What new thing will you try online today?

Obviously if you’ve picked this up then you’re already tech-savvy. But what about the people you know who are struggling with this brave new world? Maybe this week will be the first video call to family in Dubai? Maybe the first online shop to save the old legs from carrying tins back to the house?

In a very patient and informal way they could join our free presentations on ‘What can a computer or tablet do for me?’ at:

  • Hebden Royd Methodist Church – Monday 2 October 1:30pm-3pm
  • Hebden Bridge Town Hall – Tuesday 3 October 11am-1pm
  • Todmorden Library – Wednesday 4 October 10:30am-12:30pm

Looking forward to tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits in an informal atmosphere to discuss how we can help people who are confused and frightened by this new wave of technology they are forced to come to terms with.

No experience of computers, tablets, iPads or phones expected. We’re here to sort out all that jargon!

For more information email stoodley.tm@gmail.com or call 01422 847827.

To support our project please donate at http://ra-w.uk/STM-CF

Get Online Week just got closer!

It’s when the promotional pack arrives that you realise there’s not much time until we are giving our free presentations on ‘What can a computer or tablet do for me?’ at:

  • Hebden Royd Methodist Church – Monday 2 October 1:30pm-3pm
  • Hebden Bridge Town Hall – Tuesday 3 October 11am-1pm
  • Todmorden Library – Wednesday 4 October 10:30am-12:30pm

Looking forward to tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits in an informal atmosphere to discuss how we can help people who are confused and frightened by this new wave of technology they are forced to come to terms with.

No experience of computers, tablets, iPads or phones expected. We’re here to sort out all that jargon!

For more information email stoodley.tm@gmail.com or call 01422 847827

Will cash die? Contactless, Apple Pay and Android Pay and the consequences

OK I don’t like change – and OK since the Edinburgh Festival that joke has been overused! But Rhiannon Lucy Coslett writing for the Guardian has discussed the other implications of taking cash out our system too soon and who may be disenfranchised by new technology.

Remember you can help us subsidise those who cannot afford computer/device support by donating through Neighbourly crowdfunding site at


Read Rhiannon’s Guardian article.

Getting ready for Get Online Week in October

Try 1 Thing

Get Online Week 2017 aims to help 15.2 million people in the UK who are not making full use of the internet. The campaign is encouraging them to take a next step toward crossing the digital divide – by asking them to Try 1 Thing – use the internet to do just one thing that they usually do offline.

It could be their first online shopping experience or video call, setting up online banking, GP appointments or benefit claims, or applying for a job online – anything that they haven’t had the skills or confidence to try before now.

It’s not just for those who have never used a computer or tablet. Millions of people who can use a smartphone to read the news, use Facebook, or send online messages, aren’t able to undertake more complex online tasks like filling in forms and finding reliable advice and information. They’re missing out on all the financial, social and health benefits the internet offers.

For these people, choosing just one task that they’ve not previously done online and the getting the help they need to get started, can be a big next step to becoming a more confident user of the internet. They just need to go along to a local Get Online Week event to Try 1 Thing!

Looking Forward to Handmade Parade Sunday 25 June

We can’t believe that it’s now the 10th annual Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade as celebration and spectacle is brought to our streets.

Sunday, 25 June, 2017

Parade at noon. Mini-festival in the park from 1-4pm

The Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade is an annual celebration of funkiness, the art of the handmade and is just sheer fun! The magic happens in three weeks of workshops, open to anyone who wants to make costumes, carryable art or help create giant puppets. With an ace team of local professional carnival artists, volunteers, guest artists and some killer street bands, we create just the occasion for up to 1000 people to dance down the streets of Hebden Bridge, watched by thousands.

Seriously, you don’t want to miss this.

Change of venue for Todmorden presentations

Sorry to say that despite the great support given to us by Incredible Aqua Garden issues around guests moving through the school grounds have caused an insurmountable Safeguarding issue and we will therefore need to move the FREE presentations to a different venue. We will keep everyone informed when this is settled. Thanks again AquaGarden and keep on being Incredible.

What can the Internet do for Me?



A series of FREE presentations at the Incredible Aqua Garden starting Wednesday 7 June at 10:00. Many people who have grown up without the Internet wonder what use is it to them. These presentations show you that as well as the boring stuff like applying for vehicle tax, there are fun things to be had online – finding music you thought you’d never hear again on YouTube, tracing your ancestors through Ancestry.co.uk, finding out what local groups are doing through Facebook – you don’t have to get involved, like me you can just sit and watch what’s going on. Over the weeks we’ll look at other things like sharing photographs with family and friends, saving money by comparing prices on all sorts of things. All welcome – for further details call Steve on 01422 847827. Tea and biscuits provided!

New Computer Training at Hebden Royd Methodist Church

With the continued expansion of Stoodley Training Mentors, we are proud to announce the new computer sessions at Hebden Royd Methodist Church on Mondays from 10:00 to 12:00 then 13:00 to 15:00 by arrangement. Please call for details – or just drop in for a chat!

Linux as an Alternative to Microsoft Windows

An article describing Linux as an alternative to Microsoft Windows


World Beyond Windows

Exploring Linux, Chrome OS, and beyond.

linux logo cupEduardo Quagliato via Flickr/Creative Commons

The best Linux distributions for beginners

Linux has many hundreds of distros, but the best ones for beginners have more hand-holding and some Windows-like familiarity.

