Hayling Island u3a articles

Articles of general interest to Hayling Island u3a members

Publish an electronic newsletter

Here are some notes about publishing an electronic version of the HIU3A newsletter.

Click any entry to see detail...

Log in to the web site and:

  1. Click 'Site dashboard' in any page footer.
  2. Click 'Newsletters' in the sidebar and the 'Add new' button.
  3. Put the edition of your new newsletter in the title box; for example: "Summer 2022". It will be shown in the title bar of every page of your newsletter.

Every article starts with a paragraph like this:

{article xxx|yyy|zzz}

This allows the web site to spot where each article starts and provides the information it needs to create the edition:

xxx is the title of the article.
yyy is an optional web address of an image to show at the top of the article.
zzz is an abstract/subheading shown beneath the title in the body of the article and in the contents sidebar.

NB:

  • The title should be just a few words
  • The abstract/title should provide enough information to give the reader an idea of what it's about and encourage them to read it
  • To add the image web address:
    • Place your cursor where you need to insert it
    • Use the 'Add an image' procedure below specifying: blank caption, no link and full size
  • The image should ideally be 1200 pixels wide and up to 650 pixels high. A narrower image won't always fill the available space, a taller image will push the article text down, obscuring it from the reader.

Everything you enter after the initial {article} paragraph up to the next {article} paragraph (or the end of the page) is the body of the article.

You can paste text directly from Word - and it might look OK to start with - but you'll have pasted a ton of HTML mark-up with it. That will interfere with the newsletter layout and cause unexpected results if you try to edit the text.

Instead, paste your text as unformatted and then format it in WordPress. There are several ways to paste an unformatted document:

  1. Paste it into Windows Notepad first and paste it into your article from there.
  2. Click the 'Paste as text' button in the WordPress toolbar before pasting.
  3. Right click where you want the text to go, and you might see a 'Paste as plain text' option.

The WordPress toolbar contains buttons that work intuitively to mark up your text:

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Strikethrough
  • Underline
  • Bullet lists
  • Number lists
  • Left, right and centre justification
  • Superscript and subscript

When adding lists you can use 'Increase indent' at the beginning of an item to nest a list within the current list. 'Decrease indent' returns you to the enclosing list. 'Decrease indent' will end the list if there is no enclosing list (as will pressing Enter twice).

To start a new line without starting a new paragraph, use shift-enter.

The page uses 'Heading 2' for the article heading. You should therefore use 'Heading 3' in the 'Paragraph' drop down to add a sub-heading.

NB:

  • You'll see the sub-heading appear in the style of the main web site, not how it appears in a newsletter article
  • 'Heading 4' and subsequent headings are not defined in the newsletter stylesheet, but could be if needed.

Place your cursor in a paragraph you want to quote (or drag it across multiple paragraphs) and click the quote button in the toolbar to show them indented, italicised, and with a bar to the left.

Highlight the text you want to make into a link and:

  1. Click the 'Insert/edit link' button
  2. Enter the web address (usually starting http), select 'New window' as target and click 'OK'.

You can link to other articles in the current or previous electronic editions. Use an address like this:

?pagenumber=x

to link to an article in the current edition, or add the above to the address of a previous edition. x is the number of the article starting with 1 so haylingu3a.org/u3anewsletter/winter-2021/?pagenumber=3 links to the third article in the Winter 2021 edition.

Specifying 'New window' is important because it will leave the newsletter showing where the reader left off when they close the linked page.

NB it's best to link text rather than the address. The printed version automatically appends the web address to each link so, if you link the address, it will appear twice in the printed text.

To remove a link, put your cursor in the linked text and click the 'Remove link' button.

To create a link that allows the reader to print the page, add a link (as described in the previous section) to:

?print=yes

Consider cropping images if that makes the subject clearer or removes distracting elements.

Review the size of your image. When you upload it, the web site will automatically reduce large images to a maximum width/height of 1400 pixels, but there is also an upload limit of 2Mb. You might therefore need to resize the image first.

Images used for article headings will never be shown larger than 1200 pixels wide. Consider reducing them to that width before uploading them. To avoid obscuring the title of your article, you should also crop the image to a maximum height of around 650 pixels.

If you are including small images that you never want to show any larger, resize them to the dimensions you want and insert them full size. That will reduce the overhead on the web site and its backups.

I use free software Paint.net to resize and crop images.

There are several ways to add an image, here's one:

  1. Place your cursor where you want the image to appear. For best results, place it at the start of a paragraph.
  2. Click the 'Add Media' button above the toolbar.
  3. If the image you want is already in the library, select it. Otherwise select the 'Upload files' tab and either drag your image onto the box or click 'Select Files' to select it.
  4. With your image uploaded and selected, you'll see an 'Attachment details' sidebar:
    • Optionally, enter a caption.
    • Select the image alignment.
    • Select the displayed size. For small images select 'full size'. For left/right justified images select '300px' (or maybe a little larger) or less. For centred images select '600px' or less. For unjustified images that you want to show across the entire width of the page, select the smallest size greater than 700 pixels. There's no problem using 'full size' in this situation, the browser will automatically resize as necessary.
    • Do not select a custom size. That forces the browser to use your specified size even on mobile phones when it would be better to resize the image.
    • 'Link to' should be 'media file' if you have a large image you want to display on top of the article: either there is a larger size than the one you selected, or the size you selected is significantly greater than 730 pixels (the maximum width of a newsletter column). Otherwise link to 'none'.
  5. Click 'Insert into post' to see your image in the article.
  6. Finally, if you selected 'Link to' 'Media File', click the image to see a small toolbar, click 'Edit', enter fancybox in the 'Link CSS Class' box, and click 'Update'. This will display a larger version of the image on top of the article (together with activating some hints that a larger version is available).

If you change your mind about how you want to display the image, you can:

  • Click the image and use the toolbar to make adjustments; or
  • Delete the image and start again (but this time the image will be uploaded already).

Use a shortcode as follows:

[u3a-breakout]

The text, images, etc to show in the breakout box go here. Can be multiple paragraphs, bullets, etc.

[/u3a-breakout]

The text in square brackets should be paragraphs on their own, or you might get some odd effects. The above will align your breakout box to the right of the column. To align it to the left use:

[u3a-breakout align="left"]

Stuff for the box goes here.

