Sam Bauman: Test run with laptop, headaches are fewer as we age



I’ve had a guest in the apartment for about 30 days. It’s silent, just sits on the dining room table looking chunky. It’s a $95 laptop computer I cajoled the administration at Carson’s nonprofit ComputerCorps to loan me so I could see how well it worked. Even added a monitor screen for a bigger picture.

With new laptops costing $400 plus, I figured $95 was a bargain if the $95 was acceptable for general users. I’m not a computer techie, but I have two laptops, one so old it can’t accept system updates, the other an Apple MacBook a couple of years old that cost me $600 used. Also, a desktop Dell that is badly outdated.

So technically I’m an amateur but familiar with laptops and desk computers. ComputerCorps is selling reconditioned laptops and desk computers for $95, as many signs report near the ComputerCorps office next to the Nevada Appeal on Mallory Way in Carson City. ComputerCorps also has a computer store at the site selling all sorts of computers, monitors, gadgets and services.

So I set up the $95 laptop, got it running with a good picture repeated on the larger screen-attached monitor. I sat down and begin rewriting a lost chapter seven of a new novel I’m finishing (“An Italian Winter” by name, out as soon as I can find the lost chapter and wind up publication with Amazon).

Here’s some of the specifics of the $95 computers:

Core 2 CPU processor

4-gigabyte memory and 320-gigabyte hard drive

Keyboard and mouse included with desktops

Wired and/or wireless network ready

Libre Office Productivity software

Anti-virus, Flash and Acrobat Reader

These are the minimum specs.

That sounds pretty good to this non-tech user.

The laptop uses Windows 10 which I had to relearn and the keyboard is more detailed than my MacBook. All sorts of shortcut commands up and running (better than my MacBook). The loaner laptop is a Lenovo EAP7MEAP. It is labeled Carson City School District, Mobil E-2240. I presume that is where the laptop will wind up after I return it.

So, how did it perform? After figured out the toggle switch keyboard with all the shortcuts up and running, the computer worked very well. No technical problems at all. Files were made, stored, copied and moved around using my WiFi support.

So systems OK, keyboard touch different than mine but acceptable. Charged quickly and ran for nine hours before running down. It’s a little heavier than my MacBook but about three pounds, according to my bathroom scale.

So the verdict is for $95 it’s a real deal. I presume the desk version since it shares the same system should work as well.

So relax, ComputerCorps, I’ll be returning the laptop next week, undamaged and ready for sale for $95, thank you.

Headaches as we age

Headaches are less common as we age, reports the Mayo Clinic Health Letter of June. You may have less on your mind but they do still come. We’re not talking about hangover-type aches after over indulging. Nevertheless, they are still a problem with seniors. Between 15 and 20 percent of adults over 60 have more than two headaches a month. But there’s still concern — headaches due to a change.

Some first-time headaches suggest something serious calling for attention. Also, seniors tend to take more medications so help for headaches has to be carefully watched as headache meds can conflict easily with others, such as those for diabetes or high blood pressure.

The newsletter identifies three kinds of headaches: tension, migraine, and cluster. The tension ache is often a dull, squeezing pain the may involve the forehead, scalp, temples and back of the neck. A migraine normally appears on one side of the head. Cluster headaches appear on one side of the head or as a stabbing sensation in an eye. Most often headaches are a symptom of an existing condition; however, headaches can occur for the first time for seniors over 50. However, new headaches can be a symptom of something else, such as sleep apnea or COPD. Eye ills such as glaucoma can lead to headaches.

If one has as occasional migraine or tension ache, taking pain relievers at the first sign of pain can dull the pain. But if the pain is more frequent or more problematic, they may need to he replaced with others because of complications related to age.

Nonprescription drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, (Advil, Motrin IB, and naproxen sodium (Aleve) can be upsetting. Medication overuse can also lead to more headaches (rebound headaches).

Here are some headache red flags suggesting immediate medical help:

New headaches when over the age of 50

Sudden onset or thunderclap headaches lasting less than a minute

New, first or worst-ever headache

Change in pattern for earlier headaches

Headaches associated with fever, chills or unplanned weight loss

Seizures, confusion or dizziness

Worsening headache or no improvement after meds

Headaches tied to standing or changing positions

Headaches unusually linked to unusual or persistent aura

A headache after recent head or neck injury

Headache with a history of cancer or HIV infection.

Some non-drug therapies may help ease headache pain. Tests suggest there may help reduce frequency and severity of headaches as well as reduce drug therapies. Have your doctor recommend a therapist for you. Some therapies that are effective include:

Biofeedback: Electric sensors are attached to the body and you learn how to use your responses to pain.

Relaxation: Done regularly these techniques can reduce the likelihood that stress will trigger a headache.

Cognitive behavior therapy to help patients identify headache triggers and coping techniques.

Acupuncture can help with up to 12 sessions in three months.

Self-care, eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep can help greatly in reducing headaches.

And take it easy the night before!

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.


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