Friday, February 25, 2011

Goodbye Outright

I am no longer recommending and have removed the link from my previous post. They've made several "improvements" over the past year, most of which I don't like, and are now going to charge a monthly fee. Here are excerpts from a recent email:
  • New users are now charged $9.95 a month after a 30 day free trial.
  • All existing Outright customers may continue to use Outright for free through Dec 31, 2011. That gives you about a year to continue to use Outright for free and determine for yourself if we provide enough functionality to make Outright worth the monthly cost. It also guarantees that you can track your entire 2011 calendar year finances for tax purposes. After Dec 31, we hope that the small (and tax-deductible) monthly fee will feel insignificant compared to the time savings and peace of mind that Outright provides. If not, and you wish to move to another solution, you will be free to download your transaction history - we don't believe in holding data hostage.
Well, apparently they do believe in holding my data hostage until the end of the year as I can find no way to export it now - and now is when I want to do so as I plan to create my own tracking system in Excel. Beings I'm currently immersed in 2010 taxes, now will be an easy time to create a custom set-up based on what I actually need to know at the end of each year. So I'll just manually enter data rather than export. Fortunately, much of the needed info is also on PayPal, which will let me export with no problem.

I understand that Outright needs to pay their bills and chose to transition to a paid service rather than subject their users to ads. So be it and I wish them well. It just isn't worth nearly $120/year to me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How Old is Old?

I read today on WiseGeek that “Of all the people in history that have reached 65 years of age, half of them are living right now.” I can’t seem to find the source of this statistic but thought I’d share anyway. Think about this for just a minute. Do you remember when 50 was old? And I’m not just talking because you were a little kid and 20, 30 and 40 were also old. I’m talking about when people really did seem older at a much earlier age than they do now.

Have you ever heard of Grace Small? My mom shared The Hitchhiking Grandmother with me several years ago about this “elderly” woman who hitchhiked around the country. Looking at her pictures standing by the road, she does look like a little old granny. NOT. She was less than 50 when she hitched her first 1,000-miles trip. She did continue hitchhiking into her 80s, however, but the photos I saw were from a much earlier time.

So how old is old? Some say you’re only as old as you feel. Oops - some days that makes me pretty darn old! Some say that age is just a number. That may be true but it’s an easier position to espouse the further you are from the century mark. What I do know is that old is not nearly as old now for many people as it was during my grandparents' day.

Since my earliest memories, I’ve pretty much always planned to see 100. I don’t know where I got the idea. Maybe I didn’t realize how old 100 actually is, or maybe it was just a nice-sounding number. Now that I’m over halfway there, it still seems attainable and desirable. And it looks like I’ll be in good company with all the rest of you who are marching toward the triple digits with optimism and enthusiasm for life. Just keep remembering that the best years really are yet to come.

BTW - although I’ve included an Amazon affiliate link up there in the second paragraph, check your library before you rush out to buy the book.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cruz Reader Firmware Update How-to

My new Cruz Reader - isn't she cute?
The first thing I did when I got my new Cruz Reader was the recommended firmware update as my sister had forewarned me to do the update before I did anything else. Why the Cruz Readers don’t arrive ready to go is a mystery to me. Why there is so little easily available and understandable information is another puzzle. While there’s nothing I can do about the former, I will (to the level of my limited ability) work on the latter. To that end, I just published How to Update Cruz Reader Firmware on eHow.

I hope this info is helpful to non-techies like me. My only frustration with the Cruz thus far is the difficulty in finding clear and simple info on how to use the thing. I’ve gotten lost in Cruz Support more than I care to admit. Maybe all the android-phone-using 20-somethings don’t have a problem but some of us 50+ folks do. Anyway, my sister also has more questions than answers, so I will be trying to find solutions for us both. I also have a somewhat humorous story about contacting tech support that I'll share in a later post.

P.S. For those of you unfamiliar with the eHow article editing process, there are some minor differences between what I wrote and what got published. This is just the nature of the beast and I’m choosing to be all Zen about it. I think one of the changes made the info ever so slightly less accurate but not to the point that it will be noticed by the reader when following the instructions.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Free Organizing Tips eBook!

Prerna over at The Mom Writes is an organizing genius and just published her first eBook, 100+ Simple Tips to Get Organized, Cut Clutter and Increase Productivity. I’ve gotten several good tips from Prerna’s blog posts already and can’t wait to read more! For instance, I had two mugs with pencils, pens and whatnot taking up prime real estate on my desk. I also had a little wire shelf in need of a home. Thanks to one of Prerna’s tips, I now have those mugs off the surface but close at hand on the wall. This is such a better space for them - I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. Especially beings I’ve knocked each over more than once.

So head on over to The Mom Writes and download yourself a copy of Prerna's free eBook. With so many great tips to choose from, you can organize just about everything in your home and your life! I’m opening my copy right now - what are you waiting for?