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How do YOU use your computer for FUN?

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Transcript

OK, how do you use your computer for fun?

Hi there, I’m Leo Notenboom for askleo.com.

You know, computers are really complex, and the reason that they are complex, of course, is that they are general-purpose devices. We can use them for a large variety of things.

More commonly, the things we think of are things like say, web browsing or document creation or communication in email or instant messaging, that kind of thing. Some online shopping – those kinds of things, but I want to go a little bit deeper. I want to find out what you do with your technology for fun.

So, I’ll admit, I’m an edge case, I really am. The stuff that I do, even making this video, to me, that’s fun stuff – building my websites, answering questions, helping other people with their technology – I do that kind of stuff for fun. I know, I’m weird that way, but it is what it is.

But I also do some of the more traditional things you might think of. I do play World of Warcraft. I play with digital photography. I’ve actually become, I don’t want to say proficient, but I have fun in Photoshop. I have a huge music library that I listen to on my technology, and by my technology, I mean that I can listen to it on my computer, on my phone, on my tablet, wherever I might happen to be.

Same thing with Kindle. We have a large library of books in Kindle format. In fact, I have books that are even not in Kindle format that I use and read regularly again on any of the platforms that I happen to be using at the time. I look at fun and educational videos and of course, like probably half the people on the planet, I actually look at Facebook and see what’s coming across there every day.

You get the idea – there’s a lot of stuff that I do for fun that’s actually normal stuff that other people would consider to be fun too. So, what I’m curious about is how do you use technology for fun? Or to relax? Or for enjoyment in general?

Now, if you’re one of those people who right now are just shaking their heads who can’t, who, technology to them is anything but fun, the concept just doesn’t even make sense in that it does anything but help you relax, well, you’ve got my sympathy.

It’s one of the reasons that Ask Leo! exists, because I really want to make technology work for you and for others, but I also you want to understand that you’re missing out. You’re missing out on a lot. Computers and mobile devices today, they open worlds of not just games and frivolous stuff if you want to consider what’s going by on Facebook frivolous. The kind of things that allow people to connect and really engage in their world – everything from education to reading to music to basically anything you can think of – that’s out there and available at your fingertips.

So, have a look at the kinds of things I just mentioned that I do and what I’m hoping other people will share in the comments to this video. So for everyone else, what is it you do? How do you have fun with technology? What kinds of unique and innovative ways are you using technology to bring enjoyment to your life or to bring enjoyment to the lives of others. It’s one of the really big, potential uses of technology.

When I say “technology” I mean your PC, of course, your computer, your mobile phone, your tablets, whatever you want to throw into that bucket, let me know what you do with it. Let me know how you have fun with it; let me know how it’s making your life better. I think that, well, for one thing, I’m just really curious.

I mean, like I said, I’m an edge case, I think about these things really differently, and that means it’s sometimes hard for me to sort of have a light bulb moment and say, yeah, I can see that makes a lot of difference for a lot of people.

But also, as I mentioned a moment ago, there are lot of people for whom technology is most decidedly not fun, and I’d love to see some more ideas and thoughts on how to use it in ways that will make it more appealing to more people, so let me know what you do with your technology – what’s fun, what’s educational, what doors has it opened for you.

So, as always, (you know the drill by now) as always if you’re watching this anywhere but on askleo.com there’s a URL, I’ll put it right here, go to that page, that page will have this video and moderated comments. Let me know what you think. Let me know how you’re having fun with your technology.

I have fun with it every day just doing this kind of stuff. What do you do? Let me know. I look forward to your comments. As always, I read them all. I can’t respond to everyone, but like I said, they all get read and I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great week.

74 comments on “How do YOU use your computer for FUN?”

  1. My greatest computer fun-time is making greeting cards. Making my own cards allows me to: say exactly what I want, printed in the font that I like, the ink color that matches/complements the pictures, and tailoring the pictures to match the occasion. They are also MUCH cheaper to make rather than buy cards in stores. Facebook allows me to keep in touch with friends from long ago – classmates from grade school (how can it be THAT many years?). I also enjoy just surfing the web … going nowhere and everywhere!

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  2. Now, one of my hobbies is helping moderate the Ask Leo! forums and helping answer questions. (OK I’m also a geek) As for Facebook, it’s helped me get in contact with friends I haven’t seen in years, many as far back as high school. As for Facebook being frivolous, it can be, but Facebook is what you make it. It’s not all cat pics (well 80% might be 🙂 ). What I think many of the people who don’t use it don’t understand is that Facebook is essentially a communication tool. People post photos of their kids for their family to see. Or they communicate their thoughts. Those kids some criticize for staring at the screen are not so much interacting with a machine, they’re interacting with people via that machine. In some ways it’s like those predictions of the 21st century about how we’d have video on our telephones. In some ways, reality surpassed science fiction.

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  3. The main thing I use my computer for is to play games. I also use it to learn, anything you want to learn is just a search away. I enjoy learning how things work and what makes them work. When I was a kid I was always curious, when I got a toy that moved made noise or just had a light, I had to know what was on the inside, what made it do what it did. Needless to say them toys never got put back together or worked again. I still have that curiosity today with computer or anything electronic, i want to know what is inside it and what makes it work. What I take apart now does get put back together, and this is what got me in to electronics repair as a hobby. Ask Leo has a wealth of knowledge for me to learn, Thank you for that Leo. 🙂

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  4. Recently I have been using my iPad in conjunction with reading my fiction books. As I’m reading about the setting of the book, I can look it up online and see pictures of the actual places. For example, I was reading a book that was partially set in specific areas in London. I was able to look at images of the neighborhoods and buildings that were mentioned in the book. When I was reading about Poland, before and after the iron curtain came down, I was able to look at appropriate images to get a realistic picture and feel in my mind. I think this use of technology adds to my reading enjoyment.

