First of all, welcome! You’ve done the right thing by joining. I’m sure you’ll find all the help and advice really useful. It’ll make using your PC, tablet or smartphone easier and less stressful – and mean you can do more with them.
The Inner Circle is all kept private to you and the other members by a password. Every month the new password will be emailed to you. The next time you go on the Inner Circle website, you’ll be asked for the password. Once you’ve typed it in once, it’ll remember that you know it, so you won’t have to type it in every time!
(By the way, there’s also a video that shows you all about the Inner Circle, a bit like this article, but in video form. You can watch it here)
So, how do you use it?
To use a particular part of the Inner Circle, click or tap on one of the links at the top of the screen. For example, click on Journal, Library, Cinema or The Clubroom.
If you’re on a smartphone or small tablet, you’ll need to tap on the menu button to bring up the links to the different bits of the website. It looks like this:
Here’s what you’ll find in each part, or if you would rather watch the video you can find that here.
Here you’ll read recent thoughts and news from me (Mike), Jess or Kathryn. It might be a tip one of us has found out about a new piece of software, news of a particularly nasty virus to beware of, or a new article that I think you should read.
You can also reply to our comments here if you want to talk about something we’ve mentioned. But it’s not the best place to ask general questions – for that you want…
This is the place you can ask questions, answer them and make general comments.
You’ll usually get an answer from me or Jess – but if we’re away, it’ll be Kathryn. Other Inner Circle members can answer as well. If, for example, you want to ask what a particular make of printer is like, the more answers from different people who’ve used it, the better!
We check these every work-day at least, so you won’t have to wait long for a reply.
You can answer other people’s questions here as well – or just say “That problem happened to me, too. I’m looking forward to hearing what to do about it!”
You can read questions other people have asked and the answers – you might find you’ve had the same problem without even realising it.
You can suggest ideas for a new video, article or even book to us. No promises that we’ll write about every suggested idea, but if several people ask, it’s more likely!
The video I mentioned earlier shows you how to use the Clubroom in a bit more detail – you might want to watch that first. Or just dive in and have a go if you prefer!
This section is made up of lots of articles and the occasional fully-blown e-book – and each one shows you how to do a particular thing. Some are quite small, specific things (like how to set up and use a Chromecast) and some are more general (like how to stay safe on the internet or how to speed up your PC).
The articles aren’t available anywhere else but on the Inner Circle.
You can get complete books here, too. E-books, they’re called – you can download them and either print them out or read them online.
Some will be ones you can get elsewhere, and I’ve put here so it’s convenient for you. Others are not available anywhere else – they’re only for Inner Circle Members. For example the 50 page e-book “How to Speed up your PC” is only for Inner Circle Members. No-one else can get it, no matter how much they pay. But you can download it, read it on the screen or print it out here.
If you’re not sure how to do something on your PC, tablet or smartphone, the Library is a great place to start – if there’s a guide here, then your problem may be solved in minutes!
For some things it’s better to watch it done. So we’ve recorded some how-to videos specifically for the Inner Circle. They show you exactly how to do different things with your PC or tablet and solve various problems that come up.
These videos range from 5 minutes to quarter of an hour or so. Make sure you’ve got your speakers turned up!
In the Cinema, as well as how-to videos, you’ll find episodes of what we’re calling “Inner Circle TV”. These are like video versions of Journal posts – they’re mostly me and Jess (with the occasional guest star!) talking about something technology-related that’s been in the news recently.
We’ve talked about all sorts of things – from banking apps, to password security, to the Amazon Echo. They tend to be a bit longer than the “how-to” videos – 20 or 30 minutes per episode.
This is the section you’re reading now! As well as this Get Started Guide, you’ll find a few other bits and pieces here to help you if you get stuck. These aren’t “password protected”, so you can get to them even if you’re having trouble getting to the rest of the Inner Circle.
One more thing… “Search” the Inner Circle
If there’s something in particular you want to find out about (for example anti-virus software) and you don’t mind whether it’s a how-to article, a video or an ebook, you can search for it.
Click or tap at the top of the screen where it says “Search” to bring up a search box. Type what you’re looking for into the box and press the enter key on your keyboard. It’ll search the Journal, Library and Cinema for it and give you a list of what it finds. Click on the one that sounds most useful and it’ll take you straight there.
I have a problem with the password
If you’re having problems using the password, please check you’re using this month’s password. Passwords are changed at the start of each month and you’ll get an email with the new password a few days before they change.
If you’re still having problems or haven’t received the password please get in touch and let us know. You can find our full contact details here. Remember you might need to check your junk/spam folder and mark the password email as “Not Spam”. Some email providers get a little carried away with marking things as spam.
It might be worth adding our email address, [email protected] to your address book, if you use webmail (e.g. Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook.com) we have a help guide you can read here.
What’s this ‘Gravatar’ I keep hearing about?
Glad you asked, we have details and a video on this very subject which you can find right here.
Right that’s it – time to get stuck in
Have a go at the different parts of the website. If you get stuck, you can always come back to this page – you’ll find it in “Welcome (Member Help)”.
I’d suggest starting with the Journal – or why not have a browse through the Library?