Why your computer will ask if you’d like Internet Explorer

By | January 1, 2010
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In the Computers newsletter this month:

  • Why your computer will ask if you’d like Internet Explorer
  • VAT increase?  Not for you…
  • Tracking your home finances to save a bit of extra money
  • The Inner Circle – full for now, but…

Happy New Year

I hope this proves to be a great year for you.

I’m certainly excited about 2010- I’m planning lots of articles in the coming months that I think you’ll find really useful.  I’ve also got some ideas about improving the Inner Circle (read a little more below). Plus I should have time to squeeze in writing one or two new books.

Anyway, in this issue you’ll find a program to help with a common New Year’s resolution, some big news about Windows and why I’m dipping into my pocket.

What’s happening with Internet Explorer – at last we find out

The big news that came out just too late to get into the last newsletter is that Microsoft and the European Commission (EC) have finally agreed what to do about Internet Explorer and Windows 7.  In fact it’s not just Windows 7 – it affects everyone with Windows XP or Vista as well.

Microsoft first suggested the plan that’s been agreed back in July – but it’s taken several months of heming and hawing before the EC agreed with them.

What will happen is that at some point when your PC downloads Windows Updates you’ll get a screen asking what browser you want to use.  You’ll be able to choose from up to 12 different web browsers and Microsoft have agreed that they’ll be in a random order, to avoid everyone choosing Internet Explorer just because it’s first.

If you want to stick with Internet Explorer, then all you do on this screen is click on it – so it won’t cause too much confusion as long as you know the screen is coming.  Unfortunately we don’t know yet when it’ll appear – I’ll let you know once I hear!

It does all seem rather silly.  You could already choose a different web browser if you wanted – and this means lots of people will have different set-ups on their PCs so it makes it harder to give standard instructions.  It seems a bit like demanding that Toyota offer their cars with a choice of engines from different makes.

But that’s what’s happening and at least once you know it’s coming it shouldn’t cause any trouble.

VAT increase

You probably know that as of today, VAT has gone back up to 17.5% again.  But you might be glad to know that:

  1. It doesn’t affect any books we sell because you don’t have to charge VAT on books anyway.
  2. It doesn’t affect the prices of our videos or Inner Circle memberships either because we’re paying the increase for you.

So if you’re interested in ordering any books or videos or anything, it won’t cost you any more than it did last year, even if I have to pass a little bit more of it to the taxman.

Home Budget Programs

Apparently two of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to get out of debt and to save money.  Good ideas, both of them.  And even if you aren’t planning on saving a lot, just knowing exactly where your money is going is useful – if you can keep good track of the day to day things you can set aside a bit more for life’s little luxuries.

You can do everything on paper or using a spreadsheet on your computer but there are some programs specifically designed for keeping your accounts, which can make it easier.  Some of them cost £20 or more – which seems a bit daft when the whole plan is to save money.  But there are some free ones – here are two of the best:



With both, make sure you click on the “lite” or “free” version as both also have paid for versions

The PC Inner Circle

My PC Inner Circle, where people can get technical help, read articles with all sorts of advice and watch videos showing you how to use your PC for various things is proving more popular than I expected.  I limited it to 500 places to begin with but I’m hoping to open up some more – it’ll still be limited but I’ll add another few hundred places.

The new places aren’t open just yet (I want to make some improvements first) but if you are interested you can go on the waiting list to make sure you’re one of the first to hear when I do open the places:


When I opened the first 500 places they filled up in a week and a day so it won’t be around open for long when I do open up more places.  Anyway, if you’re interested you can click the link, read more about it and put yourself on the waiting list – it doesn’t commit you to anything.

Right – that’s all from me for now.


Tim Wakeling

PS Do you know someone who’d like to receive this newsletter themselves?  Could you be the one to make using PCs much easier for them?

All they need to do is visit www.helpfulbooks.co.uk and sign-up for free.  Or you could forward them this email and tell them to click here.

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