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  5. I do the usual things that people have mentioned here: email, Facebook, shopping but I also use my computer for some other hobbies. One thing I finished this year was a project that involved scanning a ton of really old family photographs from both my family and my husband’s family and using the Blurb.com’s book making tool to create albums that documented the family history. I use Photoshop Elements to modify and create images to make paper greeting cards. My public library recently added the Zenio magazine service so I can “subscribe” to magazines for free and read them on my tablet. I do also read some on my tablet although mostly when traveling. Thanks for asking and I always enjoy your articles and come to you for help.

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  6. I love music but found that playing it from CD’s was just not flexible enough and this was limiting my enjoyment. So I decided a change was necessary and after some research I decided that a computerised music system was the way to go.
    That turned out to be a giant leap forward (once I had got over the drudgery of transferring all my collection onto my hard drive.) Now I have over 17000 tracks and these are listed alphabetically under artist and then album name with the ability to search that library and find tracks in seconds. I can choose to play whole albums or drag and drop tracks in at will or remove tracks from the now playing list if I choose. Everything is so easy that listening to my collection is a joy again.
    I have also had fun learning about PC audio and how to optimise it.

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  7. I use a computer to play a “virtual” pipe organ. Computers have gotten so fast and memory has gotten so cheap that it’s now feasible to record individual pipes and play them back using dedicated software. One can play for free using a program call Miditzer or one can spend hundreds or thousands using a program called Hauptwerk and purchasing sampled pipe organs.

    Either way, you need at least one MIDI keyboard and a computer. So you can start for little or nothing but if it catches your fancy, you can go all out with homemade or commercially available keyboards, pedalboards and controls.

    With headphones or a proper sound system, it is hard to tell that you are not playing an actual pipe organ. It sounds THAT good.

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  8. While I enjoy gaming, TV, and the usual normal things.. my favorite activity has to be customization of my PC and my droid phone. I enjoy setting up a smart, snappy desktop display with a rotation of cool minimalistic and low-poly wallpapers and interactive data display using Rainmeter and similar apps. Getting things just the way I like them is a neverending project for me.

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  9. I do use my computer/s for playing games and other fun stuff. But the thing I would like to tell readers about is my use of one of my desktop PC’s (Windows 7 Home Premium) as a home media appliance. I have Windows Media Center set up to interface with a Silicone Dust HDHomerun Prime digital cable card tuner on my home network. I can record three different high definition TV shows at a time while I watch a fourth recorded show, Netflix or live off-air TV. I can watch my recorded TV shows in other rooms in the house using a Roku 3 or xBox 360 on the home network. I can play slide shows of family pictures while my music collection plays in the background. I can play digitized copies of our old VHS video tapes on the big screen. I could go on. This system is marvelous. You would have to see it in action to believe it.

    Too bad, then, that Microsoft has chosen to end Windows Media Center when Windows 10 is introduced. How sad. I am left wondering how much work it would really take to port the program over to Win 10? Because of this, I will not be able to upgrade my 4 PC’s to Windows 10. Two will remain on Windows 7 ultimate and two on Windows 8.1 Pro.

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  10. I LOVE to make soap and personal care products. I use my computer to access the calculators for formulations and keep contact with the soaping community. I enjoy knitting and crochet too and I’m the only person who does such a thing in my circle, so my computer allows me to interact with others who enjoy the same activities. As surfing leads, I can find myself doing jigsaw puzzles, watching You Tube video’s, or reading articles about topics I’d never heard about before. Of course there is also Facebook, finding books for my kindle, and it seems these days, it’s the only way some employers will accept applications for employment.

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  11. Firstly I use the computer to daily check the news on several sites, then the obits ( I’m not in there today so it’s a good day) and I research sports stuff for my husband. I love Google search – you can ask any kind of a question and get your answer – I use it daily. Most important is doing what the doctor says seniors need to be doing – exercising my brain – I play alot of Hidden Object games, do jigsaws and other games – I love them. I subscribe to the askLeo newsletter because there are so many interesting facts and tips and have gone many, many times to the website to solve a problem. I like going into directories, finding files, wondering what they do and what can I eliminate – gets me into trouble sometimes though. I can’t thank you enough, Leo, for all the help you have given us over the years.

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  12. Leo, I can’t tell you how nice it was to read this article. I always feel a little guilty (ok, a lot) over the time I spend on my pc every day “having fun”, and usually tell people it’s less time than it is. There’s still this negative image associated with time spent on a pc unless it’s one’s job. It’s ALL fun for me, everything I do on it: music, the arts, photography (working with pictures I take), creating video discs of family events, writing letters, a little creative writing also. Almost anything I want to learn how to do I can learn online. To be able to watch a video of someone going through the steps is fantastic.

