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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life

September 2007


You can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web. 

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring.  

Jackie has also written several books - you can find more details about these by clicking here. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.

Via Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too. Why not email her


September 2007



Q: With all this rain, I want to plan my holiday quite carefully.  Can you recommend any useful Internet sites for finding out what the weather will be like?


A:  Here are some sites that I use regularly:

1.  Type in the name of your nearest town and you will get a 5 day forecast showing likely temperatures, visibility, sunshine, rain and wind speeds.

2.  If you go to the BBC weather UK page, you can also view a synoptic chart – click Pressure to play a video showing the pressure changes over the next few days.  

3.  A really useful facility nowadays is a webcam.  Many sites run these locally so that if, for example, you want to go surfing or sunbathing or check the traffic, you can see what the waves or roads look like. 

For the South West, for example, try or

what about

The BBC has a wide range of cameras on its local pages,

for example check the Staffordshire beaches at

For links to many traffic webcams (or "jamcams"),

a good starting point is




Q:  I am a very slow typist.  Is it worth buying a touch-typing program?


How to Find Work When You're Over 50: Make the Most of Your Maturity and Experience to Find the Right Job

A:  My personal view is that it isn't worth spending any money on typing programs unless you want to get a job as a typist and need to improve your speed and accuracy drastically.  For most of my students, the most common mistake I found was that they did NOT want to use all their fingers, but insisted on continuing to plug away with just index fingers. This is not helpful in the long term. 

There are numerous free programs if you really want help – e.g. I haven't tested these but found programs at: or or even a children's version on

To improve without going through a program, follow these steps:

  1. Rest your fingers on the middle letter keys with the little fingers on A and the colon and index fingers on F and J etc.

  2. Reach out to letters in the top and bottom rows with the nearest fingers that feel comfortable e.g. little fingers to Q or P, index fingers to B & V or N & M etc. 

  3. Practice slowly typing single letters using ALL the fingers.

  4. Do not give up – in time you will speed up and it will become reasonably natural. 

Unless you type a lot, you will make many mistakes but will be much faster than before and should start being able to watch the screen, rather than the keyboard, as you type. 



Q:  I had just completed a long and complicated document when my computer froze.  I hadn’t save the last part of the file and when I restored the computer it was lost.  Was there anything I could have done?

A:  The computer is normally saving copies of your work as temporary files all the time you are working.  Usually, with modern machines, when you switch your computer back on, you will be shown recovered files and can save them with a new name.  But it doesn't always work.   

Sometimes, (but there are no guarantees!), you can trace back to an older backup version by searching for all the .bak files created on a particular date. (Enter *.bak where the asterix represents the file name - you will find all the files created including your lost one, as the computer may have labelled the current version with an unknown name.)  

You can also help yourself in future by making sure you set the AutoRecover option so that copies are saved every few minutes.  The most up-to-date copy will then usually be displayed after a reboot.  To do this, go to Tools – Options and select the Save tab.  In the Save AutoRecover info every …. box set a small number.

View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers

For a wealth of books on the web and IT generally, visit Amazon and under the books section select Computers and Internet.

Don't forget to visit the general laterlife features section called laterlife interest


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