Mini-article – things you can do with a PC in the Winter

By | January 5, 2006
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January 2006 Newsletter

A Happy New Year to you! I hope Santa found his way to your chimney and that he didn’t eat all your mince pies!

It’s an exciting month coming up for us – we’ve got a new book coming out later in the month. It’s called HELP! My Taskbar’s Vanished and it shows how to fix the common problems people have with their PCs. If you’re interested you can find out more here: You could even pre-order a copy to get one hot off the press as soon as they’re printed.

Mini-article – things you can do with a PC in the Winter
Winter is a good time to really get into using your PC. In the summer you’ll probably want to get out and about and enjoy the weather. But right now there are days when you might not want to set foot outside if you can avoid it.

I thought I’d give you a few ideas for things you can do with your PC – various different projects.

One of my favourites (since I’m a writer) is being able to make a booklet of a holiday or a wedding or other event. You can use a program like Microsoft Word, take some digital photos and put together something much better than a mere photo album… and you can include maps, information from websites, menus from restaurants you visited… whatever you think of!
Similarly if you’ve been thinking about writing your life story, a PC makes it a lot easier and if you have a scanner (or can use someone else’s) you can even add in photos you have.

If you have Windows XP, which has the program Windows Movie Maker with it, you can make a video. You don’t even have to have a video camera to make one based on photos with a voice over – which can be a really nice record of a great holiday for you to keep. Or a good thing to send to friends or family who live a long way away to tell them about it.
If you have an earlier version of Windows you can buy similar programs that let you use video clips and/or digital photos and then add titles, captions and a voice-over.

A less exciting project is to put your accounts on the computer using a spreadsheet. It’s not thrilling, I’ll grant you, but if you have to do a tax return, it can make that a lot easier when the time comes round.

Another project that isn’t as hard as it sounds is creating a simple web site for a society or club you’re involved in (or for yourself as a way to share photos and so on).
At its simplest, if you can create a document in Word, you can do a “Save as” and select “Web page” or “html” and you have a basic web page. Use the built in help to read about “hyperlinks” and you’ll be well away. Most internet service providers (the people who supply your email and internet access) will host the site for you, storing it on their PCs so people can access it.

These aren’t meant to be definitive projects, just a few things that might spark off some ideas. Have a think and have fun!

Download of the month:
I’ve got a different one for you this month. Instead of a program, it’s a site you can use to download classical music. If you have a broadband connection you can get a whole collection of music without paying anything. If you got an mp3 player for Christmas you can get music for it here. If you didn’t, you can always play them on your PC while you’re typing up your thank you notes!

Reader’s Question
I Use Microsoft Word to print addresses on envelopes and the address comes out to the right and lower down than it should be… how can I fix it?
Word assumes you’ll want to put a return address (ie yours) on the top left of an envelope, which is what is normally done in America. So it puts the address you’re sending to further over to the right to make space. You can change it though. In the “Envelopes and Labels” window, click on “Options”. You can then use the boxes next to “Delivery Address” to change where on the envelope the address goes. It shows you a little picture of the envelope and where the address will be, so you don’t need to measure a real envelope.

That’s all for this month. I hope you find these tips useful. Have a good January and you’ll hear from me again in Febuary.

Tim Wakeling

All the above © Tim Wakeling 2006

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