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Get clued up: Top 10 computer questions

02 November 2013
By: Emily Knight

Earlier this week I came in from the stormy October weather to find the Reception of Bradbury Houseelderly couple using a laptop completely packed! As I squeezed through the crowd I wondered what was happening?! It turns out that everyone had signed up to the fantastic new ClickSilver programme. For those of you who haven't heard of it, ClickSilver is a collaboration between Age UK Notts, Capital One, Nottingham Trent University and Business in the Community that offers computer training courses to people over the age of 55. ClickSilver was first launched in 2012 and proved a great success! So much so that it attracted the attention of ITV's 'This Morning'. Click here to view the video.

I started to wonder about the reasons people had signed up to the course. Do they want to find out how to write emails? Do they want to find out how to browse the internet? With this in mind I asked family, friends and colleagues what they would like to find out about computers. So read on for our Top Ten computer questions!

1. What is a blog?

A blog is a website or page on a website on which people regularly write about absolutely anything! Blogs are personal so people tend to share their opinions for readers to consider. There are thousands of blogs out there and they cover all sorts of topics; from gardening and cooking, to exercise and music. Check out these blogs for inspiration:

http://www.gardenersworld.com/blogs/

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/

2. How do I send an email with an attachment?

You can send photos, music and documents (to name a few!) as an email attachment. First click on 'New Message' or 'Compose Email'. Then click on the menu item with a paperclip icon that says 'Attach a File'. Browse through your computer's folders and select the file you want to attach. If you would like to add multiple attachments hold the Control (Ctrl) key down and select all the items you want. Click 'Choose File' and it will be attached to your email. 

3. What is social networking?

Essentially social networking is a means for people to communicate online. Social networks are different from email as they are more interactive. The most common social networking sites you might have heard of are Facebook and Twitter. Why not like our Facebook page to keep up to date with fundraising, volunteering and events. 

4. What is the difference between hardware and software?

Hardware and software are two different things. Hardware is the tangible part of the computer, for example the mouse, the keyboard and the screen. Software, on the other hand, are the programmes used by the computer, for example Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer

5. How do I stay safe online?

There are many things you can do to keep you safe online.  One of the simplest ways to stay secure is by only using web addresses beginning with https:// as the 's' stands for secure. 

6. What are the F1 through to F12 keys on the keyboard?

The 'F' keys are also known as 'function keys'. Each key has its own function and this may change depending on which programme is being used. F1 is a useful key to know about because it will take you to the Help Screen for the programme you are using. 

7. How do I set up an email account?

There are many email providers and it is up to you which one you would like to use. Yahoo!, Hotmail and Gmail are just a few free ones you can choose from. Click here to read Age UK's guide to help you set up your own email account.

8. What is Skype?

Skype is a service which allows people to communicate via the internet. If you have a Skype account you can call another Skype user using your computer. Skype is effectively like a telephone, except you are using your computer or electronic organiser to call or receive the call. Also if you both have webcams you will be able to see each other on your computer screens. 

9. What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is a popular technology that allows an electric device such as a computer or an electronic organiser to exchange data or connect to the internet wirelessly through radio waves. Nearly all modern laptops have inbuilt Wi-Fi. This means that you can access the internet wherever you are in the house. You can also use public Wi-Fi. Many public spaces like cafes, libraries and shops now have free Wi-Fi for customers. 

10. How do I choose a computer?

A computer is a big purchase and everyone's needs are different so one size does not fit all. You may want a computer solely for emails, whilst someone else might want a computer to store photographs. It is important to shop around for the best deals and see what is out there. Consider asking friends and family what computers they use and whether they like them.

Do you have a computer question we didn't cover? Pop your questions below and we'll do our best to answer it.

close up of someone typing on a laptop keyboardIf you want to get clued up about computing, why not join our ClickSilver course? The course will last for six weeks and will cover a range of topics including how to set up an email account and surfing the internet. There is a £10 fee for the whole course which also includes refreshments. If you would like more information about the upcoming courses please contact Nicky Newberry on 0115 841 4479. 

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