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Planning Retirement Online

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



August 2012  



Q: I am going away for a few days and staying somewhere without broadband or a landline. What is the best way to access the Internet, probably on my laptop?

A: This is a common problem for anyone renting or staying on a canal boat, caravan or other holiday site where they need temporary Internet access. So here are a few ideas:

1. Go to an Internet café. I recently needed to use the Internet on holiday in Italy and found that for 70 cents (around 50p) I had quite enough time to sort out my finances, check my emails, get a map and find some extra details for my plane journey home. The UK cafes are really good value.

BUT – make sure you sign off if you use any of your online accounts!!! At one terminal I used recently, I clicked to buy an item on eBay without realising that I hadn't signed in. It turned out that I was using someone else's left-open account and, if I had gone any further, would have committed them to a purchase they wouldn't have wanted.

2. Find the local free Wi-fi hotspots and take your laptop along. For example, some of the coffee chains or McDonalds seem to be offering this service at the moment. Just check that they are offering FREE access and it is not a place where you can only access the Web if you pay or have already joined a service such as BT Wi-Fi (previously OpenZone and FON).

3. Sign up with O2 free Wi-fi (at as the company are setting up their own local hotspots that you can then use for free.

4. Use tethering. This allows you to use your mobile phone as a modem. You will need your PC - phone cable or a blue tooth or other connection and will need to be on a subscription service that allows this but, once you have an account you can connect your phone and just pay for the download service you sign up for. With O2 for example, you can pay for a 1-month bolt-on for £3 that provides 100Mb data.

You may wonder why I haven't included mobile broadband via a small device known as a dongle. The trouble with a dongle – a small piece of kit that offers mobile Internet access by connecting your laptop to the mobile phone system – is that it is quite expensive for short-term use and is more normally aimed at people who do not have a landline or cable for their everyday broadband service. Apart from 3 and Vodaphone, most only offer 12 or 18 month contracts. If you are going on holiday, you can buy a dongle from 3 for £1.95 (or from Vodaphone it is £19) and a month's subscription that offers 1G download (500Mb with Vodaphone) is another £7.50. If you already pay a phone bill for your home landline and/or mobile phone, this is quite an addition for just one month's holiday usage.

Even cheaper on holiday – give the computer a rest!

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