More about libraries online (two reader tips)

By | November 15, 2010
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In the Computers newsletter this time:

  • More about libraries online (two reader tips)
  • A company to avoid (or at least deal very carefully with)
  • A new Google feature you might never notice
  • Tip from next door – keeping emails organised

Hello

A tip from a reader, a warning and a new feature from Google that you won’t see unless you turn it on.  That’s what I’ve got for you this time.  Oh, and a tip from Pete, one of my technical people, who’s just passed on a handy way to organise your emails.

More about libraries online
Let’s start with the tip from the reader – in fact two tips from two readers!  Last time I mentioned about renewing library books online.  And I said that Cumbria doesn’t have this facility yet – nonsense!  Although the government website says they don’t, if you go into a library branch, they can set it all up for you.  So if the website I mentioned last time says you can’t do it in your area, it might still be worth checking in your local library – you might still be able to renew your books from home, over the internet!

Another thing libraries in some areas can do: If there’s a particular book you want you can order it online and if it’s currently out with someone else (or even in a different library in the area) you’ll get an email to tell you when it’s in, ready for you to pick up.  It could save you popping down to the library (or phoning them) every day or so to ask whether it’s ready.  Handy!

A company to avoid – or at least deal very carefully with
A warning from another reader here.  He’d bought some CDROMs for his PC over the internet – normally there’s nothing wrong with that.  And the disks turned up shortly afterwards.  But where he’d thought that he’d just bought those disks, according to the company he’d enrolled in a programme where they’d send him CDs every so often (and charge him for them).  Contacting the company turned out to be rather harder than they claim, so the only thing to do was cancel the credit card.  Luckily this chap was quick enough to notice this on the info they sent him with the disks, so he cancelled the card quickly enough that he didn’t get any extra charges.  But I bet plenty of people don’t notice it until they’ve had at least one extra charge.

The company’s website is www.cdearth.com and I’d be wary of buying anything from them.  This kind of thing is pretty sneaky.  Admittedly if you read all the text on their website, it does say what they do, so it is legal.  But it would be pretty easy to miss – and they don’t make it clear what the “Software Library” actually is unless you do some hunting.

One last thing I realised as I looked at their website – a lot of their software is actually available at no charge on the internet anyway – OpenOffice, for example.  Just search on www.google.co.uk for the program you’re after and you may well find you can download it direct from the people who created it.

New Google feature you might never notice
Google have just brought out another clever little feature – an improvement to their search results that you might never notice.

When you get your page of results, by going to www.google.co.uk and searching or by using a built in search box in Internet Explorer (or other browser), there’s now a little magnifying glass at the end on each listing.  It looks a bit like this.

If you click on that it’ll give you a “preview” of that webpage without you losing the page you’re on (see this one).  You can see what kind of page it is before you click to go to it.  Some pages might be full of helpful information about whatever it is, others might be a shop webpage where you can buy whatever it is. You can see whether it’s whatever you’re after, then decide whether you want to click to visit it or now.  Oh, and if you then point at one of the other listings it’ll give you a preview of that page – you don’t need to click on the magnifying glass again.

Tip from next door – Keeping emails organised
Well, actually Pete shares my office rather than being in the one next door but I’ve got used to calling this “tip from next door”, so the name’s stuck.  Anyway, here’s his handy tip:

Here’s something useful. If you use an email program on your computer (like Outlook Express or Windows Mail), then you probably have a list of emails with lots of columns such as “From” and “Received”. If you click on the title at the top of one of these, it will sort your emails by that column. Click it again to sort in the opposite direction, or click one of the others to sort by that instead. It normally sorts emails by date, but if you lose that order by mistake now you know how to get it back!  And sometimes, it can be helpful to sort by “From” (say) and get all the emails from one person together.

Well, that’s all for this time.  I’ll have to start thinking about Christmas topics to include in the next issue!  It’s not long now!

Yours
Tim Wakeling

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