Tim’s Journal

Hello.  You can read my thoughts below and even leave your comments to say what you think about what I’ve said.

Use the buttons at the top to look at the articles, videos & so on, or to ask a question in The Clubroom.

Addendum: I should have said last time…

An update on having to let us have card details again:

I should have mentioned that this is only for people who’ve been members for a while.  Everyone who’s just joined in the last couple of weeks is already on the new account – I made sure of that before mentioning it in the email newsletter.

I’d already made sure only people who needed to would get the letter, but then forgot that everyone would read the journal note I made yesterday. So if you’ve only just joined, you can ignore my message yesterday and you won’t get a letter.

Meanwhile, Laura’s busy printing off all the letters for me… But only to people who should be getting them!


Important news about a letter you’ll get…

I wanted to mention in advance that we’re changing the account we use for taking payments for subscriptions. The bank won’t let us “move across” any existing subscriptions, which means we’re going to ask everyone on a monthly subscription for card details again. You don’t have to do anything just yet, not until you get a letter from us, but I wanted to let everyone know in advance.  (If you’re on a yearly subscription, you won’t get a letter and don’t need to do anything!)

I’m really sorry for the hassle. I’d have preferred to move across the existing subscriptions so no-one had to bother, but the bank absolutely refuse point-blank.

But there’s good news, too: I’m just starting working on a series of improvements to the Inner Circle.  Watch this space…

Word to the Wise – Operating Systems

Operating System

E.G Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Linux, Mac OS

The Operating System (usually called the “OS”) sounds like a bit of a complex one, but it isn’t really too bad if you break it up into 4 chunks.

The first chunk is the hardware. You need the actual screen and the actual computer tower, with all the techie insides in it. Secondly, you need the Operating System, which is the program that makes you able to use your computer. Third, you have the applications, which are programs like Microsoft office suite, Skype, Internet Explorer, etc. Last but not least, the user, which is you! You tell the mouse where to point and you press the keys on the keyboard.

The OS is basically the big program that you need on your computer, to be able to use it. The OS is what creates the folders where you store your documents, or your pictures, and gives you the ability to browse through your computer, and make changes if you want to. To put it another way, it’s the big important software bit that “talks” to the hardware bit, once you tell it what to do.

I hope that one isn’t too mind boggling!


New Poll: Windows XP


I’m curious about what everyone who has Windows XP is planning to do when support for it ends in April.


So I’ve put a little poll over on the right – could you just click the answer that’s true for you and then on “Vote” below the answers?



PS If this is news to you or you like some advice about what to do, you can read more about what’s happening here: http://www.helpfulbooks.co.uk/TheDeclineAndFallOfWindowsXP.pdf

Coloured comments for Georgia & me…


one or two of you had pointed out that in the new website, Georgia’s replies to questions in the Clubroom weren’t coloured pink like they used to be, so it was hard to spot them.

I’ve had a dig around and worked out what (I think ) the problem was and I think I’ve managed to sort it.

Notice my (lack of!) confidence – I think I’ve sorted it, but the code for this bit is written in a programming language I’ve never really learnt…

Anyway, I think I’ve fixed it and it’s working for me – so let me know if you find any replies from Georgia aren’t coloured pink so they stand out.


This is the NEW Inner Circle website

It looks a lot like the old one, I’ll grant you.

In fact I’ve copied virtually everything, just tweaking the odd bit here when I noticed something out of date while I was doing it.

But really all I’ve done is copy everything over to a new web host. We’ve had lots of problems with the old one (including the website going down completely, the clubroom periodically stopping working until I jiggered about with it each time and some features that stopped working because the hosting company deactivated them because they thought we’d prefer it).

Now we should be much better off – but I wouldn’t bet I got everything right when I copied it all over.  In fact I think it’s likely there’ll be several small mistakes – things I just didn’t think of. So if you spot any mistakes or things missing, just let us know and I’ll sort them out (and apologise embarrassedly!)

Over Christmas

Hello all

just so you know if you have any technical questions over Christmas, any questions on the clubroom will still be answered – but we probably won’t get them all done until Monday 6th January.  You can still put a question up earlier, of course, so you don’t forget to ask it!

If you do get any urgent questions before then (I know the way of it – computers are most likely to go wrong when you don’t have help to hand!), don’t worry.  You can email Georgia at georgia@helpfulbooks.co.uk – best put URGENT in the subject so she knows to look at that one straight away.

Oh – and one more thing: have a really great Christmas!


Word to the Wise – External Hard drives

External Hard Drives

e.g. Something to store extra files on

You might have seen me mention external hard drives to some Inner Circle members, usually while discussing the subject of backing up files. Most people backup their files onto a DVD, CD or memory stick. Well, an external hard drive is almost like a giant memory stick. You plug it into your computer’s USB port, and copy your files onto it.

I use an external hard drive to keep a copy of all of my pictures, documents, music and videos that I have on my PC. That way, I know that if my PC ever has a problem and I lose my files, I will always have a copy on my external hard drive.

You don’t need to go and buy one though, it’s only really useful if you have a LOT of files to back up. For example, I take lots and lots of pictures. Every time I go somewhere scenic, or go out with friends, I am always the one who takes a hundred or so pictures. Now they might not all fit on a DVD or a memory stick, so I put them all onto my external hard drive, which will hold over 20,000 pictures. If you only have a handful of pictures you want to keep though, you would be fine using a DVD or a memory stick.

Hope that helps!


Setting up Your PC – a checklist

Georgia’s just made a checklist to go with the “Setting Up a new PC” videos I’ve been doing.  It’s helpful to print out and have with you while you actually go through the process.

You can get to it at the bottom of the videos page – along with the videos themselves, here: http://www.pcinnercircle.co.uk/index.php/videos/

There’s still one more video to go in this little series (Part 3 – settings to check and change) and I’m sure Georgia will add that tot he checklist once I’ve finished the video!


Part two…

Part two of the series of videos about setting up a new PC (or even making sure your current PC is set up right) is finished!

I hope you find it interesting (and if you missed part one, it’s here: http://www.pcinnercircle.co.uk/index.php/setting-up-a-pc-1/)