Dabbling for the first time in Linux starts with choosing a Linux distribution. A typical “Linux” system is built up of software from many different open-source projects, including the Linux kernel. Linux distributions—or “distros”—are the projects that package all this software into an easily installable, usable operating system. 

Trying a Linux distribution is extremely easy. You just need to copy it to a USB drive and reboot your computer. You don’t need to install anything or tamper with your current system at all. (If you have a Windows 8 computer, you may need to disable Secure Boot before you can boot a Linux system.)

Ubuntu is a great place to start

Ubuntu is probably the most widely recommended Linux distribution for new users, and for good reason. This Linux distribution provides an easy, simple installer and a fairly user-friendly desktop in Unity. Unity differs a little from a traditional Windows desktop, but it shouldn’t be too hard to wrap your head around.

Further reading: The Ubuntu guide for displaced Windows users

This Linux distribution isn’t as ideological about free software as some distros are. With just a single click during the install process, you can have Ubuntu automatically install the Flash plug-in and various codecs. After the installation, there’s a single “Additional Drivers” tool that tells you exactly which closed-source hardware drivers are necessary for getting your hardware work properly and lets you install them with a click or two. This additional software is a hassle to get on some other Linux distributions, and installing it isn’t always officially supported.


Ubuntu Linux with the Unity desktop.

Go with the “long term service”—or LTS—release and you’ll have an Ubuntu system that’s supported with security updates for five solid years. These LTS releases also receive hardware support upgrades and some other significant software updates, allowing you to install Linux once and use your system for years. You don’t have to upgrade to a new version every single year to stay current, as you would if you were using a faster-moving Linux distro like Fedora.

Ubuntu’s popularity means there is a huge amount of software available for it in its software repositories and even in PPAs, if you end up needing something more bleeding-edge. There’s also a huge amount of documentation available online, so if you run into a problem, you can probably perform a web search and find someone else who’s already had and solved the same issue.

Linux Mint is very popular, too

There’s no denying Linux Mint’s popularity. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, so you get the same Ubuntu base system, but it’s also its own project. Ubuntu seems more popular in the wild, but Linux Mint often feels more popular among vocal Linux desktop users online.

linux mint cinnamon

Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop.

Linux Mint is focused on the traditional desktop. Both its Cinnamon and MATE desktops are more traditional interfaces that will probably be a bit more familiar to users leaving Windows than Ubuntu would. Linux Mint is also relentlessly focused on improving the desktop of today, while the Ubuntu project is working on a smartphone operating system, creating new software package formats, and entirely rewriting the Unity desktop for phone-PC convergence.

Give Linux Mint a try if you find Linux appealing but you’re not a fan of Ubuntu’s Unity desktop. Luckily, it’s easy to try both Ubuntu and Linux Mint without installing anything on your computer.

Want to stay up to date on Linux, BSD, Chrome OS, and the rest of the World Beyond Windows? Bookmark the World Beyond Windows column page or follow our RSS feed.

Lubuntu can give older computers new life

If you have a significantly older computer with less RAM and a slower CPU, you may want to skip the main Ubuntu desktop and use something more lightweight. Lubuntu is an Ubuntu base system with the Lxde desktop, which is much more lightweight. Lubuntu inherits all of Ubuntu’s perks—it just has a different desktop environment.

The Lubuntu project says Lubuntu should run fairly well with 512MB of RAM, though you’ll want 1GB for more demanding, modern websites. Ubuntu with the Unity desktop would likely struggle with such a low amount of available memory.


Lubuntu with the Lxde desktop.

Lubuntu isn’t the only version of Ubuntu with a different desktop you can try. Ubuntu offers a number of other “flavors,” too.

But what about Fedora, Debian, Arch, and others?

There are many other Linux distros out there—hundreds, actually. Here are a few you may have already heard of. These are all great Linux distros, but they aren’t the best place for most new users to start for one reason or another.

Fedora is popular, and it’s a great project. Unlike many other Linux distributions, Fedora works with a lot of “upstream” projects and doesn’t excessively customize them. The Fedora project is a platform for all the latest technologies going on in Linux-land and helps push the entire Linux ecosystem forward.

However, common software like multimedia codecs and closed-source hardware drivers aren’t supported on Fedora, which has a laser-like focus on free software. You’ll have to get this unapproved software from a third-party, which can be very daunting for a new user. Fedora is also very fast-moving, with every release of Fedora supported for only 13 months. You’ll have to upgrade to new versions of this Linux distro much more often to continue getting security updates.



Debian is solid and stable—it actually forms the basis for much of the software that ends up in Ubuntu. It’s been said that Ubuntu’s biggest accomplishment was taking the Debian system and building on it to make a more user-friendly system. Debian de-emphasizes proprietary software and doesn’t provide an easy tool to install the closed-source hardware drivers you may want or need. Debian is an excellent project, but Ubuntu is faster-moving and more focused on providing a polished desktop experience.

Arch Linux is also popular among more experienced users. It’s much more hands-on than hand-holding. That’s just what a certain type of user wants, but it’s probably not where you want to start with Linux unless you’re willing to dive into the deep end.

There’s no making everyone happy. Some readers will be upset that their distro of choice wasn’t recommended here. Every Linux distro has its fans and dedicated users. That freedom of choice is the beauty of Linux!