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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


September 2012 

Things to watch out for with subscription services & keeping printing costs down

Today I am going to ask you a question: Have you or a family member ever signed up for a free trial or gift subscription for services such as film or book clubs, audiobooks or magazines online?

If so, I wonder how many of you are careful enough to cancel the deal before the offer period ends. My family has had two encounters with this type of sales technique in recent years and I thought it was worth telling you about them so that you can warn people to take care – especially younger friends or family who are often not as careful as their elders in checking their bank account details regularly.

  • One family member was recently caught by the Amazon "Audible" download service. Having signed up for a free one-month trial in February, he finally realised well into the summer that £7.99 was disappearing from his bank account each month. He couldn't remember what it related to but we managed to trace it to the Audible company. Fortunately, when we rang them they were very good about cancelling the subscription, and even paid some of the money back when it was confirmed that he had NEVER availed himself of his paid-for downloads. But it was a warning to him about these schemes.
  • I gave someone else a birthday "gift" (as it was advertised) of a three-month DVD subscription. Although I had set up an account and paid for the films for the period in question, it turned out that in order to be able to receive the films, HE had to put in his own bank account details as well. When the gift period ended, the account was converted without his knowledge into a full subscription that he was then paying for. On phoning the company they told me: "it was in the small print."
    With this scheme, what is most shocking is that it was meant to be a gift with a finite life (three months) and yet the person receiving it, NOT the giver, was caught by the small print that extended it indefinitely. When you give a gift, you don't expect to have to warn someone at the same time to read the terms and conditions and make sure they cancel!

What is your advice about keeping costs down when using a printer?
Should I stick to the branded cartridges, compatible ones or fill them myself? I am a bit nervous about using cheap brands.

This is only a personal view, but I have had experience of all three methods and can honestly say that refilling the cartridges of both a Canon and Brother printer with ink was by far the cheapest and most effective option. A set of 3 bottles of black ink plus cleaner fluid from Tesco's costs about £4.50 and will fill at least 3 cartridges.

After filling, my cartridges have worked perfectly. In one case I noticed a few lines on the printouts missing so I had to remove the cartridge and wipe the nozzles with a pad of paper dipped in the cleaning fluid, but then it was fine.

The key points to bear in mind are:

  • Buy your ink from a reputable company. (We found the coloured inks we bought on eBay were such poor quality, a colour change didn't work. But I would certainly try again with a Tesco's set of coloured inks.)
  • Make sure you fill a recently-used cartridge. Once it has been out of the machine and left to dry, the nozzles will seal up and no ink can get through.
  • Spread newspaper all around the work surface, put on plastic gloves and do everything carefully and slowly as the ink is very messy and stains permanently.
  • You should get a leaflet with your ink bottles explaining how to fill the various types of cartridge. In essence, you must make one or more holes in the cartridge and use a syringe to fill it with ink sucked up from the bottle. We found that the diagrams for our cartridges weren't exactly accurate, but we got the ink in somehow and it all seemed to work.

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The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

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