I never seem to get time to write on this blog, but I thought I should just pop on to say I am still here.
I’m happy to say FowlerWeb is still going strong, and I’m approaching my twelfth year of providing computer support in the Woodbridge area.
Do call if you need help with your computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone or other gadgets in your home.
Perhaps I shall get time one of these days to update my website – I made it in 2005 so it looks a little dated now!
Suffolk Libraries are offering the opportunity to find out more about the increasing range of free online services which are accessible to all library customers at the Get Connected event at Woodbridge Library on Thursday 7 November from 10.30am to 2pm.
Woodbridge Library is one of 25 libraries in Suffolk now offering free wifi access to customers so there will be a chance for anyone to drop in throughout the day and find out more about:
You may have seen me post this image on Twitter last week. I was given the job of moving someone from their 15 year old laptop (yes, 15!) to their iPad. The iPad needed to be brought up to date, upgrading it to iOS 5 so the customer could use the apps she needed. I did this while recovering years of work from her laptop – an interesting job with no USB ports or even a CD drive! I had to remove the laptop’s hard drive and hook it up to my computer with special cables (as pictured).
Once the iPad was updated and the data recovered, I took everything back to my customer. We set her up with a better way of accessing her emails on the iPad (she’d not been able to access her Hotmail folders before) and also went through several time saving techniques. She can now work completely from her iPad, and even print wirelessly from it.
Here’s what she sent me in an email a few days later – presumably from her iPad!
My thanks to you for your knowledgeable, helpful and, above all, effective service. I am delighted with the results and the opportunities that I am now able to make use of. Your achievements have been noted in most of my recent emails to friends. With best wishes, and my thanks again.
Originally written for the local Ufford Punch magazine:
The World Wide Web has been with us now for twenty years. Over this time it has dramatically changed the way we work, communicate, shop and relax. The last decade especially has seen massive developments with technologies such as wireless broadband and downloadable music, products such as the iPad and Kindle, and online services such as Facebook and BBC iPlayer. It is amazing to think how far we have come from Tim Berners-Lee’s first vision of what the web could do for us.
Saying that, there is still a lot of mystery surrounding the web. For those confident in its use, it can seem easy and exciting, full of powerful and effective tools for getting things done, fun ways of sharing and enjoying content and keeping in touch with friends and family. For others, it can still seem daunting, complex and confusing. Perhaps a simple Google search is as much as they are comfortable with, and trying to send an email attachment seems like more work than writing the thing out again by hand and delivering it personally.
For those who feel left behind and confused about what others are enjoying online, I thought I would put together a short list of technologies that any computer user could (and perhaps should) benefit from – and how to make the most of them!
This is an obvious place to start. Almost every computer user will already know that Google is the most powerful search engine on the internet, enabling you to find what you need quickly and simply by typing relevant words.
Tip: if you enclose your search words with quote marks, you will get results that exactly match your phrase. Try “Ufford bygones” for example.
Both sites are excellent ways of keeping in touch with your friends and family. They work in different ways and can be a lot of fun. Do be careful how much information you post though – I am always happy to give advice on this, particularly to parents.
Missed a television or radio program? No problem! With BBC iPlayer you can watch or listen to them through your computer, tablet or smartphone. Other channels like ITV and Channel 4 offer similar services on their websites (just search for them on Google!)
Dropbox is a fantastic tool. Some use it to make sure their files are synchronised between their different computers. Others use it to share photo albums with relatives, or simply as a way of backing up their precious files in case their computer breaks.
Skype is a way of talking to people you know through your computer. This can be a simple voice call, like using the telephone. With the use of web cameras, you also have the option of seeing the person you are speaking to on screen, and being seen by them. The service is free and millions of people use it to keep in contact with friends and loved ones, no matter how far away they live.
It is important to make sure your files are protected. If your computer breaks, is lost or stolen, how upset would you be if you lost your family photos, letters, contacts or work? There are several ways to backup your files, including automatic services, some of which are free. Feel free to ask me for advice if you do not have a backup system in place yet.
You may have seen a Kindle by now. They are fantastic devices. My wife loves hers. They are shaped like a very thin book and can contain hundreds of books electronically. They are very easy to use and read, and the books are often free or very cheap. You can quickly purchase a book online and it downloads to your Kindle immediately, ready to read in seconds! Large books like Bibles are no problem. In fact, on that note, my wife also recommends www.biblegateway.com – look up any bible verse in almost any English translation!
If find yourself confined to one room in your house when you use the internet, consider a wireless range extender. I have set up dozens of these for people, enabling them to happily use the internet in any room in their house, and even out in their garden!
So many of our local businesses are now on the internet with their own websites, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Get into the habit of checking these for special offers and new products – a great way to get ready for Christmas. Large and small UK businesses rely on this time of year with the Christmas shopping season. Buying online can be cheaper and is often easier. If you’ve held back from buying online in the past, perhaps now is the time to give it a go. A friend or relative may be happy to help you with this – if not, give me a call, as I regularly teach people how to do such things, in the comfort of their own home with no one to rush them.
I hope this article has been useful to you. If there is anything I have missed that you would like explained, feel free to contact me. I am happy to give advice, set things up for you or teach you new tricks to help you get the most of your time at your computer.
I have just been informed that Woodbridge Library is about to offer basic training on how to use the internet again. Some of my customers went to the free computer training sessions they used to provide and said they were very helpful. I’m pleased to hear they are offering help again to those new to the internet. This is what they have to say:
We can now offer free one hour Internet Taster Sessions at Woodbridge Library, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you have never used a computer before, or you would like to know more, need to set up an email address or would just like a bit of help tackling something online, please contact the library to book a session.
For more details, see the Woodbridge Library Website.