Broadband, BT & Solitary Confinement…

By | February 8, 2016
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Was your broadband affected by the problems last week? On Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of broadband connections stopped working due to a problem with BT.

You might well have been one of them… even if you don’t have your broadband through BT.
It’s something that puzzles people – if you’re with TalkTalk or one of the other broadband companies, why would you lose your connection when BT have problems?

Well, unless you have a cable TV, phones, internet package which comes through fibre optic cables (like Virgin’s service) then the physical line itself is provided by BT, even if you buy it through a different company.

So when BT have problems, it doesn’t matter who your line is through, you might suffer.
Even if your line was fine, you might have found that you had trouble doing certain things on the internet – if the company at the other end were having trouble.

BT said they got everything fixed the same day but I know quite a lot of people were still having problems the day after. It seems to be more or less sorted now, though.

If you have had problems with and are still having problems, you might need to restart your router – just turn it off, leave it for a minute or so, then turn it on again. That should reset it and let it start with a fresh slate.

A quick tip about typing on tablets
I’ve mentioned this to a few people, but not everyone, so here it is again.

If you use a touchscreen tablet and find typing on the keyboard that appears on screen tricky, you might find it’s worth using a stylus for it. Make sure you use a proper stylus designed for a tablet, not just a pen lid or whatever – that won’t work and might damage your tablet.

It’s especially useful if you have a fairly small screen as it’s easier to key the key you wanted, not one of the ones next to it.

Of course, if you find typing on the screen with your fingers is all right, there’s no need to change. But if you find it tricky, give using a stylus a go.

At first it might be slower, but I know this is how my Dad uses his tablet and he can now type quicker with a stylus on the tablet than he can on a proper keyboard (t be fair, he’d probably agree he was no typing whizz on a proper keyboard, but it shows it might be quicker and easier with a stylus!)

Not for solitary confinement, honest…
I mentioned last time that we’d been busy here, working on something to help make using tablets even easier. (No it’s not just the “use a stylus” idea from above.) Here’s where we’ve been doing the work:

Don’t worry, it’s not a solitary confinement box – no-one’s locked in with a baseball like Steve McQueen in the Great Escape… (I think the best bit in the film is the “Good luck” “Thank You” bit when they’re trying to get on the train.)

Anyway, it’s not for solitary confinement, it’s a sound proof booth, specially made so we can record videos showing exactly how to use your tablet without you being able to hear the phones ringing and so on in the background. For a lot of people, it can be very helpful to see what you need to do as someone talks you through it, not just read about it, so I’m very excited about these videos – I think a lot of people will find them very helpful.

I’ve been working hard on them with Claire and Ellen, who helped with the iPad and Android books. We’re getting towards the end, but we’re not quite finished yet. I’m hoping that next week we’ll be able to say when it will be finished though… watch this space.

55 thoughts on “Broadband, BT & Solitary Confinement…

  1. S.G.Futcher

    Hi Tim, Thanks for the books as titled they are Really Helpful. I also enjoy the aricles.
    On the subject of Broadband suppliers: I am in the process of wanting to improve service/costing, and have considered speeds. The imponderable I have is I am confined to Open Reach/BT wiring but currently running on Plusnet( a BT subsidiary). How can fibre optic speed up when it comes in on the same wiring? or am I missing something?

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Hello
      It’s quite confusing, the whole issue of the wiring to the house. I was talking to someone at a broadband company recently and they were saying that in some cases even houses next door to each other get different speeds because the wires to them come through different routes.
      But anyway, there main two way fibre optics can be so much faster even though the cable into your house is still the same cable is because of the cables to your street get used by lots of people – so their speed is being shared between you and anyone in your area. That’s usually the bottleneck. Putting you onto a faster connection to your street means this bit isn’t slowing you down, so the cable into your house can run as fast as it’s capable of, rather than being limited to a twentieth (or however many houses there are) of the same kind of cable to the street.
      I think there are a few other bits and pieces that affect it, but that’s the main reason.
      It’s also affected by how far you are from the exchange – normal cables lose more speed with being further away, but fibre optic is better at keeping the speed up.
      Tim

      Reply
  2. Eryl Bassett

    Typing on a tablet.

    I’m sure that Tim’s advice about using a stylus will be useful to a lot of people. One minor variant I’ve found useful is to rotate my (7-inch Android) tablet to landscape mode. That makes the “keys” just that bit larger, which helps me and may help others.

