A Tech Guide for Rip Van Winkle

ripvanwinkleMy friend, “Rip”, hasn’t exactly been sleeping for 20 years, but his luddite ways has left him out of the web.  On a road trip last year he got lost, so he thought he’d look up the address in a phonebook in a phone booth.  He drove around for ages looking for a public phone.  Luckily he found a blue police box and a nice doctor helped him find his way.

I think it’s about time that Rip adopt the most modern technologies for his next adventures.  The irony is that Rip isn’t actually technologically obtuse.  He can code in COBOL like nobody’s business.  He’s just a really slow adopter when it comes to his personal life.  So where should be get started?

The Smart Phone

Rip sometimes uses a beeper for work, but I think it’s time he get a cell phone – and it better be smart.  After careful consideration (we are Samsung AND Apple users) I have decided to recommend the iPhone.  For three reasons: #1) It’s the most intuitive.  #2) Its so widely used, almost anyone can help him use it.  #3) His bffs use iPhones too, so they can all use FaceTime.  (Rip – This means that you can video chat with each other ANYWHERE for FREE as long as you are using wifi.)

I should probably explain to Rip that a Smart Phone isn’t a phone, but a tiny computer that can also be used for phonecalls.  At the most basic level, it’s a:

Phone Address Book Clock Calendar
Camera Video Camera E-Mail Text
Weather Reminder Calculator Notebook
Maps & GPS Music Games Computer


And then there are the apps.  There is practically an app for everything you can think of and 10 for things you didn’t even know you needed (although I’m still waiting for the app that will call 9-1-1 if I have a heart attack or a stroke). Some of my favorites are:

  • Facebook
  • Google Calendar
  • Do it Tomorrow – After a lot of research into various to do lists – the color coded, deadlines, categories… – this is my favorite, and the simplest.  You can either enter it for today or for tomorrow.  Anything you don’t get done will be left on the today page.
  • Face Time
  • Netflix
  • Urbanspoon
  • Wikipedia
  • IMDB
  • Youtube
  • Pinterest
  • CBC radio – Hey Rip, you can live stream or listen to podcasts of DNTO.
  • Banking
  • Shopping – Canadian Tire, PC Points, MEC, Groupon, Kijij…

do it tomorrowurbanspoonpinterest


Have you got any favorite apps or iPhone tricks?

Going Full Google

I’ve recently decided to go full Google, and I would recommend that Rip do the same.  With one login, on one platform, and with apps that can work together – how can you go wrong?  It’s all cloud based, accessible on any computer and on your phone.

google1Google Calendar

I started my Google crush with the Calendar.  It is the most powerful tool I’ve ever used.  The best part is being able to share my calendar with the husband.  We are both so busy, it’s hard to keep track of our schedules, and to make time for each other. With Google Calendar not only can I see which night he has free, but I can add an appointment into his calendar to take me on a date.

  • Color code schedule, reminders, meeting requests
  • See other people’s calendars or share yours
  • Upload other schedules, like Edmonton Eskimo home games
  • Set annually recurring events like birthdays and anniversary
  • Set events years in the future, like “go to optometrist in 2016” or “renew passport in 2018”


You don’t have to have Gmail to use Google Calendar, but why wouldn’t you?  With the same login, you can have this awesome email tool.

google2Google Drive

Google Drive is a cloud storage, file sharing, and collaborative editing tool.  It offers documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms, and drawing.   I have only used docs and spreadsheets, and truthfully, it is not my favorite.  I prefer Evernote for note taking and writing.  And the spreadsheets function never quite worked properly.  But for Rip, I think it’ll work just fine.

Google Keep

I have just discovered Google Keep and I love it.  It’s basically electronic sticky notes.  It’s simple, but you can set titles, color coding, check-able lists and include pictures.

Google Maps

It’s a map.  It’s online.  It has map view, satellite view, and street view.  Even Rip knows Google Maps, so I don’t need to sell it here.

Google also offers Web, Images, News, Shopping, Videos, Blogs, Books, Visual Search, Travel, Finance.

I think that’s a good start for Rip.  Any tech, apps or tools you can’t live without?