[/u3a-breakout]

Use a shortcode like this:

[u3a-member-contact loginid="Andy" newwindow="yes"]Contact Andy[/u3a-member-contact].

Which would generate:

Contact Andy.

Or to generate a button instead of a link, use something like:

[u3a-member-contact loginid="Andy" class="link-as-button" newwindow="yes" ]Contact Andy[/u3a-member-contact]

to generate:

Contact Andy

You can find someone's login id from the member lookup service. To add multiple recipients, provide additional loginid2, loginid3, etc parameters (up to loginid5).

To add a YouTube video, display it in YouTube, pause it and:

  1. Click 'Share'
  2. Click 'Embed'
  3. From the displayed HTML, make a note of:
    • width
    • height
    • the embed code at the end of the src= parameter (typically nine alphanumeric characters)

In your article, add a shortcode in a paragraph on its own like this:

[u3a-youtube videocode="xxx" width="yyy" height="zzz" enclosureisalternate="yes"]alternate text here [/u3a-youtube]

Using the stuff you noted above:

  • xxx is the embed code
  • yyy is the width
  • zzz is the height

There's no point displaying the video when someone prints the article so, instead, the site will use the alternate text you provide. I suggest something like...

Video is suppressed in this printed copy. You can see it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxx.

... where xxx is the embed code.

To add a table to your article:

  1. Place your cursor in a new paragraph where you want to add your table
  2. Click the 'Table' button in the toolbar
  3. Click 'Table' to see a grid, highlight the number of rows and columns you want (if you want more, you can add them later). and click to add your table.

Add your text into the table cells. Pressing enter at the end of the last row adds another row.

To make the top row into a heading:

  1. Put your cursor in the top row
  2. Click the Table button and Row / Table row properties
  3. Change 'Row type' to 'Header' and click OK

There's no equivalent option to convert a column to a 'heading', To do that:

  1. Highlight the cell(s) you want to be a heading
  2. Click the Table button and Cell / Table cell properties
  3. Change 'Cell type' to 'Header cell' and click OK

You can also make the bottom row a footer to, for example, show column totals:

  1. Put your cursor in the bottom row
  2. Click the Table button and Row / Table row properties
  3. Change 'Row type' to 'Footer' and click OK

WordPress assumes you want columns to be equal sizes, but that's rarely the case. To allow browsers to use column widths to that match your text:

  1. Select every cell in the table
  2. Click the Table button and Row / Table row properties
  3. Put auto in the width box and click OK

This is useful for features that work or are supported only on-screen. You can suppress them in the printed version and display alternative text instead.

Use a shortcode as follows:

[u3a-screen-only]

Text, images, etc included here appear only when viewed online.

[/u3a-screen-only]

The text in square brackets should either be in paragraphs on their own, or you can include them both in a single paragraph like this example that shows the u3a-print-only shortcode:

This is [u3a-screen-only]stuff to show on-screen[/u3a-screen-only][u3a-print-only]stuff to show in printed version[/u3a-print-only].

The styles used in the WordPress editor are those from the main site, so it won't look quite the same when you publish it.

You can preview your work by clicking the 'Preview' button in the WordPress Publish box. From the preview, you can preview the printed version by clicking the 'Print this edition' button in the footer.

To return to editing, close the preview tab in your browser.

WordPress automatically saves your work from time to time. If you want to ensure your latest changes are saved before you take a break, click the 'Save Draft' button in the WordPress Publish box.

Take care, however, if you've already published your work. The 'Save Draft' button removes your document from the web site.

If you are logged-in to the site and are authorised to edit newsletters, you will see an Edit button in the footer of all newsletters. Click it to see the edit page.

To return to a newsletter that hasn't been published yet, log in to the web site and:

  1. Click 'Site dashboard' in any page footer
  2. Click newsletters in the left-hand side bar
  3. Hover your mouse over the newsletter you want to edit and click the Edit link to see the edit page.

Before you make your new edition of the newsletter available, you might want to do a final check yourself and, maybe, send it to contributors for review.

To do that, go to the WordPress 'Publish' box, under 'Visibility' set a password and click the Publish button (which might have changed to Update).

You can then send a new edition link to reviewers together with your selected password. No-one else will be able to see it.

Also, if you add the word "draft" anywhere in your title, the site will automatically remove it from all searches.

When you're happy with your work, go to the WordPress 'Publish' box, under 'Visibility' select 'Public' to make it available to everyone or 'Private' to make it available only to members. Then click the Publish button (which might have changed to Update).

When building an edition of the newsletter, the site processes the first article slightly differently than the rest:

  • The online version shows the contents sidebar on the left rather than the right, making it more prominent.
  • The printed version assumes the first article is a short, introductory one, so doesn't split it into two columns.

Options for emailing members

This web site generates emails to members including:

  • Regular update emails
  • Emails to group members from group leaders
  • Emails to group leaders
  • Notifications of new forum topics and replies

Members and non-members can also send emails to members.

You have several options for email addresses you use to send and receive email addresses. All have advantages and disadvantages. Click any of the options below to see more details.

That's the easiest option. It suffers two key disadvantages:

  1. Emails from the site have to be sent from addresses registered with Amazon. Unless you take steps (see next section) we have to use an alternative 'from' address - emailer@haylingu3a.org - for emails you send through the site. The body of the email explains that people cannot reply directly to your email (which is a pain) but they have to rekey your email address (provided in the body of the email) instead.
  2. Emails sent to you come from Amazon's servers. These have a high reputation but - even so - delivery is not guaranteed. If you have problems receiving our emails there are steps you can take. Another alternative is to create a HIU3A mailbox (see below) which ensures you get all emails.

We arrange for you to receive an email from Amazon with a link to confirm your registration. Once that's done we tell the web site it no longer has to use emailer@haylingu3a.org as your 'from' address. People receiving your emails can reply to your emails directly.

There's one big drawback: some ISPs instruct recipients of your emails to reject them if they didn't originate from their servers. That's arrogant, but there's nothing we can do about it. So far we know of just one ISP that does this: Yahoo mail which includes all BT Internet addresses.

