Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Firefox opening screen

You can tell Firefox to open with a blank screen, a homepage that you choose or tell it to start with the last internet page that you visited. Sometimes, especially if your computer crashes, these options can change and you will want to reset them.

To reset the options Click on Tools (menu bar at the top of the screen) then Options. Click on Main and you will see a downward pointing arrow beside the words "When firefox starts". Click on this to reset to the option you want. The three options you can choose from are "Show my windows and tabs from last time" - Firefox will open with the pages you last viewed, "Show my home page" - Firefox will open with your chosen home page, or "Show a blank page".

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Show icons on desktop

Sometimes, as if by magic, the icons on your desktop can disappear. You turn on the computer and all you see is the blank desktop and the mouse cursor. Don't panic, it's easy to get your icons back.
Just RIGHT click on a blank part of the desktop. Point your mouse at view and look to see if there is a tick beside "Show Desktop Icons". If there isn't, just click on it and your desktop icons will come back!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Warning when changing between secure and non secure pages

If you use Internet Explorer you will often see a warning dialog displayed when you change between secure and non secure parts of a website. You can stop this box from being displayed if you prefer.

Click on Tools on the menu bar at the top of the screen. Choose Internet Options.
Select the Advanced tab and scroll down to "security". Under security, remove the tick beside "warn if changing between secure and non secure mode".

How to place a picture behind text in Word

To make your picture or graphic sit behind the text on a page in Word, you need to change the text wrapping properties of the picture. There is more than one way to do this (isn't there always?). This is how to do it using a right click on your mouse.

Word 2007
Picture - RIGHT click on the picture and select "Text wrapping". Click on "Behind Text"

Shape - RIGHT click on the shape and select "Format autoshape". Click on the Layout tab and choose Behind Text.
Word 2003/XP/2000
Right click on picture, choose format picture, click on layout tab and choose behind text.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

How to rotate the picture on your computer screen

A few weeks ago my cat walked across my laptop keyboard. Suddenly the picture on the screen was upside down. Try using the mouse when up is down and down is up - if you see what I mean!! Short of standing on my head something had to be done. I had to work out how to rotate the picture on my screen.

There are 2 solutions to this.

1) hold down the ctrol + alt keys. While holding them down press one of the 4 arrow keys.
Up arrow = picture right way up
Down arrow = picture upside down
Left arrow = picture facing lhs of screen
Rigth arrow = picture facing rhs of screen

2) Right click on the desktop, select graphics options and then rotate (I'm using Windows Vista)

Monday, 17 November 2008

Open all websites in a favourites sub folder

If you have a set of websites saved in a subfolder of your favourites, sometimes it can be helpful to open all the sites for comparison. Imagine you are house-hunting. You might have all your local estate agents in a folder named Estate Agents. If you point your mouse at this folder, you should see an arrow appear beside the folder. Click on this arrow open all of the websites in the folder, each in their own window.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

How to Delete a Blogger Gadget

How do you delete a blogger (blogspot) gadget?

I answered this as a question on Yahoo Answers a few weeks ago. The answer must be read frequently as several visitors come to this blog from there. So here is the full answer.

All the entries in the right hand column of this blog are "gadgets". You can add them as you want. But if you don't want one of them any more, how do you delete it?

"Sign in" to your blog at the top right of your screen.
Once you have signed in "customise" will appear immediately next to sign in (which should now say sign out).

Click on "customise".

Make sure the "layout" tab is selected.

Click "Edit" on the gadget you want to delete
The gadget editing box will open.
In the bottom left of this box, click on "Remove"

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Document Word Count

Sometimes when you've written a document or an article it is helpful to know how many words it contains.

Here's how to find the word count in your document.

Open Office & Word 2000/XP/2003

For all of these programs, click on File, then Properties and then Statistics.

Word 2007

In Word 2007, the word count is displayed at the bottom left of your screen.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Visited Link Colour

If you click on a link in a website and then return to the original link, you will usually see that the link you clicked on has changed colour. Sometimes this is useful - sometimes it is annoying. It is possible to change the colour of visited links. You might want them to be the same colour as non-visited links so that you can't see which links have been visited.

Click here for detailed instructions on how to change the colour in Internet Explorer or in Firefox

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Spybot 2009 - Protect your privacy with spybot

Another nasty piece of spyware. This has NOTHING TO DO with the real spybot which is an effective spyware removal program. Delete the email and DON'T click on any links.

If you're sick of spam/scam you can use Spam Bully to regain control of your inbox. It's a highly effective, intelligent spam filter, with the added benefit of a feature that allows you to get your own back on the spammers!

To prevent viruses and spyware infections attacking your computer Use F-Secure. A highly effective and well respected internet security suite.

The Best Privacy Protection on the NetGet immediate access and protect yourself with Spybot 2009.Detect, remove and block spyware from your PC.Download Spybot 2009 HereAward winning software for the past 5 years.Steven PatricksSpybot Protection

When I pointed my mouse at one of the links in the email this is the link that was displayed at the bottom left of my screen. This is is the link that was displayed:

This is NOT the download link for the real spybot. To download the real Spybot, visit this link
If you think your computer has been infected with spyware, make sure you scan your computer with updated antivirus software and antispyware.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Changing the size of desktop icons in Windows Vista

If you are using Windows Vista and you find it hard to see the icons on the desktop, it is easy to change the size of the icons.

Point your mouse to a blank bit of the desktop and click the RIGHT mouse button. A menu will appear. Click on View in that menu. You should see three different options for the size of the icons, classic, medium and large. To make the icons larger, just click on medium or large.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

AVG Security 2009

If you receive an email with the subject "antivirus support" telling you to download AVG Security 2009, DON'T click on the link. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AVG 2009 (sorry for shouting). This is a NASTY piece of spyware that will keep popping up messages on your computer.

If your computer does get infected messages will keep popping up telling you how many infections have been found etc. You will need to run genuine antivirus and/or antispyware software to rid yourself of the infection. The two pieces of antispyware software I recommend are Adaware from Lavasoft (beware of spyware laden imitations - click on the link for the real version of Adaware) or MalwareBytes.

If you are an AVG user, the latest version is AVG8. It has no connection with the fake 2009 spyware.

To prevent your computer from becoming infected with viruses and spyware you should install effective antivirus and antispyware software. One very effective and highly respected internet security suite is F-Secure. This protects you against viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, hackers and spam. It also helps protect children from unwanted internet content.


Another Tuesday and another computer class.

This morning the class were grappling with WordArt. Once you've inserted a piece of WordArt into a document you will probably want to move it around. By default you can't usually do that. You need to change the WordArt layout, or text wrapping, properties. How do you do this?

Word 2007
Click on your WordArt so that it's handles (little squares) are displayed. Look on the WordArt ribbon at the top of the screen for a picture of a little dog and the words "text wrapping". Click on this. You will probably find that the layout is set to "in line with text". Change this to "square".

Look at your WordArt and you should see that it's handles have changed. Now you can point your mouse at the WordArt and look for a 4 headed arrow. When you can see this, you can drag and drop your WordArt.

Word 2000/XP/2003
As above, except that you will find the little dog symbol in the WordArt toolbar.

Open Office
You can drag and drop FontWorks without needing to change the text wrapping properties.

These layout/text wrapping properties also apply when you are using clip art.

