In the Computers newsletter this month:
- The end of Tiscali…
- PC World and good service
- A handy Family History website
- They’re giving laptops away – honestly
- What tripped me up over New Year
Lots of things to tell you about this time, so I’ll dive right in!
Soon, Tiscali will be no more (it feels like there should be manic laughter after that…)
First of all, don’t panic if you use Tiscali for your emails. But Tiscali will soon be no more. TalkTalk bought out Tiscali a while ago but they’ve run it as a separate company for a while. Now they’re closing the Tiscali brand and moving everyone to the TalkTalk company.
For most people the only difference will be your bill says TalkTalk instead of Tiscali. They aren’t scrapping Tiscali email addresses and they won’t be cancelling everyone’s contracts.
You just might find you get a different price – but of course if they try to put the price up you could always go to a different company. I think it’s more likely that a few people will get a lower price and most people will get no change.
You can see what Charles Dunstone (the boss of TalkTalk) has to say about it here:
Rare praise for PCWorld
I often criticise PCWorld (and other big PC companies) so it’s only fair that I mention some brilliant service I had from them when I was down in Plymouth over Christmas.
Mum and Dad needed a new CD drive, so I offered to fit it for them (well, I think I got volunteered, but since I was being plied with lots of mince pies and brandy butter I didn’t mind too much!)
We nipped into PCWorld and bought the drive and came home to fit it – at which point I realised I’d got the wrong type (a serial/SATA one instead of a parallel/PATA one – an easy mistake!). I was sure we’d be able to get them to swap it (the two types are the same price) but I thought it might be the devil’s own job explaining why I wanted to swap it.
But I was wrong – we dashed in, spoke to a chap called Ross Savage and he understood instantly what the problem was, swapped it over and did it all with a friendly, helpful manner.
So a tip if you happen to live in Plymouth – if you need good service at PCWorld, look for him. And if anyone at PCWorld is reading this – give him a pat on the back and make sure you keep him! You need more like that!
Family History website – www.geni.com
I’ve mentioned family history websites before but this one is a bit different. It’s not a way to access old census data or parish records. It’s a site you can use to put your own records into a good format – and where you can let other people across the world who might be researching different parts of the same family see what you’ve done. Then you might be able to tie in what you’ve done with what they’ve done… and suddenly add a whole new chunk of information in one go!
It’s www.geni.com and although there is a paid “Pro” version you can use the ordinary version without paying anything.
It’s fairly easy to start off – it asks you a few questions to get you started and then you can add more people into the tree later on.
It’s worth clicking on “home” and then using the search box on the top right of the webpage. Then if you click on “All of geni” you can search for other people researching the same family.
After all, if they’ve already done some of the work, you might as well get the benefit of their effort!
270,000 laptops given away?
The government has announced that it’s going to give grants for 270,000 families to get laptops. The idea is that parents should be able to access school reports and so on over the internet and kids should be able to use a PC at home. If the family don’t have a computer and are short of cash to buy one, they might be able to get a grant for one.
You can see the full details here:
I’m a big fan of education but I must admit I wonder if computers are really the thing most lacking. Most of the kids I know don’t have much trouble with computers – I wonder if getting more of them reading books would do more good.
But then, since I’m a publisher, I suppose I would think that!
The books I stumbled across over New Year
While sorting out the warehouse over New Year, I stumbled across a couple of boxes of books I’d forgotten about. It’s a book I wrote a while ago to raise some money for the NSPCC “7 Ways to really mess up your PC (and 49 other articles, tips and musings from a renegade computer expert)”.
Most of them were sold at the time even though we didn’t advertise it very much – you might not have ever heard of it! Anyway, we ended up with a few boxes left over so if you’re interested, have a read about it here:
The reason I forgot about it is that I’m not going to be reprinting it, so these last few boxes are the last ones that will ever be available for sale.
Inner Circle Update
Oh one last thing – if you (or someone you know) are interested in the new places I’m opening up in the Inner Circle, don’t worry, they aren’t gone yet. Sorting out the new payments system is taking longer than I’d hoped (Barclaycard are taking a while checking that I won’t run off to the Bahamas with all the money!) but that should be sorted in the next few weeks. If you’ve already put yourself on the waiting list, you’ll be one of the first to hear of the new places – if you’d like to add yourself to the waiting list (with no obligation), click here: www.pcinnercircle.co.uk/waitinglist.htm
That’s all for this time!