some questions answered (new books)

By | September 26, 2013
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I seem to be living and breathing these new books at the moment (I even had Julie helping out the other night, slave driver that I am.  Alastair and Edward have got away with it… so far…)

I’ve had a lot of questions… so I thought I’d answer some:

How are these new books (“The Ordinary person’s Guide to PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones”) different from Computers One Step at a Time?
Two main ways.  First, Computers One Step at a Time and The Internet One Step at a Time are really just about using computers, whether it be laptops or desktop PCs.  They don’t cover touchscreen tablets like ipads or smartphones (fancy mobile phones).  These new books do.
But there’s another crucial difference.  I wrote them from a different point of view.  The older books were more about “How to do XYZ on a PC” – which is important.  But the type of technology out there is changing – and so is how you use it.  So these new books are more from the angle of explaining what all the stuff is and how you use it.  All aimed to help make sure you don’t get left behind or confused by all this change.  They also cover how to do things on PCs, tablets and phones, but the approach is slightly more to help you feel up to date and to explain the fundamentals behind it all (but still in plain simple language).

When are they available?
I don’t have a definite date yet – they aren’t quite finished so I don’t want to promise anything until I’m sure.  But I’ll be able to announce the date in the next week or so – watch this space. As a newsletter reader, you’ll get advance notice, before they’re publicly available.

What do they cover?
I’ll give more detail about exactly what’s covered in a week or so, but they cover laptops, PCs, touchscreen tablets like the ipad, Surface or ones using “Android” and what Android actually means!  Also mobile phones, smartphones and how to do some of the fancier (and even basic) things on a mobile phone.  What’s an app, ones you might want to use and how they work… a bit about the different kinds of internet connection – the bits you actually need to know.  Other stuff, too – I’ve really tried to make sure technology will hold no fears after this!

Anything else I should know?
I don’t want to take all the credit for these books.  I wanted these books to be something different from anything I’ve done before – not just showing how to do things but really getting at the fundamentals that make understanding all of it easier – even if you come across something new that isn’t covered in the books.

So I’ve had some help from a few others to make sure they really are top notch.  Claire (who did a lot of the work on the recent eBay videos) has been hard at work for a couple of months and Kate (who co-wrote “Next Steps on the Internet” with me) and Rachel have also done a lot of work on them.  And as I said, I’ve even talked Julie into helping in the evenings.  We’ve put as much work as possible into making it all as easy to understand as possible.

I’m really excited about the end result – never mind government drives to help everyone make the best use of technology, I think this could be the biggest help for everyone who’s at risk of getting confused or falling behind as it all changes.

I just need to make sure we get the last bits finished!  Speaking of which, I’d best get back to it!  Maybe I should get the boys to earn their keep, after all…