I got a shock recently when a subscriber (let’s call her "Alice") unsubscribed, and left me a brief message explaining why…
I am older, and none of what you talk about are things that pertain to what I do on my computer.
As I do sometimes when I get a comment like this, I wrote back to her, asking her to tell me what she had wanted to see…
Please forgive this follow-up message, but I’m interested in your comment to help me make my newsletter better for readers.
What do you do on your computer? What were you looking for in the newsletter?
What would you have liked to see in the articles?
Your responses may help me focus for more readers.
Alice wrote back quickly to explain:
Well sir, I think your site is just excellent, but you are into all of the things that us older folks just don’t get into.
I only email my friends, and check out the internet a few times a day. Some times, my computer gets fowled up, and I need technical help.
That’s what I thought your site was, but it’s just too hard for me to undersand. It’s like a foreign language to me.
I think it’s wonderful, and you sure do help folks that are younger and do all the stuff available on computers, but what I do is very limited. I was just looking for help trying to see if I could make my font stay where I set it.
I try, and each time I start to type, it goes back to the font I don’t want………all by itself. I wish I could make it stay on the one I want. Silly things like that. Just basic.
I just figured you don’t deal in simple things, and that’s fine, as your site is marvelous for most folks. I can’t deny that sir.
I’m not ‘unhappy’ with it’s content………I just don’t know enough about a computer to use any of the stuff and most of it is over my head.
I hope that helps you some.
At that point, I became very concerned. I could see that Alice was not one of the readers that regularly reads my online issue, too. Most of the time, the online issue is where I quote questions from users, and, of course, answer those questions. If Alice had read the online newsletters, she would have known that.
I needed to explain to Alice that I am interested in her questions and challenges, and in what she wanted and needed to see in my newsletters.
I wrote back to Alice:
I try to help anyone who writes with questions. If people write with questions like yours, I answer them. If people write with more
complicated problems, I try to help those people too. If no one writes with a question, I have to try to figure out what to write about — and
that’s the biggest challenge of all. I spent 6 hours last night and this afternoon trying to come up witth something to write about in 2 articles.
What program are you having trouble with, Alice?
It sounds like you may be clicking in a particular spot in a document and changing fonts, but then perhaps clicking to a different spot (or using the arrow keys to move) and moving to a different part of the file, where you haven’t set the font.
Most programs have a default font and font size. If you’re using Microsoft Word, the settings are stored in a "template file" called
Normal.dot, which is loaded by Word whenever you start the program and whenever you tell it to create a "new" document.
You can set Word’s default font to whatever you want and whatever size you want. Then, you would use Word’s SaveAs function to save the file as
filename Normal.dot and filetype Word .dot Template (via a pulldown).
If you use Outlook, you can set the default font in it, too. I _think_ you can set it in Outlook Express.
My message got through, and resonated:
You mean if I’d just ask a simple question, you could answer?
I didn’t ever know I could ask any. See? I didn’t even realize that. I’m so dumb on a computer it isn’t funny.
Well, no, my problem is that I like a certain font that I use, and I have to keep setting it over and over, and sometimes, this computer ( I liked the XP better, but had to get a new one, and it only came with Vista, and I have a hard time getting used to it) will change fonts while I’m typing and go back to the original font.
I like one called Garamond, and when I turn on my computer it always has Arial. I always run down the list, highlight Garamond, and start using it, well, sometimes, right in the middle of my email, the computer changes it back to Arial.
I’ve tried different things people have suggested, but I can’t make my computer keep the Garamond font. I am in my seventies, and my eyes are not so good. Arial is too up and down and close together, where as the other one is easy for me to use.
So you see, I just need to know how to set it for Garamond and keep it there. How come my computer keeps changing it.
I went to View, clicked on the drag down menu to change the font, but I still can’t make it work. See, I just don’t understand it much I guess.
Thanks for being so kind to me.
The next step was to get a little more information, since Alice didn’t tell me where she was having a problem.
You didn’t answer which program is the problem.
I don’t use Vista, but did a little web searcching. If it’s Windows Mail, you should be able to change it’s default font by this route:
— go to Tools/Options/Compose and in the Fonts Window, enter the one you want. Click Apply and then Close.
If that’s not the program you’re having trouble with, which is it?
Alice wrote back with good news:
Oh my goodness, I did what you said, and look, it’s the type I like. I can read it well.
Please, DON’T take me off your mailing list. But, when I get your newsletters, how do I ask a question? Also, I’m not sure what ‘which program’ means.
Yes, I have ‘Window’s Mail’. What you told me works. I copied it down. Please, if I have another question, how can I ask you? Sometimes I don’t see all the print. Thanks for helping me on this holiday weekend. You are very nice.
I miss the Windows XP I used to have. I don’t know what a ‘program’ means, but I think you helped me. 🙂 I think I could use a Vista book for seniors. 🙂 OR, I’ll just keep your newsletters handy.
I have very simple things I don’t understand, I admire a wonderful brain like yours that can do the most complicated things, and also help people. I thank you. I always read your newsletter, and thought, ‘ well,no, he’s not talking about my simple problems’ but I didn’t see where I could ask you myself.
But, if I keep your email address, can I ask you if need be? Thanks, just for helping me out. I want your newsletter now, as you’ve proved what a nice kind person you are. 🙂
Great! Alice’s problem main aggravation (the font in Windows Mail) was now solved. But, she had some other questions, so one more email to explain and answer those…
Due to anti-spam rules, I can not add you back to the newsletter once you unsubscribed – but YOU can sign up again.
Use the link on this page, just to make sure:
When you want to email a question, either mail me at the address I use to send the newsletter, or use the "Contact" link at the bottom of each page of the site. I ignore questions from non-subscribers, so be sure to subscribe again.
Remember that I often use the questions to create my articles – I hope you’ve been reading the articles in my online newsletters, too, or you’ve been missing the biggest and best part of my newsletters.
"Which program?" means "Windows Mail" or "Microsoft Word 2007" or something like that — the program you’re running that allows you to type into its window.
A "program" is sometimes called an "Application" — it’s the thing you start by clicking on icon or from the Start menu. A program is the computer coding that someone else wrote that supplies the INSTRUCTIONS on what the computer is to do.
Other examples of programs are: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Notepad, computer games, dictionaries. Sometimes programs are designed to run from the Web and only be usable within your web browser (IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari). Here are a couple of examples: Yahoo.com has a games section that runs its games within your web browser, Google has its Google Apps, which include things like a word processor that similarly run within your web browser.