A much more comprehensive description of WordArt and using ClipArt is included in my beginner's computer courses.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Colin Wong

With my toast and tea this morning I also had an email from Colin Wong. He tells me that I have the same name as a client of his who has died from a heart condition brought on by the death of his entire family in a plane crash in Malaysia. (I'm called Smith, a common name I know, but I doubt if many people in Malaysia are called Smith!)

Anyhow he wants me to help him dispose of $18m.


Good Day,

I am COLIN WONG, an attorney at law. A deceased client of mine,who
hereinafter shall be referred to as my client, died as theresult of a
heart-relatedcondition on the 11 November 2001.His heart condition was
due to the death of all the members of his family in the Gulf Air
Flight Crashes in Persian Gulf Near Bahrain Aired August 23,2000 -
2:50 p.m. ET as reported

I have contacted you to assist in distributing the money left behind
by my client before it is confiscated or declared unserviceable by the
bank where this deposit valued at EIGHTEEN MILLION TWO HUNDRED
THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS.(US$ 18,200,000.00 USD ).is lodged.

This bank has issued me a notice to contact the next of kin, or the
account will be confiscated.

My proposition to you is to seek your consent to present you as the
next-of-kin and beneficiary of my named client, since you have the
same last name, so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to
you. Then we can share the amount on a mutually agreed-upon percentage.

All legal documents to back up your claim as my client's next-of-kin
will be provided. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable
us see this transaction through.

This will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect
you frommany breach of the law. If this business proposition offends
your moral values,do accept my apology.

I must use this opportunity to implore you to exercise the
utmostindulgence to keep this matter extraordinary confidential,
whatever your decision, while Iawait your prompt response. Please
contact me at once to indicate your interest.

Contact email :

Warmest Regards,

Barrister Colin Wong
(Attorney At Law)

As ever, Barrister Wong doesn't exist. At least not as a barrister. He's a scammer. He wants you to send him money, not the other way around. If you do reply he will ask for a fee to send you the money. There is no money. Delete the email and don't reply to it.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Microsoft Award/Claims Office

Microsoft® Award /Claims OfficeMicrosoft Award Team23 Craven Park, HarlesdenLondon NW10,United Kingdom**************************Dear lucky winner,This is to inform you that your email has won a consolation prize of theMicrosoft Corporation EMAIL DRAW held On 1st,Nov 08. Your email has wonyou £500,000.00(Five Hundred Thousand Great british Pounds) from MICROSOFTAWARD PROMOTION Batch #:409978E and Reference No:FL/668530092. For claims,contact us with the information below via email immediately within 24hrson receipt of thie email.To file for your claim, please contact our United Kingdom Processing Agentin Charge of your Zone with your details as stated below.Full name:Contact Address:Sex:Age:Tel:Occupation:Nationality:Your Zonal agent contact information is stated below:-Contact:Mr.Ben Oris.Head Winning Claims Dept.Email:mrbenoris24@live.comTell:+44-704-5721-1259

What a cheek. I've only won a consolation prize. Now, I know Mr G of Microsoft is a generous man. And I know he runs a charitable foundation that donates millions for good causes, but I'm not convinced he'd suddenly send me a consolation prize of £500k.

So, delete it. You haven't won anything, neither have I. It's yet another advanced fee fraud.

Peugeot Automobile Lottery

"Congratulations You Have Won....PEUGEOT AUTOMOBILES LOTTERY WINNING NOTIFICATIONLondon,United Kingdom.PEUGEOT ONLINE CAR /CASH AWARD PRIZE NOTIFICATION.This is to inform you that you have been selected for a cash prize of£300,000.00 (Three Hundred Thousand Great British Pounds) and a brandnewPeugeot 407 Car,From the International online programs held recentlyin London the United Kingdom "

"Sir John Greening,Phone:"

"With Best RegardsDominic GeraldLottery Manager."

Strange that "Sir John Greening" from peugeot only has a mobile phone number and a email address. You'd think Peugeot could afford to have a proper phone system installed, wouldn't you. Sorry, these emails bring out my facetious streak.

Even stranger, this email seems to have come from Hungary. Delete it. Don't reply. It's a scam from someone who thinks you will be daft enought to send them money, not the other way around.

Shuenn Jaan Machinery Co., Ltd.

Ah. A change. Someone wants to offer me a job.

"Dear Sir/Ma, Please can I have your attention for a moment? Would you like to work online from home temporarily and get paid weekly? Our Company Shuenn Jaan Machinery Co., Ltd. is a company based in Taiwan and we are into Manufacturer of plastic injection molding machines, Bakelite machines, dual-colors injection molding machines and accessories supplied worldwide since 1975 with numerous customers home and abroad. We produce various industrial machinery (machines) & equipments supply (supplies) you will be glad with our products. We need representatives in the United States,United Kingdon and Canada who will be in charge of all our payments from the United States,United Kingdon and Canada clients/customers. Most of our customers from United States,United Kingdon and Canada pay through their Bank account and Credit Card, which are not negotiable here in Taiwan. This brings our quest to employ a credible and trustworthy fellow as our representative to handle our payments. This would not affect your present job but serve as another stream of income to your good self. Being our representative and assisting us in processing the payments from our clients shall earn you a weekly salary and commission of about 20% of every payment you assist us with. Due to the fact that we can not process the United States,United Kingdon and Canada Bank Wire Transfer here in the Taiwan, we have lost in the past about ($200,000 USD) of net income each month because of money transfer delays. Most of our clients/customers who purchase our products need to pay large amount of money through their Bank Account. Your task is to coordinate payments from customers and help us with the payment process. You are not involved in any sales. If you are interested, email us back with the information below. Name: Address: Age: Sex: Home Phone: Office Phone: Bank Name: Your quick response will be appreciated. Best Regards, Mr Jack Terry SHUENN JAAN MACHINERY CO., LTD No.803, CHUNG SHAN N. RD., YUNG KANG CITY, TAINAN HSIEN TAIWAN R.O.C., Email: Tel: 886-6-2339590 ~4 Fax : 886-6-2331745 Mr Jack Jean BRANCH OFFICE IN ENGLAND 145 ISLING TON ROAD BANNER STREET Tel: +447031815746 Fax: +447931225788 "

These guys don't want to give me money - they want me to assist in moving money. So I expect they want my bank account details!!!

Please don't get taken in my these people. They don't have a job for you. These guys are out to take money from your bank account, not put it into your bank account.

If you are desperate for extra income or in financial difficulties, speak to your local credit union, or financial advisor or check out your local factory, farm or supermarket to see if they have any casual work available.

Red Dot

Next up are "Red Dot". So keen are they to scam me - I mean give me money, that they can't even bothered to make up a story about who they are!

"Red dot award notificationWe are happy to notify you that your e-mail addresswas selected which won you 300,000 Dollars in ouron-going End of the year 2008 award presentation.To file for the claim of this award money you aretherefore advice to reply back with yourName....Address....Occupation....Contact number.......Age.....To view our previous award website link belowhttp://red-dot.deSend Details toEmail:replyreddot001@live.comRegardsDr. paul edwards (Red Dot)."

This singularly unimpressive scam cam from A non existent website, presumably registered just for sending this scam. I feel if "steve" really does want to make a profit online then a more usual form of internet marketing might be a more useful "secret" to implement.

Sweepstakes International Program

First up this morning is the "Sweepstakes International Program". Here are some extracts.

