Can I even use a clock properly? (and 5 tips for Win 8)

By | July 1, 2014
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I’m having a “low tech” day – a very low tech tip to help with scanning and it seems I can’t even use a clock properly (though I blame the computer)…

A very low tech tip about scanning
A lot of the time, I write about technology based tips, what with this being an email about computers and the like.

But just occasionally, I’ve got something less hi-tech… and this is one of those tips!

It’s to do with scanners – gadgets you use to “scan” in a document, photo or whatever so you get a copy of it on the computer.

They used to be really expensive, but nowadays you can get one for under £40… in fact, some cheap printers have them built in, so you might have one without having deliberately bought one!

But because they’re built fairly cheaply, a few corners often get cut. One is that on a lot of models, the bit that sits on top of the photo/magazine article/letter from the accountants that you’re scanning is made of very thin plastic.

And on some – it’s not even flat, there’s a gap you can put a photo slide into, to scan that.

It can be a useful feature, but it often means light shows through whatever you’re scanning… or part of it. Which means you get a blotch of light on the finished scan… which looks terrible.

But there’s a simple solution: After you’ve put whatever you want to scan onto the scanner, face down, put a sheet of thick plain paper on top of it (or several sheets of thinner printer paper).

If you want to be slightly higher-tech, like me, you can use sticky tape to attach the paper or card to the lid, so you don’t have to put it there yourself each time.

Either way, you’ll almost certainly get better results that way. And it doesn’t get much easier than using a simple sheet of paper!

(It’s much clearer if you see what I’m talking about: here’s a photo:

5 tips from anyone moving from Windows XP, Vista or 7 to Windows 8 (or 8.1)
If you’re getting a new computer and it has Windows 8 (or 8.1), you’ll soon spot that it’s very different to anything that’s gone before. And if you’ve already got a new Windows 8 machine, you might have already been pulling your hair out over its quirks…

So it’s worth knowing a few tricks to get you going… this isn’t a complete list, but it does give you a handful of tips that should make it easier…

  1. Quite a lot of Windows 8 laptops are “touchscreen” ones – instead of using a mouse, you can touch the screen to “click” on something. You still can plug a mouse in, and if it was me, I would. But I’d also recommend using the touchscreen for things like tapping to start a program up and so on. It’s the easiest way to use some of the Windows 8 features.
  2. In particular, to scroll across the screen you get when you start up, if you have a touchscreen, touch the screen and slide your finger to the left. Or to scroll down a long webpage, touch it and slide your finger up.
  3. You can start a lot of the most common programs from the screen you get when you turn it on. But if you need a program that isn’t there, and you know the name of it, the easiest way is usually to simply start typing the name of it, from that start screen. It’ll start searching for everything that starts with what you’ve typed and you can then just click on the one you wanted. For example, try typing “Cal” and you’ll get the option to start the calendar (which is on the start screen anyway) or the calculator (which isn’t). There are other ways to get at all the programs, but I think this is the easiest – and although it’s easy, it’s not obvious if no-one’s told you!
  4. To get at all the different settings about how your PC is set up, point the mouse at the top right hand corner until the “Charms bar” appears – then click on “settings”. If you have a touchscreen, you can also get at the charms bar by touching the screen, just off the right hand edge, then “swiping” into the bit of the screen with the display.
  5. If you hate the unusual version of Internet Explorer that you get at from the start screen, you can get one more like you’re used to with earlier versions of Windows by clicking on the desktop on the start screen, then starting Internet Explorer from there. It uses the same bookmarks/favourites and so on – but works much more like you’re probably used to.

I can tell the time, honest… but my computer can’t…
I announced the new books (Help is at Hand) yesterday – but not quite on schedule.

I’d promised to email at midday, and a few of you noticed the email actually went out at 11am. No big deal, but a bit embarrassing. Well, I promise I can tell the time, but it turns out my computer can’t. Yesterday morning, I wrote the email and since I’d finished it early, scheduled it to automatically go. My computer asked what time I wanted it to go – saying it wanted to know in Greenwich Mean Time. I spotted that and adjusted the time to 11am because 11am GMT is 12 midday in summer time… but then my computer sent it at 11am summer time.

Ha – last time I trust a computer to tell the time. I should have just waited until 12 midday and pressed “send” then, instead of trying to be clever and scheduling it!

Anyway, it doesn’t seem to have put anyone off because these books are proving hugely popular and Laura and Louize were rushed off their feet packing them all and getting them in the post – if you got your order in before about three in the afternoon yesterday, it’s already in the post. (After that and it’ll be in the post today…)

If you didn’t order you should read more here: