5/31/21 - Lost Cat

Our neighbor Kim recently lost her black cat.  This is south of Cambridge a couple of miles in the Goldenwood and trailer park area.


Lost cat.jpg

5/23/21 - Can't add email address to contacts

You would think after working with computers for so many years I would have seen all problems, but every once in a while something new comes up, and that's what happened today.  A client of mine using AOL email was trying to add a new contact.  She would type in the name and email address just fine, but when she saved it and went back to the list of contacts, only the name showed.  The email address field was empty.  The cause turned out to be simple.  She got the person's email address from a recent email she received.  However the address showed in the email with symbols around it like this  <Bob@juno.com>  My client thought the symbols were part of the address and included them when adding the new contact.  AOL didn't like that however and just left the email field blank.  Simple mistake with a simple fix ;)

5/17/21 - New twist on phone scams

This YouTube video explains how scammers are staying on the line and playing a fake dial tone to trick you into giving out credit card info.  I've never heard of this trick before.

5/5/21 - Safe deposit boxes are not safe

I just watched a YouTube video on the risks of safe deposit boxes and how the banks may not be responsible if your items turn up missing.

5/5/21 - Make a file read only

I have a file I use all the time to make business cards.  It's a blank template of cards that I can save under another name once I fill in the information.  However sometimes I forget to use the "Save As" command in the word processor and overwrite the original file.  If you have a file you don't want to change by mistake you can make the file "Read only" in the Windows File Explorer program.  That way when you use the Save command, the word processor should kick over to "Save As" automatically.  Here are the steps.

  1. Open the Windows File Explorer program.  Usually this means clicking the yellow folder icon in the lower left corner of your screen on the taskbar.

  2. Browse to the file you want to make read only.

  3. Right click the file, then choose "Properties"

  4. Find the "Read Only" option and click to check mark.

  5. Click OK to save your change.

4/24/21 - Gmail folders missing on the left.

I noticed the other day with a client's email that whenever she opened an email on the Google webpage, the folders along the left would disappear so the "Inbox" was no longer visible.  In order to get back to her inbox a person would have to click a small left arrow near the upper left corner.  When I got home and played with it a bit I found there is a button in the upper left of the Gmail webpage that controls this behavior.  It's the 3 lines button shown in the picture below.  Clicking that toggles whether the folders show along the left, or just small buttons in their place.

4/3/21 - Another fake email pretending to be Amazon

3/18/21 - Another fake email pretending to be Microsoft

2021-03-18  MSDefenderPurchase.jpg

2/27/21 - Just turned 65 with Medicare


This has nothing to do with computers, but I've turned 65 this month and after 2 years of worry I've finally made my medicare decision.  With all the research and struggle I've discovered some things that might be helpful to someone else so I'm writing about them here, especially with the unusual supplement plan I decided to go with.  You would think insurance would be easy, but it's like you have to become an insurance expert to make a good choice.  Plus it's hard or impossible to change your mind later, depending on your health.


Pretty much every person I talked with, especially insurance agents told me something different.  The big choice is between going with original medicare plus a supplement OR going with an advantage plan, which are the ones advertised on TV.  There are benefits of both, but to me original medicare along with a supplement offers better protection if something big happens.  The only down side is the cost.


In the end I did go with original medicare plus a unusual supplement that's only been around for a couple of years.  It's called a high deductible supplement.  Original medicare parts A and B cover about 80% of your bills BUT has no maximum cap.  That means your expenses could go on forever if something big happens.  This high deductible plan puts a yearly cap of about $2400 dollars on your bills.  That means you pay your normal medicare co-pays and 80% as you go to the doctor.  If something big happens however, and your expenses add up to about $2400 dollars for the current year, then the supplement kicks in and pays 100% after that.  So for about $60 dollars per month I've added a maximum cap to my medical bills.  Prescription drugs are separate, so you'll need to purchase a separate plan for that.  I'm not taking any drugs right now since I lost my weight, and I have VA drug coverage if ever needed, so I did not have to do this.


There are only two companies in Minnesota that offer this high deductible supplement plan.  Blue Cross / Blue Shield for $70.70 dollars a month, and Cigna for $60.43 per month.  The coverage is exactly the same, only the cost differs so I went with Cigna.  Most agents will not offer the high deductible plan or even admit it exists, but you can call the company directly and sign up that way.  Cigna is 1-855-203-0647.  Blue Cross is 1-877-662-2583.


Here are some more details I found out about medicare insurance:


  • You have a period of time after your birth month to choose any plan without health questions.

  • No matter what you still have to pay about $148 dollars a month to medicare.

  • Supplements offer better protection but are more expensive depending on what you get.

  • Advantage plans sound great because they are cheap, but can be very costly if you get real sick.

  • You can change from a supplement to an advantage plan later, but not the other way around.

  • Advantage plans are confined to specific areas called networks, supplements are nation wide.

  • With advantage plans you usually need a doctor's referral to see a specialist, supplements don't.

  • Supplements travel with you in the US, advantage plans do not except for emergencies.

  • Advantage plans usually include some drug coverage, supplements do not, that's extra.

  • The VA has great insurance coverage for vets but may not cover everything if something big happens.

  • Insurance agents generally push advantage plans because they make more money with them.