Lots of Computeractive readers have asked us about taking courses in computing so in November we published an article on how to choose a computer course. Prior to publication we asked the members of our Facebook page if they had taken courses and, if so, whether they found them useful.
Since then Paul Thomas has been in touch to share his experience. "Starting out as a complete novice at computing three years ago at the age of 63, I enrolled on a flexible learning course at college. My first introduction to computing was a course called ‘Skills for Life', which covered the basics: email, finding information on the internet and word processing using Word 2003.
"From there I carried on to a Computer Literacy and Information Technology course and then European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) Extra and ECDL Advanced. I learnt to use Powerpoint, Word and Excel 2007. The training books were provided and there were no fixed classes as such. You booked a computer for two hours and you were in a room with 40 or so computers.
The new-look Computeractive magazine is out today, and it's packed with more help, tips and advice than ever.
The magazine is now presented in three easy-to-navigate and colour-coded sections, with extra pages for many of our most popular sections, including our No Problem question-and-answer pages, Hints and Tips and reader letters.
There are three new sections: All-New Secrets reveals insider tips and tricks to a wide range of tools and web services, while our new Quick Troubleshooter gives you the speedy way to test and diagnose computer, gadget and software problems.
In the new Build It section, we'll show you how to take on and complete a range of hardware and software projects.
One of the aspects of Computeractive that readers often comment on is how easy the pages are to read. Another is how the illustrations and photographs we use in feature articles instantly communicates the content of the piece. That's no accident - we spend a lot of time thinking about the images that complement the writing, and this is particularly true of someone Computeractive is saying goodbye to today.
Nick Palmer has been with the magazine's art team (affectionately known as 'art monkeys' in the publishing trade) since March 2001, three years after our launch, and was promoted to art editor in November 2004. Today is his last day with us before moving on to the freelance market.
We don't often publish blogs on comings and goings at the Computeractive office but in Nick's case I felt it was important to note his contribution to the magazine over more than a decade.
Just a month short of it's 14th birthday as a printed magazine, Computeractive has launched its dedicated app for the iPad. A number of magazines have beaten us to it, no doubt, but many of them have opted for what we think is a cop out - a replica of the magazine pages that can be 'turned' with a swipe.
There's nothing fundamentally wrong with that approach as a solution to electronic publishing, and indeed Computeractive is available in that format.
But a page turner is not an app. Limiting the iPad version to this simple format would negate the possibilities this revolutionary device can deliver.
One element that we have incorporated into the app is a smarter way to display our Jargon Buster columns, which can be displayed or concealed with a double-tap of your finger.
That's just one example of how the iPad complements our approach to technology - interactive tools that are clear and simple to use. Unlike the magazine, Computeractive for iPad includes animated step-by-step guides, screencast videos that enable you to watch what we're doing on screen in software tutorials, product reviews that let you see the great (and not so great) features that we base our star ratings on. And we'll be working to constantly develop and improve the app.
Computeractive has teamed up with The Guardian and The Observer to bring you a time-limited special offer.
When you buy a copy of the latest edition of Computeractive, or our most recent issue in the Ultimate Guide series (both pictured below) alongside a copy of The Guardian or its sister Sunday title, The Observer, you'll save £1.50 on the cover price.
The offer is available at WH Smith high-street stores until the end of Wednesday 30 November. Just pick up a copy of each and your saving will be automatically deducted at the checkout.
The latest issue of Computeractive features as its cover story a guide to Microsoft's new Fixit Center, a set of diagnostic tools that can solve many Windows problems quickly, easily and free of charge.
We also take a look at Amazon's new Kindle ebook reader and show you how to make cheap or free phone calls online.
The Ultimate Guide to Quick and Easy PC Fixes contains more than 275 simple solutions for a wide range of computer and software problems. It comes with a CD that contains software worth £69, including full copies of Ashampoo Magical Uninstall 2, East-Tec Eraser 2010 and Magix PC Check and Tuning 2011.
The offer is subject to availability and excludes WH Smith Travel stores.
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