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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life

December 2008


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

December 2008


10 steps to changing broadband

Many of you may be hoping to save money by finding a cheaper broadband option but worry about the difficulties of switching and the effect it may have on your internet access, emails etc during the changeover.  So this month I am going to take you through the 10 steps you need to take to switch broadband supplier quickly and easily.


  1. Change your email address

Several months before the switch, set up a new email address.  As you may find yourself switching broadband contracts many times, I suggest you find a web-based service that you can also use with Outlook Express or Outlook but that you can keep no matter which supplier you are using.  For example, Googlemail can be set up easily on your home computer and is unlikely to disappear in the near future.


  1. Set the new email as your default

To make sure people start getting used to your new address, set it as the default.  Go to your account (e.g. Outlook Express – Tools – Accounts) and on the Mail tab, click to set it as the default.  You will still receive emails at the old address, but can start writing to people with the new.  Remember, when replying to people using the old address, click in the From: box to select the new one to send it back from.


  1. Let friends, relatives and colleagues know your new email.

Write a simple email message stating you are changing address and send it to everyone in your address book/contacts.  (Use the Bcc box so that each person will not see other people's private addresses, and address it to yourself in the To: box.)


  1. Change your online account details

At every bank, shop, utility etc. that sends you emails, you will be registered with your old address.  Log on, go to your account details and change the email address to your new one.  Give yourself PLENTY of time to do this as you are sure to forget one or two and will hopefully receive messages from them at the old email address which will act as a reminder before switchover.


  1. Find the best broadband deal

Use comparison websites, talk to people etc. and find the best deal in terms of services, price and speed.  If you can, find two or three that offer a similar package so you have some choice, but do NOT sign up yet.


  1. Use a cashback site to buy the service

Now register for free on a money-back site such as Topcashback, Quidco or Cashbackkings and use their links to go to your ideal broadband website.  If you purchase after clicking through from the cashback website, you will be paid from £10 - £60, depending on the deal.


  1. Give notice to your current service

Phone or write and tell your current ISP that you want to cancel, as long as you have passed the contracted time period.  You will need them to send you the Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) Key required by your new supplier, and should only be charged the proportion of the monthly payments that you are still receiving their broadband service.  Make sure that you have cancelled properly in the way they require and keep confirmatory emails/letters, so that there are no financial repercussions later on.


  1. Order your new service

You can sign up to your new service straight away.  A direct debit will be set up but no money will be taken until you are up and running.  Even before you have your MAC key, confirm the move and take advantage of any special deals.


  1. Give them the MAC key

As soon as this arrives by email (it is a 16-character mix of numbers and letters), go to your new supplier and enter it as requested.  You will then receive confirmation of the date when switchover will take place.  Meanwhile, you will be sent the hardware and CD with all the instructions.


  1. Get switched on

On the day, follow the instructions to set up the new system.  Your computer and connections will be checked, you may be offered a virus checker to download and you should be given a helpline telephone number to call if you get stuck.

Good luck, and I hope it saves you pots of money!!!



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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