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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life - 63

March 2006                                                                       

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




Q: Can you give me some general advice about buying a digital camera?

A: Apart from price, there are four major factors that you need to take into account when buying a digital camera:

a. Resolution – The quality of digital camera pictures – the resolution - is measured in millions of pixels (“dots”) known as megapixels. The more you have, the better the image quality, although this is only important at the top of the range if you want to print large-sized pictures (think of newspaper images when they are blown up). For normal use, a reasonably priced camera would have a resolution of between 3 and 5 megapixels.
b. Lens - The optical zoom uses the actual lens to adjust the amount of information captured, and most people will be happy with a 3x or 4x optical zoom lens.
c. Memory - The cameras have removable memory cards in place of film which can be wiped and used over and over again. Memory can come in different formats, so you may come across terms such as Compact Flash, Memory Sticks, Smart Media or XD cards etc. Your purchase will probably include a 16Mb card which can store between 10 – 20 shots each, so this is one area where you are likely to want to buy an extra card e.g. providing 64Mb storage. Just make sure you buy the correct type of card.
d. Battery - You will be switching on and off when using the camera and will always need to carry spare batteries. During solid use, the batteries will last 1 – 3 hours and your camera may use sets of AA batteries (which you can replace with rechargeables) or a lithium pack.


Q: I want to sell some unwanted items on eBay. What are the pitfalls?

A: Here are a few things you should consider when starting to sell on auction websites:


1. Is it in the best category? Some people search for items they might want by typing in the exact wording in the search box. However, others often browse through likely categories. If you have an item that could come under a number of categories, carry out some dummy searches yourself to check that your chosen grouping will be the one most logically visited.
2. Starting price? Some people make a point of setting no reserve and making the item as cheap as possible. However, you may end up selling something worth at least ?10 for 50p, which can be extremely annoying. I suggest you think very carefully about the absolute minimum you would happily accept and start with that. If it doesn't sell, all you lose are a few pounds for the setting up fee, and you are then free to list it again or try a local newspaper.
3. Extra features? You can pay for bold type, extra pictures, a border round the object etc. etc. but you need to think about what you like in adverts already on the site. Personally, I need to see a small picture on the listing page or I won't bother to click and find out more. But I hate objects where the seller has added a long "sales pitch" containing acres of information that is normally found in a manual or on the side of the box, and I certainly don't care whether it has a fancy border or not. I would advise sticking to simple detail about the object, truthfully describing its condition, clearly stating postage and insurance costs and offering at least one good picture unless you really do need different angles/views. In that case, don't scrimp but pay a little more for that extra image or two.
4. Payment: I like Paypal because it is straightforward and trusted by most people. It is very easy to set up an account and you can then use it for buying and selling (although there is a small fee); it even sorts out currency exchanges for overseas purchasing.
5. Feedback: If possible, avoid negative feedback. In many cases, sellers or purchasers make mistakes, go on holiday or get ill and payment takes a time to sort out. In these cases, give them a chance before damming them in print. Of course, if you discover a definite fraudster, then others must be warned. Don't forget that you can market your items to second or third bidders if the first one lets you down, but you must do this within time limits; keep an eye on your account page where these options will be offered. 



Jackies latest book

This book can help you if you want to find work but feel your age may be a
limiting factor.


How to Find Work When You're Over 50: Make the Most of Your Maturity and Experience to Find the Right Job



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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