    Reply
  3. Lawrence Blakey

    I have an old iPad keep getting update message I am reluctant to allow this due to bad reports, any advice

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Generally I allow Apple updates to the system that runs the ipad (iOS) – partly because they tend to be pretty well testing (no always, but they tend to be fairly careful) and also because they make it very hard to avoid them – eventually with some updates it’ll just do it anyway.
      So generally I’d just pick a time when you’re not going to need it for a while (some updates are quick but it could take half an hour if it’s a slow one), make sure it’s plugged in so it doesn’t run out of battery part way and let it do it.
      Tim

      Reply
    2. Nicolas Martinez -Gutierrez

      Yep you May have been using your original password on one I pad tablet, logged out,instead of switching off or turning off WiFi, found out you had to log in again, you have logged in your original ipad but your Apple sever &Apple inc.recognised this a second password on another bck up server.
      U.k.
      Second theory, you brought a New ipad. you Carried over your last password to a diffrent ipad probably never mind the series, but diffrent manufacture serial number,ipad May have made vía license in lets say Hongkong -china, Apple server recognises the password your unexpected Spam returns again to Brother you,this can happen to any breed tablet or desde top or floppy diseño.

      Reply
  4. Barry J D Wilson

    Hi there, I am not very ofay with a computer, and more especially WINDOWS 10, is there any value in downgrading to my previous WINDOWS 8.1 PLEASE.
    Windows !0 is very problematic to me most times , I am 78 years old, and it gets more difficult to keep up with all the Tec.
    THANKS

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Hello
      As long as it’s one you upgraded and you’ve done it fairly recently, rather than a brand new PC with Windows 10 on, then yes, you can roll it back to the previous version. To do it, you go to the Start menu and click on Settings. Click the “Update & security” icon and select “Recovery.” You should see a “Go back to Windows 7” or “Go back to Windows 8.1” option – click on that and it should automatically put it back on.
      If you don’t have that option it’s possible in theory but quite a lot more fiddly – so that’s the best way to try it!
      Tim

      Reply
  5. Irene Adams

    Hi Tim, Thanks for the IPad books, l find them most helpful. Re guarding the stylus for typing I always use one and like your Father find it much quicker, also it keeps the screen clear of fingerprints.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Hello – thanks for the kind words!
      Good point about it keeping the screen clear of finger prints, that’s an extra bonus. I’ll have to try to get my two little boys to use one… they can get a clean screen covered in fingerprints in seconds!
      Tim

      Reply
      1. Lindsey Wilson

        I have found the spectacle cleaning wipes are great for “de-stickying” screens after an enthusiastic 4 year-old.

        Reply
  6. Michael Snowden

    Hello Tim
    Thanks for the stylus tip , I had made enquires re tablets, I received the info but I have a
    Surface 3 running Windows 10 not on the list
    I chose it as our desk top is all so Windows 10. I am dyslexic ,I am able to write on the tablet , adjust and correct my writing easily. I am all so painting on the tablet . No manual to turn too
    so any help to a deeper understanding would be appreciated .

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Yes, we haven’t brought out a book covering Windows 10 tablets. We do cover Windows 10 in “Computers One Step at a Time” but it is mainly aimed at computers rather than tablets – much of it is the same but not quite all.
      You might want to have a look at this – it’s a free ebook I wrote a while ago about Windows 10. It might give you a bit of a head start.
      Tim

      Reply
  7. Sheila Pickles

    All very helpful so far. Thankyou. What a relief to have somebody who actually understand how it works advising us. Can’t wait for more.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Thanks very much – always nice to hear it’s proving helpful!
      Tim

      Reply
  8. Christopher Maloney

    Thanks Tim, I. enjoyed your e mails , I am looking forward to the books I have ordered from you, c,ant wait to get started.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Thanks – glad you enjoyed the emails and I hope you enjoy the books too!
      Tim

      Reply
  9. susan maxted

    Regarding it being a bit “tricky” using a tablet keyboard, it was very helpful to know that I am not alone and that others recommend a stylus. Something for the shopping list!

    Reply
  10. John Maddison

    Hi Tim
    The books do look very helpful and they way you write them and your emails makes me feel we are having a discussion, not being lectured at!! Much more interesting and helpful.

