Open Source is OK

Anyone with a computer knows that it’s like a candy store when it comes to programs you need to accomplish your tasks. Also, anyone with a computer knows that purchasing programs can drain your wallet quickly.

Open source programs are the frugal and smart answer to stop the dollars from flying away.

I’ve been a big fan of open source since so many programs I used went to the subscription model. For my home computer, I can’t justify the ongoing cost for something that I may not use frequently, but still want to have available.

For instance, word processing. I don’t produce a lot of text documents but I do need to write a few letters now and again. There are two office-suite type open source programs out there that solve this for me. I have both but I don’t know which one is better. Both work equally well.

Each one has a writer, a spreadsheet, a presentation, a mathematics, a database and a drawing program as part of their suites. They are simple to use, especially if you are familiar with the name-brand software of the same type.

Open Office
Libre Office

If you want to turn your photos into something spectacular, then GIMP might just work. It’s similar to that famous program but free to use. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to use it. There are bunches of tutorials and videos out there that will help you at every step.


Looking to design some T-shirts for print-on-demand sales? Try Inkscape. It’s a vector graphics program that rivals paid software. It has a learning curve but it’s doable with all the help that’s available online.


Interested in starting a YouTube channel? Take a look at some free software for that.

Audacity – audio editor
Shotcut – video editor
OBS – screen recording or live recording

Plenty of tutorials, especially videos, for each of these programs.

The one I wish I had even a tiny clue about how to use is Blender. This is an open source 3D animation software that does amazing things which are just way beyond my capabilities.


This is just a tiny handful of titles that are available for free. Hundreds more are out there waiting for you to download. Don’t worry. Open source software is safe to use.

Where to find these gems? Go directly to the software download page or use these sites to find what you need.

Source Forge
Open Source Software Directory

Happy Computing!


Baby Boomers in Business

We have been self employed more than once in life. I’ve made all or part of my income from self employment for many years. We sold our business about 10 years ago and I haven’t done any freelance work or started another business in all these years. Now with retirement, I’ve been looking at that possibility again.

There are many lessons your business will teach you. One of the most important is: what kind of business you would want if you had it to do all over again. I did learn that lesson. I know what I want and what I don’t.


A business can consume your life. A business is your life. I can’t say that I don’t want that again because it’s unrealistic. Any business must be the center of your life. Ignore the claims that you can work only four hours a week and make a living. Eventually maybe, but not in the beginning. It simply won’t happen that way.

With that said, there is some truth to the adage that “if you do something you love, you won’t work another day in your life.” I don’t know who said that, but I believe it. It’s also the first truth of being in business. If you hate it, you won’t work it like you should.

I encourage anyone to seek out a way to earn beyond a job. It’s liberating, but there are some pitfalls.

It’s important to ask yourself some questions before taking the plunge into your own business. Search your mind and your soul for answers. Being in business isn’t for everyone and it’s better to find out where you fit sooner rather than later.

The SBA has a list of 20 questions to ask yourself.

What about money? Do you have enough to start a business? Will you need to borrow? If you do, beef up that business plan. It will help you in many ways and not just getting money. Better yet, find the money without borrowing. Sell something. Earn it somehow, etc. You won’t have the added burden of a bank loan.


Business plan resources:

The Small Business Administration
BPlans: The Ultimate Guide to Business Planning

Talk with like-minded folks on forums.

Often, someone has been through and solved the very problem that is vexing you. There are many forums out there so don’t limit yourself to just these.

The Small Business Forum

Another Small Business Forum

You may have heard that many new businesses fail. Some throw out a 90% failure rate for businesses. The real number is much less than that, but you should be determined that you aren’t going to be a statistic.

The Small Business Administration’s Starting a Business information.

There’s a special section for people over 50 who want to be Encore Entrepreneurs

Changing Life, Changing Work

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Retirement doesn’t always mean work stops. That’s the quickest way to the rocking chair and once you are there, can the grave be far off? The question is: Do we want to continue in our current job or do something else?123

Life must have a purpose and working provides that purpose. This is something I’ve struggled with since my sudden retirement. What can I do now? Maybe I should ask “What do I want to do now?”

Certainly, there were some things that are now off the table. The space program doesn’t want a gray-haired grandmother. The Metropolitan Opera actually wants someone with a beautiful voice. Who knew?

If you can foresee a change in your future, here is some information to help you along.

How to Change Careers from the Wall Street Journal

Finding the Right Career–from The Help

Tips for baby boomers wanting career change–from the Tampa Bay Times

How Boomers Can Reinvent Their Careers–from Fox Business News

Jobs Can Be Cool


It’s our intention to create earnings in retirement for a couple of reasons: to keep busy and to preserve our savings. A job just won’t be the answer for me long-term. As we all know, jobs can be very inflexible. That’s not to say I won’t be employed in some way. There are interesting opportunities out there for short-term, temporary employment in wonderful places.

I’m not sure when I came across Cool Works. It was many years ago when I still had a child at home and  I couldn’t take advantage of any of the offerings. I forgot about the site for quite a long time and I couldn’t even remember the name of it. A few searches brought it up and I’m so glad it still exists.

If you are looking for something seasonal then this is the place. They list job openings at National and State parks, resorts, and other interesting places. They include a category titled “Older and Bolder,” which lists opportunities for retirees. These aren’t career jobs. Usually, they consist of front desk, waitstaff, store help and the like, but who cares what you’re doing when you can look out the window at Mt. Rainier or the Grand Canyon?


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