Announcing the Family History book is out – but not yet

By | October 17, 2011
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In the Computers newsletter this month:
  • Family History – finally in stock tomorrow
  • What playing the piano has to do with computers
  • Two rivals for Microsoft where there used to be one
  • Something for the book lover
Hello ,

It’s soon going to be all go here as the long-awaited Family History books will be delivered to us from the printing company tomorrow, on Tuesday.

I won’t go on about it (not again, anyway…) but if you’ve already pre-ordered one, we’re hoping to post yours out tomorrow if we can get them all packed, Wednesday at the latest. It should reach you around the end of the week, Royal Mail permitting.

If you’ve been waiting until we actually had copies in stock, you can read more about it (and if you like order), here:

Right – some more tips from readers next…

RSI and protecting your wrists
I’ve been talking a bit lately about how to make sure you don’t hurt your wrists when you’re using your mouse and keyboard.

I’ve had a couple of other tips from readers. One is to do with what I mentioned last time – that you shouldn’t bend your wrists up, they should be straight or slightly bending down (you can tell it’s right as it feels more comfortable when you do it). If you’ve ever been taught to play the piano, it’s the same as the way you hold your wrists for that. So just imagine you’re playing the piano when you type!

The other tip is if you do get pains in your wrists, it’s worth considering a split or curved keyboard – like these:

They’re not for everyone and they can take a bit of getting used to (especially the split one) but they do keep your wrists at a more natural angle, which can make a huge difference. (You can get them in most big PC shops, like PC World. Or search on for split keyboard or curved keyboard.

OpenOffice vs LibreOffice vs Microsoft Office
I’ve talked before about OpenOffice – it’s a program similar to Microsoft Office, with a word processor, a spreadsheet and so on in it. The big difference is that it’s free (whereas Microsoft Office is far from free). I use it at home and it does everything I need – saving me from splashing out on Microsoft’s version. It can even open and save documents in the format Microsoft use, so it doesn’t stop you from sharing things with other people who use Microsoft Office, Word or Excel.

But lately I’ve seen people referring to “LibreOffice” and saying it’s the new name for OpenOffice. On the other hand, you can still get OpenOffice at

What’s going on?

Well, some of the people behind OpenOffice have had a bit of a spat. All very grown up and polite, I’m sure. But a bunch of them who wanted to make some improvements to it have gone off and created LibreOffice, which is almost the same as OpenOffice, but with a few bugs fixed and a few other little changes (and also free). They say they’re going to keep on improving it over time. The people who have the rights to the name “OpenOffice” haven’t been doing so much to the program itself lately and have just huffed and puffed a bit about LibreOffice.

The end result is there are two versions of the program – and they’re very very similar. OpenOffice is the original and LibreOffice is the original with a few small changes to make it better (and with a lot of the original people behind it). But they even look much the same (apart from the different name at the top and the fact that there’s slightly more colour in LibreOffice).

My advice? Well, if you’re happily using OpenOffice, I wouldn’t bother changing. I’m not going to change it on my computer – the difference is so small that it’s not worth the time.

If you’re interested in getting a free word processor, spreadsheet and so on, then I’d probably recommend going to instead of

And finally – the smell of books
I’ve been talking a lot about ebooks vs paper books lately. One reason some people prefer paper books is the smell – and some budding entrepreneur has decided to fix that… with a can you can spray your ebook gadget with. See

It isn’t brand new – in fact it was released back in April… right at the start of April in fact, on the first… Oh, wait a minute…

That’s all for now

Tim Wakeling

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