    Thanks John.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Hello
      thanks for the kind comments! I always try to keep them relaxed and helpful rather than like a formal lecturer as I think far too many books about this sort of thing are over-formal – so it’s always nice to know it’s working!
      Thanks
      Tim

      Reply
  11. Heather

    I received my tablet for Christmas from my husband and my daughter and son n law bought me a cover/stylus and screen film for it too, in fact they helped me set it up – without them I wouldn’t have had a clue. Can’t wait for your books to arrive so I can learn more.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      I hope they help! It shouldn’t take too long – usually they arrive the next day or the day after, if you ordered before 3pm (when the post goes from here) or a day later if it was after that!
      In the meantime hopefully the articles on here will give you a bit of a head start!
      Tim

      Reply
      1. Terry

        I’m an iPad newbie as well and have been slightly niggeled about how my screen gets dirty (I do use a stylus and agree with all the commrents,) but I’m still learning not to grab hold of the screen when I pick it up and invariable ‘click’ on something and loose my place as it were.
        My point is however is that in Heather’s post above she mentiones a screen film!!,, I realise now that when I unpacked my cover I threw it away thinking it was just transit packing – DOH!!!
        Any suggestions for a replacement?? Cling film is to flimsy, tried that.

        Reply
        1. Tim Post author

          Hello
          the one your threw away might not have been one you can use with it on – some are just protectors for while it’s being posted so you might not have done anything daft!
          You can get one online, if you’re used to shopping on Amazon, you can get one here. (That’s for a full sized iPad, if you have an iPad mini you might want a smaller one)
          Or if you have a local PCWorld, you should be able to get one there – ask for a screen protector. Some cases come with one included, so if you are thinking of buying a case you might want to get that first and see if one comes with it!
          Tim

          Reply
          1. kenneth Barry

            You can get any screen protector from PROTECTIONFILMS24.COM a GERMAN company.
            Kenneth.

  12. David Platt

    To the Gentleman, and others with PCs, if you can’t get on with Windows 10 (the menu system, I guess) try downloading and installing Start10 – it allows you to use Windows 7 or 8 menus instead.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Good tip – you just might find this makes things easier if you’re used to the older systems.
      Tim

      Reply
    2. Kathleen Turner

      I’m new to this site, and I’ve just found the hint to download something that would enable me to continue using Windows 7. I’m thinking of upgrading my laptop, but hate Windows 10. Would your tip work on a new laptop?

      Reply
  13. Hilary King

    Using a stylus is also very handy when you have long finger nails.
    It protects the screen and your nails.
    Recently received the books re iPad use and have already found them very useful.
    Looking fwd to future tips.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Good point! That’s another reason a stylus can be helpful – and save the frustration of finding it hard to tap precisely because your nails get in the way.
      Glad to hear you’ve found the books useful!
      Thanks
      Tim

      Reply
  14. Mary Watson

    Thank you for your help. Since buying my tablet, I have been learning by trial and error with great difficulty. It is great to have some helpful advice.

    Reply
    1. Mike – The Helpful Book Company

      Fantastic, thanks for your lovely comments Mary.

      I am picking up messages on here this week, but I will be sure to make sure I pass on your kind words to Tim.

      Thank you!

      Mike 🙂

      Reply
  15. Marie Robson

    Thanks for your welcoming email, Tim. It sounds as though I’ll need to make a foder to save them in.
    Can I pick your brains, please? My new tablet is called a Portfolio 9DTB39, and it came with a little manual, very basic, not showing how to do some things. I wanted to take a picture of some blackberries, and another instruction piece I found said tap the camera icon to open it, and when focused, tap on a blue circular spot to capture it. Problem- there’s no spot on my tablet to tap.If I tap the camera again,I get the front camera,which I don’t want.
    I also tried tapping on the volume, as that was another tip, but no luck, so have you any ideas?
    I’m using my desktop to send this.

    Reply
    1. Mike – The Helpful Book Company

      Hello Marie

      Thanks for the message and kind words, Tim is away on holiday this week so I’m checking this for him but I am sure he will have a read of the comments left while he was away.

