Computing




Group Contact - Keith Southgate
Telephone -  01208 873371
Email  keithsouthgate(at)gmail(dot)com or  CLICK HERE

 
Meetings during 2018 will be held  on the FIRST and THIRD  Wednesdays of each month to avoid clash with Lunch Group Meetings.



We are a small group, generally about 3 or 4 people, and run in a very informal manner. We discuss using PC's running Windows 7, 8, or 10.

Our sessions are based around a Question and Answer format designed to help U3A members who are learning how to use their computers for the first time and also members who have used PC's for a while, but would like to learn about using new programs.

Typical topics covered include:-

  • Staying safe on-line
  • Anti Virus Programs
  • Malware
  • Search Engines
  • Emailing
  • Using Skype
  • On-Line Banking
  • Purchasing Items on-line
  • Backing Up your data, both locally and via Cloud Storage
  • Word-processing
  • Spreadsheets
  • Using your computer with your camera



Update 17th October 2018

Only Janet and Keith reported for duty today.

  • We looked at various ways for Janet to send an email to a large group of people, comparing the use of cc and bcc copies. We also set up a Group in Outlook so it will be easier to send similar emails in the future.
  • Two weeks ago Janet downloaded an updated version of Malware Bytes and we checked to make sure the 14 day free trial was reverting to the free version of the program.
  • We adjusted the viewing options of file explorer so thumbnail images for photos could be viewed rather than just file names. Also while looking at file explorer we discovered that some of Janet's documents had been saved directly on her pc and not via the one-drive, which provides a cloud based back-up of documents.


  The next meeting will be on Wednesday 7th November at the usual time of 2pm.



Update 3rd October 2018

Janet, Jenny and Keith were at today's meeting.


  • Both Janet and Jenny have email addresses from Microsoft and neither of them are impressed by the new  "improved" layout.  We started the meeting by changing the options in outlook.com  so the email layout was as close a possible to the previous version.

  • At the start of the meeting Jenny's PC Windows 7 PC would  not connect to the internet even though it was connected to Keith's hub. After a considerable amount of investigation and self diagnosis we found a problem with the DCHP, which fortunately Windows automatically repaired for us.

  • We then updated Malware Bytes for Janet, taking care not to subscribe to the paid version of the program.

  • Earlier in the day Jenny had seen a tv programme that featured the website  https://haveibeenpwned.com/ which allows users to check if their email address has been subject to a data breach.  We  then checked our own email addresses to see if anybody had been affected by a breach.

  • Finally Keith helped Jenny extract information about her U3A Theatre Group using the export function in the Beacon Management system.


    The next meeting will be on Wednesday 17th October at the usual time of 2pm.




Update 5th September 2018

Christine and Anne joined Keith for today's meeting.

Most of the time today was spend undoing "enhancements" that had automatically appeared on our PCs since the last meeting in June.

  • Everyone present at the meeting had downloaded the new Avast Browser which was bundled with a recent update to Avast anti-virus. In one case this new browser had been set as default which proved very annoying. Default browsers were reset and the program removed.

  • A recent update to Windows had resulted in one PC displaying Bing as the default search engine and also the default home page so this was changed back to use Google Search Engine as default.

  • Although all members of the group preferred Google over Bing as a search engine, the recent update to Gmail did not find favour and so changes were made to restore the classic GMail layout.

There will not be a meeting  on the third Wednesday in September. The next meeting will be on Wednesday 3rd October.



Update 8th June 2018

In the last week or so I've received several messages from Group members advising they will not be able to come to various forthcoming Computer Group meetings.

Combining these messages with plans that Lindsay and I have for summer holidays, I have decided to take a break for the next  couple of months. I plan to hold the next computer group meeting on Wednesday 5th September 2018 at the usual time of 2pm at my house.

In the meantime if you have any particular questions don't hesitate to get in touch with me and I will try and help. assuming I'm not on holiday!

Have a great summer,

Keith


 
 

Update 17th May 2018

Keith was joined by Janet and Sue at yesterday's meeting. An interesting range of topic were explored, and as usual we shot off at several tangents during the course of a couple of hours.

