Abandoning Internet Explorer? And some important news…

By | May 14, 2014
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What’s going on? The last issue was a few days late and now this one’s a day early. Am I trying to make up for the last one being late by making this one early?

No, it’s just I’ve got something important to tell you about and since I’d finished writing this today, I thought I’d send it straight away rather than making you wait until tomorrow!

First, though, a useful tip from a reader:

More on wifi range problems – from a reader

“Thanks for the latest news letter. The Item on WiFi is interesting , but you didn’t mention the solution that I found out about while on a caravanning holiday in Portugal. I couldn’t get a signal but the next door caravan could. The secret was they had an aerial. I bought one, together with a 10m lead (so that it can be mounted on top of the caravan or hung over a nearby tree) for less than £12. It now gives a range of up to 100 yards. Money well spent.”

A useful tip – for a lot of people an aerial (some companies just call it an antenna, if you’re searching for one on the internet) might be more than they need, but it’s not just for caravans – if you have a summer house or just like to use your laptop in the garden (and this week there’ve been days it’s been tempting!) you might find it useful.

Worth knowing about if you have problems with your wifi signal.

Windows 7: Screen disappears or goes see-through
If you have Windows 7, you might find that occasionally the screen seems to go blank or transparent (so you can see whatever you have set as your “desktop” behind it) while you’re typing. Chances are you’ve done something I do all the time (in fact I did it while I was writing this newsletter, which is what made me mention it!). There’s a tiny rectangle in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, just to the right of the time and date. If you point the mouse at that, it shows you what’s “behind” the current window. The idea is you might want to quickly check something.

I’ve never used it on purpose – but I’ve done it by accident a few times. If it happens to you, just move the mouse away from that corner and it should all come back.

Hoo-ha about Internet Explorer – should you abandon it?
Earlier this month there was lots of fuss in the newspapers about a newly discovered bug that affected Internet Explorer. Some newspapers were confused about whether it only affected Windows XP or all versions… but some implied that you should stop using Internet Explorer and switch to Chrome or Firefox or all sorts of dire things would happen.

Well, there was a bug, quite a bad one. And it affected all versions of Windows, if you use Internet Explorer. But the good news is it only took Microsoft about two days to fix it. So though it might have been best to use Chrome or Firefox for those two days, you don’t need to worry about it now.

There’s nothing wrong with switching to Chrome or Firefox if you prefer them (I prefer Chrome, personally, but there’s not that much difference and I use all three to keep my hand in). But occasionally serious bugs are discovered in them, too, they just don’t tend to get quite as much publicity. So switch if you like, but don’t feel you have to.

What’s happening at the Inner Circle… important news for members and non-members
I mentioned last time that I’m going to be shutting the doors to new members on the Inner Circle shortly. Well, I’ve got the details now.
If you’re not already a member, you can still join until 5pm on Thursday 29th May. After that we’ll be taking no new members at all until I’ve finished doing some improvements – probably around the start of the Autumn. If you are a member, you won’t lose out – your membership will carry on as normal and in fact you’ll get each improvement as it’s finished, you won’t have to wait until the Autumn.

You can read more about the Inner Circle and what you get here, but in a nutshell, I think it’s the best way to take away any difficulty and frustration with using computers – there are articles and videos covering things people struggle with, free ebooks on topics that need a bit more detail (like how to make your PC run faster) and the Clubroom – where you can ask questions of other members or Georgia, my “technical deputy” (who loves nothing more than solving many different computer problems). On the rare occasions she can’t help, I get involved too, but she knows her stuff and can explain it clearly, so frankly I’m not needed very often!

Oh, and new members get a free (paper) book, Simple Ways to make Your PC Easier to Use, too, as well as a members handbook.

Anyway, I’ve taken up enough space about it here – if it sounds interesting, find out more (including the risk free trial): read more here.

But remember, the doors are only open to new members until 5pm, Thursday 29th May. Then they clang shut until summer is over. www.pcinnercircle.co.uk/readmore/