We instruct the HIU3A web site to forward all emails it receives to yourname@haylingu3a.org to your normal email address. This has three key advantages:

  1. You can update your email address on the web site to yourname@haylingu3a.org. Your emails sent through the server will show that as your 'from' address (not emailer@haylingu3a.org) so they can reply to you directly.
  2. Your personal email address is not revealed to recipients.
  3. By using a haylingu3a.org address you make it clear you are a member of the club - which may give your emails more authority, useful when contacting suppliers, for example. Note, however, some email services need a mailbox to be set up (see next section) before you can send from that email address.

The approach has a big drawback, however: forwarded emails are sent from the HIU3A server. We use a server shared with a large number of other web sites. That saves a lot of money but it means we are tarred with the same brush as other sites less well-behaved than ours. We use protocols that allow receiving sites to know where our emails come from, but they ignore that and treat every site using a given server the same. It's therefore possible your emails will end up in your spam folder or, in the worst case, dropped silently! The next section explains how to overcome this issue.

We set up an address yourname@haylingu3a.org. Instead of forwarding emails we hold them in a mailbox protected by a password you supply.

You will then need to either:

  • Add details of the mailbox to your email system so it picks up haylingu3a.org emails like it does your other emails. Optionally you can also set up your email system so you decide which email address to use when sending emails.
  • Or use the webmail service to work with your haylingu3a.org emails.

This approach needs the most work to set up, but it:

  • Sends emails from the Amazon servers giving them the best chance to get through to recipients
  • Allows people to reply to your emails directly (they don't come from emailer@haylingu3a.org)
  • Ensures you get all Hayling u3a emails

It's the method I use and it works well. There's a cost, however, so I would need committee approval to add a chunk of this type of email address.

Walking routes

The following pages contain maps of some of the walks done by the Walking group since September 2015. You'll see a button to show the route towards the bottom of each linked page. You will also see a button to download a 'GPX' and/or 'KMZ' file that you can use with:

  • a GPS device
  • a smart phone with a suitable app (such as Osmand)
  • a PC with suitable software (such as Google Earth)
  • a web site that can work with route files (such as GPS Visualizer)

You can use the maps to plan another walk for the Walking group, or to walk the route yourself.

Available maps:

A very successful open day

We were very fortunate that the sun was shining and the weather warm. Many of our exhibitors started arriving at 8.30 am and the doors were opened at both the Community Centre and Radford Hall at 10 am.

An area on the field was cordoned off for Petanque, Croquet and Walking Netball, allowing members and visitors to take part in demonstrations and taster sessions.

Visitors started to arrive immediately and there was a continuous flow of people throughout the day. The attendance level was fantastic, and there was definite buzz throughout the various venues.

All exhibits were popular with many requests to join our current groups and suggestions on possible new subject areas. The outside activities of Petanque, Croquet and Walking Netball were particularly busy with many people joining in.

The music groups put on an excellent programme of music between 10 am and 2 pm demonstrating their musical talents. Visitors listened on, whilst taking refreshments and sampling some of the lovely cakes that many donated.

The membership desk was frantic at times with long queues of people wanting to join our organisation, so our Membership Secretary Peter Haskell will be very busy over the next few days/weeks going through all the forms!

The Hayling Island Bowls Club were available to talk with members and visitors about the starting up of a Lawn Bowls group on their new ‘All weather’ facilities. Unfortunately, the contractors had not quite finished laying the surface for our Open Day, but a taster session will be available on the 8th October between 10am and 12 noon. All are welcome.

The Lady Mayoress Rosie Raines, joined us at 1.30 pm and wandered around the exhibits, talking to the exhibitors and visitors and finding out about our activities. The day was ended with our afternoon speaker, Malcom Wells with a talk “So far so Good” followed by tea and cake.

There will be much to do in the coming weeks and months to start up new groups to meet the needs of our members both old and new. Keep an eye out for notices on new start up groups as we begin to integrate them into our portfolio.

The success of the Open Day can only be attributed to the hard work of the Executive Committee, group leaders, and their members both before and during the event. A big thank you to all those who helped and participated before and on the day. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Julie and Anne

No landline telephone network after 2025

The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and ISDN lines will be switched off by 2025. You can see a statement from OpenReach here. Instead, telephone calls will be made via:

  • Broadband
  • The mobile phone network

Unfortunately, there's very little information to help you prepare for the change, and what there is comes from providers touting their own solutions. Here's what I've been able to glean so far...

No, the switch-off affects everything connected to the telephone network including:

  • Fax machines
  • Alarm systems
  • Aid call systems

Simple answer: yes.

However, it's unclear how providers will handle the change. BT, for example, has nothing I can find on its site and continues to sell landline phones without any warning.

It does sell Voice Over IP (VOIP) - internet phones - but, for the time being, they are aimed at businesses.

There's no indication of how new voice services will be charged. Given the way internet phones work, you'll be able to choose from a huge range of different providers offering their own blend of services - and costs. So there's a fair chance you'll want to change provider. My best guess is that you'll be able to take your number with you to a different provider - like you can with mobile phones - but I don't see a guarantee of that.

Simple answer: yes.

I expect there will be products that allow you to:

  • connect your phone(s) to a plug that works like the PSTN
  • replace your DECT hub

Either way, the new box of tricks will connect your phone(s) to the new phone network via broadband or the mobile phone network.

However, you might not benefit from the full range of services that will be offered by the new, digital phone network.

No.

Many people already use mobile phones instead of landlines. And I expect you will be able to make and receive calls from your landline number using a mobile phone.

Also, the new service will be digital and one of the benefits it brings is that you'll be able to make and receive calls on a range of devices I expect these will include:

  • PC's and laptops
  • Smart speakers - such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home (or Nest or whatever they call it this week)
  • Video calling devices - look out for enhancements to Amazon Show, for example
  • Smart TVs
  • Game consoles

If your current phones work OK and you've no good reason to change, stick with what you have, wait and see.

You'll no doubt get offers from your landline provider eventually - but you might be able to get a cheaper/better service by shopping around.

For the time being, if your phone uses rechargeable batteries and they don't keep a charge, consider extending their life by replacing the batteries - most phones allow you to do that.

If you rely on, or make heavy use of, other equipment that connects to the phone line:

  • Consider, alternative technologies. For example there are other ways to transfer images besides fax.
  • Contact your alarm or aid call providers and ask what they're planning - again, it might not be best to accept their first offers.

