So, last time I was daydreaming about holidays and mentioned some ways in which you can use the internet to help you plan your holiday.
And I said that I’d thought of a few ways computers, tablets and smartphones can also be useful while you’re there… and after you get home again.
First of all, while you’re there.
Of course, if you have a big desktop PC, then that’s not going to be much use while you’re away on holiday for the simple reason you probably won’t take it with you. But you might take a small laptop or a tablet or your smartphone if you have one.
What you can do with them depends partly on whether you have internet access – depending on where you’re staying you might have free wifi, but you might not. And if you’re using a smartphone you might be able to connect to the internet through that anyway (though make sure you won’t get huge bills from your mobile phone company, particularly if you’re abroad).
But even if you’re using a laptop or tablet and there’s no wifi at wherever you’re staying, lots of cafes, pubs and even shopping centres have free wifi now, so you can still occasionally check things if you want to.
So what could it be useful for?
Well, some of the same things as before, while you were booking the holiday.
You can check transport, check what times particular places are open and where they are.
If one day you decide you’d like a meal out, you can look at restaurants in the area and usually see what other people have said about them. In some cases you can even book a table online – at the least you can get the phone number in order to book.
You can also check the bang up to date weather forecast for that exact area, so you know whether it’s a day for the beach or the museum (assuming the museum is indoors…)
If you have a phone or tablet, you can use it as a sat nav – and you can do that whether you’re in a car or walking, so you can even use it to find your way around a town or city you don’t know (the only snag is if you’re between tall buildings, that can often cause problems for the signal).
And you can keep in touch with friends and family through email, Skype or Facebook.
And in the evenings, you can listen to music via your device – either music you’ve got stored on it or by going to a radio website – just google your favorite radio station to find their website.
Or watch a film online (or if you have a laptop with a DVD player, watch a DVD) or even read a book on your tablet or phone.
What about when you get home?
Well, you might want to share photos you took with friends – again, Facebook is a good way to do that.
But you can also use a computer to put all your photos together. For example when we go away, we take some photos on our camera, which gives pretty good quality pictures (or it does when I point it in the right place…). But I also usually have some snaps I’ve taken on my phone. Sometimes I want a picture and just don’t have the camera to hand, which is when my phone comes in handy.
Once we’re back, I copy all of the photos from both onto the computer and put them together. Then I delete any fuzzy ones or ones with my thumb over the lens. And if there are several that are similar, I’ll pick the best and keep that. It’s not unknown for Julie to have taken a photo on the camera and for me to have taken basically the same photo on my phone without realising she was taking one!
And then I can send the photos I really like off to be printed (we’ve used Jessops.com but there are lots of other similar services – or if you have a good printer you could simply print them out).
Advance Warning (but you’re in time)
I mentioned last time that on the 2nd May, we’ll be putting the prices of some books up.
The ones currently priced £11.97 will go up to £12.97.
The books have been £11.97 for a long time – in fact, that’s what they were when I first launched the Computers One Step at a Time book back in 2005, 12 years ago. (Hello to anyone who’s been reading since the early days – I know there are several people still reading my emails from then!)
Meantime everything from the paper we print on to rent on our little warehouse to employing people to answer the phones has got more expensive.
But the reason I wanted to mention it now is that it’s not happening until the 2nd May. So if there’s a book you’re thinking of getting, you might want to order it before then.
Of course, by sending this email, I’m telling you how to pay a bit less than you otherwise would, so it might seem odd I’m suggesting it! But since you’re a reader of these emails, I wanted to give you the chance to get in before the price increase, rather than suddenly spring it on you!
You don’t need any special code or anything – simply if you order before the 2nd May, whether it’s on the phone at 01229 777606 or online or by post, then you’ll get the old, lower price.
If you want to have a browse of what books we do so you can order any you want before the increase, you can have a look at the affected books here (including a bit of information about each one)