Saturday, February 27, 2010

Boomers, Want to watch TV online? Try a video search engine.

Like many other Boomers, I've begun watching some television online on my PC instead of on my TV. Maybe it's the lure of watching shows I've forgotten to record or the desire to try out a new show that leads me to want to watch in what I consider non-optimal conditions. Truly, watching on my computer screen isn't as satisfying an experience as watching in High Definition in my great room.

However, I think I have a problem that many others share. It's very hard to figure out where online you'll find the show you want to watch. And once you've decided what you want to watch, you may find you have to pay something to watch it. Not all television programming is available online either, so you may be out of luck all together.

I started my journey towards watching TV on my computer when I was having trouble with the cable signal for the channel that carried Lifetime. I wanted to watch my guilty secret (not any more) program, Project Runway. To find Project Runway episodes, I decided to Google the show.  Google wasn't much help.

Unfortunately, Project Runway used to be on Bravo and they are still carrying full episodes of past seasons. To find the NEW episodes I had to know which season this was and what network carried the show. With a little help, I figured out that season 7 was the current season. The website for the Lifetime network is called, which is not immediately evident.

Once you arrive at, you can catch up with the last 5 episodes. I don't know why Episode 1, was unavailable, but it wasn't. Once on the site, was easy to start the video going and to use the controls to make it appear in  "full screen" mode. Lifetime includes some commercials in its replays, but they are not as long as the commercial breaks when you watch on TV.

Until this week, I had never tried to watch live TV. However, I thought it would be fun to see how to connect to the Olympics online. Of course, I knew that the Olympics was being broadcast by NBC. I have to say that going to the NBC website was a nightmare. I thought it was too busy and I was unable to locate "live" programming. Here is a screen shot of the website. There was lots of information on the web page. It just wasn't organized very well.

A friend of mine told me that I should look for old TV shows on iTunes, and sure enough there are plenty of TV shows for sale from Apple. You can download them, free or for a fee, and you have 24 hours to watch them.
Also, there are many episodes of TV shows available on, including five episodes of the popular Burn Notice. YouTube also features TV shows. If you know what you are looking for, you can search for it through YouTube's search feature. It may or may not be there. And that's the problem.

No one knows how to find these shows online. Supposed you want to watch the latest episode of American Idol on your computer. If you type into Google something like "American Idol 2010 episodes online free" you'll get a lot of answers, but none of them are very good.
Finally, I decided to try to find a video search engine. That led me to "Clicker," which seems to be an easy to use way to find the TV shows you want to watch. A quote on the website from Readwrite Web calls this "the TV Guide of Internet Television."

    You may be disappointed to find that you'll have to pay for some of them, but at least you'll know  where to get them. For example, Big Love, an HBO product, has to be downloaded from Amazon, YouTube or Netflix. Each has a different pricing model.

    Another video search engine that seems to work for TV is called Truveo.

    Yet another good site for video search is Blinkx.
    Some of these search engine sites look clean and easy to understand on the first page, but once you click through, you think "this is more trouble than it's worth." Give these TV search engines a try and see if you agree with me. Or perhaps you know some better TV search engines I could try.

    Boomers are starting to watch TV on their laptops and computers, for sure. Now we have to ask for the tools that will make this easy to do!

    Sunday, February 21, 2010

    Boomers can find jobs using Facebook and Twitter

    Everyone knows that boomers are flocking to Facebook. They are connecting with old friends and far flung family at record speed. However, did you know that you can use Facebook to find a job? Boomers have to start using the job search tools their younger counterparts are using!

    According to statistics from the staffing consultancy CareerXroads, 26.7% of external jobs come from REFERRALS. Certainly offline networking works. But you can also network online.

    An article on the Time magazine website by Barbara Kiviat gives a few hints on how to use Facebook to find a REFERRAL source. Another great post at suggests some more strategies. And Sirona Consulting has some other ideas. A Forbes article recounts how some people used Twitter successfully to find work. I've combined their advice into one list, but I'd suggest you look at all the articles.

    1. Update all your statuses telling people that you are looking for a job. That means updating all social networking sites you currently use, including Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Namyz, Google Buzz etc.

