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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life - 57

September 2005 

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



September 2005



Like many people, I am considering moving to broadband. Do you have any tips or are there any problems I should look out for when doing this?


I have recently done exactly this, including linking two machines in different rooms, and all I can say is that I wished I had done it years ago!


Here are a few suggestions for how to make your decisions:

  • Is it really necessary? However cheap it might be, broadband is still more expensive than dial-up. If you don't use your machine very much and won't be playing games or downloading vast amounts of information, it may well not be worth it just for the increased speed when browsing on the Net. As an example of prices (for those not involved in cheap telephone and cable deals), dial-up pay as you go is the same as the cost of telephone calls – the shorter your time on the Net, the cheaper it will be. If you use the Net a fair amount, a 'lite' subscription that offers 50 or 80 hours per month will cost around ?9. Most broadband services cost from ?15 - ?20 a month.

  • What are the key factors?
    a. PRICE: There are various deals around which offer a cheap first 3 months (but BEWARE and check the price shift for later in the year).
    b. SERVICE: I ended up choosing a company that existed on the high street and was easy to contact by telephone, e-mail or even walking into a shop. When buying a service from an Internet-only organisation, it can be extremely hard to contact anyone if you get into difficulties. Test this out by sending them a query and see how they respond, before you buy their package.
    c. DOWNLOAD: Some of the packages limit how much you can download a month. This is fine if you don't want videos, pictures or music but you may need an unlimited download system so look for these in the details.
    d. CONTRACT: Most companies expect you to agree to 12 months with them, so decide if you need a company that will let you give in your notice earlier than that. Remember, you may have to balance one or more of the above factors to get your preferred deal.
    e. SPEED: The more expensive packages offer the fastest service, but is it really necessary? My new system is 10x faster than dial-up and is wonderful in comparison, yet much cheaper than the very fastest. Decide how much you are prepared to pay for instant responses.



How do you link two computers so that they use the same ISP service for broadband?










No-one wants to pay for a monthly subscription to the Internet for every machine in the house, so linking them to one connection is vital in large households. It is quite simple to do. You need the following equipment: a router that incorporates a modem for your first computer, and a connection for each extra machine. You can use cables, or a wireless adaptor that simply plugs into a USB port on the second machine. For every telephone or fax machine in the house, you also need a filter that will allow you to continue to use the line whilst browsing.

Use the Internet to find the best deals, but two companies that produce excellent hardware are Belkin and Netgear and retailers such as will sell them to you at good prices.

A tip: you may be sent a modem and filters by your new ISP aimed at a single-use machine. Although you can make use of the filters, take care not to try and install the software running the modem – you must install the router's software instead. You will need the details of your ISP such as the log-in and password as this is needed for part of the process, but once you have installed the software your system will be up-and-running straight away.
Note that your e-mail system will not be installed via your broadband ISP's installation disk so add it yourself (see later question for how to do this.)




I am thinking about moving my ISP and taking up broadband, but want to keep using my dial-up e-mail address as well. Is that possible?








Yes, you can download emails from any number of accounts as long as you set your system to find them all. However, you will not be able to SEND e-mails using a different account unless you dial that particular number. This means that, if your broadband account is with company X, the e-mails you write will automatically have that address and will be sent as normal when you click Send, as you will be connected to the Internet via that particular company. If you want to send a message from your dial-up account Z, you will first have to dial the telephone number given to you by your ISP and can then send just your Z e-mails.

To make sure you receive all the messages from your various accounts, open e.g. Outlook Express, click on Accounts and then check the Properties of any named account. On the Connections tab, make sure you take off a tick in a box labelled "Always connect to this account using…." Back in the main account window, you will see that the connection is now via "Any Available" and so it will be checked each time you open your e-mail system.




I want to use a second ISP but keep my original for the e-mail address. How do I add an account to Outlook Express?











When setting up a new ISP connection, the e-mail address is often set up automatically. However, this is not always the case and it is relatively straightforward to do it yourself as long as you know or can find out the following: your account name and password used to set up the system, and the servers used by the ISP to receive and send messages. These are often the following:
Incoming mail (POP3): mail.isp (or net)
Outgoing mail (SMTP): smtp.isp (or net)
But some wording can vary e.g. outgoing can be just

(If you open the Tools – Accounts menu and check the Properties for a current account, click the Servers tab and you will see the details they used.)

To set up a new address, open Tools – Accounts and click Add – Mail. Give your new account the name you want displayed at the top of messages, click Next and type in the full e-mail address you will be using. Complete the server details as explained above together with the Account name and password boxes. You will now find your new Account listed in the window. If you want to use the new account most of the time, click the button to set it as the default for dialling up.


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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