"We happily announce to you the draw (1155) of the U.K NATIONALLOTTERY, online Sweepstakes International program"

Youhave therefore been approved to claim a total sum of £4,000.000.00 (Four MillionPounds Sterling) in cash

All participants for the online versionwer selected randomly from World Wide Web sites through computer draw systemand extracted from over "100,000" unions, associations, and corporate bodiesthat are listed online.

Contact Name: Henry SmithE-mail:

It even includes the following, very pertinent, warning about fraudulent lottery emails. Well - they should know.

Warning! Fraudulent emails are circulating that appears to be usingNational Lottery addresses, but are not from The National Lottery. PLEASEREPORT IMMEDIATELY

The sender of this email? A university in California. Clearly the regular curriculum there doesn't keep the little toads busy enough.

Delete this. You haven't won anything. Students Don't have £4m to give away.

Spam and Chips

I am becoming a fervent believer in spam. In the real world I have to work for a living (altogether now - aaahhhhh). In spam land I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams. Well, which would you prefer to believe in? Reality or spam? Answers on a postcard please.

Today I have an embarrassment of riches. So much indeed, that I feel it would be positively immoral to claim them all. So I'll post them all in the five posts above this and let you decide which I should claim and which I should leave for someone else.

Ok - I'm being facetious. They're all scams, as ever. Please don't reply if you receive them. You haven't won anything. Most are what is known as "advanced feed" frauds. Magically you have to pay a fee to receive your award or winnings. If you are taken in an pay the fee, another fee will follow. You'll never receive a penny, because there isn't any money. They are trying to get money from you not give it to you.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

UK National Lottery

It's Saturday morning, and I should be doing the vacuuming and washing and tidying and cleaning and ............. But it's much more fun reading my spam email. This morning I have, apparently, won £250k on the UK National Lottery. The email is such utter rubbish that I couldn't resist reproducing it in full, not least because they seem to have invented a word - fudiciary. It probably ought to be a word, it has a certain ring about it, but as far I'm aware it isn't a word - at least not a real one with a meaning.

"Barrister Tim Rampton", who I am supposed to contact, appears to be a student at Humboldt University in California with a Hotmail email address. How very odd!!!!!!

BRITISH LOTTERY 6/49202 StraRoad, London,UNITED KINGDOM.***********************************************Ref: XYL/41623970018/08 Batch: 37/00918/TPD*********************************************** YOU HAVE WON £250,000 POUNDS STERLING.Attn: Our Dear Winner,By the Board of the BRITISH LOTTERY 6/49, you have won the sum of £250,000 (Two hundre and fifty Great British Pounds Sterling)from the BRITISH LOTTERY 6/49 on our2008 annual charity bonanza.The winning ticket was selected from a Data Base of Internet Email Users, from which your Address came out as the winning coupon.You are therefore requested to contact immediately out Claims Department belowquoting winning number: WINNING NUMBER: 16-06-42-11-65-14-{75}.PLEASE WE ADVISE YOU TO GET BACK TO THE FUDICIARY CLAIMS AGENT RESPONSIBLE FORYOUR CLAIMS WITH YOUR COMPLETE VERIFICATION FORM VIA EMAIL AS SOON AS POSSIBLEFOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON YOUR WINNINGS.VERIFICATION AND CLEARANCE FORM TO BE FILLED:(1) FULL NAMES:(2) ADDRESS:(3) SEX:(4) AGE:(5) MARITAL STATUS:(6) OCCUPATION:(7) E-MAIL ADDRESS:(8) TELEPHONE NUMBER:(9) BATCH NUMBER:(10) REF NUMBER:(11) BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF COMPANY/INDIVIDUAL:(12) AMOUNT WON:(13) COUNTRY:FUDICIARY AGENT CONTACT:Barrister Tim RamptonRampton & Sons Consultants Lawfirm & Schmidtz Associates(Solicitors Advocates & Arbitrators)Official Email:
barr_timrampton@hotmail.comPhone number+447035933124Fiduciary Agent/Payment Officer.Do complete the verification and clearance form above and remember to quote your winning number for confirmation. Congratulations once again.Yours faithfully,MR. JAMES SMITHOnline Co-ordinator for BRITItford SH LOTTERY 6/49."

In case you're in doubt, it's a scam. You haven't won anything. They want to take money from you, not give it to you. Just delete it. Although I think I might get my imaginary friend Annie Cheater to reply.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Fondation de France - Mrs Maria Lazio

The Fondation de France are so desperate to give me an award that they've written to me three times!

"The Fondation De France would like to notify you that you have been chosen by the board of trustees as one of the final recipients of a cash Grant/Donation for your own personal, educational, and business development. "

"We are giving out a yearly donation of US$850,000.00 each to 100 lucky recipients. These specific Donations/Grants will be awarded to 100 lucky international recipients worldwide"

All I have to do is contact "Executive Sec. Mrs.MARIA LAZIO"

I just hope that no-one is taken in by this scam. If you look on the genuine website for the Fondation de France you will see a message at the bottom of their homepage. It's in French. Even my limited knowledge of French tells me that this clearly states that they only send messages in French and not in any other language - which includes English!

"Enfin, tout courrier ou message émanant de la Fondation de France est établi en français, et non dans une autre langue." (genuine message)

Tuesday, 28 October 2008


I mustn't miss out Mr Song Li. Who tells me:

"Greetings of the day to you,although you may be skeptical receiving this email as we have not met before, I am Mr. SONG LI (Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer) of the Hang Seng BankLtd.,nevertheless I have a business proposition involving the sum of $19,500,000.00usd in my bank which I know we will be of mutual benefit to both of us, and I believe we can handle together,once we have a common understanding and mutual cooperation in the execution of the modalities..Should you be interested, please forward the following to me:"

He asks for some details and tells me I should contact him at Strange that the Chief Financial Officer of the Hang Seng Bank has to use a yahoo email address. You'd think the bank would let him have a bank email address, wouldn't you!!!!

As ever, he's a scammer. Delete the email.

Fake bank emails

Like most of you I get my share of emails supposedly from banks. All seem to have trouble and all want me to reconfirm my details. Here is an example I received today:

"Dear Lloyds TSB Customer, Our Technical Service department has recently updated our online banking services, and due to this upgrade we sincerely call your attention to follow below link and reconfirm your online account details.
Failure to confirm the online banking details will suspend you from accessing your account online.
Please Click Here To Start . *Important Notice*
You are strictly advised to match your Security details rightly to avoid service denial. "

NEVER follow the links in these emails. They all take you to phishing websites, where the scammers are hoping you will give them your account details - username, password, memorable information. In fact everything they need to access your bank account and take your money.

If you do use online banking and you think any of these emails might be real. DON'T click on a link. Phone your bank and ask them. They won't mind, and if the email is genuine they will be able to explain.

I have online banking - and I have the account set so that they do not send me emails. So I know that any emails I do receive must be phishing emails


I received this email last week from shufen, who tells me:

"This is to inform you that this e-mail address has won the sumof £1,000,000.00 (One Million Pounds sterling) already insured in your favour,in this year Microsoft/National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) online draws. NO TICKETS WERE SOLD!!"

It goes on to give me instructions to:

"To file in for your claims you are to contact Access Finance Limited in Londonvia e-mail quoting your serial number VB-246819The Claims Processor/Agent:Contact Person: Sir. David EllissFOREIGN DEPARTMENT MANAGERACCESS FINANCE LIMITED (+44)-701-113-9895Fax: (+44)-700-604-5886"

This email was sent from Taiwan.