    2. Keep updating your status as you look for work. Be specific. You never know who is reading your update. Your cousin by marriage might have a neighbor who works at the company you are targeting.
    The key seems to be to include details. Don’t just say, “Brian is looking for a job.” Say: “Brian is looking for an accounting job in the Toledo area.” Don’t just say you applied to 3 jobs today, say: “Brian just sent resumes to Proctor and Gamble, Dell and Monsanto.”
    3. If you are serious about finding a job, then you should post every day. Persistence is a key part of this process, Brian McCullough, of the says.

    4. Use Facebook and Linked-In Groups. Here's what Sirona Consulting says about groups.
    Using the search tool within Facebook, search for topical and relevant groups within Facebook. There are literally thousands on Facebook, and they give you a great entry point into groups of people with similar interests. There will definitely be groups on your subject / industry or work interest - you just need to find them. There are many types of networks, and it will take a little time to do these searches, but I guarantee this method will open up new networking opportunitieswith like minded people, more than happy to engage with a focused, professional person like you, that is happy to share information and experiences with others.
    5.If you are an alumni of one or more colleges, join those groups. If you were in a sorority or fraternity, join that group. If you worked for a company that has a Facebook or Linked-In page, join that group. Then let that group know that you are looking for a job.

    6.Last year, Tara Weiss wrote an article for about using Twitter to find work. The key with twitter is to tell everyone you are looking for a specific job and then direct them to an online source where they can see your profile and resume.

    If you've never used Twitter, don't sign up and immediately blast people with a message saying you're out of work. Instead, build momentum slowly. Open an account and include something about your profession in your user name. Since users can search tweets by topic, that's one way of making your feed more visible.
    7. Weiss also suggests looking for people on twitter who are in your field and then following them.
    Many companies--especially in marketing, public relations and technology--use Twitter to post job openings, and a lot of hiring managers tweet too.
      I'll have more about using professional sites like Linked-In to find jobs in another post.

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Baby Boomers Find Jobs on Craigslist

    I came across a recent blog entry on that mentioned that baby boomers might not know how to use the internet to find a job. This assertion runs contrary to my experience, where job sites like Monster might be the only web sites some boomers go to to find work.  

    Particularly, this blog stated that boomers might not be familiar with Craigslist as a place to find legitimate work. People may know of Craigslist as a place where people "hook up" or as a place where you can find "free stuff" in your neighborhood. But perhaps the site's reputation as a job market is underrated.

    I know you can find a job on Craigslist, and a good one at that, with benefits.  Several years ago, I answered an ad on Craigslist for an editor for a newsletter in the telecom industry and subsequently got the job. As any time you are answering a blind ad, you have to do your homework to make sure the listing isn't a scam. The dangers of Craigslist are the same as any classified ad. After you've sent your resume, and the organization has answered, you have to get names, numbers, website addresses etc. and check out your prospective employer. It just makes good sense to do this anyway.

    Here's how the site works for job seekers. In the middle of the Craigslist website is a category called Jobs and next to that listing are Cities and States. This is a snapshot of the opening page of the New York City Craigslist website. If you live somewhere else, click on it, and you'll see your local Craigslist website.

    Under the jobs listing, available jobs are categorized by industry, much as they are in a local newspaper. If you are in human resources or marketing, there is a category for you. If you don't fit into any category, you can search the site for jobs that mention your keywords.  The search box is on the left of the site.
    After you find the job category you are interested in, just click on the category and a list of jobs will come up on your screen. Clicking on the individual entries will give you details of the jobs offered. Sometimes you'll be given an email address to respond to. Other times you'll be asked to send your resume and an email to a Craigslist address. Here are some sample job offerings under writing/editing on Wednesday Feb 17, 2010.

    While most of the writing positions are part time or internships, you can blame that on the economy. The internship with the Huffington Post, a well respected blog site, looks like a good one. The first ad, looking for a financial and regulatory writer, seeks someone with ten years of experience. That seems like a good ad for a boomer writer with that specialized experience to answer.

