Get the most out of the digital world.
There are millions and millions of websites and web services available online. Here’s some of them that I hope that you might find useful.
The Not So Cool Stuff
This is how to stay safe on the internet. There are people out there who think it is fun to ruin other people’s fun. Here’s some tips for being careful on the internet:
- Choose strong passwords – a combination of words and letters. Use different passwords for different accounts and change them every few months. Write them down in an address book and keep it by the computer.
- Do not give out personal details to strangers, both online and offline.
- Don't fall prey to scams. This includes phishing scams and online scams.
- Use an anti-virus program, an anti-spyware program, and a firewall. This is very important!
- Secure your wireless router with a unique name and password. Don’t leave it unlocked.
- Download files from trusted sources. Don't open or download anything from websites that you aren’t confident are the real thing.
Here’s a link to a really good website that has excellent tips on using the internet http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Safe-on-the-Internet
Scams can be reported by visiting Consumer Protection's Scamwatch website
Your ultimate reference to ‘like’-farming on social media
What if you share something online and then find out it was untrue?
Correct it. Contact people who shared your post and let them know it was wrong. Then delete the original and post an apology explaining how it happened and providing updated facts. Just because you read it on Facebook or somebody’s blog or in an email from a friend or relative doesn’t mean it’s true. Here are 3 really good Fact Checking Websites:
- Snopes.com is one of the best online resources that debunks Urban Legends and Rumours on a huge number of topics. Here’s the link to Snopes http://www.snopes.com/
- TruthOrFiction.com is your Email Reality Check. Get the truth about rumours, inspirational stories, virus warnings, hoaxes, scams, humorous tales, pleas for help, urban legends, prayer requests, calls to action, and other forwarded emails. So, basically it covers almost every hoax that lands in your Email Inbox. Here’s the link to TruthOrFiction https://www.truthorfiction.com/
- Hoax-Slayer is dedicated to debunking email hoaxes, thwarting Internet scammers, combating spam, and educating web users about email and Internet security issues. Here’s the link to Hoax-Slayer http://www.hoax-slayer.com/
The Helpful Stuff
Ministry of Health – Disability Services.
The Ministry’s aim is that disabled people and their families are supported to live the lives they choose. Here’s the link https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/disability-services
Ministry of Health – Carer Support.
If you’re the unpaid full-time carer of a disabled person, then Carer Support is available for you.
Get a Health Passport.
A Health Passport is a booklet that you can carry with you when attending hospitals or other providers of health and disability services. A Health Passport contains information about how you want people to communicate with you and support you. It’s free to order one!
What I do – we take our Health Passport with us to all of our appointments. You hand it over and it means that the health staff can read the things they need to without asking you the same questions over and over again.
Here’s the link to the Health Passport website http://www.hdc.org.nz/about-us/disability/health-passport
Had a good or bad experience somewhere? Review them.
Customers can review and recommend businesses on Finda.co.nz. There are lots of businesses on it and it's a good place for discounts and coupons. You may really get into the swing of reviewing things – especially if you've had a good experience somewhere. If you've had a bad experience I encourage you to choose your words carefully, as you want the business to learn and not get defensive.
What I do – before we go out as a family we look up the reviews of restaurants to see if there has been any reviews. We’re interested to see how places accommodate our daughter and her needs.
Here’s the link to Finda https://www.finda.co.nz/
Support the Supporters
Find Services and Support in your community with the Carers New Zealand listings.
If you think there is something in your community that should be there, drop them a line.
Here’s the link to the Carers NZ site http://www.carers.net.nz/services-support
Find support for those who care for person experiencing a major mental illness.
Supporting Families NZ has a network of branches throughout the country that provide information, education, support and training to the families/whanau of people experiencing mental illness.
Here’s the link to the Supporting Families site http://www.supportingfamilies.org.nz/
Find a support network for young people to manage hard times and enjoy positive mental health and wellbeing.
Common Ground aims to ensure parents, families, whānau and friends of young people have easy access to information that will help them support young people to manage hard times, and enjoy positive mental health and wellbeing. Common Ground is a collaborative initiative, which has been produced by the Mental Health Foundation, Skylight, and Youthline, with support from Curative, and innovate change. Common Ground is an initiative of the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project.
Here’s the link to the Common Ground website http://www.commonground.org.nz/
Use the audio option to let Google Translate read out text pasted from an audio book.
Open the Google Translate website. Copy the text that you want translated. You can copy text from any source, including documents and other websites. You can also type the text in yourself. Select the language of the pasted text if Google translate does not automatically detect the right language. Click the "Listen" button to hear the pasted text spoken. This can be useful for learning proper pronunciation.
Here’s the link to Google Translate http://translate.google.com
The Cool Stuff
Listen or download and listen later to Podcasts.
Podcasts will play on almost any digital music device – that's your laptop, desktop computer and mobile phones. Podcasts come in MP3 formats - it's a universally recognized format that works on all audio devices. Podcasts are typically divided into numerous shows. When you sign up for Podcasts you can get automated subscriptions to make podcasts much easier to access. There is a very famous Podcast called "Serial", it became a cultural phenomenon - the program leaves listeners with many unanswered questions about the murder of Hae Min Lee. An enhanced podcast often may include artwork, chapter markers and more. However, there still is no easy to way to find new podcasts – many people ask their friends, family and social networks for suggestions of new Podcasts to listen to.
What I do – we download Podcasts to our devices and listen to them through the computer speakers while we are hanging out, doing an activity that involves the family – like cooking or folding the laundry. The best things is, we can stop and start the podcast anytime we like.
