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The Internet and Email For The Over 50s: How to switch on your computer and get started
by Bob Reeves
Computers have come a long way in the last few years. They are not necessarily easy to use but they are certainly easier to use than they were a few years ago. When you switch the computer on it whirrs away for a few seconds while it loads what is called the “operating system”. The most common operating system is called Windows although there are others available.
Windows is what we (the “user”) have to use to make our computer do what we want to do. Commonly users want to do things like go on the internet, send email or type letters. We can do all of these things and more by clicking on things on the screen. When Windows is ready you are faced with what is called a ‘desktop’. Think of this like a real desk top with things on it. On the computer, the things on the desktop are little pictures called ‘icons’. Different icons do different things. So we might click on an icon to go onto the internet or click on an icon to type a letter.
You will quite quickly get to recognise which icons you need to click on to get to do the things that you most want to do. In fact despite all of the different things that computers can do, all of the different programs tend to work in a similar way. This means that the skills that you learn in one place are useful elsewhere. With just a few skills, such as moving and clicking the mouse in different ways and typing into the keyboard, you will quickly get to grips with your computer.
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The Internet and Email For The Over 50s: Simple word processing and spreadsheets
Two of the most common uses of computers are word-processing and spreadsheets. Word-processing is what you do when you want to produce something that is mainly text-based such as typing a letter, story or an essay. Spreadsheets are for working with numbers.
The Internet and Email For The Over 50s: Booking a holiday on the internet
Millions of people around the world now use the internet to search for and then book their holidays. There are a number of different ways that you can approach this.
The Internet and Email For The Over 50s: Social networking for the over 50s
You may have heard of MySpace and Facebook. These are what are known as social networking websites and are a relatively new and incredibly popular phenomenon on the internet. In simple terms a social network is a bunch of friends. In real life you might meet friends through work, social events or mutual associates. On the internet the same connections exist with the difference being that you meet them over the internet and may never meet them in real life.
The Internet and Email For The Over 50s: Online banking and paying bills
There are many activities that we used to have to do face-to-face with another person, which can now be done online. Banking is one these areas. Online banking can be particularly beneficial as it means that we no longer have to travel to a branch in opening hours in order to do our banking.
The Internet and Email For The Over 50s: Online dating for the over 50s
One of the great things about the internet is its ability to bring people together. This might be for friendship, or through a shared interest or in some cases for romance. One way to meet new people is to use an online dating service.
The Internet and Email For The Over 50s: Internet and email for the over 50s
The internet is a global collection of computers all connected together. The connections between the computers are made down the phone lines and via satellites which means that computers can be connected anywhere in the world. The internet has actually been around since the 1960s although not in the form we know it today.
The Internet and Email For The Over 50s: Creating posters and leaflets with your computer
There are different ways to create posters and leaflets and other publication on your computer. The best way is to use what is called ‘desktop publishing’ software. This is software that is designed specifically for this purpose and has lots of features to make it as easy as possible.
The Internet and Email For The Over 50s: Using eBay and online auctions
How often have you heard people say: “I got this on eBay” or “I sold it on eBay”? eBay is a online auction site. Basically it is a web site that you can use to buy and sell items. At any one time there are over 10 million items listed for sale on eBay in the UK alone making it the largest online auction site in the UK.
The Internet and Email For The Over 50s: Useful websites for the over 50s
The internet is so massive that there are millions of web sites available on it catering to every possible taste and speciality interest. So if your particular interest is yew trees in church yards, you can find loads of information about them and even people who share your interest.
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