Mrs Jeanette Edwards Jr

I started adding spoof emails to this site a few weeks ago. I thought I was wasting my readers' time, so I stopped. But looking at the visitor statistics I see that people are coming here to check out these spoofs. I hope they are reassured that they are spoofs and that no-one gets taken in by these spammers. I've decided to continue adding the spoof here, so more visitors can be get confirmation that these emails are all fakes and should be deleted.

So - today, it's Mrs Jeanette Edwards Jr, who has apparently been trying to contact me about my confirmed able (whatever that is) bank draft.

"I have been waiting for you since to contact me for your Confirmedable Bank Draft of 800.000.00GBP, but I did not hear fromyou for a long time. Then I went and deposited the Draft with FedExCOURIER SERVICE, IN West Yorkshire, UK, I traveled out of the countryfor some Months Course and I will not come back until end of December."

She tells me she has paid all of the necessary fees, except for £165

"Let me repeatagain,try to contact them as soon as you receive this mail to avoid anyfurther delay and remember to pay them their Security Keeping fee of165.00GBP for their immediate action."

The email was sent from the Phillippines. Delete it. There is no £800k.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

More videos

I've been practicing making a few more videos. It's not as easy as it sounds. It's a bit like phoning someone and finding you are talking to an answering machine. You know the feeling - suddenly your brain turns to mush and you can't think of anything sensible to say!!

Today I made a couple on using features in Word and then a couple showing some sample pages from two of my courses.

Here's one of them - it's some sample pages from my beginner's computing course for Word 2007. The video is part way down the page - click on the triangle to make it play. I think I probably made it too large for the page, so I might remake it at a smaller size.

Friday, 17 October 2008

My first video tutorial - change the appearance of text

I am hoping to develop a series of video tutorials for adult computer learners. I have just recorded the first one. It's far from perfect, but I would be interested in some feedback. Here it is: How to change the appearance of text you have already typed

Do you think this type of video could be useful to yourself or friends/family who want some hints and tips for using their computer?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Hide White Space

It's Tuesday, so it's computer class day. Today the students kept losing the white space at the top of their document. Problems in classes I find are like Mexican Waves. Once someone starts they spread round the class.

It's easy to lose the white space at the top of your document in Word 2003 or 2007. Suddenly your text appears to have jumped to the top of the page and you seem to have lost the top margin. You haven't lost the margin - it's still there, and will be there if you print the document. It just isn't showing on the screen. You have accidentally hidden the white space at the top of the document. Head on over to my website for an illustrated guide to turning the white space back on again.

Monday, 13 October 2008

International bonded courier

Annie's had a reply from a bonded courier about her win on the "British National Lottery". She had three delivery options for her winnings, ranging from £499 for express delivery to £299 for the economy option. She is told that she will have to pay in advance and that when the goods are delivered she must produce a copy of her passport or driving licence. She's replied to the email and confirmed her address at HMP Leyhill. (I should offer my apologies to Leyhill - if they ever read this blog they'll probably be mad at me.)

"Your parcel containing your cheque, original copy of your certificate and security documents alongside your consolation prizes have been picked up and is ready for dispatch. Parcel Description: Certified Bank Cheque, Original Copies of Certificates, A Dell Inspiron 6400 Laptop, A Branded T-shirt, A Branded Baseball cap and Security Documents. "

"You will be required to sign for the parcel as soon as it is delivered to you thus we will need either a scanned copy of your international passport or your driver's license for identification purpose......"

A strange mixture of "prizes". A cheque for £750k and a baseball cap!!!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Mr Kelvin Watson

Mr Watson is so keen to tell me of my winnings that he couldn't even be bothered to hide his email address in the Czech Republic.

"DIRECTOR OF PROMOTIONS, BRITISH NATIONAL LOTTERY, MORTIMER HOUSE ,MORTIMER STREET, LONDON, W1T3JG UNITED KINGDOM.Congratulations,you have just won yourself £750,000.00 in the satellitesoftware email lottery conducted by BRITISH NATIONAL LOTTERY PROMOTIONin which your e-mail address was randomly selected by software poweredby the Internet."

I think my friend Annie Cheater might reply to this one.

"Name: Annie Cheater
Address: HMP Leyhill, wotton under edge, gl12 8bt, UK.

I'm so excited, tell me when I can expect the cheque to arrive


Mr McFerrin Phoenix

Mr Phoenix is not a happy man. He feels he has to shout (all capitals) at me. He tells me his email is from the Senate House if the Fed Rep of Nigeria (even though it was sent from somewhere in Russia).

He knows how to butter up his potential scam victims by being really nice to them - telling me I am undertaking illegal actions. What a nice man - not


Maybe I should rename this blog - "unfriendly". Then again perhaps I should call it "scam emails". Or perhaps I should just post more hints and tips - which was the original aim of the blog.

Friday, 10 October 2008

UK National Lottery

Another day, another scam lottery email. Mr Butch Stein (how's that for a name girls?) writes to tell me I've been randomly selected to win £500k in the UK National Lottery.

"Your email address attached to ticket no:512-20658001-034 was randomlyselected and drew the lucky numbers: 20-4-11-19-05-1.You you have beenapproved to claim your winning sum ofGBP £500,000.00(Five Hundred Thousand Great Britain pounds) in cash.N:B: This is your reference number;Ref:PRLUK/56POLG/02, Batchnumber;02/78/2010 and this is your Serial Number:0712/04.You are required to fill this form, and contact (Mr. Butch Stein)...."

Strangely, he writes from Australia to tell me this. Anyhow Annie Cheater (who's still residing in HMP Leyhill) has answered him.

"Cool. My name is Annie Cheater. My address is HMP Leyhill, Wotton under Edge, Gloucestershire. My DOB is 22 Jan 1976. We arent allowed incoming phones.Annie"

Clearly I'm the sad sort of person that answers these emails. They're all scams. If you get one, delete it. You haven't won anything (and neither have I).

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Mrs Grace Tomalin

Another day - another ATM card. This one is apparently worth $500,000.00. Mrs Grace Tomalin even tells me its pin number. Clearly she keeps more money in the bank account that it is supposed to access than I do in mine.

"Good Day,I wish to inform that I have dropped your ATM MASTER CARD worth $500,000.00 USD with FedEx Delivery Services. Insurance and delivery charges have been paid for, but the only fee remaining is the security safe keeping fee of $230 USD which you will be required to pay before delivery."

All I am required to do to get this card is pay a fee of $230. What a surprise!!

As ever, delete the email. It's a scam. An ATM card is worth nothing. And no-one is going to send you a card which accesses their bank account with half a million dollars in.

Although "Mrs Grace Tomalin" tells me in the email that she has left Nigerial for 4 months to visit her father in Switzerland, she has managed to send me the email from Taiwan. A truly international journey. Perhaps she should keep the money herself to pay for all those air fares.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Changing between upper and lower case

Another Tuesday and another class. Today the students were asking about how to change a sentence if you have mistakenly typed it all in capital letters.

I'm sure you've all done it at some time. You type a whole sentence, or even a paragraph and then realise you had the caps lock turned on by mistake. Your whole sentence is in capital letters. It isn't necessary to delete everything you've typed, you can change the case of the letters from upper to lower (or vice versa).

