It’s now the second half of the year – where’s that time gone?
In fact, come to think of it, where have the last ten years gone – because later this week it’s ten years since I set up this business and launched my first PC book. Ten years since I wrote the first newsletter, too.
A lot’s changed since then. I was covering the new-fangled Windows XP as well as the older Windows 98 when I started and in the very early days I was working from my spare attic room. In fact for the first month or so I was nervous about “what if it didn’t work” and to avoid the risk of printing lots of the books, I printed the first hundred out on my little desktop printer, then bound them with a “comb binder” to avoid spending lots of money or getting thousands printed.
Over those ten years I’ve written dozens of books and recorded quite a few videos.
So I thought over this week I’d go over a few of the things we’ve done in the past ten years.
It all started with Computers One Step at a Time and The Internet One Step at a Time, and they’re still the most popular books we’ve published. They explain how to use your PC or laptop, all in plain simple language with pictures of the screen to show exactly what to do.
They’re now in their 5th edition (and before long we’ll be bringing out yet another edition, for the new Windows 10). Since that first edition ten years ago, I’ve had hundreds of letters, emails and notes saying thank you for these books and how much they’ve helped – and I know lots of readers of this newsletter have them.
The other book I brought out in the first year was Computer Jargon into Plain English – a sort of dictionary of jargon. It’s a little, pocket sized book that explains what all the jargon, gobbledegook and abbreviations mean. You can’t completely avoid them, so it’s worth being able to look them up. It’s now called Computer, Tablet and Smartphone Jargon into Plain English and was completely updated earlier this year, but it’s still going strong. If you’re interested, you can order that one here.
(Or if you want that and the One Step at a Time books, you can add it to the order form once you’ve clicked on of those links)
It’s odd to look back and realise it’s ten years since I first wrote these books – but one of the things that makes me very happy is looking back and knowing they’ve helped literally thousands of people.
On the other hand, you’d think I’d have learnt after ten years…
On the other hand, you’d think I’d have learnt to avoid daft mistakes after ten years (and 7 years or so before that working for a different publisher doing different types of books).
But no, I still make as many as ever. Last time, for example, I said ctrl and C was the shortcut for the charms bar, when I meant Windows and C (I even sent a separate email to everyone to hopefully save you from being confused when it didn’t work).
Not only that, I got my apostrophe wrong and talked about the German’s Enigma code instead of the Germans’ Enigma code. I could try and argue that I meant one German in particular, but I’d be on thin ice…
I’m still trying to get better! Let’s hope I haven’t missed any daft mistakes in this issue…
Windows 10 – out at the end of this month and they’ve finally fixed how email works in it
The new Windows 10 should be out at the end of the month. Not that you have to switch to it, but that’s when it’ll be available.
We’ve been experimenting with a pre-release version, but there are still quite a few things that I think they’ll fix in the final version.
One thing they have sorted, though, is the email app. In Windows 8 or 8.1, you can’t use the built in email app with most UK email addresses – the ones you get from your broadband provider. (The problem is with POP3 based email, which it just can’t handle, unlike older versions of Windows.)
So you either had to use webmail and check your email on your email company’s website or get a different program for your emails (Thunderbird for example). Or change your email address, I suppose.
But in Windows 10, it looks like they’ve solved it, so you now can use the built in mail app for any email account. They’ve even fixed what looks like one of their daft mistakes – there was no button to print your emails.
I’m glad to know it’s not just me that makes daft mistakes – Microsoft do too. And they’ve been at it longer than me!