 Here is a brief summary -

We started looking at how to create and send to a distribution list in Outlook.com / Hotmail; which led to a discussion about hiding email addresses using the bcc function; which led to a conversation about why Sue and Janet could see lots of adverts down the side of webpages and these weren't visible on Keith's PC;  which led to Sue and Janet installing adblock !


The other topic covered was about reading and printing pdf files. Janet had recently been sent a pdf denouement with over 50 pages but she was only interested in one page.  This resulted in a discussion about how to print a single pages from pdf docs.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 6th June starting at 2pm.



Update 3rd May 2018

A full house this week with Sally, Janet, Christine, Carol and Keith at Wednesday's meeting. Again a wide range of topics discussed including:-

  • Viewing photos taken on a iPhone on a Windows based PC
  • Checking money spent on broadband and phone calls using the MyBT website
  • Setting up applications on a recently purchased Android smartphone
  • Recovering a gmail account when password unknown
  • Updating Libre Office to latest stable version
  • Using Twitter to check latest local news without the need to sign-up for an account


The next meeting will be on Wednesday 16th May starting at 2pm.



Update 20th April 2018

A very warm and sunny afternoon, which coincided with Bowling Club practice,resulted in only Janet and Keith being at Wednesday's meeting.   A wide range of topics covered  were covered including

  • Signing Up to BT website to allow phone and internet bills to be checked
  • Using the JustPark parking app to pay for parking in Cornwall Council car parks.
  • How to free up memory space in an Andriod phone
  • TripAdvisor reviews and the tell-tale signs that a review may not be genuine


The next meeting will be on Wednesday 2nd May starting at 2pm.



Update 4th April 2018

Effects of Easter holidays resulted in only Carol and Keith being at today's meeting.  An interesting,  but not entirely successful, afternoon with most of the time being spent investigating "Access violation at address xxxx"messages appearing on Carol's PC.


The next meeting will be on Wednesday 18th April starting at 2pm.


Update 21st March 2018

Today we looked  at the following:

  • How to force an update to Windows 10 without waiting for Automatic Updates to take effect
  • Arranging pictures stored in Google Photos into albums
  • Transferring spreadsheets prepared using Open Office into Google Sheets format so they can be securely stored in the Cloud with password protection

We also had an interesting diversion looking at Cornwall Council's On-Line Planning Register to check status of new buildings in the Lostwithiel area.


The next meeting will be on Wednesday 4th April starting at 2pm.


Update 7th March 2018

Jenny, Carol, Christine, Janet and Keith were at today's meeting.  A real potpourri of topics today:-


  • Janet had received an email from Lloyds Bank about GDPR, which gave us the opportunity to discuss how changes to Data  Protection Laws were affecting organisations varying in size from multinational banks to U3A Groups
  • Jenny updated her Theatre Group pages to archive information about events from 2017
  • Christine and Carol compared notes about problems when emailing members of the Bowls Club and looking for any patterns in missing emails. A not entirely conclusive exercise, but experience suggests that emails sent to hotmail addresses have a greater chance of not be delivered!
  • At the end of the meeting we had a general discussion about the merits of using andriod tablets / phones compared with using iPhones / iPads.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 21st March  at Keith's house starting at 2pm.


Update 21st February 2018

Only Christine and Keith were at today's meeting. 

We discussed a wide range of topics today, including

  • Using the on screen keyboard in Windows 10 when main keyboard not operating correctly. (Details here)
  • Comparison between Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers, particularly when using the browser to explore the file structure on the PC (i.e C://users/named person) and bookmarking new sites.
  • We also looked at using Notepad++ when writing code for websites and had an interesting discussion about the need for including closing tags e.g. </p> when writing html and xhtml. (More details here.)

The next meeting will be on   Wednesday 7th March  starting at 2pm.