Some Podcast suggestions to get you going:
- "Serial" https://serialpodcast.org/
- The Old Time Radio Superman Show https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/old-time-radio-superman-show/id271202930?mt=2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
- Hidden Brain http://www.npr.org/series/423302056/hidden-brain
- Invisibilia http://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/
- Planet Money http://www.npr.org/sections/money/
Go for a sightseeing tour from your computer with Google Earth.
The best way to get to know Google Earth is to start with a location and see what Google Earth will tell you about it. Start by typing in the location of your home. To get more information and turn the photograph into a real map, the next step is to turn on some layers. Available layers include dining, lodging, banks, roads, terrain, malls, grocery stores, gas stations, parks, transit, schools and geographic features.
But, don’t just stop at your location neighbourhood. Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. Think of some landmarks and type them in. It’s amazing!
What I do – when we are about to go someplace unfamiliar with our daughter, we all sit in front of the computer and take a virtual tour of the location. That way we can see what the streets and environment is going to look like. This was really useful when she was in a wheelchair and we needed to know where the nearest car parks were, or if the streets had enough foot path space.
Here’s the link to Google Earth https://www.google.com/earth/
Find a group of instant friends in real life.
Meetups is a website for you to join or create your own group and meet people near you who share your interests. There are loads of categories, from book clubs, to games, to dance and hobbies. Loads of stuff happening.
Here’s the link to Meet Up https://www.meetup.com/
Teach yourself something using You Tube.
Want to know how to knit? Frisbee tricks? Learn to juggle? Learn New Zealand sign language? You Tube is fantastic for watching tutorials of people trying out things. You can pause as you follow along, or rewind if you’re missing something. Perhaps you will get the urge to create a tutorial showing others how to do something?
What I do – quite often I use You Tube to look up how to fold away the Pop Up Tent that our daughter and her pet cat use. I have to watch, slow down, rewind and re-watch the folding of the tent before I can finally get it packed away. It’s not just that tent, I used You Tube to see how choux pastry was made, how to fix a nose back on a toy bear, and how to make a friendship bracelet.
Here’s the link to You Tube https://www.youtube.com/
Need to figure something out and it’s not on You Tube?
It might be on Videojug where you will find over 60,000 professionally produced how to videos and guides.
Here’s the link to VideoJug http://www.videojug.com/
Look up events that are happening in your region with Eventfinda.
There are loads of events listed in Eventfinda; concerts, exhibitions, festivals, performing arts, sports, workshops, conferences and classes. At many of the events you can purchase tickets right there on the site.
Here’s the link to Eventfinda http://www.eventfinda.co.nz/
Help out someone with their computer while at your own home.
TeamViewer is a free program that has all you need in a remote desktop client. You can use it across all platforms, including mobile phones. You can share files, it has text, audio and video chat for quick communication, and you can record sessions for later viewing.
What I do – there have been loads of times that I've received a call for help from someone in the family that is just a little too far away to just jump in the car and zoom off to help. When I'm at their house next, I download Team Viewer and when they are on the phone next I can guide them through giving me access to their computer and – hey presto – it’s like I'm right there wiggling their mouse for them.
Here’s the link to Team Viewer https://www.teamviewer.com/en/
Use a reverse-recipe search engine.
Stay with me here as this is a way useful thing. Search engines can pull up hundreds of recipes for any given dish. Which one will you choose? Surely, the one that doesn’t require you to run to the supermarket to pick up missing ingredients. Once in a while you can make that effort, particularly if you have guests coming over for dinner. But if you are feeling tired or lazy and just want to prepare something good out of whatever you have in your pantry, the usual cookbook won’t work. You need a reverse-recipe search engine.
Super Cook has the search as you type functionality bringing you results in real time as you enter each ingredients. The results update every time a new ingredient is added. A suggestion box keep asking you for specific ingredients like “Do you have olive oil?” If you do, click on it to add to the ingredient mixer. You can also highlight some of the ingredients to emphasise them. And if a recipe has almost all the ingredients except one or two, it will tell you what’s missing.
Here’s the link to Super Cook http://www.supercook.com/#/recipes
Try out some Life Hacks.
Want to learn some quick and easy life hacks that are easy to do, low cost and saves you time? Lifehack.org has collected 100 of practical life hacks into one big list that is easy to digest because they’re all images!
Here’s the link to Life Hack http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/100-life-hacks-that-make-life-easier.html
Join the Free Cycle revolution.
It's a grassroots and entirely non-profit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighbourhoods. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them's good people). Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by entering it into the search box or by clicking on 'Browse Groups' above the search box. Have fun!
Here’s the link to Free Cycle https://www.freecycle.org/
If you’re planning a trip on a plane, take a look at the seats and in-flight amenities before you purchase.
You can usually find airplane seat maps on a particular airline's website, but SeatGuru makes it easy to search for the perfect seat by keying in your airline and specific flight number. User-submitted comments make the site particularly useful, you can find out about legroom, armrests and more.
Here’s the link to SeatGuru https://www.seatguru.com/
Thought of something that could be printed using a 3D printer?
You can design a product, upload it to shapeways, and they will print it for you. Head on over to shapeways and bring your ideas to reality.
Here’s the link to Shapeways https://www.shapeways.com/
Fancy a trip to the Zoo from our own home?
Visit the webcams of Zoo in the world.
Here’s the link to Zoo On Line http://www.thezooonline.com/zoocams.html
By Dayna Berghan-Whyman
Dayna is self-employed and the full-time Carer of her daughter, Freya, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, Alfi’s Syndrome and an intellectual disability.
Follow Dayna and the adventures of her family: her daughter Freya, her husband Phil and their giant cat Tasha – www.handypaladin.co.nz
13 February 2017
DISCLAIMER: All care has been taken to find interesting website; however Carers New Zealand is not responsible for the content in any of the internal/external pages or sites we link to (including sponsors) and therefore does not necessarily endorse them.