her grandson proud.

Mold Scare

After the slew of issues I have had this year with water problems, I have been a little paranoid when it comes to my home.  I suppose I took for granted that my house was supposed to be a safe place to live in, but since that belief has been rattled a bit this year, I have been more vigilant in watching for signs of problems.

I figure that it is better to catch the problems when they are small before they turn into real issues.

A couple of days ago I did my weekly inspection of the basement checking to see that everything was okay.  I have been doing these checks since it was recommended by the specialists from water damage restoration Malibu to do so when they came out the last time I had a problem downstairs.  I look for signs of water leaks or mold, and up until a few days ago I had been trouble free.

But that all changed – at least I thought it did.

While doing my regular check I found some black stuff on the floor that I couldn’t remember seeing the last check I made.

I was scared it was mold again.

Instead of freaking out, I picked up the phone and a technician came out to inspect the trouble area.  Thankfully it was discovered that it was just some dirt and dryer lint, so it ended up being a false alarm.

I am so thankful that it wasn’t mold – I don’t want to have to go through that ever again.

Finished my Only Renovation this Year

Last year was a whirlwind for me when it came to renovations.  It seemed like every free moment I had was spent renovating my home or helping others get their renovations done.  During the many renovations that were done, I picked up a lot of skills that I will be able to use moving forward and I am so thankful for that.  But if you have ever done a lot of home remodeling or any kind of construction, you know there comes a time to take a break.

I think I am at that point.

You see, most of my Monday was spent getting a house ready to install ultra fiberglass windows in Glendale for my aunt Hertha.  She has been working on renovating her home for the last couple of years, but experienced some setbacks when my uncle Albert passed away.  At that time, I picked up the proverbial hammer and have been helping her ever since.

But now, all the work is done.

In fact, her home came together much better than I would have expected.  For a guy that started off with next to no construction skills, I managed to do just fine and I think that she is really happy with how things turned out.

I am just so thankful that I could be there to help her out.

The Best Place to Buy Educational Toys Online

While most people have been taking advantage of the boxing day shopping deals for themselves, I have been taking advantage of the deep discounts that you can get on just about everything at this time of year to do my birthday present shopping for next year.  I have a number of nieces and nephews to buy for, and I usually buy them educational toys as presents.  Since I have downtime from work between Christmas and New Year’s, I have time to browse and find them some really cool gifts.

But the my real secret to finding gifts for them would be the fact that I base my decisions upon the recommendations found at AllCoolToys.com.  They are an online shop that curates only the best toys on the market and the place I go to find the perfect gift for those who are important to me.  I love that I can save a lot of time just shopping right from my computer instead of wasting time browsing aisle after aisle at a big box store.  For example, I was able to buy some Minecraft building blocks for my nephew Jaxon at a fraction of the cost I would have paid at any of our local stores.

It feels good to get all of your present shopping done in a matter of minutes.  You can too by heading over to http://www.allcooltoys.com/

Time to Clean Up the Garage

There are a few things that I have left to do before winter and one of them would be cleaning out the garage.  We had a bit of an incident this year where a fire hydrant broke and shot water up into the air on the street.  Unfortunately for us it shot it out towards our garage and it filled with a few inches of water.

But that is not the worst part.

The problem was that we were on holidays and didn’t notice the problem until a few weeks later when we came home.  Upon opening the garage door for the first time we were greeted with sight that no homeowner ever wants to see.

Mold.  Lots of it.

We immediately called a company that had the tools to water damage dry out so that we could start the process of cleaning and repairing the garage.

It seems like that was months ago.

There is still a lot of work to do to fix the rest of the garage up and clean up what little mess is left out there so that we will be ready for winter.  I will be happy once it is all done and this year is behind us – hopefully we never have water issues like that again.

Learning Something New Every Day

Learning on the ComputerI have always been a big fan of learning.  As a child I would spend hours reading books, both fictional and non-fictional, to exercise my brain each and every day.  This love of learning was instilled in me from an early age from my grandmother, and my thirst for knowledge continues to this day.

In my youth, I depended on the library for my source of reading material, but things really changed for me when the internet became more mainstream.  Instead of waiting for the library to be open, I could fire up my computer, go on the internet and read interesting articles on little known facts or do larger scale research depending on my mood.

It really opened up a new world for me.

Having easy access to information on just about any topic really fueled my thirst for knowledge and I found myself spending more and more time learning.  It was a great way to spend my free time and do something productive with it.  At the time, I was limited only by computer access and therefore only could do research online at certain times of the day.

Just as the internet changed things for me, the advent of the smartphone made it easier for me to go online and learn.  In fact, I had access to the world’s knowledge right in my pocket.  If you had asked me as a child if this would ever be a possibility, I would have just laughed at you.

But having a computer in our pockets is the reality that we now live in.  It makes it so easy to learn something new every day.

Booking my Next Hotel Stay

Going away can be expensive if you plan everything at the last minute.  I know that I learned that lesson the hard way a couple of years ago, and since then I have made sure to plan everything in advance.  I am not so bad that I schedule my exact itinerary or anything crazy like that, but I do like to make sure that I will have some place to sleep whenever I am out on the road.

I used to do everything manually on my own, but after a friend of mine showed me an easy way to book a hotel room on TravellHotels.com I have never turned back.  It is so easy to book rooms from the comfort of your home in just a few minutes, and it is so easy that even taught my grandma how to do it.

I love how easy it is to pick your location and find hotels in the area without having to do any other kind of research.  When you are in the middle of planning a vacation or business trip time is a precious commodity, and Travell Hotels really helps to make the task of finding lodging a lot easier.

Take the stress out of your travel plans and visit travellhotels.com

Finding the Best Deals for Black Friday

When it comes to shopping online, I like to save as much money as possible.  Yes, I am thrifty and with Black Friday around the corner, I am looking forward to buying some cool gadgets and tech toys for myself.  It is the one time of the year that you can get those things that have been on your wish list at a deep discount, and I am not going to miss any of the deals coming up.

The way that I am able to get the best gadget and gear Black Friday deals is by knowing where to look.  Much like the real world, if you know the right places to shop and where you can find a list of the best deals then you always get the best price.  For me, I have had some very good luck finding those deep discounts over at WhatRocksAndWhatSucks.com, one of my favorite product review sites.  They do all of the hard work to find the best deals and products on the market, and I can just visit their site, and within a few minutes, learn everything I need to make an informed buying decision.

I can’t wait to see what I will be able to buy this year on Black Friday.

Replaced my Computer Monitor

For the last five years or so, I have been using a 24” Acer LCD monitor that I bought at a garage sale for $20.  It was a great find at a time when I didn’t have a lot of extra money, and I was lucky that it lasted as long as it did.  But over the course of the last few months it had been giving me problems, so I knew it was time to get a new one.

I though that picking out a new monitor would be easy, but things have changed a lot since I bought that monitor five years ago.  I decided to talk to a few of my friends that worked in IT support to see what they recommended.

While their choice of brands varied across the board, the one thing that was consistent was that they all recommended that I buy an IPS monitor.  I decided that I would follow their suggestions and I decided to look at as many review websites as I could to find out which monitor would work the best for me.

It took a bit of research and some late nights, but I finally ordered a new ASUS MX27AQ monitor.

I knew that I made the right choice as soon as I hooked it up and turned on my computer – it was beautiful.  The color reproduction is the best I have ever seen and it will be nice to work on something this sharp.

It was definitely a good investment.

Learning the Elixir Programming Language

As many of you know, I have a background in Computer Science.  I studied programming in my college days nearly twenty years ago and a lot has changed since then.  In order to keep up with new programming languages, I have made a point of taking the time to learn new languages and frameworks over the years, and that is exactly what I am going to do this weekend.

I’m going to learn the Elixir programming language and the Phoenix web framework.

In order to learn properly, I have enrolled myself in an Elixir tutorial that I found on udemy taught by Stephen Grider, an experienced software engineer.  One of my colleagues that works as a programmer pointed me in this direction as it was the exact same course that he used to learn Elixir as well.

So far, it is very good, easy to follow and I really love the teaching style.  I’m only a few lectures in, but I feel encouraged that this course will give me the skills that I am looking for in a very short time.  I know that I should be able to get through the fourteen hours of lessons over the course of this long weekend and I’m really looking forward to what I will be able to do with my new programming skills.