Head on over to my website where I've just added an illustrated page to show you how to do this. I've included instructions for Word 2007 as well as previous versions of Word and Open Office.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Fletcher Financial Services - episode 3

Mr Fletcher is keen to lend me money - so long as I send him a fee of £100 (no surprises there then).

Hello, Your funds was sent to an online wiring service so that you will receive your loan as soon as possible.The Transfer Agent in charge of the Transfer of your loan said that the Transfer charges for the loan sum ofGBP5,000.00 will cost you GBP100, I want you to take this payment as a challenge so that you will receive your loan Asap. Just make the payment, and I assure you that you will receive this loan. If I were you, I will take this fee to be a challenge. If you should take this fee you are about to pay to be a challenge to you,it then means that you will receive this loan. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he/she lies in times of comfort, but where he stands in times of controversy and pressure. I am a matured man, and I will help you since you are in need of the loan urgently. Believe in me, I assure you that you will receive this loan as soon as you make this payment.I want you to believe that you will get this loan. I told you before, I have tasted the bitter side of life so i will never want to hurt others. You are to try as much as you can to send this Transfer fee and you will be glad you did because i will never disappointed you in this transaction,You are to send the Transfer fee through MONEY GRAMTransfer with my accountant's information listed bellow. Receiver's Name: Sadoh Ehis Country: Nigeria. State: Abuja. Text Question: Which school did you go? Text Answer: Oxford. Amount to be sent: GBP 100 After you have sent the payment you will send us the following informations so that the money can be picked up for Transfer of your loan to take place Asap. Full Sender's Name: Sender's Address:Refernce Number: I want you to know that I Mr Fletcher Crowley will never let you down in this transaction, I will make sure i fulfill my promises to you. please your approval certificate is been attached to this mail for your notice and should be kept confidential. Please note: The Fee can not be deducted from the loan amount, It is Against the Nigeria Loan Lenders Association to deduct a fee from a that is already insured and Approved for Transfer . You will receive your loan as soon as the Transfer payment is received. Thanks and God BlessFletcher Crowley

Fletcher Financial Services - episode 2

I haven't heard from Fletcher FS for a couple of days. Remember I'm in Leyhill prison and I need money fast. So I sent this a few hours ago:

Mr Fletcher - I getting well worried. It three days since I hear nothing from yu. Plese tell me when i will get cheque.

He doesn't want to let me down, so this is his reply.

Hello,We received your email and want to inform you that we like like to know with which bank you have account.Before we can proceed further.Thanks

Good. Last time I told him I wasn't allowed to use a bank account. Now I'll tell him I have an account, but I've been told I have a code mismatch. (He must get those spam bank emails too, mustn't he?)

I bank with Lloyds TSB but i get lots of emails telling me my code dont match.

Bankruptcles and ball-outs

Couldn't resist that title. Yet another gem from my spam folder and no - it isn't an advert for "medicines". That is the subject from the email though. Apparently all I have to do is make phone calls for a few days a week and I will generate between $3k and $5k a week.

"OneHour ADay For BigDough Would you take an hour out of your day, 3or4 daysaweek to generate$3000to$5000 perweek ormore Return phonecalls to people that are waiting for your call and give them some information...That's it NoSellingNotMLMNotNetworkMarketing This is realand so is theCASH!
SeeCashFlow to your door in as soon as 24-72 hours
Ringup 8OO.249.9442 to hear more"

Clearly someone who doesn't know me from the proverbial Adam isn't going to pay me for making random phone calls, so either:
a) that isn't a freephone number (I'm not going to try it to see)
b) they want my bank account details (how unusual)

As ever, delete it. If you are really desperate for cash try your local credit union or try your local supermarket or factory to see if they have some casual work available.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Fletcher Financial Services

Time to come clean and tell them I'm in prison and I don't have a bank account.

Dear Mr Fletcher
In these times is good to knowyou are God fearing person. I am member of Church of Heavenly Values here at Leyhill. They is supporting me through my troubles and helping me as can.

I have big problem. You see from my address I am living in one of Her Majesty's housing schemes. We not allowed to use bank accounts. You have to send cheque to me so I can give to my husband, God bless him, to cash for me. I know you will be able to do that as you are trusty God fearing man.


I await his answer. Any suggestions for what I should say next? Perhaps I should ask him to open an account for me?

Fletcher Financial Services

Mr Fletcher Cowley has replied to me. He assures me he is a God fearing person. This is his reply.

Attn:Annie Cheater , The terms of the Amount which you requested as a loan is listed below, I am giving out this loan amount to you, with the duration of 36 Months and I believe that you can be trusted. You have come to the right place were you can get your loan fast and easy, I am a God fearing person and I hope you are a legitimate borrower, I want you to be faithful and truthful in this transaction, So that we can have a good business relationship ahead, I can be able to offer you the loan of sum GBP5,000.00 I have stated the terms of the loan below for you to see and tell me if you are in agreement with the loan terms and condition or not. HERE ARE THE TERMS AND CONDITION. APPLICANT'S DETAILS* Name of Applicant:Annie Cheater * Amount: GBP5,000.00* Loan Duration:3 years (36 Months) LOAN TERMS AND REPAYMENT SCHEDULE: The loan repayment is based on a monthly basis which consists of the loan capital and interest rate together. Like it’s written, the loan duration period is for 36 Months. So find the interest rate and payment schedule below: Principal Loan: GBP5,000.00Loan Interest Rate: 2%Loan Term:3 yearsMonthly Loan Payment:GBP 143.21 Number of Payments: 36 Cumulative Payments:GBP 5,155.67 Total Interest Paid: GBP 155.67 Note: The monthly loan payment was calculated at 35 payments of GBP 143.21 plus a final payment of GBP 143.32. These are the terms above, if you are in agreement with the terms and ready to proceed, i want you to get back to me with your banking information. I will forward your information’s to the Money Laundering Monitoring Council, for the approval of the loan, and also send the Loan to the insurance company so that the loan can be insured immediately. The Approval and the insurance charges is going to be paid by me the lender. If al l things being equal, this loan will be insured and Approved before the next 1 Hour for transfer. Meanwhile you are also require to send your banking information if you agree to the terms and conditions. I do take the responsibility of paying the Approval charges and insurance charges for any legitimate borrower, and not the beneficiary of the loan in order to have a smooth transaction and a better business relation ahead all you just have to be responsible of is the transfer charges to transfer the money to your bank account. I will send my Attorney to the insurance company, to go and insure the loan soonest.If you Agree to the Terms of the loan I want you to get back to me as soon as possible, and make sure you send your bank account, bank name, the user name, so that I can contact my bank so that they can transfer the money to your bank account, and also once I make the transfer to your bank account my bank will inform you immediately so that you can withdraw the money from your bank account and the monthly payment will start there after. Note that once I make the transfer I will give all your information to my bank so that they will contact you once the money is transferred to your bank account.As soon as you receive your loan you will be informed on how to make the Monthly repayment. Extend my greetings to your family and may the Almighty God grant you and your household. Amen. RegardsFletcher Financial Service+234 80565 20283

As I thought he wants my bank account details!! (What a surprise) Well I'm in prison, so I can hardly nip down to my local bank to open an account.

