Well, this might be a shorter-than-usual email from me as I’m making sure everything’s ready for the launch of our newest books – the Smartphone Help is at Hand books, later today. More on them in a moment.
But first, a quick tip that can be very useful. Sometimes (whether you’re using a tablet, smartphone or PC), you’ll find a webpage just doesn’t load properly. It might show some of the text but maybe it’s all garbled. Sometimes the text will be fine but the images won’t be (and that can be a problem if the images include diagrams or even sometimes some of the headings that are in fancy fonts). And sometimes all you get is some coloured boxes that in theory should be behind the writing – but there’s no writing there. Or the whole thing looks like Picasso has got at it.
It could be that the website has been badly designed, but more often it’s just a blip – your device hasn’t downloaded it properly. It could be because you’re using a slow or iffy internet connection (eg if you’re on your smartphone and you’re out and about) or it could be that the server at the other end is so busy it’s having trouble keeping up. But it’s annoying, whatever the reason!
Luckily, usually all you have to do to get it working is tell your device to download the page again. Most of the time, just trying again will sort the problem – it really was a one off blip.
To do that on a PC or laptop, look at the top of the browser screen, next to where you type the web address. There should be a little circular shaped arrow, pointing around at itself. Click on that and it should refresh the page. (You can also just press the F5 key or Ctrl and R.)
On a tablet you usually look for the same symbol.
Mobiles can be different, though. Some browsers on some smartphones do have the same symbol – but other’s don’t. For example I use Chrome on my smartphone and I don’t get that symbol (though other people with Chrome might – depending on a few things like the size of your screen).
So if you don’t have the arrow going round in a circle symbol, don’t worry. What you do is touch the webpage in the middle somewhere – it doesn’t matter exactly where – and keep touching it. Then drag your finger downwards and let go. You should get a little circular “I’m doing something” symbol for a moment, then it should update.
Easy once you know how but, like a lot of things on smartphones, not easy to work out if you haven’t been told.
Oh, and it works on most tablets, too, so if you prefer you can use that instead of tapping the circular arrow. Up to you which you like best – they both will do exactly the same thing.
It can also be useful if you want to check for an up to date version of a webpage since you started reading it, for example if you’re reading a news site and want to see if it’s changed since you opened the webpage, though many of those update themselves automatically. It can also be useful sometimes when your device remembers an old version of a webpage and doesn’t show you the newest, though that’s becoming less common as the devices get a bit cleverer!
So, as I said, today is when the new Smartphone Help is at Hand books are launched – they’ll be available at 11am today (UK time). I’ve got a copy of each of them sat on my desk now and I’m really pleased with them and really excited. In a way, these fill a gap as I’d already written “Help is at Hand” books for PCs or laptops and for tablets so they complete the set.
Full information on them (what they cover, who they’re suitable for and so on) will be available at 11am and that’s when they’ll be available to order as well – watch this space for my email!