You could also go to favorite websites, such as your favorite newspaper or magazine. If there’s a topic you’re interested in, comment on it and include your email address so people can write you back.
When Joy was in her 20s, she loved the pen pals she met through “Single Booklovers,” which still exists at SingleBookLovers.com. Their motto: “Show me the books he loves and I will know the man far better than through mortal friends.” (Quote is from Silas Mitchell, a 19th century Philadelphia doctor.)
Facebook is another great way to find people. Everyone who joins gets a Facebook email address. To write someone on Facebook, type their name in the big search box at the top of the screen. When you get to their page, click “Message” and type in the chat window that comes up at the bottom of the page. There are well over a billion people connected on Facebook.
Also consider the seniors site: Stitch.net. As with all online activities, one must be careful. People could be writing from prisons or anywhere. (Remember the old joke: “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.”) However, one of Joy’s friends found a wonderful friend on Stitch.
Here’s an odd approach: One of our friends found a business card in a library book. It had a comment on the book and the person’s phone number. The book was about the history of Persia (Iran) and the card noted he wanted to meet other people interested in Persia. She called the number because it was a new book and she grew up in Persia. It didn’t work out but she had a fun phone conversation. To get better results, he should have put down his email address instead of a phone number.
Hidden Features on Your Phone
If you have an Android phone, search on the phrase “Google camera help” to find some great hidden features. At least they were hidden from us. These are tips for Android 3.0 and up, but they have tips for older phones too. You’ll learn some clever stuff.
- The timer: After you tap the camera icon, notice the tiny picture of a clock in the upper right. Tapping it gives you three seconds to get in the picture. Tap it again and you have ten seconds. The phone actually does a count-down while you get into place. Don’t forget to wave.
- Panorama: After tapping your camera icon, notice the so-called “hamburger” icon (three stacked lines like a bun with something in the middle). Tap that and then tap “Panorama.” You can take a vertical, horizontal, wide-angle or “fish eye” panorama.
- Slow Motion. First, change your phone’s camera from photo to video. On our phone, there are two dots above the button for snapping pictures. Tapping the second dot changes it to video. For other phones, swipe your finger from left to right. Tapping the menu icon (three stacked lines) gives us the slow motion options, as well as photo sphere, lens blur and other settings.
- Take a photo during a video. If you tap the screen while you’re taking a video, you’ll get a snap shot too.
- You can get similar tips by searching on “iPhone camera help.”
- JuicyJuice.com is a commercial site with a lot of kids crafts. We made the paper umbrellas that stick on straws to liven up your drink. Sort of a kid’s Mai Tai.
- Hostelz.com lists information on hostels worldwide and provides contact info. It aims to have every hostel in the world. We noticed 137 in London alone. They also list other kinds of accommodations.
- ReadWriteThink.org has links to travel-oriented lesson plans for kids from kindergarten through high school. Example: A “back in time” travel brochure for some ancient culture. (Remember: When in the Roman Empire, do as the ancient Romans do.)
Joy’s elbow got so sore she had to give up “downward dog” and some other yoga moves for five months. But a walk-in clinic physician (sometimes called “a doc in a box”), said it was probably due to too much time on the computer. She cured it by using the mouse with her left hand. Now she’s also using an ergonomic keyboard from Penclic.
We get some strange stuff to try out, and this one was a Swedish keyboard, a $70 item from TheHumanSolution.com. The manual required a magnifying glass to read the type and explained almost nothing. At first, every time we typed a “j,” we got a “1,” and we got a zero for the letter “m.” Very weird. We had to call the company to find out the keyboard comes with the numbers lock turned on. Who knew?
To toggle it off, we had to hold down an Fn key and type F11. So the painful wrist or elbow function that the keyboard is supposed to fix is supposed to be because it’s only three-quarters the length of a regular keyboard, decreasing strain on the wrist. The company also sells a mouse in the shape of a pen, but we couldn’t get that to work.
Another suggestion: Try “Mouse Tool,” free software from infopedia.com. When you hover the mouse pointer over something you want to click, it clicks the mouse for you. This helps too.