TECH TALK: The Time is Now to Complete Long Overdue Tech Projects

John Vrooman | March 20, 2016

John Vrooman
John Vrooman

This month, I suggest you take a look at the tech that you use and rely on to see if there are some projects or upgrades that you should work on.

For example, how’s your phone working? Does the battery last all day, or is it time for a new battery or phone? Are your apps organized? Is your computer working well? Are your files getting backed up somewhere/somehow on a regular basis? Are your documents and photos organized well enough that you can find what you want quickly and easily? How about your contacts? Are your contacts organized and backed up? Are the contacts on your phone in sync with the contacts in your computer or online e-mail/contacts service? Is it time to replace an aging computer or peripheral device that’s not working well or is simply not providing you with the utility that a replacement device would be able to provide? How about your vehicle tech? Are you able to connect your phone to your car’s audio system using Bluetooth? Can you connect your phone to your vehicle’s audio system and make/take calls in a hands free manner? The list goes on…and on.

My guess is that we’ve all got some tech related projects that could use some attention. So how about making an effort to successfully address a couple of your most important tech related projects this month? Regardless of the schedule you set for yourself to deal with your various tech projects, you will feel better after you complete each project/task!

Why Not give Microsoft OneNote a Try?

OneNote is a free application that helps you create, keep, organize and share notes. OneNote works on many computing platforms (e.g. Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and more). Some of you may already be invested in another note taking application such as Evernote for example, but if you aren’t, I would encourage you to see if OneNote might be right for you. Are you running a fairly new computer or a computer that has Microsoft Office installed on it? If so, there’s a chance that OneNote may already be installed on your computer! FYI: An important feature that any modern note taking/management applications need to have is the ability to make notes available on all your devices, as well as from the web. Fortunately, OneNote offers this capability. Additionally, you should be aware that if you have more advanced note taking needs, OneNote supports the ability to create and use custom templates. Custom templates can greatly improve the speed and effectiveness of your note taking capability! To learn more about OneNote, I suggest you take a look at the following resources:

OneNote help ( help resource)

Create or customize a page template in OneNote 2016 for Windows ( help resource) …

7 Little-Known OneNote Features You Will Love ( blog post) …

Microsoft Office 365 Home Subscription Tip

Hopefully this tip/warning will save some of you from experiencing a great deal of frustration. One great benefit of Microsoft’s popular Office 365 Home subscription is that the subscription owner can share it with an additional four household members. More complete details of what’s included with an Office 365 Home subscription can be found by visiting one of the links found at the end of this section. What I want to bring to your attention however, is that before an Office 365 Home subscription owner goes through the process of sending out any/all of their four available subscription sharing invitations the following should be investigated first.

Check to make sure that a trial or promotional version of Office 365 has not previously been installed or been associated with the intended recipients that have a Microsoft Account already. Many new computers come with a promotional “Personal” version of Office 365. If the computer already has an Office 365 trial or promotional product installed/activated, it needs to be cancelled before a new shared subscription will be able to be accepted. I also recommend that any currently installed version of Office 365 be uninstalled before accepting a new shared Office 365 Home shared subscription invitation. Unfortunately, you may have to contact Microsoft and have them cancel/deactivate any existing/active license at their (Microsoft’s) end. Once any active Office 365 licenses are removed from a user’s Microsoft Account, they should then be able to successfully accept a share/invitation from an Office 365 Home subscriber. Before accepting a new share/invitation, I would also recommend uninstalling any existing Microsoft Office installations before accepting a new Office 365 Home subscription invitation. To help with the uninstall process, Microsoft has an “easy fix tool” that can help you to remove an existing Microsoft Office, or Office 365 installation. A link to the “easy fix tool” is offered below.

By doing the above investigative work, before sharing or accepting an Office 365 Home share invitation, you’ll likely get through the process without the headache that many are encountering when trying to get their households all on board with an Office 365 Home subscription.

Office 365 Home subscription details at…

Uninstall Office 365 using Microsoft’s fix it tool… (Scroll down the page until you see the blue “Download” button)

The following link will enable you to chat (text chat for free) with a Microsoft representative from your computer. Yes, if needed, they can remotely connect to your computer to fix things up for you) …

If your family is currently enjoying an Office 365 Home edition subscription, or if your family may want to subscribe to the service in the future, this tip/information may be worth hanging on to for future reference.

Public Service Announcement #1  Share Select ‘Amazon Prime’ Benefits 

If you are an Amazon Prime member, did you know that you can share some of your benefits with others in your household? I have discovered that many Amazon Prime members are not aware of this. An Amazon Prime member can share some benefits (e.g. Free two-day shipping, Prime Video, Prime Photos, Kindle Owners’ Lending Library) with up to two adults and four *children at no additional cost. (*Unfortunately, Amazon Student Prime members can’t share their benefit). This tip may be able to save some families from unnecessarily maintaining multiple Amazon Prime accounts (or having to share logon credentials with others in the family). To learn more, please visit… (Link leads to an “About Amazon Household” web page at

Public Service Announcement #2 Stabilized Eating Utensils

Eating can be a problem for those who suffer from conditions that cause arm and/or hand tremors (e.g. Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Essential Tremor). Recently, I discovered a couple of companies that make products that can help those who have to deal with mild to moderate arm and/or hand tremors. The two companies are Liftware and Gyenno. Both companies make mechanically stabilized spoons that help to counter arm and hand shaking and allows an affected person to eat more easily and spill less. While this isn’t a “real estate” tech tip, you’ll now be able build some goodwill with someone who may be able to benefit from this tip. To learn more about the product(s), please visit the following two websites … and


If you have comments, suggestions, tips, questions or just want to say “Hi,” you are invited to contact me at I always enjoy hearing from you!

John Vrooman
John Vrooman keeps an eye out for cool new hardware, software, apps, gadgets; SaaS solutions; social media developments, trends as well as personal/SMB productivity and related solutions. He gathers information for his column from a diverse range of resources and he enjoys sharing his discoveries with others. He has been authoring this column since August 2000 and welcomes feedback from his readers.