Unless absolutely necessary, I suggest you shouldn't:

  • Invest heavily in any device that requires a phone line.
  • Sign a long-term contract for any service that requires a phone line.
  • Buy an internet phone now - as far as I can see devices on the market are either:
    • Business-oriented (i.e over-complex and expensive)
    • Tied to specific services
    • Or both

Video conferencing notes and guidance

If you are new to video conferencing then there are any number of applications in the market including:

  • Microsoft’s:
    • Skype
    • Meet
    • Teams
  • Apple Facetime
  • Facebook Messenger
  • WhatsApp
  • Google Hangouts
  • Zoom

Our web site provides a free video conferencing facility via each group's page, so go along and have a look and set up your first group meeting.

What do you require to join in a video conference?

  • a Computer PC, Laptop, Tablet or phone, a larger screen has its advantages.
  • speakers (external or internal) or headphones
  • a microphone
  • a decent internet connection with a good data allowance.

The following notes help you join and participate in a Zoom meeting. Having read them, click here if you are interested in hosting your own Zoom meeting.

Participate in a Zoom meeting

The key to successful video conferencing is to ensure that you follow some simple rules:

  • Make sure that your face has the light shining on it by facing windows, or a table light, otherwise you will look dark to others in the meeting on their screen. You should be able to see yourself in your mini view screen and then adjust the lighting.
  • Make sure that you position the camera of your PC, laptop, tablet, phone so gives a head and shoulders view of you. This has the advantage that you will be close enough to the camera and microphone so that other users will see and hear you.
  • Should there be a large number of participants in the video conference (meeting), Mute your microphone and, when you wish to speak, hold your hand up or use the chat feature to send a message to the host (or others in the call). If everyone speaks at the same time no one will be heard. The host can also mute everyone to prevent interruptions.

Test your computer

To ensure that your computer equipment is OK for video conferencing you need to check it is configured correctly. Use zoom.us/test to do this. When you are on the Test page just follow the instructions. There are tests to configure your microphone, speakers and video.

Below is a brief description of the icons you will see on the test and normal screens. When you move your mouse pointer over the screen you will see menus appear either along the bottom or top of the screen.

These are the icons you should see: (There are couple of other icon that the Host will see)...

Click/tap this icon to mute and unmute yourself. If you have a keyboard, you can also hold the space bar down to temporarily un-mute yourself. When someone speaks their screen will have a yellow border around it, because they have the ‘focus’.

Click/tap this icon to allow/disallow people to see you via your camera.

Click/tap on ‘Participants’ to list the names of people in the meeting. If you want to change your name (Zoom can give you the 'name' of your computer as a default). mouse over/tap your entry to see a 'More' icon; click/tap it to see a 'Rename' option.

This icon allows you to send a message to ‘everyone’, or one person in the meeting by selecting them. Consider sending questions to the speaker or host rather than everyone so they can see it and answer accordingly.

The Host can also ‘Record’ the meeting so that it could be shown to others at a later stage.

The host and and any participant (if allowed by the host), can share views from their device. For example, a presenter can share images or a PowerPoint presentation to attendees.

There are other more advanced features in the Zoom application, which I will leave you to explore.

Now that you have tested your computer you are ready to go.

Join a Zoom Meeting

To join a meeting without downloading the Zoom application you need a link you can click on from an email or notice invitation.

This is an example email notification sent from Zoom that shows a typical meeting link:

Fred Bloggs is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Tuesday School presentation

Time: Jan 12, 2021 09:15 London

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/99999999999?pwd=ejhLeUptYWt4UjdKaFBORWYxd2tMdz09

Meeting ID: 838 0504 9148

Passcode: 345201

When you click the link you will be taken directly to the presentation. If you are too early, you'll either see a message telling you the presentation date and time, or one asking you to wait until the host starts the meeting.

Just before you join the meeting you will see another window that:

  • Asks you to confirm your name.
  • Allows you to join with/without video. If you elect not to show video (or if you do not have a connected camera) other participants will see a picture containing your name.

When you join the meeting you will see the host's screen and your image in a small window with your name on it. If you select 'View options' at the top of the screen you can switch to gallery view that attempts to show images of all the participants However, there is a limit to how many people you can see due to the screen size of your device. It's not a particularly useful option if there are a large number of participants.

Note that you can reduce the load on your internet connection by using 'Active speaker' view. You will see just one other person, but Zoom will try to switch automatically to the person who is speaking.

Hosting a Zoom meeting

This note explains how to get a copy of the Zoom software and use it to create an online meeting.

Download Zoom

If you want to host meetings using Zoom then you will need to download the ‘Zoom Client for Meetings’ application, this will allow you to schedule your own meetings and you can also use it to join in other meetings. We suggest you download the app from the Zoom download page as there are other apps that pretend to be Zoom and it's not always easy to tell the difference.

If you find yourself in a list of apps, the one you want is called ‘Zoom Client Meetings’ and has a logo like the one on the right. Install the application and follow the instructions to create a free or paid account. The free version has a time limit of 40 minutes, but you can always sign out and back in again to continue if you wish. The alternative is to pay for one of the various Plans that Zoom offers.

Create a new meeting

Run the Zoom application you downloaded and you will see this screen:

Click 'Sign In' and you will see this screen:

When you enter your email and password and click 'Sign In' to see this screen:

Here you can select to:

  • Create a new meeting
  • Schedule a meeting in the future and
  • Join a meeting.

I will leave you to explore these options, which are easy to follow.

Share your screen

The 'share screen' option shown during a Zoom meeting or the Zoom application allows the host or any participant to share their desktop or an open window. For example, if someone wants to use a PowerPoint presentation they open the presentation on their computer, click on ‘Share Screen’ and select the PowerPoint window to share it. Everyone in the meeting will see the presentation and follow it as the presenter moves from slide to slide.

As the host, you can prevent participants from using this feature.

It's usually best to share a window rather than your entire desktop to prevent alerts intruding on your presentation. It can get confusing, however. If, for example, you share a Windows Explorer window containing a list of images and click an image the other participants won't see the image because it displays in a new window - not the one you are sharing.

Start your meeting

Run the Zoom application and sign in as shown above.

