For Seniors: Reasons to Own a Laptop, Netbook, or Tablet
Should you purchase a laptop, netbook, or tablet? As a senior, you may have already thought of reasons to buy, such as e-mailing friends or browsing the Internet. However, laptops, netbooks, and tablets can perform other tasks you might find useful as well.
A netbook or tablet may not be able to perform all the tasks that a laptop can do, but mostly the difference lies in the type of software each one supports. So if you have something specific that you want to be able to do with the device you end up purchasing, be sure to check that it supports the required software.
Keep in touch with friends and family. The Internet makes it possible to communicate with other people via e-mail; share video images using webcams (tiny, inexpensive video cameras that capture and send your images to another computer); and make phone calls using a technology called VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) that uses your laptop and Internet connection to place calls.
You can also chat with others by typing and sending messages using a technology called instant messaging. These messages are exchanged in real time so that you and your grandchild, for example, can see and reply to text immediately.
Laptops, netbooks, and tables connect to the Internet in various ways, depending on how they are designed. For example, you might have to pay for a cellular connection in order to connect, or utilize a public hotspot — Wi-Fi locations that provide free access to the Internet —to go online. Using Wi-Fi, you might also be able to use your home Internet connection to go online.
Research any topic from the comfort of your home. Online, you can find many reputable websites that give you information on anything from expert medical advice to the best travel deals. You can read news from around the corner or around the world.
You can visit government websites to find out information about your taxes, Social Security, and more, or even go to entertainment sites to look up your local television listings.
Research your favorite teams or your genealogy online and connect with people who have the same interests. You can also connect with friends on Facebook or other social-networking sites.
Play interactive games with others over the Internet. You can play everything from shuffleboard to poker or action games in virtual worlds.
Shop online and compare products easily, day or night. You can shop for anything from a garden shed to travel deals or a new camera. Using handy online features, you can easily compare prices from several stores or read customer product reviews.
Run software programs to accomplish everyday tasks. Utilize word processors to write letters or create flyers, spreadsheet software to organize your finances or household inventory, or photo-imaging software to fix your snapshots.
Work with financial activities. From keeping your checkbook and credit card records in software databases and doing your taxes to investing, banking, and shopping online, these types of activities can be very safe to perform online, and they are incredibly convenient, with your accounts available 24/7.
Share and create photos, drawings, and videos. If you have a digital camera, you can transfer photos to your laptop, netbook, or tablet (a process called uploading) or copy photos off the Internet and share them in e-mails or share them online.
Many popular websites make sharing digital movies easy, too. If you have a digital video camera and editing software, you can use editing tools to make a movie and share it with others. Steven Spielberg, look out!