• Show and tell: Miss your grandkids? New desktop computers, laptops and two-in-one detachable PCs like the HP SlateBook x2 make it possible to communicate face-to-face without the need for travel. Use a Skype account and a built-in webcam to video chat with loved ones and friends. Set up afternoon appointments with your grandkids where they can share the big news of the school day with you in real time or read them a bedtime story from hundreds of miles away.
• Dig up the past: Get the family together to take a quick trip back through time and explore your family heritage. Discover the root of your surname and explore your history. You'll spark great conversation and maybe even a few funny stories from the past. Online software can help you create a family tree.
• Be artistic: Need a stress-relieving activity? Why not take up painting? But rather than get your hands dirty, try a free application, such as Windows 8 FreshPaint, which offers a realistic alternative to oil painting, without the mess. And you don't have to shell out for painting supplies.
• Be a chef: You may already have a collection of favorite tried and true recipes. But it's never too late to enlarge your collection. If you have an Internet connection, use it to find new recipes and save them to a computer program, such as HP Recipe Box, which is an easy way to organize and store them. You can even print out a grocery list to save you time while planning.
• Take it easy: For those with arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, or those who just like things to be plain and simple, a touchscreen desktop PC such as the HP ENVY 23 TouchSmart All-in-One can provide much needed relief. You can browse the web, play games, and keep in touch without the need for a keyboard and mouse. More information can be found at www.HP.com.
• Play a game: From Scrabble to poker, you can play any of your favorite games even when you're home alone. Either compete against the computer or play with far-away friends.
You may not jump on board every consumer technology trend, so if you're going to be selective, look for those technologies that can enrich your life.