    More than anything, though, I read. I only half-jokingly say I’ve learned more in the last 15 years than in the previous 50. It’s such a visual treasure, too: to be able to virtually tour great museums, architecture, landscapes, cities. All the places I’ve never been to, the cultures I’ve never known, the arts of the world, the NEWS of the world as seen though other cultures’ perspectives. When I go back in time I’m astounded at how much went on that I missed, simply because news of it wasn’t widespread, or it was glossed over or trivialized. All of it is available now if you look for it, and it amazes me almost daily in ways both wonderful and terrible. Hours go by without my realizing it, it’s so engrossing. The ability to browse vast libraries of books and music, reading others’ thoughtful reviews of them, has opened avenues I might not have explored; to then store hundreds of books, gigabytes of music, on devices small enough to carry in a purse is still almost astounding to me. Smart phones that allow us to have instant communication with our friends and family. Younger people don’t know how limited communications were years ago. Texting and sending pictures whenever we want is a LOT of fun we never had. I feel like I waited for this technology all my life – it’s put the entire world at my fingertips.

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  13. I’m an 82-yr-old retired physician in an independent/assisted living facility. Without my computer, almost my only source of fun would be watching sports on TV. I used to desktop-publish newsletters, but now I use the skills I learned with Adobe InDesign and Photoshop to self-publish a few books and greeting cards. I have taken up digital photographic art and love to create my own impressionist ‘paintings’ from photos I have made myself and some public domain ones I download from the web. I ‘specialize’ in panoramic photos and art which I turn into 3840 x 1080 pixel wallpapers that spread across the 4 feet of real estate on my dual monitors. My other passion, since infirmities of old age years ago forced me to abandon my physically active sources of fun (sailboat racing, bicycling), is genealogy, which for me is nearly exclusively internet/computer based. I just finished combining computer graphics and genealogy by building with Photoshop a wallpaper panorama that shows 34 generations of ancestry and assorted thumbnail graphics stretching across 10 centuries. Great fun, indeed!

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  14. Computers are no fun, ever since the sad demise of the “Leisure Suit Larry” game series. (LSL 1, 2, 3, 4, 6. LSL5 was accidentally deleted at a drunken XMas party, so their company line went – kind of like Windows 9).
    Actually, I get a lot of pleasure in analyzing and resolving issues for myself & others, whether software or hardware related. This started in the old 8088 days, MSDos 5, Workstar, 5 1/4 floppies…. Green screens…. I consider those days, then look at my Droid Maxx and am constantly amazed.
    These days my learning happens in SQL & Crystal. Play I get paid for – the best kind!

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  15. Besides most of the things already mentioned such as playing games, playing with photos, etc. I enjoy downloading and converting audiobooks for my blind wife. We both have always been avid readers so when she started losing her vision several years ago we decided audiobooks were the way to go. So now I download audiobooks from several sources, convert them to MP3 format and install to her Sansa ZIP player.

    Also have a large collection of music that I enjoy listening to on the computer, Zip player and Galaxy 6 Notebook.

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  16. I like to mess with my pictures, too, and can do a lot of things with Photoshop Elements after many years of practice. Nothing more fun than tweaking my pics and coming up with more interesting images………

    I like to visit people’s blogs. I enjoy the eye candy on art and photography blogs. I blog my own pictures.

    One thing I do that I don’t think anyone else has mentioned is take MOOCs. Massive Open Online Classes are one of my very favorite things to do. When I was in college, I used to look through the entire course catalog. I was in the literature school, so I wasn’t allowed to take art classes. And I only had so much time — I couldn’t take most of the classes that looked interesting. Now, in this excellent MOOC world, I can take any class I like. The classes are free — there is NO downside. If the instructor is boring or nasty, I just walk away and take something else…………. I have learned about using mathematical models for decision-making, archaeology, the history of rock & roll, paleontology, genetics, epigenetics, neuroscience, cartography, botany, design, the human microbiome, Roman architecture………… Right now I’m taking neuroscience and an archaeology class about Hadrian’s Wall………. The classes are taught via video lectures. I sometimes just listen to the lectures, and sometimes I take quizzes and do assignments. Each person sets her/his own agenda for what s/he wants to learn from a class. There’s no pressure to do more than you wish. Most of the classes I’ve taken have been through Coursera.org.

    I don’t think there’s anything more fun than learning about something cool and interesting, and synthesizing that new item with the other things I know… With MOOCs, I am like a kid in a candy store, with my indulgent gramps buying the candy!

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  17. Sudoku or Majong while listening to zydeco music. Majong only when I want to stay up all night, I can’t quit until I win! I also like to break down political attack pieces using the internet trying to glean all the information I can find. I try to restrict my research to 3 hours or less in the wee hours of the morning but sometimes I just can’t quit and have to force myself to shut down by 8am. Try live365.com for some lively Cajun/Zydeco music. Been having fun with my computers since 6/99, didn’t know what I was missing.

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  18. I am a geek, I admit it. A 72-year old geek! so you know there’s no hope for me! 🙂 I’m into genealogy now and enjoy posting very old pics of ancestors on FB. The young people in my family really enjoy it and it has prompted them to ask questions about family. We have our own “group” which is great. I’m posting stories, both those from my experience, and those passed down, gen to gen about certain ancestors. I’m learning a lot, and it is fun. I am lucky that I was a secretary (now admin assist) from 1960 – 2001, so I was able to get on the ground floor with computers and loved them from the beginning. It is amazing to look back at how offices were and how they have changed. It blows my mind!

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  19. It is actually fun to enter data into your own hobby database and then extract systematized output again for specific purposes. I also enjoy the research going along with structuring the data.

