Merry Christmas and an old tip that not everyone knows

By | December 15, 2012
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Merry Christmas!

Just over a week to go – Alastair’s starting to get excited.  He doesn’t quite understand what’s going on this year but he’s definitely excited!  Meanwhile Edward (8 months old) doesn’t know what’s going on, but likes the look of the mince pies he keeps seeing around.

Anyway, before I finish getting everything ready for Christmas, I’ve got a newsletter to write!  I want to make sure you don’t get alarmed by a message you just might get when you’re using the internet, because it’s really not as scary as it might sound…

An alarming message that you probably don’t need to worry about
I had this message the other day when using someone else’s computer: “You are using an out of date version of Internet Explorer”.  The thing is, this computer was set up to automatically update, so what’s going on?

Well, if you’re using Windows XP (like this computer had), then the latest version of Internet Explorer you can run is 8.  But some websites (not very many) really want version 9 to run properly, so they complain if you try to use them with version 8.  With some websites it’ll complain but still run properly.  With others part of it won’t work properly.

I think it’s part of Microsoft’s attempt to persuade everyone to switch to a newer version of Windows.

If you do get this message (and you’re running Windows XP), you’ve got two options:
1) Ignore it – most websites will still run fine.
2) If you like, install Google’s web browser, Chrome.  This has all the new features that Internet Explorer 8 is missing.  You can get it here:

Oh and if you get that message and you have WIndows Vista, 7 or 8, chances are your computer isn’t set to have automatic updates.  I’d recommend turning it on. (Have a look at page 7 of The Internet One Step at a Time if you’re not sure how).

A tip from a while ago – but still worth knowing
I’ve mentioned this before, but it was a long time ago – and Claire (who helps edit the books) mentioned it to me because her Dad had asked her about it:
What do you do if you get an email with an attachment that won’t open and says it’s a “.ppt file”?
It means it’s a file created in a program called powerpoint, which is used mainly for business presentations but also gets used for all sorts, including electronic Christmas cards.

If you have Powerpoint installed on your PC, that’s no problem as it’ll open up in that.  but most people don’t.

Well, you have two options.  The programs OpenOffice and LibreOffice can open powerpoint files and even create them, so you could download one of them.  They’re big programs, though, because they can do a lot more.  Great if you want to create spreadsheets, written documents and even presentations – but a bit over the top if all you want is to display something you’ve been emailed.

The other option is a Powerpoint viewer that Microsoft (who created Powerpoint in the first place) have made – and it’s free.  It lets you see and print any Powerpoint files – but not make any changes to them.  Only the full version of Powerpoint can make changes.

But for seeing what you’ve been sent, it’s fine.  You can download it here:

They also have viewers for Word and Excel – see here:

One more thing.  Although that’s how to open an attachment like this, like any attachment you should check you know who it’s from before you open it.  If it’s not from someone you know or if it doesn’t really sound like them, even if it’s from their email address, check they did send it before you open it.  You don’t want to open it if it’s a scam or virus.

One last chance at the DTP books before they’re all gone
The DTP books mentioned before have been flying out of the warehouse, but we’ve still got a few left.  But they’re only available until the 21st, when we break up for Christmas – after that, they’re gone.

So if you’re at all interested, best have a look.  They’re on free trial so if you do decide you don’t like them, you can send them back.

You can read more and, if you like, order here:

Right, that’s all for now.  Have a great Christmas and I’ll be back with the next issue in the New Year!