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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life - 60

December 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

December Q & A


Q: Is there anywhere I can go on the Internet to get help with my computer? I don't want to waste money phoning help desks but could do with some friendly advice.

A: I would recommend some of the forums or chat rooms that have been set up as a first resort as you can get free advice from helpful people. However, do NOT make drastic changes to your computer files (such as the Registry) unless you are certain the person knows what he or she is doing.

Here are two good websites for Laterlife members:

a. Age Concern at  Click the link at the top of the page labelled Discuss and Chat and then Discuss – IT and Older People. Several regular members are only too happy to give advice and they are all nice to communicate with. Scroll down the topics to find a "string" of relevance to you and click the headings to read the comments and replies. Registering on the site is free and you can then "post" your own question.


b. ComputerActive magazine at  has a useful website including the Interactive link at the top of the page - select Forums. You can ask a question or just type in a topic and should find lots of useful information and help. Readers to the Rescue is probably a good place to start if you don't have a burning topic but want to get a flavour of the site.




Q: I go away quite a bit and want to keep up-to-date with my emails. Do I need to have a web-based address? I use a dial-up connection and Outlook Express.

A: I am glad to say it should be quite easy to read and reply to e-mails when travelling. What you must do is log in to your ISP's own site. There will be a link to emails and, after typing in your username and password, you will have all the necessary boxes available.

Any mail waiting to download onto your machine at home will be sitting here and can be read, deleted or left to be downloaded later.


One word of advice: Online services aren't usually set up to save messages automatically. If you compose new messages or reply or forward from your ISP's site, you will probably want to keep a copy of what you write as a reminder. Either click a button if there is one, to save the message, or send a copy to yourself. Put your name in the B.c.c. box so the person you write to won't see it, and then you can download this message with all the others when you are home again.


Q: I am very worried about security when shopping online. Can you remind me how to be sure a website is secure?

A: There can be no guarantees, but there are two signs to look out for when entering your credit card details onto a website.

At the top, the address changes from http:// www to https://www..... And at the bottom you should see a padlock.

May I suggest that you always use a credit card, rather than debit card, as this should give far better cover if something goes wrong. Also, stick to websites that have an address and telephone number prominently displayed so you can contact them direct rather than having to correspond only by email.



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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