      I’m afraid we can’t help with technical questions here, but I did have a very quick look for a further help manual to point you towards but couldn’t find one for your tablet. It looks like it runs a recent version of Android if I were you I would tap around on the camera screen until it takes the photo. Some camera apps just take the photo as soon as you tap in the middle of the screen, some focus when you do this or it sounds like your might switch to the other camera. Just try tapping all over the screen and see what happens! The worst that can happen is you end up with loads of photos of random stuff!

      It might be worth your while looking up a phone number for technical support for the tablet or calling the people you bought it off and give them a ring and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

      Sorry, I can’t find further details to give you.

      Mike 🙂

      Reply
  16. Phil Betts

    Hi Tim
    Thanks for the info on using iPads/Tablets. I have a windows 8.1 laptop and have been thinking of getting and iPod/Tablet but am unsure which to go for. Any suggestions please. I do not too involved with computing, mainly web browsing, emails and a few spreadsheets.
    Best regards
    phil Betts

    Reply
    1. Mike – The Helpful Book Company

      Hi Phil

      Many thanks for your comment, Tim is away on holiday this week so I’m picking up messages while he is away.

      I can’t really recommend any particular brand but I would probably suggest you pop down to a local phone/computer shop and ask to try a few and talk about features and the differences. The main ones to try would be an iPad and some comparable Android tablet, maybe a Samsung?

      If you go for one let us know what you went for and why it just might help others who have the same question!

      Thanks

      Mike 🙂

      P.S. [warning: here comes the hard sell for one of our products…] We have a range of books to help with tablets, iPad and Android, which you can see here https://www.helpfulbooks.co.uk/tablet_help.htm

      Reply
  17. Gerald (Owd Ged) Fox

    Thanks for the books and email, been reading letters here they are interesting as my desk top is windows 7
    and have had windows 10 put on my old laptop ( it was vista) to see if i like it, also have been using tablet
    and now graduated to smart phone . will be 85 next month got first PC and P.A.U.G. phone at 70 years. had tips from family in Canada via Skype. wish i had your books and emails sooner, have recommended them to an owd friend.
    thanks Tim

    Reply
    1. Tim Wakeling Post author

      Hello
      thanks for the kind comments – and for spreading the word about the books! The more people know about us, the better!
      Skype is great for things like when you have family abroad – it’s one of the best advances in technology, I think.
      Thanks
      Tim

      Reply
  18. Judy Chorley

    I bought the Android book for a friend who had just upgraded her Doro Clamshell phone to the 8035 and was completely lost. As an Apple user throughout,(IPhone, 3 IPads,and Mac) I was completely at sea with Android, and thus no help to her. I will give the book to her tomorrow and add the new Doro book as soon as it is published. Hopefully she will start to get the best from her new toy. I’ve also picked up a few tips myself in reading your emails.
    Thanks

    Radbird

    Reply
  19. MICHAEL COLLINS

    I have a ZTE Blade III Mobile Phone, a present 3 years ago, which of your books would you recommend to get
    started.

    Reply
    1. Tim Wakeling Post author

      Hello
      The ZTE Blade is an Android based phone (that’s the system that tells it how to work) so you’re probably best off with the Android version of Smartphones One Step at a Time. That shows you how to actually use the phone to do all sorts of things.
      If you want to get a bit more out of it, you might also find Get More from your Smartphone interesting – a lot of people get it along with the “One Step at a Time” book – but if you only want one, I’d start with the One Step at a Time book.
      Hope that helps
      Tim

      Reply
  20. Ted (92

    Hi Tim

    Thanks for your e-mail and helpful tips. I am looking forward to receiving the books I have ordered. Although I am reasonably savvy with my tablet and smart phone, I am sure that I am not getting the maximum value out of mine. My PC is an LG Chromebase All in One. Do you have any books to help me make full use of its potential ?

    Regards

    Reply
    1. Tim Wakeling Post author

      Hello
      sorry for the late reply – I do check the comments on here but not as often as we check emails (if you ever need a quick reply it’s best to email us at [email protected]).
      Anyway, as long as the PC is running Windows (ideally Windows 10), we do have some books that might help: Computers One Step at a Time and The Internet One Step at a Time.
      That said, if you’ve got the hang of the basics, you may find the new Next Steps books are more helpful – they cover PCs as well as tablets and smartphones, but they do assume you know the very basics.
      Hope that helps – if you’re not sure which books will be best, you can always give us a call on 01229 777606 during office hours and Emma, Michelle, Jade or one of the others will answer and can give you a bit more guidance on which book might be best, depending on what level you’re at and what you want to do.
      Thanks
      Tim

      Reply
  21. Don Ralph

    I have just received my first email from you re using a stylus for typing. Never thought about it before. Will be nipping down to Currys this PM.