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  20. Fun, but also very Useful: I am using the Houzz app on my iPad to find and save ideas for my current house remodeling. I have access to more information about finished ‘looks’, as well as products, than any professional would have had several years ago. My saved pictures with notes also more clearly communicate what I want to contractors and trades who will be providing the materials and the work.
    Fun and Useful: I use over 10 apps on my iPhone which replace all the wildlife field guides I (would have liked to) lug around on outings. Fun factor is high when I can turn an “I have no idea” to “Yep – here it is” in a few minutes out in the field.
    Fun and Useful: I have 12-15 apps that I use for all aspects of travel support. I can find airport amenities, look for better seats (or avoid bad ones), get real-time flight updates, carry my city and country guides in my tiny phone, have interactive copies of city metro maps and bikeshare services, and local weather all at my fingertips. If this doesn’t make travel (especially in another country) more FUN, I don’t know what would.

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  21. I started computer use in early ’84, and my 1st computer was an IBM clone with a 4 mhz (turboed to 8 mhz) 8088 cpu, 2 360k floppies, a 5 meg hard drive, and a 14″ amber monitor. Complete with a 9 pin wide carriage printer the whole works was $3600.00! It had pc-dos 1, lotus 123, and Satellite Software International’s WordPerfect. I still have the original 6 floppies of WordPerfect #’d 276883. I have built 3 different desktop computers throughout the years. An Intel NUC should arrive tomorrow. For fun, I’ve been distro hopping in Linux for a couple for years now. On my current Win7 desktop (HP Pavillion HPE h8z) I’ve got 6 Linux distros in a Vbox. My wife’s old HP dv2700 netbook (2 gigs of RAM) has 5 64bit distros on it’s 120Ghz SSD. Out in my garage I have an 11 year old Sony VAIO (pentium4) desktop with 12 32bit distros. Believe it or not, but the distros on that old Sony run faster than Win7. The only game I use is the WinXP version of Freecell, they ruined the later versions. It runs fine in Linux using wine.

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  22. I’ve been digitizing my music cassettes and vinyl, and occasionally recorded my self, and my wife, while we practice our own music playing.
    Also scanning “scrapbook” items such as newspaper articles, comics, etc. All in the name of reducing physical clutter and purging.

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  23. I love my PC. I was part of the IBM Group in Boca Raton that developed, manufactured and marketed the original PC. But now it is all for fun. I do most of my shopping on my PC. Ebay, Craigs list, individual store web sites etc. As an avid Recumbent Cyclist I browse the recumbent sites. I also use it to find out how to do all my own maintenance. I also lookup how to build my own using wood. The finished product was cool.
    I also play the keyboard and have a program that will print the music I am playing. Just connect the keyboard to the computer and play anything you want. It will get printed.
    Music, research, you name it and it is my way of having fun.

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  24. One thing that I do for fun, and to keep my mind sharp, is play games. I play chess, backgammon, hearts, checkers, FreeCell, spades, Minesweeper, and occasionally solitaire. When I play Minesweeper, I do not mark any bombs. I only uncover non-bomb cells. That makes it much more challenging and fun. It’s too bad that Microsoft has to cheat at the backgammon game. This seems to be a common thing with web games, making them much less fun as the laws of probability do not apply. I used to play a lot of free poker on line, but the cheating there is really rampant, despite the fact that no money is involved. My theory is that the sites let the idiots win so that they will start playing for real money.

    The other thing that I do for fun is make all kinds of spreadsheets for whatever I have to do, both professionally and personally. I love to mechanize things, making charts of data that are referenced in other pages via lookups or macro logic, and creating macros to do things that I want to do often. I typically start by creating something very simple that does a simple task. As time goes by, if I am using the spreadsheet, I keep making more and more updates to make it better and more robust. That is the part that is really fun. And, once I have created a real monster of a spreadsheet, I am very proud of it.

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  25. I’ve been using computers for fun since around 1980 when a friend bought an Atari 400, and I was playing Pong years before that. When IBM clones took over the computer market, I built my own from parts in the mid 80’s, which was such fun I’ve been upgrading my desktop ‘puter every few years ever since.

    I think I’ve dabled in just about every game that came down the software trail over the years. In the 80’s it was games like M.U.L.E., Pacman, and Donkey Kong, but Star Raiders was my favorite time killer. In the 90’s it was hard to resist becoming a fighter pilot (Falcon 4 and earlier versions, and several other flight sims), then World of Warcraft and similar games came into play. Eventually very realistic first person shooters came along, such as America’s Army, which turned me into a killing machine, and to slow the adrenaline rush down a little, I started playing offline games like Battlefield, Grand Theft Auto, and FarCry. These days I’ve slowed down a bit and now enjoy playing Forge of Empires online.

    I also use the computer to watch movies, and haven’t turned the television on in years!

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  26. I tour the world…. When I just need to relax or have fun I take a tour on Google Earth.

    For example I have traveled the Amazon River and the Mississippi River from source to mouth looking at every picture, zooming in and out as required. If you run out of time just leave it and you can come back to it when you wish.

    I have seen the Pyramids in Egypt using street view. I have driven every street in Alice Springs, Australia, towns in Germany, Italy, Botswana, the USA, etc. One can cruise down the streets looking left and right and you get a pretty fair idea of the people, how they live and play.