When you created your meeting you set up a meeting ID and Passcode. Click 'Join' to see:

Enter your meeting ID and your name and click 'Join' to see:

Enter your meeting's passcode to start it. Participants will join automatically.

How to: Add an attachment to web site emails

When you send an email to...

  • Members of one or more groups
  • All group leaders
  • Members booked on a visit
  • Members that haven't paid their subscriptions

… you will see an option to add an attachment to your email.

Click any of these headings to learn more about the facility...

You can send an image or photo as long as the file name ends in one of:

  • png
  • jpg
  • jpeg
  • gif

You can also send any document created as a 'PDF' - file names end in 'pdf'.

For example, you might want to attach a Word document.

The problem with other types of document is that your recipients might not have the software needed to open them. All commonly used email readers include the capability to open PDF documents and there is also a free, PDF reader available here.

Most (all?) document creation tools have an option to save a document as a PDF. For example, Microsoft Word and Excel include that option when saving a document.

2 megabytes (2MB).

You can easily re-size photos and other images using one of several, free web sites. For example, this one allows you to: re-size, crop and rotate your picture.

When you create a PDF file you can usually control the resulting size. For example, when you use Microsoft Office to save a document as a PDF you will see a 'More options' link that allows you to choose between 'Standard' and 'Minimum' sizing options. You could also resize any images included with your document or cut out some images altogether.

You can also send files in other ways. You can:

  • Send links to documents from other web sites. For example, if a restaurant provides a menu at web site address www.allyoucaneat.com/menu, the following text in your email...
    [link http://www.allyoucaneat.com/menu Click here]
    … will link to the menu from the text "Click here".
  • Send links from our web site. If you go to the site dashboard (there's a link to the dashboard at the bottom of every page once you have logged-in to the site), you can upload a file to the site using the 'Media' tab. The site will give you an address for your uploaded file. You can then link to the file from your email using [link web-address text to link from] as above.
  • Create a document on the web site - for example a news item from a group and send the document as an email (using 'Message post id' instead of 'Subject' and 'Message'). Any links you include in your document will also appear in your email.

Note that we strongly suggest you use the option to send your email to a test address before sending the final version out to members. That way you can be sure the resulting email appears as you intended it.

If any of the above restrictions causes you a problem, please contact us.

Basic bike maintenance

These are some notes from my recent bike maintenance workshop we conducted in the Cycling group. I've also added some links to illustrative articles and videos. Note that I am not, by any means, an expert. Most of my knowledge comes from:

  • Advice picked up while riding with Portsmouth CTC
  • Internet searches (especially YouTube)
  • Trial and error

The internet is a great resource for finding out how to tackle some bike maintenance. Searching for a specific component often finds videos showing you exactly what to do.

I used a bike stand for the workshop as it makes it easier to get to bits on the bike. Alternatives are to:

  • Suspend the bike from a beam, or similar
  • Use something to prop the bike with the back wheel off the ground (so you can turn the cranks)

Click any of these headings for more information...

Use a bucket of water - as hot as you can manage. Add some shampoo - I use waxless car shampoo to avoid contaminating my disk brakes. Ordinary detergents contain salt, so not such a good idea.

Use a sponge or similar to wash the bike starting at the top and working down to the bottom.

I use a mix of cloths, old brushes and old toothbrushes to get to hard-to-reach bits.

It helps to remove the wheels and clean them separately (see below).

I have some Isopropyl alcohol for removing grease.

A small flat-bladed screwdriver is good for cleaning jockey wheels.

Make sure to dry your chain when you've finished to avoid rust and stuck links.

You can wax painted parts - I don't.

Cleaning is a good opportunity to spot issues with the bike.

3-in-1 oil is not good for chains as it is too light. Most of what you apply ends up on the floor. WD40 (and similar) is far too light and useless for lubricating chains. Instead, use chain 'lube', one of:

  1. Dry lube. Small particles of wax suspended in a carrier liquid. After application the liquid evaporates leaving the wax particles to do the lubrication. Best applied the day before you need to ride. Dry lube leaves the chain looking clean and the chain doesn't pick up as much dirt. However, it washes off easily so has to be applied more often and certainly after cycling in heavy rain.
  2. Wet lube. Viscous oil that sticks well to the chain so does better in wet weather. Attracts dirt, however. After application turn the cranks to work the oil into the chain then use a rag to wipe off as much oil as possible (the useful oil is between the plates of the links and can't be wiped off).

I apply oil to individual bushings (the axles in the chain). Some people run the nozzle along the chain while turning the cranks but that's wasteful in oil.

You can clean the chain on the bike. I use a rag soaked in WD40 and run the chain through it (prevents WD40 getting onto brake surfaces). You can also use chain cleaners that attach to the chain but they are expensive and wasteful in cleaning fluid. Once the cleaning fluid has evaporated, re-lube.

It is easier to deep clean the chain off the bike. Remove the chain (see on). I use WD40 and a rag to remove the worst of the grease. I then immerse the chain in white spirit (pickle jars work well) and swirl the chain around occasionally. Leave as long as practical then remove from the white spirit and allow chain time to dry before refitting and re-lubing.

Chains are said to 'stretch'. In fact the bushings wear down so the chain gets longer. Chain stretch will, over time:

  • Damage front and rear cogs
  • Cause the chain to slip on the cogs
  • Result in a broken chain

Best to replace a chain as soon as stretch becomes significant. That protects the rear cassette which will last three chains, or so. Waiting until the chain starts slipping usually means having to replace the rear cassette at the same time.

Detect chain stretch with:

  • Simple chain gauge. £2-3 on eBay. Two sides, When the first side fits flat against the chain the chain is close to needing replacement. When the second side fits flat against the chain it needs replacement.
  • Use a 12 inch ruler. Chains are spaced one inch apart. When the chain has stretched more than 1/8th inch it needs replacement.

This video shows different methods to detect chain stretch:

Two broad types of brake:

  • Rim brakes that work by gripping the rim of the wheel
  • Disk brakes that work by gripping a rotor attached to the wheel's hub

Pads have grooves in them. Replace before wear removes the grooves.