    There is no doubt, many more excellent tips in your previous emails sent to subscribers. Is it possible to have some sort of list of previous most popular emails
    that newcomers such as myself have not seen but would find invaluable?

    Reply
    1. Jess Carr

      Hello Don,
      Thank you for your lovely comments, I’m glad you’re finding the tips helpful!
      Over the next few days, you should receive a few of our most popular emails but you can always have a look at any of our past ones here.
      There’s also a search box on that page too so if you have a specific device that you need advice on, you can search for any newsletters mentioning that device.
      Many thanks
      Jessica

      Reply
  22. Margaret Newman

    Hello Tim

    I have just joined so you may have covered this before? People say it is the “Elephant in the room” with regard to broadband! And that is coverage within your house. My PC is in the study but the main family smart TV is in the lounge and there is another smart TV in our bedroom. Also my daughter and visitors expect to have broadband in their bedroom. I changed routers but finally invested in the BT disc system, I think there are other brands as well. It seems to have solved our problem, what do you think of it and do you have any additional advice?

    Reply
    1. Jess Carr

      Hello Margaret,
      Thank you for your comments, I’m sure a lot of our customers are in the same predicament as you were.
      It can be hard to get the right coverage in your home, especially if you have many devices connected to the same broadband. You can use things like wi-fi boosters to cover a larger area, and they can also offer faster connections too.
      I’ve not come across the BT Disc system but it looks like it’d do a brilliant job of covering a larger area and boosting the signal strength.
      Many thanks
      Jessica

      Reply
  23. Monica Slater

    Hello Tim and Team,
    Looking forward to receiving your books. My smartphone is the latest problem that I have, but Windows 10 is very difficult to understand. Comments that I have read from previous customers and your replies have helped with several of my difficulties.
    Regards,
    Monica

    Reply
  24. Pete

    Hi
    I have a 64 bit computer with Windows 7 on it.
    Having read all the horror stories about Windows 10, I decided to stick with 7 after Microsoft pulled the plug.
    I quizzed my “computer mender” as to what I was risking but he said that, as I have had Kaspersky protection installed for ages, he advises that I should be O.K. to carry on.

    I also have an older 32 bit computer running on VISTA, but this is now becoming difficult to use as all sorts of programs are coming up with “no longer supported” type messages. Rather than keeping with Microsoft Windows I am thinking about switching to Linux, which I know practically nothing about it.
    Is this option worth pursuing or is it a non-starter?

    Thanks

    Reply
  25. Rita Ramsey

    Hi Team ,My husbands windows 10 computer and he hates it could he get windows 8`1 put on it please thank you.
    and now I have a problem I can`t get my mail to come up the sport window comes up instead it looks like I`ve locked
    screen how can I get unlocked please and do you have a book on windows 8`1 please .Thank you Rita

    Reply
  26. Sally Simmons

    I am a novice to THE HELPFUL BOOK COMPANY but have already learnt a lot just from reading the downloads and people’s comments/e-mails.
    I think you should put ‘REALLY’ before HELPFUL in your title!

    I am so looking forward to receiving my books to further my education in computer/tablet use.
    Thank you.
    Sally.

    Reply
  27. Roy Callick

    Sorry not to replied before, Had a tumble in the snow and got badly bruised, just getting moving again. Thanks for your books about Apple phones and MacBook computers. Something I have not used for 20 odd years. I used to use Quark Express for typesetting and all these codes that have appeared have me completely confused. Why cannot computer programmers call the same instructions the same instead of confusing the issue giving their own name to a key that is doing the same job as another!

    Reply
  28. Judy Haylett

    I receive a lot of ‘jokes’ from friends. I can delete all of the many contact addresses on my computer before sending them on by highlighting them then deleting. Can I do this on my iPad or iPhone ?

    Reply
  29. Trevor Bloomfield

    Hello, I am just on the point of buying books from you etc.
    You all sound very nice people, how about a photo of yourselves, or is this breaking privacy laws.
    Regards,
    Trev

    Reply

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