Off Topic

102-Year-Old Woman Accused of Murder, May Face Life in Prison

I often write about various “achievements” of senior citizens but this one surprised me. A 102-year-old woman who prosecutors say killed her 100-year-old roommate in a Massachusetts nursing home nearly five years ago faces a second-degree murder charge. Laura Lundquist is the oldest murder defendant in the state’s history.

Details may be found at

Ooma is now Available at the Lowest Price Ever

I fired the local telephone company years ago. I replaced the old-fashioned telephone service with a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone that connects to the Internet router in my home. There are no telephone lines connected to my house. The VoIP system works well, providing crystal-clear voice calls and also works perfectly with security alarms, FAX machines, and more.

Over the years, I have experimented with a number of different VoIP services. Back in the “old days” when VoIP was new, making phone calls meant leaving your computer powered up and online 24 hours a day and wearing headphones when you wanted to talk on the phone. Thankfully, those days are over. Almost all of today’s VoIP providers use normal telephones, such as those you purchase at the local computer store or department store.

I experimented with different providers but eventually settled on Ooma. I am republishing below a Plus Edition article I published about Ooma in January of this year.

You Are Invited to the Biggest Family Reunion Ever

A.J. Jacobs

There are 7 billion – yes, billion – people on our planet and A.J. Jacobs says we are all related, albeit distantly. Jacobs plans to throw the world’s biggest family reunion next summer in New York.

It all began after Jacobs received an email from a fan in Israel, who informed Jacobs that he was a distant cousin of his wife, and was related to notables like Karl Marx and 80,000 more. The revelation sparked Jacob’s fascination with genealogy, and prompted him to start playing the connections game. So far, he has mapped out his family tree to include up to 77 million distant relatives.

How to Turn Your Smartphone into a Wi-Fi Hotspot

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy but I will suggest that all owners of cell phones should be aware of the hotspot capabilities of their phones.

Would you like to access the web with your laptop or tablet computer while at a library or archive or most any other location? If a wi-fi network is available, that is easy to do. However, what do you do when you are not in range of a wi-fi connection? If you have a cell phone, there is an easy answer: tether the cell phone.

Tethering allows sharing the Internet connection of the cell phone with other devices, such as laptops.

Do You Lead a Paper-Free Life? Now It is Time to Consider a Money-Free Lifestyle

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy information, I suggest you skip this article.

I have written several times about leading a paperless lifestyle. I have tried to do so and now live about 98% paper free. I love it. I don’t ever want to go back to cluttering my life with paper.

Even at the NGS genealogy conference I am attending this week, when anyone in the exhibits hall hands me a brochure or a business card, I simply take a picture of it with my smartphone’s camera and then hand the paper back to the person who gave it to me. I won’t need to stuff my suitcase full of paper for the trip home. Unlike past conferences, I won’t lose the various pieces of paper. The smartphone pictures automatically get copied to my private space “in the cloud” within seconds after snapping the shutter. They are then easily searchable and retrievable for years to come.

Why You Want a Do-It-Yourself Home Security System

NOTE: This article contains no information about genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, I suggest you skip this article.

burglarA recent article by Nick McCrea in the Bangor (Maine) Daily News made me stop and think. McCrea’s home was burglarized recently while he and his family were sleeping. He writes, “A burglar or burglars shoved a pry bar into the latch and popped the door open to my family’s home. I never woke up. The culprits were just feet away from me, separated only by a closed bedroom door and a few feet of hallway, and I never even knew it. That’s the part that angers me the most.” A pocketbook with a small amount of money was taken, but apparently nothing else is missing.

McCrea describes his feelings after discovering the burglary. He notes, “This is how I’ve come to realize that being the victim of a burglary is not about losing items. I didn’t lose any ‘stuff’ in this crime — no televisions, computers or money. My family and I, however, lost our ability to feel secure in our house and close our eyes at night.”

Several other homes on the same street were hit the same night. You can read his full article at

The question quickly arises, “What would you do if that happened to you?” That is a difficult question to answer.

I’ve Been Bing’ed!

I was sitting at the computer a few minutes ago, facing a window that looks onto the street. A strange-looking car drove by. It had a large apparatus on the roof and the word “Bing” was on both front doors of the vehicle. I wasn’t quick enough to take a picture although you can find a picture of a similar-looking vehicle at It obviously is a street view mapping vehicle sponsored by Microsoft’s Bing Maps. It is driving around, taking pictures of every street, to later be included with Bing Maps.


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