OVER 2 YOU, 102 (15/10/02)
am due to retire shortly and hope to fulfil a lifetime’s ambition to build a
small sailing boat, nothing too ambitious, something I can learn to sail in and
around local waterways and the nearby Suffolk coast. I want to make as much use
of my new toy (a very expensive PC) as possible so I’m wondering if there are
there any software packages or web sites that can help me with the basics, or
even provide a complete design solution?
Keys, via email
bought hull design software from www.hullform.com. It takes a bit of
study but there is very good back up by email. The results are very good.A
good source of links to all things nautical including design and boat building
Stone Edward Stone
With the almost unique
offer of free plans for his small coastal cruiser Egoist and many really useful
links, Mr. Keys may well find what he is looking for at Claude L Honnen´s
delightful site, http://membres.lycos.fr/egoist/z/indexz.html
Keys is to be encouraged! There is little to beat that sense of achievement
when you first step aboard a boat that you have built yourself and feel her come alive and move under your feet. I suggest that he
looks at www.boatbuilding.com,
which is a great source of information and links. There are many designers
across the world (myself included) that sell plans for boats for home builders
and most of them will have links off this site. Also there he will find links
to companies who produce boat design software - but I would suggest that for
his first project he buys a set of plans from an established designer.
the Streaker Class Owners Association: www.streakerclass.org.uk The boat can be
built from a kit and the association can put you in touch with a kit supplier,
professional builders as well as other members. The boat is a single hander,
easy to sail, control and learn in. It is similar to a Laser with an
active circuit of racing as well as many clubs with Streakers based at them.
The site also gives a second hand list of boats of varying conditions from
nearly new to restoration projects.
Jeremy Daniell, via email
admire Dan Keys' desire to build a boat and learn to sail it but I think he
should forget software and first take a two-week sailing course in the Med,
where the water is warm, he will enjoy a splendid holiday and be in the care of
qualified RYA instructors. Then he should visit his nearest sailing club
to see what type of boats are being sailed. A very suitable boat designed for home
construction is the Mirror Dinghy, which can be bought in kit form. It is
an ideal boat in which to learn and can be sailed by one or two people and it
would be wise if the first few times out he was crewed by a competent sailor.
It is light and easily transported on a roof rack or trailer. All dinghy sailors should be able to swim at least 50 metres.
Newman, Christchurch Sailing Club
Back Yard Yacht Club website at www.steveproj.com/BYYCHome.html
has a number of dinghy and cruiser plans available for home construction. Instruction videos, construction photos and card models are available online.For a report on a British-built boat from these plans visit www.tonykennah.co.uk
and press the "My Boat Project" button.
I have a design for a
well-mannered DIY cruising yacht, shortlisted for the Stanley Tools design
contest in the '60s. He is
welcome to a set of plans for the cost of copying; I have also written most of
a book based on the diary I kept while building her, and I could easily copy
this on to a floppy. I would recommend this even if he goes for a different
design, as it will give him some idea of what he is in for!
I have several problems. I am geriatric, disabled
and my manual dexterity is deserting me. I am finding it increasingly difficult
to write legible cheques. I only need to write about eight cheques a month and
a certain accounting software company, beginning with a ‘Q’ charges a lot for
printer compatible cheques. I only I hadn’t donated my old horse-drawn
typewriter to the tip it would all have been so easy! Ideally I would like to
use my regular bank cheques but I am open to all suggestions. Can anyone help?
D. A. Coppock, via email
I suggest www.PrintMyChecks.com; it claims to be
compatible with Quicken.
had the same problem and I now use Office Manager from Moneysoft (www.moneysoft.co.uk).
This enables me to use my own current account cheques; it also prints envelopes
and multiple labels etc which I find useful.
I never did master handwriting that met with approval (even by myself)
and have spent my life since school days avoiding it. At the earliest
opportunity I devised a spreadsheet for Lotus 123 which works ‘as-is’ on Coop
Bank cheques and could be adapted for most other bank cheques. To start from
scratch print a worksheet grid on semi transparent paper lay it over the cheque
and shift the cell margins on the screen to align, be careful as each
change affects the cells below and to the right, reprinting until aligned with
the boxes on the cheque. When satisfied & fully operational pray your bank
doesn't change its cheques.
correspondent could try asking his bank to provide some printable
cheques. I am not sure what they charge for the service, but I am sure
most banks will provide pre-printed stationary for standard printers.
