New day and times – a 2019 upgrade

We are switching to Friday afternoon in 2019

Lady with placard stating 'Friday afternoons in 2019!'In January, we will move from Wednesday morning to Friday afternoon (2 to 5 pm)

Starting 4 January, all our drop-in sessions will be on Friday afternoon – and we will have two bonus Friday sessions in December.

We will still be at Whitmore Community Centre, of course.

Our December schedule

Wednesday 12 Dec, 10 am (as usual)
  • Normal drop-in
Friday 14 Dec, 2 to 4 pm
  • Bonus drop-in – come and get used to Friday afternoon at Whitmore Community Centre.
Monday 17 Dec, 10 am to 12:30 pm
  • A new regular drop-in that we hope will take off in 2019 — as part of the existing Monday morning social run by Metropolitan Housing Association residents.
Wednesday 19 Dec, 10 am (as usual)
  • The last ever Wednesday morning drop-in (with a large volunteer team).
Friday 21 Dec, 2 to 5 pm
Friday 4 Jan, 2 to 5 pm
  • Normal 2019 drop-in

End-of-year Party: Friday 21 December

Celebrate survival — one more year

Friday afternoon, 2 pm, 21 December, at Whitmore Community Centre

What sort of party?

Look at some of the party videos on page Blasts from the Past — they just happened naturally — so that is what we have in mind at the moment.

Who is invited?

  • You and everybody else — past, present and future droppers-in, podcasters, volunteers, helpers, friends, family 🙂

Is party booze allowed?

  • WCC management say: “Yes – but don’t make a mess, and please take your bottles away with you”.

Got questions? Want more information?

  • Send an email to party@hellohackney.net

By the way …

  • Don’t confuse this party with other events you may have heard about in the same week, but not on Friday

DWP home visits

The DWP have published a flyer for people who have difficulty accessing their services. Here’s an extract …

DWP Partnerships Team aims to develop efficient and effective public services which support the most vulnerable in our communities.

DWP Visiting provides face-to-face contact, through home visits or appointments at suitable premises, for customers who are vulnerable and unable to access the Department’s services through any other channel, such as telephony, post or online.

We are also here to help vulnerable people who are unable to access our services independently. Our officers will quickly check your entitlements and complete all the necessary paperwork and forms.

And here’s a link to the document, which you can download and read yourself …

Recycled software

Another way to avoid exploitation

Don’t pay for over-priced software that you don’t need!

A question sometimes asked: “What did you use to make that poster/flyer?” The answer is always “The cheapest word-processor that will do the job”.

For example, the current A5 flyers and A3 posters for the drop-in and podcast were edited with MS Word 2010 because that’s what I use to edit complex documents for commercial printing. More recent versions of MS Word are not superior, just more expensive. The free LibreOffice Writer isn’t quite versatile enough for image-heavy documents, and the free Google Docs is best for documents that will be shared or revised frequently (eg: a CV).

So this post is about how you can find a cheaper and more appropriate version of MS Office (which includes MS Word), if you really need it.

How to buy a retail product key

This is how we got MS Office 2007 or 2010 on the drop-in laptops.

What you need to know …

  • What you actually pay for is a pre-used licence key — a retail product that can be transferred and traded.
  • Always make sure that you are paying for a key, not a recurring subscription.
  • The software itself is a free download from the Microsoft server.
  • The licence key enables you to install and use the software legally — and you can move it to a new computer if you upgrade your hardware.
  • If you have bought a Windows computer with MS Office pre-installed, you do not have a retail key. You cannot sell it or move it to a different computer.
  • When you buy a pre-used licence key, the seller company provides detailed instructions on what to do with it

Sellers

There are several UK sellers in this market. I’m not going to recommend any of them because you — as the buyer — must use your own judgement, not mine. I have been satisfied as a customer of Software Geeks (softwaregeeks.co.uk), but they have competitors and it might be foolish to ignore them.

Recommended MS Office versions

  • MS Office Home and Student 2007 — possibly the best deal, but not common now. The license allows you to install on three devices.
  • MS Office 2010

Getting help

Although this procedure is quite straightforward, digital beginners can easily get lost. However, our drop-in volunteers can probably help you — provided you are already comfortable buying online with a credit or debit card.

If you are a Windows user, our volunteers might also point out that …

  • Open-source LibreOffice Writer (libreoffice.org/discover/writer) is not only free, it will probably meet all your word-processing requirements.
  • All versions of Windows since 1995 have included a simple word-processor named Wordpad — so if your needs are basic, you already have what you are looking for.

Dealing with distraction

In an age of constant information and infinite distractions what can we do to pay more attention and engage, online and in real life?

TEDx video talk in the library – Thursday 15 November, 2 to 4 pm

Sociologist Zeynep Tufekci says ‘We’re building a building a dystopia just to make people click on ads’. Jaron Lanier has a solution to this in his talk ‘How we need to remake the internet’. ‘What exactly is attention and how do we reclaim it?’ asks neuroscientist Amishi Jha in ‘How to tame your wandering mind’ and maybe there’s a simple antidote to all of this as Kio Stark explores in ‘Why you should talk to strangers’.

Where and when

More information, booking your free ticket

  • Eventbrite site
  • Do it the easy way — just tell Rick you want to be there.

The 15 November TEDx videos

We’re building a building a dystopia just to make people click on ads

We’re building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren’t even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us — and what we can do in response.


How we need to remake the Internet

In the early days of digital culture, Jaron Lanier helped craft a vision for the internet as public commons where humanity could share its knowledge — but even then, this vision was haunted by the dark side of how it could turn out: with personal devices that control our lives, monitor our data and feed us stimuli. (Sound familiar?) In this visionary talk, Lanier reflects on a “globally tragic, astoundingly ridiculous mistake” companies like Google and Facebook made at the foundation of digital culture — and how we can undo it. “We cannot have a society in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it’s financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them,” he says.


How to tame your wandering mind

Amishi Jha studies how we pay attention: the process by which our brain decides what’s important out of the constant stream of information it receives. Both external distractions (like stress) and internal ones (like mind-wandering) diminish our attention’s power, Jha says — but some simple techniques can boost it. “Pay attention to your attention,” Jha says.


Why you should talk to strangers

“When you talk to strangers, you’re making beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life — and theirs,” says Kio Stark. In this delightful talk, Stark explores the overlooked benefits of pushing past our default discomfort when it comes to strangers and embracing those fleeting but profoundly beautiful moments of genuine connection.