Issue 38

February 2011







Front Page.

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Page Three.

Page Five.

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Page Fifteen.

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Computer Notes

Problems with electronic communications

Since taking over as Secretary of the Photography Group problems have arisen because some members of the group use an earlier version of Microsoft Word - if I have sent a document saved in Office 2007, then some members have had difficulty downloading. This has been overcome by my saving to Word 1997-2003 (Compatibility Mode). (.doc format)

However it is possible for recipients to download and read documents (Word and Excel 2007) - the latter being useful for charts, etc., if they use the Help button and use Microsoft Software(free) to view both Word and Excel 2007. I am grateful to members who have pointed this out.

Regarding the use of file extensions, it just depends which software is used for typing documents.

I have been using Microsoft Word 2007 and Excel 2007, prior to that Microsoft Word & Excel 1997-2003. Various formats for images.


Eileen Crank


Editor’s comment

I think it is important to be aware of the environment in which we are communicating. In the workplace software is invariably updated frequently but for home users this is very often unnecessary and unaffordable. Some, perhaps a good many, of our members have not used computers in the workplace and have inherited the computers as cast-offs from their children or grandchildren so might well have earlier editions of Microsoft Office.

I have not tried it but I don’t feel it possible for Word 97 Help to mention anything about software that allows users to read Word 2007 documents. This is perhaps a reference to the Microsoft support web site although I notice that Office 2007 Help does mention the compatibility pack.

I have discovered that the free Open Office software will read both Word and Excel 2007 files but it is not so satisfactory for opening Access database files as it only imports the tables.

The reference to file extensions may not be meaningful to many as by default Windows does not display them.

Is Ubuntu for me?

Recent issues of U3A News have included an article and letters for and against use of the free operating system known as Ubuntu Linux.

Having previous experience of UNIX and a redundant PC available I decided to load Ubuntu on to the machine using the installation package wubi.exe though not recommended by one writer. It is now a dual boot machine with Windows XP or Ubuntu to be selected at start up.

I have made little progress so far as I had no Internet connection and am busy with Stray News. I have since bought a wireless dongle but can only get that to work in XP at the moment. I am also awaiting a book explaining Ubuntu Linux that I hope will assist me.

I will let you know how I get on in the next issue perhaps, but can say that start up is not noticeably quicker than Windows XP and it’s use is not straightforward.

The main reasons given by the correspondents for using Linux was that,

A. It is free and,

B. It is more secure.


Whilst both of these may be true it is also the case that apart from the operating system many of the free software programs that run on Linux are also available for Windows or have equivalents eg. Open Office, many browsers, mail programs, the graphics program GIMP, Picasa photo manager etc.


Chris Rush

The email addressing problem

Brian Graham is web master for the Harrogate U3A web site and also distributes news by email to those members who have provided their email addresses.

Brian maintains the list from information provided by the Membership Secretary and with a new year started will now be trying to update it. If you would like to be kept up to date by email please ensure that if you change your provider or email address you notify Brian and/or Pam Gilling by sending an email to

The list is currently out of date so if you are not receiving U3A Notes and Stray Bits from Brian and think you should, please let either one of them know your email address.



Harrogate U3A Web Site

The web site is increasingly being used for the attraction and enrolment of new members. Unfortunately it is not fully up to date as Group Leaders forget to let Brian Graham know if there are any changes.

Would Group Leaders have a look at the web site and check the entry for their group. If they currently have no entry or would like to update the existing get in touch with Brian by email at

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