    Google Earth allows an old man to see the sights of the world that would otherwise be unavailable to me. This then branches me many times to do a search of something I see on Google Earth for gaining more knowledge.

    I tour museums the same way.

    For me so much world so little time.

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  27. I use my computer to enter sweepstakes. It’s amazing the variety and volume of things given away by major companies every day. While I don’t win all the time, I win enough to keep doing it. The entering isn’t exactly “fun” but getting that surprise package in the mail or that winning notice in the email is a thrill.

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    • What kind of things do you win, and how much time do you invest in this? I was under the impression that sweepstakes are not worthwhile, especially considering that your have to distribute your private information widely, making yourself susceptible to things like identity theft. Maybe I just don’t realize all the good stuff you can win.

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  28. Hi ! Leo , I enjoy all your e-mail and help for us out there that need it. My fun with the computer is: learning almost anything, The Virtual Paintout and other art sites and videos , card games, Face Book, Youtube , and all the research I couldn’t do as well ; except for the Library , I still read books in physical . I would like to know if I purchase any of your books , not having a PayPal , or separate account ; do you do snail mail at all ?

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  29. Hi Leo, I play silly games on my tablet to lower my blood pressure instead of pills. Nemo’s Reef is a good one – free to begin with and don’t have to spend money if careful — very restful. I also am into Genealogy and the internet is great for that even for limited income types like me. I go to the library for the big ticket stuff like Ancestry.com. I also read Ask Leo to see folks comments.
    Thank you Chris

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  30. Retired in 2004 : I use my computers , emails , trip and destination details research , 12,727 music files , details of our lives since 2005 , got my 1st digital camera ,investing research , banking , Skype ing from home and on the road . Editing , photos , music and videos . With your help I’m not to far behind in the learning PC curve. I love Google Earth ,and I play Cubis Gold 2 .
    You may not know it , You’ve bailed me out of PC jams more than once .
    Keep on smiling
    Leopold

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  31. Our computer is essentially a home utility tool (I don’t play computer games, never have).

    Sooo… Online banking and share dealing. Online shopping. We are avid travellers and do all our travel arrangements from home – taking away a lot of business from travel agents! Also use Google Earth to preview places we are going (even used it once to ensure I was in the correct traffic lane when leaving Sydney airport in a hire car!)
    We dabble in photography, but at a basic level. Touching up and cataloguing holiday pictures, that sort of thing. I’m also slowly scanning and filing my pre-digital pictures.
    For hobbies I use the PC and smart phone apps for planning and executing hillwalking, sailing and recreational flying trips.

    The interesting thing is that 15 years ago I did none of the above electronically and the transition was very gradual, completely painless, and now I would be completely thrown if I had to go back to those times. And, as a senior citizen, it is all fodder for the brain!

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  32. I’m 72 and like fixing computers. Unfortunately that hobby has almost disappeared just the like the old TV repair man.

    I still tinker with my collection of old Dell’s. I’ve got 16 of them and reluctantly keep adding new ones from time to time. My collection of parts has gotten so extensive I’ve had to throw some stuff in the garbage. It breaks my heart to pitch an old 90’s vintage Wildcat video card but there’s no more room on the shelf.

    Ubuntu has become my latest computer hobby – from good old “Lucid Lynx” to “Trusty Tahr”. At least this hobby won’t disappear.

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  33. My wife is forever asking, “Why are you always on the computer?” and I try, so far unsuccessfully, to explain that it replaces many different things; opening the post (email), reading the newspaper (online version), catching up with friends (facebook), board games (computer games – big step up, that), doing my hobbies (Photography among others)
    Surprised no-one has mentioned porn, though 

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  34. I used to love using technology to build web pages and to enhance my photography hobby. Unfortunately now I am working so much and on call 24x7x365 as a systems administrator with little to no time for myself or my family. Not to mention nor appreciation from my employer. So I work and need to get some certifications so I can get a better job and work-life balance.

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  35. I’m a new subscriber and so far I’m really enjoying reading the comments. I have a number of hobbies that involve use of a computer, but I’ll limit my comment to just one. I love music! I have a massive collection of vinyl LPs from the 1960s, 70s and 80s. I am about 90% finished digitizing them. There are a few of my LPs that have never been reissued on CD or released digitally, so I am so grateful to be able to listen to them without fear of scratching them. I love listening to live concert recordings and have amassed a huge collection of concerts in the last 25 years. Initially it was by duplicating cassette tapes, then trading CDs, and now downloading from torrent sites. Many artists are “taper friendly” and do not mind fans recording their shows. Some even allow tapers to plug into the sound mixer. I use my audio editing software to tweak the sound to my liking, properly divide the tracks, etc. I listen on the computer or stream music to several devices around the house. When I’m on the go I take my 160 Gb iPod loaded with 19,000 tracks with me. I can’t imagine how dull my life would be without access to all this music.

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  36. These days, “for fun” is the only reason I use my computer! I write letters to my friends and family, and essays about anything and everything that happens to get me revved up. I keep track of my favorite performing artist on Facebook, find out when he’s going to tour, and buy good tickets! If I take photos at a concert, I edit and improve them with Photoshop. I collect these photos and many others, and music and videos as well, and organize them on my computer so I can find anything I’m looking for. I also collect magazines, and off-and-on I have been working on a dBase application to catalog them all. But I think the biggest way I have fun with my computer is using it, nearly every day, to answer any question that might come to mind. Any question at all; something I learned in school but have forgotten (what is the Krebs Cycle, anyway?) or something in the news about which I’d like to have more in-depth information. It’s funny to realize that in my lifetime, we’ve come from having to depend on hard-bound, bookshelf-sagging sets of encyclopedias, outdated by the time they were printed, to … Google! You can’t get more “fun” than that.