Charlie Stott, Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Australia
Although I am not geriatric I have been using a
computer and word processor for so many years that my handwriting is illegible! I
use Excel to produce my cheques. For company cheques, sliding the envelope
restrictor on my printers 1000 & S400) positions the cheque perfectly. For
personal cheques, I have to hold the cheque in position as it starts to go
through the printer because they are smaller. Given D A Coppock's admitted lack
of manual dexterity, I am sure that his bank would be able to provide cheques
the same size as company cheques. Anyway, here are my parameters for MS
Excel (no alteration to 'Row Height'):
Company & personal cheques:
Column width: (Excel - Tools - Column - Width:)
A = 5
B = 40
C = 15
D = 12
Item Cell no
Amount D32 (figures)
Item Cell no
Amount D34 (figures)
Amount B34 (written)
Before printing off a cheque, it is worth
checking that the template works by printing on a plain piece of paper.
Hold it up to the light with the cheque behind it. (I also use this method
for printing forms in my business.)
Ian Stewart, Wickhambreaux, Canterbury
you have a reasonable printer and have MS-Word installed on your PC then
creating a simple Word Template should do the job. If like myself you work on a
PC all day, have poor or failing eye-sight help is at hand in the format
of Large Icons - to have large Icons in MS-Word or other
MS-Office applications then Select - Tools, Customize, the Options tab and then
tick the large icon check-box.
I wrote a routine some years ago for our DOS-based accounting system that
did just that, even converting the figures to words. I could easily convert it
to a stand-alone program, which would do the job for your correspondent,
provided he is running a Windows OS, which will support DOS programs. The
only problem would be that it would need tailoring to the particular cheque
format that he uses. Please contact me if interested.
cheapest way is to create an on-line form using MS Word and setting it to print
the cheque vertically rather than horizontally. Unfortunately he will
still need to fill in the cheque stub.
Depending on your bank, why not use electronic
banking. For the last two years, I've scarcely used 10
cheques, as (on my bank's system) you can now make payments to any
account, not just suppliers of goods and services.
Chawner, via email
would like to build a model railway and use my laptop to control the switching
of the points. What sort of hardware/software would I need?
Rhoades, via email
You should join MERG (Model Electronic Railway Group)
five hundred model railway and electronics enthusiasts from around the world
design and supply kits and software. Details on www.merg.org.uk.
work for a charity, which helps young disadvantaged people to set up and run their own small businesses. Many of our clients - mostly sole traders would like to use their computers to help them with their accounts and bookkeeping. However, usually we find that the well-known commercial packages are not only more complex than they need but also often difficult
to set up and learn to use. At the other end of the scale, clients need something a little more structured than a basic spreadsheet.Can anyone recommend any alternative packages - perhaps designed specifically with very small businesses in mind - which combine business functionality with simplicity and ease of use?
Vivian Dunn, via email
run a small cash business and have been using a new package called Zipaccs
which has been written especially for the licensed trade but will work just as
well in any cash business. The package is so easy to use and there are no
accounting terms used. Their web site is www.zipaccs.com and their
telephone number 01858 439444.
A friend has given me a
very old bicycle that is in great need of repair and rehabilitation. Most of
the books that I have come across have make no mention of ancient cycles or
anything similar to the one I have. Does anyone know of any websites that deal
with this subject?
John M. Allistone, via
I am getting older, I would like to redesign the back garden of my small semi-detached house, to make it easier to manage. I would like such
things as a patio area, and raised flower beds, with flagstone paths and no
grass! Is there a program somewhere, either on CD or on the Internet that I can
use to help with the design?
Robert McInnes, Thornbury, South Glos.
would like to be able to download price histories of shares, indices etc for use in a Technical Analysis program, for as far back as possible, and to update these histories as required. Does anyone know of any suitable sites,
either free or subscription based?
Peter Shelton, by e-mail