Last time I told you a few things about technology where my advice has completely changed over the years (mainly because the equipment has changed, not because I’m an idiot and got it wrong, I hasten to add!).
But, as they say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”.
And there are also lots of things that haven’t changed – advice I’ve been giving since I started back in 2005 and am still giving exactly the same advice – even though you might be using a tablet or smartphone now, instead of just a desktop PC or laptop.
So here’s my list of top tips for using all these devices that hasn’t changed:
First, it’s still a good idea to restart your device every so often, rather than just using sleep mode. Particularly if it’s been playing up or getting a bit slow – fully restarting it gives it a chance to get everything sorted out and organised which can make it work better. As I mentioned last time, on a Windows 10 PC it’s best to use restart to do this rather than turning it off and on again but for most other devices it doesn’t make much difference which way you do it.
Of course, if you turn your phone or tablet properly off at the end of the day, that’ll do it.
Talking of times when it might be playing up or getting slow, sometimes you’ll ask it to do something and it’ll seem like nothing’s happening. You tap or click on something and nothing happens. You might try again to check you didn’t miss or not tap it hard enough – but still nothing.
Often the best thing is simply to go and make a cup of tea. Seriously – just go and do something else for five minutes to give it a chance to sort itself out. It doesn’t always work but it often lets the device sort out whatever’s causing the delay and get back to normal.
Though maybe given the season I should say go and get a mince pie and a glass of sherry…
Sadly another piece of advice that hasn’t changed is to watch out for email scams. There’s everything from ones that say someone needs a person with a British bank account to move their millions out of whatever country they’re in and they’ll let you have 10% just for letting them use your account if you’ll just give them your bank details… through to ones that look like they’ve come from a friend saying they’re on holiday and have had their money and passport stolen and need you to send them an international bank transfer of however much… or the ones that say Bill Gates wants to give away his fortune to you or you’ve won some random lottery…
Then there are the ones designed to look like they’re from your bank, but asking for your bank details or asking you to log into a webpage that is created by the scammers…
Be suspicious of any emails you get from people who you don’t know, remember your bank should never ask you for personal information by email (and always log in to their actual web page – the one they gave you when you signed up for internet banking, not a link in an email) and if you get an email that’s supposed to be from a friend but doesn’t sound like them, be on your guard – maybe phone them to check if you can.
One more tip that’s still useful – the right click trick. If you’re using a PC or laptop and you’re not sure how to do something in whatever program you’re using, you can often get a handful of relevant options by right-clicking (that’s clicking with the right hand mouse button) on whatever thing it is you want to do something to.
For example if you’re not sure how to make some text in a letter underlined, try right clicking on it. If you’re not sure how to mark an email as “unread” in an email program, try right-clicking on it. And so on.
If you’re using a tablet or smartphone, you can’t right click because you don’t usually have a mouse… but if you tap and hold down your finger for a moment, rather than lifting it as soon as you’ve tapped, that often gives you a similar short menu of options.
Last mention for “Tablet Help is at Hand”
One other thing that’s not changed is things still go wrong! They play up, change settings and end up going slowly… or simply not working properly any more.
One of the first books I wrote about computers helped with this for PCs – and Tablet Help is at Hand goes through the common problems people have with tablets (iPads and Android tablets) and how to quickly and easily get them behaving again.
Worth having to hand if you have a tablet – and we’ve just brought out a fully updated edition.
More info about it (and how to order) here – I won’t mention it again next time (after all, next time I’ll be too busy saying Happy Christmas!)
Have a good week!