Fletcher Financial Services

I didn't take my own advise. I replied to Fletcher Financial Services. I used an old email address and changed the name it displays. It's not the address that the original email was sent to. This is what I sent them:

"I much need loan. £5000. I'm very credit worthy. My salary is £1000 a month and I am boss at work. I am located in UK. I need loan for 2 months. My name Annie Cheater. Address hmp Leyhill, Wotton under edge gloucestershire. My phone isn't working . send me yur tems and conditions so ican get loan fast."

Ok - so clearly I'm a cheater and I'm in prison. Will they notice?

Friday, 3 October 2008

Fletcher Financial Services

Nobody wants to just give me money today. Fletcher Financial Services want to give me a loan.

"Welcome, You are welcome to FLETCHER FINANCIAL SERVICES, we are legitimate lenders registered and approved to lend money to members of the public in need of loans. You are to provide us with the following personal data if interested. Our offering rate is 2% 1. How credit worthy are you to repay back this loan if granted? 2. What is your salary like in a month / year? 3. What position are you currently holding in your place of work? 4. Where are you located? 5. What is your marital status? 6. How much loan do you need? 7. Loan Duration Also you have to provide the following info; 1. Full names: 2. Address: 3. Country of Residence: 4. Phones (Home) (Work) (Cell): 5. Marital Status: 6. Name of next of kin: 7. Fax: 8. City: 9. State: Once your response is received we shall forward you our terms and conditions of loans amount you are applying. So we can proceed ASAP with the loan. Contact us Regards Fletcher Financial Service."

I don't doubt they are after your identity, or bank details or both. Just delete the email. If you need a loan approach a reputable bank or credit union.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Lost Word toolbars

Another computer class this morning. I've hired a set of laptops for this course. When we turned them on this morning, several of the students found that their toolbars in Word had disappeared. Well - we're using Word 2007, so they aren't called toolbars anymore - it's the ribbon (new version of Office, new jargon to learn. Why??)

Whether you are using Office 2007 or an earlier version or Open Office, or many other programs, the problem is similar. The toolbars disappear. Now what do you do. You need to get them back.

I've just added a page to my website, with screenshots, to show you how. It's hard to explain here as I'd have to add all the pics. Head on over to my site for the illustrated answer.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Treat very urgently - DHL Delivery Company

Today we're in Romania or Southern Illinois. Possibly a Romanian national living in Illinois. S/he sent me an email, claiming to come from Nigeria, telling me to contact the delivery company urgently as "Mrs Stella Johnson" of "Zenith Bank PLC" has sent me an ATM card worth $2m. I guess she has more money in her bank account than I do. My ATM card is worth a few hundred dollars at the most.

"The DHL Delivery Service Company are hereby passing an essential massageto all our valuable customers to be very careful while presenting theirreceivers residential address to avoid wrong delivery. This is the DHL courier service company mailing you as per your parcelthat was brought to this company to be delivered to you by oneMiss.Stella Johnson of ZENITH BANK PLC, along the delivery process therecame a misunderstanding between you and the nicon insurance company inregard of their request as per their insurance certificate which happensto be course of your parcel pending for the past One Year.Meanwhile weare hereby happy to inform you that the DHL Company has finalizedeverything with the nicon insurance company of Nigeria as the companyorganization has also listed 24 valuable parcels to be intact in theiroffice after the released of the parcels from the nicon insurancecompany. We are happy to inform you once again that your parcel thatcontain ATM CARD worth the sum of $2 million dollars is among the 24parcels listed which is now in our office and also with your name as thereceiver despite that we lost your private residential addresss ............."

It rambles on at great length. I haven't read the rest and don't intend to. I will delete it and so should you.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

PowerBall Email Promotion

Mrs Maria Johnson has written to tell me I've won a "a cash award of 500.000.00 GBP ".

She urges me to contact the claims unit of PowerBall London, who have a gmail address. Strangely her original email comes from a courier company in the Czech Republic.

As ever, don't be taken in by her. You cannot win a lottery you haven't entered. Delete the email.

The origins of my scam emails this week are truly international. So far I've had them from Chile, Portugal and now the Czech Republic. A tour of the world without leaving home.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Lady Dorothy Livingstone

My lucky week for money continues. Now it's the sad tale of Lady Dorothy Livingstone. Who wants to leave me all her money.

"Here writes LADY DOROTHY LIVINGSTONE suffering from cancerous ailment.Whenmy late husband was alive he deposited the sum of Twenty-Three MillionPounds......"

She tells me she is suffering from a "cancerous problem". I'm sure many thousands have received the same email.

It's yet another scam, of course. Delete it.

Strangely this poor lady, claims to be in the UK, sends her emails under the name of Jose Monteiro from a college in Portugal!!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Free lottery company

I see retirement and a villa in the South of France looming. My "lucky" week continues. Apparently I've now won £1m from the free lottery company. Here is an extract from their email:

"Dear Selected winner,This is to inform you that you have been selected for a cash Prize of £1,000,000 (One Million Pounds Sterling) in cash from International programme held on the 30th of August 2008 in United Kingdom.You are advised to contact the verification department through our assigned claims agent by providing your Reference Number Ref: UK/4061X2/08.You are also advised to provide him with the underlisted information."

It's another scam, of course. As I said in a previous post - you can't win a lottery you haven't entered. I'll delete the email, and so should you if you receive it. Don't be taken in by the scammers who are after your bank account details and/or your identity. If you want the chance to win all that dosh, buy some premium bonds.

Mrs Rita Petrov

It seems to be my lucky week. Everyone wants to send me money. I've just received an email from "Mrs Rita Petrov". I won't bore you with most of the contents. She is, apparently, the heir to $18million following the untimely death of her husband and daughter and she herself is now dying of cancer. She is a born again Christian and so is keen to release all her money to me.

She claims she lives in Russia. As with all scammers the email came from a Hotmail email address. A little digging told me it was actually sent from Chile.

Whoever and whatever Mrs Petrov is, she certainly isn't Christian. She's a scammer.

If you receive one of these emails, delete it. She doesn't exist and she certainly isn't going to send you $18million. What s/he really wants is your bank account details so s/he can help herself to your money.

Delete the email. Don't reply to it. It's a scam, pure and simple

Paragraph Indents

My new beginners' class started this morning. One student managed to type a few paragraphs of text with a hanging indent.

What is a hanging indent? It's when the first line of the paragraph is longer than the subsequent lines. The underneath lines are all indented. If you've never seen it before and don't mean to do it, it can look a bit odd.

Not surprisingly the student was rather alarmed about what she'd done and wanted her paragraphs to look like everyone elses.

I love it when my students manage to do odd little things like that. It's the perfect opportunity for a class demonstration. This time on first line indents and hanging indents.

I can't demonstrate the different type of paragraph indents here on the blog, but if you'd like to know more about the different types of paragraph indents, head on over to this page of my website. I'll show you all you ever wanted to know about indented paragraphs but were afraid to ask!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Mailing List

It's time to send out my monthly newsletter. Until now I've just had a mailing list subscription form on my main site and not here on the blog. I decided it was time to change that - so I've added the mailing list subscription box to the righthand column. Being a cheepskate it's a free list and I can't adapt the size of the box. It's a bit too wide for the column but it works.

If you join the mailing list I promise not to bombard you with spam emails (I'm too lazy) and you can unsubscribe at any time. As I said at the start of this post I send out the newsletter about once a month.

