Microsoft, Amazon & Me – what we’re all up to

By | August 15, 2012
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This issue, here’s what Microsoft are up to, what Amazon are up to and, well, what I’m up to. Naturally I’ve put the bit about what I’ve done third to save the best for last…

Oh, and a quick update on the Microsoft Word and Microsoft Office books I mentioned last time – they’re selling like hot cakes but we do still have some left. Over half have gone already so if you’re at all interested, I’d have a read of the webpage about them:
After all, the offer runs out at the end of the month and the books won’t be available any more, at any price.

Microsoft to mess about with Hotmail
I know a lot of people who read this newsletter have a hotmail email address – one that you access on the hotmail website (as opposed to one from Yahoo, BT, TalkTalk or whoever).

They can be handy, even if you have another email address. In particular they’re easy to access from a different computer so they’re useful if you (say) use the library PCs or like to check email when you’re in a different part of the country (or a different country altogether).

And since they’re so popular, Microsoft have decided to mess around with them…

They want to replace the hotmail website with one at It’ll do something similar but look more like the new up and coming Windows 8 – and it’ll work more like that too. So if you get a Windows 8 PC when they’re out, it’ll all fit together better. If you don’t, well, it won’t.

For now at least, you don’t have to switch to using the new website and I’d recommend waiting until they’ve sorted out any bugs.

They’re also giving everyone who has a hotmail email address the chance to have a similar one but ending in – I’m not quite sure why you’d want that, but it doesn’t mean you have to lose your old one, so at least people emailing you on your existing email address will still get through.

What on earth are Amazon talking about now?
If you order a book (or anything else) on Amazon, once it tells you the order has gone through, you might notice a bit underneath where it says “Share your purchase” and “Share this item”.

And other shopping websites are starting to do similar things.

It’s not Amazon trying to get you to lend your books to a friend (after all, they want your friends to buy their own books).

It’s a new way they have of promoting what they sell. By share they don’t mean actually share the thing you’ve bought – they mean tell other people what you’ve bought – tell them about it.

There are three tabs “Facebook”, “Twitter” & “Email”. If you click on the first one and you have a Facebook account set up, it’ll automatically add a note to it saying “I just bought: ‘The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman’ by Laurence Sterne” (or whatever you bought) along with a description of the book and (of course) a link to the Amazon website.

The idea is that your friends might see it and think “Well, maybe I’d like it too” and then they might buy the same thing.

If you click on the Twitter tab then if you have a Twitter account set up, it’ll add something similar to that and if you click on Email it creates an email for you to send that has something similar written in it.

With any of them you can tweak what it says. You could add something like “Been meaning to read this for ages – now I’m finally getting round to it”. Or you could leave it with just the bare bones that are filled in automatically.

I don’t know whether many people use it, but at least you now know what it means!

Now easier to look back at my old issues
I’ve made some changes to how I create this newsletter and send it out – and the good news is it means it’s easier for you to look back at previous issues. There’s a new “archive” of the newsletter which you can get to by clicking on “Previous Issues” at , or just go straight to

You don’t need to do anything different or sign up again or anything – it’s just you can go to that webpage and see the articles I’ve written, all in one place. It’ll have everything from the newsletter I wrote at the start of August onwards.

Well, that’s all for this time.