You can do IT in laterlife
You can do IT is a regular feature
of laterlife.com 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.
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
Via laterlife.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
This month: Repetitive Strain Injury when using your computer, Problems with slow broadband, and Search errors
Q: I get a lot of backache using my computer. I cannot change and start writing things by hand, so do you have any new suggestions?
A: Holding ourselves rigid for hours as we carry out repetitive tasks such as typing is alien to the human body and causes all sorts of problems collectively known as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). There are several answers including ergonomic chairs, wrist and foot rests etc that have been around a long time, but the two main techniques I would suggest everyone uses are:
- Use a timer. Set this for something like 15 minutes and, when it goes, force yourself to get up, stretch, move around and change position before you start a new session.
- Work standing up. There are now a number of laptop tables available that can adjust to standing height. They can cost under £30 and are brilliant for RSI backache and shoulder pain. Even if you alternate between sitting and standing, you should find the change makes a real difference if sitting hunched up for hours has been the problem.
Q: My broadband seems to be running very slowly. How can I check that there is nothing wrong with my service provider?
A: A quick way to see what is happening is to run a broadband check. One recommended website is www.speedtest.btwholesale.com and if you go there, you can read the basic setup rules and then click the Begin Test button. The system checks both download and upload time.
You need to know what your line is capable of, so if you click the Further Diagnostics buttonthe system will check other aspects of your connection and will show you the maximum speed your line is capable of. If your current speed falls within the range suggested it means there is probably no problem with your provider and so it could be local to your computer or cabling within the building.
Q: How can I avoid getting so many "Page Not Found" errors when searching the internet?
A: There are a number of reasons why this error is shown. Here are a few:
- Typing mistakes. Nowadays, typing just the company/organization name and co.uk or com will find a web page when you press Enter, so you don't normally need to start with www. But if you make a key mistake in the name, the computer may simply not recognise it and so it will be rejected. Always check the address you have typed as the first troubleshooting step to take.
- Page moved or deleted. Often, an old reference to a page location will become out-of-date and so there will be no page to open even if you type the right URL (address). You may be redirected if your destination is still recognised, but if not, go to a search engine such as Google and search for the topic independently as the page may still exist but may now have quite a different URL.
- Page doesn't load properly. If this is the case, press function key F5 or highlight the URL you have typed in the address box and press Enter again to reload the page. It may work a second time.
- Not quite accurate URL. Sometimes, you will have a very full URL that contains a number of headings separated by forward slashes and one of these may be wrong or out-of-date. The best way to check this is to work up through the hierarchy until you get to where you can locate the page some other way.
e.g. if you tried to open ww.nhs.uk/nhsengland/NSF/pages/Olderpeople.aspx try again after deleting Olderpeople.aspx, then after deleting pages/Olderpeople.aspx etc. until you get a searchable page on the NHS website. (Once you get all the way to the top of the hierarchy, you may find there is a search box where you can put in words such as "older people" and find the page that way.)
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