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Update 7th February 2018


 Ann and Janet joined Keith at today's session. The dreaded flu lurgy  caused us to be somewhat depleted today. We started the day with a couple of technical topics:-

  • Janet recently received an email from google reminding her to carry out a security check. After confirming  the message had all the hallmarks of a genuine email, and was not a scam, we followed a short procedure to confirm that everything was correct.

  • Ann reported that her PC had frozen  on several occasions recently. We looked at various ways to solve this problem before hitting the OFF button in desperation!


The second part of the meeting was an interesting diversion from the norm. Janet has noticed a recent change to the way local weather is displayed on the BBC website has made the information less user friendly.  We then spent an interesting hour comparing various weather sites including AccuWeather   Weather Underground and The Met Office.  The consensus of opinion was that the Met Office site provided the best overall weather information for Lostwithiel. 



The next meeting will be on 21st February  starting at 2pm.

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Update 17th January 2018


After the packed meeting last week only Janet and Keith were at today's session.

At the start of the meeting we made small changes to the settings on Janet's PC so she could easily return to Google Home Page and also access BBC Weather and BBC iPlayer using shortcut icons on the Desktop.


During the second half of the meeting we delved deeper into the operation of BBC iPlayer and downloaded additional software allowing Janet to view BBC programmes when away from an internet connection.



The next meeting will be on 7th February  starting at 2pm.

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Update 3rd January 2018


A bumper attendance at today's meeting, the first one since early December. Eight of us squeezed round the kitchen table looking for answers to various questions that had arisen over the past month.

Among today's practical topics we looked at:-

  • Pining programs to taskbar
  • Removing an unwanted anti-virus program
  • How to archive information from last year's group pages on this website
  • Sending emails using the Beacon system
  • Cleaning a PC using CC Cleaner
  • Restoring a PC following a virus
  • Emailing photos from an Android Phone

We also discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using an iPad compared to a conventional PC.



At the end of the meeting Keith demonstrated and enthused about the wide range of magazines available for free download from Cornwall Libraries. More information here.

The next meeting will be on 17th January starting at 2pm

 
SUMMARY OF  TOPICS COVERED IN PREVIOUS MEETINGS


BACKING UP DATA
 

At an earlier meeting we looked at ways of backing up your data. Some of the topics discussed are listed below:-

 

 

Backing Up Photos

For backing up your photos on-line I recommend the free version of flickr. http://www.flickr.com/ To access flickr you need an email address provided by Yahoo   Flickr provided you with 1Terra Byte of  storage. That is 1000 GigaBytes  This means you can store 500,000 photos with an average file size of 2MB, so you shouldn't run out of space!  It is possible to set the privacy so that you are the only person who can see the pictures.

 

Backing Up Other Data

For backing up letters, reports, spreadsheets etc then OneDrive, run by Microsoft, is probably the best option.   See https://onedrive.live.com/    To access  One

Drive you need an email address provided by Microsoft . These include hotmail, live.com live.co.uk and outlook.com addresses. You now get 15 GigaBytes of free storage. (recently increased from 7GB)

 

An abbreviated  description of One Drive (formally called  SkyDrive) taken from Wikipedia -

"SkyDrive  is a file hosting service that allows users to upload and sync files to a cloud storage and then access them from a Web browser or their local device. It  allows users to keep the files private, share them with contacts, or make the files public. Publicly shared files do not require a Microsoft account to access."

 

It is also possible to use, for free, online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint via OneDrive.

 

Regards,

 

Keith


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Staying Safe on Line

The best initial point for  finding out how to protect your pc on the web is probably the government backed "Get Safe On-line" website at https://www.getsafeonline.org/

To quote from their website:-

"Our website is a unique resource providing practical advice on how to protect yourself, your computers and mobiles device and your business against fraud, identity theft, viruses and many other problems encountered online. It contains guidance on many other related subjects too – including performing backups and how to avoid theft or loss of your computer, smartphone or tablet. Every conceivable topic is included on the site – including safe online shopping, gaming and dating … so now you really can stay safe with everything you do online."

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Learn at Home






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Lostwithiel U3A,
Feb 5, 2014, 4:34 AM