If you fancy a little light relief, my cat has decided to start her own blog. You can find her here.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Fake bank emails

The phishers are working hard. This morning I received an email (supposedly) from Lloyds TSB who cheerfully informed me "We have updated the Internet Banking Terms and Conditions to reflect changes to the cut off times for transactions.".

Now I don't have an account with them. I do use online banking with my bank and I have my account set so that they don't send me emails. So I know that any bank email I receive must be a fake.

How else can I tell it's a fake? If I point my mouse at the link in the email which is supposed to take me to the bank website, this is what I see at the bottom left of my computer screen. Not the address of the real bank website.

If I try to click on the link and open it in any of my web browsers I receive a warning message that this is a reported phishing site.

This phishing filter feature (try saying that in a hurry!!) is built into all new web browsers. If you are using an outdated browser, please update to the latest version with the latest security features.

What do I mean by a web browser? Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and others. If you use a Mac computer you are just as vulnerable to phishing attempts as Windows users. Make sure you are using the latest version of your browser. If you're not sure which version you are using, try clicking on the help button. Then go to the manufacturer's website and see if there is a later version to download.

Meanwhile, stay alert and be safe.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Fake lottery, grant or inheritance emails

It is sad but true that some people still fall victim to the scam emails offering thousands or even millions of dollars. Please don't get taken in by them. You can't win a lottery you haven't entered, or a grant you haven't applied for. Nobody that you haven't met is really going to send you £10million just for supplying your email address.

These scammers are all after one or maybe two things. Your bank account details and your ID. They don't want to add money to your account, they want to remove it.

Here is one scam I received just a few days ago:

"We are giving out a yearly donation of US$850,000.00 each to 100 lucky recipients. These specific Donations/Grants will be awarded to 100 lucky international recipients worldwide; in different categories for their personal business development and enhancement of their educational plans."

There is a lot more fluff and then a Hotmail email address. They even include the bona fide website address of a French charitable foundation. If you visit their website even my GCSE level French can tell that there is a message on there telling you about the scam and saying they only send communications in French!

It's sad but true that these scams continue. I guess they continue because every so often someone falls for them. Please don't be taken in.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Digital Photography Secrets

Back to the theme of digital photography! I'm due to start a new beginners' computer course next week and already some of the students are asking me if I can show them how to use a digital camera. We might have time for a session or two on the basics of using a digital camera. I still haven't written a digital camera course of my own. Guess I'm too lazy. I love using my digi camera - I'm often to be seen with it snapping away at butterflies, flowers, cats, my pony (she's cute).

I've had a hunt around and found this digital camera secrets book. This book shows you how to take better photos with your camera, not how to enhance them with software afterwards. (If you want to learn how to enhance photos take a look at my previous post on Photoshop.)

I was particularly attracted by this quote from the author's website: "This book is concise, to-the-point and practical. If you want a book filled with philosophical discussions, theoretical musings, and page after page of fluff on the "art" vs. the "science" of photography…please do NOT order this book. "

Check it out and let me know what you think of the book.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

The Importance of Backups

Anyone that knows me will know that I am paranoid about telling my clients to make sure they have a backup copy of all the important data on their computers. By backup copy I mean a copy on CD or DVD or a memory stick or another computer or an external hardrive or an online backup service or simply a printed copy.

How you backup depends on how many photos, emails, addresses, documents etc you have. But I can't stress too much the importance of making sure you have a copy of everything somewhere, just in case. If you are running a business or have photos or documents you really don't want to lose, then have at least 2 backup copies, with one being stored away from the computer.

I had yet another example yesterday of why backups are important. I was called to a computer that wouldn't start up, but was just going round in an endless loop of trying to start, turning off and turning back on again. It might be a problem with the RAM, it might be that the hard disc has failed. I sent the computer, and its distraught owner, back to the shop it came from. The physical problem can be fixed. But if the hardrive has failed and needs to be replaced the data will be lost - and the last backup copy was from January.

One day I've a feeling I will be able to write a book on 101 ways to lose your data and why you should back up. Meanwhile, If you're still not convinced I have written some of the real situations that happened to my clients on my main website. You can find them here. Cautionary tales for everyone. Don't let it happen to you - please.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Learn to use the internet

Most people who want to learn to use a computer really want to learn to use the internet. If you can't use the internet these days you seem to be at a disadvantage in my areas of life. Why should you learn to use the internet? Here are a few reasons:

If you have young relatives or friends they are unlikely to want to write a letter or postcard these days. In order to keep in touch they will expect you to use email. Don't be afraid of the internet. It really is a quick and easy way to keep in touch with friends and relatives all over the world. If you use broadband you can also use your computer to talk to people using internet telephony and even see and be seen by your friends using a webcam. Webcams only cost a few pounds and are fantastic for helping you to keep in touch with distant grandchildren.

For many people, being able to order goods and groceries online is a real boon. If you are older, or disabled or ill, it is so easy to order online. Buy presents for friends/relatives this way and they can be delivered directly to the recipient. I have ME and when I'm in a relapse I find it really helpful to be able to order my groceries online. No need to struggle to the shops - the groceries are delivered to your door.

If you want to book a holiday, being able to do your research into prices, times and destinations is a real help.

If you are travelling by train or plane, you can usually check online to see if the service is on time (or cancelled) before leaving home.

If you have any special interests the internet is a wonderful tool for researching. There are also some wonderful online game sites if you play bridge or chess.

If you find it difficult to get out for any reason the internet can be a source of new friends. Of course you need to be careful about giving personal information to people you don't know, but there are many legitimate penfriend, dating and forum sites where you can chat to like minded people.

Many people would like to learn to use the internet but are afraid of attending a course, or have asked someone to show them how and not understood. Don't worry. I have been teaching older students how to the internet for several years. I have written an easy to follow course to help you to use the internet. It comes in two versions. One for Windows XP (or earlier) and one for Windows Vista. Just purchase whichever version is right for you and enjoy your journey to becoming a member of the internet age.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Learn Photoshop

Many people own digital cameras and I'm often asked if I run "digital camera courses". I have run a few sessions on the basics of using a digital camera. But all makes of camera are different. That makes it hard to run a class on how to use any particular camera, as most of the students will have a different make or model. Not all the buttons will be in the same place anddifferent functions will be available on different cameras.

Many of the people who ask about digital camera courses don't really want to learn to use theie camera. They want to learn to manipulate digital images using software. As with digital cameras, there are lots of different digital image manipulation software packages. Some basic ones are free. If you want to be able to carry out more extensive manipulation of your images, you will probably want some paid for software. One very popular package is Photoshop. There are lots of beginners' courses for Photoshop, but I have found this one which is aimed specifically at people who want to improve their portrait photos. The author is a portrait photographer - weddings, children, birthdays. In this course for newbies he specifically teaches you the techniques that he uses to enhance and improve portraits. Take a look.

The author is so confident that you will like his product that he offers a 60 day money back guarantee. So if you own Photoshop (and this product is for the full version of Photoshop, not Photoshop Elements) take a look. You have nothing to lose.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Highlighting Text - triple clicking

Just a quickie post. Most people know that if you use the mouse to double click on a word you will highlight the whole word. I can't demonstrate here.

But - did you know - if you TRIPLE click you will highlight the whole paragraph? It's the only use I know of for a triple click - unless someone can tell me another one.

