Tag Archives: VTAP

Never Miss the Bus Again

Transit Technology Upgrades

Technology has changed on today’s modern buses, since that lovable bus driver (Ralph Kramden – A.K.A. Jackie Gleason) graced our old black and white televisions on the Honeymooners sitcom show so many years ago. Modern transit systems boast such features as on-board computer and communication systems, automated payment facilities, GPS locators, and the announcement of upcoming stops, just to name a few.

Although this blog entry mentions only the cities of Mississauga, Brampton, and Oakville located in the GTA, you can quickly perform a search using Google to find out information regarding your own municipality’s transit system, with a couple of well-chosen keywords, such as “transit your city name”.

By visiting the website of you local transit system, (Mississauga – Brampton – Oakville), you can access virtually everything there is to know about it. When visiting the websites, you can find out things such as fares, routes and schedules, alerts, maps, and the one that I use the most – the trip planner. When you give the trip planner both your starting and destination addresses, and your required departure and arrival times, it will provide you with a detailed “itinerary” including specific times, buses, and transfers. SO useful!!!

Here are the links to each city’s trip planner service:
Mississauga Bus Transit Trip Planner
Brampton Bus Transit Trip Planner
Oakville Bus Transit Trip Planner

And, for the folks with smart phones and tablet computers, the story possibly gets even better!!! We have all likely heard the expression “there’s an APP for that”… By downloading and using an appropriate “app” for your local transit system, you can have up-to-the-minute and real-time updates on the status of your particular bus trip with just a few taps on your screen. How convenient is that??    🙂

Given the amount of gridlock on the streets and highways in the Greater Toronto Area, the good old-fashioned bus may be a very viable alternative to sitting in your car in stop and go traffic for hours. By using technology, your commuting experience can be a quite pleasant one, and you should never miss the bus again when you have the most current information at your fingertips.

– David Spearns (ETAG Volunteer Technology Tutor)

Fun Tablet Workshops!

Smiling learners with ETAG

March has been a busy month. ETAG toured our new Lifelong Learning Workshop in Burlington, Oakville, and Mississauga, helping adults 55+ learn about the many tablet technologies available today. Over 60 attendees filled the seats at each of our incredible community partner venues, including the Burlington Seniors Centre, the Sir John Colborne Recreation Centre for Seniors, and Viva Retirement Community.

Happy at ETAG's Workshop!

With the help and guidance of ETAG’s amazing volunteer team, participants learned what tablets are (when compared to laptops) and what they are generally used for. Instructors discussed the different brands available, including Apple iPad, Android’s Asus Transformer Pad, Blackberry Playbook, Kobo’s Arch, and the Microsoft Surface.

ETAG’s tablet workshop is an opportunity for participants to learn about tablets in a neutral, unbiased forum to ensure they have a firm understanding of what they want before visiting a retail outlet. Instructors explored the different interfaces, explained the major hardware variances, and outlined the price ranges people should expect. Participants also learned about concepts like ‘open-source‘ and ‘proprietary‘.

Doro and iPad!

With a special sneak peak preview from our incredible sponsors at Doro, the Doro Experience App for Android was highlighted as an accessible option for older adults looking for a SUPER SIMPLE tablet interface that’s easy to learn and use. Terrific stuff! Not to mention Doro’s well received PhoneEasy cell phone, perfect for anyone looking for a reliable, basic mobile phone with usability at its core. Check them out online!

Thanks again to the New Horizons For Seniors Program, who is the primary supporter of ETAG’s Lifelong Learning Workshops across the GTA. We can’t wait for the next round of workshops in May. Visit ETAGonline’s FREE WORKSHOPS section for more details 🙂

– Chris Bint


Nothing Fishy About CARP

CARP's logo

Many of us at that “certain age” have heard about the CARP organization. You can learn a little more about CARP on their Wikipedia page too.

“CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada’ promoting social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination.” CARP’s mandate…”is to promote and protect the interests, rights and quality of life for Canadians as we age.”

The CARP website http://www.carp.ca/ is jam-packed with many excellent articles and news stories of special interest to “seniors” of all ages. There are several features such as your finances, your health, and your rights, along with many benefits and events to keep you accurately informed and fully engaged in enjoying life as a “senior”.

It is certainly well worth a visit to their website, and I am confident that once you explore it a little, that you will find it very helpful and informative, and that you will bookmark the site in your Internet browser to make it easy to visit it often.

They have even provided a link to Zoomer Radio so that you can listen to some age-appropriate radio during your visit to the website.