To replace, remove the wheel (see on). Two main types of rim brakes:

  • Racing bikes use calipers that fit closely around the wheel. The pads are held in place by a small screw. The pads slide out of the caliper towards the rear of the bike. They can be stiff. Slide the new pads in and secure with the provided screw. Make sure to re-engage the cam after refitting the wheel so the brakes work OK.
  • Other pads come as pad/holder/bolt/nut assemblies together with a range of spacers. Undo the nut and remove the old pad keeping a note of which spacers go where and which way around. Replace with the new pad making sure the spacers are in the same places. Makes sense to replace one pad at a time so you always have a correctly fitted pad to use as a reference.

Test your brakes after refitting. Make sure the pads are not close to touching the tyre surface. If they touch they will wear the tyre quickly resulting in a blow-out.

Pads are secured by a small bolt that passes through the body of the brake and the pads, making sure they stay in the right place. Usually a fiddly retaining clip makes sure the bolt cannot fall out. Remove the retaining clip and bolt.

Pads slide out from the top or bottom. Two pads held in place by a retaining spring (and sometimes magnets). Pads need replacing if they are worn close to the retaining spring.

Do not touch your brakes while working on the pads. You might force the pistons out and cause the hydraulic fluid to leak. Use a pad spacer if you are at all concerned you might operate the brake by mistake.

Replacement pads should come with replacement retaining spring, bolt and retaining clip. Dispose of the old ones. Use a flat-bladed screwdriver to push the pistons back into their housing. Replace the pads in the opposite direction they came out (if you're struggling to get them in you might not have pushed the pistons in far enough). Fit the bolt through the pads and (if possible) the retaining clip.

Once fitted, it is essential to bed the new pads in. You do that by riding the bike and doing some gentle braking, gradually increasing speed and strength of braking. Ideally finish with some downhill braking. It's tedious but necessary to reduce the risk of brake squeal and glazing the surface of the pad (which renders them useless).

Important to inspect tyres regularly. Flints, in particular, can get embedded into tyres and will act like little axes and will eventually get through the tyre and cause a puncture. Also look for evidence of wear such as:

  • Cracking
  • Bare patches showing underlying material
  • Flattening of tyres that have little or no tread

Frequent punturing is a cue to replace the tyre.

Puncture resistant tyres are a good investment in our area. Folding (as opposed to beaded) tyres are a little more expensive but they are easier to get on and off, lighter and easier to pack as standbys when touring.

Tyre sealants that go into the inner tube and plug small punctures can be effective (and essential for tubeless tyres), but messy and no protection against larger punctures. I don't use them.

Check pressures regularly (I check after every three rides, or so). Correct pressure range is shown on the side of the tyre. Important to use a pump with a gauge. Low pressure (almost inevitable if you use a pump without a gauge) increases the risk of punctures.

The pressure you decide to use is a preference. Using a lower pressure in the range increases comfort, using a higher pressure reduces the work needed to cycle.

Escaping air when you remove your pump is normal and the pump (rather than the tyre) depressurises. Similarly, pressure in the tyre will drop when you attach a pump as the pressure between pump and tyre equalises. Do not expect refitting a pump to a tyre you just inflated to show the same pressure.

This video explains how to inflate tyres fitted with the two common types of valve:

  1. The schrader valve
  2. The presta valve

The video helps you find out which you have.

Note that to add air to a pressurised tyre using a presta valve, you need to exert short sharp pressure to open the valve (usually with an audible snap).

You'll need to remove your bike's wheels to fix a puncture or to clean your bike thoroughly.

This video is a good explanation of how to remove and replace the back wheel from a bike equipped with 'V' brakes. The chances are your bike will have that kind of brake.

Removing and replacing the front wheel is the same as the back except that you don't have the hassle of disentangling the chain from the gears.

This video is a good explanation of how to remove and replace the wheels from a bike equipped with caliper brakes. If you have a road/race bike, there's a good chance this is your type of brake.

This video is a good explanation of how to remove and replace the front wheel from a bike equipped with disc brakes.

Take a look at one of the above two videos to see how to get your rear wheel disengaged/engaged with your gears.

Bikes with disk brakes sometimes use a through axle (no slot for the wheel to come out of the forks) in which case you will need to remove the skewer completely before you can separate the fork from the wheel.

If you have a puncture on the road, consider safety first. Make sure anyone behind you knows you have to stop. Look for a way to repair the puncture off the road. Perhaps a pavement or a gate entrance. Make sure everyone with you gets off the road too.

Having said that, you need to stop as soon as you can safely. Riding on a flat tyre can wreck the inner tube.

Replacing the inner tube is faster and more reliable than a repair. In any case, a major puncture can't be repaired, so it's a good idea to carry one or two replacement tubes with you. I also carry self-adhesive patches in case of multiple punctures. You'll also need to carry some tools:

  • Good tyre levers – the ones you get in cheap kits can be too bendy, making them useless; hard plastic are easier on rims than metal ones
  • Pump – preferably one with a pressure gauge
  • Self-adhesive patches or a puncture repair kit
  • Something with a sharp point to remove whatever caused the puncture from your tyre
  • A small biro is useful for marking a puncture

It's a good idea to practice puncture repair at home before you need to do it out on the road.

Once you are safe, to repair a puncture, follow these steps:

  1. Remove your wheel (se above).
  2. Make a note of the position of the valve in relation to the tyre (not the wheel). That will help you find the cause of the puncture later on.
  3. Use tyre levers (see the videos below) to remove the tyre.
  4. Remove the inner tube. You might have to unscrew the collar from the valve before you can remove it from the rim. You will need to remember which way round the inner tube came out of the tyre, or you can mark which way round it was with a biro.
  5. Add some air to the inner tube and use your hand or your lips feel around the tyre to find the puncture. Note you might have two punctures at the same place - one at the outside of the tube and one at the inside.
  6. If possible, mark position of the puncture with a biro - that makes it easier to find it again when it comes to placing the patch.
  7. Place the valve next to the tyre in the position where it was when you removed it, with the inner tube the same way round as when you removed it.
  8. Look for what caused the puncture at the place in the tyre corresponding to the puncture location. The sharp is probably embedded in the tyre. If you fail to find it, you risk a second puncture if it's left in the tyre. Feel round the inside of the tyre carcass for a thorn. Look for a flint or piece of glass that might be deeply embedded in the tread of the tyre. Remove the offending article with a sharp point.
  9. Replace or patch the inner tube. See the videos below for examples of patching an inner tube with self-adhesive patches or patches you have to glue on.
  10. Add just enough air to the inner tube to give it some shape.
  11. With one side of the tyre fitted to the wheel, fit the valve into the rim. Make sure the valve is in straight. If appropriate, make sure the tyre is fitted right way around (look for an arrow on the tyre indicating forward rotation). Line the valve up with an obvious point in the tyre (the first character of the maker's name, for example) - so it's easier to find the next puncture. Fit the tube inside the tyre.
  12. Fit the other side of the tyre over the rim - this can be difficult. You will usually get to the last six inches, or so and find that there's not enough slack to fit the rest of the tyre. Work around the section of the tyre that you have fitted squeezing inwards to force the tyre into the deeper part of the rim (you might need to deflate your inner tube). You should then be able to fit the rest of the tyre. Take care not to pinch the inner tube, especially if you have to use a tyre lever.
  13. Screw the collar to the valve if it has one.
  14. Reinflate the inner tube to a suitable pressure, checking as you go that the inner tube is not escaping from the tyre.
  15. Replace your wheel (see above). Job done!

