Monday, 5 January 2015

New year - new gadget - new approach

   Image courtesy of adamr at
For most people, the first full working week back after the seasonal holidays has begun.  Visitors have returned home and daily life starts to fall back into its regular pattern. have a new computer!

  • Did you get a new tablet, laptop or other device for Christmas?
  • Did you also get lots of helpful hints from family and friends?
  • Have you forgotten most of those hints already? 
  • Would you like to start using it on your terms?
  • Would you like to become proficient?

If you would, contact me on 01260 291898, 07729 507819 or at

And let's get started and have some fun!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Ebay and PayPal for beginners

Many of my clients tell me they would like to use Ebay - the online auction site.  Ebay is extremely popular but can be a little daunting if you are new to computers.  Many people fear they may buy something by accident but this is actually NOT that easy to do!

Ebay has "buy it now", classified ads and Ebay shops as well as the classic auction items.  You don't have to bid you can just buy.

To use Ebay you need:

  • an email address
  • an Ebay account
  • a credit card/bank account
  • preferably a PayPal account linked to the above
  • an idea of what you want to buy/sell
I think that if is simpler for a first-timer to buy something rather than sell, in order to familiarise themselves with how Ebay actually looks on their screen.  This can look different depending on whether you are viewing it on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone.  You can download free specially designed Ebay "apps" for your tablet and phone but they do the same thing as the full online version

There are some very clear instructions to be found at Digital Unite Trust's website that contain pictures of how your screen should look (known as "screenshots").  Click on the items below and a link will take you to their website and instructions:


PayPal is an online service that links into your bank/credit card details to enable easy online transactions with many online merchants worldwide.  It securely stores your details and is amongst the most trusted way of paying for items.  In my opinion, it is the easiest way to manage your Ebay purchases and sales.  You will need to set up a PayPal account to use the service.  Once again, Digital Unite Trust's website contains extremely helpful instructions and lists additional benefits of PayPal over credit/debit cards.

Bonus - Earn Nectar points as well

You can link your Nectar card to your Ebay account and earn reward points too!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

A different approach

In today's world it can seem that you have to use computers to run your day-to-day life.  This frequently leaves people who are not computer literate feeling that they are at a disadvantage.

I dispel the myth by offering tailor-made tuition and advice

You may be viewing this page on a smartphone, on someone else's computer or tablet.  You may be a complete beginner or perhaps you want to learn to do more on your computer but are not confident having a go by yourself. You may need advice on whether you need a computer at all.

I can help, whatever your circumstances

I am passionate about helping people to learn and to become independent computer users.  I offer 1:1, 1:2 or 1:3 if you have a partner, friends or relatives who want to learn alongside you.

I offer specialist training that is designed on an individual basis.  You tell me what you want to achieve and I will help you succeed.  My aim is to build your confidence so that you gradually learn to do things independently.  I want you to be able to spend constructive time in front of the screen not hours of frustration

I have worked with computers of all shapes and sizes for over 30 years.  Although I have worked in many areas of the IT world, my favourite role has been in training and training development.

I currently work one afternoon a week on a voluntary basis at my local library in Congleton as an I.T. Buddy.  Demand has outstripped my supply of hours in the library and so I am offering private sessions to individuals either in their own home or at mine.

Free first assessment by telephone or email
Contact me by phone or email to discuss your potential training needs. 

Initial "taster" session £15.  Thereafter £25 per hour in Congleton and within a 20 minute drive of the town.  Beyond this, some travel expenses may be charged.  I can offer reduced rates for block bookings: 5 for the price of 4.

Examples of clients' requests:

  • Computer basics for absolute beginners
  • Assessing if you really need a computer
  • Using the internet to find out information e.g. Google
  • First steps with email
  • Using Skype or Facebook to contact friends and family
  • Internet shopping - Amazon, John Lewis, Waitrose, Tesco and many others
  • Internet buying/selling sites - Ebay, Preloved, Gumtree
  • Local library services e.g. searching, reserving and renewing books
  • Ebooks and e-readers e.g. Kindle, Nook, Kobo etc.
  • Social media e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr
  • Online news and newspapers
  • Ancestry projects
  • Preparing CVs for submission electronically
  • Managing digital photographs
  • Online applications forms e.g. Job Seekers, Housing Applications, Student loans
  • Help with submitting online information when it is no longer possible on paper
  • Utility companies e.g. how to find the best deal and how to switch
  • Vehicle Excise Duty online and other Government sites
  • Online banking - advice given on setting it up (absolute confidentiality guaranteed) and paying bills
  • Internet security issues and awareness of threats (without worrying too much)
  • Online payment services e.g. PayPal
  • Accessing online entertainment e.g. BBC iPlayer etc, YouTube
  • Overview of Microsoft Word and Excel

Further information about me on LinkedIn

Links to my work elsewhere on the web:
Business @mason_creative-
Helen @MrsSelfPub -
Blogs I write
Our experiences of self-publishing/epublishing:
My home education blog:
Mr Smile's Happy Blog:
Inspire To Write main website
Full publication list on our website
Music CDs on our website and links to digital downloads
Listmania link to all the ebooks available on Amazon
YouTube Channel