    While boomers need to use any web site available to find themselves a job, there's no excuse for not using old fashioned networking, calling old contacts,going to industry meetings. These are tried and true ways to find jobs. However, these days networking is enhanced by social networking sites. says:
    "Baby boomers need to use Facebook and Twitter as venues for finding openings.  Not only by networking with other users, but following prospective employers.   Last week Southwest Airlines posted on Facebook that they are looking for a Director of Technology.  That sounds like a pretty good job with the most successful domestic airline."
    More on these options in a later post.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Some music applications Boomers might like--Pandora, Slacker and Shazam

    A lot of my boomer friends like the fact that they can listen to music on their iPhones and don't have to carry a separate music player. Most people know the ins and outs of ordering music through the iTunes store. However, there are a few interesting music apps out there that some of my friends seem to like, and I am going to give them a try. Frankly, many of them are not "New."  However, I don't think the authors of these apps thought that boomers would be their audience. I beg to disagree. If you don't have an iPhone, many of these apps are available for other smart phones, the iPod Touch, and also can be found on the companies' websites.

    The first app I tried is Pandora, an Internet Radio application that lets you listen to music you know you like and finds music that is similar to that music. In this way you can find artists or albums you might not have known existed or music you've forgotten about. Pandora made Time Magazine's Best Apps of 2009 list.

    The app has a pretty cool history. According to the website How Stuff Works:
    Pandora relies on a Music Genome that consists of 400 musical attributescovering the qualities of melody, harmony, rhythm, form, composition and lyrics. It's a project that began in January 2000 and took 30 experts in music theory five years to complete. The Genome is based on an intricate analysis by actual humans (about 20 to 30 minutes per four-minute song) of the music of 10,000 artists from the past 100 years. The analysis of new music continues every day since Pandora's online launch in August 2005.
    Pandora is available on the web at or can be downloaded to your iPhone for free. When you open up the app on your iPhone you are asked to register. If you've already created an account online, the app uses that information for you. To create an Internet Radio station, just type in the name of an artist, album, or song you like. I typed in Chicago, the name of the band I loved in the 1960s. At first Pandora only played me recordings by Chicago, which I enjoyed. After a few songs, the application branched out and played me a few familiar songs by the Police and Billy Joel. That was OK, I like them both, and thought they were a welcome change. It seemed uncanny that the application could figure me out so quickly.

    Here is the screen that shows the "Radio Stations" I have selected.  As it is playing, Pandora shows you the cover of the album that includes the song to which you are listening.

    Another Free Internet Radio option is called Slacker. If you tell Slacker you want to find music like that created and sung by Paul McCartney, it won't play any McCartney for you. Instead it will find artists with similar styles.  Slacker tries to make connections between the artists you like and artists in a similar time period. And if you'd rather listen to music that has been preselected, Slacker offers professionally programmed stations.
    The screen above is the first screen that you'll come to after you register. If you hit the Find Music button, you'll be asked to put in an artist or group's name. As you begin to type, Slacker predicts what you are looking for. I put in Paul McCartney and was given the option of Paul with the Beatles or just Paul. I selected the one I wanted.

    After putting in Paul McCartney, I was surprised to find the iPhone playing Ramble On by Led Zeppelin. However,  it was actually quite a good choice, and I hadn't realized I liked this music. Slacker, it turns out, is the lazy person's way of finding other music you may like.
    A fun application that many Generation Xers know is called Shazam, and I think it could be a useful boomer tool, especially as we experience a few senior moments.   Here's how Shazam works. You are listening to your favorite radio station, and you wonder "what's that song?" Perhaps you've missed the DJ's introduction. Or you are sitting at home watching a car commercial with a catchy tune and you want to know what song the people in the ad are bopping to.

    Download Shazam onto your iPhone. Press the tab that says "Tag Now" and let the device "listen" to the song you are trying to identify. In very short order, the application comes up with the name of the tune, the artist singing it, the album name, genre and label. You can actually tap on the album information and buy it through the iTunes store.

    A major disadvantage: The free application limits the number of times monthly you can "tag" a tune. This is too bad, because this application is addicting. Boomer's who use it will realize they can assist their memories pleasurably using this app.  Shazam charges $4.99 for the complete version and has angered many iPhone users by this recent change. In the newest version of Shazam, you can also check to see if an artist is on tour and buy tickets!