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  37. I write about eschatology and use the computer for research. The fun part is when people get upset and start screaming their own theologies, beliefs, disbeliefs, doctrines and dogmas at me as if I was the one who wrote the prophecies in the first place. It’s amazing to see how people can become so unhinged.

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  38. Everyday it seems I go to many of my favorite Craft sites and then watch you tube to see how other crafters are using certain tools and making fantastic projects.
    I also love researching and learning about the physical sciences especially astronomy and looking up interesting books that I may want to read.
    Of course it is always fun to go back in time with old You Tube videos from the early days of television !!

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  39. My fun thing is Desktop Backgrounds. Being a dashcam enthusiast, I collect interesting and/or unusual screenshots from the dashcam and place them in the backgrounds folder. As you can imagine, this makes for a rather unique desktop, and is a conversation starter whenever visitors arrive.

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  40. Using an old shareware program named NeoPaint, I have modeled a miniature town (New Riverton) in card stock with a dot matrix printer and white glue. That town, which was the cheapest model railroad in the history of model railroading was left behind when a life change mandated a cross-country move. Lately I have made a 1/160th scale model of the White House – 1600 Pennsylvania Ave using the same techniques I developed for the miniature town. I also “collect” art (virtually) and have about a billion virtual dollars worth of paintings from the Renaissance on to the 21st century. I could just look at the pictures on the web, I suppose, but I have 2 Tb to save them on, so, what the heck. (This is the best topic you have ever opened, the comments are terrific!)

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  41. Like you, almost everything I do on my computer is fun for me. I edit video, collect downloadable music, make greeting cards, play games (especially Hidden Object Games), check email and Facebook. But quite often I just surf the ‘Net at random, either with StumbleUpon or with a portal site of some kind. I never fail to be amazed at the sheer volume of information available out there!

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  42. I use the computer and iphone for work, for making greeting cards, for keeping in touch with family and friends-near and far, old and new via facebook, and my kindle for reading and playing words with friends. I find anything to do with technology is fun. Love it all. I am in my 70’s.

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  43. Jigsaw puzzles
    Cryptograms
    Crossword puzzles
    Facebook
    Write fiction (badly)
    Spider Solitaire
    Surf the internet mindlessly for anything that strikes me as interesting at the moment

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  44. I use an old Microsoft program called Digital Image Pro 9 to do some digital scrap booking. I made a book for both my kids about their dad’s four years of military service in the U.S. Air Force. I also enjoy watching You Tube videos about craft, sewing, & floral design ideas. I get inspired by browsing the Internet for sites about making handmade items for gifts. And, of course, I check Facebook most every day to see what’s going on among my friends/relatives. Keep having fun with all your devices, Leo, & thanks for keeping us all informed about this intriguing world of technology.

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  45. I use my iMac and Dell laptop to pursue my family genealogy. It’s an ongoing project that started 8 years ago. I couldn’t have done it without the computer and the internet. I also use it to act as a volunteer moderator in the Comcast Help and Support forums. My specialty is email.

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  46. My parents died a few years back, but, mostly due to the computer, I was able to make their last several years much easier. This was primarily because I was an IT specialist. My mother was allergic to many things, among them are printers’ ink and paper dust. She loved to read, but hadn’t been able to for 35 years because of the ink. I started her with a Nook, connected to my Barnes and Noble account, so she could read and get new books without help. It’s amazing how many she could read in a short period. I also got her a laptop and set up an email account for her. She was able to “talk” to her sister-n-law who lives 1500 miles away. That was good because the telephone was a little expensive for them. Plus, she was able to use Gmail’s video chat to show me a bowl that she ruined during a blizzard, which I was then able to find, buy, and send directly to her. It got there about the time the storm was over and we all got home made peanut brittle for Christmas that year. I also found her lots of jigsaw puzzle sites, which she hadn’t been able to do for many years because of the dust. She was better at using a computer than any of her friends, quite a point of pride.

    Their biggest thing to do and biggest source of fun was driving. They could set the air conditioner to recyle the air, protecting her from the outside world and get to a stop without driving through any bad air areas. For years, it was one trip a year and drives around town. After retirement, their best times were spent a month at a time. They’d pick a state and spend a month just wandering back roads and areas, stopping at grocery stores and restaurants and checking the community bulletin boards for any special occasion or flyers announcing any activity they could attend. Enter the internet. With a little help they’d research the place they intended to go to find activities and occasions to use as a starting point. Then they’d just go. Have epi-pen will travel. She always kept a journal and one of my goals is to enter those into files that can be shared with family and friends.

    For me, I spend an inordinate amount of time reading on my tablet – more than is good for me. And spider solitaire is the other best time-waster there is, unless I’m short of time, then it’s Free Cell.

    My son won an Air Force-wide scholarship for a 3-year intensive language and culture program to live with his family in Beijing, China and attend the university there. It included stipends for travel throughout the far east and they took a lot of extended journeys. What an awesome experience! I got to stay in touch using Skype and Facebook and I got to visit when my newest grandchild was still a baby. The best visit ever in the middle of the trip from Hell. But that’s another story. The point is… With the time difference, I would never have been able to connect with them while we were all awake, without the internet. And my littlest granddaughter would have been a toddler before I even got to meet her.

