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.
Facebook seems to be everywhere these days. The sides of buses, packets, bill boards and you'll see a Like button above. Now, you can add Facebook to the Firefox Toolbar thanks to a new tool built into the latest version.
You may have noticed that our Facebook posts aren't appearing in your News Feed as often. We've certainly noticed the views drop, and we miss you. It turns out this drop is down to a change by Facebook to reduce the number of updates from Pages that appear in your News Feed. We're pleased to say that there is a way round this, so if you want all the latest updates from Computeractive it's easy to reinstate them.
There's a message doing the rounds on Facebook as people copy and paste it into their status in response to a new(ish) news ticker on the top right hand side of the Facebook page. The worry is that because it displays that I've liked a post along with the post itself, your post might become visible to people who aren't your friends. The solution it seems, is to ask me to change my settings for each of my friends individually to disable this feature.
Sorry, but the answer is no, and it's not just because I'm feeling lazy. Here's why.
One of the frustrations with the Android phone that I share with my wife is getting notifications of Facebook updates and emails telling me about those same updates. I tried disabling Facebook notifications but that didn't really work. I was resigned to just clearing the notifications every so often. Then an update for the Facebook app appeared; before installing it I read through the permissions and as a result promptly disabled the app.
It's not that I distrust Facebook, but the app wants an awful lot of control over my phone. Click on the Read more link for full details but suffice it to say that I just copied and pasted the full list from the Google Play website. I'd have spent all afternoon writing them out otherwise.
Over the past few days many websites have been reporting news that social networking websites, such as Twitter and Facebook, can cause anxiety. It's been reported by blogs such as Mashable, newspapers such as the Metro, and magazines such as T3. So, should we all be cutting down the amount of time we spend on these websites?
The answer is fairly obvious: if you feel that any website at all is having a negative impact on your state of mind, then yes, close it down. But whether or not there's any strong evidence to suggest that this is a common problem is another matter entirely.
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