    So boomers, when you are getting tired of your iTunes library and can't think of anything to add to it, check out these three iPhone apps.

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Facebook's Redesign Changes How to Remove Applications

    Facebook redesigned its site this week, and that means that some of the information in last week's post is stale already! It's still easy to remove applications. You just have to know where to look on the page.

    Here is the new info about how to remove an application. When you go onto Facebook, look up at the upper right hand corner of your Home Page. There you'll see a tab for Account. Click on the Account tab, and you'll see  a drop down menu that looks like this:
    Click on Application Settings and that will bring you to the screen I highlighted before.

    Just click the X next to the application you want to remove. And that's it!

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Farmville Taking all Your Time? How to Remove Facebook Apps

    This is a familiar cry among my peers using Facebook: "I'm spending way too much time throwing pillows and playing Farmville! How do I remove an application from my list so I'm not tempted to play it again?" It seems like a silly thing, but some games are so addictive they consume you, especially if you are a perfectionist. You can spend a lot of time farming out there in Farmville.

    So here's the quick and dirty about how to remove Facebook apps. Most of this information comes directly from another blogger at ROM Cartridge, who has written How to Use Facebook --The Complete Facebook Guide, a completely understandable "how too" book about the site. I recommend it.

    Log into Facebook. Go to the gray bar at the bottom of the page, all the way in the left hand corner. Click on the part of the bar that says Applications. When you click, a popup page will show all your applications.

    Click on the link that says Edit Applications. You'll then get a list of applications.

    Clicking on the X next to the Farmville app will begin the removal process. You'll be asked if you want to remove it. Click Remove, and you are done.

    So no more excuses, boomers. You know who you are! Take action now and remove those pesky applications from Facebook that eat up your time. Take back your productivity today!

    Monday, February 1, 2010

    Finding the right iPhone apps

    If you have an iPhone or Google Android phone, do you find yourself overwhelmed by the number and kind of applications that are out there? According to a New York Times article by Katie Harper last weekend,
    "The average iPhone or iPod Touch owner uses 5 to 10 apps regularly, according to Flurry, a research firm that studies mobile trends."

    There are more than 100,000 iPhone apps available for download. How do you find the ones that interest you?

    "A survey of iPhones, iPod Touch and Android users conducted in July 2009 by AdMob, an advertising network that helps people promote their applications on smartphones, found that people discover apps most often by browsing app stores. And even though the iTunes store is bloated with offerings, people tend to gravitate to the most popular."

    If you are counting on the iTunes App Store to look for valuable apps, then you will be relying on a popularity contest.

    • Here are the top most popular free apps as of this blog posting:
    • And the top paid apps:
    • And the highest grossing apps:

    Most of these are not of any interest to boomers who aren't also gamers. But a few might be. But how do you know? Your odds of finding something you never knew you wanted are not good.

    “For all the tens of thousands of apps out there, the odds of being exposed to more than a thousand are very small,” said Stewart Putney, the founder and chief executive of Moblyng, a company in Redwood City, Calif., that develops applications for mobile devices."

    I've been frustrated at the sheer number of applications out there for a while. How do I determine which ones are worth my while and which ones I should recommend to you? 

    Unlike most people, I tend to get recommendations from friends. I ask them a simple question: What's on your iPOD? If they answer that they've downloaded an app that I haven't heard about, I ask more questions and ask them to demonstrate it to me. When I find one I'm interested in, I download it myself. That's how I got the great Dragon Dictation app I wrote about last week. And that's how I got to know about the Flashlight function.

    Out on the web, there are many sites that give a list of the iPhone apps of the week, or the most effective apps for a particular purpose. has an article article about 700 iPhone Apps, by category. Still, 700 is too many for me to sort through at once.

    Sometimes articles on the web are very narrow in scope. For example, if you like to golf, you might be interested in this article, about the best iPhone Golf GPS apps. If you are a woodworker, perhaps you'd like the apps reviewed in Stu's Shed, a woodworking blog. Quilters, knitters and other hobbyests have their own apps. 

    Time magazine puts together lists of iPhone apps it likes. In this list labeled Top iPhone Applications, Time recommends three music apps I think boomers will like or at least want to try. I'll be looking at them in the future and may write about them in this blog.