ABC Tower   Weekend Show, 2 April 2006

Tips & Hints

Posted 8 April 2006

The April show coincided with the start of NSW Senior's week and before our spot, Simon interviewed Alan Waddell who is walking all of Sydney's streets, his Walking Sydney's Streets website is worth a visit. Maybe your street is on it.

Computers have a lot to offer seniors, they are a great resource for keeping up with the kids and grandkids, good for researching holidays or family histories and are particularly important for people with sight impairments.

Special needs support

One of our callers was Jack from the Central Coast with a speech operated system for sight impared users. There are a number of systems that cater for people with similar problems, the important thing with these systems is to find an organisation that can support them. Jack's Internet problem was one where the support desks would have trouble helping.

Telephone support is a difficult job as the technician has to make assumptions about a computer they cannot see. As a consequence most Internet providers have very strict requirements on what they will and will not support. It's important to know what those "support boundaries" are before signing up to an ISP, generally most will support Windows XP, Mac OS X and their built in email programs and browsers.

Email attachment problems

Graeme was finding multiple documents opening when he clicks on an attachment. This could be a number of things, all of them fiddly to fix. Some of the solutions are virus or spyware related.

The first, and easiest thing to check is for spyware and viruses. You should have an anti-virus and spyware protection on your computer. If you are still suspicious you can run online scans for both viruses and spyware.

If the problem isn't spyware, then we need to find whether it is happenning to all attachment or just to certain types. If it is only certain files, then the problem is fixed by telling the computer to open the correct program with that type of file. Microsoft explain how to reset the files associations at their website.

It is also possible that the program used has a problem. Microsoft Word and Excel have a number of ways files can automatically open with the program, many others have similar features. However this will also happen if a file is opened outside of the email program. To test this, you can save the attachment, close the email program and then open the attachment seperately.

The next step is to check the mail program in case this is where the problem lies. Mozilla Thunderbird is a good alternative to the built in and office email programs. You can import the emails and test the attachments to see if the problem has gone away.

If the problem persists, then there is something seriously wrong with the system. It could be any number of things. A visit from a tech to clean up the system is best.

Norton problems

Not a show goes by with people being upset about one of Symantec's Norton products. This month, Veronica called with a Live Update problem. Symantec have 47,100 suggestions to help you on their website and a kindly listener suggested removing every trace of Norton from the system and reinstalling.

We agree with the wiping Norton bit, the reinstalling doesn't thrill us. We'd suggest using an alternative anti-virus and security products. Thankfully Sygate Personal Firewall is still available on the web despite it being bought out and "retired" by Symantec.

The next weekend show is scheduled for May 14. We will confirm this closer to the date. If you’d like to be kept informed of the constantly ever-changing Weekend schedule, subscribe to our newsletter.
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