Zoomer Magazine

Also, be sure to check out CARP’s upcoming event in April 2013. CARP’s Mississauga Zoomer Fair will be held on April 18th from 10am to 2pm at the Sheridan Centre. It will feature 35+ exhibits with lots of helpful information from organizations in the community. Visit CARP’s website for more details.

So, if you’re looking for helpful information of interest to those of us with greying (or disappearing) hair, I recommend that you visit the CARP website regularly 🙂

– David Spearns (ETAG Volunteer Technology Tutor)


SNAP North Toronto

Chris and Phil from ETAG         Chris presenting workshop

ETAG was recently featured in SNAP North Toronto to highlight our Lifelong Learning Workshop about technology. In collaboration with P.O.I.N.T., ETAG shared useful information about today’s digital gadgets, like tablets and smartphones, explained some important technology buzz words like 3G/LTE, cloud computing, and Twitter, and identified several ways that adults 55+ can stay safe in our technology rich world.

Workshop Participants

Check out a few photos and the short write-up here.

Thanks to SNAP North Toronto for the use of their photographs from the event 🙂

Black Book of Scams


Book of Scams

We all read about scams in the news almost daily, and often simply dismiss these reports with something like “How could someone allow that to happen to them?” However, many instances of fraud do occur (and often go unreported) each and every day.

The “scam artists” can be quite clever and convincing, and honest and intelligent people can be innocently caught in the traps that these criminals set for them. Quite often, the victims of fraud are too ashamed or embarrassed to come forward, which only allows this crime wave to grow.

The information provided in The Little Black Book of Scams presents several scam scenarios, and some very sound advice on how to avoid being stung by these clever thieves. This is an official document developed and distributed by the Canadian government. The Little Black Book of Scams can prepare you with the knowledge that you need to keep your hard-earned money in your own pocket, and not in the pocket of someone who should be in jail.

I strongly urge you to read and actually study the The Little Black Book of Scams, and also make yourself aware of all of the resources provided at the Competition Bureau of Canada website. The document can be downloaded to your tablet in PDF format from the link provided above. You can also feel free to contact the Competition Bureau via telephone to request a printed copy.

Knowledge is Power, so please arm yourself with the proper information to help eliminate this plague.

– David Spearns (ETAG Volunteer Technology Tutor)

Volunteer with ETAG

Volunteers are an integral part of our community. Many social services rely on the efforts of a committed volunteer team to make a difference. When someone volunteers, everyone in the equation is a winner; the community or cause benefits from the contribution and the volunteer benefits from gaining experience. In fact, volunteering may be arguably the most invaluable experiences of your life. Being a volunteer can elevate your learning and give you insight into opportunities that you would normally not have had.

Volunteer opportunities for seniors play a important role for North America’s aging population. They provide an avenue for healthy seniors to remain active and stay connected with their community. According to Statistic Canada, seniors dedicate on average, over 223 volunteering hours per year, more than any other age group! This is not a surprise to us at ETAG; we have over 50 volunteer technology tutors assisting with our Volunteer Technology Assistance Program (VTAP) each week, many of whom are experienced older adults. Our successful VTAP initiative is made possible by our highly qualified volunteers who work tirelessly to bridge the gap between technology and older adults.

At ETAG, we are always looking for technology savvy tutors. If you’re a regular and confident technology user who has excellent communication skills and a passion for helping others, don’t hesitate to attend our next information session on March 7th. Visit our Volunteer section for all the details.

– Simone Carpio (ETAG Lead Volunteer)

Best volunteers ever!

Looking back on this past year, it’s hard to believe how much we have accomplished as an organization. With such a committed team, we have significantly grown our Volunteer Technology Assistance Program (VTAP), making it available 3 times a week in 5 locations across the Peel and Halton regions. VTAP alone has generated over 5500 client visits this year (not including December). Additionally, we have developed our Lifelong Learning Workshop program, allowing us to reach out to hundreds of adults 55+ in the GTA .  It is without question that this has been made possible by the contributions and support of our AMAZING volunteer technology tutors.

Chris and I are both truly grateful to have the opportunity to work with such a diverse and outstanding group of individuals. We are always humbled by the amount of generosity and care that is continuously displayed by all of our volunteers. We consider you essential members of ETAG’s team. For all that and more, Thank You!

As we move into 2013, I have no doubt that we will continue to grow. We are always looking for ways to better ourselves and the programs we offer.My goal is to not only educate our older adult clients but to provide each of  our volunteers an opportunity to acquire new skills in the process. I am always looking for more input and feedback. Please don’t hesitate to share your idea’s and thoughts with me.

Once again, I would like to thank our volunteer technology tutors for an amazing year.

Happy Holiday’s and a prosperous New Year!

– Phil Shahinian