Happy Birthday to Windows!

By | December 1, 2010
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In the Computers newsletter this month:

  •  Happy Birthday to Windows!
  •  A website I used for Julie’s Birthday present (well, Alastair did, with a bit of help…)
  •  Important if you are with UKonline
  •  More tips from Next Door – Georgia
  •  Wine trickery
  •  Update to Windows Live Mail – these are the changes that matter


Happy birthday to Windows!  Windows is now 25 years old.  It’s changed a bit since it first appeared – picked up some new annoying habits and got rid of some others.

Anyway, Microsoft have put together a “brief history of Windows” – you can see it here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/history  Shows just how much it’s changed!

And I learnt something new – if not very useful.  In Windows, you can’t rename a folder to “Con” – if you try, it’ll be renamed to whatever it was before.

A Handy Website – www.printster.co.uk
There are lots of places you can get mugs with a photo put on them, but when I was recently looking for one to get a birthday present for my wife (well, actually it was a present from Alastair with a photo of him on – but I helped!), this one seemed like the best.  It was one of the easiest to use and also one of the cheapest!  The mug arrived quickly, too.

You can put just one photo on or put two on – one each side.  They do other “customized” things, too, but I haven’t tried them.

UKonline closing
If you use UKonline, you might have already heard that Sky (who own UKonline) are closing it down in January.  You’ll need to switch your broadband over to another company (Sky hope it’ll be them – but that’s up to you).

There’s more information about it here:

Tip from next door – Georgia
I mentioned a tip from Georgia about keyboard shortcuts back in this issue: www.helpfulbooks.co.uk/NL011010.htm.  This time, she’s back with more:

This week, I’ve got some handy shortcuts for when you are using a Word document. They are an handy way of moving the flashing cursor around the text much quicker than just using the cursor keys on their own. I hope you find them useful!

  •  CTRL+RIGHT ARROW (Move the flashing cursor to the beginning of the next word)
  •  CTRL+LEFT ARROW (Move the flashing cursor to the beginning of the previous word)
  •  CTRL+DOWN ARROW (Move the flashing cursor to the beginning of the next paragraph)
  •  CTRL+UP ARROW (Move the flashing cursor to the beginning of the paragraph)

(Note from Tim – in fact these shortcuts work in some other programs, too, not just Word.  You can use them in emails and in OpenOffice for example)

A warning about wine tricks
I mentioned last time about websites signing you up to “CD libraries” where you pay every month or however often.  And one reader mentioned he’s seem a similar trick with cases of wine. It looks like you get a £75 case of wine for £50 by using a voucher but you’re actually being signed up to a Wine of the month club, where you have to pay each month.

Worth watching out for.  As usual, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a company running a wine of the month club and even giving you a big discount to join.  It’s when they don’t make it obvious what you’re getting into that I think is dodgy.

Windows Live Mail – update
If you use Windows Live Mail for your emails (chances are if you have Windows Vista or Windows 7 then you do – if you have Windows XP then you probably don’t), then you may well have already had the newest version download onto your PC.

You can tell as it looks a bit different – the new version (2011) has a “ribbon” along the top with big chunky icons.  It’ll also start with “Email Message” instead of “New”.

A lot of it works in the same way but there are two things in particular that might catch you out:

Possible catch number 1:
That ribbon along the top works a bit differently from what used to be there.  Instead of having a row of icons and then also “File”, “Tools” menus and so on, it has the ribbon.  It changes the icons themselves when you click on one of the links above it – Home, Folders, View or Accounts.  It’s not too hard to use – once you know that the icons themselves change.

Possible catch number 2:
They’ve changed the way it organizes you emails.

Before, you could have your emails in a simple date order.  Or alphabetical order of who they’re from or the subject line.  Nice and simple.

Now it automatically organizes them so that one “conversation” is all together.  So if you reply to an email someone sends you, then they reply to that and so on, all those emails will go together.

I’m not sure what I think of this yet – it’s clever, but I’m not sure whether it’s actually any better.  I’ll have to try it out for a while.  But the good news is if you don’t get on with it, you can turn it off – see here for how:

There are a few other changes that Microsoft are all excited about but I think those two are the things most people will notice.


Phew – lots of snippets this time!  That’s all for now.  Watch out for the next issue in a fortnight’s time, though – there’s something special coming for Christmas!



Tim Wakeling

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