    I can honestly, without exaggeration, say that the computer made my parents’ final years, not only bearable, but, in many ways, the best years they had. The had many good years after they thought they were too old to learn how to use a computer. And it took a lot of convincing for them to believe they would want to. You know… who needs mapquest when you have an atlas?

    It’s been awesome to think that if the planets had not aligned, I wouldn’t have been positioned to help them. If my life had gone like it was “supposed” to, I would have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong skills and education. I love karma.

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  47. I write quizzes which I supply, free of charge, for use by community groups and charity fund raisers. I use MS Word in split screen with a search engine so I can quickly and easily verify the answers to my questions are accurate.
    I’m a volunteer computer teacher, offering 1:1 help for older users who want to use email, buy online, edit pix ……
    I use PowerPoint to produce colourful advertising posters.
    I source free knitting patterns online so I can knit childrens’ hats, scarves and bags for a British charity which sends Christmas boxes to young people overseas.
    My iPad Mini is always by my side or, as my husband says, welded to my hand. This is what computers should be – an easy and instant access to a worldwide reference library.
    I play Solitaire and Sudoku whilst waiting for doctor/dentist appointments. I have played Pearl’s Peril and Room Escape games.
    I keep in email touch with friends around the world.
    The only time I don’t use my iPad is when reading books. For me, nothing beats the feel of a real book in my hands!
    But I’m always sad when I hear people say they don’t need a computer …….

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  48. What do I do with my technology?

    Better to ask what DON’T I do with it and how I use it.

    It’s taken me hours to think of all of the things I do with my computer and smartphone and digital cameras and the ways I feel they have improved my life and brought the world to me, but the list got so long it would take me days to write it all out.

    I bought my own computer in 1998 after playing around with my brother’s Commodore 64….bought it because I did not want the future to pass me by.

    And I am proud to say that it did not pass me by…I am a part of it and am looking forward to what the technology of the future, the World’s future, will bring.

    So, what don’t I do with? Well, I don’t shower with it….yet. LOL

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  49. Perhaps I’m a bit strange, but I enjoy researching a wide assortment of topics. Everything from gardening to web development. I thoroughly enjoy building websites too. Nothing too elaborate, but I’m gaining a lot of knowledge from the web. Heck, I’m 54 and earned my bachelors degree online in IT and graduate with my master degree next week.

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  50. For me, finding planets at planethunters is fun. I don’t have an astrophysics degree, so I can’t get an astronomy position. Why not use the latest technology to find them in this way? In my own spare time?

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  51. My enjoyment is preparing Power Point presentation, taking information and pictures from the internet and built up a presentation about artists, men of science, celebrated persons, flowers and anything that come to my mind. Imagination flies high and away.
    Unfortunately I’m not a geek, but I’m learning a lot from you Leo, and enjoy putting in practice a great deal of your teaching, and this make me able to solve problems from my computers as well of my friends. You became my teacher for many years now.

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  52. Hi Leo,
    These are a few of my favorite things…
    Play Plink – http://dinahmoelabs.com/plink
    Create wordclouds – http://textisbeautiful.net/
    Create swirly graphics – http://codepen.io/jackrugile/full/DGenc
    Play with interactive Kaleidoscopes – http://darkpsychedelic.ru/FV_24.html
    Create Silk art – http://weavesilk.com/
    Take a stroll through the universe – http://stars.chromeexperiments.com/
    (Make sure you click “Take the tour” in the upper left hand corner.)
    Make believe I’m Doctor Who – http://iacopoapps.appspot.com/hopalongwebgl/
    Make music – http://www.jamwithchrome.com/select/
    Make Wordles – http://www.wordle.net/
    Turn my computer into a piano – http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks2/music/piano/
    Music and art – http://www.patatap.com/
    More music -http://www.buttonbass.com/HOUSECubePage.html
    And they are all FREE!

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  53. Note to self: Leo’s PIN is four digits long and has personal significance to him.

    Now just to figure out how to steal that phone…

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  54. Nice post!

    I mostly surf the internet – sometimes for no reason! I love to code, so I randomly create useless code just for fun.
    I don’t play video games, but whenever I have time I like Minesweeper.

    For Leo: although I am a computer expert (and geek) your articles are very helpful. Other times I just enjoy reading them! Thanks!

    –Leo Z.

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  55. There have been SO MANY great responses to this posts, I’m going to have to collect some of my favorites into a separate post! Thanks everyone! 🙂

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  56. Updating my detailed budget spreadsheet in Excel as life morphs along – priceless peace of mind to know the numbers. Projection out and into the future – I love it!

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  57. Oh there are so many fun things to do besides just playing games and watching cat videos. I’ve used mine for many crafting projects; printing cards, letterhead, gift tags and even old-time jointed paper dolls made with a heavy craft paper. Social media can be fun and I get a big thrill out of just shopping for everything from antiques to cat food to you name it, but the biggest fun I think I have found is genealogical research. Through the vast array of paid and free sites and just by using a good search engine, I’ve found my family history, complete with many photos and supporting documents that goes back to 1500. This has been a real treasure hunt, digging through old newspapers, obituary and tax records, church records, etc., all found online, and coming up with names, wonderful stories and some really great photographs. The fun you can have with a computer is limited only by your own imagination and the amount of free time you have at your disposal.

