Funny square things and the mouse wheel

By | June 15, 2013
This content is 8 years old. Please, read this page keeping its age in mind. Thank you.

I’ve got a few different things for you this time, including a couple of tips about the mouse wheel (that’s the one in between the two main buttons) and some more information for anyone who could do with more help on eBay (or isn’t even really sure what it’s for!)… but first…

What are those funny square things like barcodes I see in magazines nowadays?

Things like this: 

They’re called QR codes and they really are a kind of barcode on a grid.  They’re used for all sorts of things (I think Toyota invented them to help with stock control) but the ones you’re most likely to see are a way of making an easy website link for a smartphone that has a camera.

For example an advert might have one in that’ll take you to a webpage that tells you more about the product they’re advertising.  They could include a link by just writing it down: www.helpfulbooks.co.uk/emailnewsletter – that sort of thing.  But it’s fiddly to type into a phone.

So instead, you use an “app” on the phone to take a picture of the barcode – and it takes you straight to that website.  There are several free apps that do the job – the sensibly named “Barcode Scanner” is the one I’ve used.

If you have a phone with a scanner like this, feel free to try it on the example I included above.  You can scan them from the screen as well as from paper – it works in just the same way.

Webpages with tiny text

Webpages can be designed to look however the creator likes – which I think is a good thing.  But occasionally you come across one with very small text.

It’s daft, in my opinion.  It’s not even like a newspaper where they might use small text to avoid paying for more paper.  It costs no more to have a bigger typeface on a webpage!

But don’t worry, it’s easy to “zoom in”.  The simplest way is to hold the ctrl key on the keyboard and roll the wheel on your mouse – usually between the two buttons.  Roll it forwards to zoom in and backwards to zoom back out again.

Don’t worry if you go the wrong way or go too far – just go back the other way again.  And once you’ve finished on that webpage and want it to go back to normal, you can just roll it the other way again.

While I’m talking about the wheel on the mouse…

You can also use the wheel to open a link to a new website in another tab.  Instead of clicking on a link like this one with the left mouse button, click by pressing down the wheel – it’s actually a button as well as a wheel.  It’ll open it in a new tab, which will appear near the top.  Click on the tab to switch to displaying it and the previous webpage will still be open in the left hand tab – so you can easily switch back to whatever you were in the middle of reading then.

More about eBay

I mentioned last time that I was working on something to do with eBay.  Well, I can’t give you all the details just yet but it’s a set of videos.  I’m very excited about them as it’s the first set of videos I’ve produced along with someone else – I’d doing them with Claire Armstrong (well, the idea is she does all the work and I drink the tea and try to look important…).  I’ve worked with Claire on lots of books but this is the first time for videos.

eBay is great for both buying and selling – you can get things you’d normally buy at the supermarket cheaper and you can also find things you’d struggle to find locally.  It’s not just for second hand things, either, lots of companies and shops sell on there too.

And selling can be easier than you might think – once you’ve been shown how.

Anyway, more information shortly!