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You can do IT in laterlife 



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, why not email her 

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..

View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers





July 2012  

Ebooks on Holiday

e- readerMany of you will be flying off somewhere this summer and wondering how you can pack enough paperbacks to get you through two weeks by the sea and yet not go over your tiny Ryanair weight allowance.

Obviously, everyone has heard of ebooks, but for those who have not yet bought an e-Reader, here is a rundown on the pros and cons.


The most common versions around at the moment are the Amazon Kindle, the Kobo from WH Smith and the Sony Reader from online stores such as Amazon or Pixmania.

There are many different versions of these readers, including their screen size (commonly 6"), whether they are touch screen or use online or actual keyboards, if they can play audio books and their capacity. The prices are fairly similar across the makes and you will probably need to pay between £90 and £140 for a new model.

TAKE CARE if you try to save money buying second-hand or from a private seller. If anything goes wrong (and that is quite common as you get used to the device), you won't have the backup of a large store. (I was personally provided with a free wall charger and USB cable by Amazon and their customer service was faultless.)


The reason why the Kindle is the favourite e-reader is because the range of books, magazines and newspapers you can access, and the simple delivery system, make it limitless. If you buy one of the others – or a different model not mentioned here – check out the number of books available and how to access them.

Looking through Amazon books, you will see that not all those published have yet been brought out as a Kindle version, but the number is increasing and there are also thousands of self-published books that are Kindle-only versions.

On the device, you read text and view images very comfortably on a specially designed e-ink screen, and turn the pages by pressing a button or using your fingertips. As you go through a book, you see the percentage of the contents you have read but, at least with the Kindle, they have not yet managed to display page numbers. All you can do is use the menu to Go To….. the first page, last page etc. and click to turn backwards page by page. Only rarely will you get completely lost, but it is possible!

There are two different ways to buy or download a Kindle book:


a. Connected to your PC by the USB cable or by turning on wi-fi, log onto your Amazon account and buy as normal. The system will ask if you want the book sent direct to your device.

b. Use the menu on the Kindle to go shopping without having to visit Amazon online. After typing in the name of the book or author and searching the lists that appear on your device, click the Buy button. Having already set up details of your account, you will be charged as usual and the book will appear in a few minutes.

The cost of a Kindle version of a book is usually a few pounds less than the cost of a paperback, and there are often special offers and discounts. Also, many of the classics are free. So it can certainly be cheaper to build up a Kindle library than a real one, but the disadvantage is that it is hard to pass your books on or lend them to other people.

If you aren't sure you want to buy a book, one useful facility is to read a free sample first.


E-Readers have been designed to last for some time and, if fully charged, should last for at least 2 weeks if being used every day. It is important NOT to leave the wireless connection on as that eats up batteries, but as that is only needed when buying books, it can be turned off as soon as you have made and received your latest purchase.

To charge, you can either use the USB cable and plug the device into your PC/laptop or use a wall charger that has a normal 3-pin plug. For a holiday, download all the books you might want to read beforehand so you won't need to go shopping online, and take a foreign socket adaptor if using the wall plug for charging. These readers can hold about 3,000 books, so you shouldn't run out on holiday.


Some devices let you email documents to your e-Reader, and on all models nowadays you can increase the text size if you have eyesight problems.


Obviously this is quite an expensive item and so you will take care of it along with your phone and camera. However, it can get scratched and so I highly recommend buying a cover. This you SHOULD get on eBay or second hand as there are so many varieties that are both good quality and ridiculously cheap.


There are few downsides to e-Readers, but perhaps at around £100 it is quite expensive if you don't do much travelling. You can pick up books in charity shops and the library so easily, you may not use your e-Reader enough to justify its purchase.

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