Mini-article – Christmas shopping websites 

By | November 1, 2006
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November 2006 Newsletter

Hello. Well, the clocks have changed (look back at the April newsletter for info on how to have your PC its clock change automatically) and the nights are drawing in. I know that for a lot of readers, this is the time of year when the PC gets more use… in the Summer you’d rather be out and about but come winter, curling up indoors with a warm drink and the PC is more attractive!

Mini-article – Christmas shopping websites
Since Christmas is getting closer, I thought I’d talk a bit about using the Internet for your Christmas Shopping. I don’t start my Christmas shopping until the middle of November but since the next time you’ll hear from me will be December I thought I’d tell you about it now! There are a few sites I’ll mention below that have been particularly useful to me for finding nice things. If they don’t have what you want you can always use a site like www.froogle.co.uk (a site that compares online shop) to search for sites that do sell what you’re after. It can be particularly useful for things that are out of fashion and hard to find in the shops.

As ever you should be a bit careful about using your card details on the internet. If you want to be particularly careful you can find the thing you want to buy and then write with a cheque or phone up to order it. But if you do want to use your card online, the two things to bear in mind are:

  1. Always use a credit card not a debit card. The credit card companies protect you against fraud.
  2. Before you type your card details in, check that the site is secure. Its address in the address bar should show “https” instead of “http”.

Make sure you check the delivery terms – you don’t want to order the perfect present only to find it doesn’t arrive until January!

These sites aren’t affiliated with me in any way so I can’t guarantee their service or products but they are sites that I’ve personally found to be good and would recommend.

  • www.amazon.co.uk – originally an online bookshop, they also sell videos, CDs, software and lots of other “techie” things.
  • www.laithwaites.co.uk – a wine company. If you like good wine, this is a great place to look. They import direct which means they can often get better wine for the price than supermarkets. If you like red, I’d recommend “Il Papavero”
  • www.ukdvdr.co.uk – they sell blank DVDs but also lots of “gadget-y” things. So if you want to get anyone an mp3 player or an accessory for their Playstation, look here.
  • www.ctshirts.co.uk – They sell (as you might guess) shirts but also ties, cufflinks and other bits and pieces for men. Very nice things too. They also have a smaller womens section.
  • www.pier.co.uk – The website of the shop “The Pier”. They do swish looking furniture and house accessories. They’re not cheap but their stuff is usually very well made.

Download of the month:
I get a lot of questions about printing address labels… and as we come up to Christmas even more people are likely to want to do this. So here’s a little program that makes it easy:www.syncedit.com/software/paperlabelmaker

Reader’s Question
My laptop has completely crashed and I can’t turn it off – it’s stuck on the screen saying “Windows is shutting down”. What should I do?
The first thing to try is holding down Ctrl and Alt on the keyboard and tapping the delete (or del) key. This should bring up a window showing what programs are running (or have stopped running) and you can select shut down from the drop down menu. If that doesn’t work, you can hold down the on button for five seconds – that forces your PC to turn off.

Word to the wise – “Media Center” 
Media Center can mean two things:

  1. A PC set up to be your TV, music system and PC all in one. You need a TV card in the PC and you can get a remote control and a big monitor.
  2. The version of Windows specially designed for using a PC as a Media Center.

That’s all for this month. Have a good month and you’ll hear from me again at the start of December.


Tim Wakeling

All the above © Tim Wakeling 2006

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