I'll throw that open as a challenge to all readers of this blog - and my website. A free copy of any of my computer courses to anyone that can tell me another use for a triple click.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Learn how to use a computer

Autumn is here (did we ever have summer?). This is the time of year when people start to think about learning a new skill and making new friends. Many people will look at the brochures offered by their local providers of adult education to see if any courses take their fancy. You might be one of the people who would like to learn how to use a computer. Many colleges offer a variety of introductory computer courses. Don't be afraid to sign up.

Why should you learn how to use a computer? The most important reason is that it's fun! Yes - really. There's no need to be afraid of a computer. They don't bite and I've never known anyone be mauled by a computer yet. Go for it - sign up. You will make new friends amongst your fellow students. Don't worry if you are older, most students who want to learn how to use a computer are older. You will be in good company. Joining a class will help motivate you to use the computer between classes. This is the best way to learn. If you don't have access to a computer to practice between lessons you will find you learn more slowly. If you don't have a computer at home, try using one of the computers at your local library or internet cafe, or ask at your local council offices to see if they have a public computer facility. Many do.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Learn to use a computer

Autumn's nearly here and it's time to work on setting up my new courses. If you want to learn to use a computer this is a great time to enrol on a local course. The nights are drawing in and most courses will finish in plenty of time to allow you to do the Christmas shopping. My learn to use a computer courses are 10 weeks long and will finish at the beginning of December.

I've been running beginner computer courses for 10 years and it amazes me that there are still lots of people out there who want to learn to use a computer for the first time, or to improve their computing skills. These days I find it is best to run courses in village halls or more rural locations. People will come to something local but won't drive into the nearest time.

That's great for me, I get to run my courses in a wide range of beautiful locations.

It's interesting to me to know why people want to learn to use a computer. Most of my students are older - usually 50+, although I do occasionally get some younger students. These are the most common reasons why people come on my courses:

a) Keeping up with the grandchildren - and some of my students have grandchildren living with them.
b) Wanting to improve skills to help their business - probably about half of my students these days run some kind of small business from home.
c) They've been given a computer by their children. It amazes me how many people will pass on a computer to their parents and just expect them to use it!
d) Wanting to use the internet for shopping.

If you can't find a course local to your, don't worry. You can purchase my courses from my website. I have 4 courses:
1) Learn to use a computer with Word 2003/XP/2000
2) Learn to use a computer with Word 2007 and Windows Vista
3) Learn to use a computer with Open Office
4) Learn to use the internet Windows XP

You can learn to use a computer at your own pace. My courses have been tried and tested by my students. They all contain step by step instructions. You can work at your own pace. They all start at the beginning and are suitable for complete beginners and improvers. Go for it.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Silver Surfer Zone

The latest addition to my website is the silver surfer zone.

Helpful advise just for older learners and computer users. Most of my students are mature learners and for many the thought of using a computer can be quite intimidating - that is until they have tried it!! If you are an older person, don't be afraid of the computer. It won't attack you and they don't bite. Just think nice thoughts at it and have a go. You'll be amazed at how much fun computing can be. For many older people the internet is a lifeline, allowing you to keep in contact with friends and family all over the world.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Hoax virus warnings

I haven't received a hoax virus warning for a while. But I was sent this one this morning (see date of this post!!)
Anyone-using Internet mail such as Comcast, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and so on.
This information arrived this morning, Direct from both Microsoft and Norton. Please send it to everybody you know who has access to the Internet.
You may receive an apparently harmless e-mail titled 'MAIL SERVER REPORT'.
If you open it, a message will appear on your screen saying: 'It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful.'
Subsequently you will LOSE EVERYTHING IN YOUR PC, and the person who sent it to you will gain access to your name, e-mail and password.
This is a new virus which started to circulate on Saturday afternoon. AOL has already confirmed the severity, and the anti virus softwares are not capable of destroying it.
This virus has been created by a hacker who calls himself 'life owner'.

It's a hoax, of course. How did I know? Usual shock, horror language. Pass it on (DON'T).

Next time you receive a virus warning, stop and think. If you're computer was infected by a virus, would you sit down and write a scare email to all your friends etc? Of course you wouldn't. You'd be too busy removing the virus! I've removed hundreds of viruses from hundreds of machines. Not once has anyone suggested they should email everyone they know to warn them. They're either too busy being grateful the problem is sorted, or too busy taking the machine to the nearest computer shop to have the hard-drive wiped.

The "virus" of the hoaxes is you - the mug user who passes them on. Just go the website of whichever antivirus software you use and look for the, so called, virus. They all have databases of viruses and will confirm the hoax. For more complete information on hoax virus warnings, take a look at

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Advice and Support

I've added a new section to the website. Advice and support. Help on a range of topics of general interest, such as the pros and cons of buying a laptop of a desktop computer, what to do if your computer freezes, what to do if your computer is running slowly. I hope you find it useful.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Beginners Computer Courses

I've added a range of beginners computer courses and internet courses to the site. You can purchase them all via Paypal. Don't worry if you don't have a Paypal account, you can simply pay with your credit or debit card.

Monday, 2 June 2008

My new mailing list

A couple of days ago I added a mailing list to my main website. You can sign-up and I will let you know when something new is added to the site. Being lazy, this isn't going to result in you being sent hundreds of emails!!! But the site is designed to help you get the most from your home computer, so I try to make additions to the site relevant and helpful as well as easy to understand. Sign up for the email list here.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Free online business advertising

Several of my clients run small or home businesses and don't have their own websites. Despite this they want their businesses to be found on the internet. Is this possible. Yes, of course it is and I've helped several of my clients to advertise their businesses online for free. This made me think that I should write something about how to get free online business advertising. So I've done just that. If you want to know more about how to advertise your business online for free even if you don't have a website, take a look at free online business advertising.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Preventing Spyware

Don't let your computer get infected by Spyware.
Spyware is one form of malware (a global name for things you don't want to find on your computer). Spyware is usually written for commercial gain. Once it is on your computer you will find that your computer slows down and the internet can become unusable as your web browser is sent to unwanted sites, or unwanted tool bars appear in your browser. Older web browsers might also allow unwanted pop-up ads

How to Prevent Spyware
Make sure you are using the latest version of your web browser. The definition of spyware is flexible. Antispyware software is built into most internet security suites. If you use a security suite, check to see what is provided with yours. If it doesn't have antispyware software then install reliable antispyware software.

Use antispyware that has been recommended. (If in doubt - do an internet search for a product BEFORE downloading it. See if you can find any reviews or recommendations or avoidance stories.)

For more on preventing infection by spyware, see this page of my website.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Internet Telephony

Did you know you can use your computer to talk to people? If you are a broadband user, get a microphone and you can talk to anyone anywhere in the world for free. (Make sure your computer system has speakers too!!). It's really simple, and there are several internet telephony providers. The most common one is Skype which can be downloaded by anyone anywhere in the world. Then you can talk to other users for free.

You can also use Skype to call landlines, or have a Skype In number so people can call you on your computer. If you want to know more about all of this, take a look at this page of my website. Lots more info there.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Free Online Computer Training

Hello Everyone. I'm an IT teacher and I specialise in making computing fun, friendly and accessible to everyone. I work with a lot of older computer users. Over the coming months I'm going to post lots of hints to help you enjoy using your computer and get the most from it. You can take a look at my website here. There are loads of free online computer training handouts and pages to choose from.

If you or someone you know is just starting to use a computer you can purchase my easy to follow beginners computing course for a small sum. What are you waiting for. Start computing today.
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