This is the drop-in blog — a place for your suggestions, brainwaves, photos, recipes — anything you would like to share or show.
The blog posts are all on this page — to see them, scroll down as far as you can. Then, if you see a button labelled ‘OLDER POSTS’, click on it, and you will get some more.
To contribute (and see all the private posts) all you have to do is log in — if you are not sure how to do that, please ask a helper to explain — it’s really very easy. Everybody who wants a login gets one. Just ask Rick or Tom to set you up — it’s a one-minute task.
A woman who lives in sheltered accommodation spends several nights every week riding on London’s night buses in order to meet people. Carol says nobody speaks to her when she is at home so she goes looking for company on public transport.
We are not the only drop-in IT help centre in Hackney. The video shows a very successful project run by the Trowbridge Senior Citizens Club. We don’t know exactly when they are open, but they are easy to find on the Trowbridge Estate in Hackney Wick.
Don’t pay for over-priced software that you don’t need!
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.
Recommended MS Office versions
MS Office Home and Student 2007 — possibly the best deal, but not common now. One license allows you to install on three devices.
MS Office 2010 Pro — widely used. 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. MS Publisher 2010 is also very useful — and the last version of Publisher that can create documents in the CMYK format that commercial printers require.
More recent versions of MS Word are not superior, just more expensive.
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 about buying MS Office this way …
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 that you pay for enables you to install and use the software legally — and you can move it to a new computer if you upgrade your hardware.
When you buy a pre-used licence key, the seller company provides detailed instructions on what to do with it.
By the way — 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.
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.
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 …
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 …