3 handy tips from readers

By | March 15, 2010
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In the Computers newsletter this month:

  • 3 handy tips from readers
  • What’s an iPad?
  • Why some computers won’t get Windows Updates
  • Google watch us getting a book delivery…


First of all welcome to all the new readers.  After last issue when I said “why not pass the newsletter on and see if your friends’ would like to join” lots of you did – and we now have lots of new readers!

(If you’d like to recommend other people join up, they can do here – they’ll still get the ebook of Staying Safe on the Net, for now.)

This issue there are lots of reader’s tips – there was a bit of a deluge last time so I’ve picked some of the most helpful to include here!  I’ll also tell you what the new “iPad” is and why some people won’t be getting updates to Windows any more.

Readers’ Tips:

Number 1

Thanks for the latest newletter and the handy tips for changing font size. Another one that works in a similar way and works for Photoshop and many “Word” type programs is ‘Highlight’ the words that require changing (Very useful for captions in Photoshop) then hold down ‘Ctrl’ and use the ‘ > ‘ and ‘ < ‘ keys to increase or decrease the text, usually in steps of two points. Of course you can always highlight the text and then adjust by adjusting the size in the ‘Font size” box on the tool bar.

(In some programs you can also hold down shift at the same time to increase it in bigger steps)

Number 2

Hello just a bit of info you might want to pass on, there is a false email supposedly from BT about billing that is going round, looks VERY authentic so please be warned !

Many thanks for your twice-monthly newsletters with handy tips from ‘the master’ and other members.  Keep it coming.

Number 3

I recently discovered something very handy, which you haven’t mentioned, so at the risk of teaching granny to suck eggs, here goes:

You told us about the use of the mouse, not only clicking on the left and right buttons, but also the mouse wheel.  Interesting I thought, no one has mentioned this before, let’s try it.   To my delight I found that, whilst reading  your newsletters and other longish emails,

if I clicked the mouse wheel anywhere on the page a small round symbol containing two arrowheads appeared and if I moved the mouse up or down the page moved in  the opposite  direction, the greater the move, the faster the movement.  This allowed me to move the ‘down’ arrowhead a small amount causing the text to scroll up the screen slowly enough for me to read the script in the centre of the screen, without having to adjust the page with the ‘slider’ at the side – magic!

(In some programs you can also move it sideways to scroll sideways around, say, a photo.)

Useful tips all of them and thanks to not only the people who sent these in but all the others too – I may well fit some more into the next newsletter!

What on earth is an iPad?

You just might have heard that something called an iPad is being launched next month.  It’s a kind of computer made by Apple, who make Mac computers, which don’t use Windows.  The big difference with the iPad is it has no keyboard or mouse – it looks  bit like just having the screen from a laptop, but with no laptop attached.  Instead you control it by touching the screen. For example, if you want to scroll down a page, you touch the screen and slide the page down.  If you want to click on a link, you just touch it on the screen.

Of course, one of the things most people use computers for is email, so you do need to be able to type.  When you tell it to create a new email, it turns the bottom half of the screen into a keyboard and you type on the screen itself.

I’m not sure how well it’ll catch on – as I said, being made by Apple, it won’t use Windows, it’ll use their own system.  Their system might be just as good (in fact there are plenty of people who would say it’s better) but if you’ve learnt to use Windows, it’s a hassle to change.  But other companies have already started talking about producing similar things, but running Windows.  If you mainly use the PC for emails and the internet, then I can see this kind of thing being ideal.

I’ll let you know when any of the Windows based versions arrive!

Why some people will stop getting Windows Updates

Windows Update is the way that Microsoft keep Windows up to date.  When they find a solution to a “bug”, they include it in an update.  Or if they find a security problem, they fix it and include the fix in an update.  Then, as long as your computer is set to use the updates (most are from when you first get them), it stays up to date.

But some computers with XP or Vista soon won’t be getting any updates.  What’s happening is that Microsoft are only going to be producing updates for computers with the latest Service Pack – which is 3 if you have XP or 2 if you have Vista.  You can check what you have by going to the start menu, right clicking on My Computer/Computer and selecting properties.  If you have the up to date one, great, you don’t need to worry.

If you don’t have it, go to this page if you have Windows XP or to this page if you have Windows Vista.

It’s important as otherwise you won’t get the security updates, leaving your PC not properly protected against viruses and so on.

But the good news is, once you’ve got the service pack, your PC will keep itself up to date automatically.

One last thing – Google Streetview

I wrote an article about streetview a while ago (see it here) but Google have just expanded the area it covers massively.  Instead of just being a few cities in the UK it’s now virtually the whole country.  In fact, if you look here you can even see the delivery of books that was arriving at our warehouse just as Google’s camera car went past (we’re just to the right of the building marked “Tornado”)!  Chances are you can see your street on it too!

That’s all for now!


Tim Wakeling

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