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  58. I have fun on my computer by making my own greeting cards etc; and also family photo albums (weddings etc;) I enjoy learning how to make my photo stand out better & improve them, and I have never had my pictures professionally printed since 1999, when I got my first computer…..I love learning how to do all these things and as a senior age 73, it keeps my grey matter working.

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  59. I am 70 years of age computer has made my life very interesting it has just come as that in the morning first thing I get up & try to see my emails & my computer is hacked then my day become very bored sad that I have missed my a food but understand little about how to operate computer & make my life happy.
    Please advice me.

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  60. It is both work and fun, but I use my computers in large part to create music recordings (with Cubase – a very complex piece of software that turns the computer into a virtual studio) and create sheet music (lead sheets and contemporary classical scores). My computer is also a tool, just like I use the guitar and the piano, to compose my music.

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  61. I use my laptop to design, help build, and fly High Power Rockets. I use a simulation program to make sure the aerodynamics are right, to simulate the flight profile, and to determine what the proper motor size is. I order all of my parts and chemicals online, and then use the computer, connected to a USB radio receiver, to track the rocket in flight and to aid in recovery. I recently flew a rocket to 15,900 feet, and everything worked just as the simulation had predicted. Lots of fun!

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  62. Hi Leo! Here’s my modest attempt to express fun with the computers in short. Take it like it’s from my point of view & experience exclusively.
    *Can’t watch in the monitor very long cos’ my eyes are poor and usually I get tired after an hour or two. But I’ve found the way so far it’s easier to read sheets printed on the paper at the daylight of our sun. So I do a lot of printings (preferable a colorsome) if possible. Despite I’m already 3*20 years old the students’ community in our city appreciate my endeavours to explore and study so they offer their laser printer for free (for my irreal exception case). Than I sit somewhere in the public garden and go!Reading until it’s dark. Satisfaction guaranteed.
    *There’s still some study opportunities & interests using the computers not just like religion based belief that with the technology we can achieve everything , to reach the god’s nest in heaven. There’s a lot to study even today of course with the help of the internet and with the help of the computers you can get easier to the data about Euclid’s theorems,particular music discussions or theory, etc. You have to understand what there’s saying about what’s the case, no computer will be able to explain it if you are not able to understand the subject. And there’s a learning curve and when you grow old time is ticking, you get slow as well, the computer can show you, it explains the particular expression but you have to put an effort in that to understand other it’s a dead mashine without you in the first row.
    * My first touchscreen Android was a spare gift of my schoolgirl’s son who gave it to me cos’ he already get a better one. And there was 2-3 weeks nightmares to manage the options, where is what, how is it working, had to ask some young guys about this and that…When I’ve finally get used to it some day later I was suprised when moving a finger over the screen of the ancient old Nokia why it’s not reacting/working. O yes it’s not a touchscreen (yet)!!
    * While I was in the electronic music domain since early 70ties, (I was doing kits DIY of analog synth…) my fist computer was actually Atari ST with the MIDI port (all Yamaha,Roland, Korg…synths had that port than). It was year 1985 & I had to collect money a few years to buy it. But not much of use with it, just to introduce each other. Music has got a special keyboard, special characters, meanings, language…so you’d better study music not a computer programming. But there’s an idea! And the fact you want to realize it. So you think you’ll reach the goal with the (new technology) computer.
    * Currently I’m interested in reading all about Joomla!/(I own a site for decades..) than==> Raspbery Pi2 and of course for the music purpose there have to be some Arduino DSP and D/A converted audio PCB boards to fulfil the project. Why!? Because you can learn! You can proceed more deep into the microcontrollers and micro processors. There’s SynthEdit software, C Sound music programming language, I’ve spent 1000 of $ for EMU PC cards and RAMs, laptops, PCs…despite all I prefer to create music writing it using A3 paper – per hand, practising the classic guitar despite there are numerous electric (even MIDI/Axon one) in the corner of the room. From this point I would like to express, process and advance the ideas into the domain of today’s computer technology. Using a touch pen to inscribe the touch screen of some mobile, but there’s no application to understand what is your input going to tell. When you try to get in touch with some software companies/some coder experts to improve the subject they don’t accept you as a partner. We are talking different languages, different areas of human contemplation.Do we have a different aims as well (I’m asking myself). It looks like the music valuation is measured according to the commercial success not by the soul, heart, feeling and (astro)knowledge that you have enlived and revealed with the aforementioned human activity.
    SO FAR I’M HAVING FUN to study to research to compose to read the articles…with the little help of computers.

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  63. I am 64 and have to agree with all those who tell of the old days vs now. You can find ANYTHING on the internet. Couldn’t take shop when I was in school (I am female – was not available) and now I have a house that needs work. I have learned about hardware, tools, etc. I can research anything until I feel comfortable. I also fix my computer when needed with the aid of the internet.
    I think one of my favorite things is being able to take a picture with my smartphone of some item I need around the house and take it to the store. There I can show it to some knowledgeable salesperson who can figure out what I need to fix said item. Don’t need to figure out what it is called and when I get to the store they can tell me what it is.
    I do all my finance online and that makes it so much easier than having to mail things.
    I do many of things people have mentioned above and due to the comments on this post I have found other things to try – particularly alternatives to media center.

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