April 27, 2006

Finding Solace in Westerly, RI.
Posted by Jess in Solace

A few months ago, I rented a small boutique in historic downtown Westerly, which is a lovely old-fashioned brick retail walking area.

It's in the heart of Westerly's Historic District, complete with Victorian walking park right across the street. I am very fortunate to have found this room, even though it's TINY, about 7x20. But, it is right across from the town library, and town hall, and has a nice big window and display block.


Solace now has a new look and new offerings. It's now a computer learning facility. There are two types of learning: One-on-one personal, and small classes with no more than three students.

More information can be found at the new website, www.solacelearning.com. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

My target clientele is any user who wants to learn "street smarts" about computing. In trying to provide a unique method of learning, I am avoiding any cliches and sterile computer training preconceptions...


Many people who want to learn about computers/Internet cannot find the training they need because they get frightened away by a few key things. Certificate programs, price, location, intimidating websites - these are *not* user friendly, and they are certainly not targeting the beginner computer user.

This is where people can gain a little Solace. My office is boutique-like. The walls are painted a soothing sage green. There's no picture of bland professionals in generic business suits on my website. And, most importantly, the classes I offer are practical in nature, and 100% hands-on. People can call for a one-on-one appointment, and bring in their own list of miscellaneous questions to go over for the 55-minute session.

The first two hands-on classes being offered are:

Protecting Your Privacy Online
1 hour
May 10th at 10:00AM

Preventing and Removing Adware/Spyware
2 hours
May 11th at 10:00AM

Email me here if you are interested in signing up for these classes.

Solace's mission, framed with a big "Why we're here" header:

Solace believes that everyone has a right to learn how to use the technology they have access to, and that education should be affordable, and easy to find. We also believe that everyone should learn how to use the Internet respectfully and safely, both for their own sake, and the sake of others who are using the same Internet on the same global network with them. Solace supports open-source software, which promotes global learning and improving technology.

Why did I add the disclaimer about the open-source software? It's actually in the hopes that many people will ask me about it. Many, many home users I come across on a daily basis don't realize they have a choice in what software they use. It's all about which they *prefer*, and not necessarily what came with their computer. Internet browsers, anti-virus, there are LOTS of choices. Let's build an awareness!

Anyway, that's my big news. And why you haven't heard from me in awhile. :-)



Congratulations! I wish all the neighbors, friends and relatives who call me for computer advice lived in your neighborhood so I could send you to them.


Posted by: Richard Schwartz at April 27, 2006 09:49 PM

Congratulations! I wish all the neighbors, friends and relatives who call me for computer advice lived in your neighborhood so I could send them to you.


Posted by: Richard Schwartz at April 27, 2006 09:50 PM

Great work; I wish you the very best with Solace Jess!

Posted by: Ben Poole at April 28, 2006 03:24 AM

Glad to see the branding has worked out. Continued good luck with the new digs!

Posted by: Ed Brill at April 28, 2006 06:12 AM

LOVE the logo!
For freeware and open source (if you've not already seen this site), large listing of software is available at:
Freeware: http://www.econsultant.com/i-want-freeware-utilities/index.html
Open source: http://www.econsultant.com/i-want-open-source-software/index.html

Gosh, that's a great idea to gently educate about open source and alternatives to the stuff that comes pre-loaded! I know *so* many people who use AOL and other software just because that's what came on the machine. OY!

Posted by: Joe Litton at April 28, 2006 08:00 AM


Everything looks awesome...your community is very to have someone like you, with your business, supporting it.

Go Solace!

Best of luck!

Posted by: Phil Randolph at April 28, 2006 09:06 AM

Looks like everything turned out great Jess! Congratulations on the new digs, and good luck!


Posted by: Greyhawk68 at April 28, 2006 10:19 AM

Wow Jess that's awesome! Many many congratulations! I hope you're very proud of yourself, as you should be. Your arms should be aching from patting yourself on the back a bunch. Again, many congrats my friend! You deserve all the success in the world!


Posted by: Marion McLaughlin at April 28, 2006 10:30 AM

Well done Jess! It looks great. Here's hoping for a mega positive response from the folks in Westerly.

Posted by: Carolyn at April 30, 2006 05:50 PM

Congrats, Jess.
We could use a little Solace up here.
Your courses sound awesome, and the digs look beautiful.
I love your ideas about making learning a gentle, calming and personal experience, rather than an overwhelming one.


Posted by: ChangeWarrior (Deb) at May 2, 2006 09:05 PM

Congratulations and best wishes, Jess. I think it's a great idea. Here's a coupla' quick thoughts from an end-user and developer.

1) EU - I wouldn't call or email if I didn't have some idea how much it'd cost me. Our community college sends out a catalog that gives me class dates, times, and costs. Can you give me something like that so that I would feel comfortable making the next move (contacting you or signing up for a class)?

2) Developer - The company I work for uses Constant Contact to send our press releases to subscribers. A local ceramics shop in town also uses it to send a newsletter to anyone who signs up, so I get occasional reminders that the shop is there and they've got fun stuff planned.

Constant Contact offers double opt-ins, so you get actual interested subscribers who won't consider your newsletter spam. It's cheap, it's easy, and it's effective, imo. So someone signs up for the newsletter and you send out reminders, or upcoming class dates. Or bring two friends and the third friend is free announcements.

http://www.constantcontact.com/index.jsp (I'm not in any way affiliated with them).

Okay, I'd best get back to work. I'm excited for you. Again, best of luck. It sounds like a wonderful venture (and adventure! :-).

Posted by: Karen at May 3, 2006 02:26 PM

Thanks for the well-wishes everyone!

Karen, GREAT feedback, I'm going to check out the site right now!

Posted by: Jess Stratton at May 3, 2006 08:17 PM

Karen, Constant Contact is *fantastic*, thanks!
I've updated my website and configured it all.

Posted by: Jess at May 3, 2006 10:05 PM

Cool. :-)

Posted by: Karen at May 4, 2006 04:35 PM
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