This video demonstrates how to repair a puncture using a self-adhesive patch (my preferred method - patches are simpler and less fussy than glue-on patches):

This video demonstrates how to repair a puncture using glue-on patches. The visual references to the Monty Python 'Bicycle Repair Man' sketch date the video - or perhaps the presenters - but the method hasn't changed:

Note that neither video properly shows you how to find what caused your puncture.

To remove a chain from your bike you first have to 'break' it. That means undoing one of the links.

If you have a special link in your chain, you can break it there, sometimes without tools. There's an article discussing different types of link here. Otherwise you will have to use a chain breaking tool which forces one of the pins securing each link out of the chain.

This video shows the different types of link and how to use a chain breaking tool. Note, however, it really isn't necessary to buy special pliers. The article about links describes some alternative methods to undo a difficult link.

You will first need to buy a replacement chain. Chains are interchangeable. You don't need to match the manufacturer of your gears, provided you choose:

  • The right 'speed' - this refers to the number of gears on your back wheel. Modern bikes are usually 10 or 11 speed.
  • The right length. It's unlikely you'll find one exactly the right length. Instead make sure it's longer than you need (by counting links) so you can cut it to the right size.

Costlier is not necessarily better.

I suggest buying a chain that comes with a reusable link. Specifically, I advocate Wippermann chains that come with their connex link which can be removed and reused easily without tools.

Before replacing a chain, make a note (and perhaps take a photo or two) of how the chain winds around your bike's rear wheels. Then:

  1. Put your gears into the smallest rings front and back (to make it easier to get the chain back on later).
  2. Break the old chain.
  3. Run your new chain alongside the old one to determine how many links you need to remove from your new chain. To use a link, both ends will need to be narrow (if you used a chain breaking tool on your old link it will be one link longer) see video below for an illustration. Check you have the right length carefully - if you are unsure how the link on your new chain will work, consider a trial run before the next step.
  4. Use a chain breaking tool to remove excess links from your new chain.
  5. Fit the new chain to your bike making sure it follows the same path as the old one. It should go around the smallest cogs at the back. For the time being don't fit it to the front cogs but lay it alongside the smallest ring. If the chain has manufacturer's markings they should be on the outside of the bike.
  6. Secure the chain with the supplied link.
  7. Pull the bottom of the rear derailleur towards the font of the bike to loosen the chain and put it onto the smallest front ring.
  8. Turn the cranks to make sure the chain is running freely.
  9. Lube the new chain. Some people say that step is unnecessary because the chain comes already lubed; I'm unconvinced, I think it comes with a coating to protect its appearance, but it doesn't look like lube to me. It doesn't do any harm to be sure.

This video shows how to replace a chain:

Arguably an advanced topic because it needs specific tools (a cassette removal tool and a chain whip) but - if you have those tools - the job is really easy and you can save a lot of money:

  • Using a hub at replacement prices
  • Avoiding labour costs and transport costs

This video provides some hints for detecting chain wear:

This video shows how to replace a cassette:

Some notes:

  • It's usual when changing a cassette to change the chain at the same time; a worn chain is a cue to consider cassette replacement (some people always replace their cassettes with every worn chain - seems excessive to me)
  • When choosing a new cassette, you must match the 'speed' (i.e. the number of gears of the old cassette)
  • You might be able to fit a cassette with a larger number of cogs in its biggest gear. That will give you easier hill-climbing. However, each type of gear has its limits - exceed them and your bike will not change gear correctly. You'll need to check the specs of your specific gears online. You will probably need to replace your chain with a longer one too. Safest is to fit one the same as you are replacing or (if you are unsure about limits, use a bike shop, explaining what you want to do).
  • Shimano and SRAM cassettes are interchangeable.
  • When you remove your old cassette from the hub do one of the following to ensure you know how to reassemble the new cassette (in case you let it fall apart by mistake):
    • Keep the cassette intact (don't let it separate into separate bits) - perhaps use string or a cable tie to keep the bits together in sequence; or
    • Remove each element (sprockets and spacers) separately and lay them out in the order you remove them.
  • If you are fitting a 10 speed cassette onto a wheel that takes 10 or 11 speed, you will find there is an extra spacer that doesn't come with your new cassette - you'll need to refit that spacer before replacing your cassette.

How to: Change events and meetings

If you are creating a new meeting or event programme from scratch, click here to see a more appropriate 'How to' article.

There are two types of meeting/event:

  1. Recurring events: you can use a single entry to create multiple events on, for example, the second Tuesday of each month. You can alter generated events to allow for events that don't fall on regular days, for example:
    • Different dates over the Christmas period
    • No meeting during holidays
    • Additional meetings to the usual programme
  2. One-off events: you can create events individually which means each one can have a different heading and description. That's more work, but more suited to groups that hold meetings with a diverse range of topics or at different locations.

You can mix and match the two types so, for example, you could create a year's programme with recurring events and a Christmas lunch with a one-off event.

Click any of the following headings for more information. Note that several of the sections include reduced-size screen shots. Click the screen shot to see a larger version...

You'll need to log in to the site before you can create an event. Click the 'Members' area' link shown in the menu and footer of our pages. If you see a 'Log out' link, you are already logged-in.

Log in to the members' area and navigate to your group page. You will see forthcoming events listed at the right of the page (or the bottom if there's not enough space to show them on the right). Click any occurrence of the recurring event you want to change. You'll then see a big blue 'Edit' button at the top of the page just below the heading. Click it to start editing the event.

If you've reached the end date of your recurring event, it no longer appears on your group page so the above procedure doesn't work. In this case, go to the u3a calendar and look through past dates to find a previous occurrence of your event and click it. You'll then see a big blue 'Edit' button at the top of the page just below the heading. Click it to start editing the event.

You should tailor it so you see only the useful sections.

Click the 'Screen Options' button at the top right of the page to see a set of check boxes. Tick 'Event details', 'Event categories' and 'Event data' and untick the rest.

Click 'Screen Options' again to remove the check boxes pane.

When you edit a recurring event you'll see an 'Event details' section looking something like this:

By default, you are unable to change anything here. To allow changes, click the box to the right of the "Check to edit this event and its reoccurrences" message at the top of the section.

Having enabled changes to recurring event dates, you can now change the 'until' date to extend the set of recurring dates to a later date. Click the 'until' date to see something like this:

ChangeEvent2

You can now change the date either by entering a new one in the box provided or by clicking it in the calendar having navigated to the month you want by clicking the 'next' icon at the top right of the calendar.

Having extended the end date, you can add, delete or change dates in the new schedule using the 'Add, delete or change' procedure described below.

Having enabled changes to recurring event dates (see above), you can now change the 'until' date to remove recurring events after that date. Click the 'until' date to see something like this:

ChangeEvent2

 

You can now change the date either by entering a new one in the box provided or by clicking it in the calendar having navigated to the month you want by clicking the 'previous' icon at the top left of the calendar.

Having enabled changes to recurring event dates (see above), you will be able to click the 'Show dates' button next to 'Include/Exclude occurrences'. You'll see a calendar appear like this:

ChangeEvent3

Your event dates are highlighted with a blue background in the calendar (in the picture above, there's an occurrence on 2nd August).

To add a new date, click it in the calendar so the date turns blue. Note that you can switch to different months by clicking the 'next' and 'previous' icons at the top right and left of the calendar.

To remove a date, click it in the calendar to remove the blue background.

To change a date, remove the old one and add the new one.

You might be tempted to change your existing recurring event. That's not a good idea because it will change the day for past events as well as future ones.

Instead, you should:

  1. Use the above procedure to remove recurring events after the date of the last meeting on the old day.
  2. Add a new recurring event starting on the date of the first meeting on the new day. Click here to see an explanation of how to do that.

Having made your changes, you must save them so they appear in the u3a pages. You'll see a 'Publish' box at the top right of the editor page (or towards the bottom if there's not enough space in your browser to show it on the right). In the 'Publish' box you'll see an 'Update' button. Click it to save your changes.

To remove a one-off event or all occurrences or a recurring event, log in to the members' area and navigate to your group page. You will see forthcoming events listed at the right of the page (or the bottom if there's not enough space to show them on the right). Click any occurrence of the event you want to remove. You'll then see a big blue 'Edit' button at the top of the page just below the heading. Click it to start editing the event.

If you've reached the end date of your recurring event, it no longer appears on your group page so the above procedure doesn't work. In this case, go to the u3a calendar and look through past dates to find a previous occurrence of your event and click it. You'll then see a big blue 'Edit' button at the top of the page just below the heading. Click it to start editing the event.

You'll see a 'Publish' box at the top right of the editor page (or towards the bottom if there's not enough space in your browser to show it on the right). In the 'Publish' box you'll see a 'Move to Bin' link. Click it to remove the entire event.

Click here to see an explanation of how to add a one-off event.

Click here to see an explanation of how to change a one-off event.

The above explains some of the basics. There are plenty of other options we haven't described. If you see a feature that you would like to use, or if you want to do something, but can't see how; contact Andy and he'll try to help.

I forgot my username or password

Every current member of Hayling Island u3a has a username and password that gives access the the members' area of this site.

We sent an email to everyone when we launched the site providing usernames and passwords. All new members are notified of their credentials when they join.

This article explains what to do if you have lost or forgotten your username, your password or both.

The process depends on your current situation:

  • If you know your username, use the procedure described below to reset your password
  • If you do not share your email address with another member of Hayling Island U3A, use the procedure described below to reset your password.

If neither applies to you, you will need to find out your username. Either Andy Henderson or Peter Haskell can tell you your username.

Your password is stored by the web site in such a way that no-one can retrieve it. Not even site administrators. Instead, the web site gives you the ability to reset your password using the procedure below. This procedure requires you to have an active email address registered with the web site. If you have provided a dummy email address or or one that doesn't work, you will have to provide Andy Henderson or Peter Haskell with a new password so they can reset it for you.

To reset your password via the web site, click a link to the members' area. You'll find one in the menu bar and another in the area at the bottom of any page in the site. When you click the "Members' area" link you will see the login page...

Retrieve Password 1

Click the message 'Click here if you forgot your password'. You will see this page...

Retrieve Password 2

If you know your username enter it in the box provided. Otherwise you can use your email address - but only if you do not share it with another u3a member.

Click 'Get New Password'. The web site will then send you an email that tells you your username and gives you a link to click. When you click the link you will see this page...

Enter new password

Enter your new password in both boxes provided. If the two versions match, the site will store your new password. You can now go to the members' area of the site using the username provided in the email sent by the web site and the password you just provided. To make sure you have them available when you need them, make a note of them now. Alternatively, set yourself up with a password manager that can keep track of all your ids and passwords and - in many cases - can enter them for you. I can recommend LastPass which is available as a free service.

Why don't I get u3a emails?

The emails get sent - honest. But several people claim they don't get them, or that they get them intermittently.

There's nothing special or different about Hayling Island u3a emails. In fact, when people manage to track them down, they usually find emails from other people have gone astray too.

This note will hopefully help you find out where they are going and how to make sure they arrive OK.

It describes:

  • Some basic principles
  • The main reasons for emails going astray
  • What you can do about it
  • What we can do about it
  • Some specific step-by-step instructions

Continue reading Why don't I get u3a emails?